Google Plus is here… and it’s pretty cool.
If you’re on Google Plus, and you want to get Azimuth-related news items, please let me know, either here or there. I’ll add you to my Azimuth circle.
Or even better, tell me how to broadcast items on Google Plus so that 1) everyone can see them, but 2) only people who want Azimuth stuff needs to see them. I can send stuff to “Public”, but so far I’ve been using that for fun stuff I think everyone would enjoy. Maybe future improvements to Google Plus will help me solve my dilemma.
Here’s a sample of Azimuth items on Google Plus. But note: these look a lot nicer on Google Plus.
• Solar panels could reduce heat reaching the rooftop by as much as 38%. So, while making electricity you also spend less energy cooling your building in the summer. Not so nice in the winter, maybe.
• Japan has been paying the dues for other countries in the International Whaling Commission — and then these countries vote against banning whaling. Japanese academic Atsushi Ishii said that this form of vote-buying was “very likely,” but added “I would not call it corruption.” Yeah, right. But the good news: now things may change a bit, since the International Whaling Commission has decided to ban this practice!
• A plastic bottle filled with water refracts sunlight and acts like a 55-watt bulb — during the day, if you have a hole in your roof. For many that would be a good thing.
• Congress may finally kill a $6 billion annual subsidy for turning corn into ethanol. This would be a good thing in many ways. Even some bioethanol producers say they don’t need this subsidy anymore. After all, there are laws requiring the use of ethanol in fuels, and as oil prices continue to rise, ethanol is becoming competitive.
• Koch Industries Inc. and Exxon Mobil helped write legislation that’s been introduced in Montana, New Mexico, New Hampshire, Oregon, Washington and other states in the USA. It includes these words: “a tremendous amount of economic growth would be sacrificed for a reduction in carbon emissions that would have no appreciable impact on global concentrations of carbon dioxide.” They did this through an organization called the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC).
• See all the things that are wrong with scientific publishing today. On Google Plus we’ve been discussing ways to solve these problems.
• Paleoecologist Micha Ruhl of Utrecht University has a new paper on the Permian-Triassic extinction. It argues that a fairly small release in CO2 from volcanoes was enough to make the sea floor release methane and cause the world’s worst mass extinction event. How much is “fairly small”, I wonder?
• There’s a new Canadian study on “astroturfing”. Students who viewed a fake “grassroots” website with arguments against the existence of manmade global warming not only became less certain about the cause of global warming; they also believed that the issue was less important than before! Worst, the responses of participants who had viewed sites “Funded by Exxon-Mobil” weren’t different than those who had viewed sites funded by the “Conservation Heritage Fund,” by “donations by people like you,” or sites that didn’t list the source of funding at all.
And just for fun, especially for those of you suffering from the US heat wave… here’s what happens when you throw boiling water into the air at -35 °C:
But why isn’t she wearing a hat?