Of all the answers to the Science Debate 2008 questions, Senators McCain and Obama's answers to the water policy question were the shortest and least detailed. Similarly, their records on this issue are virtually nonexistent, much like every other Senator's record on this issue.
He lured the ocean’s premier coal-mine canary into captivity
By Bruce GriersonPosted 10.16.2008 at 3:33 pm 3 Comments
Word spread quickly that Todd Jones, a young doctoral candidate in zoology, had something fantastic in the blue tanks of his lab at the University of British Columbia. The attraction was juvenile leatherback sea turtles, about the size of garbage-can lids. Why the attention?
John McCain and Barack Obama agree that children are our future. They say we need to teach them well and, after they've finished being taught well, let them lead the way. Coming out against education, and thus children, is the political equivalent of voting against puppies and rainbows. And yet, politicians still do it. Which candidate supported education less than their Science Debate 2008 answer lets on? Let's go to the tape.
As we embark on a presidential election season filled with many a contentious and debatable issue, especially around such pressing topics as the environment and scientific advances (and the candidates' approaches to them), we invite the Popsci.com user community to join in the discussion.
After a year of winnowing down questions from 38,000 scientists and citizens, Science Debate 2008 sent 14 covering health, research, the environment and science to the presidential candidates. Both Senator McCain and Senator Obama answered the questions, and their answers can be read here. However, it's easy for a politician to make promises, so PopSci investigated both senator's voting records to see if their history matched up with their promises for the future. Each day for the next two weeks we'll present an analysis of the candidate's voting records as compared with their answers to the ScienceDebate2008 questions. You can follow the entire series at popsci.com/election, where you can also sign up for an RSS feed.
Question Three: Energy
Ah, energy. Juice. The ol' Newton meter. Energy policy sits at the intersection of climate change, national security, the economy, pollution, scientific research and a host of other issues. For the candidates, their position on the US energy policy informs many of their other Science Debate answers, but do those answers match up with their record?
We all know the climate is changing. But just how complicated is that process and how many factors are involved in creating this planate-wide problem? To partly answer that question, scientists have gone back nearly 90,000 years to examine Antarctic ice core samples, or, more specifically, the gas they contain. Their findings demonstrate the complex interplay between different geological players that contribute to climate changes and trends. The report implies that global warming, carbon dioxide levels, and ocean currents are not individual influencers on climate change but rather intertwined with each other. Knowing how these factors interacted many millennia ago will hopefully help scientists better understand climate change today and possibly predict future trends.
If you make a mess, just cover it up. That's the theory behind the Department of Water and Power's latest project in Los Angeles, which aims to prevent the formation of a carcinogen in two drinking-water sources, the Ivanhoe [pictured] and Elysian reservoirs.
To make its Duramax 4.5 diesel cleaner and leaner, GM turned traditional engine design inside out and dumped 70 parts.
The biggest change was flipping around the exhaust system to direct hot gases through short pipes toward a central turbocharger and catalytic converter inside the “V” of the engine. This compact design harnesses more exhaust heat and requires fewer components than conventional V8s, which send exhaust through long manifold pipes that protrude from each side of the engine, taking up more space and losing heat before they reach the turbo.
Around half of our CO2 emissions aren't from big power plants, or even small power plants, according to researchers from the University of Calgary. They're from diffuse sources, like car exhaust, home heating and airplanes, which can't be easily sucked up at the source. Led by climate scientist David Keith, the Calgary group is working on technology that could soak those "diffuse emissions" right out of the air.
Their system is a kind of air scrubbing tower, which takes air and reacts the CO2 out of it by exposing it, in this case, to sodium hydroxide. Then the stuff goes through a few chemical intermediaries eventually leaving separated CO2 that can be piped away, and more hydroxide to feed back into the scrubber.
It looks like the father of modern physics had more up his sleeve than the theory of relativity. Long after he changed the landscape of modern physics, Albert Einstein and his former student Leo Szilard patented a refrigerator that had no moving parts and used only pressurized gases for cooling. It got overshadowed 20 years later, in the 1950s, when more efficient, if environmentally-damaging, freon-compressors for refrigerators became available.