Low-grade unprocessed cotton could prove an effective cleanup tool following oil spills at sea, according to recent research.
A study published in the most recent issue of Industrial & Engineering Chemistry Research reveals that one pound of low-micronaire cotton can absorb more than 30 pounds of dense crude oil, according to research conducted at Texas Tech’s Nonwovens and Advanced Materials Laboratory.
In addition, the natural waxiness of raw, unprocessed cotton fiber keeps water out, making cotton an efficient and effective material for addressing ocean-based oil spills, according to the publication, published by the American Chemical Society.
“The new study includes some of the first scientific data on unprocessed cotton’s use as a crude oil sorbent,” according to Southeast Farm Press.
About 10 percent of the cotton grown in West Texas is low micronaire, according to Seshadri Ramkumar, lead author of the study and manager of the Nonwovens and Advanced Materials Laboratory at Texas Tech.
“It doesn’t take a dye well, so it has little value as a textile fiber. However, because it is less mature, more of it can be packed into a given area,” he said. “We show through sophisticated testing that low-micronaire cotton is much finer and can pick up more crude oil.
It has been said that we in Western society have at our fingertips access to the most powerful technology ever devised – and that we use it largely for viewing cat photos and getting sports updates.
Well, that’s not 100 percent correct. The same amazing technology that allows some to zip cat pictures to friends and family via email, cell phone or some other hi-tech means can also be used to send embarrassing photos of people and cats, thereby doing society a service by helping identify potential serial killers, the utterly deranged or good old-fashioned oddballs.
The delightfully titled website I Don’t Need Anger Management, You Just Need to Shut Up has compiled an array of photos titled “The Absolute Worst Pictures of Men and Cats.”
After perusing the 18 images that were selected, I can’t say that I disagree with any of the choices.
I would add that it’s readily apparent why some men are unable to find women to marry, or even date.
A couple of caveats: I have nothing against cats. I actually like cats; my family had several while I was growing up and we got along famously.
Modern Western society appears caught between alternately making its denizens’ lives easier – smartphones, handheld GPS, debit cards, etc. – and more difficult – air-travel hassles, low-flow toilets and so on.
Often, it would seem that for every convenience that business ushers in, government feels the need to tack on a burden or two. What’s most frustrating is that these aggravations are often utterly unnecessary.
Case in point: Gas cans. No, seriously.
Beginning in 2009, government regulation prevented the manufacture of gas with vents.
In an effort to prevent spillage – not a bad goal, mind you – the Environmental Protection Agency issued regulatory guidelines a few years ago that stated that, “ … new cans will be built with a simple and inexpensive permeation barrier and new spouts that close automatically.”
As Jeffrey Tucker of the Laissez Faire Club points out, “The government never said ‘no vents.’ It abolished them de facto with new standards that every state had to adopt by 2009. So for the last (four) years, you have not been able to buy gas cans that work properly. They are not permitted to have a separate vent. The top has to close automatically.”
What we have now, if you are unfortunate enough to have to rely on a gas can manufactured after 2008, is an implement that dispenses gasoline unevenly.
During the 24 seasons The Simpsons has been on the air, one of its many highlights has been the program’s ability to spoof the video game industry.
Invariably, video and arcade games are shown in a satirical vein, with an abundance of violence, blood or simple inane themes (witness the My Dinner with Andre game).
I’m partial to Billy Graham’s Bible Blaster, which, not surprising to fans of the show, belongs to Rod and Todd Flanders, progeny of ultra-religious Simpson neighbor Ned Flanders.
As Bart plays for Bible Blasters for the first time, Rod can be heard proffering the following advice: “Keep firing, convert the heathens!”
A Formula One car that sat practically forgotten in a warehouse for almost three decades is expected to fetch nearly $6.5 million at auction.
The 1954 Mercedes-Benz W196, driven by five-time world champion Juan Manuel Fangio, is described as “one of the most significant motor cars of the 20th century.”
Fangio drove the 2.5 liter straight-9 Mercedes, seen above, to victory in the 1954 German and Swiss Grand Prix races.
The iconic car contains many features which were innovative at the time, including a fuel-injected engine, lightweight chassis and improved brakes.
“The first time I saw this car I needed oxygen,” racing historian Doug Nye said. “It’s landmark technology and it was driven by a landmark driver.”
British auction house Bonhams unveiled the car Monday night and said it will put the German-made automobile under the hammer in July at the Goodwood Festival of Speed.
Bonhams would not comment on where the car was found.
It will be sold in its current condition with noticeable blemishes and dirt.
Islam’s reputation for hostility to science is a modern phenomenon.
As has been well documented, the Muslim world was a dynamo for scientific development during the time Europe was ensnared in darkness and superstition.
“Islam’s magnificent Golden Age in the 9th–13th centuries brought about major advances in mathematics, science, and medicine,” the publication wrote in 2007. “The Arabic language held sway in an age that created algebra, elucidated principles of optics, established the body’s circulation of blood, named stars, and created universities.”
The Economist highlights several of Islam’s scientific greats:
- Avicenna wrote the “Canon of Medicine” in the 11th century, a standard medical text used in Europe for hundreds of years;
- Muhammad al-Khwarizmi laid down the principles of algebra, a word derived from the name of his book, “Kitab al-Jabr,” in the ninth century;
- Al-Hasan Ibn al-Haytham transformed the study of light and optics, and is known as the father of modern optics and scientific methodology; and
- Abu Raihan al-Biruni calculated the earth’s circumference to within a single percent and has also been called the first anthropologist.
In addition, Muslim scholars did much to preserve the intellectual heritage of ancient Greece; centuries later it helped spark Europe’s scientific revolution.
Unfortunately, this period of great development came to a screeching halt long ago.
The fruits of the Europeana Regia project, a 30-month effort which involved the digitization of more than 850 rare manuscripts from the Middle Ages and Renaissance, offer a tantalizing glimpse into a world where the written word’s beauty was as important as its meaning.
Three collections of royal manuscripts – the Bibliotheca Carolina, the Library of Charles V and Family, and the Library of the Aragonese Kings of Naples – were scattered among five major libraries in four countries.
But the Europeana Regia project, with the support of the European Commission, has brought the different collections together online, with each representing a distinct period of history.
The Bibliotheca Carolina (from the Carolingian Court) dates to the 8th and 9th centuries, the Library of Charles V is from the 14th century and the Library of the Aragonese Kings of Naples goes back to the 15th and 16th centuries.
Parts of all were dispersed among different European libraries.
This is the first time that the public at large will have easy access to some of Europe’s most precious Medieval and Renaissance manuscripts, according to information aggregator called ResourceShelf.
“Almost none of these manuscripts have been digitized before … If you want to see these manuscripts at the moment, you have to do a tour of European libraries, which is far from practical, or you have to ask for copies.”
It’s 5,000 light years away from Earth, but should you one day visit the newly discovered planted called PH1, don’t skimp on the sunblock.
An international team of amateur and professional astronomers Monday presented evidence of PH1 and its four suns – the first reported case of such a phenomenon.
PH1 is orbiting two suns, and in turn is orbited by a second distant pair of stars.
Only six planets are known to orbit two stars, researchers say, and none of those are orbited by other distant stars, according to Agence France-Presse.
The planet has been dubbed PH1 in honor of Planet Hunters, a program led by Yale University which enlists the public to review astronomical data from NASA’s Kepler spacecraft for signs of planet transits of distant stars, according to a press release issued by NASA and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory.
“Circumbinary planets are the extremes of planet formation,” said Yale’s Meg Schwamb, lead author of a paper presented Monday at the annual meeting of the Division for Planetary Sciences of the American Astronomical Society in Nevada.
“The discovery of these systems is forcing us to go back to the drawing board to understand how such planets can assemble and evolve in these dynamically challenging environments,” she added.
The Canadian government recently announced it will stop fighting international efforts to label asbestos as a dangerous substance, potentially sounding the death knell for what was once one of the country’s largest industries.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s government is no longer going to oppose efforts to include asbestos in the United Nations’ Rotterdam treaty on hazardous materials, according to The Canadian Press.
Industry Minister Christian Paradis, who hails from central Quebec’s asbestos belt, made the announcement last month, speaking in his hometown of Thetford Mines, a community still dotted with imposing tailing piles that remind locals of role asbestos once played in the area.
Canada for many decades enjoyed a reputation as the world’s top producer of asbestos, once hailed as the “magic mineral” for its fireproofing and insulating characteristics in construction materials.
While asbestos mining began several thousand years ago, it did not start on a large scale until the end of the 19th century. For many decades, the world’s largest asbestos mine was the Jeffrey Mine in the town of Asbestos, Quebec, 90 minutes northeast of Thetford Mines.
Asbestos became increasingly popular among manufacturers and builders in the late 1800s because of its sound absorption, resistance to fire, heat, electrical and chemical damage, and its affordability.