Plastics expert Dr. William Carroll of Indiana University says Elon Musk’s Starman Tesla is no match for the rough-and-tumble environment of space.
The real forces that will tear the car apart over hundreds of millions of years in space, Carroll said, are solid objects and — most importantly — radiation.
Even if the car avoids any major collisions, over very long time horizons, it’s unlikely the vehicle could avoid the kind of collisions with micrometeorites that leave other space junk riddled with craters over time, Carroll said.
But assuming those collisions don’t completely tear the car apart, the radiation will.
Down on Earth, a powerful magnetic field and the atmosphere largely protect human beings (and Tesla Roadsters) from the harsh radiation of the sun and cosmic rays. But spacefaring objects have no such protections.
Source: Radiation Will Tear Elon Musk’s Rocket Car to Bits in a Year
Oh, for fuck’s sake. The story of today’s erroneous tsunami warning quoted AccuWeather CEO Barry Myers, who Trump tapped to lead NOAA. I had no idea that Myers was up for this position.
This would be another case of Trump trying to destroy government from the inside. Myers’s company AccuWeather tried to quash free forecasts: one of the most useful and lifesaving services of the federal government.
Fuck this guy and fuck Trump for nominating him.
As extreme weather conditions and natural disasters lay waste to Northern California and Puerto Rico, Donald Trump is poised to hand over control of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration—the government organization that focuses on weather and climate research—to a known opponent of the agency. Barry Myers, the C.E.O. of for-profit weather forecasting service AccuWeather, has supported measures that would limit how much information the National Weather Service can publicly release, so private companies like his can use N.W.S. data to sell their own products to consumers.
Source: Trump’s Would-Be Weather Czar Tried to Shut Down Free Forecasts | Vanity Fair
This is appalling. People are dying because they can’t afford insulin.
The U.S. health care is broken. Only single-payer will fix it and I will support any politician who supports it. No one should die over profits!
On May 20, 2017, Smith turned 26, aging out of his parents’ insurance. Because he was a single man with a decent job, Smith didn’t qualify for subsidies under the Affordable Care Act. The most inexpensive plan Smith and his mother could find on the Minnesota exchange was around $450 per month with a $7600 deductible. Smith could have afforded the monthly premiums, but the deductible made the plan too expensive. Although the family had been researching plans for Smith since February, he had to go off of health insurance entirely.
When Smith went to the pharmacy to pick up his insulin in early June, the bill was over $1300 without insurance. He couldn’t afford the medicine that day, and decided to ration his remaining insulin until he was paid. Smith did not tell his family that he was adjusting his carbohydrate intake so he could lower his dosage.
“He knew the signs of being in trouble with his diabetes,” Smith-Holt told the HPR. “But when your body starts shutting down like that, you’re not making very clear, rational decisions.”
On June 25, Smith went to dinner with his girlfriend, where he complained about stomach pains. It was the last time anyone saw him alive. He called in sick to work the next day. On June 27, Smith was found dead in his apartment.
Source: How Insulin Became Unaffordable | Harvard Political Review
This isn’t a new story but it’s one that I found very enlightening on the topic of digital audio formats.
Pono Music’s roaring success on Kickstarter, raising $4.3 million so far, shows that thousands of people believe better audio quality is worth paying for.
The company — backed by star musician Neil Young and selling a $400 digital audio player along with accompanying music — promises people will hear a difference between Pono Music and ordinary music that’s “surprising and dramatic.” The company’s promise is based in part on music files that can contain more data than not only conventional MP3 files, but also compact discs.
There’s no doubt that highly compressed music files, played over tinny laptop speakers or cheap earbuds, leave a lot of room for improvement. But outdoing CD quality? That’s a harder sell.
Source: Sound bite: Despite Pono’s promise, experts pan HD audio – CNET
I’ve considered high-carb diets to be dangerous, and this troubling research linking high-carb diets to cognitive decline gives me yet another reason to avoid excessive carbs. Yikes!
In recent years, Alzheimer’s disease has occasionally been referred to as “type 3” diabetes, though that moniker doesn’t make much sense. After all, though they share a problem with insulin, type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease, and type 2 diabetes is a chronic disease caused by diet. Instead of another type of diabetes, it’s increasingly looking like Alzheimer’s is another potential side effect of a sugary, Western-style diet.
In some cases, the path from sugar to Alzheimer’s leads through type 2 diabetes, but as a new study and others show, that’s not always the case.
A longitudinal study, published Thursday in the journal Diabetologia, followed 5,189 people over 10 years and found that people with high blood sugar had a faster rate of cognitive decline than those with normal blood sugar—whether or not their blood-sugar level technically made them diabetic. In other words, the higher the blood sugar, the faster the cognitive decline.
Source: The Startling Link Between Sugar and Alzheimer’s – The Atlantic
A tsunami wave, perhaps 100 feet tall, will wreak havoc on the U.S. east coast the day that the Canary Islands’ La Palma volcano blows up. Increased seismic activity has experts worried that day is coming sooner rather than later. Are we ready?
WHEN you think about tsunamis, you don’t tend to picture the killer waves crashing down on British beaches.But with a volatile volcano in La Palma ready to blow, the government is now drawing up plans for dealing with monster waves on the British coast.
The terrifying truth is that we’re largely in the dark about tsunamis, and it’s difficult to say with any certainty when Britain will next see a killer wave.But many volcano experts point to Cumbre Vieja, an active volcanic ridge on La Palma, in the Canary Islands, as a probable source of a future tsunami.
With seismic activity picking up in the area, volcano monitors are on high alert over fears that an eruption could send a huge chunk of the mountain crashing into the sea – triggering a monster tsunami.
There’s still debate around how big the tsunami would be by the time it reaches Britain, although there are fears that waves as high as 25 metres could threaten New York and Miami.
Source: Could a bubbling Canaries volcano see Britain engulfed by killer tsunami?
Last Christmas (2016), I got an AcuRite weather station from Costco as a gift to replace my falling-apart Oregon Scientific station. It’s a decent little setup, with wireless transmission from a multi-sensor box outside to the panel inside. For the longest time my biggest complaint was its need to use Windows software to archive its data.
Acurite weather station
Then early last year I hooked up the open source weather software weewx to my station. Weewx creates a nice (if simple) graph of weather data (as seen at https://www.markturner.net/wx) and also kicks the data over to my MySQL database so I can save and query those stats. Last month I was able to create a fancy Grafana dashboard that dynamically displays that data in a beautiful format. Now I had taken a $75 weather station and made it much more useful!
I stumbled upon this old but still relevant paper on the National Institutes of Health website, tracing our country’s current opioid epidemic directly to Purdue Pharmaceutical’s aggressive marketing campaign.
It is truly frightening to consider how many lives have been sacrificed – and continue to be sacrificed – in the name of profits for the pharmaceutical industry. These are real people who trusted their health care providers and were let down. So many families have been shattered and it makes me extremely angry.
America’s health care system is badly broken and needs a drastic fix.
Purdue promoted among primary care physicians a more liberal use of opioids, particularly sustained-release opioids. Primary care physicians began to use more of the increasingly popular OxyContin; by 2003, nearly half of all physicians prescribing OxyContin were primary care physicians.19 Some experts were concerned that primary care physicians were not sufficiently trained in pain management or addiction issues.
Primary care physicians, particularly in a managed care environment of time constraints, also had the least amount of time for evaluation and follow-up of patients with complicated chronic pain.
Source: The Promotion and Marketing of OxyContin: Commercial Triumph, Public Health Tragedy
Having worked with radio and radar in the military and also having had the danger of microwave radiation drilled into me as part of obtaining an amateur radio license, I’ve always thought that following prudent precautions with mobile phones is a good idea. I never, EVER keep my phone in my pocket while in a moving vehicle, a time when its transmitter is the most active. I limit the length of my calls, and choose text over voice whenever I can (texts use much less of the radio). I also make sure my phone switches to WiFi for its data whenever WiFi is available.
Smartphones are damn near indispensable but one has to respect the RF radiation they create. While there might not be agreement on the health effects they cause, mobile phones undeniably do create a lot of RF radiation.
As this week’s gutting of Net Neutrality shows, the telecom industry owns the FCC. If mobile phones really do pose a health risk don’t count on the FCC protecting you.
The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) issued a warning against the hazards of cellphone radiation this week. Yes, the thing we are all addicted to and can’t seem to put down is leaking electromagnetic radiation and now California has some guidance to safeguard the public.
The CDPH asks people to decrease their use of these devices and suggests keeping your distance when possible.
“Although the science is still evolving, there are concerns among some public health professionals and members of the public regarding long-term, high use exposure to the energy emitted by cell phones,” said CDPH director Dr. Karen Smith.
Source: Don’t keep cell phones next to your body, California Health Department warns | TechCrunch
I first read this story last week and it’s been on my mind ever since. It’s beyond our current capabilities to generate a planet-sized magnetic field but we can possibly block solar wind enough to bring Mars back to life. Utterly fascinating!
The Planetary Science Vision 2050 Workshop is happening right now at NASA headquarters in Washington DC. The workshop is meant to discuss ambitious space projects that could be realized, or at least started, by 2050.One of the most enticing ideas came this morning from Jim Green, NASA’s Planetary Science Division Director. In a talk titled, “A Future Mars Environment for Science and Exploration,” Green discussed launching a “magnetic shield” to a stable orbit between Mars and the sun, called Mars L1, to shield the planet from high-energy solar particles. The shield structure would consist of a large dipole—a closed electric circuit powerful enough to generate an artificial magnetic field.
A magnetic shield to protect Mars
Such a shield could leave Mars in the relatively protected magnetotail of the magnetic field created by the object, allowing the Red Planet to slowly restore its atmosphere. About 90 percent of Mars’s atmosphere was stripped away by solar particles in the lifetime of the planet, which was likely temperate and had surface water about 3.5 billion years ago.
Source: NASA Considers Magnetic Shield to Help Mars Grow an Atmosphere