Thursday, January 31, 2008

Who invented the telescope?

Author: Jarrod Roby

The

telescope is the basic instrument of Astronomy but do you know who actually invented the device? Or maybe you think you already know who invented it.

Well, what would you say if I told you that you're probably wrong? After all, it was galileo galilei who invented it, right? You might be surprised by the answer to that question. Although Galileo Galilei was a great astronomer, he didn't invent the telescope.

If not Galileo, then who?

A man named Hans Lipperhey invented the telescope. He was born in Wesel, Germany and made his home in Middleburg, part of the Zeeland province in the Netherlands. He was married there in 1594, and became a citizen in 1602. He was a spectacle-maker by trade.

The Italians developed new glass-making techniques which were introduced to the Netherlands in the 1590's. These new techniques helped to bring about new ideas and innovations in the glass-making community and people started to experiment with different ways to combine lenses.

Where is the proof?

Many other people claim to have invented the telescope, but Hans Lipperhey is the only person documented to have applied for a patent for the device.

Child's play

Legend has it that it wasn't Hans himself, but his children who actually invented the telescope while they were playing.

And now you know the story of the telescope and how it came to be. I guess we owe Hans Lipperhey a big thank you for his invention.

Please include this byline if you'd like to use this article: Article by Jarrod Roby http://www.astronomy-for-kids-online.com

About the author: Jarrod is someone who has a passion for Astronomy, and wants to pass on that passion to others.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

New Hope for Alzheimer's Treatment

Author: Boris Predovich

There is now widespread agreement among research scientists and medical professionals that Alzheimer's Disease (AD) is a problem quickly growing to vast proportions. As the life expectancy of Americans continues to rise, increasing the percentage of the population over 65 years of age, so does the number of Alzheimer's cases.

It is currently estimated that people over 65 years of age have a 10% chance of developing Alzheimer's, while those over 85 have a 50% likelihood of developing AD, making it the leading cause of dementia among older people. Though the disease is associated primarily with memory loss, its effects also comprise a number of other severe disabilities, including changes in personality, disorientation, difficulty with speech and comprehension, and a lack of ability to move normally.

Consequently, most Alzheimer's patients require a great deal of care, costing society close to $100 billion annually. According to Christian Fritze, Ph.D., Director of the Antibody Products Division at Covance Research Products, ""The impact of Alzheimer's Disease on our society will only increase as our population ages. The prevalence of the disease and disabling effects on the patient are significant by themselves. In addition we are becoming increasingly aware of the far-reaching effects on families, care-giver networks and the economics of our health care system. The drive for progress towards effective treatments by the research and drug development community is growing stronger every day.""

A New Consensus

But recent developments in the medical research community do provide some hope. During the last two years, there has been a growing consensus among Alzheimer researchers about the cause of Alzheimer's disease, providing focus for scientists exploring the new treatment options.

The focus is on amyloid beta oligomers, a new wrinkle on an older hypothesis called the ""amyloid cascade hypothesis"". Widespread acceptance of this new conclusion is something of a milestone in the history of Alzheimer's research. As Dr. Fritze says, ""The decades old quest for the causative agent in Alzheimer's Disease has recently focused on the precursors of amyloid plaques. These precursors are part of a bewildering array of processed (APP) Amyloid Precursor Protein) variants, Tau isoforms and secretase components that play a role in neuronal cytotoxicity and subsequent brain dysfunction.""

Amyloid plaques are sticky protein deposits in the brain containing amyloid beta peptide. Researchers have associated the buildup of this plaque with Alzheimer's disease since its discovery in 1907. But despite the clear correlation, scientists were not sure what, exactly, spurred the onset of Alzheimer's Disease. The hypothesis that amyloid beta accumulation in the brain is the major cause of Alzheimer's Disease1 has been the focus of much attention over the past decade. Although this hypothesis was the leading explanation for the cause of AD, it had several weaknesses. The most obvious problem with the theory was the fact that the buildup of amyloid beta peptides did not necessarily correspond with the severity of Alzheimer's symptoms.

However, in 19982 and in 20023, researchers proposed that it was not the amyloid beta plaques themselves that were neurotoxic - and therefore the cause of Alzheimer's - but rather precursors to amyloid beta plaques formed by smaller aggregates of amyloid beta. These new ideas are gaining widespread acceptance among the Alzheimer's research community, creating a consensus that had not existed before.

This new focus provides one more spur to action for Alzheimer's researchers, and underscores the need for further advancement. ""The AD field demands sophisticated, highly-sensitive research tools to track these components and quantitate the existence of monomeric, oligomeric and fibrillar amyloid forms present in the progression of Alzheimer's disease,"" says Dr. Fritze.

Antibody Treatment

Two new studies, both released in October 20044, suggest that new treatment options may be on the horizon. The studies are the modification of one of two previous attempts using amyloid beta (A?) antibodies in the treatment of Alzheimer's Disease. The previous attempts, though not successful, did at least suggest new courses of action in Alzheimer's research and provided invaluable information for researchers.

In the first of the two previous attempts, researchers injected the antigen itself - pieces of the beta amyloid protein that makes up amyloid plaque - into mice, in the hopes that the injections would generate an immune (antibody) response against amyloid. Results were initially positive. The injected antigen produced A? antibodies and slowed the onset of the disease by decreasing A? levels. However, when tried on humans, the procedure led to meningoencephalitis (an inflammation of tissue around the brain) in some patients, and was therefore halted.

In the second attempt, a passive immunity therapy was tried in which antibodies to amyloid beta (not amyloid protein) were injected into mice, but hemorrhaging and inflammation ensued due to the high antibody doses required to be effective.

New Hope

But now there appears to be new hope for the use of antibodies as therapeutic agents for the treatment of Alzheimer's patients. In the first of the two new studies that appeared in October conducted by the National Institute for Longevity Sciences, NCGG, and the Center for Neurological Diseases, Brigham & Women's College, Harvard Institute of Medicine, researchers modified the first procedure. Concluding that the meningoenchaphalitis which occurred in some patients was caused by autoimmune T-cell activation, the researchers hoped to develop a vaccine that could minimize this T-cell activation while retaining the production of Aß antibodies. To accomplish this they created an oral vaccine that attached Aß DNA to an adeno-associated virus vector, which served to mitigate T-cell activation. Thus they were able to decrease Aß levels in the brains of the mice and yet not activate T-cells to the degree they had before, greatly reducing the risk of meningoencephalitis.

In the other new study, conducted at the University of Illinois at Chicago, researchers succeeded in making the passive immunity protocol much safer. This they accomplished by changing the point of entry for the Aß antibodies. Rather than injecting the antibodies into the body of the mice, as was done previously, antibody was injected directly into the brain of the mice. Because the antibodies were injected directly into the brain, smaller doses were needed, and side effects were minimized.

The results of the above studies, and the potential for further optimized immunization strategies may prove to be watershed events in the history of Alzheimer's treatment.

Covance is a leading provider of innovative antibody products and custom antibody development services to the research community for Alzheimer's disease. Visit http://www.Covance.com for more in-depth information and to view the suite of products for Alzheimer's disease. Boris Predovich is Vice President of Immunology and Surgical Services at Covance Research Products.

Notes

1. J.A. Hardy, G.A. Higgins (1992), Science, 256:184-5. 2. M.P. Lambert et al (1998), Proc Natl Acad Sci, 95:6448-53. 3. D.M. Walsh et al (2002), Nature, 416:535-9. 4. Neelima B. Chauhan et al (2004), Journal of Neuroscience Research, 78, 5:732-741. Hideo Hara et al (2004), Journal of Alzheimer's Disease, 6, 5:483-488.

This article is copyrighted by Covance. It may not be reproduced in whole or in part and may not be posted on other websites without the express written permission of the author who may be contacted via email at Covance@digitalbrandexpressions.com.

About the author: Boris Predovich is Vice President of Immunology and Surgical Services at Covance Research Products.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Asbestos - What It Is And How It's Used

Author: Michael Russell

In this, and a series of articles that will follow, we will cover asbestos, what it is, how it's made, what it's used for, the health risks of asbestos exposure and how to protect yourself against asbestos.

Asbestos isn't actually one thing. It is a name given to a group of minerals. These minerals occur naturally in bundles of fibers that can be separated into thin threads. These fibers are completely resistant to heat and any kind of chemical and do not conduct electricity. Because of these attributes asbestos is has been used in many industries.

There are basically four types of asbestos that are used.

1. Chrysotile, or white asbestos 2. Crocidolite, or blue asbestos 3. Amosite, which usually has brown fibers 4. Anthophyllite, which usually has gray fibers

The problem with asbestos fibers is that they tend to break very easily and the dust made up of these fibers floats into the air and gets on our clothes and in our lungs. When this happens serious health problems can occur.

Asbestos was first mined and commercially used in the United States in the late 1800s. During the second world war its use increased dramatically. Since then it has been used in many industries. To give some examples, the building and construction industry uses it to strengthen cement and plastics. They also use it for insulation, fireproofing and sound absorption. The shipbuilding industry uses asbestos to insulate boilers, steam pipes and hot water pipes. The automobile industry uses it in its brake shoes and clutch pads. There are over 5000 products that contain asbestos including sewage piping, roofing and siding, electric switchboards, table pads, heat protective mats, heat resistant blankets and curtains, paints, adhesives, caulking, and the list goes on and on.

But when the dangers of asbestos became known in the 1970s the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) banned the use of asbestos in wallboard patching compounds and gas fireplaces because the asbestos fibers in these products could be released into the air from its use. Also during that time, asbestos was removed from electric hair dryers. In 1989 the EPA finally banned all new uses of asbestos. Uses prior to 1989, however, are still allowed. Since that time, the EPA has established regulations that require school systems to inspect for asbestos that has been damaged in order to eliminate, or at least reduce, the exposure to students and faculty, by removing the damaged areas.

In the year 2000 the EPA concluded that the current risk to children from asbestos in schools was very low, however, it was agreed that their products would have to be reformulated within a year. By August of that same year products were being made that greatly reduced the amount of dust that was released during use. The amount of metric tons of asbestos generated in a year dropped from 719,000 metric tons in 1973 to only 9000 metric tons by the year 2000.

In the next instalment we'll go over the health risks from exposure to asbestos.

About the author: Michael Russell Your Independent guide to Asbestos

Monday, January 28, 2008

Crystalline Diamond

Author: Ryan Fyfe

A Diamond is a crystalline form of carbon. A diamonds hardness and high dispersion of light makes it particular useful for industrial applications and in jewelery. Diamonds are specifically renowned as a mineral with superlative physical qualities. Thus making them great abrasives because they can only be scratched by other diamonds. This feature also means they hold a polish extremely well and retain luster. Approximately 120 million carats, 25 000 kilograms of diamond are mined annually. These diamonds have a with a total value of nearly nine billion united states dollars.

""diamond"", the name, comes from an ancient Greek word that means ""impossible to tame"". Treasured as a gem ever since their use as religious icons in India almost 2,500 years ago. ""Diamond's are a girl's best friend"". They have been widely used in drill bits and engraving tools dating back to early human history for their physical properties. Due to improved cutting and polishing techniques the popularity of diamonds has gone up since the early 19th century. Almost 4 times the amount of natural diamonds are produced syntheticly each year. These synthetic diamonds are typically classified with poor-quality specimens and as a result are suitable only for industrial-grade use.

The majority of natural diamonds come from central and southern Africa. On the other wise of that though, significant sources of the mineral have been discovered in Russia, Canada, Brazil, and Australia. Generally, diamonds are mined from volcanic pipes. Volcanic pipes are deep in the Earth where the high pressure and temperature enables the formation of the crystals. Subject to frequent controversy, the mining and distribution of natural diamonds, has raised large concerns over the sale by African paramilitary groups.

As previosuly mentioned, humans have been able to adapt diamonds for many uses because of their extraordinary physical characteristics. The most recognized of all these properties, is a diamond's extreme hardness.

About the author: Feel free to reprint this article as long as you keep the article, this caption and author biography in tact with all hyperlinks.

Ryan Fyfe is the owner and operator of The Diamond Index - http://www.thediamondindex.com, which is the best site on the internet for all diamond related information.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

What does statistics have to do with drug contaminated bank notes?

Author: Mahalakshmi Prabhakaran

Does the topic pique your curiosity? Are you wondering what indeed does statistics have to do with drug contaminated notes? Let's suffice it to say: Everything. Yes, though the connection may sound implausible, a team of conscientious and dedicated researchers have discovered that a multivariate statistical technique called Mass-spectroscopy can aid policemen in detecting drug contaminated notes. A process that is significantly faster than other previous methods, the Mass-Spectroscopy method helps detect a distinct pattern of contamination on banknotes. One that is different from the notes seen in general circulation.

Before delving into the process of drug detection, it would be good to deliberate on the meaning of Mass spectroscopy. Glossing over the technicalities, Mass Spectroscopy can simply be described as a technique used to determine the mass-to-charge (m/z) ratio of ions. This analysis method helps find the composition of a physical sample by generating a mass spectrum that represents the masses of the sample's components. Effective multivariate softwares like The Unscrambler® help researchers perform Mass spectroscopy on data derived from a multitude of industry verticals.

It is this seemingly easy- sounding technique that has emerged as a critical tool to aid detection and control of drug- trafficking. What makes it a handy and effective tool is that Mass spectrometry can help determine the chemical nature of a compound, even if only a minute sample is available.

In this process, banknotes recovered during police raids were heated to 285º C to vaporize the chemicals. The vapors were sucked into the detector and the chemicals smashed into fragments. The short heating time helped remove sufficient material from the notes without destroying them (a crucial consideration to be kept in mind while conducting forensic work).The logic behind this method is that if the notes were to contain heroin, the mass spectrometer would detect two product ions namely, (m/z 328 and 268) from the protonated molecular ion (m/z 370). The presence of these 2 ions on a bank note would confirm the presence of diacetylmorphine (DAM), the major active component of heroin.

What makes this method the apt solution is that: by using this method around 500 notes can be analysed in one hour, including the strict paperwork that is required for train of evidence. A typical GC/MS analysis of 500 notes, on the other hand, would have taken about 170 hours. In a scenario where time is of the utmost importance, Mass spectrometry can prove to be timely solution to the crime fighters. Tetrahydrocannabinol (cannabis), Cocaine, MDMA (ecstasy) and DAM (heroin) are the main targets to be tested through this method. Other drugs such as amphetamine or cutting agents, such as caffeine, will be added as required.

The rapid analytical technique ensures the accurate analysis of banknotes. Researchers opine that the techniques may be easily adapted to the analysis of drugs found on other surfaces such as mobile phones, car interiors and house furniture, in the near future.

Multivariate statistical methods like Mass spectrometry are extremely useful in research; as they have the ability to compress data into a more easily managed form. This can assist in visualizing, for example, how a given sample relates to other samples.

Multivariate analysis is practically essential in the fingerprinting approaches, such as the case discussed here. While there are quite a few established statistical software that can help investigators analyze and predict results of spectral data, The Unscrambler® is the most comprehensive software available that can aid researchers, cops, spectroscopists and chemometricians in making an intelligent interpretation of the spectral data procured from bank notes.

About the author: Mahalakshmi is a Marketing Writer for CAMO Group, the creator of the mulivariate data analysis tool The Unscrambler® . The Unscrambler® can be used extensively across a multitude of industry verticals including, Forensics; Pharmaceutical & Biotech; Agriculture and Environmental; Oil and Gas; Food Science and Nutrition; Chemicals; Polymers & Specialty Materials.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Cosmic Absurdities

Author: DWB

The BBC today reported that archaeologists in China have found the worlds oldest observatory. The semicircular platform (130 feet in diameter) surrounded by 13 pillars was unearthed near the city of Linfen in the Shanxi province. The remains are thought to be 4,100 years old. He Nu, a researcher at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, told the Xinhua news agency: ""The ancient people observed the direction of sunrise through the gaps, and distinguished the different seasons of the year.""

This theory was tested by archaeologists that spent 18 months testing possible uses of the site. They found that the seasons calculated were accurate within one or two days of the Chinese calendar that is still in use today. Personally, I find it somewhat humbling that these ancient Chinese dudes managed to unlock the secrets of the seasons over 4,000 years ago. But it leaves me wondering how these ancient thinkers would have reacted to today's astronomical discoveries.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/asia-pacific/4396012.stm

Today, Nature the scientific journal published an article in which NASA scientists announced that they have detected left over radiation from the first stars that formed in the universe. These gigantic thermonuclear furnaces were formed less than 200 million years after the big bang. It baffles me how these astro-boffins have discovered so much about the origins of the universe through the use of telescopes. It leaves me feeling a little sad, yet hopeful that one day I'll find out what's supposed to have happened before the big bang.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/4400672.stm

Well that's it now! My humble troglodyte grey matter is feeling the strain caused by pondering these cosmic matters, and I find myself asking the classic questions that have plagued mankind ""How?"" ""Why?"" and of course ""How did they think of that?""

I haven't felt this bewildered since watching a documentary about super string theory.

DWB

About the author: The Disgruntled Wogbeast is a dark and cynical creature that lives in the bowels of the earth somewhere beneath a country called Wales in the UK. Please check out the link below to the DWB's only line of communication to the outside world.

the Disgruntled Wogbeast

Friday, January 25, 2008

Hydrogen Fuel Cells

Author: Hans Dekker

As a lot of the alternative energy sources, Hydrogen Fuel Cells are a relatively new technology that was originally developed for the space program. In fact they are similar to batteries in that they produce electricity by a chemical reaction combined with an electrical charge. The difference with batteries is that power is only produced while the fuel cell is being fed with hydrogen. You will find more in depth information about their workings on our site.

The amount of electricity the fuel cell produces depends on the size of the cell as well as the rate of flow of the hydrogen. The chemical reaction between hydrogen and the air produces electricity, water and heat. The heat output from a fuel cell, however, is quite low when compared with other energy sources such as fossil fuels.

There are several advantages of hydrogen fuel cells over other power supplies. First of all they are clean - the only by products are water and a little bit of heat. Secondly, they are very efficient. Gasoline engines, for example, operate at an efficiency rate of about 20%. Fuel cells have an efficiency rate between 45% and 53%.

Hydrogen fuel cells can be used anywhere electricity is required. Since their size is scalable they can be made small enough to power an MP3 player or big enough to power a town. They can also be used to provide rotary power for vehicles.

The automobile industry is looking at fuel cells as a replacement for the internal combustion engine. If they become popular, cars powered with fuel cells will reduce our dependency on petroleum and cut down on pollution.

Hydrogen fuel cells have also been installed to provide power for industrial buildings and even whole neighborhoods.

Fuel cells are expected to replace petroleum as a power source within 50 to 100 years. They have broad commercial and social applications. They could be used to bring electricity to remote settlements around the world as well as to provide a source of renewable power for portable devices.

Government support and commercial interest has guaranteed the success of this sustainable, clean energy source.

This all might sound great, but there is a catch. We need energy to produce hydrogen. At the moment the most widely used energy source to produce that hydrogen are fossil fuels.

So Fuel Cells are certainly an option, but we will need a lot of extra research to find ways to safely produce the hydrogen we need.

About the author: Hans is author and owner of

http://www.alternative-energy-guide.com/ On our site you will find introductions and more in depth articles about renewable energy sources.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

characteristics of sound

Author: Ryan Fyfe

Sound in brief but remarkeable terms is a vibration, that our ears percieve by the sense of hearing. Most commonly vibrations travel to our ears via the air. The ear then converts these sound waves into nerve impulses that are sent to our brains, where the impulses become sound. To say all that in a more technical language: Sound ""is an alternation in pressure, particle displacement, or particle velocity propagated in an elastic material"" (Olson 1957). Sound is also a series of mechanical compressions and rarefactions or longitudinal waves that successively propagate through media that are at least a little compressible. What causes sound waves is known as ""the source of waves"". Examples of sounds sources is: A violin string that vibrates upon being bowed or plucked.

The four characteristics of sound are frequency, wavelength, amplitude and velocity.

The frequency of sound is the number of air pressure oscillations per second at a fixed point occupied by a sound wave.

The amplitude is the magnitude of sound pressure change within the wave. Basically this is the maximum amount of pressure at any point in the sound wave. A sound wave is caused literally by increases in pressure at certain points causing a ""domino effect"" outward, the higher pressure points are the crests in a sound wave , and behind them are low pressure points which tail them. These are known as the troughs on a wavelength graph. Sound's propagation Velocity depends largely on the type, temperature and pressure of the medium through which it propagates. Because air is nearly a perfect gas, the speed of sound does not depend on air pressure.

The frequency range of sound that is audible to humans is approx. between 20 and 20,000 Hz. This range of course varies between individuals, and goes down as are age increases. Sounds will begin to damage our ears at 85 dBSPL and sounds above approximately 130 dBSPL will cause pain, as a result are known as the: ""threshold of pain"". Of course again this range will vary among individuals and will change with age.

About the author: Feel free to reprint this article as long as you keep the article, this caption and author biography in tact with all hyperlinks.

Ryan Fyfe is the owner and operator of My Sound Site - http://www.mysoundsite.com, which is the best site on the internet for all sound related information.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Gas is important

Author: Gas is important

In todays modern economy, Gas & Oil, have become such important aspects, that it would be safe to say that we rely on them. A few examples are gas in our cars, for our furnaces, and the production of plastics. How much do you really know about Gas though?

A gas is one of the different phases of matter. Similar to liquids and plasmas, gases are fluids. This means that they have the ability to flow and that they will not usually return to their prior stage after they have been deformed. This doesn't mean that they don't have viscosity. A property of a gas that is different from that of a liquid is that; a gas does not occupy a fixed space or volume, but will instead expand to fill whatever container it is in, this is opposite of a liquid that will remain the same.

After Plasma, gas has the second highest energy per molecule. Due to this extreme amount of kinetic energy, gas atoms and molecules of gas will usually bounce off any container they are placed in, and even off of eachother. This bouncing will occur with more power as the kinetic energy of the gas is increased. Many people, incorrectly believe that when these molecules collide provide the main basis in explaining gas pressure. This is not true because the random velocities of the gas are enough to define the gas pressure. Not to leave these collisions in the dark, as they are very important in establishing the Maxwell-Boltzmann distribution of the gas.

It's interesting how we use the word ""gas"" every single day, and all that we relate it to is the rising gas prices , or something that we get when we eat too many beans. There is alot more to gas then that, and is an important part of our everyday lives.

About the author: Feel free to reprint this article as long as you keep the article, this caption and author biography in tact with all hyperlinks.

Ryan Fyfe is the owner and operator of Gas Information - http://www.gas-spot.com, which is the best site on the internet for all gas related information.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Nature's Calling

Author: DWB

Throughout history mankind's progress has been charted and referred to by his use of materials. Throughout the stone, bronze iron and steel ages these materials made a major contribution to mankind's development. But now in the 21st century, we live in the age of materials. For technology to advance further we need to improve all sorts of materials, looking to nature for inspiration.

This exiting field of research is known by several names Bionics, Biomimetics, or Biomimicry. Wikipedia define Biomimetics as

"".. the application of methods and systems found in nature to the study and design of engineering systems and modern technology. This technology transfer is desirable because evolutionary pressure typically forces natural systems to become highly optimized and efficient. A classical example is the development of dirt- and water-repellent paint (coating) from the observation that the surface of the lotus flower plant is practically unsticky for anything (lotus effect). Examples of bionics results in engineering include hulls of boats imitating the skin membrane of dolphins, sonar, radar, and medical ultrasound imaging imitating echolocation of bats.""

Biomimetics has also been one of the most significant forms of inspiration for 21st century experimental computer science. Seeking Natures advice has lead to the conception and development of cybernetics, artificial neurones, artificial neural networks, and swarm intelligence. One field of experimental computing has superseded nature by simulating evolution, which has produced highly optimised solutions that have not arisen in nature. This exiting field is known as evolutionary computing (Who'd have guessed that one?).

There are countless inventions already created through the biomimetic approach. Perhaps the most famous of these was created by Swiss engineer George De Mestral in 1948, who after a walk one day, was cleaning his dog of burrs and suddenly realised how they worked, and shortly afterwards created Velcro.

As computing experts and microprocessor designers are rapidly reaching the limits of what can be done with silicone, the need for natural solutions such as those based on the human brain (neural networks) or those that use DNA to store and process data (DNA computing) becomes ever more important.

The significance of Biomimetics is perhaps said best in the following quote:

""Nature has been conducting evolutionary experiments for millions of years, so if we're lucky enough to find something close to what we require in nature, then it's very likely to have been highly optimised, and we're unlikely to do much better."" -Greg Parker

Personally, I feel that this something that we should all bear in mind, one flash of inspiration from nature could benefit all of mankind forever. Anyway if reading this has sparked your interest in Biomimetics be sure to check out the following pages:

http://www.biomimicry.net/case_studies_materials.html http://www.biomimicry.net/case_studies_processes.html http://www.bath.ac.uk/mech-eng/biomimetics/about.html

About the author: The Disgruntled Wogbeast is a dark and cynical creature that lives in the bowels of the earth somewhere beneath a country called Wales in the UK. Please check out the link below to the DWB's only line of communication to the outside world.

the Disgruntled Wogbeast

Monday, January 21, 2008

Basics of a Farm

Author: Ryan Fyfe

A farm: ""Land that is being operated by one producer with equipment, labor, accounting system, and management substantially separate from that of any other unit. Land on which tenants provide their own labor and equipment shall not be considered a separate farm.""

A farm is a section of land devoted to the production and management of food, either produce or livestock. The land and buildings that are associated with a farm are called the farmstead. This is the basic unit of agriculture. A farm can be owned by a enterprise, a single individual, family, or community, or it may be owned by a corporation or company, like a state farm . There are several vehicles used for farming a few of which are: Combine harvesters, Farm tractors, Pickup trucks, Tractors and Trailers, swathers,etc. Farms range greatly in range from a small hectare section or fraction of, to several thousand hectares. The english word ""Farm"", goes back to the Anglo-Saxon word ""feorm"", which means provisioning and food supply. It started out being a way of taxation, where agricultural goods had money value, and were to be given to the king. This kind of rental taxation still exists, however we use money as the standard currency today.

Developing farms and farming in general was one of the most important components in establishing a town. Once people began to get involved in active farming, roads, and a market evolved, which meant the community would also grow as a town. With the exception of plantations and colonial farms, farm sizes tend to be small in newly settled lands and to extend as transportation and markets become sophisticated. Farming rights have been central to a number of revolutions, wars of liberation, and post-colonial economics.

About the author: Feel free to reprint this article as long as you keep the article, this caption and author biography in tact with all hyperlinks.

Ryan Fyfe is the owner and operator of Farm Spot - http://www.farm-spot.com, which is the best site on the internet for all farm related information.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

The Science of Science!

Author: Terry Connors

What is Science! ?

First of all, Science! is not the same as science. Science! is the study and knowledge of all things scientific, quasiscientific, or pseudoscientific. Anything that is obscure, incoherent, or improbable is made clear by the purveyor of Science! (also known as the Scientist! ). The Scientist! has access to knowledge that even scientists do not have access to. They are truly the masters of all that is True and Scientific!

There are 3 characteristics of the practitioner of Science!

They always work alone . Scientists usually have teams of other scientists and technicians working with them. The Scientist! , on the other hand, works alone, in their own, small, often home-built, laboratory. The laboratory will be filled with various whirring, clicking, blinking, or bubbling pieces of lab equipment which appear to have no purpose since the Scientist! never touches them.

They work fast . In real science, scientists develop theories, test their theories, and then modify or abandon the theories as the evidence evolves. The process often takes years, if not a lifetime. In Science! the Scientist! gets his or her answer in a matter of days (or hours, or weeks, or minutes, depending on what timeframe is most dramatic). Usually, the Scientist! gets a bright idea, runs to the lab to test the theory, and then comes back with an unexpected, but clearly genius, answer to the mystery/problem/question in record time.

They are always right. Everyone else is always wrong . In real science, peer review is a critical part of the scientific process. In Science! peer review is not only unessecary, but is detrimental. Mainstream scientists never accept what the Scientist! has to say until events prove them to be soundly (and often, fatally) wrong.

Television, movies, and literature are full of practitioners of Science! One of the best example is the Professor in the TV Series ""Gilligan's Isle."" Does anyone know what he was a professor of? That's right! He was a Professor of Science! The professor understood everything from primative cultures, to weather phenomena, to electromechanics, to astronomy. A master of Science! , he could do almost anything (except patch a hole in a boat).

Science! has evolved over time. In the 50's and 60's, the Scientist! was a non-specialist (and usually male). Science! gave him mastery over every possible field of study (much like the professor in ""Gilligan's Isle""). In modern times, the Scientist! is more likely to be a specialist, to acknowledge that, in the real world, most scientists are specialists. What they get wrong, however, undermines the one thing they tried to get right. For example, in the TV show Stargate SG-1 . The character of Sam Carter is a Scientist! specializing in physics, while Daniel Jackson is a Scientist! specializing in archaeology. They both (especially Sam) have the attributes of the Scientist! , however. 1) They work alone, 2) they solve the mysteries of the universe in a few hours or days, and 3) most of the other scientists (when they show up with a theory) are wrong.

Another example of a modern Scientist! is the protagonist, Robert Langdon, in The DaVinci Code . Although Langdon deviates slightly from the typical Scientist! (the typical Scientist! is alone in his beliefs, but Langdon actually has the support of many of his peers), in other ways he is the same. He manages to solve the great mystery in the course of an evening, and there is never, at any time, a question that he may actually be WRONG in his beliefs.

And so, this is Science! . It is a product of movies, television, and literature, and it is real, in the sense that perception is reality. People think that all real science is done by lone geniuses who try to buck the system that keeps them down. If you ask most people, they will probably say that we would have flying cars and robots by now if it weren't for the scientific community hobbling the handful of geniuses in their midst. It is this mindset that has led to the proliferation of pseudoscience, and theories such as Intelligent Design. The best defense against the growing misconception of what science is and what scientists do, is education. We need to teach our children, and our adults, that Hollywood is Hollywood, and that a Hollywood Scientist! has as much basis in reality as a Hollywood action hero.

About the author: Terry Connors is a Gen-X family guy with 2 step-kids and a loving wife. He frequently blogs about current events, especially if there is a scientific angle to the news items. You can read more of his writings at: Another Stupid News Blog - http://news.virtualdominion.net.

All work is copyright, Terry Connors 2005

Chemical Element Silver

Author: Ryan Fyfe

Silver, a chemical element, exists in the periodic table with the symbol ""Ag"" and atomic number 47. Silver is a soft white lustrous transition metal. Due to the fact that it has the highest electrical and thermal conductivity of any metal, silver is widel used throughout the world, used in used in coins, jewelry, tableware, and photography. Silver occurs in minerals and in free form.

I'm sure if you looked you would have in your household several objects that are made of polished silver. For example: Silver dollars , or Silver cutlery, or photography equipment.

Being just a bit harder than gold, silver is very ductile and malleable. Because of silver's physical properties as a brilliant white metallic luster it can take a high degree of polish. Copper has replaced silver in several instances due to it's hire cost, this is especially true for electrical purposes.

Silver has a number of other notable characteristics: - Silver has the whitest color of any metal - Silver has the highest thermal conductivity of any metal - Silver has the lowest contact resistance of any metal - Silver has the highest optical reflectivity of any metal

Silver is stable in both pure air and water, but does tarnish when it is exposed to ozone, hydrogen sulfide, or air with sulfur in it. The most common use of silver is as a precious metal and its halide salts. This is especially true of silver nitrate. Silver is also widely used in photography, which has today, become the biggest single industry in which silver is used.

About the author: Feel free to reprint this article as long as you keep the article, this caption and author biography in tact with all hyperlinks.

Ryan Fyfe is the owner and operator of Silver One - http://www.silver-one.com, which is the best site on the internet for all silver related information.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Asbestos - A Slim and Strong Enemy

Author: Michael Russell

For centuries, asbestos was used. Thousands of workers were exposed to the risks of this mineral that has several beneficial properties, but on the other hand can lead people to death.

First, the relation between asbestos and death of some workers wasn't made clear. The Greek geographer Strabo and the Roman naturalist Pliny the Elder noticed something wrong regarding asbestos workers. Both found a sickness in the lungs of slaves that worked with asbestos.

Despite the evidence, the diseases related to the asbestos use were ignored for a long time. Only in the year 1931, the first laws were created in England in order to create preventative measures.

The use of asbestos

The Greek people named this mineral asbestos uniting two words in Greek: a, for non and sbestos, for extinguishable. So, asbestos means inextinguishable, which can be easily understood after reading about the effects of this mineral on the lungs of workers.

Asbestos was largely used due to its various properties. This mineral is resistant to fire, to some chemical effects and it also is waterproof. Due to this characteristic of being resistant to fire, it was used by unreliable merchants that used to sell crosses - that were supposed to be pieces of the cross where Jesus Christ was hung - made of asbestos. Since asbestos may have an appearance of old wood it could be easily sold and the fire resistance was the perfect excuse to sell it.

During the 1800s, the use of asbestos increased due to the Industrial Revolution. It started to be used worldwide, without any regard to working conditions. More than 3000 branches of industrial production used asbestos in the manufacturing of its products, which just contributed to the development of a disease commonly diagnosed in people that were exposed to asbestos.

The health conditions regarding asbestos exposure

For centuries, asbestos was used. And for decades, its effects were simply ignored. Doctors related some deaths to the exposure to asbestos, but it took years until the first measures were taken.

During the Industrial Revolution and the following years, working conditions were highly despised. By that time, it didn't matter what conditions people worked under, but how fast and efficiently they could do their job. This situation only contributed to the increase in the number of people who had respiratory problems.

The problem and the risk to the health regarding asbestos lies in a simple action: inhaling the particles spread by this mineral. If the particles are not inhaled, it does not represent a risk. But the truth is that, working with asbestos, it is almost impossible not to inhale particles.

These particles inhaled get stuck in the lungs' tissues, causing a type of cancer that is known as mesothelioma or asbestosis. Mesothelioma is the cancer of the pleural and peritoneal linings. When it is diagnosed, it is in general too late to do something: it's often fatal. Besides, mesothelioma has a long period that it remains in a latent state: it can remain unnoticed for 15 up to 60 years.

Asbestosis is a condition that compromises the elasticity of the lung tissue, which makes it difficult for the organs to exchange gases, resulting in a low level of oxygenation of the blood. It restricts breathing and can be unnoticed for up to 30 years.

Even with the preventative measures assured by laws, the number of deaths related to the exposure to asbestos has increased. In 1968, there were 153 deaths caused by mesothelioma but in 2003, statistics shows 1874 deaths. And it is not a world number: it was registered in Great Britain.

About the author: MMichael Russell Your Independent guide to Asbestos

Friday, January 18, 2008

The Quantum Doctor Is Here!

Author: Thomas Herold

These days the word quantum seems to be everywhere, at least that seems to be the case in my universe. Especially as I have just finished reading the 'Quantum Doctor' by Amit Goswami.

To understand what a Quantum doctor might be let me explain first some traditional healing approaches.

The major approach to healing in our western world is called allopathic medicine. It is based on the premise that disease is due to external bacteria and viruses or a mechanical malfunction of an internal organ of the physical body. A treatment is done by addressing the symptoms of the disease until they disappear. All of the treatments are applied external in form of pills, drugs, radiation and other techniques.

Than we have eastern medicine which includes acupuncture, ayurveda, chinese herbs and many other more spiritual healing methods. These healing techniques have a different approach as they address the mind, the soul and other energy regions of the body.

Another very interesting approach is homeopathy. The basic idea behind this technique is that 'like cures like' and 'less is more'. In a high potency of homeopathic remedy you won't find a single atom of the original formula anymore, the potency is greatly diluted. From a strict point of western science there is 'nothing' in the substance anymore. However, homeopathy works in many cases, so there must be something that acts as a healing agent which is non physical.

The strangest of all healing techniques is the placebo effect. A patient is given a new medication that the doctor subscribes as a cure for the patient's disease. In many cases the patient is cured by just believing in the healing power of the new medication.

However, from the experience we also know that there is no formula whatsoever that applies to every disease the same way. In some cases an operation helps, sometimes not. Sometimes acupuncture helps, sometimes not. Also if you talk to a doctor each one seems to have their own concept about healing.

Some people go as far to think that all diseases are created ultimately from the mind and from the consciousness behind it. Thus consciousness of course is also responsible for the healing. Just tell this to someone who is in pain and cannot think about anything else besides the pain.

Is there a Difference between Disease and Illness? Disease could be described as a malfunction of the organism that can be diagnosed by machines & tests. Illness is more subjective, more the inner feeling of the malfunctioning. That means disease belongs to the physical body as it is external. Illness is internal and therefore tells us something about the malfunction of the correlated subtle body.

What happens on a Quantum Level When We Get Sick? Amit Goswami says consciousness is not mind; it is the ground of all being, the ground of both matter and mind. Matter and mind are both possibilities of consciousness. When consciousness converts these possibilities in a collapse event of actual experience, some of the possibilities are collapsed as physical and some as mental.

The events collapse of the waves of possibility are the result of conscious choice, downward causation. For this no mathematics exists, no algorithms. The choice of downward causation is free, unpredictable.

This leads us more to the understanding that we need to look at different levels of our being to find the origin of the 'disturbance' that later manifests into a disease or illness.

So where does the Quantum doctor come in? A quantum doctor would investigate the patient to understand on which level the 'disturbance' manifests. Amit Goswami devides consciousness into five levels:

- Physical - Vital - Mental - Supra-mental Intellect - Bliss (Limitless)

We need to look at all these levels to get a better picture. If for example someone had a car accident and broke a leg, that person needs to be treated on a physical level first. You simply need to take care of the bone and bring it back to the original position where it can heal and grow back together.

However, this may not be the end of the story. Investigating this person may reveal some hidden surprises. It could be that this person is not satisfied with a relationship, and anger & frustration has lead to aggressive driving. This would correspond to the vital level.

It maybe the case that this person has negative thoughts about themselves. For example 'life is boring, I am boring, I am worthless'. Could that lead to an accident? You bet, and here we are talking about the mental level.

We also experience that a disease may originate from one level and than spread to other levels. It works in both directions, from the physical up-wards over the vital to the mental level and down-wards from the limitless bliss level over the mental and vital to the physical level.

One more important thing that Amit Goswami points out. The concept of unconscious is important for the subject of health and healing in connection with psychosomatic disease. We suppress the memories of certain traumatic experiences so deep that consciousness seldom collapse them, delegating them to what is called unconscious processing. The memories of these experiences are processed by producing somatic effects of disease, but we are not aware of them, because we never collapse these memories in our conscious thoughts.

Quantum healing even works with prayer as it is nonlocal and takes place outside space & time. But to explain this you better get a hold of Amit Goswami's book 'Quantum Doctor'.

About the author: Thomas Herold is the founder and CEO of Quantum Biocommunication Technology. A website dedicated to the exploration of consciousness as a source of biocommunication. For more information visit: Quantum Biocommunication Technology

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Spacetrip - Christmas Present of the Year

Author: Pontus Edenberg

December 15, 2030 - There's no doubt what the most popular Christmas present will be this year. Influenced by the launch of the first manned mission to Mars next month, you will most likely get a present with stars, a gift card for a spacetrip.

The interest in the suborbital trips (100 km above the surface of the Earth) have grown steadily since the launch 20 years ago, but the market has basically exploded this year since the official announcement of the Mars mission. More low cost spacelines have entered the market and you can now find suborbital flights for as low as US$ 3,495.

Space tourism is one of the markets that have developed the most during the last decade, with the opening of the

Starbright Hotel on the moon , as well as the low orbital hotels that started accepting guests. However, accommodation in space is still expensive for the average household, so the suborbital flights with thirty minutes weightlessness during the three-hour flight, with four hours preparation, will for some time be the most popular trip.

The spacelines might however in the future face fierce competition from space elevators, like the one that are projected for construction start within a couple of years. Once it is fully functional it will start to ship cargo to space, but it will as soon as possible accept passengers to get back the giant investment. Even though the elevator become successful, it will take several years before there will be more elevators in the world, to get in the competition for the space traffic with the spacelines.

About the author: Pontus Edenberg is the editor of News of Future, a publication about the future of space tourism and news about society, health, environment etc. People of the world are invited to comment on the news and take part in shaping their future.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Dolphins and Animal Assisted Therapy

Author: Joy Cagil

Some scientists who work with dolphins believe that these sea-dwellers show a sense to the disability and physical trauma associated with function and pain in humans, therefore making the cranio-sacral therapy possible. Dolphins, with their internal sonar or echo-location can feel where the person hurts the most and are able to gently nudge and play without hurting the person.

Once, two dolphins saved a writer while he was swimming far off the coast of California. The man was a good swimmer and swimming had become his daily routine. One day, far away from the shore, he felt very tired, too tired to lift his arms or kick. Suddenly, two dolphins came to his rescue. They swam with their bodies touching him and they propelled him forward by fastening their nose under his arms to keep him afloat, until they came close to the shore where there were other people. By this time, the writer had regained enough strength to swim a few more yards to safety. He says the dolphins didn't leave immediately. They kept leaping off shore to make sure he made it to land safely.

Many incidents of dolphins saving people at sea have been reported. Some time ago, it was in the news that a pod of dolphins defended a group of swimmers by circling protectively around them to fend off the attack of the great white shark. The swimmers were on a lifeguard training swim about hundred yards off the shore. At first, the men didn't understand that there was a shark. One of them swam away but was pushed back into the circle by the dolphins. At that time he saw a nine-foot shark two yards away from him. The men spent about forty minutes before in that circle before the dolphins let them swim back to the shore. Since sharks are dolphins' greatest enemies, it is possible that they protected the men as if the swimmers were their own offspring.

There are many different species of dolphins. A familiar one is Flipper's kind, the bottlenose dolphin. One of the world's most endangered species is a dolphin called by many names such as Beiji; Pai C'hi; Chinese River Dolphin; Yangtze Dolphin; Whitefin Dolphin; Whiteflag Dolphin. It inhabits the Yangtze River in China. It is said that these animals are very close to being extinct since there are only 5 of them left, whereas in 1984 there were 400.

Warm-blooded like men, dolphins are mammals, not fish, and they give birth to one baby at a time, nursing their young up to four years. They live in social groups called pods and interact with each other very closely. These pods' make-up can change, since dolphins interact with dolphins from other pods from time to time. A lone dolphin that has lost his friends at sea can easily be adopted by another pod.

Dolphins have powerful tails that not only help to steer them in water, but also signal annoyance or danger. Just like humans, dolphins like to gesture when they interact with each other. To communicate, they use body language or they whistle and they stroke one another with their fins as if bonding socially. When they swim together as friends, they move synchronously leaping in and out of the water. When they are angry or aggressive, they open their mouths or clap their jaws violently.

Dolphins can dive to great depths and also can leap high over the water. Being mammals, they need to breathe, but unlike humans their breathing is voluntary. They breathe through the opening on the top of their heads. It is possible that dolphins can drown. When that happens other dolphins come to the drowning dolphin's aid, supporting his body in such a way that his blowhole stays above the water.

To sleep, dolphins have to shut down only half of their brain, which probably means that they are always alert to danger. Dolphins also take short naps as they float just below the surface. Yet, unlike humans, their most active feeding time is the night, although they spend a good amount of the day looking for food.

One of the best dolphin research centers is located in the Marathon Key, Florida. Here and at other dolphin centers around the world, the project of aiding handicapped children with Dolphins is carefully investigated, with the therapy based on the dolphin's natural desire to come into contact with humans. Through interaction with dolphins, children with Autism, Down's Syndrome, anorexia, depression, cancer, and learning disabilities have exhibited positive results by calming down and showing a better sense of importance and self-confidence.

There are, however opposing views and theories. In 2003, a report by WDCS (Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society) and HSUS (the Humane Society of the United States) claims that the risk to dolphins overweighs the positive effects of their interaction with humans in dolphin-petting zoos. Dolphins become obese with the excess feeding by the public and extended exposure to humans subject the animals to stress and injury. Also some children, even if very few, have been reported to regress in their development from being pushed by their families and the fright of the animals or the water.

Given the positive use of dolphin and human contact, more research is needed, and attention to the dolphin petting areas and more closely observed rules of hygiene and sanitation are in order, so that both species can continue to benefit from each other.

About the author: Joy Cagil is an author on a site for Writers (http://www.Writing.Com/) Her training is in foreign languages and linguistics. In her background are varied subjects such as psychology, mental health, and visual arts. Her portfolio can be found at

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

The Finite Element Method: A Four-Article Series - Part 1

Author: Steve Roensch

The following four-article series was published in a newsletter of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) . It serves as an introduction to the recent analysis discipline known as the finite element method . The author is an engineering consultant and expert witness specializing in finite element analysis.

FINITE ELEMENT ANALYSIS: Introduction

by Steve Roensch, President, Roensch & Associates

First in a four-part series

Finite element analysis (FEA) is a fairly recent discipline crossing the boundaries of mathematics, physics, engineering and computer science. The method has wide application and enjoys extensive utilization in the structural, thermal and fluid analysis areas. The finite element method is comprised of three major phases: (1) pre-processing , in which the analyst develops a finite element mesh to divide the subject geometry into subdomains for mathematical analysis, and applies material properties and boundary conditions, (2) solution , during which the program derives the governing matrix equations from the model and solves for the primary quantities, and (3) post-processing , in which the analyst checks the validity of the solution, examines the values of primary quantities (such as displacements and stresses), and derives and examines additional quantities (such as specialized stresses and error indicators).

The advantages of FEA are numerous and important. A new design concept may be modeled to determine its real world behavior under various load environments, and may therefore be refined prior to the creation of drawings, when few dollars have been committed and changes are inexpensive. Once a detailed CAD model has been developed, FEA can analyze the design in detail, saving time and money by reducing the number of prototypes required. An existing product which is experiencing a field problem, or is simply being improved, can be analyzed to speed an engineering change and reduce its cost. In addition, FEA can be performed on increasingly affordable computer workstations and personal computers, and professional assistance is available.

It is also important to recognize the limitations of FEA. Commercial software packages and the required hardware, which have seen substantial price reductions, still require a significant investment. The method can reduce product testing, but cannot totally replace it. Probably most important, an inexperienced user can deliver incorrect answers, upon which expensive decisions will be based. FEA is a demanding tool, in that the analyst must be proficient not only in elasticity or fluids, but also in mathematics, computer science, and especially the finite element method itself.

Which FEA package to use is a subject that cannot possibly be covered in this short discussion, and the choice involves personal preferences as well as package functionality. Where to run the package depends on the type of analyses being performed. A typical finite element solution requires a fast, modern disk subsystem for acceptable performance. Memory requirements are of course dependent on the code, but in the interest of performance, the more the better, with 512 Mbytes to 8 Gbytes per user a representative range. Processing power is the final link in the performance chain, with clock speed, cache, pipelining and multi-processing all contributing to the bottom line. These analyses can run for hours on the fastest systems, so computing power is of the essence.

One aspect often overlooked when entering the finite element area is education. Without adequate training on the finite element method and the specific FEA package, a new user will not be productive in a reasonable amount of time, and may in fact fail miserably. Expect to dedicate one to two weeks up front, and another one to two weeks over the first year, to either classroom or self-help education. It is also important that the user have a basic understanding of the computer's operating system.

Next month's article will go into detail on the pre-processing phase of the finite element method.

© 1996-2005 Roensch & Associates. All rights reserved.

About the author: Steve Roensch is an expert witness and mechanical engineer with more than 20 years of professional experience. He has analyzed hundreds of product designs and has served as an expert witness across many industries, including giving depositions and court testimony. Learn more about mechanical engineer expert witness services at www.FiniteElement.com

Monday, January 14, 2008

E=mc2 is Wrong. Einstein's Special Relativity Fundamentally Flawed.

Author: Michael Strauss

In 1905, Albert Einstein published 'On the Electrodynamics of Moving Bodies' now known as Special Relativity; this theory revolutionized geometry, math, physics, science and the classical perspective of the universe as understood since Newton's time. However, were there intrinsic errors in this theory?

USA (Wire) December 5, 2005 --

A new book proposes that Albert Einstein's Special Relativity is incompatible with the very equations upon which science's greatest theory is built. Requiem for Relativity the Collapse of Special Relativity, a book by computer engineer Michael Strauss, describes the implicit contradictions present within Relativity ( www.relativitycollapse.c om or www.relativitycollapse.n et ). Using quotations from the 1905 document and Einstein's contemporaries as well as interpretations of the Relativity equations, the book provides a comprehensive description of the history leading up to, during and after the revolutionary year of Special Relativity.

According to the author, as this is the 100 year anniversary of the original release of Special Relativity, a review of the original assumptions, documents and ideas which led to the acceptance of this theory is timely and warranted. Every year millions of students are taught this theory without a critical analysis of Relativity. Relativity Theory consists of its two variants Special Relativity and General Relativity and is considered the cornerstone of modern physics.

Albert Einstein borrowed from the ideas of Fitzgerald, Lorentz and Voigt to create a new concept of the universe. His first work in this regard later came to be known as Special Relativity and contained many controversial ideas which today are considered axiomatic. Amongst these are Length Contraction, Time Dilation, the Twin Paradox and the equivalence of mass and energy summarized in the equation E=mc2.

This equation became the shining capstone of the new theory along with its first & second postulates, namely, that the laws of nature are the same from all perspectives and that the speed of light 'c' is constant in a vacuum regardless of perspective. Further, the theory also predicted an increase in mass with velocity. Numerous examples have been given of the 'proof' of the validity of Special Relativity.

Most notably, experiments using particle accelerators have sped particles to incredible velocities which apparently provide confirmation of Einstein's theory. However, doubts remain in the scientific community who have never totally given up the comfort of a Newtonian world view. This is readily apparent in that they refer to the Newton's 'Law' of Gravitation whilst Special Relativity (SR) and General Relativity (GR) are given the polite attribution 'The Theory of' or simply SR 'theory' and GR 'theory.' Einstein would continue working on the ideas of Special Relativity until producing the aforementioned even more controversial treatise.

In his later more comprehensive work called the Theory of General Relativity (1916), Einstein proposed a major re-thinking of cosmology. He conceived of a space time continuum that is curved by mass; in other words, planets, stars, galaxies and other stellar objects cause a curvature of space time. The movement of these objects are determined by the aforementioned curvature.

As a result of these ideas, our understanding of geometry, math, physics, science and the universe would never be the same. However, Michael Strauss believes he has found an error in the fundamental equations. If so, this would require a major rethinking of the known cosmological models and assumptions of modern physics.

You can find the book online at AMAZON.com; search for Requiem for Relativity, or search for The Collapse of Special Relativity or click here: www.amazon. com/shops/relativitycollapse or for additional information or to contact the author visit: www.relativitycollapse.c om or www.relativitycollapse.n et

About the author: Michael Strauss is an engineer interested in this subject matter who will show you in clear and concise terms what is wrong with Special Relativity. You may contact him at the sites indicated in the article.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

The Benefits of Stereo Microscopes

Author: Peter Emerson

Many people have trouble keeping one eye closed while peering through a microscope lens with the other eye. A stereo microscope eliminates the need to close one eye because it has two eyepieces. Stereo Microscopes have all of the features of conventional microscopes with some added advantages. First of all, stereo microscopes have two eyepieces. They allow for greater depth perception, allowing viewers to see objects in three dimensions. Many stereo microscopes have a zoom lens feature, and it is not uncommon to find a stereo microscope with two illuminators.

A stereo microscope has two eyepieces. This is a major advantage over conventional microscopes. The two eyepieces allow viewers to keep both eyes open, making it easier to focus on the object they are looking at. Many stereo microscopes have comfortable rubber eye guards that make the microscopes even more user friendly.

A major advantage of stereo microscopes is that they allow viewers to see objects in three dimensions. Most microscopes only show objects in two dimensions. People can look at insects, plants, coins, or anything else in all three dimensions, providing the most realistic viewing experience imaginable.

Many stereo microscopes have a zoom lens feature. This provides nearly limitless options for resolution and gives users more control over focus. The zoom lens allows users to slowly enlarge the object they are viewing more easily than conventional microscopes, which have two knobs to adjust.

Another feature found on many stereo microscopes is a dual illuminator system. A stereo microscope has the conventional illuminator below the stage as well as another one right above the objective lens. This provides more than enough light to view specimens in all of their three dimensional glory.

Stereo microscopes are versatile and easy to use. They are perfect for students or anyone else who wants to explore the miniature world around them.

About the author: Microscopes Info provides detailed information about electron, compound, stereo, digital, video, and scanning tunneling microscopes, as well as an explanation of the different parts of a microscope, and more. Microscopes Info is affiliated with Business Plans by Growthink .

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Proving Evolution With The Dictionary

Author: Dr. Randy Wysong

Specious reasoning and clever crafting of definitions can make about anything appear to come true. As John Mackay (1852) observed, ""When men wish to construct or support a theory, how they torture facts into their service!"" Mackay, J. (1852). Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds.

Some words are innocently created to straight forwardly describe a particular thing but can insidiously take on a life all their own. Our language is filled with words that have departed from their original definitions and are now widely misconstrued and abused. Examples include truth, religion, supernatural, morality, liberal, capitalism, freedom, love...basically all the hot button words and subjects people consider to be their little sacred domains of private belief and interpretation.

Evolution is another example of such a word. In the dictionary, evolution's first definition is: the process by which something develops into a different form. The word and this meaning predated Darwin's concept of biological evolution. Here's how that fact has proven useful in helping to make his case.

Most certainly, things do evolve in the dictionary's pre-Darwinian sense of the word. We evolve as individuals, society evolves, technology evolves, education evolves, the automobile evolves and agriculture evolves. To the uncritical eye, evolution, taken as being synonymous with change, seems to fit well with what all of us experience every day: Homes get built beginning with simple blocks and 2 X 4s, our bank account balance grows slowly, our bodies begin small and get bigger, babies begin with one cell that multiplies into a whole body and anthills grow one grain of dirt at a time. Since everything changes, everything can be said to evolve. How convenient for Darwin's ""evolution.""

He could not have chosen a better word. The case was closed before he ever got into court. Since everything evolves it is not too much of a leap to accept that life evolved. The word itself is tendentious, creating in and of itself reason to believe the theory.

If he had chosen the word transmutation instead of evolution, things might be entirely different. Although transmutation would be a better description of the theory, the unfamiliarity of the word would force people to determine meaning and evaluate that against their own experience. In the larger sense, Darwin's evolution requires that species transform into one another (transmutate) all the way up from a single-celled organism. Since nobody has ever seen one type of organism transmutate into another, he would have had a much harder sell. On the other hand, saying that ""change"" is the same thing as biological evolution makes anyone who does not accept Darwin's evolution, someone who rejects change. In other words, stupid.

Please note that evolution normally implies progressive change. But nothing evolves in that sense without intelligent manipulation. Corn kernels get bigger, evolve, because of intelligent horticulture, home architecture evolves because of intelligent engineering, and mathematics evolves because of mathematicians. That little fact -- that intelligence is needed for things to progressively evolve -- just happened to be left out when Darwin's evolution was attached to dictionary evolution.

A word was stolen from our vocabulary, a word everyone can agree to. Cleverly then, a new footnote about a whole new mechanism was attached to it without really alerting anyone. By that I mean biological evolution is not mere change. In overview (cell to human sense) it is gross change, more like a skipping or gigantic hopping. It is about transmutations in the absence of any intelligent force to make them happen.

It would be like me coming up with a new theory of commerce. I scan the dictionary and decide to call my theory, ""possession"". Everyone possesses things and possession is nine tenths of the law. My ""possession"" theory is a process by which one goes into a store, loads up bags and carts with whatever they want and takes it all home. The stuff is possessed. What a cool theory. Now when the police show up at your door and take you to court, you just take your dictionary. You say to the judge, ""Looky here judge, the dictionary says possession is to have things and that's all I did."" Do you think the prosecutor might make the argument that you have left out an important part of the definition, namely that to possess something legally requires a mechanism called paying for it?

Possession means having something, according to the dictionary, but that does not legitimize any form of possession. Evolution means change, according to the dictionary, but that does not legitimize any theory of change.

About the author: Dr. Wysong: A former veterinary clinician and surgeon, college instructor, inventor of numerous medical, surgical, nutritional, athletic and fitness products and devices, research director for the company by his name and founder of the philanthropic Wysong Institute. http://www.wysong.net .Also check out cerealwysong.com

Friday, January 11, 2008

Fragrant Oils in Magical and Spiritual Work

Author: Keri Desherite

The power of scent, and the virtues of the oils of various plants, have been recognized by religious and magical practitioners since ancient times. Whether through the inducement of subtle and powerful sensory memory, or the direct stimulation of the body and nervous system through chemical reaction, scented oils can help to shift consciousness and enhance psycho-spiritual well-being.

The ancient Egyptians used a compound called kyphi (the name means ""welcome to the gods""), which was said to induce hypnotic states. Priests in the City of the Sun, Heliopolis, burned resins in the morning, myrrh at noon and kyphi at sunset to the sun god Ra. Kyphi had more than religious uses, however. It could lull one to sleep, alleviate anxieties, increase dreaming, eliminate sorrow, treat asthma and act as a general antidote for toxins. (""Aromatherapy: A Complete Guide to the Healing Art"" by Kathi Keville and Mindy Green). In the Book of Exodus, requirements for the Tabernacle include fragrant annointing oils and an altar devoted to burning incense (Exodus 30).

Dolores Ashcroft-Nowicki discusses the psycho-spiritual impact of fragrance in her book ""Highways of the Mind: The Art and History of Pathworking"" as she describes how our brain and neural systems function while doing spiritual work. ""The olofactory sense is the only one that connects immediately with the mid-brain, with no kind of transformer between the particles coming in and the actual organ of scent. Much has been written about the memory stimulation brought about by different smells. It is because of this direct contact with the hidden 'Halls of the Gods' that incense has always been of the greatest importance in magical work"" (p. 41). Whether incense, scented candles, or scented oil, stimulation of the olofactory senses can have a powerful impact on any work involving the mind. The virtues extend to magical, psychic, and healing work, as well as psychological adjustments and intellectual pursuits.

What types of uses can fragrant oils been put to?

Anointing is a powerful ritual practice which conveys blessings on the recipient. Even in modern times, priests and sovereigns are anointed with sacred oil as part of their investiture. Magical practitioners frequently anoint themselves with sacred oil as part of self-blessing or purification prior to doing ritual work. Sandalwood, myrrh and frankincense are among the oils used for such rituals.

The connection between love and roses doesn't end with flowers in a vase. Rose oil is used to heal and open the heart on the spiritual level, and is a primary component in many rituals for attracting love. Rose oil is used to anoint candles for love spells, or worn as a perfume to attract a lover or to induce a more romantic state of mind in the user.

How else can you use oils and incense to enhance your own spiritual well-being? The possibilities are almost endless. First, decide what effect you want to achieve. Do you want to feel more peaceful? Become more prosperous? Balance your chakras? Commune with angels or spirit guides? Successful ritual work begins with a clear, specific intention. Once you have your goal clearly in mind, consult several of the many books and websites which list correspondences and find out which oils are associated with your interest. In many cases there will be more than one listed. For example, mint, patchouli and pine are all associated with increased prosperity. Select the scent with the strongest positive associations for you, or experiment with blends.

Oils work best when coupled with visualization or ritual work. The scent stimulates the mind and spirit, and the mental focus and physical gestures reinforce the inherent virtues of the oils. After the ritual or visualization has been performed, anointing yourself with the fragrance, putting some on a diffuser, or using some in your bath can renew the energy raised and released in the ritual. Just as the smell of fresh-baked cookies can instantly transport you back to the emotions of childhood, a ritually-charged scent can trigger the effect over and over again.

About the author: Keri Desherite, LMP is a practicing holistic healer. She has worked in the bodywork and health field for over 20 years. She is a consultant for Taliessen, Ltd. and has designed most of their aromatherapy and massage oil products.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

A new science for a new climate

Author: Jacob Fiennes

At first glance it's hard to imagine how the proliferation of human activity upon the environment has been a major factor in climate change given that climate change alone is nothing new. Over two million years the earth's history has seen enormous changes. Indeed, in the last ten thousand years the warming and cooling of the earth has been on a larger scale that what we see today.

The climate is however very changeable these days. Getting the politics right has been half the fight. Unfortunately, the right policy has been held at bay partially by having the right knowledge of what's happening to the climate. The climate changes we see today are the result of only a century and a half of study, peanuts in comparison the huge shifts over the earths history.

The recent UN Climate Change Conference sought to put in place a policy to take over the Kyoto protocol. At its core were some recently publicised results:

1. The warming trend on the earth's surface has been taking place since the early part of the twentieth century. The last ten years have been the warmest of that millennium.

2. There have been rapid signs of melting the Arctic circle. The sea ice there has fallen by around eight percent over thirty years.

3. The old inconsistency in the data between the temperature rise in the atmosphere and on the planets surface seems to have levelled out. They appear to rise in parallel.

4. The Scripps Institute of Oceanography in California noted that the ocean has been warming at different depths for over 65 years. These results match the predictions that warming has been induced more by greenhouse gases that as a result of small changes in the suns heat output.

5. There has been an observed and recorded link between the sea surface temperature and the frequency and intensity of tropical storms, typhoons and hurricanes.

6. The existing computer models of the change in ocean currents, in particular in the North Atlantic, are correct.

There are however still some unknowns. For example the solar hypothesis is now known to be a lesser contributor, the miniscule changes in the suns heat output over its eleven year sunspot cycle is adding to the mix. Also, the aerosol emissions from sulphurous fuel promote the formation of clouds, and as a consequence the sunlight reflected from the earths surface increases, effectively opposing the greenhouse gas effect.

Some even argue for the benefits of global warming, which include for example the opening up of new shipping lanes in the artic as the ice recedes, new oil drilling opportunities and longer harvest periods in Canada and Russia.

It seems climate change is inevitable and the small economic ideas such as banning coal subsidies bear little fruit as a means of curbing the problem. More than ever, political will must be demonstrated at first to show to industry and populations that it is even an issue. More importantly perhaps, the will of the politicians must be met with achievable methods from the technological and scientific community.

Professor Socolow is leading the way with what he calls ""stabilisation wedges"". On a graph of climate change, the space between the trend line and the stability line is known as the ""stabilisation triangle'. By dividing these triangles into wedges and assigning realistic goals to each wedge the massive problem is given a usable and effective solution.

The goals to assign to the wedges range from greater overall efficiencies, the decarbonisation of electricity, fuel displacement by low carbon electricity, methane management, and natural carbon sinks.

By further subdividing each wedge into sub wedges, such as decarbonised electricity being subdivided into nuclear power, renewable energy, natural gas as an alternative to coal, and the storage of carbon dioxide - these problems are confounded into what everyone has been looking for. A short list of solutions that together will balance the problem.

It seems the technology for all this exists. It is merely in need of refinement. For example the management of carbon dioxide from the burning of fossil fuels could be dealt with through further carbon sequestration. A couple of power plants already employ this particular technique to good effect. The carbon dioxide is extracted at the source and is injected into porous rocks deep underground to prevent it escaping into the atmosphere.

Steam reformation is another technique. It is, in essence, a pre-emptive technique that reacts the fuel used with water to yield hydrogen. The hydrogen output is burnt to create electricity.

Of all the possibilities of reworking and inventing technologies, perhaps the best idea is the oldest idea. Replanting programmes. The idea of photosynthesis to combine carbon dioxide with water and sunlight is a relatively cheap and exponential idea and would be hugely effective.

About the author: Jacob Fiennes is an enthusiastic traveller and photographer with a passion for discovery. He is a founder and regular contributor to the hugely popular worldwide hotel reservations site TravelBX.com . Visit the site for your next hotel room reservation, flight ticket, tailored holiday package and much more. >> http://www.travelbx.com

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Evolution and Intelligent Design

Author: Jeff Schweitzer, Ph.D.

What about evolution creates such a fuss in our society? We do not see people getting exercised about Quantum Mechanics, String Theory or the Theory of Relativity. But mention evolution and you invoke an immediate and visceral reaction. Local school boards are elected, rejected and then re-elected solely on this issue. No other scientific discovery is so deeply embedded into the fabric of American politics.

The debate about intelligent design in public schools is a uniquely American phenomenon, a quirk of our history and culture. Beyond the theocracies of the Middle East, religion permeates American politics in a way not found anywhere else in the world. No other developed country, east or west, is host to a serious political movement dedicated to the destruction of secularism.

We have to go all the way back to Italy in 1614 to find another example of a powerful political machine dedicated to the suppression of a broad scientific truth with deep implications for human understanding. That is the year in which Galileo's observations of the earth orbiting the sun were first denounced as a threat to the established authority of the Catholic Church, which claimed Galileo's doctrine to be false and contrary to the divine and Holy Scripture. We have regressed four centuries. Intelligent design is nothing but a transparent fig leaf for creationism, a child of that dark era in the 1600s. Comparing creationism or intelligent design to evolution is no different than insisting that we teach today that the sun actually orbits the earth as an alternative theory to modern astronomy. Only in the United States are such discredited views taken seriously by a large portion of the citizenry. We can and should do better. Intelligent design has no place in a science classroom.

Nevertheless, the debate will inevitably continue: evolution strikes at the core of expanding religiosity deeper than other scientific truths such as the age of the earth because the conclusions are more personal. Imagine yourself back in that amazing year of 1859 when Charles Darwin published his masterpiece. The day before Darwin's book was published, you woke up thinking yourself the image of God; the next morning you realize you have the face of a monkey. Not everybody immediately embraced this rude demotion. Resistance to the idea was inevitable, if not futile.

Sometimes the word ""theory"" associated with evolution is misunderstood to mean that the concept is not well established. Oddly, that burden is not shared by the Theory of Relativity. Einstein apparently hired a better publicist than Darwin, if not a better barber. Evolution is a fact, an undeniable, proven fact, as certain as the existence of atoms. Only some of the details of the mechanisms of evolution remain to be elucidated. Cancer is a fact, though not all the mechanisms leading to malignancy are understood. Theory does not imply uncertainty; instead, a grand idea, such as General Relativity or Evolution, can be well-established but remain under the rubric of a theory because the ideas encompass and explain a broad range of phenomena.

Complicating public acceptance of evolution as a scientific truth is the fact that society is still largely scientifically illiterate. Although understanding the basics of science is critical to everyday life in a technology-driven society, the subject is given only cursory treatment in most public schools. As a result, people are often poorly equipped to understand the complexities of an issue before forming an opinion about the costs and benefits of adopting or restricting a particular technology. The issue of therapeutic cloning offers a prime example. Religious bias and scientific illiteracy combine powerfully to restrict a technology with extraordinary potential for good, with little associated risk. The upside of therapeutic cloning could be cures for diabetes, Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, multiple sclerosis, and a host of other devastating diseases. There is no downside.

As religiosity has ascended in American life, policy debates have become faith-based rather than being anchored in logic. Support for a policy position becomes unmoved by contradictory facts because proponents simply ""believe"" the position to be correct even in the face of incontrovertible evidence to the contrary. That explains why 80% of Republicans still support the current president. Just as there is no way to determine relative validity between religions, or to diminish faith with facts, as soon as logic is removed from policy debates, competing positions are no longer evaluated based on relative merit, but are supported as inherently right, immune to any reasonable counter arguments. This slide away from secular debate leads increasingly to polarization, greater animosity and a loss of civility because the only way to support a position is simply to assert supremacy as loudly as possible. We are reduced to childlike tantrums of ""I'm right, you're wrong, I win."" Without logic, there is no common basis for discussion, and no way to mediate disputes. The death of secularism is the death of civility, and nothing demonstrates this more clearly than the debate about teaching science in schools free from religion.

About the author: Jeff Schweitzer spent much of his youth underwater pursuing his lifelong fascination with marine life. He obtained his doctorate from UCSD and has published in an eclectic range of fields, including neurobiology, marine science, international development, environmental protection and aviation. Visit www.JeffSchweitzer.com