TIZER'S SCIENCE NEWS

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TIZER'S SCIENCE NEWS

Post by Stanley » 24 Jan 2012, 05:56

I've put this up to save Peter the trouble. We need his regular posts about the latest developments.
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Re: TIZER'S SCIENCE NEWS

Post by Tizer » 24 Jan 2012, 20:26

Thanks Stanley. Here's a press release that's nothing if not timely - although as far as I know we are all still here!

Sun hurls strong geomagnetic storm toward Earth
WASHINGTON, Jan. 23, 2012 (Reuters) — The strongest geomagnetic storm in more than six years was forecast to hit Earth's magnetic field on Tuesday, and it could affect airline routes, power grids and satellites, the U.S. Space Weather Prediction Center said. A coronal mass ejection - a big chunk of the Sun's atmosphere - was hurled toward Earth on Sunday, driving energized solar particles at about 5 million miles an hour (2,000 km per second), about five times faster than solar particles normally travel, the center's Terry Onsager said. "When it hits us, it's like a big battering ram that pushes into Earth's magnetic field," Onsager said from Boulder, Colorado. "That energy causes Earth's magnetic field to fluctuate." This energy can interfere with high frequency radio communications used by airlines to navigate close to the North Pole in flights between North America, Europe and Asia, so some routes may need to be shifted, Onsager said. It could also affect power grids and satellite operations, the center said in a statement. Astronauts aboard the International Space Station may be advised to shield themselves in specific parts of the spacecraft to avoid a heightened dose of solar radiation, Onsager said.
Full item here: http://www.newsdaily.com/stories/tre80m ... sun-storm/

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Re: TIZER'S SCIENCE NEWS

Post by Stanley » 25 Jan 2012, 05:15

Was that why they were saying that the Aurora could be visible the last two nights?
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Re: TIZER'S SCIENCE NEWS

Post by Tizer » 25 Jan 2012, 10:29

Yep, aurora at both poles and as far south as Chicago in USA. LINK

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Re: TIZER'S SCIENCE NEWS

Post by PanBiker » 25 Jan 2012, 10:50

I went out to have look up on the tops above Elslack. It was a bit cloudy up to the North East. Monday Night it was visible at Tan Hill. Historically it has been seen as far south as the channel coast and in Europe into Spain. You need massive sunspot activity for that though. I used to keep an auroral calendar when I was active on the amateur bands and could predict fairly reliably when it was worth listening on the VHF bands for signs of auroral propagation, (doppler shift of signal). I subscribe to Lancaster University's Arora Watch which emails you when magnetometers they monitor up in Scotland react to magnetic variation. It's on my "things to do before you die list" I have to see it, been to Iceland in February and had high hopes but cloud and snow got in the way. A Norway excursion required I think, if I can ever afford.
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Re: TIZER'S SCIENCE NEWS

Post by Tizer » 25 Jan 2012, 11:13

It's on Mrs Tiz's `to do list' too but I hate the cold so she'll probably do it on one of her birdwatching holidays.

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Re: TIZER'S SCIENCE NEWS

Post by PanBiker » 25 Jan 2012, 19:44

A bit more on coronal activity, a solar calendar for monitoring sunspot and potential coronal discharge disturbances runs on a frequency of slightly less than 28 days. This being the rotation speed for the sun to present the same coronal disk to the earth. Massive sunspot activity can still be apparent for quite a few months after the initial event. In Amatuer Radio you would monitor this for the enhanced propagation offered by the ability to bounce signals off the ionised layers. During auroal activity from the UK this would be anywhere between North and East, further East with the level of intensity. The better the aurora the further you could bounce your signals. My personal record from Barlick is contacting a guy in Eastern Siberia using 1W of radiated power into the antenna.

So, upshot of this last period of intense activity is to look for a repeat somewhere around 18th -20th February, then 28 days later in March etc.
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Re: TIZER'S SCIENCE NEWS

Post by Stanley » 26 Jan 2012, 06:23

Another question has been triggered. Ian, I seem to remember a mate of my dad's who was a Ham in the early days explaining the Heavyside Layer (?) to me in 1944 and talking about bouncing signals off it. Have I got this right, is it the same thing as ionised auroral layers?
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Re: TIZER'S SCIENCE NEWS

Post by Tripps » 26 Jan 2012, 13:59

From the Sydney Morning Herald - though the prof is from Cambridge - where the really clever people live..... :wink:

An engineer has debunked one of the most common myths in science - why aircraft fly.

Aeroplanes fly because their wings cause the air pressure underneath to be greater than that above, lifting them into the air. For years engineers have been frustrated by a theory that wrongly explained the change in pressure.

According to the myth, the pressure change happens because the air on the curved upper surface of the wing has further to travel than that below the flat underneath surface, meaning it must travel faster to arrive at the other side of the wing at the same time.

The true explanation is nothing to do with the distance the air has to travel. The curvature of the wing causes the change in air pressure because it pulls some of the air upwards, which reduces pressure, and forces the rest beneath it, creating higher pressure.

Professor Babinsky filmed smoke passing across a wing. If traditional wisdom had been correct the smoke above and below should have reached the back at the same time. Actually, the plume above the wing reached the back much sooner.
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Re: TIZER'S SCIENCE NEWS

Post by Stanley » 26 Jan 2012, 14:18

I'm puzzled, so the air above was moving more quickly?
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Re: TIZER'S SCIENCE NEWS

Post by Tripps » 26 Jan 2012, 14:40

Yes - I see what you mean.. I think I edited it the item too much.
Now I'm going to have to think. Does he mean that it does go faster, but not for the reason usually given? To see the original go to

http://www.smh.com.au/world/engineer-de ... 1qjrc.html
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Re: TIZER'S SCIENCE NEWS

Post by Stanley » 26 Jan 2012, 15:00

In pipework, in a venturi, the expanded gas after the constriction moves faster and is at lower pressure. I wonder whether this is the same affect?
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Re: TIZER'S SCIENCE NEWS

Post by Stanley » 26 Jan 2012, 15:05

I've looked at the original and think the fault is with the original reporter. Not too sure he understood what he (or she) was writing about. Like a venturi, if you accelerate the flow you lower the pressure because you've only the same volume in a given space and as it's travelling faster it is attenuated. Of course I may be wrong....... and then again it has to be more complicated than that, things like skin friction, eddies and turbulence and area of wing all come to mind. Air flow seems to be one of those areas where the more it is studied the better it is understood. Think of all the testing the Fi manufacturers do to their front wings in wind tunnels.
Remember the old days where if something was pointed it went faster?
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Re: TIZER'S SCIENCE NEWS

Post by PanBiker » 26 Jan 2012, 23:32

Stanley wrote:Another question has been triggered. Ian, I seem to remember a mate of my dad's who was a Ham in the early days explaining the Heavyside Layer (?) to me in 1944 and talking about bouncing signals off it. Have I got this right, is it the same thing as ionised auroral layers?
I think we covered this on the old site about two years ago Stanley. Oh how quickly the former site has become "old", anyway to answer your question yes and no. Solar radiation does affect it between day and night which is why we get different reception conditions on certain wavelengths during daylight and nightime hours. This Wiki Link explains.

As this layer is affected by solar radiation any increase in this such as sunspot activity will affect it to some degree.

Auroral propagation is actually bouncing signals off the ionised layers produced by the disruption of the earths magnetic field. For the Northern hemispher, the further south the auroral disturbance comes the more obtuse the angle will be when you beam your signal towards the ionised layers. The signal will be reflected a greater distance. The trade off is that it introduces varying degrees of doppler shift on the signal which in the case of a telephony signal will result in it sounding like someone whispering with a lisp if that makes sense. The pure sinewave tone of a morse signal is more readily copied as you only have to listen to the rythm of the signal the doppler effect is there but just sounds like sh shhh sh shhh etc.... again if that makes sense.

Propagation of radio signals is a huge can of worms and is why it's so fascinating, there are so many variable factors that can enhance or deplete a signal. Sorting out how to enhance is where the fun lies.

Take a look at this Wiki for a bit more of the can of worms, you should see what I mean.

My same 1w of power from my mobile setup in the car let me speak to Dr Owen Garriot orbiting on the Space Shuttle back in the early days of the shuttle missions. He was the first radio amateur to take some of his own gear up as personal cargo. He made a small wire antenna and taped it to the inside of one of the shuttle observation windows and spent some of his rest time operating on the VHF bands. I caught him oveflying Port Patrick when I nipped down into town from our campsite when doing a quick shop at the local store. I talked to him long enough to exchange signall reports and mutual greetings before he dissapeared over the horizon. I have a QSL card (confirmation of contact) somewhere.
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Re: TIZER'S SCIENCE NEWS

Post by Stanley » 27 Jan 2012, 05:11

Fascinating Ian and I am not going to allow myself to get too deep into it, it could be obsessive I think? No criticism of you implied, I know my weaknesses! I remember well in the days of the 8 valve superhet Ecko wireless set with
trhe massive square dial and the very fine pointer I used to spend hours listening to signals and wondering where they came from. I soon learned that there was better reception at night! I couldn't understand why stations under German control were still available. I suspect there is a massive history to all that.
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Re: TIZER'S SCIENCE NEWS

Post by PanBiker » 27 Jan 2012, 09:34

I think a decision was made fairly early in the war not to jam the German broadcasts at it was thought they were doing themselves more harm than good. It was technically feasible to block the signals but time better spent on more important things like radar. Lot's of the existing radio amateurs in the country were scooped up as instant technical back-room boys, their work led to lots of innovations that all helped to turn the tide in our favour. Unfortunately like a lot of other technical developments, the ideas went to the yanks to fully develop but again that's another whole can of worms we could have thread on.
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Re: TIZER'S SCIENCE NEWS

Post by Stanley » 28 Jan 2012, 06:31

Funny you should mention that. My current read is about Paper Money and describes the way policies on currency have changed over the years and one of the things described is the way the US manipulated the currency after WW2 to make sure that Britain couldn't resume her previous role as an empire after the war. I have also suspected that a similar policy was used in respect of shared technologies, how much did they share with us? Radar and the jet engine are the two that spring to mind.
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Re: TIZER'S SCIENCE NEWS

Post by Tizer » 01 Feb 2012, 12:10

The aerofoil article has now received more negative comments than positive if you look at the bottom of the Herald page.

The prof has a paper here in PDF:
http://go.telegraph.co.uk/?id=296X467&u ... _6_001.pdf

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Re: TIZER'S SCIENCE NEWS

Post by Stanley » 02 Feb 2012, 07:46

Not surprising. I got the impression that the person who write the article didn't really understand what he was talking about.
I noted the report that words could be identified by analysing brain wave patters. The scientist who reported this gave his opinion that it should be possible to adapt this technology for people in comas or those who had lost the power of speech like Stephen Hawking. What a wonderful prospect if it becomes possible.
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Re: TIZER'S SCIENCE NEWS

Post by Tizer » 03 Feb 2012, 12:07

A recent `New Scientist' article has described how a very big earthquake, around 8 to 9 on the Richter scale, hit what is now the USA almost exactly 200 years ago but we don't hear much about it because, of course, there were few people there to record its effects. It ran from the Gulf of Mexico north to Illinois, roughly following the basin of the Mississippi river and even made that river run backwards for some time. Soil in the affected region was liquefied by the vibration and erupted as miniature volcanoes whose remains are still visible in places. The area is not on a subduction zone or a fault line and therefore would not normally be considered an earthquake risk, yet more evidence is coming out of such incidents 100s of miles away from what we usually consider to be the danger zones.

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Re: TIZER'S SCIENCE NEWS

Post by Tizer » 07 Feb 2012, 12:19

Blasts of light are being used by scientists at Stanford University, USA, to weld together tiny meshes of wire that could have new electronics and solar applications. Science Daily writes: "One area of intensive research at the nanoscale is the creation of electrically conductive meshes made of metal nanowires. Promising exceptional electrical throughput, low cost and easy processing, engineers foresee a day when such meshes are common in new generations of touch-screens, video displays, light-emitting diodes and thin-film solar cells. Standing in the way, however, is a major engineering hurdle: In processing, these delicate meshes must be heated or pressed to unite the crisscross pattern of nanowires that form the mesh, damaging them in the process. In a paper just published in the journal Nature Materials, a team of engineers at Stanford has demonstrated a promising new nanowire welding technique that harnesses plasmonics to fuse the wires with a simple blast of light."
Full article in Science Daily.

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Re: TIZER'S SCIENCE NEWS

Post by Stanley » 08 Feb 2012, 06:24

Plasmonics. Interesting, of course it makes sense because light is a form of energy but one which at normal scales doesn't have any noticeable effect. The nano and quantum worlds are so strange....
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Re: TIZER'S SCIENCE NEWS

Post by Whyperion » 09 Feb 2012, 00:18

British Postwar Technology ( Or Commercial Explotation Thereof ) , was somewhat affected by the govt's fear of technology getting into the wrong ( USSR? ) hands , so much developed by UK secret services but not really put into commercial use quickly. Of course the USA got the rocket scientists ,I think some were got out of Germany and Eastern Europe before USSR could get to them with British assistance.

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Re: TIZER'S SCIENCE NEWS

Post by Tizer » 09 Feb 2012, 12:42

I mentioned in the Winged Heroes thread about the Me262 jet and rocket propelled fighter being brought back from Germany (and German-conquered countries such as Norway) to Farnborough for testing. Pilots lost their lives finding out how to fly them at Farnborough. We gave some to the Americans too. In some cases German technicians helped us on these aircraft after the war.

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Re: TIZER'S SCIENCE NEWS

Post by Tizer » 10 Feb 2012, 10:07

New battery could lead to cheaper, more efficient solar energy
(09 February 2012, University of Southampton)

A joint research project between the University of Southampton and lithium battery technology company REAPsystems has found that a new type of battery has the potential to improve the efficiency and reduce the cost of solar power.

The research project, sponsored by REAPsystems, was led by MSc Sustainable Energy Technologies student, Yue Wu and his supervisors Dr Carlos Ponce de Leon, Professor Tom Markvart and Dr John Low (currently working at the University’s Research Institute for Industry, RIfI). The study looked specifically into the use of lithium batteries as an energy storage device in photovoltaic systems.

Student Yue Wu says, “Lead acid batteries are traditionally the energy storage device used for most photovoltaic systems. However, as an energy storage device, lithium batteries, especially the LiFePO4 batteries we used, have more favourable characteristics.”

Data was collected by connecting a lithium iron phosphate battery to a photovoltaic system attached to one of the University’s buildings, using a specifically designed battery management system supplied by REAPsystems.

Yue adds, “the research showed that the lithium battery has an energy efficiency of 95 per cent whereas the lead-acid batteries commonly used today only have around 80 per cent. The weight of the lithium batteries is lower and they have a longer life span than the lead-acid batteries reaching up to 1,600 charge/discharge cycles, meaning they would need to be replaced less frequently.”

Although the battery will require further testing before being put into commercial photovoltaic systems the research has shown that the LiFePO4 battery has the potential to improve the efficiency of solar power systems and help to reduce the costs of both their installation and upkeep. Dr Carlos Ponce de Leon and Dr. John Low now plan to take this project further with a new cohort of Masters students.

Dr Dennis Doerffel, founder of REAPsystems and former researcher at the University of Southampton, says;

"For all kinds of energy source (renewable or non-renewable), the energy storage device - such as a battery – plays an important role in determining the energy utilisation. Compared with traditional lead acid batteries, LiFePO4 batteries are more efficient, have a longer lifetime, are lighter and cost less per unit. We can see the potential of this battery being used widely in photovoltaic application, and other renewable energy systems.”

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