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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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1 | III-2004: 02 04 07 11 17 26 | IV-2004: 08 13 14 15 17 17-2 18 26 27 29 |
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news lite

 

is human deforestation responsible for australia’s dry centre

“The earliest human colonizers are believed to have arrived in Australia by sea from Indonesia about 50,000 years ago, using fire as a tool to hunt, clear paths, signal each other and promote the growth of certain plants [...]. Fossil remains of browse-dependent birds and marsupials indicate the interior was made up of trees, shrubs and grasses rather than the desert scrub environment present today.”

“ "Systematic burning across the semiarid zone, where nutrients are the lowest of any continental region, may have been responsible for the rapid transformation of a drought-tolerant ecosystem high in broad-leaf species to the modern desert scrub [...] ”

 A controlled burn in the interior ofAustralia. Image credit: CU-Boulder
A controlled burn in the interior ofAustralia. Image credit: CU-Boulder

the web address for the article above is
http://www.abelard.org/news/lite0501.php#deforestation_300105


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can detergents be reduced by degassing water?

“This layer of gas molecules causes larger bubbles to form between hydrophobic surfaces. And the surface tension of any bubble bridging two surfaces pulls the particles together.

“In effect, air bubbles act like a glue that prevents oily substances from breaking up. This makes it harder for an oil droplet to detach from a greasy stain and become dispersed in water. But if the tiny bubbles are removed, that happens more easily.”

the web address for the article above is
http://www.abelard.org/news/lite0501.php#detergents_270105

on genetic bottleneck and humans

“The researchers believe the high rate of mutations [in humans] is seen because the hominid ancestor to both species went through an evolutionary bottleneck, when its breeding population was limited to only about 10,000 individuals.

“This meant that the process of pruning out damaging mutations via natural selection of the fittest mates was more difficult and slower. In contrast, rats and mice have descended from a much larger population, leaving them less susceptible to genetic diseases.

“Adam Eyre-Walker, a member of the research team at the University of Sussex, UK, says the phenomenon is comparable to the genetic problems experienced by severely endangered species, in which inbreeding can accelerate extinction.”

the web address for the article above is
http://www.abelard.org/news/lite0501.php#genetics_3270105

new us troops in iraq - robots?

“The US military is planning to deploy robots armed with machine-guns to wage war against insurgents in Iraq.”

“Can be fitted with standard-issue M249 or M240 rifle
Has four cameras, night-vision and zoom lenses
Can travel over rocks and barbed wire
Batteries run for up to 4 hours at a time
Remote control unit has two joysticks and video screen
Costs $200,000 (£106,757) per unit”

“[...] there are plans to replace the computer screen, joysticks and keypad in the remote-control unit with a Gameboy-style controller and virtual-reality goggles.”

the web address for the article above is
http://www.abelard.org/news/lite0501.php#robot_fighters_260105

is the greenhouse effect even worse than believed?

“They know how much extra energy is being trapped in the Earth's atmosphere by the extra carbon dioxide we have placed there.

“What has been surprising is that this extra energy has so far resulted in a temperature rise of just 0.6 degree Celsius.

“This has led many scientists to conclude that the present-day climate is less sensitive to the effects of carbon dioxide than it was, say, during the ice age, when a similar rise in CO2 led to a temperature rise of six degrees Celsius.

“But it now appears the warming from greenhouse gases has been offset by a strong cooling effect from dimming - in effect two of our pollutants have been cancelling each other out.”

“As things stand, CO2 levels are projected to rise strongly over coming decades, whereas there are encouraging signs that particle pollution is at last being brought under control.

“We're going to be in a situation unless we act where the cooling pollutant is dropping off while the warming pollutant is going up.”

“Even the most pessimistic forecasts of global warming may now have to be drastically revised upwards.

“That means a temperature rise of 10 degrees Celsius by 2100 could be on the cards, giving the UK a climate like that of North Africa, and rendering many parts of the world uninhabitable.”

related material
global warming

the web address for the article above is
http://www.abelard.org/news/lite0501.php#greenhouse_effect_250105

new transistor technology claim

“The new transistors are not only transparent, but they work extremely well and could have other advantages that will help them transcend carbon-based transistor materials, such as organics and polymers, that have been the focus of hundreds of millions of dollars of research around the world.

the web address for the article above is
http://www.abelard.org/news/lite0501.php#transistor_210105

psycho-economics ...

A poorly written, ‘keep in touch’ item. A scan for specialists.

“ [...] Plato compared the human soul to a chariot pulled by the two horses of reason and emotion, modern economics has mostly been a one-horse show. It has been obsessed with reason. In decisions from how much to produce to whether to save and invest, humans have been assumed to be coolly rational calculators of their own self-interest. Over the past few years, however, evidence from psychology has persuaded many economists that reason does not always have its way [...].”

“ [...] In these, a subject chooses his own actions and also tries to anticipate the choices of the other player. When players are doing the best that they can to "win" the game by anticipating their opponents' moves, their brains tend to show a high degree of co-ordination between the "thinking" and the "feeling" regions. Economic equilibrium, by this measure, is an identifiable "state of mind" [...].”

the web address for the article above is
http://www.abelard.org/news/lite0501.php#economics_180105

claim of 30% efficient photo-electric cell using infra-red

“Researchers at the University of Toronto have invented a flexible plastic solar cell that is said to be five times more efficient than current methods in converting energy from the sun into electrical energy.”

“ [...] everything that's warm, gives off some heat. Even people and animals give off heat. So there actually is some power remaining in the infrared even when it appears to us to be dark outside.”

related material
Replacements for fossil fuels—what can be done about it?

the web address for the article above is
http://www.abelard.org/news/lite0501.php#photoelectric_160105

watching an ice crash from space - maybe
This article has been transfered to Arctic melting ice,sea levels

the web address for the article above is
http://www.abelard.org/news/lite0501.php#icebergs_120105

v-8 fuel conservation engines: science

“Power-train engineers at DaimlerChrysler and General Motors have perfected an affordable way to smoothly morph V-8 gas guzzlers into V-4 fuel misers and back again as required. Laying off the accelerator pedal shuts down unneeded engine cylinders, which allows the remaining ones to operate at higher thermal and mechanical efficiencies. The result is 6 to 20 percent better fuel economy, depending on how the vehicles are driven.”

related material
transportable fuel - a briefing document

the web address for the article above is
http://www.abelard.org/news/lite0501.php#v8_engines040105

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