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Thursday, March 04, 2004

Thursday March 4, 2004. The bus strike began on schedule. And I remembered the time I read a poster in Italian before remembering I didn't read Italian.

The Bologna bus drivers were on strike. The poster gave management's side of the dispute.
They had been reasonable; the union had been unreasonable. Not quite as easy to translate from context as "Puff, der zauber drache," but easy enough.

"Today's Drink Reccommendation: A venti coffee in a grande cup.
Reminds Me Of: A foggy morning in London, walking around, seeing the Eiffel Tower."
--The coffee of the day reccomendation, written by "Lizzie", who is either Starbucks' most subversive or least intelligent employee.
From EurekAlert http://www.eurekalert.org/pubnews.php
Public Release: 4-Mar-2004
New evidence suggests early oceans bereft of oxygen for eons
As two rovers scour Mars for signs of water and the precursors of life, geochemists have uncovered evidence that Earth's ancient oceans were much different from today's. The research, published in this week's issue of the journal Science, cites new data that shows that Earth's life-giving oceans contained less oxygen than today's and could have been nearly devoid of oxygen for a billion years longer than previously thought.
National Science Foundation

Public Release: 4-Mar-2004
Researchers discover 1.2 million new genes in Sargasso Sea microbes
Department of Energy funded researchers at the Institute for Biological Energy Alternatives (IBEA) have sequenced microbes in the Sargasso Sea and have discovered at least 1,800 new species and more than 1.2 million new genes. IBEA researchers' discoveries include 782 new rhodopsin-like photoreceptor genes (only a few dozen have been characterized in microorganisms to date).
US Department of Energy

Public Release: 4-Mar-2004
'T-ray' devices with perfect imaging abilities move a step closer
A team of American and British scientists has demonstrated an artificially made material that can provide a magnetic response to Terahertz frequency radiation, bringing the realisation and development of novel 'T-ray' devices a step closer.

From the full press release:
Terahertz frequencies sit in a largely unexplored region of the electromagnetic spectrum between infra-red and microwaves, known as far infra-red radiation. The frequency of a terahertz is 1 trillion cycles per second and Terahertz radiation has a wavelength between 0.1 and 1 millimetre. It is thought to be safe, as it is non-ionising and does not have DNA-damaging effects.

The authors from the University of California Los Angeles, University of California San Diego and Imperial College London, are collectively looking to build materials that respond magnetically to THz, infra-red, and visible radiation as there is an almost total absence of naturally occurring materials with magnetic responses to these frequencies.

Their quest to build such artificial materials, or metamaterials, is motivated by their desire to explore a strange and intriguing property, named 'negative refractive index', which is found only in this new class of materials.

Conventional optical devices are limited in resolution by the wavelength of radiation employed (eg light or X-rays), but in a series of papers building on forgotten work by Russian physicist Victor Veselago from 1968, Professor Pendry in 2000* predicted the existence of devices capable of focusing features smaller than the wavelength of light.

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