September 25, 2012

Are Burgers To Blame For Pollution – The Daily Orbit

What’s hitting the environment like a semi-truck?

Tossing the can on obesity

And where did those baryons go?

All that and more on the Daily Orbit!

Welcome to the Daily Orbit….I’m Emerald Robinson.

Microorganisms aboard an asteroid that crashes to Earth and sparks life—sounds like the concept for a new show on the SCI-FI channel? I know. But researchers say it might account for life on Earth!  They report that under “certain” conditions, it’s highly likely, especially when our planet was close enough to planetary neighbors to exchange life. This process is referred to as lithopanspermia. Previously scientists thought objects hurtled through space too quickly to be captured by another planet.  Now, scientists say this lithopanspermia could have happened anywhere!

Which is more harmful to the environment: A) an 18 -wheeler semi or B) a charbroiled burger?  If you picked A (buzzer sound) Incorrect!  A new study says that commercial char-broilers contribute over twice the emissions of particulate matter than heavy-duty diesels. An 18-wheeler would have to drive 143 miles on the freeway to put out the same mass of particles as a single charbroiled burger patty.  When meat is charbroiled on a grill, it releases grease, smoke, water vapor, and other combustion products into the air.  The research team is proposing a new contraption that would control emissions from charbroiling.  They say that burgers are responsible for much of Southern California’s air pollution.   And here I thought it was from the ever-present sea of traffic on the 405!

You out there, put down that tasty, taste bud tingling sweet soda before it’s too late!  A new study has confirmed the link between sugar sodas, and genetic susceptibility to high body mass index and increased risk of obesity. Despite the growing concern over such drinks, consumption of sugary sodas increased worldwide. The study found individuals with greater genetic predisposition to obesity appear to be more susceptible to harmful effects of sugary drinks on BMI. Researchers say these findings reinforce the view that environmental and genetic factors shape obesity risk.  Okay, okay this is my last one I promise!

Whose got a dirty little secret?  That would be the data center industry.  The New York Times reports that a single data center can use more power than a medium-sized town.  Who knew! More staggering, power consumption of a data center is equal to the output of 20 nuclear power plants.  These centers racked with servers, not only use a certain amount of power to do their job, but require a large quantity of energy to cool the heat produced by the servers.   The centers also have backup systems to supplement any waiver in electricity to prevent server crashes. New servers consume less power but companies are slow to move to make the change due to costs.

Now where did those missing baryons go? Oh here they are in the halo surrounding the Milky Way.  Scientists have long been trying to explain the missing baryon problem for the galaxy.   Baryons are particles that make up more than 99.9% of the mass of atoms found in the universe. And about half had previously been unaccounted for.  However, NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory has found that the Milky Way Galaxy is embedded in a halo of hot gas which scientists say may contain the missing baryons.   This halo extends for hundreds of thousands of light years, is a few hundred times hotter than the sun’s surface, and may even be as large as 60 billion suns.  Wish I had a halo ?

That’s it for the Daily Orbit!  See ya tomorrow Orbitors!

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