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news lite

some news items are of interest, but not rated by abelard as convincing or significant enough for placement in abelard’s main news archives. Such items may be found here.
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news lite

 

advanced technology: sensors cuts nitrate pollution

New technology employing advanced sensoring and much more is being announced every week. We may have large problems to meet, but the answer is usually in advancing technology not mindless ludditism. Waste is at least as great a problem for modern societies as over- consumption.

“ A sensor that calculates exactly how much nitrogen a crop needs is slashing fertiliser use in field trials. The system will not only save farmers money but also reduce fertiliser run-off, and so reduce nitrate pollution of water courses.”

“ Often, too much fertiliser is used. Every summer the run-off of nitrates into the Mississippi river causes a "dead zone" of oxygen-depleted water, which can cover more than 18,000 square kilometres in the Gulf of Mexico.”

the web address for the article above is
http://www.abelard.org/news/lite0408.php#nitrate


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water mining in asia threatens food supplies
Sloppy report, scan recommended.

“Asian farmers drilling millions of pump-operated wells in an ever-deeper search for water are threatening to suck the continent's underground reserves dry, a science magazine warned.

“ "This little-heralded crisis is repeating itself across Asia and could cause widespread famine in the decades to come," London-based New Scientist said in a report on scientists' findings at a recent water conference in Sweden.”

the web address for the article above is
http://www.abelard.org/news/lite0408.php#water_mining

advanced space age building techniques look to come down to earth

space house image credit: European Space Agency another space house image credit: European Space Agency
image credits: European Space Agency

“ The design that engineers and designers came up with is a sphere-like structure - one of the most stable self-sustained shapes. As it stands on legs it is isolated from any movements underneath it as it basically glides on top of the Earth. In its current design the SpaceHouse can withstand vibrations from earthquakes of up to 7 on the Richter scale, wind speeds of up to 220 km/h and up to 3 metres of flooding - specifications that came out of discussions with the insurance industry for a typical European location.

“The house is designed to be autonomous. It uses energy-efficient solar power as well as advanced systems for recycling and cleaning water. Another idea, now on the drawing board, is to include a system to remove pathogenic particles in the sub-micron range from the air”

“The fact that space habitats have to support life in hostile environments by relying on leading-edge technology means that the latter can also be a valuable source of innovation for the building sector back on Earth.”

pic gallery.

the web address for the article above is
http://www.abelard.org/news/lite0408.php#spacehouse

claim that forgery much more difficult using holographic detection

“ Professor Schirripa Spagnolo said: "Using image processing and virtual reality makes it easy to detect the presence of bumps at cross-over points. Finding these bumps allows experts to easily determine the sequence of strokes in a piece of handwriting and the tell tale signs of a forgery or original. Another benefit of this technique is that it doesn’t damage the sample."

“The Rome team used their technique, known as “3D Micro-Profilometry” to analyse hundreds of different handwriting samples made using a variety of different paper types and pens. They have also applied their technique to wills and cheques and successfully detected forgeries in both.”

the web address for the article above is
http://www.abelard.org/news/lite0408.php#forgery

"gains or losses of large segments of DNA in healthy people"

“ Early information from the Human Genome Project indicated that the DNA in the genome of any two individuals is 99.9 per cent identical with the 0.1 per cent variation arising primarily from some three million single nucleotide changes scattered amongst the chromosomes. The new data from the Sick Kids and Harvard groups revealed 255 regions (comprising more than 0.1 per cent) of the genome where large chunks of DNA are present in different copy numbers between individuals. Over 50 per cent of these alterations lead to changes in gene numbers and at least 14 regions overlapped with known sites associated with human disease.

“Because these newly discovered variants exist in the genomes of healthy individuals, their presence could lead to subtle differences affecting physical or behavioural traits by influencing the expression of specific genes, but they could also predispose to future disease," said BWH's Dr. Charles Lee, co-principal investigator and assistant professor at HMS. "For example, the most common LCV involves amylase genes. Our study shows that some people may have 10 copies of this gene while others may have as much as 24 copies of this same gene....”

the web address for the article above is
http://www.abelard.org/news/lite0408.php#dna_segments

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