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The Power of Science

April 9, 2008

Sure, science may have figured out how to make computers, life saving drugs, and auto-vacuuming robots, but can it save dinner?  Sure it can.  Kyle over at the Chem Blog describes how his keen knowledge of chemistry saved his dinner of chicken breasts and collard greens.  Khymos describes how osmosis can save wilted lettuce, complete with neat time-lapse photography:

Kids Prefer Cheese links to a study about starting salaries for different majors, and science majors do pretty well for themselves, especially (cough cough) math majors, who came in third with a starting salary of $46,405.  (In fairness, that number would probably be a lot lower if actuarial sciences majors weren’t grouped with math majors).

Of course, science isn’t all delicious dinner and bling.  The Curious Wavefunction has a fascinating and quite detailed rundown of a simulation of 50 fifteen-kiloton nuclear explosions on the Indian subcontinent.  Apparently nuclear war can still mean disaster, even if it’s “small.” 

The frightening thing about the study is the magnitude of the predicted ozone loss due to these accelerated processes; about 20% globally, 40% at mid latitudes and up to 70% at high latitudes. Also, these losses would last for at least five years or so after the war. These are horrifying numbers. The ozone layer has evolved in a synergistic manner over hundreds of millions of years to wrap up life in a protective blanket and keep it safe. What would the loss of 40% of the ozone layer entail? The steep decline would allow low wavelength UV radiation which is currently almost completely blocked out to penetrate the biosphere. This deadly UV radiation would have large-scale devastating effects including rapid increases in cancer and perhaps irreversible changes in ecosystems, especially aquatic ones. The DNA effects documented by the researchers are appalling- up to 213% increases in DNA damage with respect to normal levels, with plant damage up to 132%. In addition, the increased UV light would hasten the normal decomposition of organic material, further contributing to the natural balance of the biosphere.

Yikes!

On a brighter note, coffee/caffeine are good for you.  The way most people drink it is probably not so great.  I suggest green tea.

Categories: Uncategorized
  1. Ted
    April 9, 2008 at 21:25 | #1

    Yikes!

    Oh, some change and hardship could be useful. Give GenY and their offspring some interesting life experience.

  2. April 10, 2008 at 12:45 | #2

    Give GenY and their offspring some interesting life experience.

    Yea cause nothing builds character like some radiation and destruction of the circle of life. ;-P

    To me the question becomes, how do we get other countries to realize this?

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