Archive for July, 2007

Dmaned if you do, damned if you don’t.

July 27, 2007

This really is one of the most distinctive structures around. Sure does explain why the whole “tech mecca/incubator space” idea never happened…

Silicon Valley struggles to save toxic landmark | The Register:

For 71 years, Hangar One has remained a cherished landmark in Silicon Valley. And for 71 years, the hangar has poisoned the landscape around it. The structure’s toxic secret wasn’t discovered until 2003 when Navy, NASA, US Environmental Protection Agency and local government officials began looking for a source of contamination in the nearby Moffett Field wetland, which flanks the NASA Ames center. Several endangered species make their home in the adjacent tidal marsh, such as the California clapper rail and Alameda song sparrow — which spend their days fluttering about the waters that have been tainted by polychlorinated biphenyl, DDT and various toxic heavy metals. Officials first assumed the pollution came from the Moffett airfield runway, but the chemical trail soon lead environmental investigators on a b-line for the massive blimp garage instead. It was already known that Hangar One was bad news. Its insides are filled with chemicals known to cause cancer and neurological damage, its outsides are coated with lead-based paint and the roof panels are made of materials high in asbestos and PCB. What wasn’t apparent, however, was that toxins were washing off the hangar every rainy season and turning the marsh into a chemical broth. The debate on whether to destroy Hangar One or pay more to clean it up has made little progress over the years. The Navy, NASA and government officials have created the perfect storm of long-term environmental studies and government bureaucracy to analyze the situation. The Navy wants to destroy the building for $12m and be done with it, but an organization called Save Hangar One Committee has fought tooth and nail to preserve one of Silicon Valley’s last few remaining historical structures.

Dmaned if you do, damned if you don’t.

July 23, 2007

This really is one of the most distinctive structures around. Sure does explain why the whole “tech mecca/incubator space” idea never happened…

Silicon Valley struggles to save toxic landmark | The Register:

For 71 years, Hangar One has remained a cherished landmark in Silicon Valley. And for 71 years, the hangar has poisoned the landscape around it. The structure’s toxic secret wasn’t discovered until 2003 when Navy, NASA, US Environmental Protection Agency and local government officials began looking for a source of contamination in the nearby Moffett Field wetland, which flanks the NASA Ames center. Several endangered species make their home in the adjacent tidal marsh, such as the California clapper rail and Alameda song sparrow — which spend their days fluttering about the waters that have been tainted by polychlorinated biphenyl, DDT and various toxic heavy metals. Officials first assumed the pollution came from the Moffett airfield runway, but the chemical trail soon lead environmental investigators on a b-line for the massive blimp garage instead. It was already known that Hangar One was bad news. Its insides are filled with chemicals known to cause cancer and neurological damage, its outsides are coated with lead-based paint and the roof panels are made of materials high in asbestos and PCB. What wasn’t apparent, however, was that toxins were washing off the hangar every rainy season and turning the marsh into a chemical broth. The debate on whether to destroy Hangar One or pay more to clean it up has made little progress over the years. The Navy, NASA and government officials have created the perfect storm of long-term environmental studies and government bureaucracy to analyze the situation. The Navy wants to destroy the building for $12m and be done with it, but an organization called Save Hangar One Committee has fought tooth and nail to preserve one of Silicon Valley’s last few remaining historical structures.

Quoted without comment

July 18, 2007

VOA News – US to Block Assets of Iraq Destabilizers, US Exempted:

By VOA News 17 July 2007 President Bush has signed an order that allows the U.S. government to block the assets of any person or group that threatens the stability of Iraq. The order exempts the United States.

The Terrorists Have Won

July 18, 2007

Canadians can now mention bombs, guns at airports:

OTTAWA (Reuters) – Air travelers in Canada who make comments about bombs and guns will from now on only be arrested if it is clear they are making a serious threat, officials said on Wednesday. The Canadian Air Transport Safety Authority, trying to clamp down on screeners who alert police every time they hear alarming words, has issued a bulletin urging staff to show more discretion. A person who announces “You better look through my suitcase carefully, because there’s a bomb in there”, “I am going to set fire to this airplane with this blowtorch” or “The man in seat 32F has a machine gun” will still be arrested. But someone who remarks “Your hockey team is going to get bombed (badly beaten) tonight”, “Hi Jack!” or “You don’t need to frisk me, I’m not carrying a weapon” will first be warned about their behavior

Oral insulin that works?

July 12, 2007

BBC NEWS | Health | ‘Insulin pill’ hope for diabetes:

The trial is expected to show that the oral dose, taken twice daily before breakfast and dinner, controls glucose levels successfully, at least in patients with type 2 diabetes.

I gotta say this is overdue but quite cool

July 9, 2007

Good vibes power tiny generator:

The tiny device, which is less than one cubic centimetre in size, uses vibrations in the world around it to make magnets on a cantilever at the heart of the device wobble to generate power.

Giant microwave turns plastic back to oil

July 5, 2007

New Scientist Environment:

All that is needed, claims Global Resource Corporation (GRC), is a finely tuned microwave and – hey presto! – a mix of materials that were made from oil can be reduced back to oil and combustible gas (and a few leftovers). Key to GRC’s process is a machine that uses 1200 different frequencies within the microwave range, which act on specific hydrocarbon materials. As the material is zapped at the appropriate wavelength, part of the hydrocarbons that make up the plastic and rubber in the material are broken down into diesel oil and combustible gas.