Study Confirms that Smoking Causes Emphysema

…due to incomplete combustion of insoluble nanoparticulates of carbon.  The longer you smoke, the worse it gets.

Many people who pass away from severe emphysema are found, at the time of autopsy, to have black lungs. The discoloured lungs are most strongly associated with people who have smoked heavily or worked in certain industries.

Source: New Study Confirms The Lethal Effect Of Smoking

Why is this study is important?  We knew that the black stuff was carbon and nanoparticles are bad, but we weren’t quite sure how much of emphysema was from poisons in the smoke, and how much was from immune cells that ingested the carbon particles (and the underlying mechanisms).  But it would make diagnosing smoking as the cause, and assessing overall health risk from smoking easier… But because of the way the tobacco industry operates, and the limited restrictions placed on it, it probably won’t help many people until it’s too late, but this data can be used to possibly find ways to combat some of it’s harmful effects in the future.

Inhaling smoke from any burning organic matter is likely to be just as hazardous.  Puff, puff, pass on that 😉

What About Diagnosing with X-Rays?

X-ray scans only differentiate between atoms, not molecules. This is because the energy is so high (in order to penetrate through the body) that “molecules” aren’t even visible to the x-ray (it has a small interaction cross section), only individual atoms can block them.

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Why a Weak Handshake is Bad News For Your Heart

The strength of your handshake could indicate the chance of a future heart attack, a major study suggests.

Researchers found that the vigour of a person’s grip could predict the risk of heart attacks and strokes – and was a stronger indicator of death than checking systolic blood pressure.

The study in The Lancet, involving almost 140,000 adults in 17 countries, found weak grip strength was linked to shorter survival and a greater risk of having a heart attack or stroke.

Source: Why a weak handshake is bad news for your heart

While I agree that an inexpensive, non-invasive test would be great… A percentage under 20% is not worth the effort of pursuing.

How a Virus Can Make Water Boil Faster

Scientists have found a way to boil water faster, although they admit the discovery is unlikely to revolutionise tea-making.

The technology works by coating a heating element with a virus found on tobacco plants. The coating dramatically reduces the size and number of bubbles that form around the element as it gets warmer. Air pockets caused by bubbles temporarily insulate heating elements from the surrounding water, slowing down the transfer of heat.

Source: Discovery uses virus to boil water three times faster

I thought this was for cooking applications, considering though that salting the water does not do anything remotely meaningful to water.  It’s not applicable to household use, but anything serving a decent amount of people could see benefit – restaurant, soup kitchen…

The technology aspect is pretty big, but from the sounds of things it’s primarily benefit will be to server farms and such.  Sure, you’d get some enterprising water cooler setups but Intel chips have been engineered to run without a heatsink.  That’s not a recommended practice, and in my limited knowledge of CPUs – heat isn’t the issue so much as die size.  And that’s for an industry that’s largely stagnated in CPU speeds in almost 10 years?