Posts Tagged ‘Kaka’

9,000-year-old brew hitting the shelves this summer

June 11, 2009

This summer, how would you like to lean back in your lawn chair and toss back a brew made from what may be the world’s oldest recipe for beer? Called Chateau Jiahu, this blend of rice, honey and fruit was intoxicating Chinese villagers 9,000 years ago—long before grape wine had its start in Mesopotamia.

University of Pennsylvania molecular archaeologist Patrick McGovern first described the beverage in 2005 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences based on chemical traces from pottery in the Neolithic village of Jiahu in Northern China. Soon after, McGovern called on Sam Calagione at the Dogfish Head Craft Brewery in Milton, Del., to do the ancient recipe justice. Later this month, you can give it a try when a new batch hits shelves across the country.

The cloud with no name: New Cloud Formations Seen Worldwide

June 11, 2009

Whipped into fantastical shapes, these clouds hang over the darkening landscape like the harbingers of a mighty storm.

But despite their stunning and frequent appearances, the formations have yet to be officially recognised with a name.

They have been seen all over Britain in different forms – from Snowdonia to the Scottish Highlands – and in other parts of the world such as New Zealand, but usually break up without producing a storm.

Article here.

Caribbean reefs ‘flattened’ in just 40 years

June 11, 2009

In just 40 years, the Caribbean’s spectacular branched corals have been flattened. Research reveals that the corals have been replaced by shorter rival species — and points to climate change as at least partly to blame.

Most of the reefs have lost all the intricate, tree-like corals that until the 1970s provided sanctuary for unique reef fish and other creatures, as well as protecting coastlines by sapping the energy of waves.

Coral diversity is important for both the many species that swell on reefs and for coastal protection, says Jennifer Gill of the University of East Anglia and a member of the research team.

She and her colleagues analysed data over the past 40 years from 500 surveys of 200 Caribbean reefs. They say that the flattening process took place in two main phases. Firstly, in the late 1970s, a condition called white-band disease swept through the reefs, killing 90 per cent of the most spectacular tree-like elkhorn and staghorn corals.

The second phase, in 1998, saw many of the remaining tree-like corals being wiped out during a massive bleaching event, probably driven by global warming.

Different corals — fast-growing but short-lived “weedy” species — then took over the reefs, outcompeting most of the remaining tree-like corals. The researchers found that flat reefs now cover 75 per cent of the Caribbean, compared to just 20 per cent in the 1970s.

Periodic table gets a new element

June 11, 2009

The ubiquitous periodic table will soon have a new addition – the “super-heavy” element 112.

More than a decade after experiments first produced a single atom of the element, a team of German scientists has been credited with its discovery.

The team, led by Sigurd Hofmann at the Centre for Heavy Ion Research, must propose a name for their find, before it can be formally added to the table.

Scientists continue the race to discover more super-heavy elements.

Professor Hofmann began his quest to add to the periodic table in 1976.

The fusion experiments he and his colleagues carried out at the centre have already revealed the existence of elements with atomic numbers 107-111.

These are known as “super-heavy elements” – their numbers represent the number of protons which, together with neutrons, give the atom the vast majority of its mass.

To create element 112, Professor Hofmann’s team used a 120m-long particle accelerator to fire a beam of charged zinc atoms (or zinc ions) at lead atoms. Nuclei of the two elements merged, or fused, to form the nucleus of the new element.

These very large and heavy nuclei are also very unstable. They begin to fall apart or “decay” very soon after being formed – within a few milliseconds, in this case.

This releases energy, which scientists can measure to find out the size of the decaying nucleus.

But such experiments produce very few successful fusions, and scientists need increasingly powerful accelerators to run experiments for longer and find the elusive, unstable elements.

This is why it took such a long time for element 112 to be officially recognised by the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC).

Its discovery had to be independently verified, and so far only four atoms have ever been observed.

IUPAC temporarily named the element ununbium, as “ununbi” is derived from the figures “one one two” in Latin; but Professor Hofmann’s team now has the task of proposing its official name.

He is currently keeping the shortlist under wraps.

San Francisco to Toughen a Strict Recycling Law

June 11, 2009

BERKELEY, Calif. — San Francisco, which already boasts one of the most aggressive recycling programs in the country, has raised the ante, vowing to levy fines of up to $1,000 on those unwilling to separate their Kung Pao chicken leftovers from their newspapers.

The Board of Supervisors passed new recycling and mandatory composting rules on Tuesday in a 9-to-2 vote. The city already diverts 72 percent of the 2.1 million tons of waste its residents produce each year away from landfills and into recycling and composting programs. The new ordinance will help the city toward its goal of sending zero waste to landfills by 2020, said Jared Blumenfeld, director of the city’s Department of the Environment.

Under the new ordinance, residents will be issued three mandatory garbage bins: a black one for trash, a blue one for recyclables and a green one for compost.

Garbage collectors who spot orange peels or aluminum soda cans in a black trash bin will leave a note reminding the owner how to separate his trash properly. Anyone found repeatedly flouting recycling protocol will be issued fines of $100 for small businesses and single-family homes and up to $1,000 for large businesses and multiunit buildings. The city has put a moratorium on all fines until 2011 while residents learn the ropes.

Article here.