Saturday, 6 October 2012

10 items of interest I just happened across!

Nanoporous Grapheme Could Make Desalination Affordable
via Big Think by Orion Jones
Researchers at MIT believe they have found a way to desalinate seawater using much less energy, and therefore at a lower financial cost, than current methods require. By using a one-atom-thick grapheme membrane with nanometer-sized pores, sodium ions can be removed from seawater during the reverse osmosis process, currently the most common method used to make salty water potable.
Read the full story at IEEE Spectrum

Arts & Letters Daily – ideas, criticism, debate
Let us praise the paper clip. Yes, it’s a symbol of drudgery. But look at the little thing: It picks locks, cleans fingernails, even hacks phones... more

Marilyn Monroe as…, 1957
via Retronaut by Amanda
Such a choice:
  • Theda Bara
  • Lillian Russell
  • Marlene Dietrich
  • Jean Harlow
  • Clara Bow
from Images of Marilyn by Richard Avedon
Source: Wicked Halo [Grammar freaks need not look.]
And I choose … Marilyn as Marlene

You can see the other four “Marilyn as …: ” here together with the real actress she is imitating.

CDs Are Not Forever: The Truth About CD/DVD Longevity, “Mold” & “Rot”
via MakeUseOf by Tina Sieber
The digital age has revolutionized the way we handle information. Never before could humankind record and store so much information and in such diversity. While the amount of data has increased exponentially, the predicted life span of the storage media hardly exceeds the lifetime of a human. For humans who love to collect and leave a legacy to their descendants, as well as human kind who so much depends on information, this poses a huge challenge.
Optical discs have been commercially available since the 1980s. After merely 30 years, a solid amount of information has been collected on what causes CDs and DVDs to break and much progress has been made in the development of material that will last longer. While estimations predict a life time of up to 200 years for optical discs, we can never be sure when they are really going to break. However, by being aware of what determines the life span of optical discs and what causes them to break, you can make choices and significantly increase the survival time of your stored data.
Let’s examine this case in detail
Continue reading here to discover:
  • What Determines The Life Span Of Different Optical Discs?
  • How Do CDs or DVDs Rot?
  • How Can I Check Whether My Optical Discs Are OK?
  • How Can I Increase The Lifetime Of My CDs & DVDs?
  • What Can I Do When My Disc Won’t Read?
  • Conclusion
Arts & Letters Daily – ideas, criticism, debate
Dolling up declining linguistic standards as cultural diversity makes a virtue out of dumbness, and turns illiteracy into a perverse form of literacy... more

How Fireworks Work
via Big Think by David Ropeik
Fireworks are really cool to watch, but to me, the best part is watching them with thousands of other people who have all come together with the same purpose…to set aside the details of daily life and escape into some simple communal Gee Whiz fun.
Read More

Smokestack Industry: 1906
via Shorpy Historical Photo Archive - Vintage Fine Art Prints by Dave
Smokestack Industry: 1906
Ensley, Alabama, circa 1906
“Tennessee Coal, Iron and Railroad Co. furnaces”
8x10 inch dry plate glass negative, Detroit Publishing Company
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Arts & Letters Daily – ideas, criticism, debate
Mary McCarthy might have been a viperish, bipolar nymphomaniac. Who cares? Pay attention to what matters most: her writing... more

100 years of earthquakes
via Boing Boing by Maggie Koerth-Baker

This map of all the world’s recorded earthquakes between 1898 and 2003 is stunning. As you might expect, it also creates a brilliant outline of the plates of the Earth’s crust – especially the infamous “Ring of Fire” around the Pacific Plate.
But the real story – which Smithsonian points out and which was also the first thing I noticed – lies elsewhere. To put it colloquially: Holy shit, you guys, look at all those intraplate earthquakes!
Continue reading here and get links to lots of other interesting things about earthquakes.

The Chasm of the Middle Ground
via Big Think by Adam Lee
We who fight against bigotry and for human rights do so because we believe that a more just, more peaceful, more compassionate society benefits everyone. Prejudice is irrational by definition, a blind and maddened serpent; you never know who it will strike at next, and the oppressors and the oppressed have changed places many times in history.
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