This person does science, reads a lot, and is content.
Scientists from MIT have designed a next-generation spacesuit that acts practically as a second skin, and could revolutionize the way future astronauts travel into space. (Photo : Jose-Luis Olivares/MIT)
Astronauts are used to climbing into conventional bulky, gas-pressurized spacesuits, but this new design could allow them to travel in style. Soon they may don a lightweight, skintight and stretchy garment lined with tiny, muscle-like coils. Essentially the new suit acts like a giant piece of shrink-wrap, in which the coils contract and tighten when plugged into a power supply, thereby creating a “second skin.”
"With conventional spacesuits, you’re essentially in a balloon of gas that’s providing you with the necessary one-third of an atmosphere [of pressure,] to keep you alive in the vacuum of space," lead researcher Dava Newman, a professor of aeronautics and astronautics and engineering systems at MIT, said in a statement.
"We want to achieve that same pressurization, but through mechanical counterpressure - applying the pressure directly to the skin, thus avoiding the gas pressure altogether. We combine passive elastics with active materials. … Ultimately, the big advantage is mobility, and a very lightweight suit for planetary exploration."
Newman, who has worked for the past decade on a design for the next-generation spacesuit, describes the new garment in detail in the journal IEEE/ASME: Transactions on Mechatronics.
The MIT BioSuit’s coils, which are a main feature of the outfit, are made from a shape-memory alloy (SMA). At a certain temperature, the material can “remember” and spring back to its engineered shape after being bent or misshapen.
Skintight suits are not a novel idea, but in the past scientists have always struggled with the question: how do you get in and out of a suit that is so tight? That’s where the SMAs come in, allowing the suit to contract only when heated, and subsequently stretched back to a looser shape when cooled.
Though the lightweight suit may not seem at first like it can withstand the harsh environment that is outer space, Newman and his colleagues are sure that the BioSuit would not only give astronauts much more freedom during planetary exploration, but it would also fully support these space explorers.
Newman and her team are not only working on how to keep the suit tight for long periods of time, but also believe their design could be applied to other attires, such as athletic wear or military uniforms.
"An integrated suit is exciting to think about to enhance human performance," Newman added. "We’re trying to keep our astronauts alive, safe, and mobile, but these designs are not just for use in space."
FYI, the author of this article has now corrected the misgendering of Dava Newman from him to her.
Just figured I would update the post now. :)
TW: Rape, transmisogyny - A transgender woman says she was locked in a cell with her rapist
September 29, 2014
The odds were already against Zahara Green when she entered prison on May 10, 2012. Prisons have long been plagued by a culture of sexual harassment and assault, but Green was a transgender woman in an all-male facility — making her about 13 times more likely to be sexually assaulted than a non-transgender inmate,according to a 2009 study.
Green told BuzzFeed News she distinctly remembers her first day in general population at Rogers State Prison, a facility about an hour and a half outside of Savannah, Georgia. It was two months into her sentence, and she said she can still envision the officer dropping her off at her dorm and walking away.
“I kind of just felt that he was letting me out with the wolves. You’re on your own. It clicked in my mind,” she said. “I found my bed, I placed my stuff on my bed, and then I sat there for about an hour and people were just coming in and out as if this was some kind of showcase.”
Under federal law, states must seriously consider transgender inmates’ safety concerns — and the Georgia Department of Corrections has said it has zero tolerance for sexual misconduct. Yet the state of Georgia placed Green in a men’s prison, where she faced a greater risk of being assaulted. Around the country, decisions on transgender inmates’ placement and their level of protection are ultimately made on a case-by-case basis. But according to her lawsuit, these often ambiguous decisions and lack of safety oversight may have played a role in Zahara Green’s alleged rape by another inmate — not while they mingled in general population, but while she was being secured in “protective custody.”
Green was approached by Darryl Ricard — a high-ranking gang member within the prison, she said — right after moving to the dorm at Rogers. He was in his seventh year of a life sentence for aggravated child molestation, rape, and kidnapping.
“He basically made me his property,” she said.
Over the next few weeks, as Ricard repeatedly coerced her to perform oral sex on him, Green would write to prison administrative staff about the unsafe environment for transgender and homosexual inmates, Green said. Rogers State Prison housed one other transgender woman at the time, to Green’s knowledge, although Green was the only one receiving hormone treatment. In one letter, she says she mentioned being sexually targeted by Ricard.
Shortly afterward, she requested to be put into protective custody, which is typically a solitary cell for prisoners who believe their safety is at risk, carefully monitored by prison officials. What allegedly happened next makes up the bulk of a lawsuit Green and her Atlanta-based lawyer Mario Williams filed in May against the prison’s warden, deputy warden, and two correctional officers. Last week, they filed another complaint against an additional 13 additional correctional officers.
On Sept. 21, 2012, Green and Ricard were separately admitted into protective custody. According to Green, Ricard was the chief reason she had requested the special security measures. But for still unclear reasons, when Green entered her protective custody cell around 4:30 a.m., “Ricard was waiting” there, the complaint says. “Ricard raped Green, and the Defendants to this action all knew Ricard was going to rape (or at the very least, sexually assault) Green yet permitted Ricard to sexually assault Green.” The correction officers allegedly “condoned” the rape.
According to Williams, Green’s attorney, Green and Ricard had been assigned to different protective custody cells, and Ricard should have never been allowed in Green’s cell. Nearly 24 hours passed, though security checks were supposed to be made at least every 30 minutes. Williams said he believes the Georgia Department of Corrections knew about the situation and did nothing to prevent Green’s assault. The department declined to comment on the case to BuzzFeed News, citing pending litigation.
“Everyone has to wonder how Green’s assailant got put in protective custody on the same day and same time as Green. Then permitted to be in Green’s cell for nearly 24 hours,” Williams said. “This case is about more than Ricard. There has been official misconduct.”
In a court document responding to Green’s complaint, a lawyer for the defendants — repeatedly referring to Green as “he” — denied that the deputy warden had read any letter about Ricard’s “oral sodomy” of Green. The response noted that Green’s mother had contacted the prison about her daughter’s safety concerns, but alleged that when asked directly, Green said she “was not afraid.” The response also said that Green was “at some point … placed in the same cell as inmate Darryl Ricard.”
While the case moves forward, some local and national groups have begun rallying around Green. One of the first people to reach out to her was Kenneth Glasgow of the Ordinary People Society. He describes Green as “humble and quiet,” but also “tormented and traumatized,” unable to talk at length about the incident; while Green spoke to BuzzFeed News on Wednesday, she once paused to keep from crying.
After the alleged assault — when Green eventually got a guard’s attention — a sergeant came to the cell, she said. He apparently saw Ricard with a razor blade in his hand and stuck pepper spray through an opening in the cell door. Ricard quickly surrendered, Green said, and they were both separately removed from the cell. Later, Green was taken to a sexual assault examination nurse, who performed a rape kit.
Green was kept in protective custody for the next week and a half. Then she was transferred to Georgia State Prison, a facility down the street, where she immediately requested protective custody. Eventually she was placed in a unit made up a several single cells housing all transgender inmates. “I was the sixth or seventh on transgender hormone therapy,” Green said. She felt safe there.
But it wasn’t until her final transfer — to Atlanta Transitional Facility — that Green said she felt her life begin to change for the better.
Green was 17 when she began transitioning. It wasn’t long after that she began shoplifting from various Walmarts — landing her with a prison sentence and a life ban from the retailer. She says she doesn’t think this anymore, but at the time, theft felt like her only option.
“I did not think it was possible to find a job as a transgender person in Georgia. All the trans people I knew were either shoplifting, forging checks, or prostituting,” she said. “I didn’t know a single transgender person who had a job.”
At the transitional center, “they opened my eyes to another way,” she said. She’s been on parole since her release in March. In August, she began school, working to become a paralegal. She has a job at Walgreens. She’s helped her other transgender friends find jobs. She’s 25 now and said, “There’s a better life for me.”
She hopes one outcome of the lawsuit is that transgender people are not tested out in general population before officials decide it’s not a safe fit. While the federal Prison Rape Elimination Act forces states to take transgender inmates’ safety concerns into consideration, Harper Jean Tobin of the National Center for Transgender Equality said it’s not clear that they always do. (In Georgia, another transgender inmate is currently fighting for her access to hormone therapy in a high-profile case.)
“If institutions are able to make the culture shift … toward not making those auto assumptions but really focusing on what is keeping each person safe,” Tobin said, “they will start making those placements in women’s facilities more often.”
New Era of Civil Disobedience
Anti-government activists gather during a protest in Hong Kong, China, late Saturday and in the early morning hours of Sunday, Sept. 28, 2014.
Pro-democracy protesters kick-started an occupation of central Hong Kong after students clashed with the city’s police, prompting thousands of people to take to the streets in support.
China said last month that candidates for the 2017 leadership election must be vetted by a committee, angering pro-democracy campaigners who say the group is packed with business executives and lawmakers who favor Beijing.
Read more from the report by Bloomberg News.
Full coverage of the Hong Kong protest movement by the Bloomberg Photo team here.
Photographer: Lam Yik Fei/Bloomberg
© 2014 Bloomberg Finance LP
*Martian spacecraft staffers at Indian space control, September 2014
This scene unfolded as the Indian Mars Orbital Mission (MOM) succeeded in entering orbit around Mars.
The MOM mission aims to technically demonstrate India’s capabilities in space missions, as well as to study Mars’ atmosphere and surface using cameras, spectrometers and other sensors.
Study Tracked Sea-levels Over Five Ice Ages
Land ice decay at the end of the last five ice ages caused global sea-levels to rise at rates of up to 5.5 meters per century, according to a new study.
An international team of researchers developed a 500,000-year record of sea-level variability, to provide the first account of how quickly sea-level changed during the last five ice age cycles. The results, published in the latest issue of Nature Communications, also found that more than 100 smaller events of sea-level rise took place in between the five major events.
Read more: http://www.laboratoryequipment.com/news/2014/09/study-tracked-sea-levels-over-five-ice-ages
Rounding up Rinderpest
This stunning image by Philippa Hawes, is of rinderpest virus infected cells in culture from BBSRC’s 2009 image competition.
Described as the most dreaded of all animal diseases, rinderpest in its most virulent form could result in more than 80% mortality of cattle, buffalo, and other cloven-hoofed wildlife species.
The Pirbright Institute, formerly the Institute for Animal Health, which receives strategic funding from BBSRC, has played a significant role in eradicating the disease as the World Reference Laboratory for rinderpest.
Enter this years #ImageswithImpact competition, open to the UK pubic, researchers and students, seeking the best pictures that represent how life sciences are changing the world, in areas like: food, farming, bioenergy, biotech, industry and health - http://bbsrc2014.picturk.com/
Copyright: Philippa Hawes
Read more on the eradication of rinderpest: http://www.bbsrc.ac.uk/research/impact/eradicating-rinderpest.aspx
Enter free UK competition at: http://bbsrc2014.picturk.com/
“Oh, Harry, don’t you see?” Hermione breathed. “If she could have done one thing to make absolutely sure that every single person in this school will read your interview, it was banning it!”
- ‘Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix’, Pg. 513
Mark Bittman on what’s wrong with food in America
In an interview with Vox, Mark Bittman discusses how our industrial system of food production has led to cheap food filled with calories, but with very little nutrition. It’s a problem that needs to be addressed to prevent a health crisis.
Vox: What are things in society that need to tip for these to become more mainstream issues?
1. The more research we see about added sugars, the more we’ll see how damaging it is.
2. An outbreak of antibiotic resistant bacteria linked to overuse of antibiotics in animal production.
3. Confined animal feeding operations. We’re finally seeing how poorly animals are treated.
Researchers across the University of California system are working to address these issues.
Jered Lawson and Nancy Vail, graduates of UC Santa Cruz and UC San Diego, have formed Pie Ranch, a farm that teaches urban high school students about where their food comes from.
Robert Lustig, a UCSF professor of pediatrics said at a symposium on sugar and other sweeteners, “Enough people are sick that we need a societal and government intervention on the scale of that mounted against tobacco and alcohol.”
Annie King, an animal science professor at UC Davis, explains the difference between cage-free, free-range, and many other egg terms found at the grocery store.
Earlier this summer, University of California President Janet Napolitano and chancellors from all 10 campuses announced an initiative to tackle these problems on a global scale by harnessing the collective power of UC to help put the world on a path to sustainably and nutritiously feed itself.
Microscopic Advancements Aid Food QC Labs
Scanning electron microscopy and thermal stage technology are leading the path to modern techniques for food quality control and safety.
Recent advances in scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and thermal stage microscopy have served to enhance quality control procedures of laboratories within the food industry. Modifications to instruments allow for rapid, onsite sample analysis, reducing turnaround time for work that may have been previously outsourced. The current state of SEM and thermal stage technology allows for companies to perform their own analyses in their own laboratories in as little as 15 minutes. These time-saving measures, for example, enable the quality control scientist to quickly measure the coating of a candy bar to determine the temperature at which starch grains will gelatinize, or to investigate failures in food packaging materials.
Read more: http://www.laboratoryequipment.com/articles/2014/09/microscopic-advancements-aid-food-qc-labs
We didn’t know that our activism and our peaceful displays would result in guns literally looking down our eyes. Literally looking down our eyes. Guns.
And I had young people who were willing to die. For justice.
I had a young person — and he’s definitely the example of many young people that I represent who said "I didn’t think I would make it to twenty-one years old so I’m ready to die now. Let’s do it now."
State senator Maria Chappelle-Nadal (@MariaChappelleN) speaks on the Senate floor about the events she witnessed in Ferguson, Missouri in the weeks following the execution of Mike Brown. Senator Chappelle-Nadal was one of many protesters tear gassed for three hours without reprieve by the Ferguson PD.
She has been consistent and unrelenting in her criticism of Governor Jay Nixon — to the point of tweeting him “FUCK you, Governor!” — for his lack of action over the violation of citizens’ constitutional right to peacefully protest, and passionately vocal about the violent ways in which protesters were abused by the police.
This woman is an inspiration.
Your toothpaste may be full of plastic.
Earlier this year, Phoenix dental hygienist Trish Walraven began noticing tiny blue dots trapped in the spaces between the teeth and gums of her patients.
"I thought it was maybe a cleaning product, or something people were chewing," Walraven told WCYB 5 News in Virginia. "Some weeks I’ll see [it in] five or six patients."
After further investigation and consultation with colleagues, she discovered that the dots were polyethylene, a plastic used in products like garbage containers, grocery bags, bulletproof vests and even knee replacements.
As the Texas state board of education chooses textbooks for schools, we’re noticing an alarming trend:
A recent review by the National Center for Science Education (NCSE) found that several textbooks under consideration by the Texas Board of Education, which includes numerous members who deny global warming, cast doubt on the basic fact that carbon pollution is driving climate change. National Journal explained that since “Texas is the second-largest market in the U.S. for textbooks after California,” the textbooks chosen by the board could affect what publishers sell to states across the country.
According to the National Center for Science Education, here are some concerns that the appointed anti-science textbook reviewers have raised:
“I feel very firmly that ‘creation science’ based on Biblical principles should be incorporated into every Biology book that is up for adoption.”
“Text neglects to tell students that no transitional fossils have been discovered. The fossil record can be interpreted in other ways than evolutionary with equal justification.”
“evolutionary theory is challenged by science, reason and mathematics.”
“Presentation fails to include metaphysics (not a pseudoscience) as a limitation to scientific inquiry.”
“Modern evolutionary biology is based on comparisons of DNA sequence information, not fossil records.”“CO2 levels have been much higher in the past and life survived just fine.”
“Plants always grow better with higher CO2 levels.”
“No mention is made of the benefit to plants of higher CO2 concentrations.”
“The earth has not warmed now for 16 years and the sun spot cycle is approaching a long minimum that willreduce [sic] temperatures.”
In November the Texas board of education will be voting on which textbooks they’ll adopt. In the meantime, NCSE and the Texas Freedom Network are gathering signatures to ask publishers to “remove climate change denial from Texas social studies textbooks.”