Random Linkage 20/09/09
'Poor Pluto. First it gets kicked out of the planet club, now it's not even the coldest place in the solar system. Dark craters near the moon's south pole have snatched that title – which is good news for the prospects of finding water ice on Earth's companion.'
Using Magnetism To Turn Drugs On And Off
'Many medical conditions, such as chronic pain, cancer and diabetes, require medications that cannot be taken orally, but must be dosed intermittently, on an as-needed basis, over a long period of time. A few delivery techniques have been developed, using an implanted heat source, an implanted electronic chip or other stimuli as an "on-off" switch to release the drugs into the body. But thus far, none of these methods can reliably do all that's needed: repeatedly turn dosing on and off, deliver consistent doses and adjust doses according to the patient's need.
'Researchers led by Daniel Kohane, MD, PhD of Children's Hospital Boston, funded by the National Institutes of Health, have devised a solution that combines magnetism with nanotechnology.'
(Ingenious - but what happens if the patient passes through a magnetic field at the wrong time? We’re not short of them, in the C21st. Cheap idea for a thriller: the hero has been implanted with a magnetically-controlled poison capsule, and has to chase down the villain while *avoiding* every magnetic field. Maybe involving Chev Chelios.)
Saturn's Turbulent 'Storm Alley' Sets Another Record
'The longest continuously observed thunderstorm in the solar system has been roiling Saturn’s atmosphere since mid-January and is still churning now, according to a presentation by a Cassini team scientist at the European Planetary Science Congress in Potsdam, Germany.'
Tiny ancestor is T. rex blueprint
'A 3m-long dinosaur fossil from China which predates T. rex by 60 million years is a blueprint for the mighty carnivore, say researchers.'
(Some commentators have been claiming that it’s human-sized. Human-sized in the same way that a grizzly bear is human-sized.)
New Evidence of Dry Lake Beds on Mars
'Networks of giant polygonal troughs found in crater basins on Mars are cracks caused by evaporating lakes. These landforms had been attributed to thermal contractions in the Martian permafrost, similar to what the Phoenix lander explored near the north pole on the Red Planet. But these polygon-shaped cracks are too large to be caused by thermal contractions and provide further evidence of a warmer, wetter Martian past.'
The Incredible Ghost Fleet Off The Coast Of Singapore
'Off the coast of Singapore is a collection of ships larger than the U.S. and English navies just sitting idle, waiting out the recession. It's a spectacular image, capturing our bruised global economy better than any we've see thus far.'
Best McDonald’s Ad Ever
(At least, until the amniotronic version comes along.)