Thursday, April 17, 2008

Another Roundup

Here are some things that I like:

I like "lasers."

Apparently there's a laser near the San Francisco Bay capable of pumping out 1000 times the energy of every power plant in the US. Combined. If anyone wants to drop by and explain to me how the hell that is possible, I'd love to hear it.

Now, If you're wondering what someone would do with a laser like that, you're probably not alone. This particular uber-laser is being used to ignite nuclear fusion: the physical process that causes the sun to "burn." And if that's enough to impress you then check this out: if the scientists behind this laser figure out how to make nuclear fusion economical, they'd solve the entire planet's energy problems in one fell swoop. Fusion runs off of deuterium (which can be found easily at your local ocean) and produces essentially zero radioactive waste. In other words, nigh-unlimited power with no drawbacks except a high initial investment in research and development. Oh, also, no risk of a meltdown. If the plasma in which fusion occurs isn't carefully modulated, fusion will cease and the reactor will turn off.

Now you may be wondering why we aren't researching this like the world depends on it. Again, you're not alone. Sadly, this time, I haven't got a good answer for you.

I like druuuuugs.

So apparently there is a little-known (to the public, anyway) figure pertaining to pharmaceuticals that, really, should be one of the first bits of info you hear about when looking into a new drug to quiet down that annoying kid or calm your raging...whatever. It's called "number needed to treat, or NNT." I'll let you go read the article to learn exactly what NNT is - don't worry, it's a short one and there's no fluff, just business.


Just click the link, ok? It's funny. Trust me.

No comments: