Friday, January 30, 2009

Unlocking the Mystery of Life


Review of the Intelligent Design video

""Unlocking the Mystery of Life""

Do molecular machines such as the incredible flagellar motor prove an intelligent designer?

How could DNA evolve?

Are the claims of this video valid or just another form of pseudoscience?

This review investigates the claims of this popular video and puts them to the test.

Often called the most researched and documented case for Intelligent Design, ""Unlocking the Mystery of Life"" features state-of-the-art computer animation to question the origins of life. The speakers are a who's who in the Intelligent Design movement such as Phillip Johnson, Paul Nelson, Dean H. Kenyon, Michael J. Behe, Stephen C. Meyer, William Dembski, and Jonathan Wells.

Read the full review at .htm

The conclusions might surprise you.

About the author: None

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Nasa's Vomit Comet

Author: David Craig

September 29, 2005

The Vomit Comet is the nickname for Nasa's C-9 airplane used to simulate weightlessness for astronaut training. The C-9 replaced two KC-135's previously used for this function. The Vomit Comet engages in a flight lasting almost three hours entailing 30-40 parabolic loops in which gravity varies from earth's gravitational pull to near weightlessness for a period of 25 seconds. The aircraft flies horizontally for a period of time only to rise in a steep climb followed by the 25 second freefall.

The Vomit Comet received its name from the percentage of its passengers who throw up on its flights. According to John Yaniec, lead test director for NASA's Reduced Gravity Program, roughly one third of its passengers vomit, one third get sick but don't vomit, and the rest don't get sick at all. According to Yaniec, most airsickness is caused by anxiety over the upcoming flight.

The Vomit Comet is used to train future astronauts as well as to carry out microgravity experiments. Many high school and college science experiments have been carried out over the years on the Vomit Comet. One of the original KC-135 Vomit Comets was used to film scenes of the 1995 movie Apollo 13 starring Tom Hanks.

About the author: M.S. Physics - University of Minnesota B.S. Computer Science - University of Oregon Owner of Space Stuff - Home of Nasa and General Astronomy Information

Please feel free to visit.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Do Planets Communicate with Living Organisms?

Author: Thomas Herold

Do you feel any difference if the moon if full? A lot of people, including myself, report that their sleep is different and even during the day they feel a shift in their mood that lasts sometimes a few days.

The moon is responsible for making the tides and has therefore a physical influence on the earth. But what about the other 9 major planets?

Astrology is based on the belief that time has quality. Important here is to mention that astrology does not say the planets are making the qualities or energy patterns. The planets are an indicator of these qualities and if you are familiar with these qualities you can see them manifesting in your daily life.

Our world and our beliefs are still so much indoctrinated by the old paradigm that everything is mechanical - including the human nature. This old belief will soon be replaced by new beliefs and new concepts. Quantum physics is already making such a big shift in our view of the word that soon the public will realize that our mechanical concepts of the world needs to be replaced in order to integrate new findings and experiments.

What we will learn sooner or later is that information takes no time at all to get from one place to another and therefore we can not even say anymore that information is traveling. On a quantum level information could be a singularity, meaning that everything is happening at the same time everywhere.

Does Life has Principles? A study done by a swiss scientist some 50 years ago revealed the principles of life itself. These principles are manifesting themselves in every living form as well as in any other material way.

The amazing result of his study shows the outcome of nearly 10 principles that are almost identical with the qualities of the planets. I like to mention that this study was not influenced in any way by astrology facts.

Each planet is associated with a different energy pattern. The names vary slightly as each astrologer interprets them differently. But overall they represent the same energy pattern. The difference is simply caused by the language. When I mention the color red we all agree on it but there are hundreds of variations.

What are these 10 Qualities?

Moon - Feeling Sun - Identity Mercury - Thinking Venus - Harmony Mars - Energy Jupiter - Expansion Saturn - Integration Uranus - Transition Neptune - Mystery Pluto - Metamorphosis

A Short Explanation of these Qualities:

Feeling - Our emotions and our senses. There are days you may more sensitive for light or sound than others.

Sun - What we identify with, our live force.

Mercury - Our capacity to understand, logic, language, talking.

Venus - Harmony means to reach an optimum, a balance.

Mars - Power, the strength to initiate or do something.

Jupiter - Exploring new areas in your life, growing.

Saturn - Learning something new about yourself.

Uranus - Shifting your work area or your life purpose.

Neptune - Quantum physics, beyond what you see and understand.

Pluto - Transformation, changing your way of life.

The names of these qualities are adapted and modified from Thomas Ring, one of the most popular German astrologers. He lived from 1892 until 1983 and Astrodienst Zurich has dedicated a special website for him.

Also there are some other planets like Chiron, but I'd like to concentrate on the major 10 planets. And for all scientist I want to add that the moon of course is a trabant and the sun is a star, but in astrology terms they are planets as well.

What can we do with these 10 Energy Patterns? We can create a chart from our birthday and see our unique energy pattern in it. Go to a good astrologer and you will be amazed on how precisely your birth chart represents your unique abilities and talents.

Now here comes the interesting part. As we know how the planets are moving we can look up the planet positions on a ephemerids. The ephemerids is telling us where the position of a planet is at a certain time. We combine these positions with our birth chart and what we get is a unique energy pattern for each day. We can even look up planet data in the future and can therefore find energy patterns in the future.

The combination of your energy patterns from your birth chart with the energy patterns of the daily planets is called transits. These calculations have been done for thousands of years. But today we have fast and inexpensive computers and calculations can be done in a fraction of a second.

What you will get from this calculation is a long list of relationships between the position of your planets from your birth chart and the position of the planets from a certain day.

The results of this calculation can be shown as a graphic with two circles. The inner circle shows your birth chart and the outer circle the chart from a certain day. Between these two circles you than see lines, which are representing the transits. For someone who understands astrology this graphic is meaningfully - for the rest of us it is meaningless.

How would it look like if we take one quality from our birth chart and combine it with the 10 qualities from a certain date? It would show us all the influences at once. For example I can see my energy (Mars) pattern and therefore may or may not base my decisions. If my energy pattern shows expanding (Jupiter) or shows energy (Mars) as well I know that this would be a good time for actions and starting new projects.

If you pay attention to your feelings and your daily qualities (transits) you may automatically adapt your work or life flow accordingly and you will find yourself having to deal with less resistance.

I am currently working on an application for the Internet, which will be available for free in a few weeks. With this application you will be able to calculate the positions of your planets at your birth time and watch a graphical radar chart of your current transits.

You can see some of the test graphics on my website at:

Quantum Biocommunication Technology

About the author: Thomas Herold is the founder of Quantum Biocommunication Technology, a website dedicated to the exploration of bicommunication.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

What are Compound Microscopes?

Author: Peter Emerson

Most of the microscopes used today are compound. A compound microscope features two or more lenses. A hollow cylinder called the tube connects the two lenses. The top lens, the one people look through, is called the eyepiece. The bottom lens is known as the objective lens. Below the two lenses is the stage, with the illuminator below that.

Compound microscopes were among the first magnifying instruments invented. Two Dutch eyeglass makers named Zaccharias and Hans Janssen are credited with making the first compound microscope in 1590 by putting one lens at the top of a tube and another at the bottom of the tube. Their idea was fleshed out by others scientists over the next several centuries, but the basic design remained very similar.

The eyepiece, also known as the ocular lens, is at the top of the compound microscope. It is not adjustable, that is, it only has one strength. Most ocular lenses are 10x, meaning that they magnify objects to ten times their normal size. People look in through the eyepiece through the tube and out through the objective lens.

A compound microscope normally contains several objective lenses. The objective lenses are different lengths, with the longer ones being the strongest. The lenses are situated on a round disk below the tube. Viewers choose which strength lens they want and place it below the tube by turning the disk until the desired lens is in place.

The stage and illuminator are below the objective lens. Specimens are placed over a translucent part of the stage. Light provided by the illuminator shines through the clear part of the stage, making it easier for the viewer to see the magnified details of the specimen. Two adjustment knobs help focus the object on the stage by bringing the lenses and the stage closer together.

Compound microscopes have been around for hundreds of years and are still very useful. A number of scientific disciplines use compound microscopes to discover the wonders of the microscopic world.

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 .

Monday, January 26, 2009

Genetic Genealogy Research

Author: Garon Yoakum

One of the first

genetic genealogy studies was conducted in the late 1980s by scientists with the Department of Biochemistry at the University of California, Berkeley. These scientists Rebecca L. Cann, Mark Stoneking and Allan C. Wilson studied a newly discovered kind of DNA. Mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) is contained not in the nucleus of our cell, but in the mitochondria organelles of our cells. These scientists chose to study Mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) because of its three unique properties which they explain as:

First, mtDNA gives a magnified view of the diversity present in the human gene pool, because mutations accumulate in this DNA several times faster than in the nucleus. Second, because mtDNA is inherited maternally and does not recombine, it is a tool for relating individuals to one another. Third, there are about 1016 mtDNA molecules within a typical human and they are usually identical to one another (Cann 31).

They extracted and compared mtDNA from ""147 people, drawn from five geographic populations"" (Cann 31). The researchers discovered that ""All these mitochondrial DNAs stem from one woman who is postulated to have lived about 200,000 years ago, probably in Africa"" (Cann 31). Their findings also agree with the archaeology record as Cann explains ""Studies of mtDNA suggest a view of how, where and when modern humans arose that fits with one interpretation of evidence from ancient human bones and tools"" (36).

Swedish researchers Max Ingman, Henrik Kaessmann, Svante Paabo and Ulf Gyllensten critical of these findings conducted their own study in 2000. They claimed that ""almost all studies of human evolution based on mtDNA sequencing have been confined to the control region, which constitutes less than 7% of the mitochondrial genome"" (Ingman 708). Further they argued that the prior methods of analysis where ""providing data that are ill suited to estimations of mutation rate and therefore the timing of evolutionary events"" (Ingman 708). So they decided to study the complete mtDNA sequence from 53 people of various races.

Surprisingly their attempt to discredit the previous research failed as they also came to roughly the same conclusions. They conceded to the likely hood of a common ancestor shared by all the subjects despite being ""geographically unrelated"" (Ingman 712). They estimated ""The age of the most recent common ancestor (MRCA) for mtDNA, on the basis of the maximum distance between two be 171,500"" (Ingman 712) instead of the earlier estimate of 200,000 years ago. But they refused to align their findings with archeologists by stating ""Whether the ancestors of these six extant lineages originally came from a specific geographic region is not possible to determine"" (Ingman 712). Lastly they agreed on the potential of

genetic genealogy by summarizing:

Our results indicate that the field of mitochondrial population genomics will provide a rich source of genetic information for evolutionary studies. Nevertheless, mtDNA is only one locus and only reflects the genetic history of females. For a balanced view, a combination of genetic systems is required. With the human genome project reaching fruition, the ease by which such data may be generated will increase, providing us with an evermore detailed understanding of our genetic history (Ingman 712).

Their call for a more balanced view was shortly answered because in 2000 a team of researchers from the Department of Genetics at Stanford University lead by Peter A. Underhill published their results of studying Y-chromosome DNA. Only males have the Y-chromosome which has unique properties as explained by Underhill:

Binary polymorphisms associated with the non-recombining region of the human Y chromosome (NRY) preserve the paternal genetic legacy of our species that has persisted to the present, permitting inference of human evolution, population affinity and demographic history (358).

Their report was based upon ""the analysis of 1062 globally representative individuals"" (Underhill 358). They concluded that the subjects ""represent the descendants of the most ancestral patrilineages of anatomically modern humans that left Africa between 35,000 and 89,000 years ago"" (Underhill 358).

So far

genetic genealogy research has focused on these two kinds of DNA. As mentioned previously mtDNA is passed along the maternal line and Y-Chromosome DNA is passed along the paternal line. These two kinds of DNA effectively encompass all of our ancestors. Yet they provide no information about our ancestors inside the encompassed area. For example our maternal grandfather (mother's father) couldn't contribute any mtDNA or Y-Chromosome DNA to our mother. Yet he did contribute a third type of DNA called autosomal DNA. This type of DNA has yet to be studied for Genetic Genealogy purposes because of its inherent difficulties.

The main reason autosomal DNA is just now being studied is because scientists aren't sure how to determine which autosomal DNA came from mom and which came from dad without testing one or both of our parents. This situation is illustrated by the mathematical equation X = Xm/2 + Xd/2 where our autosomal DNA (X) is half of our mom's (Xm/2) and half of our dad's (Xd/2). By testing ourselves we identify our autosomal DNA but can't determine which part came from mom or dad. Additionally testing one of our parents is necessary to determine exactly which parent contributed which part of our autosomal DNA. This type of testing is currently used for Paternity and near relationship testing. But quickly becomes impractical after a few generations because of the difficulty of obtaining DNA samples from probably deceased ancestors.


Genetic Genealogy is the science of analyzing DNA for genealogical purposes. Studies have shown that we all stem from a common female and male ancestor. Because this emerging science is so new, benefits of this research are still being identified. Currently I believe Genetic Genealogy offers three categories of benefits. First is entertainment value. Finding out you're related to famous people like George Washington, Julius Caesar or Genghis Khan is just plain fun. Imagine the bragging rights and small-talk fodder this provides at social gatherings. Second is scientific value. Current studies have corroborated other scientific findings such as the human archaeological record. Medical sciences will benefit from correlating DNA studies with family genealogies to isolate hereditary diseases. Third is relatedness value. Finding out you're related to a wealthy individual like Bill Gates may entail a financial windfall. Most importantly of all is the ability to reunite families. Millions of displaced war torn families and adopted children can now turn to Genetic Genealogy to find their relatives.


Cann, Rebecca L. et al. ""Mitochondrial DNA and human evolution."" Nature 325 (1987): 31-36

Carmichael, Terrence and Alexander Kuklin. How to DNA Test our Family Relationships? California: AceN Press, 2000

Cavalli-Sforza, L. Luca et al. The History and Geography of Human Genes. New Jersey: Princeton University Press, 1994

Ingman, Max et al. ""Mitochondrial genome variation and the origin of modern humans."" Nature 408 (2000): 708-713

Tooker, Elisabeth. An Ethnography of the Huron Indians, 1615-1649. New York: Syracuse University Press, 1991

Underhill, Peter A. et al. ""Y chromosome sequence variation and the history of human populations."" Nature Genetics 26 (2000): 358-361

Walsh, Bruce. ""Estimating the Time to the Most Recent Common Ancestor for the Y chromosome or Mitochondrial DNA for a Pair of Individuals."" Genetics 158 (2001): 897-912

Zimmer, Carl. ""After You, Eve."" Natural History 3 (2001): 32-35

About the author: Garon Yoakum is a representative for Relative Genetics .

For more information on

genetic genealogy , contact us Toll Free at (800)956-9362

Sunday, January 25, 2009

How Specialty Gases Differ from Industrial Gases

Author: Bob Jefferys

When it comes to compressed gases , there is often confusion over the difference between industrial gases (sometimes referred to as commodity or bulk gases) and specialty gases (sometimes referred to as cylinder gases, although industrial gases can also be supplied in cylinders). The Compressed Gas Association (CGA), who sets standards to which suppliers of all types of compressed gases conform, defines its mission as being ""dedicated to the development and promotion of safety standards and safe practices in the industrial gas industry."" In a broad sense, in that most compressed gases are used for some sort of industrial application, all could be considered to be industrial gases. So to define the true difference between industrial gases and specialty gases, one must look beyond the application to other factors such as complexity, level of purity and certainty of composition.

According to the CGA compressed gases are often grouped into five loosely defined families: atmospheric; fuel; refrigerant; poisonous; and those having no obvious ties to any of the other families. Assignment to these families is somewhat arbitrary and typically based on the origin, use or chemical structure of a gas. Specialty gases can belong to any of these five families. Essentially, they are industrial gases taken to a higher level. The dictionary describes one of the definitions of the word specialty as: an unusual, distinctive, or superior mark or quality. Specialty gases then, can be defined as high-quality gases for specific applications that are prepared using laboratory analysis and other preparation methods in order to quantify, minimize or eliminate unknown or undesirable characteristics within the gas. Regarding specialty gas mixtures, precise blending is also necessary to achieve very specific concentration values for the components contained within the mixture.

Specialty pure gases Pure gases are considered to be specialty gases when they are used as support gases for laboratory instruments such as chromatographs, mass spectrometers and other various types of analyzers and detectors. Manufacturers of these types of highly sensitive instruments normally specify the purity level of pure gases to be used with their instruments. For example, high-purity, moisture-free helium is often used as a carrier gas in these instruments. When unwanted impurities are present, performance of a laboratory instrument may be compromised, or the instrument itself may be damaged. A good rule of thumb is, when purity (sometimes as high as 99.9999%) and/or quantification of trace impurities is an issue, a pure gas is considered to be a specialty pure.

Specialty pure gases are used in the manufacturing of semiconductors and other closely controlled applications as well. They may also be used to assess and monitor the integrity of a bulk pure gas. Carbon dioxide is a good example. Beverage-quality CO2, as used in the manufacture of soft drinks, can be classified as being more of a bulk-type gas because it is used in large quantities. However, because purity is a health concern, a specialty pure CO2, in which all trace impurities have been carefully quantified, is needed to calibrate instruments used to monitor the purity of the bulk CO2.

Specialty gas mixtures Many specialty gases are actually gas mixtures that contain individual components. They are frequently used with various types of analyzers for process control and regulatory compliance. Some specialty mixtures are somewhat ""standard"" and may contain only three or four components, such as nitric oxide and sulfur dioxide mixtures that are used by utility companies to calibrate Continuous Emissions Monitors (CEMs). Others may be quite complex, containing as many as 30 or more components. Usually, a specialty gas mixture is prepared using a Standard Reference Material (SRM) in order to validate accurate measurement of the mixture's components. This provides what is known as traceability to a known measurement standard from a recognized metrology institution such as the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). Specialty mixtures typically have components measured in percentages, parts-per-million and parts-per-billion.

Laboratory analysis to quantify all components and impurities in a specialty mixture is nearly always critical. A formal document known as a Certificate of Accuracy or Certificate of Analysis is provided for each cylinder containing a specialty mixture, and also for some specialty pure gases. This certificate specifies the concentration values for all contents, as well as other important information such the method of blending, type of laboratory analysis and reference standard used to prepare the mixture and expiration date. Expiration date refers to the length of time the components of a mixture remain at their certified concentrations within the specified tolerances. Depending on the stability of the components, shelf life can vary from as little as six months to two years or more. Special cylinder preparation processes, such as Scott's Aculife cylinder inerting treatments, can be used to condition cylinder interior walls in order to extend a mixture's shelf life.

Specialty gases are typically not used in nearly as large a quantity as industrial gases and are supplied in steel or aluminum high-pressure cylinders containing up to 3000 pounds of pressure per square inch/gauge (psig). Hence, they are sometimes referred to as cylinder gases or bottled gases. The cylinder itself is typically not included in the price of the specialty gas it contains and must be returned to the gas supplier when the gas has been depleted. A nominal monthly cylinder rental is usually charged until the cylinder is returned. Many specialty gases are also available in small, portable and non-returnable cylinders such as Scott's SCOTTY Transportables. Other specialized containers include lecture bottles that are often used in laboratories and floating piston-type cylinders that are used to contain volatile liquid phase mixtures.

The cost of specialization Due to blending technology, cylinder preparation, laboratory analysis and statistical quality control necessary to produce specialty gases, cost is much higher than for lower grade industrial gases. An A-size cylinder containing 218 cubic feet of a low grade of helium suitable for filling party balloons might cost little more than $50. The same cylinder containing 99.9999% pure research grade helium, with a total impurity of less than one part-per-million (1 ppm), would cost about $500. That's still a bargain considering 144 cubic feet of a three-component EPA Protocol mixture having an analytical accuracy of 1% may cost as much as $1,500. As with any other specialized product, the end cost of a particular specialty pure or gas mixture is largely determined by the degree of difficulty and complexity involved in its preparation.

Considerations when purchasing specialty gases Purchasing specialty gases can be a daunting task. Because of today's bottom line-oriented business climate, one might consider selecting a specialty gas product based strictly on price. Be careful! While in some cases organizations such as the EPA may dictate minimum accuracy and manufacturing processes for certain gas mixtures, there are few industry-wide standards for specialty gas quality. Blending, analytical and cylinder preparation procedures vary between suppliers of specialty gases. Moreover, suppliers do not always use common nomenclature when describing their products. Even when product names are the same, the characteristics of the gases can be quite different. The best advice is to carefully evaluate your application needs before purchasing. Then talk with a specialty gas expert to be sure you fully understand how the characteristics of a particular pure gas or gas mixture will either meet or possibly compromise your application. Remember also that most specialty gases require the use of specialized delivery equipment that is constructed of materials that will protect gas purity and integrity.

This article is copyrighted by Scott Gases . 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

About the author: Bob Jefferys is the Senior Corporate Communications Manager at Scott Specialty Gases.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

EPA Regulations Raise the Bar for Industrial Air Quality Testing

Author: Kenneth Eichleman

Far-reaching environmental legislation continues to change the way Americans live, work, and run their businesses. For the past decade and a half, companies have worked toward meeting the latest air quality standards set by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

In 2005, regulations introduced by the Clean Air Act of 1990 came into full effect with the goal of reducing harmful emissions by 57-billion pounds per year. The act continues to have a huge impact both economically and environmentally as it targets the sources of urban air pollution, acid rain, and stratospheric ozone depletion.

Air pollution is not a new problem in the United States. During the 1940s, a series of pollution-related disasters forced Americans to acknowledge the need for clean air standards. The worst of those incidents took place during a five day period in 1948, when smog caused by industrial emissions and coal-burning furnaces killed 20 people and sickened nearly 7,000 others in the small town of Donora, Pennsylvania.

The tragedy spurred the federal government to take control of air quality management. In 1955, the Air Pollution Control Act was introduced to mandate the national investigation of air pollution. More stringent air quality controls were later established with the creation of the Clean Air Act of 1970 and the formation of the EPA. In 1990, the Clean Air Act was revised to include the following amendments:

* Title I - strengthens measures for attaining national air quality standards

* Title II - sets forth provisions relating to mobile sources

* Title III - expands the regulation of hazardous air pollutants

* Title IV - requires substantial reductions in emissions for control of acid rain

* Title V - establishes operating permits for all major sources of air pollution

* Title VI - establishes provisions for stratospheric ozone protection * Title VII - expands enforcement powers and penalties

The legislation not only provides the EPA with innovative regulatory procedures, but allows for a variety of supportive research and enforcement measures. Individuals may face fines up to $250,000 and imprisonment up to 15 years, with each day of violation counted as a separate offense. Businesses may face fines of up to $500,000 for each negligent violation and up to $1 million per day for knowing endangerment. Many corporations must apply for national operating permits because of the emissions released by their processes.

Current industrial

air quality testing is driven by the latest amendments. A major focus for manufacturers under the new provisions can be found in Title III, which identifies and lists 189 HAPs (Hazardous Air Pollutants) to be reduced within a ten-year period. This is a tremendous increase since the EPA had previously established standards for only seven HAPs out of only eight listed. These pollutants can result in serious health effects, such as cancer, birth defects, immediate death, or catastrophic accidents.

Among the air pollutants the act pinpoints for monitoring are VOCs (volatile organic compounds). These chemicals are identified as organic because of the presence of carbon, but many are synthetically created. VOCs include gasoline, industrial chemicals such as benzene, solvents such as toluene and xylene, and tetrachloroethylene (perchloroethylene, the principal dry cleaning solvent). Many VOCs, such as benzene, are present on the HAP list because of the threat they pose to human health. These pollutants may cause death, disease, or birth defects in organisms that ingest or absorb them.

There are a variety of methods for the determination of TO (toxic organic) compounds in ambient air at parts-per-million (ppm) and parts-per-billion (ppb) concentration levels. Following the EPA's TO-14, TO-14A, or TO-15 Methods, VOCs in air are collected in specially prepared canisters and analyzed by gas chromatography/mass spectrometry (GC/MS) instruments.

To test air quality using these methods, a sample of ambient air from a source must be drawn into a pre-evacuated specially prepared canister. After the sample is collected, the canister valve is closed, an identification tag is attached to the canister, a chain-of-custody (COC) form completed, and the canister is transported to a laboratory for analysis.

Upon receipt at the lab, the proper documentation is completed and the canister is attached to the analytical system. Water vapor is reduced in the gas stream by a dryer (if applicable), and the VOCs are then concentrated by collection in a cryogenically cooled trap. The refrigerant, typically liquid nitrogen or liquid argon, is then removed and the temperature of the trap is raised. The VOCs originally collected in the trap are revolatilized, separated on a GC column, and then run through one or more detectors to identify the components and concentrations in each sample. Findings are thoroughly documented in a written report which is presented to the client.

The qualitative and quantitative accuracy of these analyses is of the utmost importance. Difficulty arises in part because of the wide variety of TO substances and the lack of standardized sampling and analysis procedures.

To facilitate the improvement of laboratory

air quality testing and analysis, one proactive company, Scott Specialty Gases, offers a cross-reference program for labs. Now laboratories can evaluate their own proficiency by comparing their results against Scott Specialty Gases' as well as the blind results from other participating labs. By employing the highly accurate and stable gas mixtures manufactured by Scott Specialty Gases, laboratories can also calibrate their GC/MS instruments to achieve more precise readings of samples.

Chemical manufacturing plants, oil refineries, toxic waste sites or land fills, and solid waste incinerators are just a few of the many sources of hazardous air pollutants. The financial cost to install state-of-the-art controls is great.

Thanks to the services offered by companies like Scott Specialty Gases and to the more stringent requirements of the Clean Air Act of 1990, the environment is on the mend. The impact of industry compliance with the Clean Air Act of 1990 has been astounding. Careful testing has already shown a significant improvement in national air quality thanks to anti-pollution efforts. According to studies conducted by the Foundation for Clean Air Progress, exposure levels for ozone and particulates have decreased and four of the six most serious pollutants identified by the Clean Air Act of 1970 are no longer being released into the air at unhealthy levels. These improvements fly in the face of data that shows increased population growth and energy usage in the United States. Regulatory vigilance and technological advances in environmental monitoring have made cleaner air a reality.

This article is provided by Scott Specialty Gases. Scott Specialty Gases, a leading global manufacturer of specialty gases located in Plumsteadville, PA. More information on the company can be found at .

This article is copyrighted by Scott Gases. 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


""Clean Air Act."" Jan. 25, 1996. DOE Environmental Policy and Guidance. US Department of Energy.

Faletto, John S. ""1990 Clean Air Act Amendments - Impact on Small Businesses."" March 1994. Illinois Municipal Review. Illinois Periodicals Online (IPO).

""History of the Clean Air Act."" Environmental Resources for Teachers. Foundation for Clean Air Progress. 2002-2004.

McIntosh, Hugh. ""Catching Up on the Clean Air Act."" August 1993. Environmental Health Perspectives, Vol. 101, No. 3. Sept. 11, 1998.

""Compendium of Methods for the Determination of Toxic Organic Chemicals in Ambient Air."" Cincinnati, OH: 1999. US Environmental Protection Agency. ""The Plain English Guide to the Clean Air Act."" April 1993. Air Quality Planning and Standards. Updated: May 13, 2002. US Environmental Protection Agency.

Scott Specialty Gases. ""Toxic Organic mixtures come in returnable cylander."" Feb. 12, 2004. Managing Automation. 2004.

About the author: Ken Eichelmann earned his BS in Commerce & Engineering in 1977 from Drexel University. Ken joined Scott Specialty Gases in September 2001 as the SCOTTY Product Manager, bringing a wealth of knowledge and experience in marketing, product management, sales, management, and the process industries.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Several types of hearing aids

Author: Michael Sanford

A hearing aid is an electronic, battery-operated device that amplifies and changes sound to allow for improved communication. Hearing aids receive sound through a microphone, which then converts the sound waves to electrical signals. The amplifier increases the loudness of the signals and then sends the sound to the ear through a speaker. Different kinds of hearing aids There are several types of hearing aids. Each type offers different advantages, depending on its design, levels of amplification, and size. Before purchasing any hearing aid, ask whether it has a warranty that will allow you to try it out. Most manufacturers allow a 30- to 60-day trial period during which aids can be returned for a refund. There are four basic styles of hearing aids for people with sensorineural hearing loss: In-the-Ear (ITE) hearing aids fit completely in the outer ear and are used for mild to severe hearing loss. The case, which holds the components, is made of hard plastic. ITE aids can accommodate added technical mechanisms such as a telecoil, a small magnetic coil contained in the hearing aid that improves sound transmission during telephone calls. ITE aids can be damaged by earwax and ear drainage, and their small size can cause adjustment problems and feedback. They are not usually worn by children because the casings need to be replaced as the ear grows. Behind-the-Ear (BTE) hearing aids are worn behind the ear and are connected to a plastic earmold that fits inside the outer ear. The components are held in a case behind the ear. Sound travels through the earmold into the ear. BTE aids are used by people of all ages for mild to profound hearing loss. Poorly fitting BTE earmolds may cause feedback, a whistle sound caused by the fit of the hearing aid or by buildup of earwax or fluid. Canal Aids fit into the ear canal and are available in two sizes. The In-the-Canal (ITC) hearing aid is customized to fit the size and shape of the ear canal and is used for mild or moderately severe hearing loss. A Completely-in-Canal (CIC) hearing aid is largely concealed in the ear canal and is used for mild to moderately severe hearing loss. Because of their small size, canal aids may be difficult for the user to adjust and remove, and may not be able to hold additional devices, such as a telecoil. Canal aids can also be damaged by earwax and ear drainage. They are not typically recommended for children. Body Aids are used by people with profound hearing loss. The aid is attached to a belt or a pocket and connected to the ear by a wire. Because of its large size, it is able to incorporate many signal processing options, but it is usually used only when other types of aids cannot be used.

On the basis of the hearing test results, the audiologist can determine whether hearing aids will help. Hearing aids are particularly useful in improving the hearing and speech comprehension of people with sensorineural hearing loss. When choosing a hearing aid, the audiologist will consider your hearing ability, work and home activities, physical limitations, medical conditions, and cosmetic preferences. For many people, cost is also an important factor. You and your audiologist must decide whether one or two hearing aids will be best for you. Wearing two hearing aids may help balance sounds, improve your understanding of words in noisy situations, and make it easier to locate the source of sounds.

Problems while adjusting to hearing aids Become familiar with your hearing aid. Your audiologist will teach you to use and care for your hearing aids. Also, be sure to practice putting in and taking out the aids, adjusting volume control, cleaning, identifying right and left aids, and replacing the batteries with the audiologist present. The hearing aids may be uncomfortable. Ask the audiologist how long you should wear your hearing aids during the adjustment period. Also, ask how to test them in situations where you have problems hearing, and how to adjust the volume and/or program for sounds that are too loud or too soft. Your own voice may sound too loud. This is called the occlusion effect and is very common for new hearing aid users. Your audiologist may or may not be able to correct this problem; however, most people get used to it over time. Your hearing aid may ""whistle."" When this happens, you are experiencing feedback, which is caused by the fit of the hearing aid or by the buildup of earwax or fluid. See your audiologist for adjustments. You may hear background noise. Keep in mind that a hearing aid does not completely separate the sounds you want to hear from the ones you do not want to hear, but there may also be a problem with the hearing aid. Discuss this with your audiologist.

For more information on hearing aids please visit the

Hearing aids resource center.

About the author: None

Thursday, January 22, 2009

What's In Your Beverage? How to Ensure Quality Control with CO2 Analytical Support

Author: Leanne Merz

Calibration standards, performance audits, and the FDA's never-ending safety, labeling, and inspection requirements are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to dealing with the increasingly stringent quality control standards of the beverage industry. As these quality standards become stricter, beverage producers are increasingly called upon to get products to market faster using fewer resources, while simultaneously managing ingredient quality, and ultimately, risk.

Mix rigorous regulations and mounting market challenges with exploding competition and the opportunity for enormous economic reward, and it becomes obvious that products must be perfect the first time around to fulfill production requirements, comply with distribution standards, and ultimately provide each consumer with the exact same exceptional product every time.

All of which makes quality control more necessary than ever.

Quality Assurance in the beverage industry starts by ensuring that top quality gases are used to perform the carbonation process and continues through the bottling and distributing process with a high-tech quality control examination.

On the top of the list of gases regulated in the world of drink is carbon dioxide (CO2), one of the main components of many of the beverages produced today, including soda, beer, sparkling water, and sports drinks. CO2 has also become a major constituent of orange juice through supercritical CO2 processing during pasteurization and has even entered the world of dairy with the addition of ""Refreshing Power Milk,"" a new carbonated milk hybrid, to the refreshments market.

Leading beverage manufacturers in this $700 billion industry are taking the critical step to ensure purity of beverage-grade CO2 by using analytical support gases and quality assurance services. Since ensuring purity of CO2 is such a crucial factor in the beverage production process, choosing a specialty gas company to provide purification, calibration, and cross-reference services for your products should be a priority.

Keep in mind that specialty gas companies outside of the beverage industry hold a uniquely favorable position as authoritative and neutral third-party qualifiers. These companies provide experience in developing trace contaminant calibration standards as well as independence from the supply and certification of beverage grade CO2, which helps to ensure unbiased statistical and graphical reporting.

Regardless of the industry from which the service company originates, it is vital that it provides specialized service in the CO2 industry and adheres to industry standards on commercial quality with regard to CO2.

Some more guidelines to consider when choosing a Quality Control Specialty Gas Service: * Your CO2 supplier should provide certification and analysis indicating compliance with commercial quality standards, such as ISBT, the International Society of Beverage Technologists

* Your quality assurance service company should have the resources available to create custom gas mixtures for CO2 ingredient quality control. Typical components include (but are not limited to) the following:

Methane Ethane Ethanol Dimethyl Ether Ethyl Acetate Methanol Ammonia Nitric Oxide Nitrogen Dioxide Carbonyl Sulfide Acetaldehyde Benzene Cyclohexane Ethylbenzene Diethyl Ether Toluene m-Xylene p-Xylene o-Xylene

* Preparing two sets of gas mixtures should be standard procedure for your chosen service company, with double analysis of each set to check for minor component stability, and guarantee a shelf life for the components.

* To further assure accurate results, your service company should identify inaccuracies and verify analytical processes by having participant labs analyze blind internal audit standards.

* Your service company should furnish a report to your company's quality control department detailing analytical results, including a statistical representation of the performance of each participant laboratory.

* Membership in the International Society of Beverage Technologists (ISBT) Quality Committee, Carbon Dioxide Subcommittee, should be maintained in order to keep abreast of emerging analytical methods and technologies within the beverage industry.

* Top of the line service companies will provide CO2 Cross-Referencing Services to confirm the accuracy of critical analytical processes. These programs provide beverage manufacturers with a reliable and objective method of monitoring the performance of multiple laboratories who qualify carbon dioxide used in carbonated beverages as well as confirm ingredient quality. Cross-Referencing Service should be considered in order to:

o Achieve the highest degree of confidence in the accuracy of analyses; o Confidentially identify inconsistencies or other problems in analytical processes; and o Maintain reliable and accurate intra-company quality assurance.

* Most importantly, make sure the service company has top rate Internal CO2 Audit Standards to meet the most demanding accuracy requirements for virtually any type of customized mixture and that a Certificate of Accuracy is provided for each cylinder.

By choosing a Quality Control Specialty Gas Service carefully, your company can be sure to keep pace with the ever-expanding list of regulations -- and quite possibly gain an even larger piece of this multi-billion dollar pie.

This article is copyrighted by Scott Gases. 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

About the author: Leanne Merz is Director of e-Commerce and Technical Services of Scott Specialty Gases, a leading global manufacturer of specialty gases located in Plumsteadville, PA. More information on the company can be found at .

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Human Evolution | Timeline Chart Tree theory

Author: Vijay Kumar

Human Evolution... A. to Z. How and when did human evolve!

Human evolution is not a chance happening... human evolution has occurred owing to a premeditated cause. It was only through human evolution that God could have completed the cosmic life cycle resulting in the continuing of the whole Cosmos.

No human evolution... the whole world nay the whole Cosmos itself would have collapsed. Why?

In the cosmic life cycle the human evolution plays a very vital part. As was decided by God Almighty... it was only after human evolution that the soul (atman) within a human being could have realized its full potential and finally liberated for ever. In other words it was only after human evolution that one could have gained salvation... the final stage in the cosmic life cycle!

The evolution of a human being signifies the end of the cosmic journey. It is only as a human being that one can realize God in ones lifetime (reach the stage of enlightenment and finally salvation). Having achieved salvation the life comes to a full circle. Our soul (the atman within) liberates for ever from the cycle of birth and death.

In the series of cosmic evolution... the first organism to manifest life is the form of an amoeba (single cell formation). As life evolves further this single cell formation evolves into the next higher stage of multi-cell formation. Subsequently this being evolves into insect life.

This insect life is far from the stage of human evolution. As time passes by this insect life further evolves into plant life. After a series of various manifestations as various species of plant... this plant life itself steps into the next sage of evolution and further evolves into animal life. This animal life is one step before the stage of human evolution.

Compared to the human evolution the insect life is bound by many limitations... it does not have the power to think and discriminate. Life is as it is. Life is got to be lived as it was meant to be for there was no choice in the life of an insect as in the case after human evolution. Every human being enjoys unlimited power of discrimination. One can live life as one wants to be. It is only after human evolution that one can live the life of choice.

Seeing from the point of view of every insect... we shall find that this species of insect life looks forward to reaching the stage of human evolution for they learn from experience that the form of a human being is much superior to them. In the series of human evolution the stage of insect life is exactly the same as when we see a small plant compared to a full-grown tree.

Every human being had at a certain stage in cosmic life lived through the span of insect life. One could not have managed without it. The process of evolution is self-contained. Whether we desire it or not we keep on going up the ladder of cosmic evolution until we reach the stage of human evolution.

The plant life itself is completely static in nature. It cannot move on its own. It has very serious limitations and has to face the fury of nature quite often. This limitation can only be overcome unless the plant life switches over to the next stage of evolution... the animal evolution stage. It is only as an animal that one can run about and take shelter whenever one faces danger or a natural calamity.

Evolving into an animal form announces that in the cosmic hierarchy one is only one step lower than the stage of human evolution. Even an animal looks forward to the form of a human being; the highest stage in the series of evolution for it knows that only as a human being can one live a life of choice. Even animals have restrictive thinking powers.

The final stage in the human evolution... the form of a human being is the stage of practicing full control over all the cosmic powers that be. It is only as a human being that one can remain a laborer, become a King or finally reach the status of man God like Mahavira, Gautama Buddha, Jesus Christ or Prophet Mohammed.

Human evolution can never be perceived upon as something which has been forced upon us unwittingly. Human evolution announces the beginning of a life of choice. Every human being has been given the power of discrimination and choice inherently. One may practice it or not... the power of thinking and discrimination are the highest powers available to one in the cosmic system created by God the Almighty.

Human evolution is the last cosmic stage in the life of a soul (the atman within). For it knows that only after every life form evolves into a human being can it liberate forever from the cycle of birth and death. Every soul (the atman within) looks forward to reaching the stage of human evolution.

While passing through the stage of insect life the soul (the atman within) knows very well that the ultimate goal shall be achieved only after reaching the stage of human evolution.

Having reached the stage of animal life... the soul (the atman within) again realizes that it is nearing the end of journey for the animal life has to evolve into the human stage... it has no other alternative. And it is only as a human being one can realize God and attain the stage of salvation.

Human evolution is not a journey for the insect, the plant life or the animal life. The journey right from the stage of amoeba and until the stage of human evolution is for our soul (the atman within). It is this soul (our atman within) which is on a cosmic journey and in order to purify itself it has to pass through a series of manifestations before it can liberate itself for ever.

The life of soul (the atman within) from the beginning to the end of the journey is similar to the stages a piece of metal passes through in its lifetime. Right from the stage of being sandwiched in the metal ore and until the last stage of purification when the metal gains absolute purity... it is a total of 8.4 million manifestations in the life of a soul (the atman within).

Right from the stage of amoeba to the stage of gaining enlightenment by a human being... the cosmic life cycle is governed by the process of evolution as put forward by Charles Darwin in his famous theory of Evolution. Every human being reaches the human form having crossed a total of 7.3 million lives either in the form of insect, plant or an animal.

Human evolution is the last stage in the process of evolution envisaged by God. Even as a human being one cannot just do away with life. We have unlimited choices and the power of absolute discrimination, yet every human being is governed by the laws of nature and God the Almighty himself.

No human being can ever tread upon the fixed laws of nature. The moment we do so... we face the fury of nature as has been experienced by the mankind in the tornadoes, the hurricanes and the tsunamis which cause irreparable damage and loss to the mankind as a whole.

To reach the stage of salvation as a human being is the prime purpose of every human... having reached the stage of human evolution. The journey is long yet one does not have any other choice. It is our soul (the atman within) which is on the cosmic journey and every human being has to bid by its choice.

Whenever the ego of a human being prompts one to differ with the choice of our soul (the atman within)... it is a series of stress and strains primarily in the workplace one has to go through. To avoid passing the stage of unhealthy stresses and strains every human being must abide by the wishes of our soul (the atman within).

The ultimate goal... the final destination for the soul (the atman within) is fixed... but every human being has been given the power to choose his own path. As many human beings... as many paths are there for one to realise God and reach the end of the cosmic journey. No human being can ever be a loser in the end. Realizing God in this very life and reaching the stage of salvation is something which can never be described in words.

The end of the cosmic journey signifies the completion of a long journey... a total of 96.4 million earthly years. The life Mahavira, Gautama Buddha, Jesus Christ and prophet Mohammed lived cannot be described in mere words. It was purely a journey by choice... even death did not matter to them all. They had all in the last leg of their earthly journey even defeated death on its face.

All these enlightened souls like Mahavira, Gautama Buddha, Jesus Christ and Prophet Mohammed had transcended life itself. They had become immortal in the true sense that they would not have to indulge again in manifesting life thereafter. Life had truly come full circle for these godly souls.

We must always remember that human evolution being the highest stage in the series of evolution was primarily meant for our soul (the atman within). It is only after reaching the stage of a human being that our soul (the atman within) can complete its cosmic journey. And as no human being has ever been given the power to undo the happenings in the life of our soul (the atman within)... we must always try to expedite the journey of our soul (the one within).

We must also remember that even as human beings there are a total of 1.1 million types of manifestations every human can evolve into. The life as a human being is not as simple. It does not take a life span of 70 to 80 years to decide but a total of 12.1 million earthly years which can be spent in the form of a human being before one can reach the stage of enlightenment and finally salvation.

Ape to Human Evolution is the last step in the journey of human evolution itself. It is only after reaching the stage of our ancestors... the Ape family did human being come into the scene.

Human evolution... the last in the city of cosmic evolution is the best form of manifestation that can be... we are not supposed to while away our life doing nothing. Why wait for the destiny to make it happen. Why not take the destiny into our control and cut short the cosmic journey!

About the author: Vijay Kumar started in search of God at the age of 13 years. It was in 1993 that he was graced with the vision of God, the Almighty. Since then the hidden truths of all Scriptures of all Religions of the World have become like ABCD to him. Providing Free Spiritual counseling to the World Community through the medium of internet through websites Human Evolution Timeline and

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Why Venus Flytraps Make Lousy Science Fair Projects

Author: Jacob Farin

Every year, I receive many phone calls from parents wanting to purchase Venus Flytraps for their kids' science project. I ask them what type of experiment that they are doing, and usually it is about what type of food source will keep the traps closed. I patiently listen to what they have to say, and then I share with them three reasons why Venus Flytraps make lousy test subjects:

1. Venus Flytraps are usually dormant when school is in session.

The school year goes from September through June. Venus Flytraps are often dormant from November through April. During dormancy, Flytraps stop growing and their traps stop working.

For any science projects to work, your young budding scientists will need to use plants that are actively growing. That means the best time to do any science project on Venus Flytraps is during June through September. Not many young budding scientists are willing to do science projects during the summer when there are many trees to climb and ponds to swim in.

2. Traps on a Venus Flytrap will open and close about half a dozen times. After that, they stop working.

Now, how many kids (and adults) out there are disciplined enough to not poke a Flytrap and to leave it alone? If a trap does not close properly, would it be because of the testing stimulus or because the trap was poked and poked and poked and poked and simply stopped working?

3. Traps will live for about 2 months, then it stops working and slowly turns black, regardless if it had been triggered or not.

Again, if a trap does not close properly, would it be because of the testing stimulus or because the trap had come to the end of its life cycle?

Select a Different Plant

For these reasons, I often persuade parents to select a different plant. The ideal plant is one that also moves, like the Venus Flytrap, but is also actively growing throughout the school year.

The plant? The Cape Sundew ( Drosera capensis ).

The Cape Sundew is native to South Africa and is considered a tropical plant. It does not require any dormancy and will grow beautifully throughout the year. They are also readily available by most nurseries that specializes in carnivorous plants.

Like Venus Flytraps, Cape Sundews have leaves that close around an insect. It does so very slowly, however, taking about 15 minutes to witness this amazing behavior.

Just make sure that your plant has been grown in very bright lights and has lots of dew on it. If not, your experiment may not work properly.

So, if your kids want a Venus Flytrap for a science project, use a Cape Sundew instead. But, still get them a Venus Flytrap. Growing it can be a part of their summertime activities.

About the author: Jacob Farin is co-owner of Sarracenia Northwest , a nursery specializing in the cultivation of carnivorous plants. He is also co-author of Secrets to Growing Beautiful Carnivorous Plants for Your Home and Garden. For details on the cultivation of carnivorous plants, visit CarnivorousPlantSec .

Monday, January 19, 2009

Excuse me for living in a cave, but has the whole world gone crazy?

Author: DWB

Good evening troglodytes, I hope all is well. Now before I kickback in my central-heated hole in the ground and play Guess Who with Clint the Stalactite, I have one quick question:

Q: What do Isaac Hayes, Kirsty Alley, Tom Cruise & Beck all have in common? A: They're all FREAKING NUTS!!

According to Wikipedia these guys, amongst other famous dillweeds are all self declared scientologists. Awesome!!! I hear you say, ""it's nice to see Chef from South Park doing his bit for academia and the progress of mankind"". So I bet your wondering how Tom Cruise had the time to become an eminent scientologist in between humping the American dream for the last two decades. Well it was easy; all he had to do was sign up with the church of scientology.

For those of you who don't know, the church of scientology is a peculiar 'cult' type of movement that was set up in 1951 by science fiction author L. Ron Hubbard who's quasi-religious doctrines allegedly bear distinct similarities with the writings of occultist Alistiar Crowley.

Now I'll give you a quick background on this Hubbard character before explaining the gist of scientology. In 1981, reporter Nieson Himmel spoke of time he spent with Hubbard in 1945 and has been quoted as saying: ""Whenever he was talking about being hard up he often used to say that he thought the easiest way to make money would be to start a religion."" Sam Merwin, a sci-fi magazine editor has also been reported to have said about Hubbard: ""I always knew he was exceedingly anxious to hit big money - he used to say he thought the best way to do it would be to start a cult."" For more quotes and literary references please visit

So, now you know a bit about Hubbard, the sage of scientology you must be dying to find out what he cooked up to make his 'million bucks outta shmucks (Hollywood or otherwise)'. Scientology's central beliefs are as follows: People are immortal spirit beings (called thetan's), who possess a mind, body and a lesser genetic entity. Thetans have had many past lives, and memories of these can cause problems in the present day. People are basically good, but are ""aberrated"" by the memories of traumas. Total infallibility of everything Hubbard (Source) has written or spoken.

Apparently, all our Thetan's flew to Earth 75 million years ago in an interstellar plane that looks exactly like a Douglas DC-8. If you don't believe me here's a picture

So, if all this has wet your appetite for a trip down the garden path into the mind of Hollywood Flakes with more money than sense, I suggest that you read the entire Wikipedia article

You can find out what other saps have subscribed to the newsletter of nonsense that is scientology here:

Now here's the fun part, check out operation clambake's site that's been breaking scientology's balls for nearly a decade:

And last but certainly least (and to show as little bias as possible on behalf of myself), the official website of scientology

Over and Out

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

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Satellite Orbits

Author: Frank Johnson

A Dish Network satellite TV system is based off signals transmitted and received by multiple satellites. But, the main satellites in space are constantly moving in what is called an orbit.

Any object that moves around the earth has an orbit. The orbit is defined by 3 factors. The first is the shape of the orbit, which can be circular or elliptical. The second is the altitude of the orbit. The altitude is constant for a circular orbit but changes constantly for an elliptical orbit. The third factor is the angle the orbit makes with the equator. An orbit that brings the satellite over the poles or close to it has a large angle. An orbit that makes the satellite stay close to the equator has a small angle. Orbits depend on the mission the satellite was built for. The following orbits can be defined:

Low Earth Orbit Satellites in low earth orbit (LEO) orbit the earth at altitudes of less than 2000 km (1242 miles). Satellites in LEO can get much clearer surveillance images and require much less power to transmit their data to the earth.

Medium Earth Orbit At an altitude of around 10.000 km (6.000 miles) a satellite is in medium earth orbit (MEO). This altitude balances the advantages and disadvantages of LEO and GEO. MEO's are used generally for navigational satellites and communications satellites Geostationary Orbit.

A satellite in geostationary orbit orbits the earth in exactly 1 day and is placed above the equator. The angle with the equator is 0 degrees. As a result the satellite seems to stand still as seen from the earth. These satellites are used for communications and Satellite TV.

Polar Orbit An orbit that goes over both the North and the South Pole is called a Polar Orbit. The angle with the equator is 90 degrees. The advantage of these orbits is that they go over the poles. This may sound funny, but in reality most satellites never ""see"" the poles. Most polar orbits are in LEO, but any altitude can be used for a polar orbit.

Polar orbits are used a lot by navigation satellites which have to provide navigational information all over the world, including the poles.

Sun Synchronous Orbit This is a very interesting type of orbit. Satellites in Sun Synchronous Orbit pass over the same locations on earth at the same time each day. Suppose a satellite in sun synchronous orbit passes over your house at 3 pm. The next time the satellite will pass over your house is 24 hours later at the same time the next day. In order to do this the satellite has a very special orbit. Not only does it orbit the earth, but the plane of the orbit changes as well. It has to do this because each day the earth moves a bit through space around. After 3 months, the earth has moved 90 degrees of its orbit around the sun. If the satellites orbit wouldn't have moved with it, it would show up 6 hours later than planned. (Actually the earth spins around its axis in approx. 23 hours, 56 minutes and 3 seconds and not in 24 hours. Because of the earth's orbit around the sun, 1 day lasts 24 hours. A star day however is approx. 23 hours, 56 minutes and 3 seconds long.)

However, there is no need to actively change the plane of the orbit. The earth is not a perfect sphere but is a little bit wider around the equator. This is caused by the spinning of the earth. The gravitational difference this causes changes the orbit of a satellite. When the angle with the equator is chosen correctly (approx. 8 degrees of a polar orbit), an orbit is a sun synchronous orbit.

A very special type of sun synchronous orbit is called the dawn-to-dusk orbit. This orbit is above the earth where the sun comes up or goes down. A satellite in this orbit never enters the shadow of the earth but always receives sunlight.

Orbit Decay and Reentry The earth's atmosphere doesn't stop at a certain altitude but really fades out into space. The higher you get the less thick it is until eventually there is no more atmosphere. Generally we say that the atmosphere is about 100 km (62 miles) thick, but in reality it extends much further out into space. Satellites experience friction from the atmosphere up to altitudes of 1000 km (620 miles). Due to the friction, a satellite will loose speed and with that the altitude will decrease until eventually the satellite will fall out of orbit back to the earth. Depending on the altitude this happens sooner or later. A satellite at an altitude of 200 km (124 miles) will stay in orbit for just a couple of months. At 300 km (186 miles) a satellite can stay in orbit for a couple of years. Above 1000 km (620 miles) a satellite can stay in orbit for thousands of years.

Letting Satellites fall back to earth and burn up in the atmosphere is also a way of disposing of satellites. However, if you're a Dish Network customer, you don't need to worry about the Dish Network satellite falling to earth and disintegrating into nothing. Unless a space alien shoots it down, the Dish Network satellites are there to stay.

If you're interested in learning more about Dish Network and satellite TV, go to

About the author: None

Saturday, January 17, 2009

My Trip to Argentina and My Views

Author: Bill Hirst

An Educational and Dove Hunting Trip in Argentina Feb. 2006 Pa has a limit of 12 Doves per day. So you can imagine that this is not where you will find me. I took my son Jamie and went to Argentina where there is no limit. We were accompanied by several friends from our Philadelphia Pa. area. We spent a week on this trip. We were able to see some of this finest Dove hunting areas in the world. There are millions of doves in this region of Argentina near Cordoba. Over the last two decades, Cordoba province has become synonymous with the phrase ""High-volume dove hunting."" The region has a delightful climate that allows grain crops such as corn, sorghum, wheat and peanuts to flourish most of the year. This enormous food supply is bordered and interspersed with density hillside roosting cover, and the combination of food source and roost has produced a population of Zenaida Auriculata estimated to be over 20 million birds -- Argentina doves that do not migrate, reproduce up to four times annually and provide literally year-round shooting. These birds have been estimated to consume up to one third of the grain crops in the area. Dove hunting in Argentina is an activity that must be experienced rather than explained. Dove and Pigeon are considered to be plague in the area, so there are no bag limits or seasons for hunting them. One can only imagine that when bird flu arrives in Argentina, how big and terrible will the bird flu distrupt this ecosystem. I perdict that bird flu will mutate first to humans in a form that is transmissable from human to humnan in this area of the world. I believe that the quantity of birds and their droppings will allow for the transfer of the disease quickly in Argentina. After seeing the vast numbers of wild birds and knowing that they will be present with a large presence durring the harvesting of grain, a cross contamination will likly result in this habitat.

With such vast numbers of birds present, hunters regularly use two guns and a reloader to prevent barrel overheating, as they may go through 1,000 ( a thousand) rounds in a morning. Because of this last reason and the fact that they are considered a plague, the local authorities have not established any bag limits or special seasons for dove hunting.

This trip to Argentina also provided us with information and ideas for on our ranchs and farms in the USA. Soils in Argentina can grow good crops with little fertilizer and have fewer pest and disease problems. Farm laborers work cheap, and chemical costs are low. This will make our farms less competitive. There is no doubt that Argentina has made great advances in ag production and will be real competition to crops that are grown on our farms. The lands around Cordoba that we visited are flat and very fertile with a long growing season. There will be low cost soil erosion controls needed. Easily making it a bread basket for the world. We can be competitive. We can must expand on our altnernative use for our American farmlands. We must increase the recreational oportunities for our farms to help them stay competitive. Our transportation infrastructure is much better in the United States. Most roads outside the major urban areas are poor quality dusty, potholed, and rough. Our farms have easier access to capital for growth and markets for sales and urban areas. Our markets are better and more established. Our dollars is also more stable than the Argentine Pesos. This gives us better funding advantages. I also suspect that American Ag extension agencies and colleges are better and more available to educate our rural population. Afterall, education is the real key to our future in successful farm management and operations.

About the author: Bill Has been raising and selling trees for 25 years near Doylestown Pa. and has two web sites and This article was published 02/19/2006

Friday, January 16, 2009

Sheep Have Been Cloned...Are Humans Next?

Author: Jillian Gregory

Do you enjoy watching forensic science shows like CSI? Are you interested in genetics and the intricacies of DNA? Genetic engineering that deals with the human genome and DNA has become a hot bed for discussion in recent years. Advancements in forensic science have helped law enforcement to nab criminals and solve previous ""cold"" cases. Understanding the components of the human body and human nature is valuable information that is a welcome notion of safety for most.

While many would agree that using DNA as evidence is a good idea, manipulating human genetics is another issue. Cloning has surfaced as a debate with moral and ethical implications. Sheep have been cloned. One rationale for cloning animals was to provide more food to starving nations. Is cloning safe? Is creating a replica of an animal ethical? What are the long term effects of cloning?

Many people wonder if cloning humans will come next. Will it be a like a horrible old science fiction movie? How does the cloning process occur? How do scientists and doctors create a clone?

Stem cell research is also an issue discussed on many political shows and at dinner parties around the country. Is stem cell research ethical? When does life technically begin? Stem cell research can help to save a great number of people suffering from disease, but at what cost?

These are complex genetic engineering questions that require a great deal of knowledge before you can make an informed judgment. Become educated about genetic engineering issues by listening to exciting, cutting edge audio books on the subject. You can listen to them in the car on the way to work or on your morning walk.

The human body is a fascinating piece of science. Start by exploring the building blocks of the human body. Listen to DNA: The Secret of Life by James D. Watson. James D. Watson provides a comprehensive account of the genetic revolution. He has fifty years of experience on the subject. He explains the genetic revolution views in the past, present, and what to expect in the future.

Want to relive one of the most dramatic races in biology? Check out The Genome War by James Shreeve. This thrilling audio book details the race to map the human genome. Listen to the scientific adventure of a lifetime!

Concerned about the ethics and moral implications of genetic engineering? Want to know more about each side of the issue? Check out these great audio books to add to your deep well of knowledge. Listen to Enough: Setting Limits on Human Genetic Technology by Bill McKibben and Altering the Blueprint: The Ethics of Genetics by Alexander McCall Smith. Both of these audio books explore the ramifications of altering human genetics. Will humans lose their identity? Will altering human genetics create babies that are ""made"" instead of born?

Interested in other science topics as well? Check out the Science Friday Podcast. It covers science, health, technology and the environment.

Human DNA, genetics, and cloning will be a focal point of research for many decades to come. Understand the facets of human biology so that you can make informed judgments about any biological issues that may come your way.

About the author: Jillian Gregory writes for, an online portal for educational and self-development audio and video material which can be found at For the HTML version of this article complete with links to the titles that were mentioned, please visit

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Dolphin quick facts

Author: SeaWorldAdventurePa

Dolphins are marine mammals found in all the world's oceans, relatives to whales and porpoises. River dolphins live in freshwater rivers and lakes. They are intelligent and playful creatures and friendly to humans.

Dolphins have a sleek body shape, which helps them to be good swimmers. They have long snouts, a row of sharp teeth, and a blowhole for breathing on top of the head. They feed on fish, squid, and other small marine life.

Dolphins are social animals, and usually live and hunt in groups. They communicate with each other with sounds such as whistles, screeches, and clicks. Dolphins are often friendly to humans, riding on waves produced by boats, aiding lost swimmers, and adapting to life in captivity performing tricks and jumps.

There are at least 40 different species of dolphins. The one most commonly used in amusement parks and performances is bottlenose dolphin, which has a 'built-in' smile formed by the curvature of its mouth. The killer whale, or orca, is the largest member of dolphin family.

Physical features

Dolphins have a sleek body shape, so as to offer the least resistance for swimming. The two flippers located underside help the dolphin steer its course. The bones in these flippers resemble human hand! The tail with flukes provides the main swimming force.

As mammals, dolphins have to breathe air. They do so through a single blowhole on the top of the head. It has a muscular plug to keep water out of the lungs while diving. The head has a long snout. Dolphins have a long row of conical teeth that are used for catching and tearing prey - not for chewing.

Different dolphin species vary a lot in size. The smallest one, tucuxi dolphin, is about 4 feet (1.2m) long and weighs about 110 pounds (50kg), whereas the enormous killer whales is over 30 feet (9-10m) long and weighs 12,000 pounds (5 500 kg).

You've seen the gray ones, but dolphins can also be black or brown, and can have patterns of white or light colors.

In the middle of their back, many dolphins have what is called a dorsal fin. It helps them to keep their balance. Furthermore, each dolphin's dorsal fin is shaped differently from the others. It's like an identification mark. In some ocean dolphins, the dorsal fin is hooked-shape instead of like a triangle. The male killer whales have very tall dorsal fins whereas in river dolphins it scarcely forms a ridge on the back.

Besides using eyes, dolphins can find their way by making clicking sounds, and listening to the sounds that echo or bounce back to them from their surroundings. This is called echolocation.

Under their skin, dolphins have a layer of fat called blubber. It insulates the dolphin so it can keep warm even in cold water. The colder the water is where the dolphin lives, the thicker the layer of blubber.


Dolphins are social animals that live in schools of varying size; some only have 2-5 dolphins while enormous schools of 1,000 or more have been found as well. A typical school of bottlenose dolphins might be 10-20 individuals.

For food, dolphins hunt fish, squid and other invertebrates; killer whales also feed on other marine mammals, sea turtles, and birds. Dolphins often hunt together, trying to catch schools of fish. They can use echolocation to find prey in deep, dark waters.

Dolphins make whistles, clicks, and screeching sounds to communicate with each other, and for echolocation. In many species each individual dolphin makes a unique 'signature whistle'. Human-made underwater sounds, such as used with sonar images, can interfere with dolphins' communication, and even injure tissues used for hearing and air intake.

Dolphins also help each other in various ways. If a dolphin is sick and can't raise to the surface to get air, another one supports it at the surface so it can breathe. Or, a dolphin may stay near an injured or sick one as a companion. Dolphins also defend an injured one against a threat such as a boat.

Male and female dolphin take part in courtship, which involves playing, caressing, and 'songs'. Gestation lasts about a year, and then a single calf is born. Calving usually occurs once every two years. Dolphin mother produces very high-fat milk for her young. The calf is weaned aroud 6 months to two years.

Certain dolphin species live quite long, 50 years or more, while the bottlenose dolphin and common dolphin typically live around 20-25 years.

Dolphin Classification:

Class Mammalia

Order Cetacea

Suborder Odontoceti


male: bull

female: cow

young: calf

group: pod


Microsoft ® Encarta ® Reference Library 2005

Encyclopedia Britannica

About the author:

SeaWorldAdventurePa is a website filled with photos from SeaWorld, Orlando, Florida, plus information, reviews, and a po ll .

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Who invented the telescope?

Author: Jarrod Roby


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

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

Monday, January 12, 2009

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 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.


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

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

Saturday, January 10, 2009

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

Friday, January 09, 2009

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 -, which is the best site on the internet for all diamond related information.

Thursday, January 08, 2009

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.