Sunday, July 22, 2007

The Large Hadron Collider - Why Bury 8 Billion Dollars Under Europe?

From a great article in the New Yorker, A Cosmology "Crash Course" by Elizabeth Kolbert.

Below, Elizabeth sketches the link between cosmological theory and practical matters, like public money (my added links):

"In 1969, the Congressional Joint Committee on Atomic Energy held a hearing at which the physicist Robert Wilson was called to testify. Wilson, who had served as the chief of experimental nuclear physics for the Manhattan Project, was at that point the head of CERN’s main rival, Fermilab, and in charge of $250 million that Congress had recently allocated for the lab to build a new collider. Senator John Pastore, of Rhode Island, wanted to know the rationale behind a government expenditure of that size. Did the collider have anything to do with promoting “the security of the country”?:

Wilson: No sir, I don’t believe so.

Pastore: Nothing at all?

Nothing at all.

Pastore: It has no value in that respect?:

Wilson: It only has to do with the respect with which we regard one another, the dignity of men, our love of culture. . . . It has to do with are we good painters, good sculptors, great poets? I mean all the things we really venerate in our country and are patriotic about. . . . It has nothing to do directly with defending our country except to make it worth defending.

Asked to explain how their work, supported by public funds, contributes to the public good, particle physicists often cite Wilson, or offer some variation on his non-answer answer: the search for knowledge cannot be justified on other grounds; its value, like the particles under study, is irreducible."


FilterBlogs reduction: Hover Cars. We want Hover Cars!

FilterBlogs Cosmology label.


Thursday, July 12, 2007

China REALLY Serious About Melamine Contamination In Food

Poisonous Glycol's recently found in Pet foods, toothpaste and medicine, made in China, has lead the Chinese government to act, harshly.

From The Guardian Unlimited

"State media announced yesterday that Zheng Xiaoyu - former director of the State Food and Drug Administration - has been executed less than two months after being sentenced."

Image from Xinhua News

I guess the Chinese Really like Free Trade.


Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Transportation Sector Should Follow Boeings 787 Lead

From: Boeing 787 Dreamliner Home

The Boeing 787, built from carbon-fiber composites, is far lighter and thus more fuel efficient...

(Boeing 787 unveiling, from

From an article by Elizabeth M. Gillespie published last month in The Honolulu Advertiser Online,

"The 787 will be the first large commercial airliner built mostly from light, sturdy composite materials instead of aluminum, making the plane more fuel-efficient and less expensive to maintain. Not only that but the manufacturing process is revolutionary.

Boeing has lined up a vast network of suppliers around the globe that are manufacturing large pieces of the 787, which are then flown on a superfreighter to the final assembly plant in Everett, north of Seattle, where the plane is essentially snapped together."

The entire transportation sector should be forced by government, if necessary, to achieve 100mpg. as soon as is feasible though this light weight strategy.

An interesting contradiction comes to mind that could slow things down in government...

In the online publication "The Project For A New American Century/Rebuilding Americas Defenses" (pdf) the Empirists from American Enterprise Institute envision a global army, which use heavy Humvee's that are able to carry armor plate.

The society that makes the switch to light-weight carbon fiber transportation model would have a more expensive army, due to efficiencies of scale.

Technological progress is anathema to war.


Rocky Mountain Institute, Winning The Oil End Game/Executive Summary.

Boeing 787 Dreamliner Home


Wednesday, July 4, 2007

NASA's Heliophysics Team Begins Processing Themis Mission Data

Processing Themis Mission Data to get us hover cars!

From the
THEMIS Mission press release of June 7, 2007

"All stored science and engineering data are recovered regularly with a success rate of nearly 100% across the constellation. The THEMIS ground systems continue to function very well."

From the
THEMIS orbits page:

Stage 1: Injection or “Coast” Phase
2/15/07 - 9/15/07

Right after launch all spacecraft are lined up in the same orbit with a 15.4 Re apogee.

Stage 2: Orbit Placement Phase
9/15/07 - 12/15/07

The orbit placement phase is also called “Dawn phase” because the apogee of the orbits are on the dawn side of the magnetosphere. Probe 1 apogee is at 30 Re, Probe 2 at 20 Re, Probes 3 and 4 at 12 Re, and Probe 5 at 10 Re.

Stage 3: Tail Science Phase
12/15/07 – 4/15/08

In the tail science phase the apogee of the orbits are in the magnetotail. Probe 1 apogee is at 30 Re, Probe 2 at 20 Re, Probes 3 and 4 at 12 Re, and Probe 5 at 10 Re.

See more at the THEMIS
Mission Page

Check out the THEMIS mission video page for a NASA science briefing.

(scroll down untill you see this icon :)