GeekSpeak for 2011-11-05

November 5th, Shmomember 5th!

Guest geek Katie Dutcher (Linguistics and Religious Studies major from Pomona College) joins us to help us understand how amazing 11-02-2011 actually was.

Intelligent Absorbent Removes Radioactive Material from Water

“Nuclear power plants are located close to sources of water, which is used as a coolant to handle the waste heat discharged by the plants. This means that water contaminated with radioactive material is often one of the problems to arise after a nuclear disaster. Researchers at Australia’s Queensland University of Technology (QUT) have now developed what they say is a world-first intelligent absorbent that is capable of removing radioactive material from large amounts of contaminated water, resulting in clean water and concentrated waste that can be stored more efficiently.”

New Algorithm Could Substantially Speed Up MRI Scans

“Faster scans could reduce the time patients spend in the machine from 45 to 15 minutes.”

100,000-star Cluster's Gamma Rays Come From a Single Pulsar

“Pulsars are rapidly rotating neutron stars, with magnetic fields that accelerate particles as they rotate. These particles then emit radiation as they lose energy, creating the bright periodic flashes that characterize a pulsar. These objects were first detected due to emissions in the radio end of the spectrum, but have since been spotted at frequencies as energetic as gamma rays. Now, researchers have spotted the most energetic one yet, a pulsar with gamma ray emissions that add up to a total of 2 × 1012 Megatons of energy every second.”

The World's Ugliest Music

“Scott Rickard set out to do what no musician has ever tried — to make the world’s ugliest piece of music. At TEDxMIA, he discusses the math and science behind creating a piece of music devoid of any pattern.”

Hubble Directly Observes the Disc Around a Black Hole

“Scientists have used the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope to observe a quasar accretion disc — a glowing disc of matter that is slowly being sucked into its galaxy’s central black hole.”

French Scientists Restored The Youth Of 100 Year Old Cells

“French researchers were able to restore the youth of cells taken from people aged over 100 years, reprograming them to stem cells stage, demonstrating that aging is in fact reversible.”

Negroponte Plans Tablet Airdrops to Teach Kids to Read

“Nicholas Negroponte, the brains behind the One Laptop Per Child initiative, is detailing a new plan to inspire the world’s poorest children to teach themselves to read using tablet computers.”

What is Colorblindness?

“Midnight Blue, Burnt Orange, Aquamarine: Since 1903, Crayola crayons—with their fanciful names and hundreds of hues—have introduced generations of American children to the nuanced beauty of the color spectrum. Imagine the public’s surprise when Crayola’s senior crayon maker, Emerson Moser, who molded a record-breaking 1.4 billion crayons in his 37-year career, announced upon his retirement that he was color blind.”

Nov. 2, 2011 is a one-of-a-kind Palindrome

This year is special because it contains two palindrome calendar dates: Jan. 10, 2011 expressed as 1-10-2011 (or simply 1102011) and Nov. 2, 2011 written as 11-02-2011 (11022011). The first one has already occurred and the second one, 11022011, is coming up. (Note that in most of the world where day-month-year date format is used, this year also has two palindrome dates. Date 11022011 representing 11 February 2011 already passed and 1102011 corresponding to 1 October 2011 is about to occur.)


! Desalinate or Not
Last week we had a show about Desalination solutions for Santa Cruz. Listener Rick suggested that we share some [Alternatives to Desalination| http://desalalternatives.org] .