Posts Tagged ‘MIT’

Fun science

Thursday, October 1st, 2009

Wouldn’t it be better if the TV personalities would talk serenely about facts rather than loudly bashing someone or some idea.   Wouldn’t it be better if we stopped listening to them;  just shut them off, because we were all two busy admiring people who are discovering and inventing stuff. Science claims that basically we are herd animals.  Maybe we need to classify ourselves as a home planet herd.  We’ll just push the loudmouths to the outside of the herd for the lions to eat.

the desire to classify is inherent in humans, as we crave a sense of order. Similarly,  humans are predisposed to impose group boundaries and to see outsiders as a threat. We seek every opportunity to identify with a home land, a home tribe, a home religion, a home team, and to declare everybody else the enemy.

Wheee – chromosomes!


Human DNA By ed_case

But some of you are doing fascinating things with your timecheck it out

Inventor Shawn Frayne has come up with a device that harnesses the power of wind without any rotating parts. Instead, his company’s Windbelts capture energy using fluttering fabric.   Air passes over a taut membrane, it induces a vibration, somewhat akin to a violin bow.   Magnets mounted on the membrane bounce back and forth between metal coils, inducing an electric current.

What makes this so way cool is that it can be put on fences in urban areas and it can be palm sized or room sized and the materials it is made from are all available right here in the good ole USA.



Scientists from Ohio State University report that marijuana, contrary to the conventional wisdom,  may help ward off Alzheimer’s and keep recall sharp. Are you kidding me? The only thing I was able to recall was where the ice cream was. Their findings, released today at the Society for Neuroscience meeting in Washington D.C.:  chemical components  of marijuana reduce inflammation and stimulate the production of new brain cells, thereby enhancing memory. I don’t know, I’ll need more evidence before I believe this one.


two students (from MIT, of course) put together a low-budget rig to fly a camera high enough to photograph the curvature of the Earth. Instead of rockets, boosters and expensive control systems, they filled a weather balloon with helium and hung a styrofoam beer cooler underneath to carry a cheap Canon A470 compact camera. Instant hand warmers kept things from freezing up and made sure the batteries stayed warm enough to work.  Show this to your kids next time they whine about being bored.

Of course, all this would be pointless if the guys couldn’t find the rig when it landed, so they dropped a prepaid GPS-equipped cellphone inside the box for tracking. Total cost, including duct tape? $148.  they must have giggled after they pulled this off.

earth on $148


This is my favorite story.  Click the link to see the full story.  I’m not doing this fascinating kid justice with this short introduction.

The extraordinary true story of a Malawian teenager who transformed his village by building electric windmills out of junk is the subject of a new book, The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind.

Self-taught William Kamkwamba has been feted by climate change campaigners like Al Gore and business leaders the world over.

“People thought I was smoking marijuana,” he said. “So I told them I was only making something for juju [magic].’ Then they said: ‘Ah, I see.'”

william kamkwamba

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