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Around the Tubes

February 16, 2010
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-Every January the National Science Board releases its Science and Engineering Indicators. Of interest is the public attitudes section which shows the public ranks "Scientist" only second in prestige to "Firefighter", 57% and 56% respectively. Though, I feel prestige is a poor choice of words and would be more interested in seeing "respect" or "importance to society" or some such, since people could still be using prestige in a negative way. Banker, stockbroker, and real estate agent round out the bottom three, though since they have never ranked very highly I wouldn't call that a shift in attitudes.
 
-Bees want their coffee and cigarettes too. That is, plants that contain caffeine or nicotine seem more likely to appeal to bees. This might be a purposeful evolutionary mechanism on the part of the plants to entice the bees to pollinate them. And possibly there could be a connection to why humans like these "toxic" substances.
 
-Ward's Auto releases its Top Ten Engines for 2010. Germans nab four places and Americans have three with Ford fielding two and GM one. Even Toyota makes the list though I think it's too late to help their PR.
 
-The Army is looking for an airship to add to its arsenal. We can expect some competition and hopefully some new peeks at airships being developed for this long endurance spy ship. Lockheed Martin flew a hybrid airship in 2006 via its famous Skunk Works development team but now it looks like the Army would like to open it up to further competition. There are 51 bidders, but it's likely that only a few of those are actually promising biddable and viable solutions. I hope even the rejects will come out from behind the curtain for some public exposure as airships could still be a very real future transportation method.
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