Archive for Science

Robot Nurses Coming to a Hospital Near Your

Posted in Humor,News,Robots,Science by Chris Weber on January 23rd, 2007

european scientists developing robot nurses could be in hospitals in 2010European scientists think they may have an answer to the nurse shortage: build robot nurses to replace the puny hu-mon nurses. The robots would perform basic tasks and free up the real nurses to do the important stuff like look hot and give naughty boys shots in the bum or something like that.

Actually, the robots would be performing more of a janitorial function than actual nursing activities. The robots would clean up spills, deliver messages and guide visitors to their beds. Wouldn’t a Roomba, a telephone and some old people be a lot better at this and a lot cheaper? No wonder Europe is such an economic disaster. Their brilliant minds are busy re-inventing stuff Americans can buy on late night TV.

In all seriousness, it appears that …

A Railgun Cannon. What’s Next Star Destroyers?

Posted in News,Science by Chris Weber on January 20th, 2007

Navy test railgun - a railgun demonstrated in stargate atlantisHow many games have you played that featured a railgun as a weapon? I’m guessing just a few under a thousand. From Halo to Stargate to the movie Eraser, railguns are just as much a part of the sci-fi genre as bad acting and large-chested blue aliens. Now however, railguns are no longer science fiction. They are a reality for the US Navy.

The Navy demonstrated its new toy at the Naval Surface Warfare Center. The weapon uses electromagnetism to propel non-explosive projectiles to high speeds. The new weapon should increase the range of US Navy vessels as well as decrease the cost. The railgun is expected to replace the expensive Tomahawk missile saving the Navy a lot of money. Because of the speed of the projectile …

Is Your Cell Phone Giving You Cancer?

Posted in Mobile Phones,News,Science by Chris Weber on January 19th, 2007

do mobile phones cause cancer?Do cell phones cause cancer? That is what the British government wants to know. Some recent studies have raised questions about the safety of cell phones after ten years of use. Specifically, does using a cell phone for ten or more years lead to an increased chance of brain cancer?

Many studies have been conducted over the years, some with conflicting results but the latest consensus is that cell phones are generally safe for use in the short term. The effects of long term usage have yet to be studied. Some researchers feel that there is a critical need to study the long term effects and believe governments should be more concerned about the health of its citizens.

Professor Lawrie Challis is one such researcher. He is currently securing funding from the British Department of Health …

An Entire Ecosystem in the Palm of Your Hand

Posted in Ecosphere,Science by Chetz on January 17th, 2007

Ecosphere enclosed ecosystemThe EcoShpere is not really a new discovery; they’ve been around for a number of years but the idea doesn’t seem to get old with us.

The EcoSphere is a tiny, completely enclosed ecosystem that is contained in a small orb between 3 and 9 inches in diameter. Inside the EcoSphere are tiny shrimp, algae, filtered sea water, gorgonia, gravel and a magnet. If you keep your tiny world in a moderate amount of sunlight or artificial light and maintain the desired temperature, the living organisms will usually keep the system alive for 2-3 years, but some have been going as long as 8.

Basically the cycle works like this: light energy grows the algae inside the Ecosphere. The algae create oxygen and food which the tiny shrimp need to survive. The shrimp make some organic waste from eating the algae which creates some bacteria that …

2006 Warmest Year on Record

Posted in News,Science by Chris Weber on January 10th, 2007

2006 warmest year on record2006 was notable for the Wii, the PS3 and the temperature. Government scientists are reporting that 2006 was the warmest year on record since record keeping started in 1895.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) through its National Climatic Data Center collected temperature readings from 1200 weather stations around the contiguous US. They found that the temperature was 2.2 degrees higher than the mean temperature for the last century.

The temperature was notable but so was the government claim that the temperature change is being cause by build up of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. The government is blaming human activity for the rise in temperature along with natural local weather phenomenon. Of particular interest were bears who wouldn’t hibernate and cherry trees blooming on New Year’s day.

Jay Lawrimore, crybaby at the National Oceanic and …

Self Cleaning Underwear

Posted in Apparel,News,Science by Chris Weber on January 5th, 2007

self cleaning underwearThis is one for those World of Warcraft gamers who can’t be bothered by things like personal hygiene. Scientists have developed clothing with special molecules that repel water and oil and also kill bacteria.

The materials were designed for the United States Air Force for use in under garments. The t-shirts and underwear can be worn for several weeks without changing.

Before you dismiss this technology as trivial you should learn of the reasons behind the development. According to Jeff Owens, one of the researchers of the technology, “During Desert Storm, most casualties were from bacterial infections-not accidents or friendly fire. We treated underwear for soldiers who tested them for several weeks and found they remained hygienic. They also helped clear up some skin complaints.”

So the self cleaning or more aptly described dirt and germ repelling under garments can …

Founder Of Shows Off Goddard Rocket

Posted in News,Science by Darrin Olson on January 4th, 2007 founder shows off Goddard Rocket LaunchJeff Bezos, founder of, has released some detailed information about a literal rocket launch in a project that has been under wraps since it’s inception over 6 years ago.

Goddard, a 50 foot tall rocket, lifted off under it’s own power, flew about 285 feet into the air and then landed less than a minute later, seemingly with out a hitch. Multiple photos and a video of the rocket launch can be found at the Blue Origin web site. The video shows the full rocket launch and landing, and there are pictures of the rocket and the event of the launch on November 13, 2006.

The Blue Origin website leads off with a pitch for engineering applicants to join the Blue Origin team. “We’re working, patiently and step-by-step, to lower the cost of spaceflight so that many people can afford to …

Researchers Patent Possible Cure for Cancer

Posted in News,Science by Chris Weber on January 4th, 2007

resesarchers patents cancer cure at john hopkinsResearchers at Johns Hopkins University have patented a possible cure for cancer that involves sugar and fat. It’s not a chocolate chip cookie, it’s a designer molecule made of sugars and fatty acids.

Researchers urged caution as the treatment has not been tested on animals or humans yet. However, researchers are optimistic for its success.

The new substance was synthesized from a combination of two molecules. The first is a short chain fatty acid known as butyrate. Butyrate, known for over two decades to restore healthy cell function, has been shown to slow the rate of cancer. However, finding a way to deliver Butyrate to cells has been a problem.

The breakthrough comes by combining butyrate with the sugar N-acetyl-D-mannosamine otherwise known as ManNAc. The hybrid molecule can infiltrate a cell with ease …

Super Molecules Could Speed Up Internet

Posted in News,Science by Chris Weber on January 3rd, 2007

chromophore light molecule breakthroughMolecules that have the peculiar characteristic of being extra sensitive to light could have wide ranging implications on the field of computing.

The Kuzyk Limit was first theorized by Washington State University Professor Mark Kuzyk in 1999. Kuzyk’s find showed how molecules interacted with light and showed the possibility of creating molecules that could be much more reactive than any material at that time.

A Chinese chemist Yuxia Zhao was the first to synthesize such a molecule at the Chinese academy of science. The molecules react up to fifty percent more than any previously known material.

The synthesized material is known as a chromophore. When light hits a chromophore it releases electrons that are bright enough to be seen. Common examples of such molecules include ingredients in paint and food coloring.

Practical uses for the technology include almost any …

Barrel Toroid is Largest Superconducting Magnet

Posted in CERN,Magnets,Science by Paul Patterson on December 31st, 2006

The ATLAS DetectorThis is the ATLAS Detector, home of Barrel Toroid – the largest superconducting magnet ever built. The barrel-shaped magnet provides the magnetic field for ATLAS, a particle detector at CERN1′s Large Hadron Collider (LHC).

The Barrel Toroid consists of eight precisely aligned rectangular-shaped superconducting coils measuring 5m wide, 25m long and weighing 100 tonnes. The magnet will be used in ATLAS to bend the paths of charged particles produced in collisions at the Collider.

The goal of ATLAS is to answer questions like: why particles have mass, what is the unknown 96% of the Universe made of, and why Nature prefers matter to antimatter.

The magnet was recently powered up to its nominal operating conditions on the first attempt. Still in development by over 1800 scientists from 165 universities and laboratories, the new particle accelerator is scheduled to turn on and start taking data in …