A better understanding of the Earth's climate requires a better understanding of the interaction between the planet's geophysical processes and the dynamics of the Solar System as a whole. So suggest University of Toronto physicist Jerry Mitrovica and Allessandro Forte of the Institut de Physique du Globe de Paris. The pair reached their conclusion based on numerical simulations that show a connection between Earth's changing shape and the gravitational effects of other bodies in the Solar System, particularly Jupiter and Saturn. "We're showing for the first time that changes in the Earth's shape, when coupled with the gravitational effects from other planets, can produce large changes in the Earth's climate," Mitrovica says, citing numerical simulations to show that these aspects of the Earth's orbit have been affected by the gravitational attraction of Saturn and Jupiter. His figures indicate that at some time during the last 20 million years, the Earth passed through a gravitational resonance associated with the orbits of Jupiter and Saturn, which in turn influenced the way the Earth's axial tilt changed during the same period. This gravitational pull would have had a much greater impact on the Earth millions of years ago when the Earth was shaped differently. For more information, contact Jerry Mitrovica at (416) 978-4946.
During a teardown of the iPad Air and Microsoft Surface Pro 3 at the Medical Design & Manufacturing Show in Schaumburg, Ill., an engineer showed this "inflammatory" video about the dangers of maliciously mishandling lithium-ion batteries.
Science fiction author Isaac Asimov may have the best rules for effective brainstorming and creativity. His never-before-published essay, "On Creativity," recently made it to the Web pages of MIT Technology Review.
Much has been made over the potentially dangerous flammability of lithium-ion batteries after major companies like Boeing, Sony, and Tesla have grappled with well-publicized battery fires. Researchers at Stanford University may have come up with a solution to this problem with a smart sensor for lithium-ion batteries that provides a warning if the battery is about to overheat or catch fire.
In this new Design News feature, "How it Works," we’re starting off by examining the inner workings of the electronic cigarette. While e-cigarettes seemed like a gimmick just two or three years ago, they’re catching fire -- so to speak. Sales topped $1 billion last year and are set to hit $10 billion by 2017. Cigarette companies are fighting back by buying up e-cigarette manufacturers.
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