Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Weight There's More

Shown above is the U.S. National Prototype Kilogram, which currently serves as the nation's primary standard for measuring mass. It was assigned to the United States in 1889 and is periodically recertified and traceable to the primary international standard, "The Kilogram," held at the Bureau International des Poids et Mesures near Paris. (© Robert Rathe)

If you have ever hoped the bathroom scales were wrong, a German research project could soon bring good news -- or bad -- as it sets out to provide a more accurate measure of the kilogramme.

Researchers at the German National Metrology Institute in Braunschweig said they will use a 10-centimetre (four-inch) diameter pure silicon sphere to establish a better standard measurement than the existing one.

Currently, a kilogramme is defined as the mass of a platinum-alloy cylinder that is stored in a heavily guarded vault outside Paris but which is slowly losing weight and therefore becoming less reliable.

The new silicon sphere is very special indeed and cost two million euros (3.2 million dollars) to make.

Manufactured over five years in Russia, Australia and Germany it weighs as close as is possible to one kilogramme, is a perfect sphere and is 99.99 percent made out of an isotope of silicon called silicon 28.

Scientists in Braunschweig will now begin the painstaking task of performing thousands of experiments on the sphere to count the number of silicon atoms it is made of.

This will tell then how many silicon atoms there are in a kilogramme, and knowing this will negate the need to have a kilogramme measure in a vault in Paris or elsewhere, says Arnold Nicolaus, project coordinatator.

"Afterwards we can destroy the sphere," Nicolaus told AFP.

"If we then say that we have done it with the best precision, then we know how many atoms are in a silicon (sphere) that -- compared to the mass standard -- is closest to one kilogramme.

"Then we know so many atoms are needed for a silicon artefact to make a one kilogramme mass piece."

The German team is working in cooperation with a group of Japanese researchers who will work with an identical silicon sphere.

Peter Becker, also involved in the project, said he hoped the German-Japanese team could finish their work by the end of next year because two other international groups are also working on the same problem using different approaches.

He said any eventual adjustment to the kilogramme measure would be so subtle that it would only affect scientists, not bathroom scales.


Heavy subject indeed.

Thought you might like to see me throw my weight around.



DEN said...

Don't forget To get those taxes in today so we can keep the chimpy gang in money for their effin wars!

Hajji said...

...and remember, if you don't FILE, you don't get your $600 BUCKS!!! (that Uncle Sugar's borrowing borrowing from China for you, to be paid back, with interest accumulated, over the next couple thousand years!)

I heard on NPR that many, many elderly person who no longer have to file...are filing...

Hajji said...

Obama Would "Immediately Review" Potential Bush Administration Crimes


(from ATTWOOD)

"Tonight I had an opportunity to ask Barack Obama a question that is on the minds of many Americans, yet rarely rises to the surface in the great ruckus of the 2008 presidential race -- and that is whether an Obama administration would seek to prosecute officials of a former Bush administration on the revelations that they greenlighted torture, or for other potential crimes that took place in the White House.

Obama said that as president he would indeed ask his new Attorney General and his deputies to "immediately review the information that's already there" and determine if an inquiry is warranted -- but he also tread carefully on the issue, in line with his reputation for seeking to bridge the partisan divide. He worried that such a probe could be spun as "a partisan witch hunt." However, he said that equation changes if there was willful criminality, because "nobody is above the law."

The question was inspired by a recent report by ABC News, confirmed by the Associated Press, that high-level officials including Vice President Dick Cheney and former Cabinet secretaries Colin Powell, John Ashcroft and Donald Rumsfeld, among others, met in the White House and discussed the use of waterboarding and other torture techniques on terrorism suspects."


I, uhm, sure do hope the Treasury Department does a better job for BHO than some reports indicate!



Hajji said...

(From Attywood, the bold is from me)

"What I would want to do is to have my Justice Department and my Attorney General immediately review the information that's already there and to find out are there inquiries that need to be pursued. I can't prejudge that because we don't have access to all the material right now. I think that you are right, if crimes have been committed, they should be investigated. You're also right that I would not want my first term consumed by what was perceived on the part of Republicans as a partisan witch hunt because I think we've got too many problems we've got to solve."

Ridding the Nation of the cancerous rot that is destroying it is primary. Nothing else will matter, if you don't kill the infection, first. When you DO have access, will you be willing to share it with the people who trusted you enough to put you in the position?

"So this is an area where I would want to exercise judgment -- I would want to find out directly from my Attorney General -- having pursued, having looked at what's out there right now -- are there possibilities of genuine crimes as opposed to really bad policies. And I think it's important-- one of the things we've got to figure out in our political culture generally is distinguishing betyween really dumb policies and policies that rise to the level of criminal activity."

More and more evidence, e-mails, documents and memories are being erased daily. How deep are you willing look, how far will you instruct Justice to go to retrieve the record?

"You know, I often get questions about impeachment at town hall meetings and I've said that is not something I think would be fruitful to pursue because I think that impeachment is something that should be reserved for exceptional circumstances."

Pre-meditated War Crimes good enough for 'ya? Howzabout opening up the record for the world to peruse?

"Now, if I found out that there were high officials who knowingly, consciously broke existing laws, engaged in coverups of those crimes with knowledge forefront, then I think a basic principle of our Constitution is nobody above the law -- and I think that's roughly how I would look at it."

Ignorance of the law is no excuse!?

I know, I know, but these are the things to hammer on AFTER we elect him...

...and restoring the executive to a reasonably checked-and-ballanced office, Israel, bowling lessons, etc, etc, etc,

micki said...


micki said...

Heavy subject indeed.

Thought you might like to see me throw my weight around.

Good wordplay, DEN! Pithy.

micki said...

Next time you spit your morning java on your computer screen -- here's a way to clean it

DEN said...

EEEEEWWWWWW! doggie spit!

Alan said...

The dog lick isn't new and neither is this one, but I bet you like it ALOT BETTER Den.

for the guys

DEN said...

Alan, Yup!

DEN said...

Car Ka-Bob for sale on EBay

Be the hit of your neighborhood.

DEN said...

U.S. crude settled up $2.03 at $113.79 a barrel, before reaching a fresh record of $114.08 in late electronic trade. London Brent crude settled $1.47 higher at $111.31 a barrel, after hitting an all-time high of $112.08 in earlier trade.

It's still going up, unlike the dollar which many are burning to stay warm.

DEN said...

Three Trillion. org

How would you spend 3 trillion bucks??
(actual retail value after devaluation $3.50)

carey said...

I pop in to issue a stupid warning. The press has started to predispose it's writing and broadcasting to assume as fact that Iran's leaders are our enemies--in the war-like sense. The sheep have followed Petraeus' & Cheney's lead.

That's what they did with the notorious Iraqi WMDs. These false predispositions lead to, oh, I don't know, chaos?

And another Iraq all over again, as Sy Hersh warned. The press fell down on the job one more.

Or did they?

David B. Benson said...

Carey -- They did.

Also, I thought I would pop in to point out that today's TNYT had a fiarly good article on special interests 'buying' state supreme court justices.

DEN said...

Carey, They cannot sustain any attack in Iran with troops, my thought is a scorched Earth policy.

Last gasp to retain their position.

Dangerous people.

carey said...


Since when did realistic notions strike Bush/Cheney? Troops/schmoops. We'll drop a few smart bombs on Iran.

I don't think rationality is in play here. They long since stopped listening to the real military's advice and dire warnings.


How "pug"nacious of you.

Hajji said...

Frontline is worth the hour...

Some of the same themes of "Sicko" but a realistic pointing out of the problems of different systems.

Watch it...


The "Press" isn't pressing anything. Hasn't "pressed" in a long time.

Just looking for the next "Gotcha", "Killer Bees", etc...

The "Press" is wrinkled...needs starch, heat, steam...


DEN said...

The press seems to be a bunch of political harpies all fixated on whatever their bosses tell them to fixate upon.

KO is getting old with the same old pundits night after night, the news is not news but copious bloviations of who said what and what they meant or did not mean by he same talking heads over and over and over.

SSDD, YAWN! I'm going to sleep, no fascists there.


Hajji said...


I'm nose-to-grindstone at the ER for 2 days...then off to PA first thing Friday morning.

As always, I appreciate (need) all your encouragement and support.

I'll be working the areas between Doylestown and Levittown. Jill was born and lived in Levittown for the first 10 years of her life.

...interesting circle.

Anyway, just in case, I wanted to thank you all for your imput, your output, your through-put...

Gas is at $3.15 here...F-ers are trying to keep me home! I refuse! I'll just trick them by using my $600 refund to effect their elections!