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news lite

some news items are of interest, but not rated by abelard as convincing or significant enough for placement in abelard’s main news archives. Such items may be found here.

New translation, the Magna Carta

K 'Y

article archives at abelard's news and comment zonetopic archives: news-lite
1 III-2004: 02 04 07 11 17 26 IV-2004: 08 13 14 15 17 17-2 18 26 27 29
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news lite


you can't watch electrons? well you can now, sort of

“In the near future, it should be possible to watch directly how the bonds of molecules change during chemical reactions [...] ”

the web address for the article above is




playing with brain chemicals

“Neuroscientists say two factors could prevent Americans from succumbing completely to the seductions of smart pills. First, their performance may not live up to expectations. Second, they could have side effects, some of them difficult to predict.

“ "There's no free lunch," said Tully. Consumers will have to consider what level of discomfort or risk they're willing to accept in exchange for sharper recall or enhanced powers of concentration.

“The side effect that most neuroscientists fear is not physical discomfort, but subtle mental change. Over time, a memory-enhancing drug might cause people to remember too much detail, cluttering the brain.

“Similarly, a drug that sharpens attention might cause users to focus too intently on a particular task, failing to shift their attention in response to new developments.”

related material
what is memory, or intelligence? Incautious claims of ‘IQ’ genes

the web address for the article above is

revolving building in curitiba, brazil
(with photo illustrations)

Each of its eleven floors revolves 360°, at the speed and in the direction of each owner’s preference.

revolving building, Brazil Image credit:

According to some, the price is $300,000 for each apartment of 3000 square feet.

the web address for the article above is

continuous process solar cells

“Kroesen's team has made its solar cells bendy simply by making them thin. But this has involved a trade-off. While the best solar cells are now working at efficiencies above 20%, the H-AS cells are only about 7% efficient. The researchers think efficiency is worth sacrificing for a cell that is going to be more generally useful, though they still hope eventually to reach 10% efficiency.

The Swedish and Dutch-owned company Akzo-Nobel, a partner in the H-AS research, already has a pilot plant producing rolls of silicon cells 40 centimetres wide. A projected full-scale manufacturing plant would produce panels at a cost of about 1 euro per watt. An A4-size panel sewn onto the back of a jacket and costing less than 10 euros would charge a mobile phone during a summer stroll. The company has not yet decided to go ahead with the plant.”

the web address for the article above is

sorting pistachios

On sorting your nuts out:

“While not as fast as the [present] needle picker, the sound sorter is cheaper to maintain and up to 97% accurate - against the needle sorter’s 90%.”

the web address for the article above is

do you think this is hairy-kairy?

image credit: best of the web/wall street journal

Or should it be ‘Seppuku’, ritual disembowlment?

hara’ means stomach.
‘kiri’ means cutting.

harakiri and seppuku are one and the same.

they in fact both use the same two kanji [chinese characters] but in opposite order. seppuku uses chinese readings for those kanji, harakiri uses japanese readings.

seppuku is the more commonly used term in japan, but both are correct.

note that ‘hari’ is a corruption/mis-hearing of the original.
this is common in both directions: try saying ‘karate’ or ‘karaoke’ in an english accent and almost nobody in japan will know what you are talking about!
[Etymological notes from the auroran sunset.]

the web address for the article above is

review of a new book on cosmology that just might be interesting

“Simon Singh, in this very large book, presents a history of the evolving discovery of the universe from early historic times up to the 1990s [...] ”

“ "It doesn't matter how beautiful your guess is or how smart you are or what your name is. If [your idea] disagrees with experience, it's wrong. That's all there is to it." ” Feynman


Big Bang by Simon Singh. Image credit: Big Bang : The Origin of the Universe by Simon Singh
2004 (October), Fourth Estate, 0007152515, hbk, £12.00 [] {advert}
2005 (January), Fourth Estate, 0007162200, hbk, $19.01 [pre-orders] [] {advert}
544 pages

the web address for the article above is

moving to sustainable energy generation

News item moved to briefing documents:
distributed energy systems and microgeneration

the web address for the article above is

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