More EM Drive news

I have been following the news on the EM drive(here and here), a potential rocket/spaceship drive that produces thrust without expelling mass. According to my understanding, and Newton’s Third Law of Thermodynamics, this should not happen.

The math is way over my head, but these guys have come up with a possible explanation:


Scientific literature refers to a strange observed phenomenon, “impossible” according to traditional physics, looking at the experimental feasibility of the so called “EM Drive”. The authors have called it an Impulsive Thrust from a Closed Radio-Frequency Cavity in Vacuum. Here we present a possible explanation for the observed thrust based on the conceptual framework of Eurhythmic Physics, a kind of pilot-wave theory aiming at bridging the gap between quantum and macroscopic systems. Applied to the present system, a generalized guidance condition could explain the claimed absence of reaction of the material of the drive on the enclosed fields.

Cartoon laws of physics

Albert Einstein taught us that the physical laws of nature must hold true in all reference frames. Einstein was a genius, but he apparently never saw an episode of The Roadrunner.

An entirely different set of rules exist in cartoon space (C-space). You can find a fairly complete list here.

1. Any body suspended in space will remain in space until made aware of its situation. Daffy Duck steps off a cliff, expecting further pastureland. He loiters in midair, soliloquizing flippantly, until he chances to look down. At this point, the familiar principle of 32 feet per second per second takes over.

2. Any body in motion will tend to remain in motion until solid matter intervenes suddenly. Whether shot from a cannon or in hot pursuit on foot, cartoon characters are so absolute in their momentum that only a telephone pole or an outsize boulder retards their forward motion absolutely. Sir Isaac Newton called this sudden termination of motion the stooge’s surcease.

3. Any body passing through solid matter will leave a perforation conforming to its perimeter. Also called the silhouette of passage, this phenomenon is the specialty of victims of directed-pressure explosions and of reckless cowards who are so eager to escape that they exit directly through the wall of a house, leaving a cookie-cutout-perfect hole. The threat of skunks or matrimony often catalyzes this reaction.

4. The time required for an object to fall twenty stories is greater than or equal to the time it takes for whoever knocked it off the ledge to spiral down twenty flights to attempt to capture it unbroken. Such an object is inevitably priceless, the attempt to capture it inevitably unsuccessful.

In the 1988 movie Who Framed Roger Rabbit, the physical world and cartoon space interfaced and even intersected, often to hilarious result. Of course, that is the whole point. In the movie, Eddie Valiant says, “Do you mean to tell me you could’ve taken your hand out of that cuff at any time?” Roger answers, “Not at any time! Only when it was funny!”


More nitrogen fixation=less fertilizer needed

But this is GMO, so it is evil, right?

Washington State University biologist Mechthild Tegeder has developed a way to dramatically increase the yield and quality of soybeans.

Her greenhouse-grown soybean plants fix twice as much nitrogen from the atmosphere as their natural counterparts, grow larger and produce up to 36 percent more seeds.

Tegeder designed a novel way to increase the flow of nitrogen, an essential nutrient, from specialized bacteria in soybean root nodules to the seed-producing organs. She and Amanda Carter, a biological sciences graduate student, found the increased rate of nitrogen transport kicked the plants into overdrive.


Physicists have figured out how to create matter and antimatter using light

(I)ntriguing calculations from a research team at the Institute of Applied Physics of the Russian Academy of Sciences (IAP RAS), and reported this week in Physics of Plasmas, from AIP Publishing, explain the production and dynamics of electrons and positrons from ultrahigh-intensity laser-matter interactions. In other words: They’ve calculated how to create matter and antimatter via lasers.

Now that we know how, should we actually do it?


Killing Resistant Bacteria With Polymers Instead Of Antibiotics

Read the whole article–

Before we get too carried away, it’s still very early days. So far, Lam has only tested her star-shaped polymers on six strains of drug-resistant bacteria in the lab, and on one superbug in live mice.

But in all experiments, they’ve been able to kill their targeted bacteria – and generation after generation don’t seem to develop resistance to the polymers.

The polymers – which they call SNAPPs, or structurally nanoengineered antimicrobial peptide polymers – work by directly attacking, penetrating, and then destabilising the cell membrane of bacteria.

Unlike antibiotics, which ‘poison’ bacteria, and can also affect healthy cells in the area, the SNAPPs that Lam has designed are so large that they don’t seem to affect healthy cells at all.


Development of bacterial antibiotic resistance in time-lapse

Watch the video:’ from Harvard Medical School:

“…Kishony and his team built the MEGA-plate and filled it with a media on which E. coli could grow, die, evolve, and propagate. Next they dosed the media with greater and greater concentrations of antibiotics; the outermost reaches of the plate received no antibiotic whatsoever, but by the time they got to the center of the plate, Kishony and his team had laced the agar with antibiotics at 1000 times the concentration needed to kill their starting strain of E. coli. Then they switched on their video camera, seeded the antibiotic-free section of the plate with bacteria, and watched what happened.”

What a tremendous honor!

The President of the United States now has a new genus and species named for him!

Baracktrema obamai isn’t just any parasite. It’s so distinctive that it represents not just a new species but an entirely new genus, according to a new report in the Journal of Parasitology. That hasn’t happened with this type of turtle parasite in 21 years, experts say.

B. obamai is a flatworm that infects black marsh turtles and southeast Asian box turtles in Malaysia. Scientists study turtle parasites because they are believed to be the ancestors of the flatworms that cause schistosomiasis, a disease that kills between 20,000 and 200,000 people each year, according to the World Health Organization.”


An ancient food chain…

…or, a prehistoric tur-duck-en.

Forty-eight million years ago, an iguana relative living in what’s now Germany scarfed down an insect with a shimmering exoskeleton. Soon thereafter the lizard’s luck changed—when a juvenile snake gulped it down headfirst.

We know this happened because the snake had the spectacularly bad luck to end up in a death trap: the nearby Messel Pit, a volcanic lake with toxic deep waters and a possible knack for belching out asphyxiating clouds of carbon dioxide.

It’s unclear if the lake poisoned or suffocated the snake, fates that more often befell the area’s aquatic and flying creatures. Most likely, it somehow died near the lake and was washed in. But no more than two days after eating the lizard, the snake lay dead on the lake floor, entombed in sediments that impeccably preserved it, its meal, and its meal’s meal.

Read the whole thing…


Coming to grocery stores near you

Researchers are experimenting with the abundantly available insect for producing a margarine-like product. It’s yellow, with a similar nutritional makeup of 50-50 canola and soybean oil. It has no trans fats, and the solid mealworm fat is low in saturated fats, but is missing much of the healthy omega-3 fatty acid that other oils contain. The advantage is in the good it does the Earth, rather than the body: mealworms are readily cultivated and a sustainable source.

Mmm…no thanks.