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Nature Blows, Rattles and Rolls! The Typhoon and Earth Quake Connection

Posted: January 7th, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: Applied Science, Cankler, Geology | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Nature Blows, Rattles and Rolls! The Typhoon and Earth Quake Connection

Nature is a harsh mistress. The more we study the natural world the more we come to understand how the various natural system are inter-connected. Recently scientists from Florida International University have established a connection between large Typhoons and earthquakes. While earthquakes are a complex event with many causes this is one more piece of the puzzle that will help us understand the world we live in.

The most destructive earthquakes are the result of the Earth’s crust being made of a number of separate plates – tectonic plates – that just won’t stand still. As the plates are made of rock and earth they are rough causing friction as they grind together. This friction causes the plates to lock at the edges while the rest of the plate behind continue to move forward, building up pressure where the plates meet – convergent plate boundaries  -. When this pressure is released earthquakes are the result. The amount of energy that is released during an earthquake is astronomical. The total energy released by Japans recent earthquake – total energy or seismic moment – equates to 600 million times the energy released by the Hiroshima atomic bomb. All of that energy had built in the crust and was released in just a few minutes of shaking.

“Very wet rain events are the trigger,” said Wdowinski, associate research professor of marine geology and geophysics at the UM Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science. “The heavy rain induces thousands of landslides and severe erosion, which removes ground material from the Earth’s surface, releasing the stress load and encouraging movement along faults.” Read the full article »»»»

World First Supercomputer H1N1 Flu Virus Simulated

Posted: November 19th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Applied Science, Cankler, Engineered Life, Science, Science News | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on World First Supercomputer H1N1 Flu Virus Simulated

H1N1 Virus Simulated

Our  understanding of the universe is expanding in all directions, expanding outwards as we see more and more of the cosmos and inwardly as we learn more about the nano world. In the nano world the tools for capturing the action shots are improving but there are still a number of destinations we are unable to explore. Organic organisms – for example, influenza virus – are too delicate for the standard tools of nano exploration :: Read the full article »»»»

The Great Dying

Posted: November 19th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Cankler, Climate Change, Science, Science News | Tags: , , , | Comments Off on The Great Dying

Throughout the history of our planet, there have been a number of mass extinction events. The largest was the “Great Dying,” which occurred at the cusp of the Permian and Triassic periods. Over half of the species on Earth at the time became extinct.

A recent find in China has allowed researchers  to pinpoint the events that appear to have precipitated the ‘Great Dying’ Scientists working in South China have pinpointed the timing of the Earth’s most dramatic extinction, an event that killed 96 per cent of all marine species, and 70 per cent of those on land.

Their findings show the so-called end-Permian mass extinction, sometimes referred to as the ‘Great Dying’, peaked just before 252 million years ago and took place very quickly, over a period of less than 200,000 years.

 This precise timing should help scientists settle the contentious issue of what exactly stripped so much biodiversity from the face of the planet, says study author Sam Bowring, from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Other researchers have proposed several mechanisms for the extinctions, including an asteroid impact, an enormous volcanic event, or a shift in ocean circulation driven by climate change. So far no hypothesis has gained widespread support among scientists. One obstacle has been a lack of precise information about the timing and length of the event :: Read the full article »»»»

Flexible Organic Small-Molecule Solar Cells

Posted: November 10th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Applied Science, Cankler, Engineered Life, Santa Barbara, Science, Science News, Science of Green, Solar Stars | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Flexible Organic Small-Molecule Solar Cells

We’ve raved about solar cells previously: here, and here, the technology has taken several quantum leaps over the past decade. Paintable  crystalline and printable solar cells seem to be the way of the future, the fight now is for real solar efficiency. Solar panels that can be simply printed have inched a step closer with the development of an energy efficient, organic, small-molecule solar cell. The solar cell, which was developed by a team from the University of California, Santa Barbara, has energy efficiencies of 6.7 per cent, which rivals the best polymer-based solar cells. Most polymer-based designs have reached the 6 to 8 range for efficiency.

“These results provide important progress for solution-processed organic photovoltaics and demonstrate that solar cells fabricated from small donor molecules can compete with their polymeric counterparts,” the authors, including Nobel Prize winner Professor Alan Heeger, wrote in Nature Materials. Read the full article »»»»

Quantum Levitation

Posted: November 2nd, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Applied Science, Cankler, Quantum Mechanics | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Quantum Levitation
Levitation, the ability to appear to defy gravities bonds, has long fascinated humanity. From flying carpets to flying nuns it has long been part of our culture. There is a modern take on this ancient story as well, Superconducting Levitation.
Seemingly able to cancel out gravity and allow objects to levitate, it seems to be the answer to giving us mere mortals at least one of superman’s powers, the ability to fly. Unfortunately superconductors don’t cancel out gravity and we will never fly under our own power, undies on the outside maybe. Instead the levitating effect called Quantum Levitation uses  a number of the unusual properties of superconductors to create the effect.
All current superconductors need the cold to enter their superconducting phase. In this phase electrons are able to move about without any resistance, power loss or heat generated, which is typical for most wires or electronics that use ordinary conductors :: Read the full article »»»»