Tuesday, May 18, 2004

Landmine hunters

Landmine detection is a huge problem. Animals are often used to hunt down mines, such as dogs & dolphins. And other exotic fauna (and flora!)

Wednesday, May 12, 2004


Caffeine is now good for you, if you drink it regularly. Somehow, I don't think my mum will agree with this research.

Meanwhile, there are suggestions that caffeine should be banned for athletes for ergogenic reasons, whatever that means. Banned for three days before competition, that is.

There seem to be several VRML models of caffeine molecules: 1, 2, 3, 4. Or maybe they are all the same copy floating around.

Here's an interesting tutorial about testing for caffeine in horse doping. Presumably giving your horse M&M's before a race does not count as doping.

Tuesday, May 11, 2004

US losing its domination in science?

Well, well! The United States is reportedly losing its domination in science. That can only be a good thing, as it will force us in America to look abroad more often. The tendency towards insularism over here is high. But how much domination are we talking about here?

One possible (as dodgy as anything else) benchmark is
Nobel Prize counts, which results in a ranking of top universities as Harvard, Cambridge U, Max Planck (Munich), U London, Chicago, CalTech, MIT, Stanford, Berkeley. That's for all science (including Economics) fields combined. For individual fields, partial rankings are available for physics, chemistry, medicine, and economics. The site reads "The 481 Nobel prize laureates came from institutions in 24 countries. 45.7 % of these institutions are in the United States, 15.2 % in Great Britain and 12.7 % in Germany."

If the projection is (and I'm pulling numbers out of a hat here) that by 2020 'only' 30% of Nobel institutions will be in the United States, I'm all for it. Keeps us on our toes, and prevents our military and traders from throwing their weight around so much.

As a caveat, note that there are other University rankings.