Archive for the ‘Science’ Category

Screen Shot 2015-03-28 at 6.19.45 PMLast week, there was a compelling moment in the meeting of the Nebraska Oil and Gas Commission when a Nebraska farmer stepped forward to discuss the plan to allow 80 truckloads carrying 10,000 barrels per day containing fracking wastewater into Nebraska. Then the farmer offered the Commissioners a simple challenge: you drink it.

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Screen Shot 2015-03-24 at 7.59.39 PMThis is one of the most impressive new inventions that I have seen recently and it is the work of two George Mason students. Engineering seniors Viet Tran and Seth Robertson have created a fire extinguisher using low-frequency sound waves to douse a blaze. Question: does this mean that there are never any kitchen fires in the home of Barry White?

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By Darren Smith, Weekend Contributor

300px-Rolling-thunder-cloudThere is an interesting video on Slashdot of an interview with Tom Henderson, principle researcher at Extreme Labs, Inc. He provides a primer into his well founded concerns on privacy in the world of cloud computing. His research has led him to the position of distrust of companies hired to store data on behalf of users as opposed to the advantages of these users self-storing and archiving. It is reminiscent of the convenience placed above privacy that is coming to a greater magnification today and likely to be more so into the future.

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150px-GWUlogoGeorge Washington University President Steven Knapp last night sent an urgent message to all students and faculty and employees regarding the disturbing discovery of swastikas at the International House, which houses 176 Greek students. The first appearance of swastikas appeared a few weeks ago and then again yesterday on the bulletin board of Zeta Beta Tau fraternity. It is clearly a hateful demonstration and the university has worked with the campus Rabbi to counsel students who might have been traumatized by the postings. However, the letter below indicates that the University is treating the posting as a possible hate crime and seeking assistance from the police. A colleague wrote me last night after receiving the email to ask if the posting of such an image is really a hate crime now. It is a good question, though one that some faculty or students might not feel comfortable in raising in fear of being viewed as insensitive.

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By Darren Smith, Weekend Contributor

215px-NypdpatchThe 9/11 terrorist attack on New York City continues to affect the lives of many, especially those first responders who dared the situation and served with courage and Honor.

The tragedy manifests in manners that are beyond the emotional scars that might remain with individuals. The health effects to the body may persist for many more years. Inhaling of and exposure to toxins and carcinogens in their various forms continue to haunt the New York Police Department and other agencies more than a decade later.

According to the Officer Down Memorial Page, a website devoted to memorializing the line-of-duty deaths of all law enforcement officers serving in the United States and its territories, 9/11 related illnesses are the second leading cause of death among officers of the New York Police Department. This encompasses over two hundred years of records for each of the various single categories.

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Happy Pi Day

pi-pieBy Darren Smith, Weekend Contributor

Today is historical, or horological if you prefer. It is a day in which the mathematical representation π aligns with our clock sequence, that is 3/14.

But, this year marks the only time within a hundred years when the month / day / two digit year format can result in the ability to observe π day to its greatest precision

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220px-Scott_Walker_by_Gage_Skidmore

Respectfully submitted by Lawrence E. Rafferty (rafflaw) Weekend Contributor

A few weeks ago, I wrote about the massive cuts to education and programs for the poor by the new Governor of Illinois, Bruce Rauner. In that article, I mentioned that Gov. Rauner seemed to be parroting the budget methods of Governor Brownback in Kansas and Gov. Walker in Wisconsin, both of whose state economies have been floundering under their respective austerity programs.

Well, it seems that in Wisconsin, Gov. Scott Walker has gone even farther in his attempts to balance the budget on the backs of the middle class by proposing massive cuts to the Department of Natural Resources, while attempting to wrest control of  various agencies from the public domain and capturing them in the Executive branch of government. (more…)

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