2. laboratoryequipment:

    Wood Foam Can Be Effective Insulation

    Insulation materials of tomorrow must be both efficient and environmentally friendly. Fraunhofer scientists are developing insulation foam made from wood that could re-place petrochemical plastics in the long term.

    Climate protection is now a mandatory consideration for every building contractor in Germany. Only last October the German federal government tightened up its Energy Saving Ordinance (EnEV) even further by decreeing that in future properties will have to consume even less energy than before. The key to meeting these stringent requirements lies in the way one insulates walls and roofs, as effective insulation prevents large amounts of our valuable thermal energy escaping unused. Buildings are insulated by lining their facades with materials that reduce the transfer of heat to the outside environment. Traditionally the construction industry uses hardboards or expandable foams based on petrochemical plastics because they are good insulators that are affordable and easy to produce. But these materials are not particularly kind to the environment, so the long-term objective is to replace petroleum based products with materials derived from renewable resources.

    Read more: http://www.laboratoryequipment.com/news/2014/03/wood-foam-can-be-effective-insulation


  3. Noted Science Guy Continues To Be Completely Flummoxed By Human Nature

    From The New Republic:
    Thanks to Bill Nye, Creationists Raised Enough Money to Build an Anti-Science Theme Park
    The science guy won a debate—and subsidized the enemy

    I’m not saying “I told you so” (in fact I am, of course), but the main upshot of the Bill Nye/Ken Ham debate appears to have tipped the final balance in favor of Ham.

    The debate, as you’ll recall, was held in Kentucky’s Creation Museum, was on the validity of creationism as a model of biological origins and diversity, and the proceeds from the DVDs went to Ham and other creationists.

    Now, according to the Guardian and other venues, Ham has announced that proceeds from the debate have apparently revived the dormant “Ark Park” project, which will contain a “life-sized” replica of Noah’s Ark.

    This is precisely what I predicted in a pre-debate post on January 5, “Ark Park near collapse; will Bill Nye help finance it?”…
    Mr. Coyne goes on to report Bill Nye’s reaction to having walked right past all the big, neon, “Danger! Do Not Enter!” signs and straight into his role in Ken Ham’s fundraising scheme as —
    „,“heartbroken and sickened for the Commonwealth of Kentucky” after learning that the project would move forward. [Nye] said the ark would eventually draw more attention to the beliefs of Ham’s ministry, which preaches that the Bible’s creation story is a true account, and as a result, “voters and taxpayers in Kentucky will eventually see that this is not in their best interest.”
    — because some Liberals are really stupid like that.

    And in the name of “debate” or “engagement” or “fairness” some Liberals will go right on being stupid like that. They simply cannot wrap their heads around the fact that the Right is not interested in debating them. That the Right no longer even recognizes the concept of “debate” anymore. To Conservatives, a “debate” is just another venue for another round of whoop de poo flinging and laughing at those po’, dumb Libruls who keep flying into the same fucking bug zapper over and over again.

    For more on this story, we turn to the late Steve Gilliard from January of 2005:
    …There’s a tendency for liberals to try and be fair, to consider other viewpoints, so we get baited by them in debates on terms that they set. I’m going to act on the following: I don’t care what conservatives think. The NRO Corner thinks I’m a racist, I don’t care, their opinions on race are meaningless.

    Instacracker doesn’t like what I say?

    That’s the purpose of the exercise.

    I want conservatives to read this site and come away steaming. I don’t want them to think they will like a word I will say here. I don’t want them to think I will consider their opinions or viewpoints. I want them to think: boy he doesn’t like conservatives and really, really doesn’t care what we say.

    I’m tired of people acting like these people can be reasoned with or talked to. They don’t want to talk, they want to drive us away into a corner and ridicule our ideas.

    I’m not writing to make conservatives happy. I want them to hate my opinions.

    I’m not interested in debating them.

    I want to stop them.
    And for even more, we turn to the late Steve Gilliard from March of 2005 (emphasis added):
    …The Bible Thumpers will always be with us, and after a while, people get sick of them. They did in the 20’s and they will now. The GOP has one fucking thing holding them together, power. In 2007, a lot of fiscal conservatives are going to find their nominees for president are a high grade of wacko, like Rick Santorum. People who are too crazy to win, but because the Jesus freaks control the GOP street game, they will have to decide what to do. Just like we listened to Jim Carville four years too long, the GOP will curse the name of Karl Rove for letting the Jesus freaks think the GOP is God’s Own Party. Personally, I plan on handing them anvils and watching the fucking bubbles hit the surface.

    And about the media: subvert it where you can, provide alternatives when you can’t. We have to challenge them when they are wrong. We can’t let them get away with bullshit and then whine about it. And we have to start picking friends and enemies. No law says you have to talk to the Weekly Standard or NRO and I wouldn’t bother. Let them say what they want, racist thugs, the lot of them. We don’t have to make their job easier.

    The GOP worked the refs to the point that they shit themselves. It’s time to do the same. Someone ought to be deconstructing David Brooks and sending out PR releases highlighting his fucking errors and sexism weekly. This is not a game to win on defense…
    As to that list bit, Steve, all I can say is, I’ve been trying.

    Almost since the day you kicked me out of your comment section and I started this blog.

    Right on through the end of The News Blog. Through the rise and fall of The Group News Blog. Through the rise and fall of The Fighting Liberals.

    And I’ll go right on trying awhile longer.

    But after nine years, as far as I can tell, while a few of my peers are now playing my ragtime, ain’t nobody upstairs listening.







  9. The Most Amazing Science Images of 2013
    The Most Amazing Science Images of 2013
    From slow-mo footage on YouTube to deep-space satellite imagery to weird washcloths on the International Space Station, this was a big year for beautiful science. Here for your visceral viewing pleasure are thirty-three of our favorite photos and videos from 2013.

    Above: Cdr. Chris Hadfield shows what happens when you wring a washcloth out in space

    It should go without saying that this is by no means a comprehensive list, but we’ll say it anyway. Here you will find photos that gave us pause. Here you’ll find footage that brought the hair on the backs of our necks to attention, that kept us up late into the night reading more about what it was, exactly, we were seeing. You’ll find imagery that moved us, inspired us, or made us laugh in sheer amazement. But the experiences brought on by these images are of course subjective – and so this list is incomplete. (It’s also damn near impossible to fit a year’s worth of beautiful science images into a single list. We can’t post every single ISS time-lapse, now can we?)

    With that in mind, we invite you to share the images you think we missed in the comments below, along with a brief description and a link to where we can learn more.

    The Clearest Photo of a Sunspot Ever Taken

    The Most Amazing Science Images of 2013
    The unprecedented view was released in August by scientists at Big Bear Solar Observatory in the mountains of East L.A. Imaged by the New Solar Telescope (aka the “NST”), the photograph is among the first to be captured by the NST’s newly equipped Visible Imaging Spectrometer (VIS).

    Cassini Captures a Rare Overhead View of Saturn

    The Most Amazing Science Images of 2013
    On October 10th, the spacecraft’s wide-angle camera captured a set of 12 RGB “footprints” (36 photos total, acquired with red, green and blue filters which, when combined, approximate true color) of Saturn and its rings, as seen from above. Software developer and “amateur” planetary image processor Gordan Ugarkovic converted the photos into the composite you see here. Hands down one of our all-time favorite images of the Ringed Planet.

    Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo Completes its First Rocket-Powered Test Flights

    The Most Amazing Science Images of 2013
    Virgin Galactic’s air-launched space plane blew us away this year with a series of picturesque (and – more importantly – successful) drop tests and rocket-powered test-flights. Back in May, Richard Branson announced that the first public flight of his company’s sub-orbital space plane was scheduled for Christmas Day, and that he would be aboard. With another rocket-powered test launch scheduled for this month, it’s unlikely that he’ll deliver – but you never know.

    The Grand Canyon Fills with Clouds in a “Once in a Lifetime” Event

    The Most Amazing Science Images of 2013
    The Canyon came to be filled with fog due to what’s known as a “temperature inversion,” a phenomenon whereby warm and cool air (which typically reside at lower and higher altitudes, respectively) swap places. More breathtaking photos from photographer Erin Whittaker here.

    Apollo F-1 Engines Recovered From the Atlantic Ocean

    The Most Amazing Science Images of 2013
    In March, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos’ eponymous Bezos Expeditions successfully recovered F-1 rocket engines – used during the Apollo missions – from the depths of the Atlantic Ocean. “I want to thank NASA,” wrote Bezos. “They extended every courtesy and every helping hand – all of NASA’s interactions were characterized by plain old common sense, something which we all know is impressive and uncommon.”

    A Spinning Moon

    The Most Amazing Science Images of 2013
    Using imagery collected by its Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, NASA created this gobstopping video of the Moon rotating 360° about its axis. It’s a view of our satellite unlike any ever seen from Earth (curse you, tidal locking!).

  10. spacetravelco:

    Geographical and astronomical illustrations from the mid-1800s

    by John Philipps Emslie

    (several via the Wellcome Collection)

    (via we-are-star-stuff)