Stories tagged $12.00 a day

Apr
10
2012

Atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration during the past 417,000 years
Atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration during the past 417,000 yearsCourtesy Wikipedia Commons
Skeptics of human-induced climate change have long pointed to a lag between an increase in temperature and a rise in atmospheric carbon dioxide at the end of the last Ice Age as suggesting that carbon dioxide is an effect of rising temperatures, not a cause. This lag, however, was based on evidence from only one place on Earth - ice core records from Antarctica.

A much more extensive study of paleo-temperature records from 80 sites around the world just published in Nature reveals that global temperature increases followed rises in the carbon dioxide concentration in the atmosphere. Carbon dioxide is a heat-trapping gas that can drive climate change. This study greatly substantiates climate scientists who point out that the enormous quantities of carbon dioxide that human activities are putting into the atmosphere will result in dramatic changes in global climate if they are not curtailed.

Oct
22
2008

It's thinking about what it's going to do to you: It'll probably just hug you.
It's thinking about what it's going to do to you: It'll probably just hug you.Courtesy Datuk Chan Chew Lun
Light your sparklers Buzzketeers! It’s celebration time! And if you don’t have sparklers, go ahead and light any old thing! Because the world officially has a new largest insect!

Bang a gong!

This new bug is actually dead, and has been dead for about thirty years, but the international insect size record committee has had a lot of back work to do, and I guess they only just got around to it.

Anyway, we just have to accept that now everybody can measure insects as quickly as we might hope, and move on to this massive bug—Chan’s Megastick. (Or Phobaeticus chain if you’re going to be a jerk about it.) It looks… like a stick, really. A stick that’s nearly two feet long.

That’s right, y’all, the megastick is over 22 inches long from front legs to back legs, with a 14-inch-long body. It lives by disguising itself among the treetops, until a human walks beneath it, at which point it dives down, and inserts itself into the person’s body. It lives the remainder of its life there, laying eggs in all major organs, and scurrying around just beneath the skin.

That, or they spend their lives moving slowly and eating plants. Which ever you choose to believe.

The record-breaking specimen was collected decades ago in Borneo by a local giant bug enthusiast. Ten years later, the Malaysian naturalist Datuk Chan Chew Lun found the remarkable insect in the collection, and it was only announced to be a new species (among more than 3000 species of stick insects) last week. It edged out the previous record holder by less than an inch.

A huge, huge bug. How do you feel about that?

A four-leafed clover: Imagine five four-leafed clovers, and one one-leafed clover, and you've got the idea. Or just click on the link and see an actual photo.
A four-leafed clover: Imagine five four-leafed clovers, and one one-leafed clover, and you've got the idea. Or just click on the link and see an actual photo.Courtesy Phyzome
That's right, Buzz Creatures--a 21-leaf clover has been found by a clover enthusiast in Japan. Each leaf is luckier than the last, to the point where the top leaves are blisteringly lucky, and may only be observed through a welder's mask. So lucky.
As far as I can tell, no magic was used in creating or finding the clover, although the man who found it has been breeding many-leafed clovers for years. Since the discovery, he has become the Emperor of Neo-Japan (his term) and Duke of the Moon (his idea). No one can stop him.

May
12
2008

Monitoring consumption: By strapping this Scram device on someone's leg, officials can monitor the alcohol intake of offenders. Is this a good idea?
Monitoring consumption: By strapping this Scram device on someone's leg, officials can monitor the alcohol intake of offenders. Is this a good idea?Courtesy Alcohol Monitoring Systems
There’s a new tool for justice officials to use in dealing chronic alcohol abuser: the Scram. Scram stands for Secure Continuous Remote Alcohol Monitor.

It was recently featured in a medical column in the New York Times. Judges hoping to put some more death in the sentence for those involved with alcohol-related crimes order the convicted to wear a Scram on their leg for a prescribed amount of time along with a program of recovery treatment. The Scram senses the body’s intake of any alcohol by measuring air and perspiration emissions from the skin each hour. At least once every 24 hours, the wearer must download data the Scram has collected to a modem that reports the wear’s alcohol levels to a monitoring agency or probation officer. Should Scram show a level of alcohol use, which the sensors can gauge to within a blood-alcohol level of 0.02, authorities will follow up with the offender to see what happened.

In the time that the Scram has been used, authorities report that there’s been a high compliance rate among people not drinking. But occasionally there are misreads or misreports.

Consuming some types of baked goods, such as raisin bread or sourdough English muffins, have triggered Scrams to report alcohol use by an offender. And being an electronics-based device, malfunctions can occur.

On user of the device included in the Times story had two consecutive days of his Scram reporting alcohol use several months into wearing the device. A wary probation officer gave him the benefit of the doubt when he strongly denied any drinking, and further review found that a build up of sweat and grime under the Scram was causing the false alarms.

So what do you think? Is this a good use of technology to help people get over alcohol misuse? Proponents of Scram say that it helps enforce sobriety while the offender has time to learn and work a program of recovery. But is this an infringement of a person’s right to privacy? Does an alcohol offender give up some of his/her rights to privacy? How long should someone sentenced to wear a Scram have to wear the device? Are there better ways for dealing with this? Share your ideas here with other Science Buzz readers.