Category Archives: Science

Links o' the day 27/11/08

This shot of wind tower in Jaipur is one of my favourite photos of recent times. And it certainly helps take one’s mind off the carnage that’s going on in Mumbai.

While on the subject of great photographs, here are ten of Hubble’s best before it gets decommissioned in 2010.

Say phooey to that digital alarm clock and get a pin one instead.

Although given its recent track record (read “Vista”), Microsoft has got a fair bit right.

Could newspapers have survived the web?

The credit crunch/economic meltdown has thrown up all sorts of new financial terms. Just to add one: apparently Nokia refers to “synergy-related headcount adjustments”, better known to you and me as redundancies.

Links o' the day 25/11/08

Hypermiling might be the word of the year but I prefer topless meeting. Only it’s not what you think.

Fine Gael’s economic ‘plan’ dissected in far better fashion than I can muster.

Greenland goes to the referendum booth to seek greater self-rule powers.

Take that you spammy feckers.

If we could resurrect neanderthals by cloning, should we?

The town where no one is allowed to die.

Too hot to be habitable…

…but that doesn’t necessarily mean nothing lives there.

Carbon dioxide, a potential fingerprint of life, has been discovered for the first time in the atmosphere of a planet orbiting another star…  carbon dioxide is one of four chemicals that life can generate, so being able to detect it shows that astronomers have the ability to find the signs of life on other worlds.

Links o' the day 20/11/08

China’s output per head of population is smaller than Albania’s. Except China could probably buy swathes of the planet.

Wooly mammoth DNA decoded. Am I the only one who wants to see this species roam the Earth again?

A gallery of the greatest conspiracy theories.

Prices at Dubai’s Palm developments are down 40% to a paltry $2.7m.

Vive la France (in digital library terms at least).

It seems 21% of Americans can’t find the Pacific Ocean on a map. On the plus side, 94% can find the US.

The fakir who was buried alive for 40 days.

Energy islands

It is one of those ideas that is so obvious it is difficult to imagine why somebody did not think of it sooner: a floating rig that collects wave, solar, thermal and wind energy.

One of these hexagonally-shaped islands could generate 250 megawatts (enough power for a small city), Michaelis said. Even more power is possible by mooring together several Energy Islands into a small archipelago that could include greenhouses for food, a small harbor for ships and a hotel for tourists.

Although the focus is on using the other technologies to help ocean thermal energy conversion, I think the idea could have plenty of merit even without this. It won’t be cheap, at about $600m per energy island, but it could pay for itself through desalinisation or aquaculture.

It would be important to ensure that such facilities do not interfere with marine life: with so many fish species already threatened, it would be stupid to run the risk of further depopulation (although I confess ignorance of fish stocks in tropical waters). There are also a great many dead zones in world waters, and I would be concerned that the pumping up of so many nutrients could create new ones; I’m sure such possibilities will be dealt with if such projects get funding.

It’s also unclear how far offshore these islands would be: too close, and public opinion will be against populating pretty sea views with technology.