Friday, 27 April 2012 07:32
‘A chart we found on Reddit.com today shows that most products we buy are controlled by just a few companies. It’s called “The Illusion of Choice.”
Ever wonder why you can’t get a Coke at Taco Bell? It’s because Yum! Brands was created as a spin-off of Pepsi–and has a lifetime contract with the soda-maker.’
Friday, 27 April 2012 06:22
‘Internet free speech is under assault in America, and a dangerous new trend has surfaced that threatens to throw nutritional bloggers in jail for advocating healthy diets on their blogs or websites. As you read this, a blogger who wrote about using the Paleo diet to overcome diabetes is being threatened with jail time in North Carolina, where the state Board of Dietetics / Nutrition claims his nutritional advocacy is equivalent to the crime of “practicing nutrition without a license.”‘
By Rebecca Boyle Posted 04.11.2012 at 4:05 pm
As spaceborne energy-harvesting schemes go, this one seems faintly possible — an array of curved mirrors directing sunlight toward solar cells, their energy production microwaved down to Earth. It’s so realistic, actually, that NASA is providing funding for a proof-of-concept study.
A former NASA engineer named John Mankins, now with a company called Artemis Innovation Management Solutions, detailed his plans at a NASA innovation conference recently. The concept is called called Solar Power Satellite via Arbitrarily Large PHased Array (SPS-ALPHA), and it would harvest solar energy from a perch in high Earth orbit.
It would consist of a modular array of movable thin-film mirrors, which could be taken into space using current cargo ships and assembled piece by piece. This would be less expensive than building a gigantic array and launching it. These curved mirrors would redirect sunlight toward an internal collection of photovoltaic panels, and the solar energy would be converted into microwaves. Then the Earth-facing portion, or the bottom of the margarita glass in the image at top, would transmit low-frequency, low-intensity waves toward Earth. At the receiving end, power plants would convert the microwave energy into electricity, adding it to the power grid.
It’s not as comprehensive — nor potentially destructive — as building a Dyson sphere around the Earth, but it’s sort of along the same lines, building a space-based system that can harness solar radiation and somehow beam it back to the planet. Mankins’ design is inspired by nature, according to an account of his presentation over at Space.com. It does sort of look like a flower.
His project, first announced last fall, is part of NASA’s NASA Innovative Advanced Concepts project, under the Office of the Chief Technologist. A one-year study is ongoing.
By Rebecca Boyle Posted 04.25.2012 at 12:37 pm
Is dark matter in danger? A few days after scientists said there’s no dark matter near our sun, a team of researchers in Germany now says there’s no dark matter in our galactic neighborhood. The team found a vast structure of globular clusters and satellite galaxies surrounding the Milky Way in a smooth, evenly distributed pattern. Most models of galactic distribution and evolution require the gravitational effects of dark matter, but in this model, it doesn’t seem to exist.
Thursday, 26 April 2012 06:14
‘The World is at a critical crossroads. The Fukushima disaster in Japan has brought to the forefront the dangers of Worldwide nuclear radiation.
The crisis in Japan has been described as “a nuclear war without a war”. In the words of renowned novelist Haruki Murakami: “This time no one dropped a bomb on us … We set the stage, we committed the crime with our own hands, we are destroying our own lands, and we are destroying our own lives.”
Nuclear radiation –which threatens life on planet earth– is not front page news in comparison to the most insignificant issues of public concern, including the local level crime scene or the tabloid gossip reports on Hollywood celebrities.’