Percolate

Posted: August 19th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Science and Technology, Society | Tags: | No Comments »

Nuclear plant built on geological fault line in California

Nuclear power is being touted as the new green energy. However, its primary by-product, plutonium, is lethal enough for a spoonful to wipe out a city. In 1987, plutonium was first found to be leaking from a nuclear waste pit in Idaho and percolating through rock layers to a vast underground reservoir. While plutonium remains lethal for 250 thousand years from its creation, the National Engineering laboratory successfully contained it for 36 years. A 1988 New York Times article reported occurrences of the same problem in 12 other states.

Percolate

1. *To drain or seep through a porous material or filter.
2. Informal To become lively or active.
3. Informal To spread slowly or gradually.

Synonyms

leach, filter, permeate

Sources

The Lost Continent (pg. 124)   |    New York Times |   Photo by: emdot



Halcyon

Posted: July 7th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Animals and Nature, Science and Technology | Tags: | 3 Comments »

A halcyon environment

The most halcyon summer day does not compare to the stillness of Ridge A in Antarctica. Ridge A has been identified as the calmest, driest place on earth, where there is no wind or weather at all. The air is so still that the stars have no twinkle, and the view into space is three times clearer than from any other location on Earth.

Halcyon (HAL-see-ən)

1. *Calm and peaceful; tranquil.
2. Prosperous and golden.

Synonyms

unperturbed, placid, tranquil

Source

NY Times: Welcome to the Calmest… |    Photo Credit


Heinous

Posted: June 25th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Science and Technology, Society | Tags: | 5 Comments »

Tsar Bomba replica

If the Soviet Union would have launched an attack with Tsar Bomba, it would have been history’s most heinous massacre. Tsar Bomba was the largest and most powerful atomic bomb ever detonated. They tested it in 1961 on an archipelego in the Arctic Ocean, where it produced a mushroom cloud 40 miles high and 25 miles wide. The explosion released 1,400 times more energy than the combined bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in World War 2. Shock waves made three complete rounds around the earth, reportedly breaking windows in Norway and Sweden on the first passage.

Heinous (HAY-nəs)

Grossly wicked or reprehensible; abominable: a heinous crime.

Synonyms

flagitious, nefarious, iniquitous, execrable

Source

Wikipedia: Tsar Bomba


Straphanger

Posted: June 14th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Science and Technology | Tags: | No Comments »

Maglev train

The Maglev in Shanghai is the world’s fastest train. While Transrapid claims the ride is smooth and quiet, the truth is that any straphangers will be in for a white-knuckle ride. Henry Blodget of Slate magazine describes his experience: “The car jerks from side-to-side like a jet in turbulence, the air outside whistles in protest, and the growl beneath the floor becomes a full-bodied roar. Just after the speedometer tops out, there is a pop and blur as the maglev headed in the other direction blasts past at an aggregate speed of 534 miles per hour“.

Straphanger (pronounced “strap hanger”)

1. *One who grips a hanging strap or similar device for support while riding as a passenger on a bus or subway.
2. One who uses public transportation.

Source

Slate: Mine’s Faster than Yours, Photo by: Zieak



Resplendent

Posted: June 8th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Health and Body, Science and Technology | Tags: | No Comments »

People who lose adult teeth typically need to obtain dentures or dental implants. But soon, we may be able to simply regrow a resplendent smile. Dr. Mao of Columbia University has devised a technique for regenerating teeth directly from their sockets. By integrating a stem-cell-infused scaffolding into the mouth, the tooth grows, forming new ligaments and alveolar bone. The technique has only been tested on animals, but it will likely be quicker and more affordable than implants when it becomes available.

Resplendent (pronounced “rih-SPLEN-dənt”)

Splendid or dazzling in appearance; brilliant.

Synonyms

radiant, gleaming, effulgent

Source

Columbia University Press Release, Photo by MikeBlogs