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Blog » 2006 » September

20 Sep 2006

Life just got more … interesting

Filed under: Studies — paulcook @ 12:19 pm

Ok, so not really life — just my physics. But this title flowed better.

So far today (it’s noon), I have made some real progress on a tricky problem we’ve been working on, that looks like it might soon give some very interesting results, possibly publication-worthy. This is very good. Also today, another paper appeared online with similar results to some of our work, from a different approach. This is potentially very bad. It’s 62 pages of heavy maths, so I’m not sure how bad at this stage. Preliminarily, though, it looks like at least some of our work is not in their paper.

So yes, things might start moving quickly now.

14 Sep 2006

Arctic ice shrinks 14% in a year

Filed under: Noteworthy news, Technology and science — paulcook @ 7:17 pm

New studies from NASA (JPL) and elsewhere show a 14% reduction in perennial (ie. survives the summer) Arctic ice in just one year, from 2004 to 2005. Supercomputer models had suggested that the ice (and, incidentally, polar bears as a species) would all be gone by 2070, but this is far faster even than those predictions.

This might be a good time to turn off a light, or take your bike to work tomorrow. Just a thought.

7 Sep 2006

Caltech Physicists Successfully Split The Bill | The Onion

Filed under: Stuff — paulcook @ 1:23 pm

Caltech Physicists Successfully Split The Bill | The Onion - America’s Finest News Source

Yes, Caltech physics has made it into the spoof newspaper The Onion, in an article about a group of physicists trying to split a dinner bill. The terminology and even the disciplines of the fictional physicists are all pretty believable. Someone at The Onion knows what they’re talking about! The restaurant referred to also exists.

5 Sep 2006

Co2 levels in ice cores

Filed under: Noteworthy news, Technology and science — paulcook @ 10:52 am

In the news today: new studies of gas bubbles trapped in Antarctic show that current CO2 levels are higher than those for the last 800 000 years — and that the growth in CO2 levels over the last 17 years is so fast that it would normally require over 1000 years of natural variation to produce the same change.

The past 800 000 years includes many ice ages, and interglacial warming periods between the ice ages. The CO2 level fluctuates in step with global average temperature. So we’re looking at a change that in the last 17 years has been larger than that associated with a mere ice age (though luckily other changes are also associated with ice ages). But our CO2 emission rate is still increasing.