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Monthly Archives: April 2008

CTDL 153: To boldly go…

As if there was a chance I wouldn’t make that joke (the one in the headline, the one that isn’t funny). Hawking is calling for NASA to follow the Columbus spirit and spread disease and mayhem… err… explore and discover other options for when humanity messes up this planet.

In a speech honouring Nasa’s 50th anniversary, [...]

CTDL 152: Candid monkey camera

Stick cameras in logs, take pictures of animals.

Downer said he came up with the idea three years ago when his team started filming the tigers.
He noticed how gently the forest elephants carried firewood to their camp and wondered if they’d be as delicate with a camera.
“And they were,” he enthused. “Elephants do not see tigers [...]

CTDL 151: Rapid evolution. Godzilla next?

I’m not sure what this actually does for some of the evolutionary theories, but apparently these lizards were introduced to this environment just a few years ago (in the 70s), and they’ve already adapted numerous biological functions (bigger heads, intestinal doo-dads, etc).

Researchers found that the lizards developed cecal valves—muscles between the large and small intestine—that [...]

CTDL 150: Melting the poles

This BBC article starts off with a study that shows problems with the cosmic rays as a cause for “global warming” hypothesis. But, it ends with this little bit:

In periods of relatively intense particle activity, some areas of the Earth’s surface in both the Arctic and Antarctic are warmer while others become colder, showing differences [...]

CTDL 149: Old old trees.

Approximately doubling the age of Methuselah (the tree, not the biblical character), a tree in Sweeden is found to be almost 10K years old.

Scientists had believed the world’s oldest trees were 4,000-year-old pine trees found in North America.
The oldest, a bristlecone pine named Methuselah located in California’s White Mountains, is aged 4,768, according [...]

CTDL 148: A home-made biosphere

I’m hoping to do this with my kids this spring/summer.

We started with a Table-Top Biosphere, or as MAKE called it, a “Tabletop Shrimp Support Module” or TSSM. The whole idea is to create an entirely self-sustaining aquatic ecosystem within a completely sealed jam jar. If you do it right, your freshwater shrimp “aquanaut” will be [...]

CTDL 147: Polution, the planet, and feeding the people

Pollution kills, this is not news (though auto pollution “kills” may be news).

High levels of pollution may have contributed to the deaths of thousands of people in England from pneumonia in recent years, a study suggests.
[From BBC NEWS | Health | Pneumonia 'linked' to pollution]

China has already passed the US for pollution. Now this might [...]

CTDL 146: Yeah Space! (misc stories).

I think there’s a lot to be learned from Titan, and I’m glad to see Nasa extending the mission (though one could say they’re extending this mission because they can’t afford at this time to send a newer/better craft on a subsequent mission instead).

The US space agency (Nasa) has extended the international Cassini-Huygens mission by [...]

CTDL 145: Slum diaries

I have nothing pithy to say about these diaries kept by medical staff in Sierra Leone’s slums. It just bears contemplating, and acting upon.

It has been really busy as we have started the distribution of a corn-soya blend for malnourished children.
So mothers have been bringing their children under the age of five for screening: we [...]

CTDL 144: Bunch of items

Whew, I feel pretty good about my large hippocampus now. Wait. I don’t know how big my hippocampus is. I wonder if there’s a spammer with a product that might help enlarge that… hmm…

Having a large hippocampus – a part of the brain involved with memory – seems to provide protection against the symptoms of [...]