The implications and applications of the material can be world altering as Chinese scientist have created a material so light that when perched on a flower will not crush it. A cubic centimeter of the substance called carbon aerogel has the mass of o.16 milligrams according to a new study by scientists at Zhejang University which makes the material 12 percent lighter than previous record holders at the same volume such as aerographite. According to Huff Post, if the average human body were made entirely of the material instead of flesh and bones then it would weight 1/40th of a pound. Carbon aerogel can absorb up to 900 times its weight in liquid which means it could clean up events such as oil spills and as a durable as well as elastic material could be rather useful material for advanced electronics reports Huff Post according to Dr. Chao Gao a professor of polymer science and engineering. According to Gao the material is quite easy to make as his team started with semi-solid gel of carbon nanotubes and graphene then used a freeze drying process to convert it to a solid. The study was published online in February in Advanced Materials.
Changing the world one billboard at a time or at least that is the hope for one group of imaginative engineers and I don’t mean Disney. It is no secret that water is in short supply especially in some areas around the world with only three percent of the water in the world potable. At a rapid rate, the world has used much of the water leading us all eventually into a world water crisis if nothing is done to curb our appetite. What makes it worse is the fact that many of our fresh water canal and underground springs are polluted everyday by large corporations and carelessness killing species that thrive in these areas. The hope here is to take inspiration away from the video and find ways to lessen your footprint on the world by making positive choices and taking responsibility for what man has done. The engineers came up with the idea because of a necessity and scarcity of water available in some parts of the world.
The University of Engineering and Technology of Peru partnered with the ad agency Mayo DraftFCBand to the first ever billboard to capture humidity and turn it into potable drinking water in Lima in order to address the area’s water insecurity issues as well as bring a message of hope in the second largest desert capital in the world. The structure was created in order to address the issue of residents being forced to drink polluted water from wells. As one resident of the Bujama District explains, ” They could put this in different places if possible in each village, in each town…the water that gives us life.” Peru gets less than two inches of rain, but has an atmospheric humidity of 98 percent according to the video so the billboard uses reverse osmosis, a water purifying process, in order to produce the water and stores the water in tanks up to 20 liters each providing 9,450 liters in three months.
The implementation of the billboard coincides with a study, published in the Cryosphere journal, showing the Andean glaciers which provides fresh water for the residents of Peru and other countries has shrunk 30 to 50 percent since the 1970s. Antoine Rabatel, one author of the study, explains: “Glacier retreat in the tropical Andes over the last three decades is unprecedented.” With water supplies dwindling due to climate change and a growing population facing food insecurity issues, the billboard provides one innovative solution in a sea of many possibilities. NanoGanesh, for example, allows farmers to use mobile phones to turn off irrigation systems remotely decreasing the use of water and electricity. According to the Associated Press, the UN and other global agencies are calling for greater solutions to the water crisis as 60 percent of the world’s population will be living in cities in the next eight years putting more strain on resources and sanitation. UN Deputy Chief Jan Eliasson had this to say, “If we do water and sanitation right, we can have a great improvement on others goals.” The impact of such technology is vast and the potential to save lives is enormous as the access to potable clean water will reduce maternal health issues, child mortality and overall poverty.
On Friday, archeologists unearthed a graveyard during a rail project excavation in London that could hold the remain of 50,000 or more people who died almost 650 years ago from the “Black Death” Plague. According to Reuters, thirteen skeletons were laid out in two neat rows discovered 8 feet below the road in Farringdon area central London by researching working on the $24 billion Crossrail project. Historical records indicate that the area was a no man’s land where a cemetery was established for bubonic plague victims which killed a third of England’s population following the outbreak in 1348. Jay Carver, Crossrail’s lead archeologist, explains that “At this early stage, the depth of burials, the pottery found with the skeletons and the way the skeletons have been set out, all point towards this being part of the 14th century emergency burial ground.” As Reuters reports, limited records suggest that up to 50,000 victims were buried in less than three years in the cemetery as the plague ravaged the capital. The skeletons have already been taken away for testing as archeologists hope they will shed light on the DNA signature of the plague and confirm the burial dates. The cemetery is the second significant medieval discovery, the first being last month with the discovery of the remains of King Richard III under a car park in Central England, in England recently.
It’s a bird…it’s a plane…it’s it’s a UFO???? Like their are not enough problems in the world, now space has to give everyone an attitude. Last week was a of spectacular spacial events with a meteor smashing and crashing into Russia, a light show over San Francisco, and astronomers in Australia witnessing an asteroid pass Earth. A week full of coincidences is what scientist are calling it, but it does raise the question why didn’t anyone see it coming? There is no early warning system right now, but many countries believe after last week that a system needs to be in place especially because things could of gone very differently last week. As the meteor smashed into pieces over Russia, one piece manage to crash into a frozen lake instead of a nuclear disposal facility that would of caused greater damage and loss of life. Luckily, the Chelyabinsk, Russia 55 foot asteroid sent out a shock wave from its mid air explosion that managed to shatter windows across the area leaving 1,200 people injured and thousands of buildings damaged. What shall we do?
Have no fear, Hawaii has come up with a solution to prevent other close calls like the asteroid 2012 DA14 last week and the unexpected meteor blast over Russia. One team of astronomers at the University of Hawaii is developing a warning system to help safe guard the planet from surprise attacks. The new Asteroid Terrestrial Impact Last Alert System (ATLAS) scheduled to be ready in 2015 will have 8 small telescopes equipped with cameras that are a 100 megapixels in resolution and fixed mounted at one or two locations in the Hawaiian Islands. The system will offer one week warming for a 50 yard asteroid that could wipe out a whole city and three weeks for a 150 yard space rock that could wipe out a whole country. John Tonry, a University of Hawaii astronomer, says that the time allotted will allow time to evacuate the area, take measures to protect the infrastructure, and alert of tsunami dangers generated by ocean impacts. Had the larger asteroid 2012 DA14 hit the Earth, the 130 foot asteroid would of obliterated the city of Chelyabinsk according to scientist and NASA observations. The asteroid on Friday came as close as 17,200 miles of Earth well inside Earth’s communication satellites however it never posed a threat. The ATLAS telescope will scan the skies twice a night in search of objects that may be asteroids. The ATLAS project will receive $5 million in funding over five years from NASA’s Near Earth Observation Program. Besides asteroids, ATLAS will also search for dwarf planets, supernova explosions and other cosmic objects.
On Saturday as many begin to repair and replace acres of windows caused by a meteor explosion, many residents joked about what happened saying the residents of the meteor were terrified to see Chelyabinsk approaching. The situation has brought together people in the area to fix damage done by the meteor explosion and many residents together on the Internet to find out more about the meteor and to have a laugh. The temperature during winter drops to minus 30 Celsius or minus 22 Fahrenheit making it very important for the repair to be completed.
The concern from Friday’s meteor hit surrounds the dangerous facilities located near Chelyabinsk. The fireball itself reportedly injured 1,200 people by the shock wave from the explosion which is the equivalent to 20 Hiroshima atomic bombs. In 1957, the Mayak nuclear weapons plant had one of its waste tanks explode contaminating 9,200 square miles and causing the evacuation of 10,000 residents. It is now Russia’s main disposal facility and only 50 mile east of the city.
This one traumatic event has brought more than 24,000 people from all over the region to help with the relief efforts. The goal for them is to cover windows, gather warm clothes and food, and other efforts as well according to the governor’s office. Glass companies adjacent to the region were also flown in. Gov. Mikhail Yurevich on Saturday said that the damages are at 1 billion rubles or $33 million, but he promises that all broken windows will be fixed within the week as temperatures in the region are dropping. The immediate task by midday in Chelyabinsk where temperatures dropped to minus 12 Celsius or 10 Fahrenheit was to cover the windows with plastic sheeting and boards until they can be repaired.
As the search for the meteor fragments in Chebarkul continue, other places in the world are experiencing something similar to Chelyabinsk. In the town of Chebarkul, divers explore the 20 foot wide hole left by a meteor fragment that hit the lake and haven’t found anything yet according to the Emergency Ministry spokeswoman Irina Rossius. Residents of San Francisco on the other side of the planet experienced lights in the sky on Friday night as reports to the science institute in Northern California. In Cuba, residents described a bright light and loud explosion similar to that in Russia that shook windows and walls. There were no reported injuries or damages like the Russian meteorite.
Above is a picture of the impact site in Russia where today a large meteor hit leaving many injured and several questions unanswered. We were just lucky this time that the meteor was one of the smaller ones that travel by earth. With a flash and a booming shock wave, a meteor over Russia’s Ural Mountains Friday exploded with the force of an atomic bomb injuring 1,000 people as it blasted windows and caused panic in Chelyabinsk, a city of 1 million. NASA estimates the size to be that of a bus and weighing 7,000 tons. Videos of the dramatic fireball over the city show streaming contrails arcing toward the horizon just after sunrise. The meteor came just after a 150 foot asteroid passed within 17,000 miles of Earth. The European Space Agency do not believe the two are connected just coincidence.
The meteor enter the atmosphere at 9:20 am local time at 33,000 mph and broke into pieces about 18-32 in the sky according to The Russian Academy of Science. NASA said that the energy released was in hundreds of kilotons. The shock wave from the blast blew in 1 million square feet of glass according to city officials and 3,000 buildings in Chelyabinsk were damaged. Most of the injuries were from flying glass as an estimated 1,100 people sought medical attentions and 48 were hospitalized. There no immediate words on deaths or anyone struck by fragments of the meteor.
President Vladimir Putin summoned the nation’s emergency minister and ordered repairs. Some fragments fell into a reservoir outside the town of Chebarkul according to the Interior Ministry leaving a 26 foot hole in the ice. Injury from the sonic booms when meteors enter the atmosphere are extraordinarily rare. The many broken windows leave residents exposed to the cold as temperatures are expected to drop to minus 20 degrees Celsius or minus 4 degrees Fahrenheit overnight. The regional governor has asked anyone who can repair windows please help. Social media including Twitter was flooded with videos from dashboard cameras that Russians mount on their cars in case of corrupt traffic police or accident disputes. Strong reactions from many prominent Russian leaders also surfaced calling for more research and funding from World Powers to come up with a way to prevent falling space objects from causing devastation. NASA said the fireball was the largest since 1908, when a meteor hit Tunguska, Siberia about 3,000 miles away from Chelyabinsk and destroyed 80 million trees.
The 150 foot space rock that passed Earth on Friday was dubbed Asteroid 2012 DA14. The asteroid was invisible to U.S. astronomers, but Australian astronomers used binoculars and telescopes to watch it across the night sky. According to Jim Green, NASA’s director of planetary science, called the event rare and historic since usually the fireballs are not seen because they fall over oceans or remote areas.
The Russian meteor could of led to a serious problem in the area hosting nuclear and chemical weapons disposal facilities. The meteor struck only 60 miles from the Mayak nuclear storage and disposal facility where dozens of tons of weapons grade plutonium is held noted Vladimir Chuprov of Greenpeace Russia. A chemical weapons disposal facility at Shchuchye also has 6,000 tons of nerve agents including sarin and VX about 14 percent of the chemical weapons Russia has committed to destroy.
According to the Huffington Post article, one of the most popular jokes was that the meteorite was supposed to fall on Dec. 21, 2012 – when many believed the Mayan calendar predicted the end of the world – but was delivered late by Russia’s notoriously inefficient postal service.
Huge storm has already made its way to the East Coast where people are preparing for a long weekend of being locked in doors. The region which is still recovering from Superstorm Sandy has dealt with several weather phenomenon that seem to hit one after another. This on is no different with expected snowfall of up to 3 feet from Boston to New York and beyond, however the weather predictions seem to be wrong lately especially in this region with regards to how the weather will behave. As the snow begins to fall, experts are predicting this on to be a massive possibly historic blizzard sending people into survival mode. Some areas are doing voluntary evacuations while other are buckling down with supplies and plenty of gas. In fact, several places in the northeast region have sold out of basic food and supplies including milk and gas. Even before it began to snow, Boston, Providence, R.I., Hartford, Conn., and other New England towns and cities as well as Upstate New York canceled school Friday and airlines scratching more than 3,700 flights through Saturday disrupting flights throughout the U.S. The heaviest snowfall is expected on Friday night into Saturday, while wind gusts could reach 75mph. Many states are trying to prepare for power failures and coastal flooding in areas still recovering from Superstorm Sandy in October. Mayor Michael Bloomberg has plows and 250,000 tons of salt on hand as New York City is expecting 10 to 14 inches. Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick has banned all traffic on roads after 4 p.m., the first since 1978. In Whitman, Massachusetts, public works has already started preparing for plowing the roads later in the day. In Maine, 6 inches of snow was blamed for a 19 car pileup on Friday morning in Cumberland. Some New Jersey towns hit hard by Superstorm Sandy have issued voluntary evacuations for the area especially in flood prone areas. Amtrak’s Northeast Corridor services will be suspended at 1:15 p.m. EST between New York and Boston. The organizer’s of New York Fashion Week will add a few more layers to the venue, turn up the heat, and have extra crews to remove snow. Blizzard warning were posted in parts of New Jersey, New York’s Long Island, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New Hampshire, Maine and Providence.