Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Say What

Emo Philips - "My computer beat me at checkers, but I sure beat it at kickboxing."

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Legends in Action

Scotch Tape: More Powerful Than You Think?

from AOL news:

NEW YORK (Oct. 22) - Just two weeks after a Nobel Prize highlighted theoretical work on subatomic particles, physicists are announcing a startling discovery about a much more familiar form of matter: Scotch tape. It turns out that if you peel the popular adhesive tape off its roll in a vacuum chamber, it emits X-rays. The researchers even made an X-ray image of one of their fingers.
Who knew? Actually, more than 50 years ago, some Russian scientists reported evidence of X-rays from peeling sticky tape off glass. But the new work demonstrates that you can get a lot of X-rays, a study co-author says.
"We were very surprised," said Juan Escobar. "The power you could get from just peeling tape was enormous."
Escobar, a graduate student at the University of California, Los Angeles, reports the work with UCLA colleagues in Thursday's issue of the journal Nature.
He suggests that with some refinements, the process might be harnessed for making inexpensive X-ray machines for paramedics or for places where electricity is expensive or hard to get. After all, you could peel tape or do something similar in such machines with just human power, like cranking.
The researchers and UCLA have applied for a patent covering such devices.
In the new work, a machine peeled ordinary Scotch tape off a roll in a vacuum chamber at about 1.2 inches per second. Rapid pulses of X-rays, each about a billionth of a second long, emerged from very close to where the tape was coming off the roll.
That's where electrons jumped from the roll to the sticky underside of the tape that was being pulled away, a journey of about two-thousandths of an inch, Escobar said. When those electrons struck the sticky side they slowed down, and that slowing made them emit X-rays.
So is this a health hazard for unsuspecting tape-peelers?
Escobar noted that no X-rays are produced in the presence of air. You need to work in a vacuum — not exactly an everyday situation.
"If you're going to peel tape in a vacuum, you should be extra careful," he said. But "I will continue to use Scotch tape during my daily life, and I think it's safe to do it in your office. No guarantees."
James Hevezi, who chairs the American College of Radiology's Commission on Medical Physics, said the notion of developing an X-ray machine from the new finding was "a very interesting idea, and I think it should be carried further in research."

Monday, October 13, 2008

The Resurrection of Bruce Bonner

Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo has a broken finger on his throwing hand and could be out for up to four weeks.

Romo, who had started 30 straight regular-season games since replacing Drew Bledsoe in 2006, broke his right pinkie on the first play of overtime in a 30-24 loss at Arizona on Sunday.

The injury, which Phillips said won't require surgery, leaves the Cowboys (4-2) with 40-year-old Brad Johnson as the starter. Johnson, who won a Super Bowl with Tampa Bay, hasn't started a game since 2006 in Minnesota.

The Cowboys had no plans Monday to sign a veteran quarterback or trade for one before Tuesday's trade deadline, a team source told ESPN's Michael Smith.

Johnson quarterbacked the Buccaneers to the NFL championship in 2002. He has been Romo's backup since last season and threw only 11 passes in 2007.

"I'm excited about the opportunity, worked hard to get here," Johnson said.
"It's going to be Brad to go in there and prove that he's not just here for the ride, he's part of this thing," Ellis said. "Every opportunity I've seen Brad step in on other teams, he's able to hold it down and get it done."

Another former Viking, Brooks Bollinger, will be Johnson's backup.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Quote of the Day

"I don't think I'm going to vote. Because I make Republican income, but I need the Democrats in office, so which way do I go?" -- Redskins running back Clinton Portis. (But asked which way the Redskins would vote, as a team, cornerback Fred Smoot told AP, "It's a blue state.")

Friday, October 3, 2008