Moon Origins Not Set in Stone

first_imgThe leading theory for the origin of the moon has been for some time now that a massive object hit the Earth, and the debris formed the moon.  New Scientist reported one astronomer who doesn’t buy it.  “The collision has to be implausibly gentle,” said Peter Noerdlinger to the American Astronomical Society.  “You practically need someone to hold a Mars-sized object just above Earth and drop it, to avoid messing up Earth’s orbit.”    His theory returns to the old idea that the Earth and the moon both formed from a primordial nebula.  He adds a twist that the moon was ripped apart by a close encounter with the Earth, then re-formed without its iron core.  The iron was redeposited as a layer on the early Earth.  “This fits with evidence that the Earth acquired a veneer of iron after it formed, Noerdlinger says.”It’s premature to say whether Noerdlinger’s ideas will become accepted.  What’s notable at this time is that the accepted theory has problems, and that his theory seems even more ad hoc.    Positing an unknown body to come in just at the right time and velocity to make two bodies from one seems a tremendously lucky accident.  The glancing-impact theory was a post-Apollo invention to overcome big objections to the three other hypotheses: the primordial nebula hypothesis, the spin-off hypothesis, and the impact hypothesis.  Now, at least one astronomer feels the consensus theory is also too improbable.  But is his any better?  He has to envision a close encounter with just the right conditions to break up the moon and make the Earth steal its iron.    If nothing else, this article shows that people living today who weren’t there and don’t know everything have a hard time putting the pieces together.  There’s always a way out for them: believing in miraculous luck.  At least his miracle led to iron for the hemoglobin in his brain, and iron for the sword that defined human history.(Visited 12 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more

SA mothballs Pebble Bed Reactor

first_img Source: BuaNews 17 September 2010 The South African government has taken the tough decision to cut its losses and cancel further investment in the Pebble Bed Modular Reactor project. While technologically sound, and potentially ideal for developing countries, the PBMR has been unable to secure sufficient investment to keep it going. South Africa was at the forefront of developing the new nuclear technology that, its proponents argued, was safe, clean and, because it could be adopted in small-scale and modular fashion, ideally suited to the needs of developing countries. However, the government, “after careful deliberation, analysis and review, and mindful of the fiscal constraints in these hard economic times, has had to make a decision no longer to invest in this project,” Public Enterprises Minister Barbara Hogan told Parliament in Cape Town on Thursday. Hogan said the scale and size of the PBMR company was now being reduced to a few people, with the focus now on the retention of its intellectual property and certain of its skills, and the preservation of its assets.Decision ‘not taken lightly’ She said the government’s decision had not been taken lightly, and that it was mindful of the impact this would have on the careers and livelihoods of the PBMR employees. “Nor have we lost sight of the significant investment already made by government in this project and the impressive scientific advances already achieved in pioneering this particular form of nuclear technology,” Hogan said. The minister said the government had to consider the fact that the PBMR has not been able to secure an anchor customer or another investment partner, and that further investment in the project could well be in excess of an additional R30-billion. Over the last few years, a total of R9.244-billion had been invested in the project, of which the government had contributed 80.3%, or R7.419-billion. State electricity company Eskom had contributed 8.8%, with Westinghouse and the Industrial Development Corporation accounting for 4.9% each. The project has been missing deadlines constantly, with the construction of the first demonstration model delayed further and further into the future. Additionally, the opportunity afforded to the PBMR to participate in the US’s Next Generation Nuclear Plant programme as part of the Westinghouse consortium was lost in May when Westinghouse withdrew from the programme. Should South Africa embark on a nuclear build programme in the future, it would not use Pebble Bed Technology, which is still primarily in the research and design phase. “Finally, the severity of the current economic downturn, and the strains that it has placed on the fiscus, as well as the nature and scale of government’s current developmental priorities, has forced government to reprioritise its spending obligations and therefore, of necessity, to make certain tough decisions – this being one of them,” Hogan said.‘Care and maintenance mode’ The government had commissioned an independent high-level review of the project, with an inter-departmental task team evaluating the options available. Several of the task team’s recommendations had been approved by Cabinet, including that the PBMR be placed in “care and maintenance mode” in order to protect its assets and intellectual property. The company will be downsized by 75%; about 600 employees have already left in terms of prescribed procedures. Retrenchment of the remaining staff will continue, while the PBMR’s Fuel Development Laboratory will be decommissioned. A Helium Test Facility at the University of North West will only be mothballed if the university decides it does not wish to continue using the facility. The Departments of Higher Education and Energy will seek to continue supporting nuclear graduate programmes at universities that benefited from PBMR-related investment. However, the closing of the project would inevitably result in some leakage of skills. At the same time, Hogan said, “we do envisage the further up-skilling and training of a younger generation of scientists and technicians who have benefitted from our investments in PBMR.” A full review and audit of the project, still to be conducted, would help to capture the lessons to be learnt from such an undertaking, and identify any outstanding steps that still needed to be taken, Hogan said.The technology in itself ‘fully viable’ A feasibility study on the project started in 2000, and in 2003 the National Nuclear Regulator reported a positive view on the possibility of licensing the PBMR. In 2005, the PBMR’s focus shifted to work needed for licensing a demonstration power plant and the detailed design work required for manufacturing long lead-time items for the plant. The funding given by government was intended to ensure continuation of the project, while providing a firm foundation for acquiring an anchor customer and additional private sector investment for the project. It was originally envisaged that Eskom would be the PBMR’s anchor customer, purchasing up to 24 PBMR reactors, with a first demonstration PBMR to be built at Koeberg Nuclear Power Station site in Cape Town. “It is absolutely clear from all the high-level reviews that have been undertaken that there is no doubt about the validity of Pebble Bed Technology itself,” Hogan said. “The main feature of the Pebble Bed Reactor is that its safety features are inherent in the physics of the design, as opposed to add-on engineered safety features, as found on current Light Water Reactor nuclear plants. “However, between 2005 and 2009, it became increasingly clear that, based on the direct-cycle electricity design, PBMR’s potential investor and customer market was severely restricted, and it was unable to acquire either [investors or customers].”last_img read more

SA, Ghana ‘poised to deepen cooperation’

first_img28 November 2013 South Africa President Jacob Zuma returned from a two-day state visit to Ghana on Wednesday, saying it was a highly successful trip which had “yielded very important results which will see our bilateral relations moving to a higher level”. Zuma was accompanied by a high-level government and business delegation on his trip, during which he held talks with Ghanaian President John Dramani Mahama and addressed a session of the South Africa-Ghana Business Forum. The signing of a bilateral air services agreement as well as memoranda of understanding in transport and energy “highlight the level of cooperation between our two countries, and we have agreed that these instruments should translate into concrete projects,” Zuma said in a statement on Wednesday. Both Zuma and Mahama encouraged businesses to take advantage of the two countries’ strong relations, and Africa’s positive economic growth prospects, to increase trade and investment. Addressing the South Africa-Ghana Business Forum on Tuesday, Zuma said the two countries were “poised to deepen our cooperation further in the fields of tourism, communication, energy, oil and gas, manufacturing, mining, agriculture as well as science and technology”. He noted that the recently launched Saldanha Bay industrial development zone on South Africa’s south-western coast “provides a vehicle for partnership for upstream exploration and production service companies operating in the oil and gas fields of sub-Saharan Africa”. A feasibility study conducted ahead of the launch found that Saldanha Bay is strategically located to serve as a service, maintenance, fabrication and supply hub for Africa’s booming oil and gas sector, due to the increasing number of oil rigs requiring maintenance, and their traffic flow passing from the west to the east coast of Africa. In October, German company Oiltanking GmbH entered a joint venture with a number of South African companies to build a commercial crude oil storage and blending terminal at the port of Saldanha. The company said that Saldanha was an excellent location for a crude oil hub, “as it is close to strategic tanker routes from key oil-producing regions to major oil-consuming markets”. According to The Presidency, South Africa’s imports from Ghana – the bulk of which was crude oil – amounted to R1.9-billion in 2012, while its exports to Ghana stood at an estimated R5-billion. South Africa is the 14th largest investor in Ghana, with investments adding up to more than R64-billion in the decade between 2003 and April 2013. There are more than 80 South African multinational and small-scale companies registered in Ghana. SAinfo reporterlast_img read more

Ultramafic Magnificence – Geocache of the Week

first_img 1234<> Location:New ZealandS 44° 33.235′ E 168° 12.560′ Continue to explore some of the most amazing geocaches around the world.Check out all of the Geocaches of the Week on the Geocaching blog. If you would like to nominate a Geocache of the Week, fill out this form.Share with your Friends:More EarthCaches are a special type of geocache. They are not physical containers, they are geological locations where people learn about how our planet is shaped by geological processes and how we manage Earth’s resources. You can find them in many places — one might be at an easily accessible lake or a ravine in a forest near you. But then there are EarthCaches like our Geocache of the Week which is so remote that it took almost six years for someone to claim the FTF.FTF marks the spotUltramafic Magnificence is located on the south island of New Zealand on the boundary of Fiordland and Mt. Aspiring National Parks. The Red Mountain range in this area is made up of ultramafic rock, thrust up 10 km (6.2 miles) up through Earth’s crust by tectonic actions of the Indo-Australian and Pacific plates. This causes the rock to appear in isolated patches (ultramafic intrusions) which contrast dramatically against the surrounding, more typical alpine rock. Ultramafic rock is rich in iron, which gives the hills their distinctive deep red/brown rusty color, but is deficient in other essential minerals, thus no vegetation grows there.About 30 km (18.6 miles) south of Red Mountain you’ll find ultramafic rock at Cow Saddle. As you climb over the col, you notice a striking difference between the ultramafic rock to the east and the more traditional rock to the west.If this sounds like the type of EarthCache that gets you excited, there are a few things to keep in mind before you decide to embark on the journey.The trek to reach the site of the cache takes three days, and you must be proficient in deep wilderness hiking. You have to bring all necessary equipment such as shelter, clothing for all weather conditions, cooking gear, food, and emergency equipment. You need to be able to cross a river, read and navigate a map, and be prepared to face harsh weather. There are no cabins or marked tracks.So far the cache has been logged by five fearless geocachers and it is highly recommended to read the logs of their amazing journeys. Will you be the next adventurer to find and log this cache? SharePrint RelatedPão de Açúcar — Geocache of the WeekApril 12, 2017In “Geocache of the Week”Geocaching Bucket List: Greatest Hits EditionMarch 6, 2016In “Community”Geocaching Unlocks the Secrets of the Earth – Geocaching Weekly NewsletterJanuary 21, 2013In “Groundspeak’s Weekly Newsletter” EarthCacheGC2Q4TQby Tim+Jed Difficulty:1.5Terrain:5last_img read more

Seeking NZE in a Charming (but Leaky) Old Victorian

first_imgMatt and Kelly Grocoff’s house, a Folk Victorian in Ann Arbor, Michigan, fits comfortably in their neighborhood’s 19th century architectural vernacular. But the Grocoffs purchased the 110-year-old building, in 2006, for more than its decorative appeal and its place in Ann Arbor’s vaunted Old West Side Historic District. One of the real selling points, especially for Matt, was that house was something of a mess.“It was a dream come true,” Grocoff, founder of GreenovationTV and the green renovation expert for Old House Web, says in an OHW video about the house. “It had lead paint, asbestos siding, zero insulation, and even an old gas-powered lawnmower out in the shed!”Playing off the notion that the greenest house is the one you don’t build, Grocoff is using the upgrades to the Victorian to show how deep an energy retrofit can go in a house that not only is very old (by U.S. standards) but subject to relatively strict historic-district rules for renovation. It has turned out to be a long-term project, to say the least, but if Grocoff has his way, the house will soon operate at net zero energy. And because he and his wife (who have a young daughter) plan to stay in the house indefinitely and live in it as it makes its crawl toward better energy efficiency, Grocoff has been justifying many of the improvements by factoring in prospective savings on energy costs and preservation of original materials.Tending to basicsHe told local news service, for example, that the monthly utility bill for the home, which was operating with a 50-year-old furnace, was $350 in January 2007, when he installed a geothermal heat pump. (There was room for three 150-foot boreholes on the small lot.) The geothermal system halved the utility bill, which had been about $2,800 annually – a projected $56,000 over the next 20 years, Grocoff notes, if energy prices remained the same.The attic presented another dream opportunity to save money. It had no insulation (except for a layer of newspaper from 1902), so Grocoff had the air leaks sealed and 20 inches of blown cellulose installed, bringing the thermal resistance of the attic floor to R-50. He also hired a contractor to remove siding panels on each face of the exterior, where cellulose was blown into the walls.Dealing with the windows in the house required a workaround, since historic-preservation rules in the area prevent homeowners from replacing originals. The Folk Victorian’s 15 double-hung windows, before restoration, were almost as leaky closed as open, so Grocoff called in a local window restoration expert, Lorri Sipes, for a tutorial on dismantling and refurbishing the wooden parts, sealing leaks, repairing broken channels, and other steps needed to get the windows in shape. That process cost a few hundred dollars – replacements would have run about $15,000 installed – and a fair amount of labor on Grocoff’s part before the windows were ready for paint. The remaining issue, of course, was further reducing air leakage at each window, but the historic district allows installation of storm windows, so Grocoff ordered them from George W. Trapp Co., based in Redford, Michigan.A pitch for solar and preservationGrocoff calculates that getting the house to operate at net zero energy – he calls it his “Mission Zero” – will require a solar power system that he plans to buy from SunPower Corp. of San Jose, California, and have installed on the building’s south-facing roof. He expects to spend about $14,000 on the purchase and installation after tax credits from the federal government and credits from the local utility company, Detroit Edison Energy. The system will have paid for itself, he figures, in about five years.That he was able to win the Ann Arbor Historic District Commission’s approval for the idea, Grocoff said in his interview with, could mean good things for many of the district’s other historic buildings, not only in terms of their energy efficiency but also their preservation.“Historic houses are really inefficient,” he said. “They’ve got old, leaky windows, and so there’s a long way to go in those historic houses because they’re already so inefficient. So we have to fix those. We’re not going to tear them down. It would be foolish and environmentally bad judgment to tear down old houses. So we want to preserve them, and a way to do that is to make them as energy efficient as possible and then produce renewable energy onsite.”last_img read more

Roundup: The Quirky Themes of Wes Anderson

first_imgWes Anderson’s iconic style and idiosyncratic approach to filmmaking is unmistakable. Enjoy this supercut roundup that features some of his most distinctive trademarks.It’s a lot of fun to explore the recurring trademarks of established directors. Scorsese never misses a chance to use Gimme Shelter by the Rolling Stones, and Kubrick loved his One-Point Perspective. And then there’s Wes Anderson, who is basically quirk incarnate. With it being allergy season in Texas, I recently spent a few days not getting off the couch. It gave me a great opportunity to revisit some of my favorite Wes Anderson films. When you find yourself six hours into a Bottle Rocket/Moonrise Kingdom/Life Aquatic binge, obviously certain themes begin to appear.Andy Crump, in his Screen Rant article,  A Beginner’s Guide to Wes Anderson Movies, said it best:Maybe more than anything else, it’s the look of Anderson’s films that immediately give them away as his; it’s unlikely you’ll ever watch Rushmore, or Fantastic Mr. Fox, or The Darjeeling Limited and wonder who made it.Let’s take a look at some Vimeo videos created by Wes Anderson fans that explore the director’s various calling cards.1. Wes Anderson // CenteredCreated by: kogonadaThis video showcases Anderson’s love of symmetry, a signature shot that sprung up as early as Bottle Rocket only to become more and more prevalent in his most recent films.2. Wes Anderson // From AboveAnother of Anderson’s tics: his love of shooting from directly above, usually while filming knick-knacks, props, and hands.Created by: kogonada3. Wes Anderson // VehiclesYou’ll probably be surprised at just how often Anderson uses vehicles in his films. These POV shots do a good job of placing the viewer directly into Anderson’s whimsical world.Created by: Jaume R. Lloret4. WES (slow motion)Anderson uses slow motion just about as well as any director working. His ability to match emotion and music in these clips is second to none.Created by: Alejandro Prullansky5. Red & Yellow: A Wes Anderson SupercutAnderson’s vibrant films aren’t just defined by his technical skills and unique vision. His palette choices create an unmistakable vibe that permeates every shot.Created by: Rishi KaneriaAnd finally, here’s a great article from Slate that goes in-depth with Anderson’s long-time cinematographer, Robert Yeoman. In the interview, Yeoman discusses how he shot some of Anderson’s most iconic scenes. And here are a few more filmmaking resources to check out if you’re feeling inspired:Creative Inspiration: Directors on Directing5 Legendary Directors on DirectingHoning Your Craft: Find Your Voice as a DirectorWhat are some of the quirks that you recognize in your favorite directors? Do you have any go-to themes in YOUR work? Share your thoughts in the comments below.last_img read more

Rahman’s CWG song to be tweaked

Events and Competitions Coordinator – TouchWest

first_imgThe successful applicant will be employed full time, however the hours of work will be flexible due to travel and weekend work. This diverse role will see you responsible in providing leadership and support overall direction and management for the delivery of TouchWest Events and TFA competitions. Salary range for the position is $35,000 – $50,000 depending on qualifications and experience for the role. Applications close COB Friday, 18 June 2010. Applicants should email a one page letter of introduction addressing qualifications and experience along with a resume containing details of referees to [email protected] Please find attached a copy of the job description. Related Fileswa_events_and_competitions_coordinator-pdflast_img read more

10 months agoSouthampton boss Hasenhuttl: Gabbiadini must decide

first_imgTagsTransfersAbout the authorCarlos VolcanoShare the loveHave your say Southampton boss Hasenhuttl: Gabbiadini must decideby Carlos Volcano10 months agoSend to a friendShare the loveSouthampton boss Ralph Hasenhuttl says Manolo Gabbiadini must decide his next move.AC Milan, Fiorentina and Sampdoria are all in contact.”Sure [they have had bids], we have to decide and he has to decide where he wants to go,” Hasenhuttl told Sky Sports.“There are a few teams interested in Manolo, we will have a look and if there’s a result, we’ll tell you.”Samp are regarded as favourites to land the Italian. last_img read more

Microsofts Best New OS Hint Its Not Vista