Saturday, November 11, 2006

Science Trek | Nov. 09, 2006

World's largest desert reason for existence of world's largest rainforest!

Scientists recently showed that a significant link exists between the Sahara and the Amazon rain forests! The reason for existence of the Amazonian rain forests, is the dust from one tiny area of the Saharan desert, to restock its soil with nutrients and soil! Scientists used analysis from NASA's MODIS satellite. Apparently, Bodélé, a region not far from Lake Chad, is the source of more than half the material that fertilizes the Amazonian rainforest. Scientists have calculated that the area provides up to 0.7 million tons of dust each day, which is swept into the atmosphere by the Saharan winds.

Monster Digital Picture.

A company named Hal9000, has created what might be the world's largest digital picture - a monstrous 8.6 GigaPixels !

Look at the amazing details that you can see by zooming in...and the scale bar on the top left should give you a great idea about the size of the image...

Research bush-whacked!

Federal agencies are investigating possibilities of whether the current Bush administration tried to censor research by government scientists, especially about important issues like global warming. The commerce department and NASA are conducting sweeping investigations on the topic. The white house have denied that scientists have been offered anything but transparency. A report in last month's scientific journal journal, Nature, suggested that the commerce department's National Oceanic and Atmosphere Administration's administrators blocked the release of reports the link hurricane strength to the frequency of global warming. Apparently the total US emissions (more than 7 billion tons a year), are projected to rise 14 percent from 2002 to 2012!

Losing it - at the tight time...

Researchers recently announced (in the British medial journal Lancet) came up with some surprising results about global trends related to sex - results that would seem to be counter-intuitive to ideas in the modern day and age. Here are some of them...

  • monogamy is the dominant sexual pattern globally
  • married people have the most sex
  • men report in having had more partners than women in a single year
  • kids aren't losing it earlier as we had initially thought - sexual activity starts from the ages of 15-19!
  • married women are more likely to have unhealthy sexual practices - they find it harder to convince their partners to use condoms than single women.

Diamonds are forever...well..not quite !

Scientists at the Sandia National labs have melted the hardest known natural substance - a diamond; they melted it into a puddle! They used Sandia's Z-machine, the world's largest X-ray machine. It was used to subject tiny diamond squares, only a few nanometers thick, to pressures more than 10 million times the normal sea-level atmospheric pressure. To create the pressure, the the machine's magnetic field hurled small plates at the diamond at 34 kms per second, or faster than the earth's orbital speed of the sun! The idea was to see how diamonds would react to a range of extreme pressures, to see if they may be uses to encase fuel pellets needed to drive a nuclear fusion reactor! Here is a picture of the Z-machine...


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