Links ‘n Things Monday (2/18/13)

I don’t know what it is – but by the middle of February I always feel like the end is in sight in terms of winter. Only two more weeks until March – and March is rarely very cold or snowy. This hasn’t been a bad winter in Chicago by any means, but for a summer-lover like me – warmer temperatures can’t come soon enough. Take heart my friends from cooler climates – winter is almost over. I’ve got quite a smattering of articles, a shout-out to my wife, Leslie, who helped me gather some of these.

1.) I found this article pretty interesting, it’s a discussion on the dangers of consuming too much caffeine and also about the difficulties the FDA has had in regulating some of the energy drinks out there (Monster, 5-hour energy, etc). Turns out that how caffeine affects you is very similar to how alcohol affects you — how efficiently your body processes it all depends on how often and how much you consume it: http://cen.acs.org/articles/91/i5/Caffeine-Jitters.html

2.) Unless you’ve been living under a rock you know that a meteor exploded over Russian last week in what has to be the most exciting space news since the ‘Curiosity’ rover landed on Mars. Since the meteor hit, scientists have been focusing on and around the landing site, attempting to find fragments. This has touched off a “gold rush” of sorts with people out there trying to find fragments to sell: http://news.yahoo.com/meteorite-rush-begins-russian-scientists-fragments-111415119.html

One other note on the meteor – several weeks ago a scientist from NASA came out and basically said that our current technology to detect asteroids that are potentially on a collision course with Earth is very rudimentary. Basically he said that we likely would have no warning – save for a flash as the asteroid hit. Here’s the full article: http://www.forbes.com/sites/erikkain/2013/01/10/we-probably-wouldnt-even-see-a-doomsday-asteroid-until-it-was-too-late/

3.) Don’t really know if this is good news or great news or just so-so news – but ACS is reporting that the chemical industry ended 2012 with a trade surplus, though only by a very small margin: http://www.che.com/only_on_che/latest_news/U-S-chemical-industry-ended-2012-with-trade-surplus-ACC-report-says_10233.html

4.) This is for those of you with some serious time on your hands – it’s a discussion of whether the much bandied “manufacturing renaissance” in the U.S. is real or not. The author does a very good job laying out the arguments and this is a very THOROUGH piece: http://www.spiked-online.com/site/article/13352/

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