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Home country: USA
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Member since: Tue Feb 10, 2004, 01:08 PM
Number of posts: 43,373

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Environmental Scientist

Journal Archives

Wednesday Toon Roundup 1: Rigged!

MIT nuclear fusion record marks latest step towards unlimited clean energy

by Damian Carrington

Monday 17 October 2016
A nuclear fusion world record has been set in the US, marking another step on the long road towards the unlocking of limitless clean energy.

A team at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) created the highest plasma pressure ever recorded, using its Alcator C-Mod tokamak reactor. High pressures and extreme temperatures are vital in forcing atoms together to release huge amounts of energy.

Nuclear fusion powers the sun and has long been touted as the ultimate solution to powering the world while halting climate change. But, as fusion sceptics often say, the reality has stubbornly remained a decade or two away for many years.

Now MIT scientists have increased the record plasma pressure to more than two atmospheres, a 16% increase on the previous record set in 2005, at a temperature of 35 million C and lasting for two seconds. The breakthrough was presented at the International Atomic Energy Agency’s fusion summit in Japan on Monday.


Discount Tire Boycott Movement Grows as Owner Donates $1M to Keep Marijuana a Felony

Phoenix-based Discount Tire Company and its billionaire owner Bruce Halle face a growing boycott movement after making a $1 million donation to help defeat Proposition 205, the ballot initiative to legalize recreational use of marijuana in Arizona.

In August, local immigrant-rights groups organized a boycott after Discount Tire stores posted "Re-Elect Sheriff Joe Arpaio" signs in their windows. An infamous foe of the Latino community, Arpaio is almost certain to face criminal charges of contempt for violating a federal judge's orders in connection with the landmark discrimination case Melendres v. Arpaio.

Now, if recent polls prove accurate, Discount Tire has taken a stand against roughly half the state's registered voters.

Under Prop 205, it would be legal for adults of drinking age to possess up to an ounce of marijuana, which could be purchased at a state-run system of retail shops or grown in limited quantities for personal use. Possession of more than an ounce up to 2.5 ounces would be a non-arrestable civil offense subject to a $300 fine.



Monday Toon Roundup


Nov 8th


Sunday Toon Roundup



Rat for Prez


The unappreciated brilliance of rats

by Brandon Keim

Able to survive and even thrive in the most heavily urbanized places, rats are celebrated—or at least begrudgingly acknowledged—for their extraordinary resilience. Yet as underscored by a series of new studies, they’re not just fast-breeding and tough. They’re smart.

The first of these studies, published in the journal Current Biology and led by Indiana University neuroscientists Danielle Panoz-Brown and Jonathon Crystal, describes rats’ unexpectedly rich powers of episodic memory. That rats should be able to recall the what, where, and when of events isn’t a new notion—but it was generally considered limited to a few memories. As Panoz-Brown and Crystal showed in tests of whether rats could differentiate between combinations of odors and visual patterns, they could recall dozens and could distinguish between contexts in which they’d previously encountered odors. “Our findings suggest that rats remember multiple unique events and the contexts in which these events occurred,” they wrote.

The next study involved the ability of rats to detect prosody, or patterns of intonation and rhythm that are fundamental to human language. As described in Animal Cognition by cognitive scientists Juan M. Toro of Spain’s Catalan Institution for Research and Advanced Studies and the University of Vienna’s Marisa Hoeschele, rats can discriminate between words pronounced in different ways. To be clear, the rats didn’t understand language—they were tested with nonsense words—but they do “have at least some of the prerequisite abilities humans use to analyze spoken language when they first encounter it,” wrote Toro and Hoeschele.



Church, Transformed

Projected onto the ceiling of Saint-Eustache Church in Paris, Voûtes Célestes is a work by Miguel Chevalier that turned the ancient chapel into the backdrop for a constantly morphing sky chart produced in real time. Cycling through 35 different colored networks, the ceiling glowed with each successive pattern, highlighting the grand architecture that laid below the swirling universes above.

The work, accompanied by musical improvisations played by Baptiste-Florian Marle-Ouvrard on the organ, was produced for Nuit Blanche 2016 on the first of October. Visitors to the virtual reality artwork were invited to wander or lie down beneath the false sky above, aesthetically immersed in a wash of sonic and visual splendor.

Chevalier was born in Mexico City in 1959 and has lived in Paris since 1985. His work has focused almost exclusively on the digital since the late 1970s, often combining themes such as nature and artifice. You can see a more of his work on his website, and a video of his Paris installation below. (via design boom)



Saturday Toon Roundup





Friday Toon Roundup 4: The Rest





Mr. Nobel

Friday Toon Roundup 3: New Lows, Every Day!

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