Reblogged from RHPolitics.
September 10, 2011, 6:04pm
The world’s first power plant based on osmotic power — a small prototype plant — recently opened in Norway. The plant generates electricity through osmotic pressure: when salt water and fresh water come together, like when a river meets the sea, there’s a difference in water potential. The fresh water and salt water are brought into distinct chambers, separated by a membrane that lets only water molecules through. The salt in the sea water draws fresh water through the membrane, building a pressure (corresponding to a water column of 120 m), which can then be harnessed to generate energy. The challenge in making this cost-effective lies in making the membrane efficient enough. Once it is, we’ll have a new, sustainable energy source — the only waste product is salt water. The total potential is estimated to be around 10 percent of the world’s current electricity consumption. More (pdf). (via science)
In study after study of men and women who get paid more and promoted faster, the quality of “action orientation” stands out as the most observable and consistent behavior they demonstrate. They launch directly into their major tasks and then discipline themselves to work steadily and single-mindedly until those tasks are complete.
You can actually develop a “positive addiction” to endorphins and to the feeling of enhanced clarity, confidence and competence that they trigger. When you develop this “addiction,” almost without thinking you begin to organize your life in such a way that you are continually starting and completing ever more important tasks and projects. You actually become addicted to success and contribution.
You must think constantly about the rewards and benefits of being an action-oriented, fast-moving, focused person. See yourself as the kind of person who gets important jobs done quickly and on a consistent basis.
May 30, 2009, 11:35am
Catherine Rampell over at the NYT Economix blog, created this graph of the average time spent eating in various countries, measured against the country’s obesity rate. She noticed originally that the French seemed to have a low obesity rate, despite the fact that they spent a lot of time eating. I’ve always been a horrendously slow eater, but I actually think, for whatever reason, it’s been good for my health. Something about eating slow limits the amount of food you eat, and makes you savor what you do eat.
Reporting & Essays/ The New Yorker
Every era has its defining drug. Neuroenhancers are perfectly suited for our efficiency-obsessed, BlackBerry-equipped office culture.
“A young man I’ll call Alex recently graduated from Harvard. As a history major, Alex wrote about a dozen papers a semester. He also ran a student organization, for which he often worked more than forty hours a week; when he wasn’t on the job, he had classes. Weeknights were devoted to all the schoolwork that he couldn’t finish during the day, and weekend nights were spent drinking with friends and going to dance parties. “Trite as it sounds,” he told me, it seemed important to “maybe appreciate my own youth.” Since, in essence, this life was impossible, Alex began taking Adderall to make it possible.
Adderall, a stimulant composed of mixed amphetamine salts, is commonly prescribed for children and adults who have been given a diagnosis of attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder. But in recent years Adderall and Ritalin, another stimulant, have been adopted as cognitive enhancers: drugs that high-functioning, overcommitted people take to become higher-functioning and more overcommitted. (Such use is “off label”…
But it’s not the mind-expanding sixties anymore. Every era, it seems, has its own defining drug. Neuroenhancers are perfectly suited for the anxiety of white-collar competition in a floundering economy. And they have a synergistic relationship with our multiplying digital technologies: the more gadgets we own, the more distracted we become, and the more we need help in order to focus. The experience that neuroenhancement offers is not, for the most part, about opening the doors of perception, or about breaking the bonds of the self, or about experiencing a surge of genius. It’s about squeezing out an extra few hours to finish those sales figures when you’d really rather collapse into bed; getting a B instead of a B-minus on the final exam in a lecture class where you spent half your time texting; cramming for the G.R.E.s at night, because the information-industry job you got after college turned out to be deadening. Neuroenhancers don’t offer freedom. Rather, they facilitate a pinched, unromantic, grindingly efficient form of productivity.
re: The acceptance of evolution
“In the U.S., only 14 percent of adults thought that evolution was “definitely true,” while about a third firmly rejected the idea.
In European countries, including Denmark, Sweden, and France, more than 80 percent of adults surveyed said they accepted the concept of evolution.
The proportion of western European adults who believed the theory “absolutely false” ranged from 7 percent in Great Britain to 15 percent in the Netherlands.
The investigation also showed that the percentage of U.S. adults who are uncertain about evolution has risen from 7 percent to 21 percent in the past 20 years.” (Jon D. Miller et al. 2006)
Prochlorococcus, so small that millions can fit in a drop of water — has achieved fame as perhaps the most abundant photosynthetic organism on the planet. It daily releases countless tons of oxygen into the atmosphere.