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Juneteenth and Equitable Science...


Figure 1 Overcoming scientific racism as a Community. (Top) This figure depicts the barriers Black scientists face in academia. (Bottom) The bottom part of the figure depicts Black scientists overcoming those challenges.

Topics: Civil Rights, Diversity, Diversity in Science, Women in Science

We are 52 Black scientists. Here, we establish the context of Juneteenth in STEMM and discuss the barriers Black scientists face, the struggles they endure, and the lack of recognition they receive. We review racism’s history in science and provide institutional-level solutions to reduce the burdens on Black scientists.


Juneteenth, diversity, STEMM, scientific racism


June 19, 1865, independence day, commonly referred to as Juneteenth, celebrates the freedom of the last large body of enslaved Black Americans following the American Civil War. Although the Emancipation Proclamation, which declared free those slaves residing in states in open rebellion against the United States, took effect more than 2 years prior, it was not until Union troops liberated Texas that more than 250,000 slaves gained their freedom. However, some in the United States remained enslaved through convict leasing and sharecropping. Following Juneteenth came the Reconstruction Era (1865–1877) in the United States, a tumultuous time when the North and South began reunification and ideologies of freedom and equality clashed, leading to the ratification of the 14th and 15th Amendments to the Constitution to protect the rights of Black peoples—defined here as people of ancestral African origin, including peoples of African American, African, Afro-Caribbean, and mixed ancestry—in the face of race riots, lynchings, and black codes (restrictive laws designed to limit the advancement of Black individuals to retain cheap labor), including Jim Crow laws. Black and White America developed along segregated and unequal paths. As segregation and intentional underinvestment occurred across education, many Black individuals did not learn to read or write, hampering career opportunities. Across the mid-to-late 1900s, the powerful civil rights movements led to the repeal of many segregationist laws. Even so, some of their effects remained unchanged: Black individuals still faced discrimination and unequal opportunities for education, and to this day, Black communities lack resources.

It took over 150 years for Juneteenth to be recognized as a federal holiday in the summer of 2021, following multiple police killings of Black individuals that gained media prominence in the preceding year. Juneteenth recognizes and celebrates freedom, civil rights, and the potential for the advancement of Black people in the United States. Yet, it also serves as a day of reflection and hopes that a nation might someday live up to its core founding principle—equality for all. Shortly after freeing Black Americans, the US state legislatures enacted harsh laws to curtail their progress; thus, as formal slavery declined, institutional slavery arose. These laws have had generational impacts: today, Black scientists continue to suffer institutional slavery, leading to lower pay, lesser access to resources, and fewer advancement opportunities. In addition to cultural erasure, undervalue, isolation, stereotype threat, and tokenism, Black scientists face many obstacles to attaining education and persisting in the fields of science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and medicine (STEMM). As the official correspondence from The White House states,“Juneteenth not only commemorates the past. It calls us to action today.” Juneteenth is a rallying call for all, but it is especially a call for action from scientists. Even though scientific innovation prospers from a richly diverse field, science has historically existed as a bastion for harboring racism.

In this commentary, we seek to explain some of the history of Black individuals in the United States. This includes the initial gap in and continued barriers to income attainment, which have inhibited their growth. We discuss the racist institutions that still exist in science, including lack of recognition for awards and disparities in funding rates. We also consider the toll that institutional racism takes on the mental health of Black individuals, which has unfortunately led to suicides. Finally, we note the double binds for those with intersectionality—e.g., those underrepresented by a combination of gender, sexual orientation, disability status, and race. Together, these limitations inhibit the progression of individuals through the elitist STEMM pipeline.1 Given the continued exclusion of Black scientists at different levels of STEMM training, it is important to recognize the relevance of Juneteenth as well as how it may contribute to future improvements. We offer steps that institutions and wider bodies should take to reduce the impact of racism in science (Figure 1). Importantly, we consider Juneteenth a growth pillar and propose steps to improve mentoring, institutional support, and training to reduce remaining institutional barriers.

Juneteenth in STEMM and the Barriers to equitable science, Cell dot com

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Challenging the Standard Model...


Excited helium nuclei inflate like balloons, offering physicists a chance to study the strong nuclear force which binds the nucleus’s protons and neutrons. Kristina Armitage/Quanta Magazine

Topics: Modern Physics, Nobel Prize, Particle Physics, Quantum Mechanics, Steven Weinberg, Theoretical Physics

A new measurement of the strong nuclear force, which binds protons and neutrons together, confirms previous hints of an uncomfortable truth: We still don’t have a solid theoretical grasp of even the simplest nuclear systems.

To test the strong nuclear force, physicists turned to the helium-4 nucleus, which has two protons and two neutrons. When helium nuclei are excited, they grow like an inflating balloon until one of the protons pops off. Surprisingly, in a recent experiment, helium nuclei didn’t swell according to plan: They ballooned more than expected before they burst. A measurement describing that expansion, called the form factor, is twice as large as theoretical predictions.

“The theory should work,” said Sonia Bacca, a theoretical physicist at the Johannes Gutenberg University of Mainz and an author of the paper describing the discrepancy, which was published in Physical Review Letters. “We’re puzzled.”

For many years, physicists didn’t understand how to use the strong force to understand the stickiness of protons and neutrons. One problem was the bizarre nature of the strong force — it grows stronger with increasing distance rather than slowly dying off. This feature prevented them from using their usual calculation tricks. When particle physicists want to understand a particular system, they typically parcel out a force into more manageable approximate contributions, order those contributions from most important to least important, then simply ignore the less important contributions. With the strong force, they couldn’t do that.

Then in 1990, Steven Weinberg found a way to connect the world of quarks and gluons to sticky nuclei. The trick was to use an effective field theory — a theory that is only as detailed as it needs to be to describe nature at a particular size (or energy) scale. To describe the behavior of a nucleus, you don’t need to know about quarks and gluons. Instead, at these scales, a new effective force emerges — the strong nuclear force transmitted between nucleons by the exchange of pions.

A New Experiment Casts Doubt on the Leading Theory of the Nucleus, Katie McCormick, Quanta Magazine

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From the Twilight Zone season 3, episode 8, "It's a Good Life." Billy Mumy plays an evil little boy who terrorizes his neighborhood with his magical powers for any slight.

Here, he turned a man into a jack-in-the-box.

Topics: Civics, Civil Rights, Civilization, Existentialism, Fascism

Jesse Pinkman: You don't want a criminal lawyer… you want a "criminal" lawyer,

Jesse Pinkman: What, dude, wouldn't take a bribe? [That] dude in there? Saul Goodman. we're talking about?

Walter White: Yeah. "Morally outraged," he said. Threatened to call the police.

Jesse Pinkman: Wait, and Badger is gonna spill?

Walter White: Like the Exxon Valdez.

Jesse Pinkman: So, what do we do about it?

Aaron Paul: Jesse Pinkman on "Breaking Bad" and "Better Call Saul," IMDB.

From the 2019 documentary, Where's My Roy Cohn,: "Roy Cohn personified the dark arts of American politics, turning empty vessels into dangerous demagogues - from Joseph McCarthy to his final project, Donald J. Trump." IMDB

In order to understand the mind of Donald Trump, one must acquaint themselves with the life and legacy of his mentor, Roy Cohn. He’s the notorious lawyer who tampered with evidence in order to ensure that Julius and Ethel Rosenberg were sent to the electric chair, despite the fact that their shared status as dangerous Russian spies is still hotly debated. Cohn coaxed what was later alleged as a false testimony from Ethel’s brother, David Greenglass, that affirmed her complicity in the eyes of the court. Has enough evidence subsequently come to light connecting her with Julius’ role as a recruiter of Russian spies, and have the nuclear secrets reportedly stolen by Julius been found to be of much value?

Bully. Coward. Victim. The Story of Roy Cohn, Matt Fagerholm, Roger Ebert

David Frum said it succinctly: "The President is a Crook," in this case, the former president tried to, and is still trying to foment an insurrection because he ran and lost in 2020. Then, and now, we have the choice between the man, the presidency, and the rule of law.

The Constitution is essentially a property document. Despite the genius we proffer to the founding fathers, they were humans in the eighteenth century. The citizens they were writing to were wealthy property owners like themselves, many of them attaining that wealth through the ownership and trade of human chattel. Their women didn't have the right to vote until the suffrage movement produced the 19th Amendment, throwing the black women who worked on suffrage "under the bus." My mother and sister didn't get the full right of citizenship until the 1965 Voting Rights Act. I was three years old.

The United States Constitution is a remarkable document written by men steeped in education but fallible. No document nor dogma can anticipate changes in the world and society. Barack Hussein Obama would have shocked them. They would have guffawed at a presidential candidacy of a Hillary Clinton.

Unless you've been on Mars or hiding under a rock, the twice-impeached president has now been twice indicted for criminal activity. After losing to E. Jean Carrol in a case accusing him of sexual assault, he doubled down on a CNN Town Hall, calling her a "whack job," and she and her lawyer rightly sued again. The backlash and poor ratings afterward probably contributed to the firing of CNN's former CEO, Chris Licht.

After getting his first indictment for paying off an adult film star and playboy centerfold, affairs he covered up while his third wife was pregnant with his fifth child, he strutted like a peacock. After being indicted for stealing classified information, he held a rally at his club in Bedminster, New Jersey, where arguably, one of his espionage crimes was recorded on tape.

What. is. WRONG. With. HIM? For that matter, what is wrong with our fellow citizens?

Mary Trump wrote "Too Much And Never Enough" about her malignant narcissist uncle. In chapter 3, titled "The Great I Am," he was sent to military school in Newburg, New York, after getting aggressive with his mother and bullying issues at the age of thirteen.

"Finally, by 1959, Donald's misbehavior—fighting, bullying, arguing with teachers—had gone too far," Mary Trump writes.

Fred Trump was on the board of trustees for the Kew-Forest prep school that Donald Trump was attending.

"Fred didn't mind Donald's acting out, but it had become intrusive and time-consuming for him," Mary Trump wrote. "When one of his fellow board members at Kew-Forest recommended sending Donald to New York Military Academy to rein him in, Fred went along with it."

In the book, Mary Trump wrote that Trump's mother, Mary Anne Trump, "didn't fight for her son to stay home ... a failure Donald couldn't help but notice."

"Over Donald's objections, he was enrolled at NYMA," she writes. "The other kids in the family referred to NYMA as a 'reform school'—it wasn't prestigious like St. Paul's, which (older brother) Freddy had attended."

"Nobody sent their sons to NYMA for a better education, and Donald understood it rightly as a punishment," Mary Trump wrote.

Trump Sent to 'Reform School' As Teen for Bullying, Niece's Book Says, Elizabeth Crisp, Newsweek

What are the symptoms of spoiled brat syndrome?

The syndrome is characterized by "excessive, self-centered, and immature behavior". It includes a lack of consideration for other people, recurrent temper tantrums, an inability to handle the delay of gratification, demands for having one's own way, obstructiveness, and manipulation to get their way. Wikipedia

Professor William T. Kelley at the Wharton School of Business, let's just say, didn't think highly of the 45th president's intellect (see Mystery 2). His fellow Wharton students spent their weekends in study groups. Young Trump went back to New York on weekends, tutored likely by criminals that Roy Cohn represented, inspired to create a fantasy world from the Godfather trilogy popular in his youth. John Gotti was the original "Teflon Don" until he, like Al Capone, was eventually caught. He practically struts like Marlon Brando.

"It's not theirs. It's mine!" He is indicted on 37 counts, 31 for espionage. He is a criminal, but in a certain sense, he is the epoch of the spoiled brat grown-up physically. The indictment happened a day before his 77th birthday. He had issues getting lawyers in Florida, aided by his reputation of stiffing anyone who works for him and his childish stubbornness not to follow counsel: silence is golden, but he can't shut up.

On the calendar, he's a late-stage septuagenarian. Emotionally, he is a child. He is Billy Mumy with the magical power to manipulate an entire constituency that the GOP didn't know they had. His wand is explicit bigotry and cruelty; his power is to give those who will follow him over the abyss cover and approval to be their worst selves. No one liked Mumy's character portrayal, and other than fellow sociopaths, no one [really] likes him.

A political party following the machinations of an impulsive being is not sustainable. 2024 will mark 20 years since the GOP won both the electoral college and the popular vote. That can lead a party to desperation. And desperation leads to demagogues and violence.

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Magnetic Chirality...


An RNA-making molecule crystallizes on magnetite, which can bias the process toward a single chiral form. S. FURKAN OZTURK

Topics: Biology, Biotechnology, Chemistry, Magnetism, Materials Science

In 1848, French chemist Louis Pasteur discovered that some molecules essential for life exist in mirror-image forms, much like our left and right hands. Today, we know biology chooses just one of these “chiral” forms: DNA, RNA, and their building blocks are all right-handed, whereas amino acids and proteins are all left-handed. Pasteur, who saw hints of this selectivity, or “homochirality,” thought magnetic fields might somehow explain it, but its origin has remained one of biology’s great mysteries. Now, it turns out Pasteur may have been onto something.

In three new papers, researchers suggest magnetic minerals common on early Earth could have caused key biomolecules to accumulate on their surface in just one mirror image form, setting off positive feedback that continued to favor the same form. “It’s a real breakthrough,” says Jack Szostak, an origin of life chemist at the University of Chicago who was not involved with the new work. “Homochirality is essential to get biology started, and this is [a possible]—and I would say very likely—solution.”

Chemical reactions are typically unbiased, yielding equal amounts of right- and left-handed molecules. But life requires selectivity: Only right-handed DNA, for example, has the correct twist to interact properly with other chiral molecules. To get [life], “you’ve got to break the mirror, or you can’t pull it off,” says Gerald Joyce, an origin of life chemist and president of the Salk Institute for Biological Studies.

Over the past century, researchers have proposed various mechanisms for skewing the first biomolecules, including cosmic rays and polarized light. Both can cause an initial bias favoring either right- or left-handed molecules, but they don’t directly explain how this initial bias was amplified to create the large reservoirs of chiral molecules likely needed to make the first cells. An explanation that creates an initial bias is a good start but “not sufficient,” says Dimitar Sasselov, a physicist at Harvard University and a leader of the new work.

‘Breakthrough’ could explain why life molecules are left- or right-handed, Robert F. Service,

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Source: Semiengineering dot com - Chiplets

Topics: Computer Science, Electrical Engineering, Materials Science, Semiconductor Technology, Solid-State Physics

Depending on who you’re speaking with at the time, the industry’s adoption of chiplet technology to extend the reach of Moore’s Law is either continuing to roll along or is facing the absence of a commercial market. However, both assertions cannot be true. What is true is that chiplets have been used to build at least some commercial ICs for more than a decade and that semiconductor vendors continue to expand chiplet usability and availability. At the same time, the interface and packaging standards that are essential to widespread chiplet adoption remain in flux.

On the positive side of this question are existence proofs. Xilinx, now AMD, has been using 2.5D chiplet technology with large silicon interposers to make FPGAs for more than a decade. The first commercial use of this packaging technology appeared back in 2011 when Xilinx announced its Virtex-7 2000T FPGA, a 2-Mgate device built from four FPGA semiconductor tiles bonded to a silicon interposer. Xilinx jointly developed this chiplet-packaging technology with its foundry, TSMC, which now offers this CoWoS (Chip-on-Wafer-on-Substrate) interposer-and-chiplet technology to its other foundry customers. TSMC customers that have announced chiplet-based products include Broadcom and Fujitsu. AMD is now five generations along the learning curve with this packaging technology, which is now essential to the continued development of bigger and more diverse FPGAs. AMD will be presenting an overview of this multi-generation, chiplet-based technology, including a status update at the upcoming Hot Chips 2023 conference being held at Stanford University in Palo Alto, California, in August.

Similarly, Intel has long been developing and using chiplet technology in its own packaged ICs. The company has been using its 2.5D EMIB (embedded multi-die interconnect bridge) chiplet-packaging technology for years to manufacture its Stratix 10 FPGAs. That technology has now spread throughout Intel’s product line to include CPUs and SoCs. The poster child for Intel’s chiplet-packaging technologies is unquestionably the company’s Ponte Vecchio GPU, which packages 47 active “tiles” – Intel’s name for chiplets – in a multi-chip package. These 47 dies are manufactured by multiple semiconductor vendors using five different semiconductor process nodes, all combined in one package using Intel’s EMIB 2.5D and 3D Foveros chiplet-packaging techniques to produce an integrated product with more than 100 billion transistors – something not currently possible on one silicon die. Intel is now opening these chiplet-packaging technologies to select customers through IFS – Intel Foundry Services – and consequently expanding the size and number of its packaging facilities.

The Chiplet’s Time Is Coming. It’s Here, Or Not. Steven Leibson, Tirias Research, Forbes

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Quantum Vortexes...


A new study by KTH Royal Institute of Technology and Stanford University revises of our understanding of quantum vortices in superconductors. Pictured an artist’s depiction of quantum vortices. Credit: Greg Stewart, SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory

Topics: Modern Physics, Quantum Mechanics, Research, Superconductors

Within superconductors, little tornadoes of electrons, known as quantum vortices, can occur, which have important implications in superconducting applications such as quantum sensors. Now a new kind of superconducting vortex has been found, an international team of researchers reports.

Egor Babaev, professor at KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm, says the study revises the prevailing understanding of how electronic flow can occur in superconductors, based on work about quantum vortices that was recognized in the 2003 Nobel Prize award. The researchers at KTH, together with researchers from Stanford University, TD Lee Institute in Shanghai, and AIST in Tsukuba, discovered that the magnetic flux produced by vortices in a superconductor can be divided up into a wider range of values than thought.

That represents a new insight into the fundamentals of superconductivity and also potentially can be applied in superconducting electronics.

A vortex of magnetic flux happens when an external magnetic field is applied to a superconductor. The magnetic field penetrates the superconductor in the form of quantized magnetic flux tubes, which form vortices. Babaev says that originally research held that quantum vortices pass through superconductors each carrying one quantum of magnetic flux. But arbitrary fractions of quantum flux were not a possibility entertained in earlier theories of superconductivity.

Using the Superconducting Quantum Interference Device (SQUID) at Stanford University Babaev's co-authors, research scientist Yusuke Iguchi and Professor Kathryn A. Moler, showed at a microscopic level that quantum vortices can exist in a single electronic band. The team was able to create and move around these fractional quantum vortices, Moler says.

"Professor Babaev has been telling me for years that we could see something like this, but I didn't believe it until Dr. Iguchi actually saw it and conducted a number of detailed checks," she says.

Tiny quantum electronic vortexes can circulate in superconductors in ways not seen before, KTH Royal Institute of Technology,


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Distant Cousins...


The galaxy observed by Webb shows an Einstein ring caused by a phenomenon known as gravitational lensing.  Credit: S. Doyle / J. Spilker

Topics: Astrobiology, Biology, James Webb Space Telescope, Space Exploration

Researchers have detected complex organic molecules in a galaxy more than 12 billion light-years away from Earth—the most distant galaxy in which these molecules are now known to exist. Thanks to the capabilities of the recently launched James Webb Space Telescope and careful analyses from the research team, a new study lends critical insight into the complex chemical interactions that occurred in the first galaxies in the early universe.

University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign astronomy and physics professor Joaquin Vieira and graduate student Kedar Phadke collaborated with researchers at Texas A&M University and an international team of scientists to differentiate between infrared signals generated by some of the more massive and larger dust grains in the galaxy and those of the newly observed hydrocarbon molecules.

The study findings are published in the journal Nature.

"This project started when I was in graduate school studying hard-to-detect, very distant galaxies obscured by dust," Vieira said. "Dust grains absorb and re-emit about half of the stellar radiation produced in the universe, making infrared light from distant objects extremely faint or undetectable through ground-based telescopes."

In the new study, the JWST received a boost from what the researchers call "nature's magnifying glass"—a phenomenon called gravitational lensing. "This magnification happens when two galaxies are almost perfectly aligned from the Earth's point of view, and light from the background galaxy is warped and magnified by the foreground galaxy into a ring-like shape, known as an Einstein ring," Vieira said.

Webb Space Telescope detects the universe's most distant complex organic molecules, Lois Yoksoulian, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

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An X-ray flash illuminates a molecule. Credit: Raphael Jay

Topics: Chemistry, Climate Change, Green Tech, High Energy Physics, Research, X-rays

The use of short flashes of X-ray light brings scientists one big step closer to developing better catalysts to transform the greenhouse gas methane into a less harmful chemical. The result, published in the journal Science, reveals for the first time how carbon-hydrogen bonds of alkanes break and how the catalyst works in this reaction.

Methane, one of the most potent greenhouse gases, is being released into the atmosphere at an increasing rate by livestock farming and the unfreezing of permafrost. Transforming methane and longer-chain alkanes into less harmful and, in fact, useful chemicals would remove the associated threats and, in turn, make a huge feedstock for the chemical industry available. However, transforming methane necessitates, as a first step, the breaking of a C-H bond, one of the strongest chemical linkages in nature.

Forty years ago, molecular metal catalysts that can easily split C-H bonds were discovered. The only thing found to be necessary was a short flash of visible light to "switch on" the catalyst, and, as by magic, the strong C-H bonds of alkanes passing nearby are easily broken almost without using any energy. Despite the importance of this so-called C-H activation reaction, it remained unknown over the decades how that catalyst performs this function.

The research was led by scientists from Uppsala University in collaboration with the Paul Scherrer Institute in Switzerland, Stockholm University, Hamburg University, and the European XFEL in Germany. For the first time, the scientists were able to directly watch the catalyst at work and reveal how it breaks those C-H bonds.

In two experiments conducted at the Paul Scherrer Institute in Switzerland, the researchers were able to follow the delicate exchange of electrons between a rhodium catalyst and an octane C-H group as it gets broken. Using two of the most powerful sources of X-ray flashes in the world, the X-ray laser SwissFEL and the X-ray synchrotron Swiss Light Source, the reaction could be followed all the way from the beginning to the end. The measurements revealed the initial light-induced activation of the catalyst within 400 femtoseconds (0.0000000000004 seconds) to the final C-H bond breaking after 14 nanoseconds (0.000000014 seconds).

X-rays visualize how one of nature's strongest bonds breaks, Uppsala University,

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Fascism and Laziness...


Source: Washington Monthly, "The 12 Early Warning Signs of Fascism," Martin Longman, January 31, 2017

Topics: Civics, Civil Rights, Civilization, Democracy, Existentialism, Fascism, Human Rights

But beyond him being (obviously) a genocidal maniac, there's an aspect to Hitler's rule that kind of gets missed in our standard view of him. Even if popular culture has long enjoyed turning him into an object of mockery, we still tend to believe that the Nazi machine was ruthlessly efficient and that the great dictator spent most of his time…well, dictating things.

So it's worth remembering that Hitler was actually an incompetent, lazy egomaniac, and his government was an absolute clown show.

In fact, this may even have helped his rise to power, as he was consistently underestimated by the German elite. Before he became chancellor, many of his opponents had dismissed him as a joke for his crude speeches and tacky rallies. Even after elections had made the Nazis the largest party in the Reichstag, people still kept thinking that Hitler was an easy mark, a blustering idiot who could easily be controlled by smart people.

Why did the elites of Germany so consistently underestimate Hitler? Possibly because they weren't actually wrong in their assessment of his competency—they just failed to realize that this wasn't enough to stand in the way of his ambition. As it turns out, Hitler was bad at running a government. As his press chief Otto Dietrich wrote in his memoir The Hitler I Knew, "In the twelve years of his rule in Germany, Hitler produced the biggest confusion in government that has ever existed in a civilized state."

His government was constantly in chaos, with officials having no idea what he wanted them to do, and nobody was entirely clear who was actually in charge of what. He procrastinated wildly when asked to make difficult decisions and would often end up relying on gut feeling, leaving even close allies in the dark about his plans. His "unreliability had those who worked with him pulling out their hair," as his confidant Ernst Hanfstaengl later wrote in his memoir Zwischen Weißem und Braunem Haus. This meant that rather than carrying out the duties of state, they spent most of their time in-fighting and back-stabbing each other in an attempt to either win his approval or avoid his attention altogether, depending on what mood he was in that day.

Hitler Was Incompetent and Lazy—and His Nazi Government Was an Absolute Clown Show | Newsweek Opinion, Tom Phillips

Axios has obtained leaked private schedules of President Donald Trump showing how he’s spent his time over the past three months. According to the leaked schedules, our president has spent 60% of his “working” hours since the midterms in unstructured “Executive Time.”

Executive Time is supposed to consist of time in the Oval Office, but Trump wakes before 6 a.m. and doesn’t leave the residence for five hours. He spends that time, according to Axios, “watching TV, reading the papers, and responding to what he sees and reads by phoning aides, members of Congress, friends, administration officials, and informal advisers.” And, we can safely assume, tweeting like a madman.

Then, usually around 11:00 or 11:30 a.m., the president finally gets off his ass and actually does some work, attending an intelligence briefing with his chief of staff. The idea for Executive Time, which during the three months the leaked schedules totaled 297 hours, came from former chief of staff John Kelly because of Trump’s disdain for regular schedules.

Trump Could Be Our Laziest President Ever, According to Leaked Schedules, Peter Wade, Rolling Stone

Democracies require informed citizens. "Democracies did not originate with the founding of the United States. The term 'democracy' comes from two Greek words: "demos" (the people) and "kratia" (power or authority). So, of course, DEMOCRACY is a form of government that gives power to the people. But how, when, and to which people? The answer to those questions changes through history." See:

Fascism has a self-built mythology of efficiency that generations of psychopaths have used gaslighting by pamphlet to the Internet to convince rubes and middle-of-the-road citizens that they're "stable geniuses." News flash: They're not.

Fascism as a term didn't come into vogue until Benito Mussolini in Italy. Prior to that, Jim Crow, black codes, and the Confederate South were all the foundations Mussolini based his philosophies on. Nazi Germany based its treatment of the Jews on Jim Crow, American black codes, and the Eugenics movement (which they put on steroids).

Fascism is the parent "ism" of every one of the "isms" that's used to classify, objectify, demoralize, and categorize humans into this unmoveable hierarchy where the fascists/psychopaths have put themselves on the top: 1. They think they deserve it because of some "magical formula" that's varied from "it's God's will" and evolution, post-Darwin, post-Nietzche. The formula is fungible so long as the outcome is the same. 2. The inherent "inferiority" of anyone else who isn't a fascist/psychopath. 3. Anyone with a three-pound functional brain that can read history and reason for themselves is "woke." America had black people. India, under the Caste system, had Dalets: the pariahs, the untouchables. Nazy Germany had Jews. Russia has Ukraine, which at this moment is destroying all of its delusions of superiority.

Fascism puts everything in the lap of the "dear leader." Thus the responsibility for the government running efficiently, or running like a crap show, is the. "dear leader's." That way, when everything GOES to crap, it's the leader's fault, not the citizens. Since he is the source of "truth," they await to hear, by pronouncement, tweet, or "truth social."

“The past was alterable. The past had never been altered. Oceania was at war with Eastasia. Oceania had always been at war with Eastasia.” George Orwell, "1984"

German citizens, post-1945, claimed to "not know" anything about the atrocities. As Dumbo Gambino appears to be careening toward federal indictments, what will be the excuse in a post-MAGA world (if we ever get to a post-MAGA world)?

But since all you have to do to have a democracy is, well, inform your citizens, how would governments distract them?

The IBM Simon was manufactured by Mitsubishi Electric, which integrated features from its own wireless personal digital assistant (PDA) and cellular radio technologies. It featured a liquid-crystal display (LCD) and PC Card support. The Simon was commercially unsuccessful, particularly due to its bulky form factor and limited battery life, using NiCad batteries rather than the nickel–metal hydride batteries commonly used in mobile phones in the 1990s or lithium-ion batteries used in modern smartphones.

The term "smartphone" was not coined until a year after the introduction of the Simon, appearing in print as early as 1995, describing AT&T's PhoneWriter Communicator. The term "smartphone" was first used by Ericsson in 1997 to describe a new device concept, the GS88.

Source: Wikipedia/Smartphone


The use of smartphones has been increasing worldwide. Usage of these devices has been associated with addiction and adverse emotional states. This study employs a mixed methods approach to study these relationships in an Australian sample. The study comprised 164 participants aged between 18–70 who completed the Depression, Anxiety, and Stress Scale, the Smartphone Addiction Scale, and the Mindful Attention Awareness Scale. Seven participants were also interviewed, providing answers of a qualitative nature. Smartphone addiction significantly predicted higher levels of smartphone usage. Additionally, smartphone addiction and distractibility also significantly predicted higher levels of stress, depression, and anxiety. Qualitative results identified themes such as convenience, time of the day, and activities in relation to smartphone usage as well as short‐and long‐term effects of this usage. Findings indicated that both distraction and addiction have an influence on the use of smartphones and that increased usage has detrimental consequences for emotional health. Themes such as dependence and temptation, and interferences appear congruent and consistent with the results of the scales used.

Smartphone distraction‐addiction: Examining the relationship between psychosocial variables and patterns of use | Humberto Oraison, Olivia Nash‐Dolby, Bruce Wilson &Ridhi Malhotra, Australian Journal of Psychology, Taylor & Francis Online, 2020

Smartphone addiction, sometimes colloquially known as “nomophobia” (fear of being without a mobile phone), is often fueled by an internet overuse problem or internet addiction disorder. After all, it's rarely the phone or tablet itself that creates the compulsion, but rather the games, apps, and online worlds it connects us to. Health Guide

Democracy requires informed citizens. Fascism requires couch potatoes.

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Organic Solar Cells...


Prof. Li Gang invented a novel technique to achieve breakthrough efficiency with organic solar cells. Credit: Hong Kong Polytechnic University

Topics: Chemistry, Green Tech, Materials Science, Photonics, Research, Solar Power

Researchers from The Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU) have achieved a breakthrough power-conversion efficiency (PCE) of 19.31% with organic solar cells (OSCs), also known as polymer solar cells. This remarkable binary OSC efficiency will help enhance these advanced solar energy device applications.

The PCE, a measure of the power generated from a given solar irradiation, is considered a significant benchmark for the performance of photovoltaics (PVs), or solar panels, in power generation. The improved efficiency of more than 19% that was achieved by the PolyU researchers constitutes a record for binary OSCs, which have one donor and one acceptor in the photoactive layer.

Led by Prof. Li Gang, Chair Professor of Energy Conversion Technology, and Sir Sze-Yen Chung, Endowed Professor in Renewable Energy at PolyU, the research team invented a novel OSC morphology-regulating technique by using 1,3,5-trichlorobenzene as a crystallization regulator. This new technique boosts OSC efficiency and stability.

The team developed a non-monotonic intermediated state manipulation (ISM) strategy to manipulate the bulk-heterojunction (BHJ) OSC morphology and simultaneously optimize the crystallization dynamics and energy loss of non-fullerene OSCs. Unlike the strategy of using traditional solvent additives, which is based on excessive molecular aggregation in films, the ISM strategy promotes the formation of more ordered molecular stacking and favorable molecular aggregation. As a result, the PCE was considerably increased, and the undesirable non-radiative recombination loss was reduced. Notably, non-radiative recombination lowers the light generation efficiency and increases heat loss.

Researchers achieve a record 19.31% efficiency with organic solar cells. Hong Kong Polytechnic University. Tech Explore

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As The Worm Turns...


Schematic diagram of the worm-inspired robot. Credit: Jin et al.

Topics: Applied Physics, Biomimetics, Instrumentation, Mechanical Engineering, Robotics

Bio-inspired robots, robotic systems that emulate the appearance, movements, and/or functions of specific biological systems, could help to tackle real-world problems more efficiently and reliably. Over the past two decades, roboticists have introduced a growing number of these robots, some of which draw inspiration from fruit flies, worms, and other small organisms.

Researchers at China University of Petroleum (East China) recently developed a worm-inspired robot with a body structure that is based on the oriental paper-folding art of origami. This robotic system, introduced in Bioinspiration & Biomimetics, is based on actuators that respond to magnetic forces, compressing and bending its body to replicate the movements of worms.

"Soft robotics is a promising field that our research group has been paying a lot of attention to," Jianlin Liu, one of the researchers who developed the robot, told Tech Xplore. "While reviewing the existing research literature in the field, we found that bionic robots, such as worm-inspired robots, were a topic worth exploring. We thus set out to fabricate a worm-like origami robot based on the existing literature. After designing and reviewing several different structures, we chose to focus on a specific knitting pattern for our robot."

A worm-inspired robot based on an origami structure and magnetic actuators, Ingrid Fadelli, Tech Xplore

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Grim Reaper...


This map predicts how air pollution with fine particles will be in the future - according to Ulas Im's computer simulation. The blue-colored areas show where the pollution is worst. Green is a little better, and yellow means almost no pollution. Credit: Journal for Environmental Research

Topics: Civilization, Environment, Existentialism

For many years now, we have known that air pollution is bad for our health. For example, American researchers have found that you have a 20% higher risk of dying prematurely if you live next to a big road.

In recent years, many countries—especially Western countries—have spent time and effort to come up with solutions to reduce air pollution. Particle filters and phasing out the use of the most polluting energy sources have helped. In Denmark, emissions of fine particles have been reduced by 48% since 1990.

But despite this progress, [even] more people will die prematurely from particulate air pollution in the future, according to model calculations performed by Ulas Im, Department of Environmental Science at Aarhus University, in collaboration with NASA.

The study is published in the journal Environmental Research.

[Together], Im and NASA have developed a global model for air pollution that includes climate change, particle emission reduction measures, and changes in population composition. The model depicts a bleak future, especially for the countries in Asia.

"Even if they reduce air pollution significantly in Asia, the mortality rate will still be high. This is because their populations are aging. And you become more vulnerable to pollution with age," Ulas Im says.

Extremely complicated calculations

Ulas Im from Aarhus University and NASA have come together in this project because both institutions have unique technology that—if combined—offers entirely new possibilities and perspectives.

The NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies in New York has one of the most advanced climate models in the world, and Aarhus University has one of the best computer models for how air pollution affects human health.

By creating a hybrid of the two models and running the new model through Aarhus University's supercomputer, Ulas Im and his partners from NASA could create three scenarios for how air pollution will affect human health in the future.

"We fed the model with three different scenarios: one in which most of the world continues to regulate and try to limit air pollution; one in which we do even more than we do today; and finally, one in which we do less," he says.

But even in the most optimistic of the three scenarios, the result turned out to be bleak, especially for Asia.

"Although China has done much to reduce air pollution in recent decades, air pollution will have a dire impact in the future, even if they step up their efforts. This is because of their aging population. A greater share of the population will simply be more vulnerable," he says.

A Danish researcher and NASA predict how many people will die from air pollution in the future, Jeppe Kyhne Knudsen, Aarhus University,

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ALPS and Dark Matter...


Magnet row of the ALPS experiment in the HERA tunnel: In this part of the magnets, intense laser light is reflected back and forth, from which axions are supposed to form. Credit: DESY, Marta Maye

Topics: Dark Matter, Materials Science, Particle Physics, Quantum Mechanics

The ALPS (Any Light Particle Search) experiment, which stretches a total length of 250 meters, is looking for a particularly light type of new elementary particle. The international research team wants to search for these so-called axions or axion-like particles using twenty-four recycled superconducting magnets from the HERA accelerator, an intense laser beam, precision interferometry, and highly sensitive detectors.

Such particles are believed to react only extremely weakly with known kinds of matter, which means they cannot be detected in experiments using accelerators. ALPS is therefore resorting to an entirely different principle to detect them: in a strong magnetic field, photons—i.e., particles of light—could be transformed into these mysterious elementary particles and back into [light] again.

"The idea for an experiment like ALPS has been around for over 30 years. By using components and the infrastructure of the former HERA accelerator, together with state-of-the-art technologies, we are now able to realize ALPS II in an international collaboration for the first time," says Beate Heinemann, Director of Particle Physics at DESY.

Helmut Dosch, Chairman of DESY's Board of Directors, adds, "DESY has set itself the task of decoding matter in all its different forms. So ALPS II fits our research strategy perfectly, and perhaps it will push open the door to dark matter."

The ALPS team sends a high-intensity laser beam along a device called an optical resonator in a vacuum tube, approximately 120 meters in length, in which the beam is reflected backward and forwards and is enclosed by twelve HERA magnets arranged in a straight line. If a photon were to turn into an axion in the strong magnetic field, that axion could pass through the opaque wall at the end of the line of magnets.

Once through the wall, it would enter another magnetic track almost identical to the first. Here, the [axion] could then change back into a photon, which would be captured by the detector at the end. A second optical resonator is set up here to increase the probability of an [axion[ turning back into a photon by a factor of 10,000.

This means if [light] does arrive behind the wall, it must have been an axion in between. "However, despite all our technical tricks, the probability of a photon turning into an axion and back again is very small," says DESY's Axel Lindner, project leader and spokesperson of the ALPS collaboration, "like throwing 33 dice and them all coming up the same."

In order for the experiment to actually work, the researchers had to tweak all the different components of the apparatus to maximum performance. The light detector is so sensitive that it can detect a single photon per day. The precision of the system of mirrors for the light is also record-breaking: the distance between the mirrors must remain constant to within a fraction of an atomic diameter relative to the wavelength of the laser.

World's most sensitive model-independent experiment starts searching for dark matter, Deutsches Elektronen-Synchrotron,

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Threat Assessment...


Domestic Violent Extremists Will Be Harder to Combat Than Homegrown Jihadists, The Rand Blog

Topics: Civics, Civil Rights, Civilization, Democracy, Existentialism, Fascism, Human Rights


Summary of Terrorism-Related Threat to the United States

The United States remains in a heightened threat environment. Lone offenders and small groups motivated by a range of ideological beliefs and personal grievances continue to pose a persistent and lethal threat to the Homeland. Both domestic violent extremists (DVEs) and those associated with foreign terrorist organizations continue to attempt to motivate supporters to conduct attacks in the Homeland, including through violent extremist messaging and online calls for violence. In the coming months, factors that could mobilize individuals to commit violence include their perceptions of the 2024 general election cycle and legislative or judicial decisions pertaining to sociopolitical issues. Likely targets of potential violence include US critical infrastructure, faith-based institutions, individuals or events associated with the LGBTQIA+ community, schools, racial and ethnic minorities, and government facilities and personnel, including law enforcement.


Issued: May 24, 2023, at 2:00 PM ET

Expires: November 24, 2023, at 2:00 PM ET

Roads, bridges, mall outlets, power stations; churches, mosques, synagogues, temples; drag shows, pride parades, nightclubs; K-12, community colleges and universities; every BIPOC, even those like the gunman in Allen, Texas, who was Hispanic and sympathized with white supremacist propaganda enough to kill; the Post Office, Police Departments, the FBI; and where you and I work.

A Big Lie about an election that was lost, not RIGGED, has put a target on all of our backs. Our so-called representatives only offer "thoughts and prayers" after every gun massacre, but will not propose legislation, will not even propose liability insurance, like the kind we have on cars, for the small percentage of us that insists on collecting arsenals. It's as if they WANT this "American carnage" to usher in something darker, like Kristallnacht, like fascism. America was a refuge for Stephen Miller's grandfather and Albert Einstein during the Nazi pogroms. Will Canada be a refuge for American Christian nationalist pogroms?

Here are some thoughts I've been mulling for a while, and I would like to forward them now:

One: Fascism doesn't stop with your favorite "out-group."

I have African American friends in my community that use the Bible to legitimize their bigotry toward LGBTQ+ people. My own epiphany happened during a diversity class in the 1990s when the professor asked one of the attendees a question: "Mr. _______, do you CARE where Mr. ______'s spermatozoa are deposited tonight?"

The second Mr. ______ is me, to whom the blunt and salacious question was directed. The technique was to make the first man think: are you overconcerned with his sexual practices? My oldest son was 11, and my youngest son was 1 at the time. Continuing the thought experiment: Does it matter to your heterosexual relationship? If it does, either you or your wife is closeted. James Baldwin was a close friend of Medgar Evers, Malcolm X, and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Lorraine Hansberry, author of "A Raisin in the Sun," was a closeted lesbian due to the times. Pauli Murray was also a closeted lesbian, lawyer, and civil rights activist. Bayard Rustin, a gay man, was one of Dr. King's closest advisors and the chief organizer of the March on Washington in August 1963. See SPLC: Learning for Justice.

Two: Everyone needs a "green book" plan.

My mother graduated from a school in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, for "Practical Nursing," similar to an Associate's Degree now. She. and my father used a green book, a guide to let them know on long trips where to get gas, where to stop to eat, where to go to the bathroom, and where to sleep. In the 1950s, they NEEDED this to get from Winston-Salem, North Carolina, to Philly and BACK. It worked because otherwise, I would not be typing this blog. Our risk is not due to a preponderance of Melanin only. It is all public places now.

Do you speak another language? Is your passport current or expired? Part of our "green book" may be in formulating an exit plan. When all "hell is breaking loose," it's a little late.

Three: The State owning women's bodies is fascism.

The Nazi regime encouraged the birth of children deemed “racially valuable” in order to increase Germany’s “Aryan” population. This campaign closely reflected the regime’s racial ideology and theories of eugenics. The Lebensborn program was designed by the SS to increase Germany’s declining birthrate. It was originally intended to provide pregnant “Aryan” women with financial assistance, adoption services, and a series of private maternity homes where they could give birth. By the end of World War II, Lebensborn became involved in the Nazi regime’s systematic kidnapping of thousands of “biologically valuable” foreign children to be raised in German homes. Source: United States Holocaust Memorial Museum

In Russia, they are kidnapping Ukrainian children and spiriting them to Moscow. In America, six anti-Christian Mullahs overturned 50 years of precedent to induce forced births because of a demographic that is itself a chimera: if so-called "white" people had its origin in the Bacon's Rebellion of 1681, codified in the first Census of 1790, counting "free whites, all other free persons, and slaves," The Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882, In barring their immigration to the United States for ten years, all categories of humans in the United States are the product of government fiat to justify hierarchy for the purpose of theft from the masses. Dr. Alan Goodman said, "Race is the power of an illusion." For the Christian nationalists: "And He has made from one BLOOD every nation of men to dwell on all the face of the earth, and has determined their preappointed times and the boundaries of their dwellings," Acts 17:26. Therefore, you cannot be "replaced" if you never really existed beyond being a variation of humans. This was the first Big Lie.

Four: Vote early; don't show bumper stickers, flags, or paraphernalia.

In Austin, Texas, during the 2008 elections, a neighbor was such an Obama fan he paid $5,000 for him and his wife to shake the future president's hand. He had as large a banner touting Obama-Biden on his front lawn as our neighbor (nearer me) did for the 2004 election with Bush-Cheney. The Obama-Biden sign was vandalized with the n-word and swastikas; nothing happened to Bush-Cheney (there's a double entendre in there). Ahem: This happened in the waning days of the "compassionate conservatism" era, the gateway drug before Christian nationalism.

It's obvious the incident was instructive to me. I give to the party I see upholding The Constitution, but I don't sport the "swag." Some might derisively call what I'm suggesting "respectability politics." I have called it survival for my many trips around the sun, here billions of years before my birth, and will be here billions more after my death.

I appreciate the Department of Homeland Security's warning, but I've been aware of this extremism since before one of the political parties nominated and elected a demagogue.

I have been on this Earth for sixty-one years. As a black man, I have never felt "free."

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Nano Sanitizer...


The disinfectant powder is stirred in bacteria-contaminated water (upper left). The mixture is exposed to sunlight, which rapidly kills all the bacteria (upper right). A magnet collects the metallic powder after disinfection (lower right). The powder is then reloaded into another beaker of contaminated water, and the disinfection process is repeated (lower left). (Image credit: Tong Wu/Stanford University)

Topics: Biology, Chemistry, Environment, Materials Science, Nanotechnology

When exposed to sunlight, a low-cost, recyclable powder can kill thousands of waterborne bacteria per second. Stanford and SLAC scientists say the ultrafast disinfectant could be a revolutionary advance for 2 billion people worldwide without access to safe drinking water.

At least 2 billion people worldwide routinely drink water contaminated with disease-causing microbes.

Now, scientists at Stanford University and SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory have invented a low-cost, recyclable powder that kills thousands of waterborne bacteria per second when exposed to ordinary sunlight. According to the Stanford and SLAC team, the discovery of this ultrafast disinfectant could be a significant advance for nearly 30 percent of the world’s population with no access to safe drinking water. Their results are published in a May 18 study in Nature Water.

“Waterborne diseases are responsible for 2 million deaths annually, the majority in children under the age of 5,” said study co-lead author Tong Wu, a former postdoctoral scholar of materials science and engineering (MSE) at the Stanford School of Engineering. “We believe that our novel technology will facilitate revolutionary changes in water disinfection and inspire more innovations in this exciting interdisciplinary field.”

Conventional water-treatment technologies include chemicals, which can produce toxic byproducts, and ultraviolet light, which takes a relatively long time to disinfect and requires a source of electricity.

The new disinfectant developed at Stanford is a harmless metallic powder that works by absorbing both UV and high-energy visible light from the sun. The powder consists of nano-size flakes of aluminum oxide, molybdenum sulfide, copper, and iron oxide.

“We only used a tiny amount of these materials,” said senior author Yi Cui, the Fortinet Founders Professor of MSE and of Energy Science & Engineering in the Stanford Doerr School of Sustainability. “The materials are low cost and fairly abundant. The key innovation is that, when immersed in water, they all function together.”

New nontoxic powder uses sunlight to quickly disinfect contaminated drinking water, Mark Shwartz, Stanford News.

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The LRESE parabolic dish: the solar reactor converts solar energy to hydrogen with an efficiency of more than 20%, producing around 0.5 kg of "green" hydrogen per day. (Courtesy: LRESE EPFL)

Topics: Applied Physics, Energy, Environment, Research, Solar Power

A new solar-radiation-concentrating device produces “green” hydrogen at a rate of more than 2 kilowatts while maintaining efficiencies above 20%. The pilot-scale device, which is already operational under real sunlight conditions, also produces usable heat and oxygen, and its developers at the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) in Switzerland say it could be commercialized in the near future.

The new system sits on a concrete foundation on the EPFL campus and consists of a parabolic dish seven meters in diameter. This dish collects sunlight over a total area of 38.5 m2, concentrates it by a factor of about 1000, and directs it onto a reactor that comprises both photovoltaic and electrolysis components. Energy from the concentrated sunlight generates electron-hole pairs in the photovoltaic material, which the system then separates and transports to the integrated electrolysis system. Here, the energy is used to “split” water pumped through the system at an optimal rate, producing oxygen and hydrogen.

Putting it together at scale

Each of these processes has, of course, been demonstrated before. Indeed, the new EPFL system, which is described in Nature Energy, builds on previous research from 2019, when the EPFL team demonstrated the same concept at a laboratory scale using a high-flux solar simulator. However, the new reactor’s solar-to-hydrogen efficiency and hydrogen production rate of around 0.5 kg per day is unprecedented in large-scale devices. The reactor also produces usable heat at a temperature of 70°C.

The versatility of the new system forms a big part of its commercial appeal, says Sophia Haussener, who leads the EPFL’s Laboratory of Renewable Energy Science and Engineering (LRESE). “This co-generation system could be used in industrial applications such as metal processing and fertilizer manufacturing,” Haussener tells Physics World. “It could also be used to produce oxygen for use in hospitals and hydrogen for fuels cells in electric vehicles, as well as heat in residential settings for heating water. The hydrogen produced could also be converted to electricity after being stored between days or even inter-seasonally.”

Concentrated solar reactor generates unprecedented amounts of hydrogen, Isabelle Dumé, Physics World.

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Balsa Chips...


Modified wood modulates electrical current: researchers at Linköping University and colleagues from the KTH Royal Institute of Technology have developed the world’s first electrical transistor made of wood. (Courtesy: Thor Balkhed)

Topics: Applied Physics, Biomimetics, Electrical Engineering, Materials Science, Research

Researchers in Sweden have built a transistor out of a plank of wood by incorporating electrically conducting polymers throughout the material to retain space for an ionically conductive electrolyte. The new technique makes it possible, in principle, to use wood as a template for numerous electronic components, though the Linköping University team acknowledges that wood-based devices cannot compete with traditional circuitry on speed or size.

Led by Isak Engquist of Linköping’s Laboratory for Organic Electronics, the researchers began by removing the lignin from a plank of balsa wood (chosen because it is grainless and evenly structured) using a NaClO2 chemical and heat treatment. Since lignin typically constitutes 25% of wood, removing it creates considerable scope for incorporating new materials into the structure that remains.

The researchers then placed the delignified wood in a water-based dispersion of an electrically conducting polymer called poly(3,4-ethylene-dioxythiophene)–polystyrene sulfonate, or PEDOT: PSS. Once this polymer diffuses into the wood, the previously insulating material becomes a conductor with an electrical conductivity of up to 69 Siemens per meter – a phenomenon the researchers attribute to the formation of PEDOT: PSS microstructures inside the 3D wooden “scaffold.”

Next, Engquist and colleagues constructed a transistor using one piece of this treated balsa wood as a channel and additional pieces on either side to form a double transistor gate. They also soaked the interface between the gates and channels in an ion-conducting gel. In this arrangement, known as an organic electrochemical transistor (OECT), applying a voltage to the gate(s) triggers an electrochemical reaction in the channel that makes the PEDOT molecules non-conducting and therefore switches the transistor off.

A transistor made from wood, Isabelle Dumé, Physics World

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Gaming Apocalypse...


Topics: Civics, Civil Rights, Civilization, Dark Side, Democracy, Existentialism, Fascism, Human Rights

2 Timothy 3:1 This know also, that in the last days, perilous times shall come.

This is NOT an eschatology blog. The second verse is a common cudgel to the LGBT community, bellowed from the pulpits of soon-discovered closeted pastors. Several laws are passed to ban drag shows, as in North Carolina, but not a peep about gun massacres. Guns with muzzle velocities of 1,006 meters per second, or 3,300 feet per second, eviscerate human flesh to unrecognizability. There were two mass shootings back-to-back in San Antonio, Texas. Merriam-Webster list ominously 66 synonyms for "perilous," some of which are: dangerous, serious, treacherous, unhealthy, grievous: and fatal.

Culture wars are NOT designed to solve anything. They are designed to concern, enrage, and engage the reptilian part of the brain that leaps at every shadow and requires long rifles to go into Starbucks, libraries, or drag shows because of "freedom." Banning books, drag shows, and "woke" are solutions in search of nonexistent problems.

What does a Constitutional Crisis look like? Yesterday, in the Orwellian committee, Jim Jordan ostensibly "leads," is government-paid gaslighting. The whistleblowers brought before the sham committee lost their security clearances, each for a cause. One refused to arrest a January 6th terrorist because he "didn't agree that he should be arrested." Getting fired for cause in at-will states used to be a very Republican viewpoint. The current Congress majority in the House is not Republican.

As Representative Stacey Plaskett, the lawyer Jim Jordan pretends to be pointed out, he and the committee are the 45th president's defense lawyers. His last one quit after dim bulb blurted out in the Cable, Not News fascist rally, “I took the documents; I’m allowed to,” oblivious to the fact every statement, every tweet, every "truth" on his knockoff website is a documented confession. Meanwhile, Jim Jordan screamed like a banshee when Representative Daniel Goldman, another lawyer Jim Jordan is not, read him the House rules on whistleblowers. Jim has a Juris Doctorate but never took the bar. It shows. He would have to study instead of ranting and Spitballing.

What does a Constitutional Crisis look like? Seventy-two percent of Americans feel birth control should be [a] legal right women in this nation should have. Seventy-one percent want gun laws to be stricter. In both cases, a majority of citizens want something that the bureaucracy of government hems up in red tape where it dies in committee.

What does a Constitutional Crisis look like? Christiane Amanpour, in a commencement address to Columbia, blasted her employer's decision in a proper British accent to platform a psychopathic fascist in prime time, as she said, respectfully disagreeing with clueless, paste-eating CEO Chris Licht. She showed more backbone than Anderson Cooper chastising his dwindling audience, and Jack Tapper, trying to make the Durham report more than a flaccid "bombshell" to suck up to the Sith overlords of the Cable, Not News network. I've eliminated the app from my phone and blocked the CNN Politics alerts on my iPhone. I see no more reason to watch it than I saw to abuse myself on Fox with Bill O'Reilly, Glenn Beck, Meghan Kelly, Tucker Carlson, and soon Sean Hannity violated the third rule for Mogwai every night, instead of midnight, at 8:00 pm. When Amanpour is CEO, and CNN returns to being "the most trusted name in news," maybe I'll return. Neil Postman was a prophet.

We have a Supreme Court that is neither. Trust in our institutions is at an all-time low as John Roberts "whistles past the graveyard" of our federal republic, allowing the extremist more extreme than HIM to steamroll him from an intolerable 15-week ban to torching Stare decisis. When a small minority of gun owners holds the country in an ongoing hostage crisis, when women lose a right that's been with them for two generations, when the highest court in the land might as well wear jerseys with logos from the billionaire who pay for their vacation junkets, we don't have to keep asking what a Constitutional Crisis looks like. The crisis is staring us in the face as we look away from it.

If the current administration doesn't win in 2024, the party that comes to power might shred what is left of The Constitution and declare it too "woke" for display, to follow, or study. At that point, we devolve from lawyers to Bronze Age Scribes. At that point: we've devolved from a republic to sovereignty and fascism. King George, in the end, would have won.

No need to study the LSAT or pass the bar: just Spitball.

2 Timothy 3:1 This know also, that in the last days, perilous times shall come.

Synonyms of perilous: dangerous, serious, treacherous, unhealthy, grievous: fatal.

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