Archive for May, 2013

Greenhouse-gas levels near milestone: Highest in millions of years

Publication: NBC News   Date: May 3, 2013   View Article

Any day now, the concentration of the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide sampled from the air wafting above a barren lava field in Hawaii could be above 400 parts per million (ppm), a level not seen since the Pliocene, between 3.2 and 5 million years ago.

Carbon dioxide levels were around 280 ppm when the Industrial Revolution got under way in the 18th century and humans started pumping greenhouse gases into the atmosphere from burning fossil fuels. Levels have continued to accelerate higher since then.

Three-fingered iRobot hand points to strong, nimble future machines

Publication: NBC News   Date: May 2, 2013   View Article

A robotic hand strong enough to lift a 50-pound weight yet so nimble it can pluck up keys from a table demonstrates real capabilities of a coming generation of robots that will be at work everywhere, from the battlefield to the construction site.

In a segment of a video compilation that was just released publicly, the three-fingered hand picks up a drill, and uses it to bore a hole through a narrow piece of lumber.

World’s smallest stop-motion film made with individual atoms

Publication: NBC News   Date: May 1, 2013   View Article

Scientists at IBM have just unveiled the world’s smallest stop-motion film — certified by Guinness — one made by moving individual atoms. What you’re seeing is 100 million times bigger than the original elements.

For Star Trek fans, the team also unveiled several franchise-inspired images made with atoms, including the USS Enterprise, the famous logo and the “live long and prosper” sign.

Why? To prove that they can and in the process show off the fun side of science, according to Andreas Heinrich, a principal investigator at IBM Research in California who led the effort.

Student program wins $100K prize for health innovations for developing world

Publication: NBC News   Date: May 1, 2013   View Article

Getting the correct dose of liquid medicine into a syringe is a challenge — just ask any parent treating a toddler’s fever at 3 am. Enter the DoseRight Syringe Clip, a seemingly simple L-shaped plastic gizmo that fits into the barrel of a standard oral syringe to ensure accurate dosages. It was designed by students, and will likely save lives.

The gadget is the brainchild of Rice University’s Beyond Traditional Borders, an engineering design initiative established and run by bioengineering professors Rebecca Richards Kortum and Maria Oden with the goal of developing and improving access to health innovations for the world’s poorest communities. On Wednesday, they were honored with the $100,000 Lemelson-MIT Award for Global Innovation.

Over half of Americans link extreme weather to climate change

Publication: NBC News   Date: May 1, 2013   View Article

Six months after Superstorm Sandy killed dozens of people and caused an estimated $50 billion in damage on the East Coast, a majority — 58 percent — of Americans see a connection between recent changes in the weather and global climate change, according to a new report.

“People are beginning to recognize a pattern of extreme weather across the country and are themselves saying ‘Aha, I wonder if climate change has something to do with that,'” Anthony Leisrowitz , director of the Yale Project on Climate Change Communication, which released the report today, told NBC News.

© 2008-2010 Collected Writings By John Roach