Tag Archives: iPhone

Winning Science July 11, 2014

Almost 30 years ago, the #4 reactor at Chernobyl suffered a meltdown and managed to spread radioactive contamination all over the surrounding area. While this was a serious environmental disaster, it has allowed scientists to perform scientific tests and observe phenomena that they would not have otherwise been able to look at. An international team of scientists has recently been testing the effects of radiation on the decay of forest debris, like leaves and dead tree branches. While this may not seem very exciting, it is interesting because what they are really looking at is the effects of radiation on microbial lifeforms, those that break down dead materials and return their nutrients to the earth. Unsurprisingly, the higher the level of radiation, the lower the level of decomposition, which means the fewer microbes present. This ultimately means that less dead material is being broken down into nutrients which can support new and healthy growth.

Chernobyl's #4 reactor after the steam explosion and meltdown.

Chernobyl’s #4 reactor after the steam explosion and meltdown.

What effect this will have on the ecosystem as a whole is not yet known, but I’m sure it can’t be good.

We all know that cell phones have become a major part of our daily lives, but would you be willing to give up your life for that phone? Well unfortunately, that is growing phenomenon across the globe. The number of people who have died as a result of attempting to rescue their phone, as well as those who have been murdered because they were unwilling to part with their phone has been on the rise the last few years. One theory, which I can understand, if only to a limited extent, is that because the phone is such a part of our lives we become anxious or feel isolated without it and we make impulsive decisions in order to get it back, sometimes endangering our well-being.


I like it, but I’m not dying for it.

I like my phone, but I am not diving into traffic for it. In fact, I’d probably ask someone to take pictures of the wreckage for me.

This week the all powerful wizard known as the TSA has decreed that passengers may not be allowed to board flights if they can’t power up their electronics. On the surface this seems like the most idiotic example of the TSA flexing it’s regulatory muscle just because it can. Honestly, who cares if I can turn my cell phone on. All I want to do is get home. While this may be a pain, several security experts, including one who ran Israel’s Ben-Gurion Airport in Tel Aviv, say that based on recent intelligence this is actually a very prudent thing to do. For one, this rule does not apply to all flights, just those coming from select international airports. The TSA has not released the names of the airports in question in an effort to prevent terrorists from bypassing those airports, though one can guess at a number of countries that have airports on that list.


Of course there is a risk that if the battery of a device was swapped out for an explosive, turning on the device could be the method of detonation.

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Winning Science March 5, 2014

All the way back in October, Motorola announced it would begin working on development of modular cellphones. Having just performed surgery on my “older” iPhone to remove the cameras, I’m a big fan of the idea that I could design my own phone that doesn’t have a camera, or at least a camera that is easily removable. As far as consumers go, I am not alone. Retailers and phone developers however are not quite so hot on this idea. They are very dependent on the majority of the population who stare at the calendar, waiting for that day they can ditch their old phone in order to get the latest and greatest. In order for these phones to catch on, retailers and manufactures will need to change their models a bit and we all know how much they love change.


Like this, just more versatile.

I’m very proud of my phone surgery… I only lost one screw.

Did you know that NASA estimates there to be 500,000 pieces of garbage in Earth orbit? 17,000 of those pieces are trackable (coffee cup size and larger). Over fifty years of manned space flight and satellites has resulted in considerable amounts of space junk that is beginning to cause problems. There have been several instances in recent memory in which the International Space Station has been required to adjust its orbit due to this debris. There are, however, several competing plans to help alleviate this problem, including a new European spacecraft which will attempt capture the offending debris. There are still several technical hurdles to overcome, such as fuel and how to deal with the debris that is tumbling.

Like this, only with space helmets.

Like this, only with space helmets.

This seems like the interstellar version of a guy using a stick with a nail on the end.

That protein rich diet might not be so good for you after all. According to a new study, a diet high in animal proteins (meat, dairy, etc) may significantly increase the risk of cancer in persons 50-65. The study followed people for 18 years and found a significant increase of cancer in those middle aged persons who had ate larger amounts of animal proteins. They also noticed a 75% increase in deaths from any cause in that group. Those who got their protein from other sources however did not have this increased risk. More astounding was that people who ate more animal protein after age 65 actually lived longer.


Note to self, put down the steaks at 50, pick back up at 65.

Those of us who support continuing space exploration got a bit of a boost in the President’s new budget. In the budget submitted by the President’s NASA administrator there is funding for a fly-by mission to Jupiter’s moon Europa. Scientists are excited by this prospect since Europa is thought to be made of ice with a vast ocean of liquid water beneath. This of course would make it an ideal place to send manned missions to, once we get to that stage. For now though, we will have to settle for more probes.

Bad things happen when you screw with the Monoliths.

Bad things happen when you screw with the Monoliths.

Personally though, I’ve seen 2001, I already know what’s out there.

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Winning Science October 9, 2013

While we here at Therefore I Geek are focused on NYCC (I still have to finish laundry…) the science community is focused on their highest awards, the Nobel Prize. Named for inventor Alfred Nobel and originally funded with the majority of his estate, the awards are given to those to confer the “greatest benefit on mankind”.  Most people are familiar with the Peace Prize, however prizes are also awarded in Physics, Chemistry, Physiology or Medicine, Literature, and Economics. Today we’ll look at the winners in Physics, Chemistry and Medicine.

This year’s physicists are probably some of the most well known physicists in the world, and certainly the best known of this year’s Nobel laureates.  François Englert and Peter Higgs are well known for the Higgs Boson.  The Higgs Boson is frequently known as the “god particle” because it may be the key to explaining why particles, such as electrons, have mass. These particles provide the mechanism by which Einstein’s Theory of Relativity equates mass to energy.


This is what happens when you look for the Higgs Boson.

An amusing side note, the Nobel Committee was unable to get in contact with Peter Higgs and there is a distinct possibility that he doesn’t even know he has won the prize.

In Chemistry, the Nobel Prize goes to Arieh Warshel, Martin Karplus, and Michael Levitt who pioneered computer modeling of chemical reactions. This eventually allowed for solving complex chemical equations without having to consult dozens of books for information. These programs were first used to model how enzymes break down toxins in the body.


So much power!

The programs were first written in the 1960’s when the most powerful computers in the world were less powerful than my iPhone.

James E. Rothman, Randy W. Schekman, Thomas C. Südhof have been awarded the Nobel Prize in Medicine. These men are responsible for determining the mechanism that cells use to get the right stuff to the right place at the right time.  Each of the winners was responsible for figuring out a piece of the mystery.


It’s the cellular version of “what can brown do for you”

It’s like a global logistics network, but contained completely within a cell.

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Winning Science September 18, 2013

I know we’ve all heard this one before, but Voyager 1 has officially left the solar system, at least until they make another announcement. Launched in 1977, Voyager 1 is the first manmade object to travel beyond the confines of our solar system and into interstellar space. Considering Voyager 1 has taken 36 years to get to where it is, it’s not likely its going to have any company any time soon.


This thing is getting some great gas mileage.

Keeping with our space theme, we have news from SpaceX. The commercial space flight company is going to be performing a second static test of their Falcon 9 rocket. Due to some anomalies (love that word, especially when it involves space) during the last test, they’ve decided to perform another one. Unfortunately for them the test will be pushed back until the end of the month due to Air Force’s testing of ICBMs.

At least it turned out better than the early days of NASA.

Today is the release of iOS 7, which by the time you are reading this has probably somehow bricked my phone. But for those of you who are not as unlucky as I am, we’ve found a handy little guide to help you prep your phone prior to updating. They provide some common sense kind of stuff like backing up your pictures and videos just in case.


Well at least my phone will be a very attractive looking brick.

Finally, Popular Science has answered a question that I’ve had since I was a kid; What happens if you put rocket fuel in your car? Turns out, not much. I’m kind of disappointed

It's not nearly as funny as this will end up being.

It’s not nearly as funny as this will end up being.

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