Water Miracles

So I’m sitting in the library…

My son had some homework to do. It required putting together a PowerPoint presentation and we do not have PowerPoint. The computers at the library were the obvious choice right after I decided that it wasn’t worth the download for a one time use. At least I hope this is a one time issue. We all know how that goes.

So after the trials and tribulations of getting to the library, it was a trip laced with difficulties that were unforeseeable. My son had lost his library card. We needed a dollar for a replacement card. I hardly ever have cash in my pocket anymore due to the reliance on debit cards. Tried to buy something cheap at the Dollar Store and get some cash back, could not read my debit card. Tried with a credit card, could not get cash back on it! Finally went to a damn ATM and pulled 20 bucks out so I could pay for a one dollar library card! Are we having fun yet??! Nothing in my life, even the acquisition of one stinking dollar, is never as easy as it should be.

Anyway by now you must be wondering how this all ties in to the title of the post. We finally got the library card squared away, my son was able to use the library computer and I had some time to kill. Being in a library, I wisely sought something to read to occupy my time. I found some Popular Science magazines that piqued my interest and started with my page turning enjoyment.

I got to the end of an issue and there was a 2 page advertisement for some device that will deplete the deuterium from your water! And it has all kinds of health benefits! I found this quackery in a Popular Science mag? I guess they will take any old crackpots money!

Here is a link I found that has much of the same wording as the advertisement I came across. It is good for a laugh, there is even some reference about this miracle device fulfilling biblical prophecy, which makes it much more believable (I know…right?) They also go on about the angle of the hydrogen bond in the treated water and how it can save a foot in need of amputation, supposedly grow hair on a bald scalp, and apparently kills Ebola! And much much more! :

http://johnellis.com/

I thought about debunking this crap but then found a page that had already done the legwork. The guy at this link goes to great lengths debunking all kinds of new age nonsense and there is a lot of it unfortunately. Some people do have such open minds that their brains fall out and their wallets are magically lightened.  🙂

http://www.chem1.com/CQ/johnellisbunk.html

Amazing how much fun you can have at the library, well with your clothes still on!  🙂

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What? No Jumper Cables?

Scientists at UCLA have developed and used an ultrasound technology to stimulate the brain of a man in a coma. The results were astounding. Within 3 days after the treatment the man had improved dramatically, I’ll quote: “Before the procedure began, the man showed only minimal signs of being conscious and of understanding speech for example, he could perform small limited movements when asked. By the day after the treatment, his responses had improved measurably. Three days later, the patient had regained full consciousness and full language comprehension, and he could reliably communicate by nodding his head “yes” or shaking his head “no.” He even made a fist-bump gesture to say goodbye to one of his doctors.”

Now granted this guy already had very limited cognitive ability to start with, but I’d say the immediate improvement is quite noteworthy. They did however take a cautious approach with this statement: “It is possible that we were just very lucky and happened to have stimulated the patient just as he was spontaneously recovering.”

This looks to be promising tech with a bright future, or it could have been a fluke, but definately worth watching how this plays out. If this proves to be as good as it seems this would be a breakthrough technology. Being the kind of guy I am I hope it works on a regular basis.  🙂

http://newsroom.ucla.edu/releases/ucla-scientists-use-ultrasound-to-jump-start-a-mans-brain-after-coma

Oldest Known Big Cat Fossil Found

Image

 

Caption: At left is: Life reconstruction of Panthera blytheae based on skull CT data; illustrated by Mauricio Antón. At Right are images of the holotype specimen and reconstructed facial bones based on CT data; Figure 1 from the paper.

Full story here: http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2013-11/uosc-fo111313.php

Short version, this is a copy and paste job today:

The oldest big cat fossil ever found – which fills in a significant gap in the fossil record – was discovered on a paleontological dig in Tibet, scientists announced today.

A skull from the new species, named Panthera blytheae, was excavated and described by a team led by Jack Tseng – a PhD student at the USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences at the time of the discovery, and now a postdoctoral fellow at the American Museum of Natural History (AMNH) in New York.

“This find suggests that big cats have a deeper evolutionary origin than previously suspected,” Tseng said.

DNA evidence suggests that the so-called “big cats” – the Pantherinae subfamily, including lions, jaguars, tigers, leopards, snow leopards, and clouded leopards – diverged from their nearest evolutionary cousins, Felinae (which includes cougars, lynxes, and domestic cats), about 6.37 million years ago. However, the oldest fossils of big cats previously found are tooth fragments uncovered at Laetoli in Tanzania (the famed hominin site excavated by Mary Leakey in the 1970s), dating to just 3.6 million years ago.

Using magnetostratigraphy – dating fossils based on the distinctive patterns of reversals in the Earth’s magnetic field, which are recorded in layers of rock – Tseng and his team were able to estimate the age of the skull at between 4.10 and 5.95 million years old.

Incredible between 4 and 6 million years old. So was that before…or after it got off the ark? (Ha!) This magnetostratigraphy dating method must be an amazing tool for paleobiology. What I am reading here is this big cat discovery, puts big cats at or very near the estimated DNA based evidence split, between the two groups of cats, and…this new cat fossil out dates the previously oldest known big cat fossil by .5 to 2.5 million years. 

There is more:  In addition, recent estimates suggested that species within the genus Panthera (lions, tigers, leopards, jaguars, and snow leopards) did not diversify until 3.72 million years ago – which the new find disproves. I’d say this discovery sets that estimate back a few years.

All in all really cool discovery, and it’s stuff like this that keeps me glued to the internet as much as I can get away with. 

 

 

Science is Cool

I spend way too much time looking at Science Daily. It is a mainstay of my daily routine, and while I often see articles there that rank kinda low on my interest-o-meter, today there are two releases that struck my wow gong (I don’t know if that is legal in some states). First up: The University of Minnesota (isn’t there some well known blogger/ bearded atheist dude that harks from there?) announced they had discovered (or encouraged through experimentation) a new step in an algal form, moving from single celled algae, to multi celled algae that reproduces through a single cell system. Kinda like us, and many other organisms on the planet. Which indicates that this means of evolution can occur in a simultanious step, and not through many incremental steps throughout time, as previously thought. I would love to be on that research team.

http://www1.umn.edu/news/news-releases/2013/UR_CONTENT_461547.html

Second is a story of light, or a new way of using the suns light to illuminate interior rooms. It is called SmartLight. Best I can tell it is in an experimental stage at this point, and not developed/available technology (I did not see anything to indicate this tech is in any existing form except as experimental, but am as always open to evidence). The story claims it works like this: “A narrow grid of electrofluidic cells which is self-powered by embedded photovoltaics is applied near the top of a window. Each tiny cell ¬- only a few millimeters wide — contains fluid with optical properties as good or better than glass. The surface tension of the fluid can be rapidly manipulated into shapes such as lenses or prisms through minimal electrical stimulation — about 10,000 to 100,000 times less power than what’s needed to light a traditional incandescent bulb. In this way, sunlight passing through the cell can be controlled.”

In other words, it is taking the suns light, focusing it in directional beams, which basically transforms the light into an effective track lighting system, with extremely low power demands for it operate, equating to a ton of effeciency. The story goes on to mention that a great deal of human energy consumption is for lighting, and how a system like this could be a huge savings on our power demands. Anything that can achieve that goal, is in my opinion, a very noble cause. I hope this tech evolves quickly and becomes a mainstay for every building in every town, and affordable for the average Joe. Please, let this not be one of those great ideas that never comes to fruition. (Flying cars anyone?)

http://www.uc.edu/news/NR.aspx?id=18752

Note: Both of these stories I found here: http://www.sciencedaily.com/  but any time I decide to post on a story I see there, I usually go to the source of the material and provide that link. Sometimes there is better,  more detailed info at the source.