Discovered: Humans for certain caused ocean warming, diesel fumes cause cancer, Prometheus style interstellar travel isn't happening anytime soon, personalized e-mails do not work, and scale walls like Spider-Man with this backpack.
- More confirmation that human activity caused ocean warming. We've done it again, humanity. Yet another study has found that people must have had something to do with the warmer ocean temperatures. "We have taken a closer look at factors that influence these results," explains researcher Peter Gleckler. "The bottom line is that this study substantially strengthens the conclusion that most of the observed global ocean warming over the past 50 years is attributable to human activities," he continues. This time, science relied on a bunch of models and no matter what other factors they plugged in, human activity got the blame. What we are trying to do is determine if the observed warming pattern can be explained by natural variability alone," Gleckler said. "Although we performed a series of tests to account for the impact of various uncertainties, we found no evidence that simultaneous warming of the upper layers of all seven seas can be explained by natural climate variability alone. Humans have played a dominant role." [DOE/Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory]
- Diesel fuel fumes cause cancer. Add another thing to the list of what causes cancer: Diesel engine exhaust fumes. This is especially disconcerting in light of this recent Fox News headline: "Energy in America: Diesel-fueled cars making a comeback?" Though, hidden in there, we find diesel cars only make up 2 percent of all new car sales. Nonetheless, it's scary having any percent of these things around when the World Health Organization is putting the fumes in the same category as asbestos, arsenic and mustard gas. "The (expert) working group found that diesel exhaust is a cause of lung cancer and also noted a positive association with an increased risk of bladder cancer," WHO said in a statement. [Reuters]
- Prometheus style interstellar travel isn't happening anytime soon. Sorry, space nerds. The laws of space travel say humanity won't have those capabilities for another two to five centuries. Actually, the hold up has to do with our energy capabilities. "It is found that the earliest interstellar missions could not begin for roughly another 2 centuries, or 1 century at best. Even when considering only the kinetic energy of the vehicles without any regard for propellant, the colony ship cannot launch until around the year 2200, and the probe cannot launch until around 2500," explains the research report. Based on his calculations, researcher Marc G. Millis put together this chart on the possible space missions based on the predicted growth of the world energy supply. We'll have to wait at least 80 years even for a measly colony ship. [Wonkblog]
- Dear Barack Obama, personalized e-mails don't work. Though some might like getting actual personalized musings from our president, or really any company, new research has found consumers find them repellant. Looking at 10 million marketing e-mails sent to 600,000 people, researchers found that the personalized greeting made it more likely that the recipient would click off or unsubscribe from emails. When not from an actual friend or acquaintance, the first-name hello just makes the e-mail feel creepier. "Given the high level of cyber security concerns about phishing, identity theft, and credit card fraud, many consumers would be wary of e-mails, particularly those with personal greetings," explains researcher Sunil Wattal. [Temple University Fox School of Business]
- Scale walls like a dorkier looking version of SpiderMan with this vacuum backpack. Nerds, we know we crushed your spirits with that whole Prometheus thing. We're here to redeem ourselves with this vacuum backpack that lets you climb straight-up vertical walls. The thing works like a giant, suction cup, so it works on any surface, getting a wearer up the side of a building, Spider-Man style. Though, it is super-duper loud, so that might crush any crime fighting super hero dreams. [Ohio State via PCWorld]