Friday, March 15, 2024

Short Takes – 3-15-24

Caffeine makes fuel cells more efficient, cuts cost of energy storage. article. Pull quote: “If you are wondering (as we were) how they came to be experimenting with this, the paper explains that modifying electrodes with hydrophobic material is known to be an effective method for enhancing ORR. Caffeine is less toxic than other hydrophobic substances, and it activates the hydrogen evolution and oxidation reactions of Pt nanoparticles and caffeine doped carbons. Got that?”

Trump makes radical overhaul of RNC at furious pace. article. Pull quote: ““It’s clear that donors aren’t buying what the RNC is selling,” DNC executive director Sam Cornale wrote in a memo released Wednesday. “Between dire finances, abysmal fundraising, frantic mass firings, and a string of devastating electoral losses, the RNC is barely able to stay afloat — much less build a winning operation for the general election.””

Attrition: Patterns of American Combat Casualties. article. Lots of interesting data. Pull quote: “Another big problem is that the United States has never had such a long period of combat with so many troops involved. Moreover, casualties, especially combat deaths, are much lower than in the past. As a result, more troops are surviving to spend a lot more time in combat. This is producing an unprecedented number of NCOs who are very stressed out. If the NCOs are having stress-related problems, that usually makes their subordinates uneasy as well.”

SpaceX Blazes Forward With Latest Starship Launch. article (free). Includes a bit of anti-Musk commentary, Pull quote: “Even with the partial success of Thursday’s flight, Starship is far from ready to go to Mars, or even the moon. Because of Mr. Musk’s ambitions for Mars, Starship is much larger and much more complicated than what NASA needs for its Artemis moon landings. For Artemis III, two astronauts are to spend about a week in the South Pole region of the moon.”

Giant redwoods: World’s largest trees 'thriving in UK'. article. Pull quote: “However, while the trees are doing well in the UK, there's little chance of them taking over our native forests any time soon - they're not reproducing here as they need very specific conditions to take seed.”

Formaldehyde; Draft Risk Evaluation Peer Review by the Science Advisory Committee on Chemicals (SACC); Notice of Availability, Public Meetings and Request for Comment. Federal Register EPA notice. Summary: “The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA or “Agency”) is announcing the availability of and soliciting public comment on the 2024 draft risk evaluation for formaldehyde prepared under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA). The draft risk evaluation is available for public review and comment. It will also be submitted to the SACC for peer review. EPA is also announcing that there will be two virtual public meetings of the SACC. The SACC will consider and review the draft risk evaluation at a 4-day virtual peer review public meeting that will be held on May 20–23, 2024. In addition, a virtual preparatory public meeting will be held on May 7, 2024, for the SACC to consider the scope and clarity of the draft charge questions for the peer review.”

Space Innovation; Facilitating Capabilities for In-Space Servicing, Assembly, and Manufacturing. Federal Register FCC notice of proposed rulemaking. Summary: “In this document, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC or Commission) adopted a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking that seeks comment on a proposed new framework for licensing space stations engaged in in-space servicing, assembly, and manufacturing (ISAM).”

FCC approves cyber labeling program for IoT devices. article. Pull quote: “Smart products covered by the rule that meet certain cybersecurity standards would bear a label akin to the ENERGY STAR marking that indicates a product is energy efficient. The FCC sought public comment last August on how to craft the rules and finalized the program based on that. Device compliance testing would be handled by accredited research labs, the agency said.”

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