Today CERN announced that they have unambiguous proof of a new exotic hadron. Hadrons are subatomic particles that aid in creating the strong nuclear force that binds atoms together. These new hadrons do not fit in to the current quark model, however, which means that scientists will need to revisit the existing model in order to account for these particles. It’s always really awesome when scientists find out that the universe doesn’t quite work the way they thought it did, because every time it happens humans improve their understand of how things really work.
I’d also like to take a moment to point out that–as has happened with other things–I thought baryons were fictitious Star Trek inventions. Once again, foiled by Gene Roddenberry
Back in the day, a navy’s fighting power was measured by the strength of its battleships. With the emergence of the aircraft carrier during WWII, the battleship took a back seat and they have since all been decommissioned. Still, without the battleships’ big guns, there is something missing in the Navy’s arsenal–the ability to “put steel on target” as I have heard it put. Now the US Navy is getting ready to implement the use of rail guns. These weapons can put a non-explosive round on a target up to 100 miles away and the projectile travels in excess of mach 7. (By the way, mach 7 is just over 5,300 mph, which is eighty-eight times faster than the average car on the highway.)
Not only is this weapon super cool, but it can be operated by one sailor and is extremely cost efficient as well. Each round costs $25,000 compared to missiles which range in price from $0.5 million to $1.5 million a piece.
As it turns out, there is a link between use of antibacterial soaps and increased bacterial growth. Persons who have an increased level of triclosan have also shown increased levels of Staphylococcus aureus. When the bacteria are exposed to non-lethal doses of antibiotics they tend to latch on to crevices and hide in biofilms. This leads to a corresponding increase in the amount of bacteria present and can cause an increased risk of infection if that person is undergoing surgery.
This seems like a particularly appropriate story right now, given that I’ve got some bacteria that are laying me low at the moment.