Archive for March, 2012

Protect Yourself Against Nuclear Weapons

Posted by on Friday, 16 March, 2012



If you get a big dose of radiation (like some of the workers at Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi power plant) you’re hosed, aren’t you?

Not necessarily.

Here’s the thing. Radioactivity’s scary. If the blast don’t get you, the “vapours” will.

It’s invisible, insidious, and inevitable.

Until now, if you got overexposed to radiation, all anyone could do was to toss you in the shower, give you a pill (which didn’t do much good) and keep you comfortable while your hair fell out.



If  “the bomb” blows you up, no pill is going to put you back together again. But Rebecca Abergel (Berkeley Lab’s Glenn T. Seaborg Center) is doing great work on a decontamination pill. It’ll flush the actinides (the “nasty stuff”)  out into your urine before much damage is done.

Maybe bombs ARE being made under the mountains of your least favorite countries. But you can rest easy now with an antidote by your bedside.

Science. An answer for everything, eh? Snide comments aside, this is a terrific project with the potential to save lives; it deserves a ScienceAintSoBadRating = 10 .

Thank you for the good work, Gleen T. Seaborg Center and Dr. Abergel.

Image credits to Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

MAN HELPS DOG. Technology And Disabled Pets.

Posted by on Thursday, 8 March, 2012


This story is about science and technology.

And pets.


Your dog would die for you.

No “Um die for THAT one? He just yelled at me for shredding the toilet paper!”

Not at all.

Your dog would just throw his Golden Retrieverness at the robber, get iced, and float right up to the heavenly fenced in area.

Loyal and loving.

Are you as loyal as Biscuit is?

What if he got hurt? What if he couldn’t use his legs? Too much of Biscuit to tuck under your arm for a “walk”, right? How would you two manage? Would you ask the vet to put him down?

Biscuit loves you. How could you do that? Would he ever let YOU be put down?

You know he wouldn’t.


Let me ask you something science-y.  Is  cosmology intriguing? Is physics elegant?

Sure. Absolutely.

But that stuff doesn’t make you cry, does it? The great things? They’re  when we USE what we know to make things better, right? To repair the heart of a nine year old girl.

To help a family with a very sick dog.


I was trying to keep up with Mark Robinson  at his new headquarters ( Mark was explaining about his decision to make wheelchairs for dogs and cats.

“I was already selling the darn things for a company that made custom stuff. I could see there was a need . But they were SO expensive. People couldn’t afford them. Pets were being put down just because their owners couldn’t afford one”

Mark explained how, in 1992, he had no choice but to arrange a peaceful end for his family’s much loved but sick keeshond, Mercedes. The experience changed him. He couldn’t stop thinking about other pets. And other families. How many pets had seizure disorders like Mercedes? What about pets that can’t walk? Pets that can’t stand? Paralysis, nerve damage, or blindness? What are their options?



A graduate of Lewis Wadhams School (inspired by A. S. Neil’s Summerhill School movement) , Mark had learned to think for himself. By seventh grade, he was gobbling up advanced courses, It was pretty obvious that he was going to be a thinker and doer.

And a little hyperactive.

When he finished his MBA, Mark “hit the deck” just as desktop computers were exploding. (Not literally!!!)

This was his wave. Mark was to be  swept up in the “innovation revolution”. He divided his interests between computing and energy systems. Still does (Nextek Power Systems, Advanced Energy, The Energy Grid). He had an affinity for the klunky computers that were starting to appear in hobby magazines. He coauthored books about the, then new, IBM PC and MAC as well as  Radio Shack’s popular TRS-80 (“Trash 80″) computer.

“Those were the DOS prompt days. Green screens, portable lunch boxes, and no Internet. I knew I was part of something. I wasn’t real sure what it was.”



That’s the background, okay? Smart guy, green screens,and DOS prompts.

As Microsoft Windows began to dominate, and the thrill of early adoption disappeared, Mark branched out. One thing and another and, motivated by his loss of Mercedes, Mark found himself selling customized wheelchairs and, eventually, creating and selling his own which was out-of-the box adjustable.

Today, Mark’s fast growing firm ships the majority of pet wheel chairs world wide.

Tech-O-Dog Lives Good Life

His sells “chairs” that readily adjust for dogs and cats of all sizes with lots of different mobility problems. It has “drag bags” for keeping the little guy comfortable around the house, “Walkin’ Boots” to let his.her feet get into the action while rolling along,  “No cone” collars which seem INSANELY more comfortable than the Queen Elizabeth lampshades the vet sends you home with after a minor procedure, and a raft of other stuff – all innovative and all aimed at alleviating the awfulness of dealing with a disabled or sick pet.

Mark Robinson gets the ScienceAintSoBad innovation award for using technology to do the right stuff – the stuff other’s just wouldn’t have thought about.
It makes a difference.

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Image credits: The bottom photo is courtesy of The top photo? That’s courtesy of Mister ScienceAintSoBad’s Galaxy Nexus.

An Aardvark? Seriously???

Posted by on Monday, 5 March, 2012

A little while ago, Google’s Aardvark passed away. I wrote an obit.

Some were glad, some were sad and most were busy collecting signatures for Rick Santorum.  I even had a few people all pissed off at me. Where’s a-a-r-d-v-a-r-k??

I hope this helps.

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