The Right Coast

Editor: Thomas A. Smith
University of San Diego
School of Law

A Member of the Law Professor Blogs Network

Monday, August 31, 2015

Exclusive: Secretive fusion company claims reactor breakthrough | Science/AAAS | News

“They’ve succeeded finally in achieving a lifetime limited only by the power available to the system,” says particle physicist Burton Richter of Stanford University in Palo Alto, California, who sits on a board of advisers to Tri Alpha. If the company’s scientists can scale the technique up to longer times and higher temperatures, they will reach a stage at which atomic nuclei in the gas collide forcefully enough to fuse together, releasing energy.

via news.sciencemag.org

Faster, please , as Glenn would say.

August 31, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (1)

Rats forsake chocolate to save a drowning companion | Science/AAAS | News

We’ve all heard how rats will abandon a sinking ship. But will the rodents attempt to save their companions in the process? A new study shows that rats will, indeed, rescue their distressed pals from the drink—even when they’re offered chocolate instead. They’re also more likely to help when they’ve had an unpleasant swimming experience of their own, adding to growing evidence that the rodents feel empathy.

via news.sciencemag.org

Drowning rats? Jeez.
Is it tasty chocolate? You might want to try it with sugar.

August 31, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (1)

Feature: Why big societies need big gods | Science/AAAS | News

To crack the mystery of why and how people around the world came to believe in moralizing gods, researchers are using a novel tool in religious studies: the scientific method. By combining laboratory experiments, cross-cultural fieldwork, and analysis of the historical record, an interdisciplinary team has put forward a hypothesis that has the small community of researchers who study the evolution of religion abuzz. A culture like ancient Egypt didn’t just stumble on the idea of moralizing gods, says psychologist Ara Norenzayan of the University of British Columbia (UBC), Vancouver, in Canada, who synthesized the new idea in his 2013 book Big Gods: How Religion Transformed Cooperation and Conflict. Instead, belief in those judgmental deities, or “big gods,” was key to the cooperation needed to build and sustain Egyptians’ large, complex society.

via news.sciencemag.org

It's not science, but it's inneresting.

August 31, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Gavin Andresen on Why Bitcoin Will Become Unreliable Next Year Without an Urgent Fix | MIT Technology Review

The way things are going, the digital currency Bitcoin will start to malfunction early next year. Transactions will become increasingly delayed, and the system of money now worth $3.3 billion will begin to die as its flakiness drives people away. So says Gavin Andresen, who in 2010 was designated chief caretaker of the code that powers Bitcoin by its shadowy creator. Andresen held the role of “core maintainer” during most of Bitcoin’s improbable rise; he stepped down last year but still remains heavily involved with the currency (see “The Man Who Really Built Bitcoin”).

via www.technologyreview.com

August 31, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0)

IBM Tests Machine Learning to Help Chinese Cities Decrease Air Pollution | MIT Technology Review

IBM is testing a new way to alleviate Beijing’s choking air pollution with the help of artificial intelligence. The Chinese capital, like many other cities across the country, is surrounded by factories, many fueled by coal, that emit harmful particulates. But pollution levels can vary depending on factors such as industrial activity, traffic congestion, and weather conditions.

via www.technologyreview.com

August 31, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Which U.S. Cities and States Hate Tourists the Most, According to a Study by Stratos Jets - CityLab

You’ve been warned.

via www.citylab.com

I personally have never found NYC to be that hostile to tourists. Or if NYers are hostile, it's combined with a willingness to help. That may not make sense, but that's NYers for you. DC on the other hand, really is hostile, and not just to tourists. Nevada, Wyoming? Who knew. Idaho, you will note, is among the friendliest.

August 31, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Inside Bellerby and Co., A Look at the Painstaking, Intricate Art of Globemaking - CityLab

Bellerby, 50, founded Bellerby & Co. Globemakers—one of the world’s only handcrafted globe making studios—in London in 2008 when he couldn’t find a quality globe for his father’s 80th birthday. They were either too cheaply made or too expensive and fragile. So he decided to make one himself. How hard could it be?

via www.citylab.com

Globes are the coolest.

August 31, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (1)

The mighty chihuahua

August 31, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0)

A nap a day could save your life, research suggests - Telegraph

Research involving almost 400 middle-aged men and women found that those who had a nap at noon later had lower blood pressure than those who stayed awake through the day.

via www.telegraph.co.uk

I knew this already.

August 31, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (1)

Big Solar’s Subsidy Bubble - WSJ

The Department of Energy’s Inspector General revealed last week that the legendary solar-panel manufacturer Solyndra—a poster baby of the Obama stimulus—lied to the feds to get a $535 million loan guarantee before going bust in 2011. Solyndra is a cautionary tale, but the Obama Administration is still throwing caution to the sun.

via www.wsj.com

August 31, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (2)