Daily Archives: May 28, 2009

Water on a sub-freezing Mars

ResearchBlogging.orgNASA researchers is now reporting in the May 21st issue of Nature that water could remain liquid at sub-freezing temperatures if made stable against freezing by containing dissolved minerals. From the abstract:

Many features of the Martian landscape are thought to have been formed by liquid water flow, and water-related mineralogies on the surface of Mars are widespread and abundant. Several lines of evidence, however, suggest that Mars has been cold with mean global temperatures well below the freezing point of pure water. Martian climate modellers, considering a combination of greenhouse gases at a range of partial pressures find it challenging to simulate global mean Martian surface temperatures above 273 K, and local thermal sources cannot account for the widespread distribution of hydrated and evaporitic minerals throughout the Martian landscape. Solutes could depress the melting point of water in a frozen Martian environment, providing a plausible solution to the early Mars climate paradox. Here we model the freezing and evaporation processes of Martian fluids with a composition resulting from the weathering of basalts, as reflected in the chemical compositions at Mars landing sites. Our results show that a significant fraction of weathering fluids loaded with [various minerals] remain in the liquid state at temperatures well below 273 K. …

273 K is the freezing point of water in Kelvin, the preferred temperature scale for astro-scientoid types.

The paper says little more for the average reader than what is in the abstract, but NASA has a press release:

“We found that the salts in water solutions can reduce the melting point of water, which may help explain how liquid water existed in a frozen Martian environment,” said Alberto Fairén, a space scientist at NASA Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, Calif. and the lead author of the study.

“Our goal was to learn how a combination of different processes of evaporation and freezing affect the freezing point of a hypothetical Martian solution. We also wanted to see how the liquid phases formed and destabilized over the evolution of different solutions, added Alfonso Davila, a co-author of the paper at NASA Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, Calif.

A copy of the press release is here.

Continue reading Water on a sub-freezing Mars

My name is Rhoda Chiputu, I am 10 years old.

Rhoda nearly dropped out from school in 2005 as her friends used to laugh at her in class due to her poor performance. Most of the days, Rhoda could not do her home work because she had no time, as she spent most of her afternoons helping her mother fetch water.

“Now that there is a borehole in my community, the scarce potable water has become easily accessible; the distance to the water source has been much reduced; and this rainy season I have not suffered from diarrhea. I now spend less time collecting water than before and have more time to do my homework and concentrate in school. My performance is improving.”

Please go visit Digital Rabbit, read Rhoda’s Story, and leave a comment mentioning that you stopped by. This is a new blog doing important work and they could use some encouragement!

Learning the Bash Shell

This is a repost of a review that is timely, given this week’s focus on setting up your Linux server and changing all your computers over to Linux and so on.

i-30a1e0366512a8ac50ae2cf969f02d73-learning_bash_shell.jpgFor the most part, computer operating systems all have a “shell.” When people talk about the “command line” … they are talking about the prompt in a shell. The concept of a shell, and the way we think of a shell today mostly stems from its implementation on Unix systems. A shell is a computer program that has a human interface and a number of built in or accessible functions (mostly other programs) that humans can invoke to make the computer do something. On ‘servers’ and on most computers back in the old days, the shell would typically appear as a prompt on a computer screen, and that would be all you would get. You type stuff in, and the computer types stuff as well, and between the two of you, stuff happens. On a computer with a graphical user interface (GUI), there is still a shell, but it looks different. The shell is less tangible to the human user, but the GUI itself is a program that provides the user interface, and it may either be the shell itself or it may be invoked automatically as the computer starts up by the shell.

Continue reading Learning the Bash Shell

Giant blob found deep beneath Nevada, and other matters

How to knock out your children: Use PediSedate.

PediSedate is a medical device consisting of a colorful, toy-like headset that connects to a game component such as the Nintendo Game Boy system or a portable CD player. Once the child places it on his or her head and swings the snorkel down from its resting place atop the head, PediSedate transparently monitors respiratory function and distributes nitrous oxide, an anesthetic gas. The child comfortably becomes sedated while playing with a Nintendo Game Boy system or listening to music. This dramatically improves the hospital or dental experience for the child, parents and healthcare providers.

Giant blob found deep beneath Nevada

Hidden beneath the U.S. West’s Great Basin, scientists have spied a giant blob of rocky material dripping like honey.

The Great Basin consists of small mountain ranges separated by valleys and includes most of Nevada, the western half of Utah and portions of other nearby states.

While studying the area, John West of Arizona State University and his colleagues found evidence of a large cylindrical blob of cold material far below the surface of central Nevada. Comparison of the results with CAT scans of the inside of Earth taken by ASU’s Jeff Roth suggested they had found a so-called lithospheric drip. …


Zombie Preparedness Initiative!

The Zombie Preparedness Initiative is a knowledge base provided by a community of citizens concerned about the impending zombie invasion and the imminent disaster that is sure to follow. We are not claiming to be experts on anything, we are merely doing what we can to gather knowledge and share the acquired information with the public. By doing this, we hope to help people prepare for the very real threat that we shall face when zombies show up and governments have not taken the time to prepare.

Click her for more. Brains….. more brainssss……

A truly orphaned disease: Diarrhea

Diarrhea: The Unfashionable Disease

Ever hear about the World Concert for Diarrhea? Or the Celebrity Chefs Fundraiser for Diarrhea? Diarrhea just isn’t a disease that gets rallied for. It’s hard to understand that diarrhea can kill you. In the USA, it is an inconvenience. In developing countries, it is a killer. Why?

There are more than 100 microbugs that can cause diarrhea. A child who lives in village that has a bad water supply, limited water for hand washing, and no toilets, is likely to pick up one or more of these bugs at any time. These children can get one case of diarrhea after another….

Continue reading at DR

Don’t just do what people tell you to do.

Catholics are trained to steal away into closets or back rooms with any babies that happen to be left around, so they can be secretly baptized. You did know this, right? It is true. If you take your baby to a day care provider, check on this first. If you suspect there are Catholics working there, just tell them your baby is named Mark or Mary and mention some funny story about the Baptism and that should do it.

You probably knew all that, but what you probably didn’t know is that Atheists are trained to do this: CLICK HERE.

OK, now click here.

OK, now click here.

OK, that is all for now.

Godzilla Boat: Big Giant Science

… during its design … the ship became known as “Godzilla-maru”, so unusual and top-heavy were its projected lines.

“We started planning the Chikyu about 15 years ago, and there were some people who thought we were too ambitious,” he recalled.

“But now we can see that the ship is doing what it is designed to do and is opening up new possibilities.”

The idea was simple. Scientists wanted to drill down into the Earth’s crust – and even through the crust – to get samples from the key zones 6 or 7km down where earthquakes and lots of other interesting geological processes begin; but that was impossible with existing ships.

Solution: find six hundred million dollars, and design and build a new one.

All the details and more multimedia here a the BBC