Posts Tagged ‘damage’

UN Summit Strikes Climate Deal Promising “Damage Aid” To Poor Nations

December 9th, 2012 12:20 admin View Comments


Hugh Pickens writes writes “BBC reports that UN climate talks in Doha have closed with a historic shift in principle agreed to by nearly 200 nations extending the Kyoto Protocol through 2020 and establishing for the first time that rich nations should move towards compensating poor nations for losses due to climate change. Until now rich nations have agreed to help developing countries to get clean energy and adapt to climate change, but they have stopped short of accepting responsibility for damage caused by climate change elsewhere. ‘It is a breakthrough,’ says Martin Khor of the South Center — an association of 52 developing nations. ‘The term Loss and Damage is in the text — this is a huge step in principle. Next comes the fight for cash.’ US negotiators made certain that neither the word ‘compensation,’ nor any other term connoting legal liability, was used, to avoid opening the floodgates to litigation – instead, the money will be judged as aid. Ronny Jumea, from the Seychelles, told rich nations earlier that discussion of compensation would not have been needed if they had cut emissions earlier. ‘We’re past the mitigation [emissions cuts] and adaptation eras. We’re now right into the era of loss and damage. What’s next after that? Destruction?’ While the United States has not adopted a comprehensive approach to climate change, the Obama administration has put in place a significant auto emissions reduction program and a plan to regulate carbon dioxide from new power plants. ‘What this meeting reinforced is that while this is an important forum, it is not the only one in which progress can and must be made,’ says Jennifer Haverkamp, director of the international climate programs at the Environmental Defense Fund. The disconnect between the level of ambition the parties are showing here and what needs to happen to avoid dangerous climate change is profound.’”

Source: UN Summit Strikes Climate Deal Promising “Damage Aid” To Poor Nations

Intelligence Map Made From Brain Injury Data

April 10th, 2012 04:22 admin View Comments


An anonymous reader writes with this news out of the University of Illinois: “Scientists report that they have mapped the physical architecture of intelligence in the brain. Theirs is one of the largest and most comprehensive analyses so far of the brain structures vital to general intelligence and to specific aspects of intellectual functioning, such as verbal comprehension and working memory. Their study, published in Brain: A Journal of Neurology (abstract), is unique in that it enlisted an extraordinary pool of volunteer participants: 182 Vietnam veterans with highly localized brain damage from penetrating head injuries. … The researchers took CT scans of the participants’ brains and administered an extensive battery of cognitive tests. They pooled the CT data to produce a collective map of the cortex, which they divided into more than 3,000 three-dimensional units called voxels. By analyzing multiple patients with damage to a particular voxel or cluster of voxels and comparing their cognitive abilities with those of patients in whom the same structures were intact, the researchers were able to identify brain regions essential to specific cognitive functions, and those structures that contribute significantly to intelligence.”

Source: Intelligence Map Made From Brain Injury Data

Japan’s Damaged Reactor Has High Radiation, No Water

March 27th, 2012 03:20 admin View Comments


mdsolar passes along this quote from an Associated Press report: “One of Japan’s crippled nuclear reactors still has fatally high radiation levels and hardly any water to cool it, according to an internal examination Tuesday that renews doubts about the plant’s stability. A tool equipped with a tiny video camera, a thermometer, a dosimeter and a water gauge was used to assess damage inside the No. 2 reactor’s containment chamber for the second time since the tsunami swept into the Fukushima Dai-ichi plant a year ago. The probe done in January failed to find the water surface and provided only images showing steam, unidentified parts and rusty metal surfaces scarred by exposure to radiation, heat and humidity. The data collected from the probes showed the damage from the disaster was so severe, the plant operator will have to develop special equipment and technology to tolerate the harsh environment and decommission the plant, a process expected to last decades.”

Source: Japan’s Damaged Reactor Has High Radiation, No Water

What Scorpions Have To Teach Aircraft Designers

February 8th, 2012 02:00 admin View Comments


First time accepted submitter elloGov writes “The north African desert scorpion, Androctonus australis, is a hardy creature. Most animals that live in deserts dig burrows to protect themselves from the sand-laden wind. Not Androctonus, it usually toughs things out at the surface. Yet when the sand whips by at speeds that would strip paint away from steel, the scorpion is able to scurry off without apparent damage thanks to the unique structure of its carapace. Dr Han Zhiwu of Jilin University and colleagues have found that surface irregularities based on the scorpion’s exoskeleton could substantially minimize atmospheric dust damage to aircraft.”

Source: What Scorpions Have To Teach Aircraft Designers

Programming Error Doomed Russian Mars Probe

February 7th, 2012 02:25 admin View Comments


astroengine writes “So it turns out U.S. radars weren’t to blame for the unfortunate demise of Russia’s Phobos-Grunt Mars sample return mission — it was a computer programming error that doomed the probe, a government board investigating the accident has determined.” According to the Planetary Society Blog’s unofficial translation and paraphrasing of the incident report, “The spacecraft computer failed when two of the chips in the electronics suffered radiation damage. (The Russians say that radiation damage is the most likely cause, but the spacecraft was still in low Earth orbit beneath the radiation belts.) Whatever triggered the chip failure, the ultimate cause was the use of non-space-qualified electronic components. When the chips failed, the on-board computer program crashed.”

Source: Programming Error Doomed Russian Mars Probe

Multiple Sclerosis Damage Washed Away By Stream of Young Blood

January 14th, 2012 01:07 admin View Comments


FatLittleMonkey writes “A new study on mice suggests damage caused by diseases like Multiple sclerosis, as well as natural aging, can be reversed by an infusion of stem cell rich blood from younger mice. Multiple sclerosis is a chronic inflammatory disease that erodes the fatty myelin sheaths around the axons of the brain and spinal cord, and can result in serious disability. Similar effects occur naturally with aging. From New Scientist: ‘White blood cells called macrophages from the young mice gathered at the sites of myelin damage. Macrophages engulf and destroy pathogens and debris, including destroyed myelin. “We know this debris inhibits regeneration, so clearing it up is important,” says team member Amy Wagers of Harvard University.’ Here’s the academic paper’s abstract.”

Source: Multiple Sclerosis Damage Washed Away By Stream of Young Blood

Minor Quakes In the UK Likely Caused By Fracking

November 3rd, 2011 11:53 admin View Comments


Stirling Newberry writes “Non-conventional extraction of hydrocarbons is the next wave of production, including natural gas and oil – at least according to its advocates. One of the most controversial of the technologies being used is hydraulic fracture drilling, or ‘fracking.’ Energy companies have been gobbling up Google ad words to push the view that the technology is ‘proven’ and ‘safe,’ while stories about the damage continue to surface. Adding to the debate are two small tremors in the UK — below 3.0, so very small – that were quite likely the result of fracking there. Because the drilling cracks were shallow, this raises concerns that deeper cracks near more geologically active areas might lead to quakes that could cause serious damage.”

Source: Minor Quakes In the UK Likely Caused By Fracking

Web Hosts — One-Stop-Shops For Mass Hacking?

October 1st, 2011 10:00 admin View Comments


jjp9999 writes “More than 70,000 websites were compromised in a recent breach of InMotion. Thousands of websites were defaced and others had alterations made to give users a hard time accessing their accounts and fixing the damage. A similar attack hit JustHost back in June, and in a breach of Australian Web host DistributeIT just prior to that, hackers completely deleted more than 4,800 websites that the company was unable to recover. The incidents raise concern that hacker groups are bypassing single targets and hitting Web hosts directly, giving them access to tens of thousands of websites, rather than single targets. While the attacks have caused damage, they weren’t as malicious as they could have been. Rather than defacing and deleting, hackers could have quietly planted malware in the sites or stolen customer data. Web hosting companies could be one of the largest holes in non-government cybersecurity, since malicious hackers can gain access through openings left by the Web host, regardless of the security of a given site.”

Source: Web Hosts — One-Stop-Shops For Mass Hacking?

Ten Things You Should Know About the East Coast Quake

August 23rd, 2011 08:48 admin View Comments

(1) First of all, in case you didn’t feel it, a magnitude 5.8 earthquake struck Mineral, Virginia at 1:51 pm.

(2) It was felt for miles around—as far away as Boston, with more reports pouring into the USGS every minute.

(3) The shaking lasted around 30 seconds in Washington, DC, according to the NYT liveblog, where the Capitol and the White House evacuated. No damage or injuries have been reported yet. The video above is the only one so far to show any damage.

(4) It’s the biggest earthquake to hit the East Coast since the 1890s—there was a 5.9 in 1897 in Virginia—and the third-largest since the USGS started keeping records; a 7.3 in 1886 in Charleston, South Carolina was the strongest.

(5) Judging from preliminary USGS data, the quake was unusually shallow—about 6 kilometers below the surface—which may explain why the shaking was so dramatic.

(6) Additionally, the texture of the Earth’s crust on the East Coast may partly explain why shaking was felt so far away: the Maryland Science Center quoted Lucy Jones, a seismologist with the USGS, saying that on “the East Coast you have this old hard, cold crust that does a lovely job of transmitting the waves.”

(7) In the storm of tweets that went out after the quake, @Stanford noted that Boston is actually at a higher risk of devastating quakes than San Francisco. While the city by the bay obviously has more and more severe quakes, the city is better prepared; Boston has more old buildings, constructed before modern earthquake codes went into effect.

(8) The epicenter was not far from the North Anna nuclear power plant, operated by Dominion Power. Following an automated protocol, the plant’s two reactors safely went offline when the quake struck, reports AOLEnergy, and diesel generators took over providing power until they can be started up again.

(9) Gizmodo is collecting videos taken during the quake: check out their gallery here.

(10) If you felt the quake, tell the USGS about it here, and tell us in the comments below.

Source: Ten Things You Should Know About the East Coast Quake

The Case For Surrealism In Games

August 11th, 2011 08:51 admin View Comments


An editorial at PikiGeek takes the position that gaming’s trend toward realism can be detrimental in many situations, with the quest for graphical precision supplanting creativity and uniqueness. Quoting: “The problem I find most troubling with realism in games is that video games are inherently unrealistic. By definition, even, video games must adhere to some sense of absurdity. In Uncharted, no matter how realistic and convincing the characters and environments may be, the fact is that Nathan Drake can take a hell of a lot of damage, and is a little too good with every gun known to man. In Call of Duty, if realism is such a coveted aspect of the series, why does your character only bleed out of his eyes, and why is damage rarely permanent? The ‘game’ part of these games keeps them from being truly realistic, and in turn makes them even less believable. Characters like Link, or even Master Chief, are believable in even the most absurd situations, as the worlds that they belong to don’t try to conform to the world that we live in.”

Source: The Case For Surrealism In Games