Archive for 'Arts and science'

The (carbon) footprints of criminals (new study)

Thursday, August 25th, 2016

A news release from the University of Surrey, UK, draws attention to the first study to have systematically assessed the carbon footprint of UK crimes. The research team found that :-

“[…] crime committed in 2011 in England and Wales gave rise to over 4 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalents. Burglary resulted in the largest proportion of the total footprint (30%), because of the carbon associated with replacing stolen/damaged goods. Emissions arising from criminal justice system services also accounted for a large proportion (21% of all offenses; 49% of police recorded offenses).”


However, the urgent requirement to mitigate the UK’s carbon footprint – simply by reducing crime levels – is not necessarily a straightforward option :

“As an example, we consider the impact of reducing domestic burglary by 5%. Calculating this is inherently uncertain given that it depends on assumptions concerning how money would be spent in the absence of crime. We find the most likely rebound effect (our medium estimate) is an increase in emissions of 2%.[our emphasis].

See: ‘Addressing the Carbon-Crime Blind Spot: A Carbon Footprint Approach’ in the Journal of Industrial Ecology, early view, June 2016.

Another new, inventive documentary about Dr. Nakamats

Monday, August 22nd, 2016

There is yet another new documentary about Dr. Nakamats, the man who has more than 3500 patents and who was awarded an Ig Nobel Prize (in 1995, for having photographed every meal he had consumed for the previous 34 years), and who is still alive despite the predictions of his doctors.

CNN’s Make, Create, Innovate program has just broadcast a two-part report called “The most inventive man in the world”. You can watch it online: Part 1, Part 2.



Tallying Satan: The Count Reaches 134 (or 129.2)

Monday, August 22nd, 2016

Can one ever count on Satan and be sure that the count is accurate? A new tally has just been announced. Details are in this study:

s200_tom.farrarDiabolical Data: A Critical Inventory of New Testament Satanology,” Thomas J. Farrar [pictured here] and Guy J. Williams, Journal for the Study of the New Testament, vol. 39, no. 1, September 2016, pp. 40-71.  The authors, based at Cape Peninsula University of Technology, South Africa, King’s Evangelical Divinity School, UK, and Wellington College, UK, explain:

“This study counts references to Satan in the NT, by any designation. First, all candidate texts are surveyed. These include occurrences of the words σατανᾶς and διάβολος (with and without the article) and 30 other terms which potentially refer to Satan, descriptively or allegorically. Having laid ground rules for counting potential references in close proximity, candidate texts in which the referent is uncertain are analysed exegetically to decide whether they do refer to Satan. These include texts in which σατανᾶς or διάβολος occurs without the article and texts in which neither σατανᾶς nor διάβολος occurs. Through exegesis, a final count of 137 references to Satan in the NT is obtained. An alternative, probability-weighted approach estimates the number at 129.2. In either case, the total is strikingly greater than a simple summation of instances of σατανᾶς and διάβολος.”

(Thanks to Dan Vergano for bringing this to our attention.)

Van Der Waals bra (new patent)

Monday, August 22nd, 2016

“[…] brassieres (primarily strapless brassieres and but also those with straps), dresses, swimsuits, socks, tops and other articles of clothing (or the like) have a tendency to fall down or off […]”

– explains a new (Aug 2016) US patent. The novel methodology for holding them up makes use of intermolecular electrostatic attractive forces known as Van Der Waals forces, which are provided by specially constructed silicone patches with microscopic hair-like structures known as setae (analogous to those found on geckos’ feet).


The invention is assigned to Kellie K apparel LLC, and is currently marketed as GeckTeck™ See: US patent 9,402,424, ‘Brassiere’  awarded to inventor Dr. Anthony Roy of Los Angeles, California. Here he is, along with colleague Dr. Jessica Pfeilsticker who explains the technological aspects of the invention.

Also see: The 2009 Ig Nobel Public Health Prize: Awarded to Dr. Elena N. Bodnar, Raphael C. Lee, and Sandra Marijan of Chicago, Illinois, USA, for inventing a brassiere that, in an emergency, can be quickly converted into a pair of protective face masks, one for the brassiere wearer and one to be given to some needy bystander.


Socialites in chemistry

Sunday, August 21st, 2016

Do socialites have a place in chemistry? Yes:

Synthesis and characterization of two new silica socialites containing ethanolamine or ethylenediamine as guest species,” Carola M. Braunbarth, Peter Behrens, Jürgen Felsche, Gianpietro van de Goor, Gerhard Wildermuth, and Günter Engelhardt, Zeolites, 16, no. 2 (1996): 207-217.

BONUS: Braunbarth’s patent application (US 2006/0034975 A1) for coated chewing gum.