Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Moonage Spacedream: the fear of water vapor

See those pretty little streaks of clouds in that pic? Those are called contrails. Whispery little fragile streaks of ice left behind by jets and rockets that blow away in a very short period of time. There is some debate as to how they affect the Earth's climate since they reflect sunlight. But, that point is somewhat debatable. What is not debatable is how easy it is to scare people over just about anything. To wit per GOPandtheCity:...

Jet trails just water vapor, not sprayed chemicals, experts say - Nashville, Tennessee - Wednesday, 11/29/06 -

Blue skies have been turning white this month as airplane traffic crisscrosses the sky.

The trails that jets leave behind grow, creating thin, cirrus-style clouds that aviation officials say result from water vapor from engine exhausts and in the air turning to ice crystals.

At least two Nashvillians aren't convinced. They subscribe to a concept that chemicals are being sprayed from planes.

"Why are there times that you don't see them at all?" said Scott Webb. "That's regardless of weather."

Lynn Lowrance, spokeswoman for the Metro Nashville Airport Authority, said it is, in fact, a matter of the weather.

The jet trails — called contrails — can disappear quickly, she said.

When the air is moist and it's colder, the trails can spread in a chain reaction as water vapor turns into ice particles. Feathery clouds result.

"They don't pose any health risk," Lowrance said.

Scott and Guy Avery, a local running coach, disagree, pointing to articles and talk on the Internet alleging that the government is spraying chemicals from planes, perhaps for experimentation.

"Chemtrails," as they're called on Web sites, have been a topic for several years, with unmarked military planes often accused of releasing them.

Representatives of Fort Campbell, which only has helicopters, the Tennessee Air National Guard, which has 10 marked propeller planes here, and a U.S. Air Force spokesman in Washington, D.C., said this week they do no such releases.

A NASA researcher said contrails are a cause for concern, but it's not related to chemicals.

A study has shown that the thin, cirrus clouds that plane exhausts can trigger are trapping heat next to the earth, said Pat Minnis, a NASA senior research scientist in Hampton, Va., and a Vanderbilt University graduate.

As air traffic increases, cirrus cloud coverage over the U.S. is rising by 1 percent a decade, Minnis said.

"A single plane can produce a rather large cloud," he said.

After 9/11, when all but a few planes were grounded, scientists had a chance to see that one lone military plane's contrail extended over Ohio and Pennsylvania, he said.

The icy cloud eventually covered about 6,170 square miles.

While NASA papers indicate that the impact on temperature of plane-produced clouds is significant, not everyone agrees, Minnis said.

"Whether or not it's a global climate problem, we'll see," he said.

More research is going on to try to determine that.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Renal Systems from Penal Systems

Renal Systems from Penal Systems
Taking a tip from O.J. Simpson, the Deputy Health Minister of China has finally come out and confessed to what everybody already knew: Many of the organs Chinese doctors use in transplants come from executed prisoners. He also noted that a substantial number of recipients are foreigners willing to pay an arm and a leg for a kidney. While this illegal organ trade has long been an open secret, the Chinese government spent years denying that many spare parts came from the condemned. But now that China has announced it will be closely monitoring death penalty cases, it acknowledges that there is a problem with organ donation. Amnesty International estimated that at least 1,770 people were executed in China in 2005. Last year, Chinese doctors transplanted 8,102 kidneys, 3,741 livers and 80 hearts, and experts believe that well over 90 percent of these came from executed prisoners. Even with the ethically sketchy practices, only one percent of Chinese people who need transplants actually get them, and legal experts say the new oversight of death penalty cases will cut the number of executions by a third. It's about time we started growing livers on the backs of mice, no?

Scientists look skyward for climate-change clues- The Economic Times

Scientists are peering into the clouds near the top of the world, trying to solve a mystery and learn something new about global warming. The mystery is the droplets of water in the cluds. With the North Pole just 685 miles away, they should be frozen, yet more of them are liquid than anyone expected. So the scientists working out of a converted blue cargo container are trying to determine whether the clouds are one of the causes — or effects — of Earth’s warming atmosphere.

“Much to our surprise, we found that Arctic clouds have got lots of super-cooled liquid water in them. Liquid water has even been detected in clouds at temperatures as low as minus 30 degrees Celsius,” said Taneil Uttal, chief of the Clouds and Arctic Research Group at the Earth Systems Research Laboratory of the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

“If a cloud is composed of liquid water droplets in the Arctic, instead of ice crystals, then that changes how they will interact with the earth’s surface and the atmosphere to reflect, absorb and transmit radiation,” said Ms Uttal. “It’s a new science, driven by the fact that everybody doing climate predictions says that clouds are perhaps the single greatest unknown factor in understanding global warming.”

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Stealth plane already being mothballed by Air Force - MarketWatch

Stealth plane already being mothballed by Air Force - MarketWatch: "LOS ANGELES (MarketWatch) -- Less than two decades after the world first got a look at the F-117 stealth fighter, the first aircraft built specifically to elude radar is scheduled for retirement by the Air Force -- and some wonder whether the plane's mothballing is a bit premature.
The reasons for shelving the plane that played a key role in the first Iraqi war are to make room for such aircraft as the F-22 Raptor, which has been under fire for being too expensive. But the Air Force has reasoned that the F-22 can do what the F-117 does, and more. Air Force officials did not return phone calls.
Pentagon analysts point out, though, that the F-117's lifespan will wind up being much shorter than most other Air Force aircraft. It's due to come out of service in 2008.
'It's probably the fastest retirement since the 1960s,' said Bill Sweetman, technology and aerospace editor for Jane's Information Group. 'I think the Air Force is trying to cast off older planes.'
The decision is puzzling to some, as not all the Air Force's older aircraft are headed for the scrap heap. Other fighter planes that were conceived prior to the F-117 -- including the F-15 Eagle, F-16 Fighting Falcon and the F/A-18 Hornet -- still are flying and are expected to endure well in"

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Re-Open RFK assassination

Re-Open RFK assassination: "Planning to write a film script about the case, Shane O’Sullivan, an independent researcher, investigated the assassination of RFK. But, O’Sullivan found much more than he had hoped.

On Monday night, the BBC broadcast O’Sullivan’s report on their high-profile programme, Newsnight. O’Sullivan’s findings shocked many people. Working through an exhaustive analysis of videotapes made at the Ambassador Hotel on the night of RFK’s assassination, O’Sullivan identified three figures as former agents of the CIA. Two of the agents O’Sullivan identified could be seen moving away from the hotel pantry shortly after the shooting of RFK.

Following his preliminary identifications, O’Sullivan presented the video images to more authoritative sources, men who knew the three agents personally. While there was a slender degree of uncertainty (circa 5-10%) the men in the videos were positively identified as the former CIA agents:

David Sanchez Morales;

Gordon Campbell and

George Joannides."

YouTube - Model Jumbo Jet

YouTube - Model Jumbo Jet

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

ShoutWire - Two Canada Professors Win Right to Toke up at Work

By Natasha Elkington

TORONTO (Reuters) - The use of medical marijuana has given two Toronto professors the right to something that many students could only dream of -- access to specially ventilated rooms where they can indulge in peace.

The two, at the esteemed University of Toronto and at York University to the north of the city, suffer from chronic medical conditions that some doctors say can be eased by smoking marijuana. They are among nearly 1,500 Canadians who have won the right to use the drug for health reasons.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Massive recall of acetaminophen underway - News

WASHINGTON - Check your medicine cabinet: Millions of bottles of the widely used pain reliever acetaminophen ? some sold as long as three years ago ? are being recalled because they may contain metal fragments.

The recall affects 11 million bottles containing varying quantities of 500-milligram acetaminophen caplets made by the Perrigo Co. The pills were sold under store brands by Wal-Mart, CVS, Safeway and more than 120 other major retailers, the Food and Drug Administration said. At least two chains ? CVS Corp. and SuperValu Inc. ? started pulling the pills from store shelves Thursday.

There were no immediate reports of injuries or illness. The contaminated pills included metal fragments ranging in size from "microdots" to portions of wire one-third of an inch long, the FDA said. The FDA could not describe further the type of metal.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Greenland and Antarctica Ice Caps Linked By Ocean Current

by Staff Writers
Paris (AFP) Nov 8, 2006
Greenland and Antarctica are at opposite ends of the planet but their climate systems appear to be linked by a remarkable ocean current, according to a study appearing Thursday. The paper, coincidentally published as a key UN conference on climate change unfolds in Nairobi, also sheds light on man-made climate change, for it implies that Antarctica's ice could eventually start to melt because of localised warming in the far North Atlantic.

The evidence comes from a 2,500-metre (8,125-feet-) deep ice core, drilled in blood-freezing chill by European scientists at Dronning Maud Land, on the part of Antarctica that faces the South Atlantic.

With its compacted layers of ice and telltale concentrations of methane in trapped air bubbles, the core yields a compelling picture of snowfall and atmospheric temperatures going back 150,000 years.

Even better than that, it can be matched with cores of similar amplitude drilled in the Greenland icesheet.

Put together, the cores provide the first solid evidence to back a theory that millennial scale climate changes that have unfolded in the far north and south of the Atlantic are not isolated, local events, but linked.

The glacial climate in the Northern Atlantic can swing extraordinarily rapidly, with temperatures rising by between eight and 16 C (14.4-28.8 F) within the space of a few decades at the end of each Ice Age and falling back, albeit more slowly, when the next Ice Age beckons.

Antarctica, though, has far smaller temperature shifts, of between only one and three C (1.8-5.4 F), and these unfold over millennia.

But the two sets of ice cores point to what the EPICA (European Project for Ice Coring in Antarctica) scientists, reporting in the British journal Nature, describe as a "bipolar seesaw."

In short: what happens at one end of the Atlantic has a huge effect on the other, although at different timescales and in different ways.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

YouTube - contrail air pollution

YouTube - contrail air pollution

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?

Subscribe to Posts [Atom]