New Study Finds That Roof Racks Are a Real Drag on U.S. Fuel Consumption – Scientific American Blog Network

New Study Finds That Roof Racks Are a Real Drag on U.S. Fuel Consumption – Scientific American Blog Network

Roof racks are handy additions to vehicles, giving additional space for bikes and luggage. But, they are also a real drag on fuel consumption and could increase your gasoline bill by as much as 25% according to new research published in “Energy Policy”.

In their study, researchers Alan Meier from Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL) and Yuche Chen from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL)*** examined the real world impacts of roof rack use in the United States. The racks are one of the most common and popular accessories on U.S. vehicles. But, their impacts are not included in fuel economy tests despite the fact that these racks are known to increase in fuel consumption because of the additional aerodynamic drag that they create.

According to Meier “I’ve always been intrigued by energy consumption that was somehow overlooked or ignored because, for example, it wasn’t in the test procedure…In this case the fuel consumption of vehicles with after-market accessories isn’t captured in the test procedure.”

In their study, Meier and Chen first compiled real-world usage data (compiled, through online forums and crowd-sourcing) and vehicle stock information. This work included watching national highway videos to estimate rack usage rates, vehicle stock, and vehicle miles travelled with roof racks (both empty and loaded). These researchers then used these data in a model to estimate the real-world impacts of roof racks.

All told, Meier and Chen found that roof racks were responsible for an estimated 0.8% of light-duty fuel consumption – or about 100 million gallons of gasoline – in 2015.

The authors also found that their results were most sensitive to the amount of time that racks were unloaded versus loaded. According to their research, the total miles travelled with unloaded roof racks is 4 to 8 times higher the miles travelled with loaded roof racks. In turn, while drag can be higher when the racks are loaded, the opportunities for unloaded racks could make the biggest difference in total fuel consumption.

Their results lead to some quite clear potential policy recommendations (with practical caveats. In their paper, Meier and Chen state that:

“For example, energy labels could guide consumers towards the most aerodynamic racks and encourage manufacturers to improve efficiencies of their products.

Additional policies could facilitate, or even mandate, removal of racks when they are not actually in use. Anticipated growth in rack usage makes such policies even more important…. Eliminating unloaded cross roof racks is a more effective strategy, compared with increasing the energy efficiency of roof racks, because vehicles with unloaded cross roof racks account for 4–8 times more VMT (hence, more fuel consumption) than vehicles with loaded racks. From a practical perspective, however, improving the aerodynamics of new racks may be simpler to accomplish than changing behavior.”


Measuring the Milky Way: One massive problem, one new solution — ScienceDaily

Measuring the Milky Way: One massive problem, one new solution — ScienceDaily

t is a galactic challenge, to be sure, but Gwendolyn Eadie is getting closer to an accurate answer to a question that has defined her early career in astrophysics: what is the mass of the Milky Way?

The short answer, so far, is 7 X 1011 solar masses. In terms that are easier to comprehend, that’s about the mass of our Sun, multiplied by 700 billion. The Sun, for the record, has a mass of two nonillion (that’s 2 followed by 30 zeroes) kilograms, or 330,000 times the mass of Earth.

“And our galaxy isn’t even the biggest galaxy,” Eadie says.

Measuring the mass of our home galaxy, or any galaxy, is particularly difficult. A galaxy includes not only stars, planets, moons, gases, dust and other objects and material, but also a big helping of dark matter, a mysterious and invisible form of matter that is not yet fully understood and has not been directly detected in the lab. Astronomers and cosmologists, however, can infer the presence of dark matter through its gravitational influence on visible objects.

Eadie, a PhD candidate in physics and astronomy at McMaster University, has been studying the mass of the Milky Way and its dark matter component since she started graduate school. She uses the velocities and positions of globular star clusters that orbit the Milky Way.

The orbits of globular clusters are determined by the galaxy’s gravity, which is dictated by its massive dark matter component. What’s new about Eadie’s research is the technique she devised for using globular cluster (GCs) velocities.

The total velocity of a GC must be measured in two directions: one along our line-of-sight, and one across the plane of the sky (the proper motion). Unfortunately, researchers have not yet measured the proper motions of all the GCs around the Milky Way.

Eadie, however, has developed a way to use these velocities that are only partially known, in addition to the velocities that are fully known, to estimate the mass of the galaxy. Her method also predicts the mass contained within any distance from the center of the galaxy, with uncertainties, which makes her results easy to compare with other studies.

Eadie and her academic supervisor William Harris, a professor of Physics and Astronomy at McMaster, have co-authored a paper on their most recent findings, which allow dark matter and visible matter to have different distributions in space. They have submitted this work to the Astrophysical Journal, and Eadie will present their results May 31 at the Canadian Astronomical Society’s conference in Winnipeg.

Even after all this work, she says, she still loves looking into the night sky. In fact, she loves it more.

“Every so often I think, ‘I’m measuring the mass of the Milky Way.’ That’s pretty neat.”

Apartment in US asks tenants to ‘like’ Facebook page or face action | Business Standard News

Apartment in US asks tenants to ‘like’ Facebook page or face action | Business Standard News

Call it bizarre but the management at an apartment building in Salt Lake City has told tenants living in the complex to “like” its Facebook page or they will be in breach of their lease.

According to tenants of the City Park Apartments, a “Facebook addendum” showed up taped to their doors last weekend, asking them to “like” its Facebook page, reported on Tuesday.

According to the contract, if tenants do not “friend” the City Park Apartments on Facebook within five days, they will be found in breach of the rental agreement.

“I don’t want to be forced to be someone’s friend and be threatened to break my lease because of that,” tenant Jason Ring was quoted as saying.

“It’s outrageous as far as I’m concerned,” he added

Some of the tenants have already signed a lease agreement months ago.

The contract document also has a release allowing the apartment to post pictures of tenants and their visitors on the Facebook page.

The building currently has a 1.1-star rating on its Facebook page.

Stephen Hawking Angers Trump Supporters with Baffling Array of Long Words – The New Yorker

Stephen Hawking Angers Trump Supporters with Baffling Array of Long Words – The New Yorker

The theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking angered supporters of Donald J. Trump on Monday by responding to a question about the billionaire with a baffling array of long words.

Speaking to a television interviewer in London, Hawking called Trump “a demagogue who seems to appeal to the lowest common denominator,” a statement that many Trump supporters believed was intentionally designed to confuse them.

Moments after Hawking made the remark, Google reported a sharp increase in searches for the terms “demagogue,” “denominator,” and “Stephen Hawking.”

“For a so-called genius, this was an epic fail,” Trump’s campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski, said. “If Professor Hawking wants to do some damage, maybe he should try talking in English next time.”

Later in the day, Hawking attempted to clarify his remark about the presumptive Republican Presidential nominee, telling a reporter, “Trump bad man. Real bad man.”

In ‘Today Meets Yesterday,’ Old-School and Modern Technologies Collide in Clever Pictograms – CityLab

In ‘Today Meets Yesterday,’ Old-School and Modern Technologies Collide in Clever Pictograms – CityLab

Seismic shifts aren’t likely to be tidy. But in the new book, Today Meets Yesterday, the Berlin-based illustrator Yang Liu makes quick work of mapping major changes in habits, routines, and landscapes.

The book doesn’t operate from a particular time or place; there’s no concrete “today” or “yesterday” on its pages. But Liu’s pictogram pairings assume a static past and a markedly different present, egged on by a smattering of smart tech: wi-fi, cell phones, iPads.

Liu’s diagrams tell the story of how, when it comes to morning routines, the tablet and drip coffee have supplanted the newspaper and the cup and saucer. The shopping cart is as recognizable as an online checkout icon as it is as a fixture in brick-and-mortar stores. Social lives have ballooned outward from a self-contained circle of friends to a more amorphous network, with seemingly infinite points of divergence and overlap.

Other diptychs powerfully portray aspects of modern ecological crises, such as swapping cast-off plastic bottles for most creatures in a school of fish—an easy-to-digest way of nodding to the trillions of tons of plastic floating or sunk in the world’s oceans.

The lost women of Enlightenment science | New Scientist

The lost women of Enlightenment science | New Scientist

It was a time of explosive new ideas – political revolution, contemplation of the rights of individuals, the rise of scientific enquiry and a broader appreciation for the power of reason. Yet while the names most remembered from the Enlightenment era – Locke, Newton, Voltaire, Kant, Paine – belong to men, there were many women who participated in and influenced the intellectual upheaval of the time, sometimes in subtle ways, by using the only tools at their disposal.

Emilie du Châtelet was one such pioneering woman. She made use of her aristocratic background and connections with the upper echelons of society to involve herself in the philosophical debates of her day – and she used her sharp wit and mathematical aptitude to test the newest ideas in physics and convince her compatriots that Newton’s theory of gravity was right.

Yet du Châtelet was not alone. Meet other daring women of the Enlightenment:

Marie Paulze Lavoisier (1758-1836)

Marie Paulze was only 13 when she married the wealthy French lawyer Antoine Lavoisier, and she immediately started learning English so that she could act as the scientific go-between for his true passion in life – chemistry. Soon she was presiding over one of Paris’s most influential salons, hosting visitors such as Benjamin Franklin and James Watt. Relying on brains rather than beauty, she persuaded financiers to invest in her husband’s ventures. “She is tolerably handsome,” remarked a tobacco tycoon from Virginia, “but from her Manner it would seem that she thinks her forte is the Understanding rather than the Person.”

Lavoisier built his reputation on identifying oxygen, but his wife was the English-speaking expert available to negotiate with Joseph Priestley, who had already discovered the same gas but given it a different name. She was far more than just a mouthpiece: up to speed with all latest theories, she included her own critical commentaries in her published translations of books and articles.

She was also an accomplished artist. While her husband is celebrated for reforming chemistry with his revolutionary textbook, it was her meticulous illustrations that enabled chemists all over the world to replicate his trials.

Caroline Herschel (1750-1848)

Women can be their own worst enemies. “I am nothing, I have done nothing,” lamented the astronomer Caroline Herschel. This self-abnegation has helped push her into the backwaters of history, yet she was the first woman to discover a comet, and was so well-recognised at the time that King George III rewarded her with a scientific salary.

Even her own mother hampered her career, insisting that she stay at home to wash and clean. Eventually Herschel escaped from family servitude in her native Hanover to join her brother William in England, best known for discovering Uranus. He soon enlisted her to collaborate on his astronomical projects.

Night after night, they recorded telescope observations together, even when it was so cold that the ink froze and the metal mirror cracked. She performed the calculations needed to convert numbers on a dial into locations on a map, and it was thanks to her that Britain’s major star catalogue was brought up to date. Independent of her brother, she identified several new comets and at last allowed herself a rare moment of pique at male oppression. Admitting to the Astronomer Royal that his interest had stimulated her “vanity”, she pointed out that “among gentlemen the commodity is generally styled ambition”.

Mary Somerville (1780-1872)

Not many female scientists have a ship named after them, but for 20 years the Mary Somerville carried goods between Liverpool, Canton and Calcutta. Its figurehead was copied from the commemorative marble bust that the Fellows of the Royal Society had commissioned for their foyer. Yet although she was celebrated as “the Queen of the Sciences”, the real-life Somerville was not allowed to set foot inside the Society’s hallowed halls: when her article on magnetism and sunlight was published in the Philosophical Transactions, her husband read it out on her behalf.

The first time the word “scientist” appeared in print was in a review of Somerville’s bestseller, On the Connexion of the Physical Sciences, which consolidated as well as disseminated the latest cutting-edge research. Though excluded from universities, scholarly societies and laboratories, she became Victorian England’s most famous scientific author. The modern edition of her work runs to nine volumes – a massive output that she somehow managed to write while looking after her family. She resented the social pressures preventing women from achieving their full potential. “A man can always command his time under the plea of business,” she observed, but “a woman is not allowed any such excuse”.

McSweeney’s Internet Tendency: This Summer, We’re Renaming Our Tampons “America”!

McSweeney’s Internet Tendency: This Summer, We’re Renaming Our Tampons “America”!

We know our customers feel pride for their country inside and out. And frankly, with all of this talk of period underwear and free-bleeding, our stranglehold on America’s collective vagina is slipping. So beginning July 1, we’re renaming our tampons “America.” That’s right, we’re going all the way in: Aunt Flo, meet Uncle Sam.

Over the next few weeks, you’ll notice our classic pink flower pattern has been redesigned to a stars and stripes motif, and our sizes have been changed to light patriot, medium patriot, super patriot, and super plus patriot. Our applicators, now printed with the signatures of our founding fathers, will help keep your borders secure for up to four hours.

Why did our brand make this bold move? We consider ourselves in touch with the strong undercurrent of opinions in this country. And with this election cycle poised to be the most rootin-tootin’ flag-wavin’ hat-wearin’ hate-slingin’ display of American pride yet, we thought: Why not equate our complicated democracy to a wad of cotton that holds up to six times its volume in uterine lining?

We’re all going through a painful period right now; so let’s stop the bleeding and start standing as one nation, undivided, frolicking on the beach in a white silk outfit.

Having a Fourth of July party? There’s bound to be someone who needs a little America up their sleeve. Want to feel connected to our country’s heritage? Think of Lewis and Clark navigating the Missouri River when you let America regulate your flow.

We recommend humming a few bars of the “Star Spangled Banner” as you send our country on a mission; to protect, absorb, and keep it all in until you want to let it all out. The truth is, every trip to the bathroom is an opportunity to make America great again by flushing it down the toilet. Because we need a fresh start. How else will we stop all that unwanted stuff from crossing the borders of our underwear?

So go out and buy America for every red-blooded vagina you know. Together, we can shove this great country up yours.

The Herman Miller Clock You Don’t Know – Core77

The Herman Miller Clock You Don’t Know – Core77

Nelson’s 1949 design has become so iconic that if we were playing Industrial Design Pictionary, and you had to make your partner say “Herman Miller clock,” this is what you’d draw.
But there is another, even more striking design from sixteen years earlier that doesn’t seem to get the same love. In fact I don’t even recall even seeing this in History of Industrial Design 101. ID’er Gilbert Rohde—one of the IDSA’s co-founders—designed this beaut’ in 1933:

Made of chrome-plated metal and glass, Rohde’s design was not a sales hit, hardly a surprise when you consider the year of its release. By ’33 the Great Depression was in full swing, and it’s safe to say few folks were looking for an avant-garde desk clock that we assume wasn’t cheap. If there was a store called Design Definitely Not Within Reach So Please Stay Your Dusty Ass Outside and Don’t Come In this would’ve been in the front window. As the Metropolitan Museum of Art puts it,

The [clock’s] color scheme of black, red, and silver and the use of sleek materials such as chrome and glass typify the kind of furnishings that complemented luxury interiors of the 1930s. Although most people were struggling to make ends meet during the decade-long Great Depression, the elegant penthouse atop a skyscraper apartment building represented a privileged fantasy world that dominated Hollywood movie sets as well as designs for luxury city dwellings created by the most contemporary architects and designers.

Watch a Hypnotizing Machine Sort River Rocks by Age | Atlas Obscura

Watch a Hypnotizing Machine Sort River Rocks by Age | Atlas Obscura

The Jller is a work of art parading as a scientist. The machine’s purpose is to sort through pebbles collected from its namesake river, the Iller, a German tributary of the Danube. It automatically analyzes the stones and place them in lines according to their age, forming a visible timeline of the rocks in the river.

Watch as the machine carefully plucks one rock from platform and scans it for color composition, layers, patterns, grains and surface texture to determine its age and type. The origins of the rocks in the river Iller are known: they were either eroded from the Alps or transported by glaciers. As a result, it’s relatively easy for the machine to identify the age and type of rhe stones.

Jller is a part of “Ignorance,” a collaborative exhibition by German artist Benjamin Maus and Czech artist Prokop Bartoníček.