Home » SCIENCE! » Science Sunday – 8/4/2013

Science Sunday – 8/4/2013

So, I have decided that rather than passively reading science articles and then spamming them to social networking sites throughout the week, I will spend part of my Sunday morning enjoying a coffee, collecting links to articles, organizing articles by topic, and then summarizing my thoughts on the articles in a blog post.  Here we are!

First up, BBC News has an article about desert carbon farming with jatropha trees.

Supposed Carbon Farming Pros:

  • Jatropha biomass can be used to manufacture biokerosene.
  • Absorption of carbon from the atmosphere.
  • Increased habitability of desert areas.

Supposed Carbon Farming Cons:

  • Jatropha plantations will require irrigation with brackish water from desalination plants.
  • Jatropha biokerosene might emit more carbon than fossil fuels.
  • Toxic to grazing animals and humans (unless properly cooked).
  • Negative impact on food prices.
  • Marginalizes other people’s land to solve problems they didn’t cause.

Next up, the BBC has an article about an ocean microbe that has been used to create an antibiotic that attacks staph infections.

If in 1984, the United States House Committee on Science, Space and Technology said, “Get the director of Terminator in a sub-marine, have him explore the depths of the ocean, study life at the bottom, and bring back a treatment for staph infections.”, this would have been discovered decades ago.  But that didn’t, and wouldn’t, happen. But wouldn’t it be cool if it did?  OK.  That’s not how discovery happens.  No one could have predicted a new antibiotic could be developed from a marine microorganism found off the coast of California.

This is probably a good reason to preserve ocean habitats.  Biodiversity is important.  Also, if you don’t have one already, I hope this gives you an appreciation for divergent thinking and basic scientific research.  Watch this Carl Sagan video to learn more about the importance of basic scientific research.

This next article is pretty technical.  Scientists and engineers have developed a new technique for efficiently splitting water into hydrogen and oxygen.  Yep, it’s pretty technical.  If anything, this gives me some optimism for our energy future.  Do any engineers care to comment on this news?

Well, that’s it for this week, folks.  Alas, I am not a lawyer, MBA, doctor, engineer, astronaut, MBA senator.  Perhaps someone with more qualifications would like to weigh in on these subjects.

What do you think?  Leave a comment!

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