(Not So) Absurd Search For Dark Matter

Transcript and images from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6etTERFUlUI I am at a gold mine a couple hours outside of Melbourne,because, one kilometer underground, they're putting in a detector to look for dark matter. Let's go. It's gonna take 30 minutes to go down a kilometer underground. Dark matter is thought to make up 85% of all the matter... Continue Reading →

Pretend-Recycling Is Not the Answer. First Reduce. Then Repair and Reuse.

1. Despite all the Bins, We Are Still Wasteful In most of the North American continent, we have pretend-recycling, given that about most of what we place in our green bins ends up as garbage. Over 90% of plastic isn't actually recycled. U.S. exported 74,000 shipping containers of plastic waste to low-income countries, according to... Continue Reading →

How Tornadoes Form: It’s Not Really Understood

Yesterday, I was reminded that the NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) admits that atmospheric scientists are still mystified by tornadoes. Why is it, for instance, that not every thunderstorm generates a tornado, even when you have all the necessary conditions of shear, lift, instability and moisture? Most destructive tornadoes spout out of supercells, rotating... Continue Reading →

Blossoms of Lettuce

While lettuce grows in our garden at its frantic pace, I tend to pick leaves from the core to prevent it from flowering. If not, the leaves don't grow to size and don't acquire the same soft texture. But after several cycles, it exhausts itself, and no matter how I pick them, the plant will... Continue Reading →

Lessons Learned From The Sandoz Disaster

Love Science

Circled in red is the site of the 1986 Sandoz disaster. Circled in red is the site of the 1986 Sandoz disaster.

In 1986, on the border of Switzerland and Germany, 1350 tonnes of highly toxic compounds suddenly went up in flames at a warehouse belonging to Sandoz (now part of Novartis). The fire brigade responded promptly and put out the fire in about five hours. But to do so they used millions of liters of water. Due to inadequate catch basins at the factory, 20 tonnes of a pesticide-brew tagged along and flowed into the Rhine. Eventually within a couple of weeks, along a 400 km path, fish and birds were killed, and so were most of the eels in the river. The Ijssel River as far as the Netherlands was affected, even though they closed floodgates. Initially a Sandoz spokesperson had dismissed the 70-km long red slick as “a harmless dyestuff” Understandably the safety director of the company was later pelted with dead eels by protestors.

The most problematic…

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