Thursday, April 24, 2008

Environmental Science: Syria's Reactor

It seems Syria was building a reactor. As with any piece of modern technology, a reactor can be a two edge sword. Yes, it can produce electrical power and no greenhouse gases. However some reactors can be used to produce nuclear material that can aid in a nuclear weapons program. I guess that was a chance that Israel could allow to happen. Israel bombed the plant last fall (2007). Today the CIA take congress to school for Nuke 101: Nuclear Power and You.

You can read or listen to the related here:

U.S. Officials Tie N. Korea to Syrian Nuclear Site by Tom Gjelten
CIA to Brief Congress on Israel's Syria Bombing
N Korea 'linked to Syria reactor'

Friday, April 18, 2008

Geology: Earthquake strikes Midwest

Early morning earthquake ripples through the middle of the country

270_40 An earthquake shook a large area in the Midwest at 4:37 a.m. CT, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

Seismologists say the epicenter of this magnitude 5.2 temblor was in southern Illinois, about 66 miles from Evansville, Ind.

As of right now, there are no reports of serious injuries or damage.

"It shook our house where it woke me up," David Behm of Philo, 10 miles south of Champaign, tells the Associated Press. "Windows were rattling, and you could hear it. The house was shaking inches. For people in central Illinois, this is a big deal. It's not like California."

Tremors were felt hundreds of miles away. We found reports from people who felt the quake in Kansas City, Chicago, St. Louis, Cincinnati, Madison, Wis., Des Moines and near Atlanta.

Gary Patterson, a geologist at the University of Memphis, tells the Evansville Courier-Press that this is the first quake in that area since 1968. He explains why it was felt so far away: "Obviously, it depends on what the soil is where you're at, and what type of building you're in. A person jogging down the street in Kansas City didn't feel this, but a person in a 20-story building there would have felt it."

Posted from USA Today

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Meteorology: Edward Lorentz Father of Chaos Theory

"Edward N. Lorenz, the MIT meteorologist whose efforts to use computers to increase the precision of weather forecasts inadvertently led to the discovery of chaos theory and demonstrated that precise long-range forecasts are impossible, died of cancer Wednesday at his home in Cambridge, Mass. He was 90.

Lorenz was perhaps best known for the title of a 1972 paper, "Predictability: Does the Flap of a Butterfly's Wings in Brazil Set Off a Tornado in Texas?" The memorable title pithily summarized the essence of chaos theory -- that very small changes in a system can have very large and unexpected consequences."

-- Posted from the Los Angeles Times

Edward N. Lorenz, 90; scientist developed influential chaos theory

Other Obituaries

Edward N. Lorenz, a Meteorologist and a Father of Chaos Theory, Dies at 90

Edward Lorenz; Pioneer in Creation of Chaos Theory

An explanation of his work should be noted.

Chaos Theory for Beginners - An Introduction -

Play with Lorentz Attractors and Chaos theory. See how small changes in initial conditions can change the path of a process.

Lorenz Butterfly: A Demostration

The Butterfly Effect: Another Demostration

Lorentz Attractors

Dr. Lorentz's Original Paper: Deterministic Nonperiodic Flow

Environment Science: Paper or Plastic?

Paper or Plastic? Tried of that question? Which answer is more friendly to the planet? What if you could have a bag that is tough , long lasting and fits in your pocket? Try a "Chico Bag"! These bags are reusable, strong and colorful. They fit in your pocket or purse. They are great for shopping trips, quick errands, and even Halloween trick or treat sacks.

Environmental Sciecne: The Plastic Ocean

Every year millions of pieces of plastic find there way into the ocean as trash. Some pieces are wash into the ocean from runoff, storm drains, or discarded articles on the beach. Other pieces are from trash intentionally dump by fisherman, cruise liners, cargo ships, and other ocean going vessels. The oceans' currents eventually take this plastic flotsam to the middle of the ocean forming a mass of debris that cover millions of square miles. Captain Charles Moore has made a study of these floating masses of debris and here is his story.

Across the Pacific Ocean, Plastics, Plastics, Everywhere

Would you like to know more? Please take the time to listen to the audio stories as well.

Navigating the Pacific's 'Garbage Patch'
Garbage Mass Is Growing in the Pacific
Floating toxic plastic garbage island twice the size of Texas
Photos of a Plastic Ocean

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Physics: Optics Stereographic Images

In our discussion of parallax I mention that stereographic images produce a 3D effect when viewed with a Stereographic viewer like a Viewmaster. However a similar effect can be done using an animated gif File and a computer.

Stereo Images: Time for Space Wiggle

Physics: Head Tracking, Optics, and Computer Science

This is just so cool I had to post it.

Head Tracking on the Wii.

Not to be out done here is a head tracking clip done on a PS3 running Linux

Environmental Sciecne: What's really in your Water?

It seems that all the drugs we are taking are making their way into the water supply of the planet. The water pollution control systems just don't handle drugs, hormones and chemicals we put in to our bodies and Flush down the toilet. Everything ends up in the water. Guys if you are feeling less virile and ladies if everyone seems to be more feminine, maybe it's not just you. Could it be something in the water?

Want to learn More?

Is Fatherhood In Peril?

Estrogen-Related Hormone Found In SF Drinking Water

Study: Antibiotics, Anti-Depressants, Estrogen In Drinking Water

I'll Have the Water With Estrogen, Please.