Archive for Science


One Bag Washes The Other

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plastic-bag-rehabThat resuable bag you are taking to the grocery store might just save the planet; in the meantime, don’t let it kill you. An article last week in Food Poisoning Bulletin appeared which drove home the need to keep your bags clean. The main message is that people don’t know how serious the potential is for severe bag contamination.

With plastic bag bans going into effect in localities across the country, there is now public health data to mine to look for unanticipated outcomes. The authors of a study done last August point out that food bourn illness deaths and ER visits “spike” where and when bag bans go into effect. The main way to avoid such a problem for yourself: wash your reusable bags early and often.

Point taken. I am a reusable bag enthusiast and I will heed this advice. I’m glad that I invested in some durable cotton bags that go into the laundry machine with ease. I’ve seen some cheap POS plastic reusable bags out there that would be a nightmare to clean. It’s not that I don’t clean mine but I can see the frequency needs to go up a lot. After reading the aritcle, I ordered more bags to accomodate a larger rotation which in turn will allow for more visits to the laundry.

So clean bags are a must. But I think there is another side to this story. Read More→

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In case you were wondering:

[h/t/ BuzzFeed]

Categories : Misc., National, News, Obama, Science
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Random Wednesday Variousness

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It’s 12.12.12. Do with that what you will. In the past 24 hours there have been approximately 153,400 deaths world-wide ( with approximately 356,201 births, do with that what you will), one of those deaths belonged to Ravi Shankar, again, do with that what you will. Also, several people were shot and killed at a mall in Portland, by a man wearing a white mask and brandishing a semi-automatic rifle. He killed himself. Also, North Korea shot something off, and had a parade. They are fond of parades.


Here’s some random stuff to read/discuss/ignore (after the break):

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Random Tuesday Variousness

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‘Tis the season and all that crap. Hopefully you’ve been partaking in the great consumerist holiday that is Christmas by buying stuff for the sake of buying stuff, or perhaps you feel guilty about not spending enough time with that (not so?) loved one so you’ve attempted to make up for it by purchasing a waffle iron. I don’t know what you people do in your spare time, so I won’t venture any more guesses. To the point!

Here’s some random stuff to read/discuss/ignore (after the break):

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Unequal Pay Makes Me So Angry!

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Do Capuchin monkeys have a more finely honed sense of fairness than ours?

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From The Atlantic:

Many humans have highly developed senses of fairness and morality, and it seems monkeys aren’t far behind. Alex Tabarrok highlights research by Emory University psychologist Dr. Frans B.M. de Waal, who studied how monkeys and other mammals share many of our social mores. The reaction to unequal pay is (ahem) priceless.

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Curiosity Open Thread

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At 1:30am Monday morning, Mars Science Laboratory rover Curiosity is scheduled to land on the red planet. It was launched in November of last year. Wiki:

The MSL mission has four scientific goals:

– Determine whether Mars could ever have supported life
– Study the climate of Mars
– Study the geology of Mars
– Plan for a human mission to Mars

To contribute to these goals, MSL has six main scientific objectives:

– Determine the mineralogical composition of the Martian surface and near-surface geological materials.
– Attempt to detect chemical building blocks of life (biosignatures).
– Interpret the processes that have formed and modified rocks and soils.
– Assess long-timescale (i.e., 4-billion-year) Martian atmospheric evolution processes.
– Determine present state, distribution, and cycling of water and carbon dioxide.
– Characterize the broad spectrum of surface radiation, including galactic radiation, cosmic radiation, solar proton events and secondary neutrons.

As part of its exploration, it is measuring the radiation exposure in the interior of the spacecraft as it travels to Mars, important data for a future manned mission.

It’s one of the most exciting moments in exploration in my lifetime, and I’ve got my fingers crossed that they make the difficult landing.

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Categories : Events, History, Science
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Friday Open Thread

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It’s Friday. The NC General Assembly has gone home, and the majority party with the help of a few Dems has left a wicked wake of laws and budgetary missteps that will hurt our state for years to come.

Local races are heating up. The Presidential election spectacle is already reaching fevered silliness as cable news channels turn the process into another season of The Bachelor.

Speaking of elections, did y’all catch the blistering attack ad against Mark Meadows? I heard it on 570am. It alleges marital infidelity and is sponsored by a group with a name that infers it’s from Asheville citizens in favor of marriage equality. Exceedingly strange and Tonya Hardingesque.

There’s a runoff election day on July 17. There are several races, including a Democratic runoff for Secretary Commissioner of Labor.

If you have any trouble at your polling place this year, feel free to blame the majority party for refusing to receive $4,000,000 in federal grant money to guarantee election integrity.

In other worlds, the Raelians are coming; Tom Cruise is cruising; and we lost Andy Griffith. A Higgs-Boson-like particle was discovered using the most sophisticated machine ever produced by humankind.

From another elaborate contraption we’ve put together comes this – Time lapse video from the International Space Station.

Happy Friday, y’all. This thread is open.


Fracked and Mutated

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As if you didn’t have enough to worry about already, “The Poison Beneath Us” from Pro Publica, a detailed report on groundwater contamination from injection wells, and some unrelated cattle deaths in Texas:

Over the past several decades, U.S. industries have injected more than 30 trillion gallons of toxic liquid deep into the earth, using broad expanses of the nation’s geology as an invisible dumping ground.

No company would be allowed to pour such dangerous chemicals into the rivers or onto the soil. But until recently, scientists and environmental officials have assumed that deep layers of rock beneath the earth would safely entomb the waste for millennia.

There are growing signs they were mistaken.

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Random Bits of Newsy Goodness

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There is, as always, good news and bad news. Here are a few links to some of each, and I’ll leave it to you to decide which is which. Read More→

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NC Bill Would Limit Sea-Level Rise

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And just in the nick of time, too! A substitute bill circulating in the NC General Assembly regulates sea-level rise (or at least how it is measured) on North Carolina’s coast.
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