Links for 6th April 2009

Fresh from the clogged tubes of teh intarwubs…

  1. Recycled plastics giving criminals a break

    "The recycled products may look similar, but the physical and chemical properties differ so widely from the plastics they replace that the techniques honed over recent decades to lift fingerprints off plastics are no longer effective, he says.

    Traditionally plastics were made from just one or two chemical building blocks, arranged in a predictable structure. But even plastics with just a trace of recycled feedstock become much more complex. Although consumers are encouraged to separate their plastics for recycling, the resulting plastics are inevitably more of a mongrel product than the pedigree plastics they replace." Niche industry opportunity.

    Tagged with: plasticsrecyclingcrimeforensics

  2. Quantum setback for warp drives

    "Alcubierre imagined a small volume of flat spacetime in which a spacecraft might sit, surrounded by a highly distorted bubble of spacetime which shrinks in the direction of travel, bringing your destination nearer, and stretches behind you. He showed that this shrinking and stretching could enable the bubble–and the spaceship it contained–to move at superluminal speeds.

    The conclusion is the result of classical thinking using the ideas of general relativity but physicists have long wondered what would happen if you threw quantum mechanics into the mix? Now Finazzi and pals have worked it. For a start, they say that the inside of the bubble would be filled with Hawking radiation, making life rather uncomfortable for any spacecraft within it."

    Tagged with: spacephysicsquantumFTLwarpdrivesciencetravelexplorationsf

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