…lots of beautiful salt.
Brave first flower
Walking the fenceline this afternoon … warmish, dry as bone – as it has been for months. Look what I found. All by itself, north side of Lot 4.
No, I haven’t any idea what her name is … no matter. Still below freezing at night. Hope she makes it to tomorrow.
This shows how far the “100th Meridian” has shifted since 1980
❝ Climate change works in mysterious ways; it isn’t limited to wildfires and melting ice. Today’s climate exhibit: The 100th Meridian — the famous dividing line that separates America’s wet East from the dry West — has migrated 140 miles east since 1980…
❝ The shift is the result of rising temperatures drying out parts of the northern plains and less rain falling further south, YaleEnvironment360 reports. This could be due to natural variability — changes caused by nonhuman forces — but the migration aligns with what researchers tell us to expect from global warming.
Recovering usable fingerprints from old evidence
Australian researchers have developed a new way of recovering usable fingerprints from old evidence.
The scientists, at the University of Technology in Sydney, believe it is a world first, that could help police reopen unsolved cases. They used nanotechnology to detect dry and weak fingerprints, which are not revealed by traditional techniques.
Nanotechnology reveals much sharper detail of amino acid traces from old fingerprints than existing methods…
Specimens that previously went unseen are now being revealed using new chemical treatments that target amino acids. These are molecules commonly found in sweat and are therefore present in most fingerprints.
While the targeting of amino acids in this area has been used for decades, the researchers in Sydney are employing nanotechnology to give degraded samples sharper detail.
“If we get something that does work really well and is able to enhance prints on old evidence there is always that potential to use it for cold cases and things like that and for older evidence that may have been laying around for quite a while,” says Dr Xanthe Spindler…
The research is continuing and Dr Spindler says it is an important step forward in efforts to conquer one of the great goals of forensic science – to recover fingerprints from human skin.
We will see this on CSI next season no doubt.
Central America turning to volcanoes for electricity
Berlin geothermal field, El Salvador, producing 104 MW
Dotted with active volcanoes, Central America is seeking to tap its unique geography to produce green energy and cut dependence on oil imports as demand for electricity outstrips supply. Sitting above shifting tectonic plates in the Pacific basin known to cause earthquakes and volcanic eruptions, the region has huge potential for geothermal power generated by heat stored deep in the earth.
Geothermal power plants, while expensive to build, can provide a long-term, reliable source of electricity and are considered more environmentally friendly than large hydroelectric dams that can alter a country’s topography…
Guatemala, Central America’s biggest country, aims to produces 60 percent of its energy from geothermal and hydroelectric power by 2022.
The government is offering tax breaks on equipment to set up geothermal plants and electricity regulators are requiring distributors buy greater proportions of clean energy.
Some 1,640 feet below the summit of Guatemala’s active Pacaya volcano, which exploded in May, pipes carrying steam and water at 347 degrees Fahrenheit snake across the mountainside to one of two geothermal plants currently operating in the country.
Run by Israeli-owned Ormat Technologies Inc, the plant harnesses energy from water heated by chambers filled with molten rock deep beneath the ground. The company has been operating two plants in Guatemala for three years and wants to expand but is weighing the risks of drilling more costly exploratory wells…
More than a fifth of El Salvador’s energy needs come from two geothermal plants with installed capacity of 160 MW and investigations are being carried out to build a third.
Costa Rica, which has 152 megawatts of capacity in four geothermal plants, is due to bring a fifth plant online in January 2011 and is looking into building two more.
Nicaragua generates 66 MW from geothermal energy and in the next five years plans an increase to 166 MW.
The coneheads up at Los Alamos have participated in geothermal experiments, off and on, over the years. But, generally, the powers-that-be would rather keep the focus on death and destruction. Which is too bad. There’s enough intellectual horsepower there to lead to breakthroughs – no doubt.
Mind your pees and queues
A world record in the length of a queue to a toilet was set on Sunday when 756 people lined up to a latrine in central Brussels to raise awareness for the need for clean water on World Water Day.
The event was organized by the United Nations’ children’s agency UNICEF which gave each participant a wristband with his or her number in the line and T-shirt certifying participation in the event.
“The latrine was of the same design as we use in third world countries — a dry latrine — and we formed the longest queue this morning,” UNICEF spokesman Benoit Melebeck said.
“The Guinness Book of Records told us we needed to get at least 500 people in the queue to get the record,” he said.
Melebeck said the event was to raise public awareness and eventually funds for the need for more pumps, wells, latrines hygiene education for children in third world countries.
Come to think of it, I did a post about this a while back. The toilet, that is.
Here’s the post about Bindeshwar Pathak, the advocate of toilets for all – in India.