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Posted by Xeno on February 28, 2011
Posted by Xeno on May 19, 2013
Whether you need to brush up on your chemistry, or just love it when someone sets the Periodic Table to music, AsapSCIENCE’s The NEW Periodic Table Song is for you.
This rundown of the elements in numerical order is set to Jacques Offenbach’s Infernal Galop, but was otherwise written, produced, and performed by Mitchell Moffit. Here are the lyrics in case you missed anything:
There’s Hydrogen and Helium Then Lithium, Beryllium Boron, Carbon everywhere Nitrogen all through the air
With Oxygen so you can breathe And Fluorine for your pretty teeth Neon to light up the signs Sodium for salty times
Magnesium, Aluminium, Silicon Phosphorus, then Sulfur, Chlorine and Argon Potassium, and Calcium so you’ll grow strong Scandium, Titanium, Vanadium and Chromium and Manganese
CHORUS This is the Periodic Table Noble gas is stable Halogens and Alkali react agressively Each period will see new outer shells While electrons are added moving to the right
Iron is the 26th Then Cobalt, Nickel coins you get Copper, Zinc and Gallium Germanium and Arsenic
Selenium and Bromine film While Krypton helps light up your room Rubidium and Strontium then Yttrium, Zirconium
Niobium, Molybdenum, Technetium Ruthenium, Rhodium, Palladium Silver-ware then Cadmium and Indium Tin-cans, Antimony then Tellurium and Iodine and Xenon and then Caesium and…
Barium is 56 and this is where the table splits Where Lanthanides have just begun Lanthanum, Cerium and Praseodymium
Neodymium’s next too Promethium, then 62″s Samarium, Europium, Gadolinium and Terbium Dysprosium, Holmium, Erbium, Thulium Ytterbium, Lutetium
Hafnium, Tantalum, Tungsten then we’re on to Rhenium, Osmium and Iridium Platinum, Gold to make you rich till you grow old Mercury to tell you when it’s really cold
Thallium and Lead then Bismuth for your tummy Polonium, Astatine would not be yummy Radon, Francium will last a little time Radium then Actinides at 89
Actinium, Thorium, Protactinium Uranium, Neptunium, Plutonium Americium, Curium, Berkelium Californium, Einsteinium, Fermium Mendelevium, Nobelium, Lawrencium Rutherfordium, Dubnium, Seaborgium Bohrium, Hassium then Meitnerium Darmstadtium, Roentgenium, Copernicium
Ununtrium, Flerovium Ununpentium, Livermorium Ununseptium, Ununoctium And then we’re done!!
Posted by Xeno on May 18, 2013
This week the boss of one of southern Italy’s most powerful mafia dynasties sensationally handed himself in to police after three years on the run – and now faces 16 years in jail. The BBC was inside the police station when it happened.
At 4:15pm local time on Wednesday, ‘Ndrangheta boss Giuseppe “Peppe” Pesce walked into the Carabinieri station in his native Rosarno like a man who had come to pay a parking ticket.
Freshly shaven and smiling incongruously, the mafioso – one of Calabria’s most-wanted – was only a quarter of an hour late for the deadline he had set for his own surrender to the authorities.
The special Carabinieri team who had been hunting him obsessively for nearly three years looked resentful. Being denied the chance to capture him themselves seemed to have temporarily blinded them to the enormous symbolism of this criminal’s public gesture.
Mafia bosses never normally turn themselves in. In extreme circumstances, if faced with certain death at the hands of their rivals or when too old or ill to survive in hiding, they may strike secret “face-saving” deals where authorities pretend to have captured them against their will.
Instead, there he was, healthy 33-year-old Peppe Pesce. The undisputed scion of one of the supreme clans of the ‘Ndrangheta, Italy’s little-known but most powerful mafia organisation, amenably holding out his hands – palms up – for the black ink to be rolled over them ahead of old-fashioned fingerprinting.
The authorities had been so incredulous Pesce would turn up – as his lawyers had secretly told them he would – that no other journalists had been forewarned, in case news leaked and made him change his mind.
I was lucky to be the only one there, on a follow up trip to a BBC This World documentary on the ‘Ndrangheta I had recently made with historian John Dickie. As the Pesces featured prominently in it I knew this was to be an extraordinary day in Calabria.
This was no family of mafia quitters. The Pesce are a criminal dynasty. Peppe Pesce inherited the baton of “regent” of the clan after his older brother Francesco “Ciccio” Pesce was captured in an underground bunker in 2011. Ciccio had taken the boss’s mantle over from their father Antonino, as Antonio had from grandfather Don Peppino.Over half a century they had built a family empire worth at least £200m through drug trafficking across Europe, as well as extortion, violence and corruption in their own ravaged Calabrian backyard. This is the way of the ‘Ndrangheta which, unlike the Sicilian Mafia, favours bloodline over merit.
From the mafioso perspective, I assumed he would be bringing the ultimate disgrace to himself and his own family. But I was wrong. As news of Peppe’s appearance spread in Rosarno, the Carabinieri station turned into a pilgrimage site.
In pairs, small groups, leaning on walking sticks or carried in push-chairs, dozens and dozens of relatives and well-wishers from six months old to 90, came to pay their respects to the fallen boss.
The Carabinieri were faced with a difficult decision. Whether or not to show magnanimity to a man who had not seen his family in three years and most likely will not for many more.Grandmother Giuseppa, fully clad in black from head to toe, was among the first to be allowed in the room where her grandchild was sitting. Covering the last tooth left in her mouth with a hand, she wept.
“Where are you going?” she asked.
“Come on, grandma. To prison, of course,” he said.
“I will never see you again,” she said.
“Don’t worry,” he said and laughed dismissively. “I’ll hurry up. I have done nothing wrong. I am in the goat business.”
The second, younger-looking grandmother chimed in. “Your innocence will be proved, just as Christ was resurrected,” she said. …
Posted by Xeno on May 18, 2013
This handout photo from the Russian FSB shows a man named as Ryan Fogle, arrested on suspicion of spying
Russia has named the alleged US intelligence chief in Moscow – a move seen as breaching diplomatic protocol.
It follows Moscow’s decision to expel US diplomat Ryan Fogle, who was accused of trying to recruit a Russian intelligence officer as a spy.
Mr Fogle, a purported CIA agent, was arrested on Tuesday while wearing a blond wig and was briefly detained.
Russia says it warned the CIA Moscow station chief in 2011 to stop the “provocative” recruitment of spies.
An unnamed official of the Russian FSB security services told the Interfax news agency on Friday that if recruitment attempts continued, the FSB “would take ‘mirror’ actions in relation to CIA officers”.
The report gave the full name of the alleged CIA (Central Intelligence Agency) chief of station in Moscow. However, it is not clear if the same person remains in the post.
Mr Fogle is said to have been a third secretary at the US embassy in Moscow. He has been declared “persona non grata” for what the Russian foreign ministry called “provocative actions in the spirit of the Cold War”.
He has been ordered to leave Russia but it is not clear whether he has already done so.
Russia said Mr Fogle was caught while trying to recruit an FSB counter-terrorism agent in the Caucasus.
The Kommersant newspaper said he was investigating the suspects in the Boston Marathon bombing attacks, who came from the Caucasus.
The FSB said another alleged spy, also a third secretary, was caught and expelled in January.
US officials have refused to comment on the naming of the alleged CIA chief. …
A spokesman for Russian President Vladimir Putin told the Itar-Tass news agency: “This does nothing to contribute to the further building of mutual confidence between Russia and the US.”
Relations between the two countries have been strained, most recently over the conflict in Syria. Russia backs the government, while the US supports the rebels. …
If only Putin and Obama would join forces and worship the same stone owl at the Bohemian Grove they wouldn’t have to turn citizens into remotely controlled human drones to conduct mass killings for political change. Of course there may be other reasons for the conflict over Syria:
Syria is the only significant crude oil producing country in the Eastern Mediterranean region, which includes Jordan, Lebanon, Israel, the West Bank, and Gaza. According to the Oil and Gas Journal, Syria had 2,500,000,000 barrels (400,000,000 m3) of petroleum reserves as of 1 January 2010. Syria’s known oil reserves are mainly in the eastern part of the country in the Deir ez-Zor Governorate near its border with Iraq and along the Euphrates River; a number of smaller fields are located in the center of the country. In 2010, Syria produced around 385,000 barrels (61,200 m3) per day of crude oil. Oil production has stabilized after falling for a number of years, and is poised to turn around as new fields come on line. – wikipedia
Posted by Xeno on May 18, 2013
Well-wishers around the world contribute towards £34,000 cost of life-saving surgery to save hydrocephalic baby’s life.
A toddler whose head swelled up to three times its normal size has undergone surgery which could save her life.
Roona Begum caught the world’s attention when images of her plight were published in a last-ditch bid to help her get treatment.
She suffered an extreme case of hydrocephalus, which means that water collects in the head instead of being absorbed into the body.
Doctors in Agartala, northeast India, where Roona lives, said that the amount of excess fluid makes up around half the 18-month-old’s body weight.
Experts had abandoned nearly all hope that Roona’s life could be saved. Without treatment, she is almost certain to die but her father, Abdul, could not afford to pay for surgery.
But well-wishers around the world have clubbed together and raised £34,000 to give Roona the chance of a more normal life.
Treatment is under way and doctors are positive. They drained some of the liquid from her head and inserted a shunt to direct the liquids toward her stomach for it to be absorbed naturally into her body.
Surgeon Sandeep Vaishya said: “The surgery went perfectly – much better than expected.
“It’s a success but it’s too early to say what the quality of her future life will be like.”
Roona will face plenty of challenges when the lengthy procedure is complete.
Her body is seriously under-developed because her very rare condition has caused limited mobility.
Vaishya said that strengthening her would become a priority.
“Her neck muscles are very underdeveloped so she will need more nutrition and extensive physiotherapy to make her stronger,” Vaishya said.
“Her body will have to grow strong so she can learn to sit up and move about and live a normal life.”
Abdul Begum added: “The day she was born, the doctor said there were no guarantees she would survive.
“I figured we would do our best for as long as we could and Allah would help us with the rest.”
Posted by Xeno on May 18, 2013
A would-be robber had a lucky escape after he was struck by a bus, moments after he snatched a woman’s mobile phone.
The incident happened in the Colombian city of Bogota, and was captured on CCTV.
The man escaped with only minor injuries, while his victim’s mobile phone was returned to her.
You were given a 2nd chance to live an honorable life, son. Don’t blow it.
Posted by Xeno on May 18, 2013
Garden cress is a fast growing and edible herb that will sprout in just a small amount of slightly alkaline water. But there is one exception to that rule, and is has scientists scratching their heads.
A group of 5 girls have carried out a science experiment at Hjallerup School in North Jutland, Denmark that saw garden cress seeds placed in 12 tubs and split into two batches. Both batches were placed in different rooms that remained the same temperature, and were given the same amount of water and sunlight over the course of 12 days.
You’d expect both batches of 6 tubs to grow equally well, but one set didn’t even germinate. The reason? They were placed next to two routers. Although it’s unclear exactly why this happened, it is thought that the radiation produced by the routers is what stopped the seeds germinating.
The girls’ experiment was geared towards testing the potential impact of phone radiation on surrounding objects. They didn’t have phones to use though, so decided the routers were a good alternative. The experiment has certainly caught the interest of the international science community and is set to be repeated in a more controlled environment. One of the first controlled experiments will be carried out by Professor Olle Johansson from the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm. Hopefully it will shed more light on why this is happening.
Johansson has said he’s impressed by the girl’s experiment and hopes they will continue into research careers when they are older. For the moment, the girls just find the attention exciting and have all decided not to sleep with a mobile phone anywhere near their beds for fear of it having some negative impact just like with the cress. …
Posted by Xeno on May 18, 2013
An automated telescope monitoring the moon has captured images of an 88-pound (40 kg) rock slamming into the lunar surface, creating a bright flash of light, NASA scientists said on Friday.
The explosion on March 17 was the biggest seen since NASA began watching the moon for meteoroid impacts about eight years ago. So far, more than 300 strikes have been recorded.
“It exploded in a flash nearly 10 times as bright as anything we’ve ever seen before,” Bill Cooke, with NASA’s Meteoroid Environment Office at the Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, said in a statement.
A NASA satellite orbiting the moon is now on a hunt for the newly formed crater, which scientists estimate could be as wide as 66 feet (20 meters).
The flash was so bright that anyone looking at the moon at the moment of impact could have seen it without a telescope, NASA said.
After reviewing digital recordings made by one of the program’s telescopes, scientists determined the space rock was about 1 foot (0.3 meters) in diameter, and traveling about 56,000 mph (90,123 kph) when it slammed into the moon and exploded with the force of five tons of TNT.
That same night, cameras detected an unusually high number of meteors blasting through Earth’s atmosphere as well. Most meteors burn up well before reaching the ground.
But not always. In February, an asteroid estimated to be about 66 feet (20 meters) in diameter exploded over Chelyabinsk, Russia, damaging buildings and shattering glass, leaving more than 1,500 injured. It was the largest object to strike Earth since 1908.
“The Russian fireball was many orders of magnitude larger and possessed 100,000 times more energy,” than the lunar impact, Cooke wrote in an email to Reuters.
He believes the lunar impact and the March 17 meteor shower on Earth are related, the result of both bodies traveling together through a region of space sprinkled with small rocks and dust.
“We’ll be keeping an eye out for signs of a repeat performance next year when the Earth-moon system passes through the same region of space,” Cooke said. (Editing by Kevin Gray and Doina Chiacu)
Posted by Xeno on May 17, 2013
Graphene has dazzled scientists, ever since its discovery more than a decade ago, with its unequalled electronic properties, its strength and its light weight. But one long-sought goal has proved elusive: how to engineer into graphene a property called a band gap, which would be necessary to use the material to make transistors and other electronic devices.
Now, new findings by researchers at MIT are a major step toward making graphene with this coveted property. The work could also lead to revisions in some theoretical predictions in graphene physics.
The new technique involves placing a sheet of graphene — a carbon-based material whose structure is just one atom thick — on top of hexagonal boron nitride, another one-atom-thick material with similar properties. The resulting material shares graphene’s amazing ability to conduct electrons, while adding the band gap necessary to form transistors and other semiconductor devices.
The work is described in a paper in the journal Science co-authored by Pablo Jarillo-Herrero, the Mitsui Career Development Assistant Professor of Physics at MIT, Professor of Physics Ray Ashoori, and 10 others.
“By combining two materials,” Jarillo-Herrero says, “we created a hybrid material that has different properties than either of the two.”
Graphene is an extremely good conductor of electrons, while boron nitride is a good insulator, blocking the passage of electrons. “We made a high-quality semiconductor by putting them together,” Jarillo-Herrero explains. Semiconductors, which can switch between conducting and insulating states, are the basis for all modern electronics.
To make the hybrid material work, the researchers had to align, with near perfection, the atomic lattices of the two materials, which both consist of a series of hexagons. The size of the hexagons (known as the lattice constant) in the two materials is almost the same, but not quite: Those in boron nitride are 1.8 percent larger. So while it is possible to line the hexagons up almost perfectly in one place, over a larger area the pattern goes in and out of register.
At this point, the researchers say they must rely on chance to get the angular alignment for the desired electronic properties in the resulting stack. However, the alignment turns out to be correct about one time out of 15, they say.
“The qualities of the boron nitride bleed over into the graphene,” Ashoori says. But what’s most “spectacular,” he adds, is that the properties of the resulting semiconductor can be “tuned” by just slightly rotating one sheet relative to the other, allowing for a spectrum of materials with varied electronic characteristics.
Others have made graphene into a semiconductor by etching the sheets into narrow ribbons, Ashoori says, but such an approach substantially degrades graphene’s electrical properties. By contrast, the new method appears to produce no such degradation.
Researchers from the University of Manchester discovered that sandwiching graphene between boron nitride layers can produce highly-accurate capacitors. Such capacitors could be cheaper and easier to fabricate compared to traditional transistors.
The researchers used quantum capacitance spectroscopy to investigate the exceptional properties of graphene …
Posted by Xeno on May 17, 2013
Yet in fact, these are microscopic crystals grown in a Harvard laboratory.
Measuring just microns across, they were created to assemble themselves a molecule at a time.
The team say the work, carried out on glass slides, is able to control the process of crystal growth so precisely it can create curved and delicate shapes, that don’t resemble the cubic or jagged forms normally associated with crystals.
“Rather, fields of carnations and marigolds seem to bloom from the surface of a submerged glass slide, assembling themselves a molecule at a time,” the team say.
“For at least 200 years, people have been intrigued by how complex shapes could have evolved in nature.
“This work helps to demonstrate what’s possible just through environmental, chemical changes,” said Wim L. Noorduin of the Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS) and lead author of the paper in the journal Science.
By simply manipulating chemical gradients in a beaker of flui the team was able to create different “flowers”.
The shape of the crystals depends on a reaction of compounds that are diffusing through a liquid solution.
The crystals grow toward or away from certain chemical gradients as the pH of the reaction shifts back and forth.
The conditions of the reaction dictate whether the structure resembles broad, radiating leaves, a thin stem, or a rosette of petals, the team say.
“It is not unusual for chemical gradients to influence growth in nature; for example, delicately curved marine shells form from calcium carbonate under water, and gradients of signaling molecules in a human embryo help set up the plan for the body,” they say.
“You can really collaborate with the self-assembly process,” says Noorduin.
“The precipitation happens spontaneously, but if you want to change something then you can just manipulate the conditions of the reaction and sculpt the forms while they’re growing.”
Increasing the concentration of carbon dioxide, for instance, helps to create “broad-leafed” structures.
Reversing the pH gradient at the right moment can create curved, ruffled structures.
Noorduin and his colleagues have grown the crystals on glass slides and metal blades; they’ve even grown a field of flowers in front of President Lincoln’s seat on a one-cent coin. …
Harvard biologist Howard Berg has shown that bacteria living in colonies can sense and react to plumes of chemicals from one another, which causes them to grow, as a colony, into intricate geometric patterns.
Replicating this type of effect in the laboratory was a matter of identifying a suitable chemical reaction and testing, again and again, how variables like the pH, temperature, and exposure to air might affect the nanoscale structures….
Some see the complexity and beauty of nature and conclude an intelligent designer. Others note that environmental variation and small local chemical interactions which follow the laws of physics result in self-organizing systems forming patterns we recognize as life. The duties of our deities are reduced, year by year.
Posted by Xeno on May 17, 2013
A man in India sold his grandchild on Facebook for 70,000 rupees (US$1,278). After his daughter Noor gave birth to his grandson, Feroze Khan, with the help of some hospital staff, he took the baby and was able to give him to his buyer, Amir Kumar. After seeing pictures of Feroze’s grandson via Facebook, Kumar agreed to pay for the baby.
Police learned about the incident after Noor filed complaints that her father sold her son. They immediately launched an investigation and were able to trace the baby in Delhi.
Ludhiana’s Commissioner of Police, Ishwar Singh, said, “We acted upon the complaint of the mother, who alleged that her child was stolen from the nursing home in Ludhiana. After investigations, we found the grandfather of the child had struck a deal with a man in Delhi and had roped-in the nursing staff to smuggle the baby out of the nursing home. We have arrested four people including the grandfather. We have also booked the buyer from Delhi.”
The reason for all this was that Mr. Khan was planning on another arranged marriage for his daughter. He had hoped that his daughter would get an abortion, but the hospital staff did not agree.