An Intellectual Appetizer . . .

It’s a Nano Nano World

Researchers at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), have developed a new solar cell for residential and office windows that can generate electricity while still allowing people to see outside. The polymer cells generate electricity from infrared light, not visible light. So they are 70% transparent, which mean they are much like the tinted windows you pay extra for.

The leader of the project, a guy with the snazzy name of Dr. Yang Yang, says the solar cells can be produced at low cost. His team pulled researchers from multiple disciplines: the California NanoSystems Institute, the UCLA Henry Samueli School of Engineering and Applied Science and UCLA’s Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry. The energy capture and conduction are manufactured by “solution processing”, which I think means melting and stirring exotic metals and plastics.
Here are more people involved, which is really the main point of this snippet: Paul S.Weiss, Fred Kavli, Rui Zhu, Chun-Chao Chen, Letian Dou, Choong-Heui Chung, Tze-Bin Song, Steve Hawks, Gang Li, and Yue Bing Zheng. It’s no longer Whitie’s world.
Here’s theFull Report, and It Is the Last We Will Hear of These Dead Filipinos, Because They Are Poor
Fifteen people on their way to a wake for a dead clan member were killed when their speeding truck lost its brakes on a downhill road, smashed into a cement barrier and flipped over in the central Philippines, officials said Sunday.
Eight other people, including the driver, were injured Saturday night when the truck rolled over twice and landed in a shallow creek in Caibiran town in Biliran province.
Caibiran Mayor Eulalio Maderazo said many of the victims, including children, were hurled off the truck or crushed underneath it. Relatives traveling separately on two motorcycles saw the truck roll over and called police.
“The impact was so strong some of the passengers were thrown off the truck,” Maderazo said by telephone, adding that provincial officials would provide coffins and financial help to the impoverished families of the victims.
He said most of the passengers were members of a dead woman’s clan and were traveling to attend her wake in Caibiran in mountainous Biliran, about 500 kilometers (310 miles) southeast of Manila.
Many accidents in the Philippines are blamed on poorly maintained vehicles and roads, ill-trained drivers and weak law enforcement.
Note: This happened last week near where I live.  I compare this short news blurb to the international uproar about the tragedy of the Movie House shoot-out in the U.S. and I wonder, where is the outrage in the Philippines?  Joe
Of Birds and Dogs
How do homing pigeons find their way from point A to point B, hundreds of miles away?  How does a dog, dropped in the middle of nowhere, come straggling up to the house two days later, dirty and exhausted and happy to be home?
Two ingenious scientists, Le-Qing Wu (damn!) and J. David Dickman at Baylor College of Medicine, discovered exactly how the birds find their way about. This research identified that birds have magnetic receptors in their beaks, and other animals have them as well, in other parts of the body. They pick up magnetic forces from the surrounding environment.
The researchers took pigeons, put them in a dark room with adjustable magnetic fields, and locked their heads in place to neutralize any possible inner-ear adjustments to changing position. The two smart men identified 53 neurons in the birds’ brain stems that had greatly enhanced activity based on changes in magnetic power and direction. They concluded that the birds would take to the air and fly in a direction and distance that that would put them in their magnetic comfort zone.
I wonder why doesn’t Ford just sell a pigeon with each new car instead of a GPS device.
The Case of the Swimming Rat Heart
Scientists have figure out how to make a creature, a jelly fish, from silicone and rat-heart cells. It isn’t technically alive, but it swims. Creepy.

The goals is to develop a bioengineered system that could, for instance, work as a heart pacemaker that requires no batteries. They’d use the natural contraction and expansion of muscle tissues. Kevin Kit Parker, bioengineer at Harvard University co-authored the study said: “What we’re trying to do is become really good at building tissue . . .”

One problem with the manufactured jelly-fish muscle right now is that it can’t go out and eat. So that is the next step, getting it to absorb its own nutrients. It also requires stimulation from electricity in the water, and the researchers will work to get it to self-stimulate. (I’d just suggest they put in a teenager-sex hormone, send it to the bathroom, lock the door and see what happens.) Finally, the thing can’t turn, so they have to engineer a maneuvering mechanism into the creature, an internal decision-making packet, the researchers call it.
John Dabiri is co-author of the study and a bioengineer at Caltech University. Seems to me he and Parker are big kids having a very useful and fun time playing with slime.
The Philosophy of the Gun
Philosopher professor Evan Selinger of Rochester Institute of Technology in the U.S. puts a different spin on the old maxim of the National Rifle Association (NRA) that is always used to justify widespread gun ownership. The NRA claims that: “Guns don’t kill people. People kill people.”
So don’t blame the gun, and change gun laws. Blame the person who uses the gun irresponsibly, and jail him.
Professor Selinger says this argument ignores the affect a gun has on the person holding it.  He cites French philosopher Bruno Latour who says:
  • “You are different with a gun in your hand; the gun is different with you holding it. You are another subject because you hold the gun; the gun is another object because it has entered into a relationship with you.
Selinger adds:
  • To someone with a gun, the world readily takes on a distinct shape. It not only offers people, animals, and things to interact with, but also potential targets. Furthermore, gun possession makes it easy to be bold, even hotheaded. Physically weak, emotionally passive, and psychologically introverted people will all be inclined to experience shifts in demeanor.
The impact is akin to what we feel when we are in a museum, more world-wise. Or when we are on a university campus, more intelligent and intellectual.
Inanimate structures enter into who we are, and can change what we think, feel and do.
The gun and the person are not separate.
7 Responses to “An Intellectual Appetizer . . .”
  1. Anonymous says:

    On why Ford doesn't sell pigeons with their cars…Ford Pigeon doesn't quite roll off the tongue in the same way Ford Falcon does, that's why. :))Cha

  2. That is most clever. You take me back in time . . .The Ford Falcon was a piece of . . . um . . . junk, as were most Fords those days. It was the cheapest piece of junk in the product line. I drove a Ford Maverick when I got out of the army. Cash, new, US $2,800. Blue. What a pile of . . . um . . . tin. But it got me to California, and the fates took it from there . . . Fords are better these days. I wish there stock price were, too . . .

  3. Anonymous says:

    The Falcon looks to be on the way out of the Australian market. Was very popular as family car for a while. but now the aussie family wants the roomier SUVs, and the smaller compact ones for the second car. The Ford SUV (Territory) has been holding up well but who knows for how long. The KIA and Hyundai SUVs are inching their way up. What about those South Koreans huh? Another Asian upstart crashing Whitie's party. My, my!Cha

  4. Ah, interesting. I didn't know Ford still ran the brand. It originated in the U.S. in the , ummmm, 70's I believe, as an entry vehicle for first-time buyers. Whitie's party was too loud anyway. Here's to Latin dancing and Asian food!

  5. Anonymous says:

    NRACould it be the butcher of Aurora was honoring Ben Hur/Moses( Charlton Heston) on why he selected a movie theatre in his gory mission?NRA dictum is swallowed line and sinker by Republicans, exploiting none other than red necks with beer in left hand, 6 Shooter on the right, while riding their muscle cars thru the speedways. Democrats are no different expoliting the colorfuls waiting the first of the month the federal and state doleouts so they can purchase Colt 45s riding thru Septas, Barts and subways. That is face of America from both parties.He he heJohnny In

  6. Well, it is hard to figure out a guy who is probably crazy. Beautiful characterization of both American political parties. You nailed it!

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