Water Cooler 10/18/18 Open Thread; Reading The News

Have the people complaining about the lack of faith in the press actually tried reading the news ?

Just for something different, this week I thought I would show just how bad the non political news I read is. Turns out, much to my shock and surprise it’s even stupider than the political news. I don’t even mean by a little bit, I mean by a pretty wide margin. It’s so bad on these, I had to ask myself how did anyone manage to keep a straight face while writing these up and then publishing them. Lets take a look at what the pillars of journalism thought were facts that would be important to us the unwashed masses.

We Are Doomed, We Are Running Out Bugs ?

The actual title from the Washington Post is “Hyperalarming Study Shows Massive Insect Loss”.

Hmmm, finger tip touches temple, I point, finger tip touches temple again, I point again, and all I got is are they serious ?

Hyperalarming’ study shows massive insect loss

Insects around the world are in a crisis, according to a small but growing number of long-term studies showing dramatic declines in invertebrate populations. A new report suggests that the problem is more widespread than scientists realized. Huge numbers of bugs have been lost in a pristine national forest in Puerto Rico, the study found, and the forest’s insect-eating animals have gone missing, too.

In 2014, an international team of biologists estimated that, in the past 35 years, the abundance of invertebrates such as beetles and bees had decreased by 45 percent. In places where long-term insect data are available, mainly in Europe, insect numbers are plummeting. A study last year showed a 76 percent decrease in flying insects in the past few decades in German nature preserves.

The latest report, published Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, shows that this startling loss of insect abundance extends to the Americas. The study’s authors implicate climate change in the loss of tropical invertebrates.

–Washington Post

Ahhh there it is. It’s our old friend Global Warming, making the world warmer wetter and less friendly insects, wait what that doesn’t work that way ? Swamps are known for having bugs ? Bugs like warm wet weather ? Now I wonder “DIDN’T I HEAR SOMETHING ABOUT OTHER BUGS DYING OFF NOT LONG AGO ??”

Hmmm why yes, we were doomed because the Bees were dying off, whatever happened to them ? I bought some honey last week as a cold remedy, winters on the way and it’s good to be prepared.

Turns out there never actually was a bee crisis and we now have more bee hives than we ever had before.

#Number Of Behives Worldwide By Year

2010 80 million hives

2016 90 million hives

What do the farmers say about this ?

The number of U.S. honeybees, a critical component to agricultural production, rose in 2017 from a year earlier, and deaths of the insects attributed to a mysterious malady that’s affected hives in North America and Europe declined, according a U.S. Department of Agriculture honeybee health survey released Tuesday.

Colony Collapse, while not a main cause of loss, has perplexed scientists for more than a decade since the phenomenon of bees seemingly spontaneously fleeing their hives and not returning was first identified in the U.S.

As beekeepers have worked to improve hive conditions, the syndrome has waned as a concern, said May Berenbaum, head of the entomology department at the University of Illinois and a winner of the National Medal of Science


The older folks out there might remember yet another insect apocalypse “Killer Bees Wreak Havoc” That was yet another south of the border immigrant issue so maybe it just got dumped in the clover.

Well this time I am sure the people reporting the news have it right. Maybe we can all adopt a bug to help out.

Miracle New Battery Is Going To Revolutionize Manufacturing And Change The World (Oh we even have 3d printing for bonus points)

Stop me if you have heard this one before, “New Battery Technology Is Going To Change Everything”, or this “3d printing is going to replace (insert random) manufacturing technique”

Well here’s a twofer

Researchers 3D print custom-sized lithium-ion batteries

One of the challenges in creating smaller and smaller devices these days, such as wearables and phones, is that the batteries can take up a lot of room. Cases are often designed around standard battery sizes, and it often creates wasted space. Now, new research published in ACS Applied Energy Materials shows that it’s possible to 3D-print lithium-ion batteries into whatever shape you need.

The problem that has stood in the way of 3D-printed lithium-ion batteries (at least, until now) is that the polymers traditionally used in this kind of printing aren’t ionic conductors. The goal was to find a way to print custom-sized lithium-ion batteries in a cost-effective way using a regular, widely available 3D printer.


I got a good laugh out of this. I have my old smartphone lying around. I use it as a tablet, it’s paid for so you don’t get much cheaper than that. I did have to buy a new battery for it and I have the old one on my desk. The first thing I noticed is that the case is made out of steel or aluminum, and it’s bulging from containing the gas buildup. There’s copper contacts near the top and various parts are covered in protective layers of plastic. So unless the 3d printer can 3d print steel or aluminum, and copper this isn’t happening any time soon. Don’t even want to think about the fact that having a popular product means gearing up for volume production and volume production techniques no matter what.


Chinese City Of Chengdu Plans To Replace Streetlights By 2020 With Giant Mirror In Space

No I am not making that up, I am not on drugs, and I am not trying to type this while wearing a straight jacket. This one comes to us from that paragon of journalistic integrity “The Guardian”

In Chengdu, there is reportedly an ambitious plan afoot for replacing the city’s streetlights: boosting the glow of the real moon with that of a more powerful fake one.

The south-western Chinese city plans to launch an illumination satellite in 2020. According to an account in the People’s Daily, the artificial moon is “designed to complement the moon at night”, though it would be eight times as bright.

The “dusk-like glow” of the satellite would be able to light an area with a diameter of 10-80km, while the precise illumination range could be controlled within tens of metres – enabling it to replace streetlights.

The vision was shared by Wu Chunfeng, the chairman of the private space contractor Chengdu Aerospace Science and Technology Microelectronics System Research Institute Co (Casc), at a national mass innovation and entrepreneurship event held in Chengdu last week

—The Guardian

Maybe they can get Andy Griffith to launch it for them While that might get it up there, you have to wonder just where there is. You need a spot where you can park a satellite that will be killometers in diameter, be able to maintain an orbit with line of sight to Chengdu for the evening hours and. not be blocked from sunlight by the earth. I suppose if you were willing to deal with intermittent lighting you might try putting it in low earth orbit. At that point though you might as well be living next to a big neon sign. Do the Chinese dislike Chengdu ?

Snark aside, when a newspaper publishes something like this as serious news, without examination or simple thought about the problems, let alone calling up someone at the ESA (assuming they can find someone who will talk to them after the shirt incident), to ask about this, they have forfeited their right to complain that the public doesn’t trust the news.


Drink up That’s it for the Watercooler today. As always it’s an open thread