Lightning’s Secrets Revealed

Researchers unravel mystery of lightning diversity | Community
For example, most people don’t see lightning see lightning strikes that go from clouds to the ground, but some lightning goes upward, forming blue jets and gigantic jets. Perhaps the most dangerous lightning appears as “bolts from the blue” – lightning that begins upward, but then moves sideways and then downward to hit the ground as much as three miles from a thunderstorm.

About 90% of lightning occurs inside clouds and is not visible to the casual observer, researchers said. Continue reading “Lightning’s Secrets Revealed”

Understanding China’s Capitalism

Barnett: China’s capitalism isn’t so foreign : Columnists : Knoxville News Sentinel
As usual tom Barnett can step back with the long view over our near-term fear of China. Western powers today fear that China’s stunning rise signals a real challenge to the notion that economic growth triggers democracy. While I understand such fears, let me tell you why they’re unfounded: China’s economy increasingly mirrors our own.

As business academics William Baumol, Robert Litan and Carl Schramm argue in their 2007 book, “Good Capitalism, Bad Capitalism,” there are basically four types of capitalism operating today. Continue reading “Understanding China’s Capitalism”

No Swearing in “Hells’ Kitchen”

Ramsay vows to forswear bad language after he gets the brush-off from Australia – This Britain, UK – The Independent
Ramsay cut his teeth in the late 1980s, working with the famously irascible Marco Pierre White at Harvey’s in south London, until he tired of “the rages and the bullying and violence”. His first sighting by the British TV audience was in a fly-on-the-wall documentary called Boiling Point, in which his startlingly colourful language made him an overnight celebrity. Since then, he has capitalised on his potty mouth, giving his TV series the ambiguous title of The F-Word (the other word being Food.) Even his last book was confusingly titled *** Chef.

Assistant chefs and waiters will face disciplinary one-on-one “exercise” sessions with Ramsay, and diners will be fined £5 (or $11 or €7), for any outbreak of effing, blinding or c-word in public. Four years ago, Ramsay installed closed-circuit TV in all his UK restaurants to improve waiter service, and it has even been suggested that he has had sensitive microphones installed in his tables, to pick up sotto voce cursing. The reason for this dramatic turnaround is not hard to find. It follows the crushing news that Ramsay’s application to open a new establishment in Sydney – his first in Australia – has been turned down by the city authorities, on grounds of “decency”.

Banned Movie

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Here is the controversial banned film on Islam, Wikipedia has a very good coverage ongoing of this film and its consequences. So after all the official condemnations, see it for yourself and make your own judgment. Wikileaks, the uncensored freedom of information site that we have featured on this blog before, has the original videos and some from the recent Tibet riots

Leave Fluorescent Lights Off Or On?

Does Turning Fluorescent Lights Off Use More Energy Than Leaving Them On?: Scientific American

The thinking is that the boost of energy such bulbs require to power up means that it might be best to keep them on when leaving a room, rather than subjecting them to the stress of a restart on your return.
Turns out, however, that power surge is so brief that its energy draw doesn’t amount to much: the equivalent of a few seconds or so of normal operation, according to U.S. Department of Energy estimates.

A simple rule of thumb that balances both concerns is to shut off fluorescents if you’re planning to leave a room for more than five minutes, according to Francis Rubinstein, a staff scientist in the Building Technologies Department at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory’s Environmental Energy Technologies Division.

Rubinstein notes that, even for fluorescents, the cost of electricity over a bulb’s lifetime far outpaces the cost of the bulb itself. “Even if you switch on and off a fluorescent light frequently,” he says, “the slight reduction in lamp life is a small effect relative to the energy savings you accomplish by being a good citizen.”

First the Bees & Now the Bats Are Dying

Bats Perish, and No One Knows Why – New York Times
In what is one of the worst calamities to hit bat populations in the United States, on average 90 percent of the hibernating bats in four caves and mines in New York have died since last winter.

Wildlife biologists fear a significant die-off in about 15 caves and mines in New York, as well as at sites in Massachusetts and Vermont. Whatever is killing the bats leaves them unusually thin and, in some cases, dotted with a white fungus. Bat experts fear that what they call White Nose Syndrome may spell doom for several species that keep insect pests under control. Continue reading “First the Bees & Now the Bats Are Dying”

China To Open 97 new airports in 12 yrs

97 new airports to open in 12 yrs – People’s Daily Online
According to the plan, which covers the years up to 2020, the number of airports nationwide will increase to 192 by 2010, and to 244 by 2020. At the end of 2006, there were 147, including 45 used for both civilian and military purposes.

This means 82 in every 100 people – who contribute 96 percent of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) – will live within 100 km, or 90 minutes’ drive, from an airport by 2020.

At present, only 61 percent of people – who contribute 82 percent of GDP – lives within this range, the plan said.The CAAC said the new airports will cost an estimated total of 450 billion yuan ($64 billion).

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