It is that time again the news that you missed last week…..
The big science news last week was that fusion may have been achieved….
The Department of Energy promises to announce a “major scientific breakthrough” on Tuesday. The Financial Times reports in advance that it is indeed a huge deal: Scientists have for the first time produced a net energy gain from a nuclear fusion reaction. The Washington Post confirms the news out of the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California, calling it the long-sought “holy grail” in the hunt for clean, cheap energy. The FT lays out the importance: “Fusion reactions emit no carbon, produce no long-lived radioactive waste and a small cup of the hydrogen fuel could theoretically power a house for hundreds of years.” However, the stories make clear that we are years, perhaps decades, away from turning the milestone into a commonplace energy source.
“If this is confirmed, we are witnessing a moment of history,” physicist and author Arthur Turrell tells the FT. “Scientists have struggled to show that fusion can release more energy than is put in since the 1950s, and the researchers at Lawrence Livermore seem to have finally and absolutely smashed this decades-old goal.” New Scientist also weighs in on the formidable next steps, agreeing that it could take decades to figure out how to engineer large-scale fusion reactors and then actually build them. The Post notes that even old-school fission reactors take five years to build.
Because of those hurdles, the stories say the milestone would not provide a quick fix to current concerns about global warming. “While fusion may be able to play a role in powering the second half of the 21st century, it is unlikely to be a solution to the immediate climate crisis,” per New Scientist. Still, it’s seen as a monumental achievement to mimic on Earth the carbon-free reaction that powers our sun. Earlier this year, Rep. Don Beyer, chair of the bipartisan fusion energy caucus, put it this way: “Fusion has the potential to lift more citizens of the world out of poverty than anything since the invention of fire.”
Then the news broke….
They did it: Researchers at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California have made history in the quest to harness fusion, reports the AP. Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm announced Tuesday that researchers achieved a net energy gain in a fusion reaction for the first time in history. It’s a huge first step toward what could cheap, carbon-free power—and the end of fossil fuels—though it will likely be decades before the nation sees fusion-powered energy plants. Still, the breakthrough “will go down in the history books,” said Granholm.
How about food and health news…..
Do you drink 8 glasses of water a day?
The advice to drink eight glasses of water a day is so engrained that it might be difficult to dislodge it. But some researchers are trying to, the Washington Post reports. A new study published in the journal Science finds issues with that guidance, which might have been misunderstood all along. The Food and Nutrition Board of the National Research Council in 1945 first suggested adults have about 64 ounces of water per day—translated as eight 8-ounce glasses, or 8 cups. But the goal of 64 ounces referred to total consumption, including what we get from food and other beverages. As the Mayo Clinic puts it, “you don’t need to rely only on water to meet your fluid needs.”
Experts and their research have questioned the scientific basis for the rule before. One study found no evidence that the 227 elderly adults among of 883 monitored were dehydrated despite regularly drinking less than six glasses of water a day. In the new research, data from 5,600 people in 26 countries ranging in age from 8 days to 96 years was analyzed. The study measured how much water the subjects lost and replaced each day, called water turnover. Researchers found water turnover was largely determined by a person’s size and level of body fat. People with a more “fat-free” mass need more water. And men overall need more water because they have larger bodies and less body fat. “Men use more water every day because we have a bigger system to keep hydrated,” said Herman Pontzer, a Duke University professor and study co-author.
A better guideline might be: Drink when you’re thirsty. Water, coffee, and tea work, but sugary drinks are less help. The Mayo Clinic says you’re probably getting enough water if you rarely feel thirsty and your urine is light yellow or colorless. There are complications, experts point out, including the fact that everyone will need to drink more as the climate warms. Researchers found no real harm in drinking 64 ounces of water a day, or more. “If you drink eight cups of water a day, you’ll be fine—you’re just going to be spending a lot more time in the bathroom,” Pontzer said.
Do you enjoy those prawns at your local seafood eatery?
They are not prawns! They are large shrimp not prawns.
Those of us who eat shellfish might recognize these ten little legs from the intensive peeling process behind preparing these two aquatic critters. Healthline tells us that shrimp have only one pair of clawed legs while prawns sport claws on three pairs. Additionally, though both decapods have three-segmented bodies, the prawns’ segments overlap with one another, which gives it a more straight and inflexible form than shrimp.
The two crustaceans also have different reproduction habits, per Healthline. Shrimps carry their clutch of eggs on their underbelly while prawns simply lay their eggs into open water, leaving their offspring to develop independently — though the prawns often attempt to find rocks or plants on which they can securely deposit their eggs.
If you use golf as an excuse for exercise then your days may be numbered.
The sport of golf today evokes images of lavish country clubs and pristine greens which often alter and dominate environments that can’t sustain them. But the game’s history predates land-moving bulldozers, industrialized irrigation, even sprinklers and lawn mowers. Golf can trace its origins back to the late Middle Ages, when it was a stick-and-ball game played in the rolling hills of Scotland. Birds and insects flew nearby and ate native plants, which grew freely on the greens.
“Golf, traditionally, is a very environmentally friendly game,” Jason Straka, principal at Fry/Straka Global Golf Course Design, told The Daily Beast. Early courses were found environments, as golfers would discover clear, flat land and find ways to play around obstacles without moving or altering the earth. “The environmental impact was essentially negative,” he said.
Nowadays, golf is a favorite boogeyman of the environmental movement, seen as a symbol of water-wasting opulence enjoyed primarily by the wealthy. Golf courses in drought-parched areas in the American Southwest and southern Europe have been targeted with municipal water cuts—and, at times, accused of evading them. In August, Extinction Rebellion climate activists descended upon the Vieille-Toulouse golf club and the Garonne des Sept Deniers golf course in southern France, filling their holes with cement and tearing up greens to protest their water use as the region suffered a historic drought. While dozens of villages faced water shortages, golfers enjoyed a privilege “worthy of another world,” they said.
I think that is enough for this Saturday….
I Read, I Write, You Know
“lego ergo scribo”