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Wednesday 10 December 2008 – treasure hunt

Any tutoring families up for a treasure hunt?

Wednesday 18 April 2007 – Refugee Day

The refugee training day (that's training in case of refugees, not training of refugees) on Wednesday 18 April 2007 went well. (Officially it's known as the Operational Planning Exercise of the RedR NZ training course Essentials of Humanitarian Practice, which is a bit of a mouthful.) Refugees were represented by six Hallidays, two Dixons (A and Z) and two Frosts (J and H).

The recorders were particularly effective for distracting the workers, but it was surprising how a kidnapping of one aid worker for 18 hours (game time) didn't cause more concern with her fellow workers.

Thursday 18 January 2007 – Comet McNaught

Lovely photo opportunity on the top of Mt Roskill. More on the Comets page.

16 October 2006 – it's official, we have a couple of new elements

The American Institute of Physics Bulletin of Physics News
Number 797 October 16, 2006

ELEMENTS 116 AND 118 ARE DISCOVERED. At the Joint Institute for Nuclear Research (JINR) in Dubna, Russia, physicists (including collaborators from Lawrence Livermore National Lab in the US) have sent a beam of calcium-48 ions into a target of californium-249 atoms to create temporarily a handful of atoms representing element 118. The nucleus for these atoms have a total atomic mass of 294 units. In fact, only three of these atoms, the heaviest ever produced in a controlled experiment, were observed. After sending 2 x 1019 calcium projectiles into the target, one atom of element 118 was discovered in the year 2002 and two more atoms in 2005. The researchers held up publication after seeing their first specimen in order to find more events. ...

In searching through 1019 collision events, how do you know you have found a new element? Because of the clear and unique decay sequence involving the offloading of alpha particles, nuclear parcels consisting of two protons and two neutrons. In this case, nuclei of element 118 decay to become element 116 (hereby itself discovered for the first time), and then element 114, and then element 112 by emitting detectable alphas. The 112 nucleus subsequently fissions into roughly equal-sized daughter particles. The average lifetime observed for the three examples of element 118 was about one millisecond, not long enough to perform any kind of chemical tests (you'd need an hour's time for that). Element 118 lies just beneath radon in the periodic table and is therefore a kind of noble gas.

The Dubna-Livermore team previously announced the discovery of elements 113 and 115 and next hope to produce element 120 by crashing a beam of iron atoms into a plutonium target. ...

27 September 2006 – anniversary

Today marks 101 years since Albert Einstein came up with the formula E = mc2 (it was slightly rearranged when he first wrote it).

31 July 2006 – C14 in diamonds

This report from Creation on the Web (first published: Creation 26(2):42–44, March 2004):

Dr Baumgardner [of Los Alamos National Laboratory in the USA] sent five diamonds to be analyzed for 14C. It was the first time this had been attempted, and the answer came back positive — 14C was present. The diamonds, formed deep inside the earth, are assumed by evolutionists to be over a billion years old. Nevertheless they contained radioactive carbon, even though, if the billion-year age were correct, they ‘shouldn’t have’.

This is exceptionally striking evidence, because a diamond has remarkably strong lattice bonds (that’s why it’s the hardest substance known), so subsequent atmospheric or biological contamination should not find its way into the interior.

The diamonds’ carbon-dated ‘age’ of about 58,000 years is thus an upper limit for the age of the whole earth. Again, this is entirely consistent with helium diffusion results reported above, which indicate the upper limit is in fact substantially less.

11 July 2006 – digital players and deafness

The NZ Herald with Digital players raise deafness fears. It seems that listening to digital music players can lead to hearing loss, not because they're any louder than older music players but because the batteries last longer.

20 March 2006 – what girls and boys like to learn about

The New Zealand Herald chimes in with an article on what sort of things boys and girls like to learn about. And guess what? They're not the same.

Number one for boys: Explosive chemicals.

Number one for girls: Why we dream when asleep and what does it mean?

4 May 2005 – more sleep, better results

An NZ Herald article on the benefits of teenagers sleeping in, including doing better at school.

Other News