Showing posts from April, 2011

Reactor Team Let Pressure Soar

APRIL 23, 2011 Reactor Team Let Pressure Soar By  PHRED DVORAK TOKYO—The operator of Japan's stricken nuclear plant let pressure in one reactor climb far beyond the level the facility was designed to withstand, a decision that may have worsened the world's most serious nuclear accident in a quarter century. Japanese nuclear-power companies are so leery of releasing radiation into the atmosphere that their rules call for waiting much longer and obtaining many more sign-offs than U.S. counterparts before venting the potentially dangerous steam that builds up as reactors overheat, a Wall Street Journal inquiry found. Japan's venting policy got its first real-world test in the chaotic hours after March 11's earthquake and tsunami knocked out cooling systems at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear-power complex. By the first hours of March 12, an emergency was brewing inside the plant's No. 1 reactor. By around 2:30 a.m., the pressur

The evolution of language: Babel or babble? | The Economist

Languages all have their roots in the same part of the world. But they are not as similar to each other as was once thought Apr 14th 2011 | from the print edition WHERE do languages come from? That is a question as old as human beings’ ability to pose it. But it has two sorts of answer. The first is evolutionary: when and where human banter was first heard. The second is ontological: how an individual human acquires the power of speech and understanding. This week, by a neat coincidence, has seen the publication of papers addressing both of these conundrums. Quentin Atkinson, of the University of Auckland, in New Zealand, has been looking at the evolutionary issue, trying to locate the birthplace of the first language. Michael Dunn, of the Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics in the Netherlands, has been examining ontology. Fittingly, they have published their results in the two greatest rivals of scientific journalism. Dr Atkinson’s paper appears in Science, Dr Dunn’s in Nature.

Ten Things to be Learned from JAPAN

Ten Things to be Learned from JAPAN: 1. THE CALM Not a single visual of wild shouting displays of grief. Sorrow itself has been elevated to a new level.