Developing Countries Inundated with E-waste; Google Street View of Distant Galaxies; Setting Sun Gives Bats Direction

Posted July 23rd, 2014 at 5:54 pm (UTC+0)
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The E-waste center of Agbogbloshie, Ghana, where electronic waste is burnt and disassembled with no safety or environmental considerations. (Marlenenapoli via Wikimedia Commons)

The e-waste center of Agbogbloshie, Ghana. (Marlenenapoli via Wikimedia Commons)

Where Does the World’s E-Waste Go?

When you replace a PC, tablet, mobile or any kind of electronic device, do you ever wonder what happens to your old equipment?

A new study finds that about 25 percent of all e-waste discarded by developed countries ends up in seven developing nations, posing severe health risks to people living there.

The nations where this e-waste is dumped includes – China, India, Nigeria, Ghana, Ivory Coast, Benin and Liberia.

The problem of e-waste or electronic waste is proving to be a growing struggle for local and national governments worldwide.

 

Scott Croom (CAASTRO/University of Sydney) with the SAMI instrument during its construction. (Tom Wheeler)

Scott Croom from CAASTRO & University of Sydney with SAMI during its construction. (Tom Wheeler)

Astronomers Develop Cosmological Google Street View

Australian astronomers have come up with a cosmological “Google Street View” of a number of distant galaxies.

Constructed of bundles of optical fibers, the home-made device called the Sydney-AAO Multi-Object Integral field spectrograph (SAMI) also provides astronomers with very detailed images of the galaxies.

The research team that developed the device said that astronomers used to only be able to study one galaxy in detail at a time, but this device allows them to make simultaneous, detailed observations of multiple galaxies.

 

Artist's concept shows one model of the pulsar before (top) and after (bottom) its radio beacon (green) vanished when gamma-ray output rose by five times. (NASA)

Artist’s concept shows one model of the pulsar before (top) and after (bottom) its radio beacon (green) vanished when gamma-ray output rose by five times. (NASA)

NASA Astronomers Spot a Transformer Pulsar

NASA astronomers recently spotted a Transformer Pulsar.

They found it after noticing some unusual behavior of a pulsar (rapidly spinning neutron star) located in a binary star system some 4,000 light years from Earth.

Late last month, the astronomers were making measurements of the binary star system when they noticed the radio beacon being transmitted by the pulsar suddenly disappeared, while at the same time, the system’s gamma rays increased five times.

“It’s almost as if someone flipped a switch, morphing the system from a lower-energy state to a higher-energy one,” said Benjamin Stappers of the UK’s University of Manchester, who led the international research team’s effort.

Gamma rays are the most powerful form of light in the universe.

 

Greater mouse-eared bat, Myotis myotis, from Bulgaria (Stefan Greif)

Greater mouse-eared bat, Myotis myotis, from Bulgaria (Stefan Greif)

Bats Rely on Polarized Light to Reset Their Internal Compasses

A species of bats, called Greater mouse-eared bats, use the polarized light of the setting sun to calibrate their internal magnetic compass, which helps the flying animals travel in the right direction, according to a new report.

The sun usually gives off unpolarized light, which means that the light waves bounce all over the place. However, at sunset the light waves interact with the atmosphere in such a way that the unpolarized light becomes polarized, meaning the light waves travel in one direction.

Outlining their findings in a study published by in Nature Communications, the researchers admit that they have no idea how the bats are able to detect polarized light.

 

Popular cooking herbs oregano and rosemary (shown here) may sometime help diabetics (Wikimedia Commons)

Popular cooking herbs oregano and rosemary (shown here) may someday help diabetics (Wikimedia Commons)

Popular Cooking Herbs May Someday Help Those with Diabetes

Rosemary and oregano are two popular herbs cooks use to enhance the flavor of foods, but new research shows they might someday also be key ingredients in medications for type 2 diabetes.

Research led by Elvira Gonzalez de Mejia of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, finds that oregano and rosemary are also jam-packed full of healthy compounds.

Writing in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, the researchers said tests found the popular herbs could very well work in much the same way as prescription anti-diabetic medication.

While encouraged by their findings, the researchers said more studies are needed to understand the role that compounds contained within the herbs have in reducing the risk of type 2 diabetes in humans.

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