I interrupt my battery history series for this important news:
In case you hadn't heard, the next big thing in batteries is fast charge and discharge times. One of the main hangups with electric cars is that they take too long to charge. Most people don't want to spend several hours "fueling" their car with electrons after a century of a five minute fill up. Recent advances in battery materials such as lithium titanate (Altair Nanosystems) and lithium iron phosphate (A123 Systems) have allowed the development of batteries that can charge in a matter of minutes instead of hours. This is all dependent on you power source, of course, but Aerovironment has demonstrated a charging system capable of a ten minute charge that can propel a vehicle 120 miles.
...and the depth vs. breadth argument in science education continues, even though .This article
chimes in with some updated information. A new study shows that students who studied basic topics more in depth in high school did better in college introductory courses than those who had the "we must cram everything we can think of about this topic into your heads so that you can pass the state-mandated graduation exam" approach.
Our editor, Hank Campbell, is collecting ideas for the SB 2.0 T-Shirt Collection. Here are a few ideas. I'd love to have some of yours. Maybe you'll see your name in lights... or at least on cotton.
Science and calculus don't mix. Never drink and derive.
Love a Geologist and feel the earthquake
My rocks are gneiss, don't take 'em for granite
All my faults are normal
Geologists make the bedrock!
So many beds, so little time
Geology is a load of schist!
Subduction ALWAYS leads to orogeny
We have an outstanding graphic design intern who just started so we're going to have T-shirts made for each category rather than just the generic one with the logo
. If you have ideas for cool science-related and/or funny t-shirts that just need a capable hand to bring them to life, make a comment and we can see about making some magic happen.
Then we can send writers here any kind they want. We are all about customization.
Here are a few:
For those of you who wonder if I actually exist, not just a figment of Hank's fevered imagination, or if I actually play rugby, we have independent evidence
this week. Now, if only we had proof that I do biology.
The Wii game 'Super Mario Galaxy' is a triumph of inventive game play and a favorite in our family. But oh, the muddled science message is like a bad version of the old "Who's on First" routine.
In the game, you collect star bits and bigger stars to open up planets that are called Galaxies. You can also feed stars, which turn into galaxies when they get fat. Each Galaxy is eminently walkable and about the size of a football field... or smaller. As a game player, it's great fun. As an astronomer, it's painful.
There is no question that humans are unique among living things in possessing a rich communications vehicle like language. However, by itself, this is insufficient to explain why such a thing should exist, so it might be useful to examine what is it that makes humans unique among animals?
Often we hear arguments about consciousness, or intelligence, or some other element, but to my mind these are too vague to be of much use, since we often see similar capabilities among animals that do not possess a language.
In this installment I would like to extend the concepts of belief systems into other areas that we are all familiar with but haven’t necessarily explored.
The data organization capability of the brain which defines the worldview or belief system of the individual isn’t just haphazardly developed, but is guided by the teaching and beliefs of parents and society. It is no coincidence that beliefs formed in childhood are ultimately the hardest to modify.
This is a three part series that will explore the nature of belief systems, or worldviews and offer some perspectives on how they are formed and function.
Belief systems are fundamental to human existence and there are a few ideas worth exploring to see if anything can be determined about their origins. Without getting into brain physiology or psychology, there are a few conclusions we can draw from general observation.
I am continually amazed and amused by the wonderful metaphors and similes generated by users of the English language. The phrase "Are you talking to me or chewing a brick?" is a 'hard-man' phrase, contrastive with 'wet-lettuce' phraseology. But after reading this week's New Scientist, I shall never view 'chewing a brick'
in quite the same light again.Edit:
For people who may be asking what does 'chewing a brick' actually mean