Page 61 of 62

Re: TIZER'S SCIENCE NEWS

Posted: 12 Sep 2019, 03:14
by Stanley
Dead simple Tiz, get Pickford's in!

Re: TIZER'S SCIENCE NEWS

Posted: 12 Sep 2019, 09:16
by Tizer
Moving them is not the most difficult bit, you need to do it in small batches or get some strong friends to help. It's the careful packing to prevent damage that takes ages, especially with fine crystals. Oh, and we mustn't forget the poisonous minerals containing arsenic, mercury etc which need to be handled by someone who knows the hazards. Coincidentally I was explaining yesterday to my cousin who is an executor of our wills that she needn't worry about the hundreds of mineral specimens - just ask the other executor, one of Mrs Tiz's relatives, to deal with them. He's the geologist and would love to have the collection! :smile:

`Water found for first time on potentially habitable planet' LINK
This story has caused excitement among the news media because they think there might be life on the planet. What they often forget is that life is found on Earth because of a long list of highly improbable coincidences. There will be many planets found with one or other `life signs' but one capable of having `life as we know it' could be one in a thousand, and then only bacteria. One with advanced life could be one in a million.

Re: TIZER'S SCIENCE NEWS

Posted: 12 Sep 2019, 10:08
by chinatyke
Tizer wrote:
12 Sep 2019, 09:16
There will be many planets found with one or other `life signs' but one capable of having `life as we know it' could be one in a thousand, and then only bacteria. One with advanced life could be one in a million.
I disagree with you. It is very likely that there will be other life in the universe. If a life form was a mere 1000 years ahead of us is it likely to be a bacteria? Isn't it just as likely that we are the bacteria and highly undeveloped when compared with other life forms?

Imagine a life form sending a message into space, as we have done several times, and millions of years later it gets received by another life form. The sender is now millions of years more advanced than when he sent it!

Re: TIZER'S SCIENCE NEWS

Posted: 12 Sep 2019, 10:34
by Tizer
I don't expect life forms signficantly more advanced than us to be trying to contact us any more than we'd try to talk to bacteria. Evolution doesn't progress at a steady pace, it accelerates; likewise technological progress. In a few hundred years, humans (if any there still are) probably wouldn't be able to communicate with us if we could jump into that future. Anyway, humans will probably be extinct by then and woolly bears water bears will rule the world! :smile:

(I wrote the wrong `bears' the first time around.)

Re: TIZER'S SCIENCE NEWS

Posted: 13 Sep 2019, 02:57
by Stanley
Tiz, what evidence is there that we are more advanced than bacteria?
It seems to me that, rather like us colonising a continent and wiping out the native cultures, we automatically assume that we are the most advanced/civilised/ intelligent species. Similarly since the Enlightenment the Western civilisations assumed superiority over the Eastern (after we had stolen their ideas and philosophies).
Perhaps humanity's greatest mistake is to assume superiority (and then go on to bugger the environment).

Re: TIZER'S SCIENCE NEWS

Posted: 13 Sep 2019, 09:06
by Tizer
By advanced I mean that we have much more control over our environment and more ability to modify it to suit our species. I'm not saying that is a good thing in moral terms but it is success in terms of evolution. What happens in the future is anyone's guess - if the world changes dramatically we might end up on an evolutionary trajectory that puts us in competition with the water bears, i.e. convergent evolution. I wrote `woolly bears' in my last post but meant water bears (tardigrades). At least we'd have more legs then! :smile:

Another aspect of our development - it isn't equal around the world. While we discuss communicating with life on other planets and plan to send humans to Mars these people dice with death every day to make enough money to get them through to the next day...
`Myanmar's deadly 'jade rush' LINK

Re: TIZER'S SCIENCE NEWS

Posted: 13 Sep 2019, 20:32
by Whyperion
Could you talk, or communicate, with Bacteria, or other single cell organisms ? has anyone tried ? do they all act as individuals or is there any collective communication (electrical, light, sound, motion or chemical between them as same species, different species or genological variants ?)

Hmm, interesting just on QI just now - 'Global Sensing' - same types will sense there are enough to infect for an outbreak - observed from the 1970s

Re: TIZER'S SCIENCE NEWS

Posted: 14 Sep 2019, 03:09
by Stanley
"it isn't equal around the world."
I can remember as a very young lad thinking of the world as a large fruit cake and we all had slices of it. I recognised even then that all slices weren't equal and it puzzled me.
You are right to bring this up. And then we refuse people entry because they are 'economic migrants' as if this was a terrible sin. Wait until the other poverty factors kick in and see what population movement really looks like. The ones with the biggest slice of cake will go to extraordinary lengths to protect it.
(Bit like Brexit, that's what is happening there!)

Re: TIZER'S SCIENCE NEWS

Posted: 14 Sep 2019, 07:09
by plaques
Stanley wrote:
14 Sep 2019, 03:09
because they are 'economic migrants'
Remember Norman Tebbit saying "get on your bikes". Apparently its OK to move from your little town and travel hundreds of miles to the Big Smoke as an economic migrant but not to sail 20 mile across the Channel for the same reason. Double standards?

Re: TIZER'S SCIENCE NEWS

Posted: 15 Sep 2019, 03:04
by Stanley
Definitely David. Virtually everyone in the Isles is here because of 'economic migration'! Mind you, the Vikings and Saxons would have wondered what the hell you were on about! Look at the skills they brought us and the contributions they have made. If a real analysis is done, once they have bedded in and established themselves the 'economic migrants' are the least likely to be a 'burden on the state'. How about an analysis of the number of Far Right agitators and outright racists? Am I biased to expect that if this was done they would be far more of a burden? Fat lot of chance of that ever being a topic of government interest.

Re: TIZER'S SCIENCE NEWS

Posted: 02 Oct 2019, 08:34
by Tizer
This is important progress in understanding Earth processes and climate change...
`Scientists estimate Earth's total carbon store' LINK

Re: TIZER'S SCIENCE NEWS

Posted: 03 Oct 2019, 02:28
by Stanley
That's a good link Tiz, very interesting.
Did you see the news about earthquakes detected on Mars? Should they be Marsquakes? (LINK)

Re: TIZER'S SCIENCE NEWS

Posted: 03 Oct 2019, 10:30
by Tizer
We'll learn a lot about the interior of Mars from the seismic studies - we're still learning about Earth using the same techniques. Mrs Tiz's geologist nephew is in the Utah desert at the moment. He sent us a photo and he looks more like a gold prospector than a seismologist - dressed for the desert and with a baseball cap and a big black beard!

Re: TIZER'S SCIENCE NEWS

Posted: 04 Oct 2019, 02:46
by Stanley
Melvyn Bragg and In Our Time discussing Dorothy Mary Crowfoot Hodgkin who won the Nobel Prize in 1964 for her work on the X ray crystallography of proteins got my attention.

Re: TIZER'S SCIENCE NEWS

Posted: 04 Oct 2019, 09:25
by Tizer
It was good to hear her story being broadcast. Not only a great scientist but a generous, kind lady.

Re: TIZER'S SCIENCE NEWS

Posted: 05 Oct 2019, 02:59
by Stanley
That shone through in the programme.

Re: TIZER'S SCIENCE NEWS

Posted: 07 Oct 2019, 15:51
by Tizer
Press release from the Nobel Foundation, 7th October 2019
The Nobel Assembly at Karolinska Institutet has today decided to award the 2019 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine jointly to:
William G. Kaelin Jr., Sir Peter J. Ratcliffe and Gregg L. Semenza for their discoveries of how cells sense and adapt to oxygen availability.

Animals need oxygen for the conversion of food into useful energy. The fundamental importance of oxygen has been understood for centuries, but how cells adapt to changes in levels of oxygen has long been unknown.

William G. Kaelin Jr., Sir Peter J. Ratcliffe and Gregg L. Semenza discovered how cells can sense and adapt to changing oxygen availability. They identified molecular machinery that regulates the activity of genes in response to varying levels of oxygen.

The seminal discoveries by this year’s Nobel Laureates revealed the mechanism for one of life’s most essential adaptive processes. They established the basis for our understanding of how oxygen levels affect cellular metabolism and physiological function. Their discoveries have also paved the way for promising new strategies to fight anemia, cancer and many other diseases.

Full information: LINK
BBC News story: LINK

Re: TIZER'S SCIENCE NEWS

Posted: 08 Oct 2019, 03:29
by Stanley
Such a relief to read about this Nobel and the reasons why it was awarded. Complete contrast to the lousy world of politics I have been immersed in reading Cameron! Thank God there are real workers doing useful things out there and not functioning as parasites!

Re: TIZER'S SCIENCE NEWS

Posted: 10 Oct 2019, 08:53
by Tizer
Press release from the Nobel Foundation, 9th October 2019
The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences has decided to award the Nobel Prize in Chemistry 2019 to John B. Goodenough (The University of Texas at Austin, USA), M. Stanley Whittingham (Binghamton University, State University of New York, USA) and Akira Yoshino (Asahi Kasei Corporation, Tokyo, Japan; Meijo University, Nagoya, Japan) for the development of lithium-ion batteries.

They created a rechargeable world.
The Nobel Prize in Chemistry 2019 rewards the development of the lithium-ion battery. This lightweight, rechargeable and powerful battery is now used in everything from mobile phones to laptops and electric vehicles. It can also store significant amounts of energy from solar and wind power, making possible a fossil fuel-free society.

Lithium-ion batteries are used globally to power the portable electronics that we use to communicate, work, study, listen to music and search for knowledge. Lithium ion batteries have also enabled the development of long-range electric cars and the storage of energy from renewable sources, such as solar and wind power.

The foundation of the lithium-ion battery was laid during the oil crisis in the 1970s. Stanley Whittingham worked on developing methods that could lead to fossil fuel-free energy technologies. He started to research superconductors and discovered an extremely energy-rich material, which he used to create an innovative cathode in a lithium battery. This was made from titanium disulphide which, at a molecular level, has spaces that can house – intercalate – lithium ions.

The battery’s anode was partially made from metallic lithium, which has a strong drive to release electrons. This resulted in a battery that literally had great potential, just over two volts. However, metallic lithium is reactive and the battery was too explosive to be viable.

John Goodenough predicted that the cathode would have even greater potential if it was made using a metal oxide instead of a metal sulphide. After a systematic search, in 1980 he demonstrated that cobalt oxide with intercalated lithium ions can produce as much as four volts. This was an important breakthrough and would lead to much more powerful batteries.

With Goodenough’s cathode as a basis, Akira Yoshino created the first commercially viable lithium-ion battery in 1985. Rather than using reactive lithium in the anode, he used petroleum coke, a carbon material that, like the cathode’s cobalt oxide, can intercalate lithium ions.

Image

The result was a lightweight, hardwearing battery that could be charged hundreds of times before its performance deteriorated. The advantage of lithium-ion batteries is that they are not based upon chemical reactions that break down the electrodes, but upon lithium ions flowing back and forth between the anode and cathode.

Lithium-ion batteries have revolutionised our lives since they first entered the market in 1991. They have laid the foundation of a wireless, fossil fuel-free society, and are of the greatest benefit to humankind. LINK

Re: TIZER'S SCIENCE NEWS

Posted: 11 Oct 2019, 02:53
by Stanley
Nice explanation Tiz. Pity the news media can't be as accurate! I note a lot of comment on the fact that Stanley Whittingham can win a Nobel at 97. They seem to have missed the fact that the contribution that gained him the honour was done 50 years ago in the 1970s. That doesn't detract from the achievement. I wish they would be more diligent and accurate!

Re: TIZER'S SCIENCE NEWS

Posted: 14 Oct 2019, 11:13
by Tizer
This is comment rather than news. I've been slowly reading through a book about the chemical elements and especially the history of their discovery and use. The latest bit is about the rare earth metals, which is an inappropriate name because they are not rare and not earthy. They have a widespread distribution, much more widely spread than copper or tin ores for example, but tend to be present in low concentration rather than in localised pockets. That's why they didn't begin to be discovered until the 1600s. Most of them were first found in Sweden but that's not because there is more in the ground in that country but is a result of other factors. In the 1600s Sweden set out to build an empire across what we now call Scandinavia and into Russia and the Baltic states. Equipping a large army required large resources of metal ore and much money and effort was put into mining.

At the same time scientists in Uppsala and Sweden began to take advantage of the mining to obtain new mineral specimens for study. They were allowed to set up camp at the mine sites and carry out their searches on the mine dumps. Often they'd set up a hut with chemical equipment on site to speed up the process. In contrast, mineral collecting in Britain at that time was usually done by the local vicar or `wealthy notables' and they relied on the miners selling them pretty, colourful mineral specimens.

Once the Swedish mineralogists and chemists discovered the first rare earth metal it became their speciality and many more followed. The purification and separation was tedious, repetitive work sometimes requiring a hundred or more steps and they didn't have the fancy analytical equipment we have today. The splitting of white light into colours was being studied and the advent of the spectroscope helped identification of elements. Today we are surrounded by rare earths, in our TVs, phones and other gadgets and electrical devices, in many materials, and especially used in medical equipment.

Re: TIZER'S SCIENCE NEWS

Posted: 15 Oct 2019, 02:31
by Stanley
I remember when I was doing Ellenroad I had a long conversation with a senior chemist from Whitehaven and he told me that the highest concentration of Germanium was found in flue dust after burning coal. It vaporised during combustion and condensed in the flues. I remember that the same thing happened in the long flues on the moor that took the gas away from the smelters and roasting floors, they harvested pure lead from the flues.

Re: TIZER'S SCIENCE NEWS

Posted: 15 Oct 2019, 11:26
by Tizer
Same for arsenic at Cornish mines, once they realised that all that white dust was worth good money. At least that meant less of it going into rivers!

Re: TIZER'S SCIENCE NEWS

Posted: 16 Oct 2019, 02:39
by Stanley
Same problem as the lead though, imagine how much went into the lungs of the flue cleaners....

Re: TIZER'S SCIENCE NEWS

Posted: 18 Oct 2019, 09:16
by Tizer
New thoughts on the lives of Richard Fortey's favourite animals... :smile:
`Half a Billion Years Ago, Trilobites Died in Strange, Orderly Lines. Now We May Know Why' LINK