UCLA physicists demonstrated that if you pull off a piece of Scotch tape inside a vacuum chamber, the tape releases enough X-rays to image bones through skin. Grad student Juan Escobar and his colleagues managed to make an X-ray of a thumb using the technique. (Composite image, including the thumb X-ray, below.) Apparently, Russian scientists reported fifty years ago that the act of peeling sticking tape can emit X-rays, but the new research confirms the early results. The latest experiments are presented in this week's issue of the journal Nature. From Nature News:
"At some point we were a little bit scared," says Juan Escobar, a member of the research team. But he and his co-workers soon realized that the X-rays were only emitted when the kit was used in a vacuum. "We don't want to scare people from using Scotch tape in everyday life," Escobar adds.
This kind of energy release – known as triboluminescence and seen in the form of light – occurs whenever a solid (often a crystal) is crushed, rubbed or scratched. It is a long-known, if somewhat mysterious, phenomenon, seen by Francis Bacon in 1605. He noticed that scratching a lump of sugar caused it to give off light.
The leading explanation posits that when a crystal is crushed or split, the process separates opposite charges. When these charges are neutralized, they release a burst of energy in the form of light.
Where are our petabyte drives? Brian Hayes takes us through the reasons storage is “stuck” in the low terabytes. The tl;dr is that we got such exceptional capacity growth in the late 90s and early 00s we don’t need much more right now, so the focus since then has been on SSDs, networking, interfaces, etc, […]
Amélie Lamont, a former staffer at website-hosting startup Squarespace, writes that she often found herself disregarded and disrespected by her colleagues. One comment in particular, though, set her reeling — and came to exemplify her experiences there.
In this episode of the Flash Forward podcast we travel to a future where humans have decided to eradicate the most dangerous animal on the planet: mosquitos. How would we do it? Is it even possible? And what are the consequences? Flash Forward: RSS | iTunes | Twitter | Facebook | Web | Patreon We […]
If you want to add some real firepower to your programming repertoire, learn Java–one of the most adaptable, widely-used programming platforms around. You can easily do that with this Ultimate Java bundle, now just $69 in the Boing Boing Store.Across 14 lectures and 117 hours of content, the educators at online academy eduCBA will walk you through […]
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