Sunday, 20 July 2014

Derby UTC Hands On Techno, Fun, and Careers Day at Rolls Royce

Following a tip-off from @SmithJont, NSB and Sons No 1(thinking about a career) and 3(thinking about having fun with cool sciency stuff) went along to the Derby Manufacturing University Technical College's event at Rolls Royce.

Turned out to be quite an interesting gig. Lots of "proper" enginnering - production line technology, hydraulics, machining, robotics and much more.

Great, for example, to see that FESTO are suppporting the World Mechatronics Competition

And Derby University's "STEMpunk" team were also there to encourage some hands-on mechanical meddling.

Toyota's stand had a deceptively tricky dexterity challenge that left NSB in no doubt that he was too slow for the Toyota production line.

Oh, and there was a jet engine....made of LEGO...

The Rolls Royce Training Centre is rather swish,
and there was a good turnout of companies

A jet engine - made of LEGO

STEM Punk #didyouseewhattheydidthere?

No1 Son putting together parts of a model jet engine

More pictures here.

Sunday, 13 July 2014

Various things from New Scientist

Going through a bunch of old-but-not-too-old issues of New Scientist and wanted to make a note of various articles that caught NSB's attention.....


Oct 2012 : Wind Turbines probably don't cause illness
Simon Chapman, Professor of Public Health at the University of Syndey, Australia, writes on the nature of wind turbine causes illnesses, noting that :
They are rare amongst turbine owners
They are rare amongst communities benefitting from Turbines (e.g community owned turbines in Germany and Denmark)
They are more common in neighbouring communities
Wild claims are made that turbines cause earthworms to dissapear, chickens to stop laying, diabetes, skin cancer(!) and strokes.
Many farms run for years without problems.
Others, vociferally protested against even before construction, "are hot beds of disease".


Jul2012 : How Money CAN buy happiness
"our research shows that even in very poor countries like India and Uganda — where many people are struggling to meet their basic needs — individuals who reflected on giving to others were happier than those who reflected on spending on themselves. What’s more, spending even a few dollars on someone else can trigger a boost in happiness. In one study, we found that asking people to spend as little as $5 on someone else over the course of a day made them happier at the end of that day than people who spent the $5 on themselves."


Jul2012 : "Chematica",br /> Chematica is a software/database that uses algorithms and a collective database of 250 years of organic chemical information to predict and provide synthesis pathways for molecules. The software was designed to combine long synthesis paths into shorter and more economical paths. The software has the potential to enhance a chemists quest for drug discovery and other industrially important chemicals. The software has the potential to determine synthesis pathways that can take place through a "one-pot" reaction, where all starting chemicals are mixed simultaneously to achieve final product, thereby eliminating any purification and need for multiple steps.


The Evolution of Inequality
"The fact that unequal societies today vastly outnumber egalitarian societies may not be due to the replacement of the ethic of equality by a more selfish ethic, as originally thought by many researchers," said cultural evolution specialist Deborah Rogers, lead author of the study. "Instead, it appears that the stratified societies simply spread and took over, crowding out the egalitarian populations." "


Jul 2012 : Superplants
In 2002, Russell Rodriguez of the University of Washington in Seattle was studying a grass that grows at 70C in geothermal hotsprings. The team noticed that irradiating the seeds (which killed the fungi that lived inside the plant) left the grass unable to tolerate the high temperatures any more. So the team applied the fungi to wheat seeds and found that the wheat seeds, which normally grow at 38C, could now grow at 70C.


Sep2011 : Beware the Lone Wolf
Kathleen Puckett, who had a 23 yr career in the FBI, described research into the psychology of "lone wolf" terrorists. She commented that:
" colleagues and I looked into what Kaczynski, McVeigh and Rudolph had in common. The results were startling. All three were highly intelligent and well educated, with no previous history of criminal violence. But they all shared a profound inability to forge meaningful relationships.

This sets them apart from the thousands of radicals who are members of extremist groups and who never commit serious acts of violence. For such people, simply belonging to an organisation appears to satisfy their need to express their views. Kaczynski, McVeigh and Rudolph, on the other hand, were all repeatedly unable to connect socially to the groups whose ideology they shared. Instead, they resorted to carnage on a wide scale to grab the attention they craved."

Contrails and their effect on temperature
Roger Timmis et al (from the Lancaster Environment Centre, Lancaster University and the Environment Agency, Lancaster Environment Centre) suggest that the contrails created during the forming-up of bomber groups in southern England in WW2 offers an opportunity to compare the temperature of areas under the formations against area a few miles upwind. The period is particularly valuable for investigation because WW2 was a period when there were more meteorological observations taken across England than at any time before or since, and when civilian air travel was almost zero.