Sioux Falls Scientists is a group made up of people who love science as well as those interested in science, and scientists themselves. This website provides news articles, documentaries, courses and books that describe how science works and the latest discoveries of science, especially the latest discoveries in the fields of global warming and evolution science. Located in Sioux Falls, SD, the Sioux Falls Scientists have meetings and social gatherings where people of free thought and open minds meet and share ideas, share what they have learned about science and share what they think about the latest science discoveries.
To become a member of this group join
Sioux Falls Free Thinkers on Meetup.com
Our meetings and social gatherings are posted at Sioux Falls Free Thinkers on Meetup.com. Sioux Falls Free Thinkers Upcoming Events can be seen on the Meetup.com Calendar.
The Sioux Falls Scientists group will never have any dues. Membership is not required to attend our meetings. This group will probably never have any formal rules except treating other members and their opinions with respect and giving everyone equal time to speak. This group will never purge members for expressing their opinions or for forming their own group of people interested in science in general or in a particular field of scientific study. The only loose requirement is that members, and those attending our meetings, have an interest in one of the subjects of the Sioux Falls Free Thinkers websites.
We look forward to seeing you at one or more of our events and meetings!
Life Changing Event: Trilobites: When I was in 5th or 6th grade I found a 400 million-year-old fossil of a Trilobite in a 10-12 inch limestone rock in a gravel pit near the home I in lived in the country. I brought it into school and asked the science teacher whether or not it might contain more fossils. The IDIOT took it from me and using a hammer broke the rock in half right through the fossil ruining it. I realized then that I knew more about science than did the science teacher.
The Chinese Take The Lead Again!
8-23-17 First underwater entanglement could lead to unhackable comms
First underwater entanglement could lead to unhackable comms
A Chinese experiment suggests submarines could use quantum communication to send messages secured by the laws of physics. The weird world of quantum mechanics is going for a swim. A team of Chinese researchers has, for the first time, transmitted quantum entangled particles of light through water – the first step in using lasers to send underwater messages that are impossible to intercept. “People have talked about the idea of underwater quantum communication before, but I’m not aware of anyone who has done an experiment like this,” says Thomas Jennewein at the University of Waterloo in Canada. “An obvious application would be a submarine which wants to remain submerged but communicate in a secure fashion.” Entanglement starts with a beam of light shot into a crystal. This prism splits the light into pairs of photons with strangely linked behaviour. Manipulate one particle in a pair, and its partner will instantly react. Measure the first one’s polarisation, for example, and entanglement could ensure that its twin will have the opposite polarisation when measured. These entangled photons can theoretically be used to set up a secure communication line between two people, with privacy guaranteed by the laws of physics.
8-22-17 China’s quantum submarine detector could seal South China Sea
China’s quantum submarine detector could seal South China Sea
A major advance in SQUIDs, quantum devices that measure magnetic fields, could allow China to detect submarines at longer range than anyone else. On 21 June, the Chinese Academy of Sciences hailed a breakthrough – a major upgrade to a kind of quantum device that measures magnetic fields. The announcement vanished after a journalist pointed out the invention’s potential military implications: it could help China lock down the South China Sea. “I was surprised by the removal,” says Stephen Chen of the South China Morning Post, who raised the issue. “I have been covering Chinese science for many years, and it is rare.” Magnetometers have been used to detect submarines since the second world war. They are able to do this because they can measure an anomaly in Earth’s magnetic field – like one caused by a massive hunk of metal. But today’s devices can only detect a submarine at fairly short range, so tend to be used to home in on the location once the sub has already been spotted on sonar. You could widen their range if you had a magnetometer based on a superconducting quantum interference device, or SQUID. Superconducting magnetometers are exquisitely sensitive, but their promise has been limited to the lab. Out in the real world, they are quickly overwhelmed by background noise as minuscule as changes in Earth’s magnetic field caused by distant solar storms. Given that level of sensitivity, you can forget about mounting such a sensor on an airplane, for example. The US Navy gave up work on superconducting magnetometers to pursue less sensitive but more mature technologies. (Webmaster's comment: In other words the United States couldn't do it.)
8-10-17 Chinese satellite sends 'hack-proof' message
Chinese satellite sends 'hack-proof' message
China has successfully sent "hack-proof" messages from a satellite to Earth for the first time. The Micius satellite beamed messages to two mountain-top receiving stations 645 km (400 miles) and 1,200 km away. The message was protected by exploiting quantum physics, which says any attempt to eavesdrop on it would make detectable changes. Using satellites avoids some limitations that ground-based systems introduce into quantum communication. Complicated optics on the Chinese satellite protect messages with entangled photons - sub-atomic particles of light manipulated so that some of their key properties are dependent on each other. The curious laws of the quantum realm dictate that any attempt to measure these key properties irrevocably changes them. By encoding a key to encrypt data using entangled photons, it becomes possible to send messages confident that they have reached a recipient free of interference. Ground-based encryption systems that use entangled photons have been available for years. However, the maximum distance over which messages can be sent securely is about 200km. This is because the fibre-optic cables through which they travel gradually weaken the signals. Repeater stations can boost distances but that introduces weak points that attackers may target to scoop up messages. By contrast, laser signals sent through the atmosphere or via satellites in space can travel much further before being weakened. (Webmaster's comment: The Chinese increase their lead in this cutting-edge technology.)
7-25-17 China set to launch an 'unhackable' internet communication
China set to launch an 'unhackable' internet communication
As malicious hackers mount ever more sophisticated attacks, China is about to launch a new, "unhackable" communications network - at least in the sense that any attack on it would be quickly detected. The technology it has turned to is quantum cryptography, a radical break from the traditional encryption methods around. The Chinese project in the city of Jinan has been touted as a milestone by state media. The pioneering project is also part of a bigger story: China is taking the lead in a technology in which the West has long been hesitant to invest. In the Jinan network, some 200 users from the military, government, finance and electricity sectors will be able to send messages safe in the knowledge that only they are reading them. China's push in quantum communication means the country is taking huge strides developing applications that might make the increasingly vulnerable internet more secure. Applications that other countries soon might find themselves buying from China. So, what is this technology into which the country is pouring massive resources? (Webmaster's comment: Again China takes the lead. They are not cutting their investments in science, unlike Trump!)
7-7-17 China’s quantum satellite adds two new tricks to its repertoire
China’s quantum satellite adds two new tricks to its repertoire
Era of ultrasecure communication inches closer. China’s quantum satellite has met two more milestones, performing quantum teleportation and transmitting quantum encryption keys through space. Scientists teleported the properties of photons, or particles of light, from a ground station in Tibet to the satellite. A record-breaking quantum satellite has again blown away the competition, achieving two new milestones in long-distance quantum communications through space. In June, Chinese researchers demonstrated that the satellite Micius could send entangled quantum particles to far-flung locations on Earth, their properties remaining intertwined despite being separated by more than 1,200 kilometers (SN Online: 6/15/17). Now researchers have used the satellite to teleport particles’ properties and transmit quantum encryption keys. The result, reported in two papers published online July 3 and July 4 at arXiv.org, marks the first time the two techniques have been demonstrated in space. (Webmaster's comment: The Chinese have taken a clear lead in this cutting edge technology. In response Trump has cut our science budget.)
Vaccinations Save Lives In Many Ways!
3-15-17 See how bacterial blood infections in young kids plummeted after vaccines
See how bacterial blood infections in young kids plummeted after vaccines
Newcomer pneumococcal vaccines have led to huge reductions in blood infections among young children. To celebrate birthdays, my 2- and 4-year-old party animals got vaccinated. Measles, mumps, rubella, chicken pox, diphtheria, tetanus and whooping cough for the older one (thankfully combined into just two shots), and hepatitis A for the younger. Funnily enough, there were no tears. Just before the shots, we were talking about the tiny bits of harmless germs that would now be inside their bodies, teaching their immune systems how to fight off the harmful germs and keep their bodies healthy. I suspect my girls got caught up in the excitement and forgot to be scared. As I watched the vaccine needles go in, I was grateful for these medical marvels that clearly save lives. Yet the topic has become fraught for worried parents who want to keep their kids healthy. Celebrities, politicians and even some pediatricians argue that children today get too many vaccines too quickly, with potentially dangerous additives. Those fears have led to reductions in the number of kids who are vaccinated, and along with it, a resurgence of measles and other diseases that were previously kept in check. Doctors and scientists try to reduce those fears with good, hard data that show vaccines are absolutely some of the safest and most important tools we have to keep children healthy. A study published online March 10 in Pediatrics shows a particularly compelling piece of data on the impact of vaccines.
SOME REALLY BAD NEWS!
4-4-17 CO2 set to hit levels not seen in 50 million years by 2050
CO2 set to hit levels not seen in 50 million years by 2050
We are pumping CO2 into the atmosphere so fast that by the middle of this century the gas could soar to its highest levels for 50 million years. We are pumping carbon dioxide into the atmosphere so fast that it could soar to its highest level for at least 50 million years by the middle of this century. And that’s even worse news than it sounds, because the sun is hotter now than it was then. This is one of the conclusions of a study looking at how CO2 levels in the atmosphere have changed over the past half billion years and comparing that with future scenarios. “CO2 in the past was not as high as we thought,” says Gavin Foster at the University of Southampton in the UK. Thanks to bubbles of air trapped in Antarctic ice, we have a good picture of CO2 levels over the past 800,000 years. But going further back in time is much more challenging. Foster and his colleagues have compiled data from more than 100 different studies to produce the best estimate yet of how CO2 levels changed in the past 420 million years. Among other things, the researchers corrected for the fact that studies based on carbonates in fossil soils are now known to have overestimated past CO2 levels. Their compilation suggests that the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere never rose above 3000 parts per million during this time period, whereas some earlier studies have suggested levels were as high as 5000 ppm at times. And by looking at future CO2 emission scenarios, they say the level will soon reach its highest for at least 50 million years. What’s not in doubt is that when CO2 levels were higher than in pre-industrial times, the planet was much warmer and had no ice at the poles. (Webmaster's comment: This is how the human race will end. The great frying!)
3-9-17 EPA boss says carbon dioxide not primary cause of climate change
EPA boss says carbon dioxide not primary cause of climate change
The statement from Scott Pruitt, the new head of the Environmental Protection Agency, contradicts all the scientific evidence. The new chief of the US Environmental Protection Agency has said he does not believe that carbon dioxide is a primary contributor to global warming. EPA administrator Scott Pruitt said measuring the effect of human activity on the climate is “very challenging” and that “there’s tremendous disagreement about the degree of impact” of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases. “So, no, I would not agree that (carbon dioxide) is a primary contributor to the global warming that we see,” Pruitt told CNBC’s Squawk Box. Pruitt’s view is at odds with mainstream climate science, including NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The two agencies reported in January that Earth’s 2016 temperatures were the warmest ever. The planet’s average surface temperature has risen by about 2 degrees F since the late 19th century, “a change driven largely by increased carbon dioxide and other human-made emissions into the atmosphere”, the agencies said in a joint statement. Environmental groups seized on Pruitt’s comments as evidence he is unfit for the office he holds. “The arsonist is now in charge of the fire department, and he seems happy to let the climate crisis burn out of control,” said Sierra Club executive director Michael Brune.
3-3-17 First yearly CO2 forecast predicts one of biggest rises ever
First yearly CO2 forecast predicts one of biggest rises ever
The forecast suggests levels of the greenhouse gas could briefly pass 410 parts per million in May, just four years after first passing 400 ppm. Now for the carbon dioxide forecast: levels of this gas in the atmosphere will rise by 2.5 parts per million to average 408 ppm in 2017. And the monthly average could exceed 410 ppm for the first time during this year’s peak in May (CO2 levels rise and fall each year with seasonal changes in plant growth). The precise forecast is 409.86 plus or minus 0.61 ppm. It is just four years since the peak level of CO2 first exceeded the troubling milestone of 400 ppm. If its concentration keeps rising at this rate, it will double compared with pre-industrial times well before the end of the century. A doubling of CO2 will warm the planet by about 3°C in the following decades, and by up to 6°C over the next few centuries. The prediction of a 2.5 ppm rise this year is the first ever official CO2 forecast by the UK’s Met Office. It was actually made last November, but the weather organisation has only just made it public. “We were able to successfully forecast the record CO2 rise that we saw last year,” says Richard Betts, who leads research into climate impacts at the Met Office Hadley Centre. “Now we’re getting happier with the method, we are going to start to do it as a routine forecast every year.” The forecast is specifically for Mauna Loa in Hawaii, where CO2 levels have been monitored since the 1950s, providing plenty of fodder for forecasters. Levels at other sites can differ slightly. CO2 is the main greenhouse gas responsible for warming the planet. Prior to the industrial age, levels in the atmosphere were around 280 ppm – and had remained below 300 ppm for at least 800,000 years. Now they have shot up to more than 400 ppm. (Webmaster's comment: And the world is trying to do something about it, but not Donald Trump's America!)
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