Thursday, April 18, 2024

Short Takes – 4-18-24

The race to produce rare earth elements. article. Pull quote: “That technology extracts rare earth elements from coal ash, leaving behind a solution rich in those elements and a residual solid containing iron and other metals. Through sequential steps of heating and cooling, rare earths are transferred into an ionic liquid—a salt in liquid state—via a proton-exchange mechanism. Acid-based reduction techniques and salt-based leaching can reduce the amount of iron in the final solution, after which rare earths must be further separated to produce pure metals or oxides. Rivalia can sell primary outputs to companies that handle subsequent processing steps or to manufacturers using rare earths, and sell residual solids to concrete producers. Stoy says Rivalia’s efforts will produce materials that could be used for cleaner products and alternative energy sources. Furthermore, they could help reduce the carbon footprint of concrete production by repurposing the solid residue as a replacement for emission-­heavy Portland cement—a major ingredient in concrete.”

Hydrogen trains could revolutionize how Americans get around. article. Pull quote: “Things may be starting to shift in the US as well, albeit slowly. BNSF appears to have softened its stance against electrification on a corridor it owns in Southern California, where it has agreed to allow California High-Speed Rail to construct overhead wire on its right of way. Rizzo and her group are looking to make these projects easier by sponsoring state legislation exempting overhead wire from the California Environmental Quality Act. That would prevent situations like a 2015 environmental lawsuit from the affluent Bay Area suburb of Atherton, over tree removal and visual impact, that delayed Caltrain’s electrification project for nearly two years.”

Astronomers Discover Milky Way's 'Sleeping Giant' Black Hole Shockingly Close to Earth. article. 2,000 light years equals ‘shockingly close’? Pull quote: “Gaia-BH3 is located just 2,000 light years from Earth, making it the second-closest black hole to our planet ever discovered. The closest black hole to Earth is Gaia-BH1 (also discovered by Gaia), which is 1,560 light-years away. Gaia-BH1 has a mass around 9.6 times that of the sun, making it considerably smaller than this newly discovered black hole.”

Ice age climate analysis reduces worst-case warming expected from rising CO2. article. 5 C reduced to 4 C. Pull quote: ““This paper allows us to produce more confident predictions because it really brings down the upper end of future warming, and says that the most extreme scenario is less likely,” Armour said. “It doesn't really change the lower end, or the average estimate, which remain consistent with all the other lines of evidence.””

How Google’s Location History Program Could Upend Digital Surveillance Law. article. Includes a long discussion about problems with the underlying assumptions. Pull quote: “These facts were apparently central to the lack of Fourth Amendment protection for cell phone location data. As Judge Wilkinson said, “If the default position is that if you were in unless you opted out, that would be one thing. But the default position is that you’re out unless you opted in.” People like Chatrie likely lack a constitutional right in their data, because “they can preserve their privacy with a simple step” by doing nothing and choosing not to opt in.”

Teens are using an unregulated form of THC. Here’s what we know. article. Pull quote: “Unclear labeling and imprecise dosage instructions can lead to dangerous amounts of THC in the body. And with the possible presence of contaminants from chemical synthesis, delta-8 products may contain more than meets the eye. “I really worry about these contaminants,” Kruger says. “I worry that they’re actually getting … something different. And I worry about the potency.””

Chinese Organized Crime’s Latest U.S. Target: Gift Cards. Pull quote: “Other alleged card-draining runners entered the U.S. legally and told police they were hired via online postings. Donghui Liao was arrested at a Florida Target after employees noticed him removing gift cards from a bag and placing them on racks. Through a translator, he told police that his employer hired him online and mailed gift cards to him, according to court documents. He was paid 30 cents for each card he returned to the rack. Police said they found $60,000 worth of tampered cards in his possession. Liao remains in custody and his case was recently transferred to federal court. The DOJ did not respond to requests for comment and Liao has pleaded innocent.”

No comments:

/* Use this with templates/template-twocol.html */