Disinfectants Used To Purify Water Create Toxic By-Products

Disinfectants Used To Purify Water Create Toxic By-Products

 

Although perhaps the greatest public health achievement of the 20th century was the disinfection of water, a recent study now shows that the chemicals used to purify the water we drink and use in swimming pools react with organic material in the water yielding toxic consequences.

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Year 2036: Mars colonization and a date with destiny

Year 2036: Mars colonization and a date with destiny

Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson host of the NOVA scienceNOW PBS program

From a half billion kilometers away, the message was powerful. In 1994, fragments of the Shoemaker-Levy 9 comet slammed into Jupiter. The earth-size fireballs ejected into space were captured and relayed back to be seen again and again in Internet replay. The message: we need a foothold in space if our species is to survive.

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Nanoscale Imaging

Nanoscale Imaging 

Donut shaped blood cells

By using nanoptical scanning probe microscopes, scientists are able to reveal the going-ons inside humans and animals with stunning clarity. Take the above set of donut-shaped blood cells – which have been treated with an antibiotic called phyllomelittin taken from the skin of a monkey frog – now decidedly more appetizing than when in a normal, bloody-looking state. (I’m sure many of you relaxed back into your seat Homer Simpson-style with an “Mmm… Monkey frog donuts…”)

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World’s Most Powerful Electron Microscope

World’s Most Powerful Electron Microscope 

 Titan 80-300 Cubed Microscope

The Hubble telescope has a competitor. It’s not a telescope, but a microscope. The competition isn’t looking for stars and galaxies, but seeking atomic levels instead. McMaster University Canada has installed the world’s most powerful electron microscope at its Center for Electron Microscopy. Built in the Netherlands, the Titan 80-300 Cubed microscope is the planet’s most powerful and advanced microscope.

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2008 International Science And Engineering Visualization Challenge

2008 International Science And Engineering Visualization Challenge 

 “Glass Forest”

The 2008 International Science and Engineering Visualization Challenge has just concluded with some pretty astonishing imagery in the winning slots. This picture, dubbed “Glass Forest,” is a scanning electron micrograph of diatoms (weird unicellular algae) clinging to a marine worm, and won the photography category: to my eyes it looks half like a palm tree and half like a Star Trek effect. The illustration category winner is even more amazing.

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Worlds Largest Machine

 Large Hadron Collider

At 27 kilometers long, it is the largest machine in the world. It will accelerate counter rotating beams of protons to within a whisker of the speed of light and smash them head-on 600 million times a second. The most distinctive feature of the Large Hadron Collider, though, is its temperature. At 1.9 kelvin – a smidgen above absolute zero – the LHC is the coldest ring in the universe, unless an alien civilization has built one that is colder.

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A Plastic That Cools

A Plastic That Cools 

 Films of a specially designed polymer, just 0.4 to 2.0 micrometers thick, can get colder or hotter by 12 °C when an electric field is removed or applied across them.

Thin films of a new polymer developed at Penn State change temperature in response to changing electric fields. The Penn State researchers, who reported the new material in Science last week, say that it could lead to new technologies for cooling computer chips and to environmentally friendly refrigerators.

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Images Stored in Vapors

Images Stored in Vapors

The original image (left), the image slowed for 6 microseconds (middle), and the image stored for 2 microseconds (right). 

Books are written on solid pieces of paper for an obvious reason: the atoms in a solid don’t move around much, keeping the words and pictures in place for centuries. Trying to store letters and images in a gas medium, on the other hand, seems a little far-fetched. Atoms in a gas are constantly moving around, which would move the images around with them.


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