Category Archives: Science/Medicine

Water, Water, Everywhere and Not a Drop to Drink?

compressed gas tanks

© 2008 Ildar Sagdejev (Specious), CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Or maybe the modern version is “Oxygen, Oxygen, everywhere and not a canister to purify the water”? Wired mag explains, Why Florida’s Covid Surge Is Screwing With the Water Supply (Hint: Oxygen). More people in the hospital means more people need oxygen. But treatment plants also need the gas to purify water.

But remember: people choosing not to get vaccinated–even if vaccination almost entirely protects the 97% of the non-immunocompromised population from serious breakthrough infections of the type requiring hospitalizations–or wear masks in public, which helps reduce transmission of COVID, are making a personal choice that we all should respect. If that purely personal private liberty-loving choice somehow mysteriously has an effect on others, then it is the responsibility of those others–who probably don’t exercise or take care of themselves right–to alter their behavior regardless of the external costs blithely imposed upon the whole state by the freedom-loving among us whom, my commentators and others (like Fl. Gov. Ron DeSantis) instruct, we must coddle and respect and not burden with our greedy desire to do things like drink clean tap water or have an open hospital bed available if we need one.

So, today, I suppose we must invest in home water filters or environmentally hazardous plastic-bottled water, until that runs out, anyway. What? That’s not in your budget? Tough on you, eh? Stand up and learn not to drink so much water! (Wait, staying well hydrated is good for you? But, but…) And, meanwhile, feel the patriotism! And thank Gov. DeSantis for his leadership on the COVID issue! And wait for tomorrow…

Posted in COVID-19, Florida, Science/Medicine | 17 Comments

Reasons to be Cheerful

Rare it is that I find myself almost 100% onboard for an article at Reason.com, even if it is one of the relatively few right-wing sites I think is worth my time. But Elizabeth Nolan Brown, Reason.com, 40 Ways Things Are Getting Better hits it out of the park, even if I have a few quibbles, notably…

1. Home entertainment. OK, I would sure have this on the list…but #1?

5. Information access I’d have been tempted to put the Internet #1. The quality of elite medical care [distributed on their #13 (AIDS care) #15 (mental health treatment), #23 (cancer care)] would be the other contender.

8. Attitudes toward LGBTQ people and their treatment under the law. Top five for me.

And I’d put a lot of tech–phones, computers, cameras. Machine Learning in my top ten too.

Musical accompaniment here is either Ian Dury or The Beatles depending on your proclivities,

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Carbon Count Still Rising

The latest measurement of atmospheric CO2 (as of June 03, 2021): 419.9 ppm; June 2020: 418.32 ppm; 25 years ago: 360 ppm; 250 years ago, est: 250 ppm.

I would imagine that it will go up faster with economic recovery.

UPDATE: Hit 419 on Monday – NPR says that’s the highest level in 4 million years.

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Nothing (In Physics) Is Free

Remember the EmDrive? The one that promised ‘Thrust from Nothing‘ by doing something complicated with microwaves?

Well, three new scientific papers say you can forget all about it. According to Popular Science,

In major international tests, the physics-defying EmDrive has failed to produce the amount of thrust proponents were expecting. In fact, in one test at Germany’s Dresden University, it didn’t produce any thrust at all.

Pity, but hardly a surprise.

Links to the papers:

Meanwhile, cold fusion is still dead, right?

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ACTUAL Video of Perseverance Landing on Mars

When I first saw this video I thought the Mars parts were the usual ‘artist’s conception’ because they were in color and so clear.

But, no: “during landing, multiple cameras were recording the event, and this video is a combination of these. No audio was recorded, so you’re hearing a feed from JPL mission control.”

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Ha!

It is of course no coincidence that shortly after the disclosure of a secret US base on Mars, it is also revealed that Scientists Say They Have Come Up With a Potential Way To Make Oxygen On Mars. (Full paper at PNAS, Fuel and oxygen harvesting from Martian regolithic brine.)

Posted in Science/Medicine | 1 Comment