Posted by Soulskillon Tuesday May 29, @02:32PM from the setting-a-bad-precedent dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Back in April, we discussed news of an anti-education attack on an Afghani school, which poisoned 150 Afghan schoolgirls. Now, a hospital in the same province has admitted 160 more girls who seem to have suffered a similar attack. 'Their classrooms might have been sprayed with a toxic material before the girls entered, police spokesman Khalilullah Aseer said. He blamed the Taliban. The incident, the second in a week's time, was reported at the Aahan Dara Girls School in Taluqan, the provincial capital. The girls, ages 10 to 20, complained of headaches, dizziness and vomiting before being taken to the hospital, said Hafizullah Safi, director of the provincial health department. More than half of them were discharged within a few hours of receiving treatment, Safi said. The health department collected blood samples and sent them to Kabul for testing.'"
Posted by samzenpuson Monday May 21, @02:09PM from the daydream-a-better-tomorrow dept.
ananyo writes "From the Nature story: 'Scientists from Archimedes to Isaac Newton and Albert Einstein are said to have had flashes of inspiration while thinking about other things. But the mechanisms behind this psychological phenomenon have remained unclear. A study now suggests that simply taking a break does not bring on inspiration — rather, creativity is fostered by tasks that allow the mind to wander.' The researchers gave 145 students 2 minutes to list as many possible uses for an everyday object (the creative thinking task). Participants then either rested, undertook a demanding memory activity that required their full attention or engaged in an undemanding reaction-time activity known to elicit mind-wandering. A fourth group of students had no break. The researchers then set the students a second set of unusual-uses tasks and found those that had, in the interim, been set the undemanding task that encouraged mind-wandering performed an average of around 40% better than they did before. The students in the other three groups showed no improvement."
You would never believe how I got from the above to the YouTube presentation, below! (I'm not even a dulcimer fan.)
Unfortunately, I am really, really good at starting projects - which then drag on forever because I lose interest, rapidly. These days, I'm trying to get all of my bird sighting records onto spreadsheets so that I can throw 60 years' worth of paper listings. Wish me well!
Other documentation efforts that have hung fire:
- Photos from Hunky Husband's and my families, some of which are over 100 years old. I'm trying to get them all scanned and organized so that someone who doesn't recognize the people who are in the photos, by sight, can make sense out of it all. Truly, I don't know why I even wish to do this. Obviously, I don't recognize some of the people in the older photos.
- Letters and cards accumulated over my lifetime. I started recording data from them into spreadsheets, scanning some, sending some of the letters to surviving children of the writers, etc. In theory, if successful, this project will get about 10-20 boxes of paperwork out of our basement!
- Genealogy. I don't even want to talk about this. I've never been interested and only became involved when Elder Brother threw up his hands and sent me his electronic files. (It took a few years before I even got around to finding the right software to open his file.)
Non-documentation efforts that have hung fire:
- Quilt making
- Getting rid of accumulated needlework materials such as yarns, knitting needles, etc.
For the past several years, I've earmarked my annual contribution to my alma mater to be used for equipment required by those conducting research in the physics department. Last year, a physics major who was an undergraduate while I was in graduate school, and who started and runs a successful technical business, donated $$ (a relatively modest amount) to a project of the physics department - for which he had his name tagged onto the project.
Some weeks ago, the head of the physics department sent me a package of materials with a letter suggesting that I give $$ (he specified an amount 1.3 times what my fellow student had donated) toward funding scholarships with the suggestion that such a project might bear my name.
I have been hesitantly considering the proposition. My hesitation has four causes: 1) I'm not fond of someone's suggesting how much money I should donate, even though it is not an outlandish amount, 2) I have concerns as to who would be the beneficiaries, as the implication was that it wouldn't just be physics majors nor USA nationals, 3) I don't care to have my name tagged onto any project, and 4) it seems to me that providing scholarships to college-bound students is not where money could be used most effectively. I've been considering that it might be more effective to provide money to help under-served children in 4th - 7th grades develop an appreciation for science.
This item from Slashdot.org tipped the scales, for me. Where would you put your money?
Posted by Soulskillon Friday May 11, @11:39AM from the above-the-mendoza-line dept.
bonch writes "22 percent of California eighth-graders passed a national science test, ranking California among the worst in the U.S. according to the 2011 National Assessment of Educational Progress. The test measures knowledge in Earth and space sciences, biology, and basic physics. The states that fared worse than California were Mississippi, Alabama, and a tie between the District of Columbia and Hawaii. 'Nationally, 31 percent of eighth-graders who were tested scored proficient or advanced. Both the national and state scores improved slightly over scores from two years ago, the last time the test was administered.'"
I, myself, was hooked on science before I started grade school. Is 4th grade too late to spark an interest? BTW: I do thank Dr S for getting me to thinking, at least!
The Dream Chaser model with its Atlas V launch vehicle is undergoing final preparations at the Aerospace Composite Model Development Section's workshop for buffet tests at the Transonic Dynamics Tunnel at NASA Langley. The scale model is being tested as part of NASA's Commercial Crew Development program to regain the American capability to launch astronauts safely to the International Space Station. The lifting body reusable spacecraft would carry as many as seven astronauts to the space station. Sierra Nevada Space Systems is developing the craft under a Space Act Agreement with NASA.
With the help of hundreds of pressure transducers, engineers from Sierra Nevada Corporation, the United Launch Alliance and NASA Langley will look at the pressure fluctuations the model and launch vehicle stack experience during the critical ascent to orbit, especially at transonic speeds. Shock-waves form on launch vehicles as they approach the speed of sound and may result in regions of highly unsteady flow. Within these regions of the Dream Chaser and launch vehicle, the resulting buffet forces and high frequency acoustic noise must be clearly understood as part of the vehicle design process. Transonic wind-tunnel testing of large, highly instrumented scale models is the only method of determining the buffet environments of launch vehicles with complex shapes.
Image Credit: NASA EDGE/Ron Beard
IMHO: There are other ways of determining the buffet environments; but, wind tunnel testing is cheaper than flying testbeds. There is nearly always "more than one way of skinning a cat" as my mother would have said.
I may have to rejoin Facebook when this device is perfected. Don't hold your breath waiting for me to rejoin FB; but, the device might solve the problem of my walking off without my phone - as I did for the mega-zillionth time, yesterday. (I don't mind being without my phone; but, my driver's license and credit card are in the tiny phone pouch.) Perhaps a microchip driver's license implanted in my arm wouldn't be such a bad idea!
Posted by timothyon Saturday May 05, @06:43AM from the well-if-it's-good-enough-for-cadavers dept.
MatthewVD writes "A new, user interface-enabled generation of electronics that you wear under your skin could be used for convenience, or even pleasure, rather than medical reasons. Scientists at Autodesk Research in Toronto have implanted electronics with user buttons, pressure sensors and LEDs under the skin of a cadaver's arm and wrapped in artificial skin. The electronics could buzz you when you have an appointment, carry memory cards with data, or connect you in a social network with others wearing electronics."
During my 74 years - well, during the ones that I've thought about the issue, at least - I've never understood the concept of doing anything with the attitude that it must be done regardless of the cost. I don't dine on steak and lobster every night - the cost to my health and wallet are too high. Who in the world thought, at any point during the past 11 years, that the panic mode in which public opinion seemed to demand that we operate was worth what it cost - in freedoms, time, energy, money? I've never understood and still don't understand why we stand still for TSA. At least one politician agrees with me (or, perhaps I agree with him!)
Posted by Soulskillon Friday May 04, @02:29PM from the might-increase-their-efficacy dept.
suraj.sun quotes from Politico:"Rand Paul has a reform plan for the Transportation Security Administration: Scrap the whole thing. A personal message from Paul (R-Ky.) came atop emails this week from the Campaign for Liberty Vice President Matt Hawes, asking for readers to sign a petition in support of Paul's 'End the TSA' bill. A Paul spokeswoman said that legislation is being finalized next week. 'Every inch of our person has become fair game for government thugs posing as "security" as we travel around the country. Senator Rand Paul has a plan to do away with the TSA for good, but he needs our help,' reads the petition, which also asks signers to 'chip in a contribution to help C4L mobilize liberty activists across America to turn the heat up on Congress and end the TSA's abuse of our rights.' 'The American people shouldn't be subjected to harassment, groping, and other public humiliation simply to board an airplane. As you may have heard, I have some personal experience with this, and I've vowed to lead the charge to fight back,' Paul wrote at the top of a C4L fundraising pitch, according to blogs that received the email. 'Campaign for Liberty is leading the fight to pressure Congress to act now and restore our liberty. It's time to END the TSA and get the government's hands back to only stealing our wallets instead of groping toddlers and grandmothers.'"
In recent years I have often lamented the (near) absence of butterflies. Not this year. This is the year of the butterfly. When we move anywhere around the plantings in our yard, clouds of butterflies flock and swirl about us - I kid you not. First, a week or so ago, I noticed prodigious numbers of butterflies on our sage bush blossoms - at least four species (not that I could identify them you understand). For the past couple of days I've noted that the butterflies are mobbing on our in-bloom cilantro and on our masses of sedum in bloom - including at least a fifth species of butterfly. Unfortunately, I have neither the abilities nor the equipment to capture those flitting critters. Following are the best that I could manage (the winds don't help, either, with everything waving about in-and-out-of focus!)
The first five photos feature butterflies on sedum.
Turning to the sage bush: I guessed that there were about 100 butterflies on the bush when I snapped the left hand photo. If you tell me that you only see a couple - even after blowing up the photo by clicking on it - I won't think that you are calling me a liar. I can't see them, either. But...look at the right hand photo. It is a small area of the left hand photo, chosen at random to enlarge. Now...I can see at least four small butterflies (or they may be moths instead of skipper-type butterflies) and I am confident that there are more critters there than I can detect in the photo.
Now, I'll get back to what I really got the camera out to show you. First, below, is a photo of our first mum plant to bloom this year. Yes, I know one should pick off buds until July 4th in order to increase and stave off blooming until the fall; but, they showed color so freakishly early that I decided to let the mums go ahead and bloom. Perhaps they will bloom again, later in the year.
The right-hand photo shows the blanket roses that I put out about 10 years ago - without realizing that they would be growing in the shade once the chokeberry and vibernum bushes grew.