Blog Archives

Thermal power plants use a lot of water, but that’s slowly changing

Renewable energy and combined cycle gas turbines have helped.

Russian space leader suggests engineers test spacecraft Stalin’s way

“If the constructor survived, it was a good machine.”

The federal government is begging everyone to move more

While the debate around health insurance and “pre-existing conditions” continues to rage in political circles the U.S. government is now officially begging people to take care of themselves a bit better. In a new report released by the Department of Health & Human Services (HHS), the sedentary lifestyles of many Americans is under attack, and for good reason.

According to the report, only around 26 percent of men and 19 percent of women actually get the recommended amount of physical activity on a daily basis. This is an incredibly grim figure, and the HHS estimates that failure to exercise or even just move around ultimately costs nearly $117 billion every year.

The suggested exercise goals for adults are actually relatively modest:

Adults need 150 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous aerobic activity each week, with muscle strengthening activities on two days during the week to stay healthy. Youth ages 6 through 17 need 60 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity each day.

You don’t need a YMCA membership to achieve these goals, and you don’t even necessarily need to shoehorn a workout into your already-busy schedule. The government and many health officials recommend taking many small steps towards the overall goal, such as parking at the back of a store lot and walking to the entrance or taking the stairs in a building instead of using the elevator.

One interesting change that was made in this new report is the removal of the 10-minute time limit for what you can consider to be “exercise.” Previously, the government suggested that 10 minutes was the minimum amount of time you should perform an activity before counting it towards your goal, but this new report emphasizes that “all activity counts.”

The overall message here is that if you know you’re not getting enough exercise you should at least make an attempt to add more movement to your daily routine. Something as simple as a walk around the block a few times per week can have huge benefits for your overall health.

Rocket Lab successfully sent a whole bunch of satellites into orbit and scared some birds

SpaceX gets a whole lot of press for leading the charge in the private spaceflight industry, but there’s a number of other companies also vying for their share of the pie. One of them is Rocket Lab, and it demonstrated its growing prowess over the weekend by launching a half dozen satellites into orbit.

As Spaceflight Now reports, the company’s Electron rocket took off from its private launch facility in New Zealand on Sunday, successfully dropping six satellites into place. Company CEO Peter Beck took to Twitter to describe the accuracy of the launch as “exquisite,” while the official Rocket Lab account posted a nice video of the whole thing, including the Electron’s ability to scare the living crap out of some birds.

In the video, which is just over a minute and a half long, you’ll see the Electron rocket cruise towards space, open its payload bay, and send its hardware into orbit around the Earth. Everything is executed with serious precision and it’s clear that things went pretty much perfectly. Check it out:

As for the birds I mentioned, take a look at the video feed right as the rocket fires its engines on the launch pad and you’ll see a couple of birds frantically fly for their lives. It’s hard not to wonder what’s going through their tiny little brains as their relaxing Sunday morning is interrupted by a roar the likes of which they’ve never experienced.

Things are moving fast for Rocket Lab lately and the company is making some big strides in getting its commercial launch plans in order. Following this weekend’s successful launch, the next big test for Rocket Labs will come in just a few weeks. The company is reportedly planning its next launch for the week of December 10th.

Cats, beetles, other mummified animals found—along with a sealed door

Two small, carved sarcophagi contained a six-legged surprise: mummified scarabs.