Links ‘n Things Monday (5/13/13)

Whew, it’s the 13th and NOT a Friday, we’re safe. Here’s some interesting science and engineering articles from around the web.

1.) It’s too bad that people have to come back from Space because Canadian Astronaut Chris Hadfield is about the best thing to happen to astronauting (?) in the past decade. He is set to return from space tomorrow but he has offered a rare glimpse into space life through his Twitter account and through YouTube videos. His latest video, a music video, tops them all and makes me wish more of his colleagues were like him: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=KaOC9danxNo

2.) I find the timing of these remarks to be incredibly insensitive. Last week, scientists from NASA, the National Science Foundation and SETI gave testimony in front of Congress that budget cuts may hinder the search for extraterrestrial life…um, what? First of all, how far down on the list of priorities is finding “aliens” anyway? It’s a little flabbergasting that in tough economic times like these, time is even given to scientists like this. I’m all about science and engineering, but finding aliens is so far away from being a priority it’s almost insulting that people are even complaining about not having funding for it; here’s the full article: http://www.livescience.com/31970-alien-earth-search-budget-woes.html

3.) It’s bordering on fear-mongering right now (in terms of the media coverage), but some of the new diseases that are being discovered are potentially very serious and very deadly and are worth paying attention to. There is word that a new SARS virus has been found in Saudi Arabia and France. I recently started reading a book called “Superbug” which talks about the rise of MRSA viruses in (and out) of hospitals and how some strains are proving almost unbeatable with antibiotics. The woman who published this piece on Wired is the same one who wrote the book: http://www.wired.com/wiredscience/2013/05/coronavirus-france-saudi/

4.) If you’re a chemical engineer or chemist, you’ve no doubt encountered some Chemphobia in your friends or acquaintances when you tell them what you do. This particular author did an excellent job in combating some of that in rebutting someone who attempted to compare the dietary sweetener Splenda to the carcinogenic chemical DDT: http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/guest-blog/2013/05/10/ddt-and-sucralose-a-case-study-in-chemophobia/

5.) Here is your cool science GIF of the week, extinguishing a flame using electricity: http://i.imgur.com/DlK2fIK.gif

Look for the Sun Recruiting ad in the June issue of the AiChE publication; this year they are publishing their bi-annual salary survey which I’ve been told is a big deal.

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