Saturday, July 5, 2008

Science and other news

From the last week or so:

Possible evidence of life from 4.25bya trapped in zircon crystals from Western Australia

Not just oil: Gallium, iridium, indium, hafnium to run out within a decade

Genetic component to political participation

Viagra-like effect from watermelon

Half of gun deaths are suicides, and suicides are much more likely to occur when a gun is present than not.

Another interesting development along the way to quantum computers.

Three items relating to benefits of drinking coffee:
Caffeine after exercise helps muscles refuel
...helps prevent MS
...and lowers risk of liver cancer


valhar2000 said...

Are they saying that existing reserves galium and the other elements in the Earth's crust will run out, or that the elements themselves will cease to exist? The way the article is writen it sounds like the latter. How the hell can that possibly happen?

valhar2000 said...

Oh, okay, it moves away from that interpretation at the end, but, still, I can't say it's a well written article at all.

Efrique said...

The point I believe they were making was that soon there would be no more gallium (and so on) that is readily available to be mined.

In fact their predictions are probably over-pessimistic, since increasing shortage would lead to higher prices, which would
(i) make existing resources that are "played out" at one price level now economic to retrieve smaller and harder to get quantities from them
(ii) technology for locating new resources that we simply can't find now will come into play as prices (and scientific progress) make new technologies available
(iii) it becomes increasingly economically feasible to recover these metals from old equipment and so on