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Nashua;55.0;;2014-10-02 06:23:09

Would folks oppose a new pipeline if it carried beer?

There's quite a controversy in Massachusetts and a bit of New Hampshire over proposals to build a new natural gas pipeline.

But what if the pipeline was carrying beer?

As Wired reports, a brewery in the ancient Belgian city of Bruges wants to pipe beer from one its 500-year-old brewery to its new filtration/bottling plant:

Instead of making the 3-mile drive in one of dozens of tankers that traverse town each day, the award-winning beer will flow through a 1.8-mile polyethylene pipeline, making the trip in 15 to 20 minutes. The pipeline will move 6,000 liters of beer every hour.

Pipeline leaks will be greeted much differently in the future in Bruges.

Antarctica has lost so much land ice that Earth's gravity has shifted (a tiny bit)

Climate change does weird things at the poles, where its effect is strongest. For reasons that baffle even folks who undestand this stuff, Antarctica sea ice is at a record high while the amount of Antarctica land ice has fallen so far that it has produced a measurable (although teeny-tiny) effect on Earth's gravity, according to measurements by satellites of the European Space Agency.

Why is Arctic ice shrinking fast yet Antarctic sea ice (but not, apparely, its land ice) growing? Hard to say:

It's easy to understand why the Arctic has been experiencing extreme melts, given that the region is the fastest warming area on the planet. It's not as obvious why the ice might be growing in Antarctica; although wind and precipitation patterns have both been suggested, no consensus has emerged.

As far as rising ocean levels go, melting land ice - from Antarctica or Greenland, the two great ice storehouses - is very bad, while melting sea ice is of little importance, for obvious reasons.

A new source to check online rumors, from a long-time expert in news corrections


They certainly wasted no money on designers.

If you're a reporter you've heard of Craig Silverman, who has made a name (and at least a partial living) analyzing corrections and errors by newspaper and broadcast journalists. He started out mostly poking fun via a blog/website/whatever called Regret the Error, but has expanded over the years into analyzing errors and offering suggestions for improving journalists' work. I use his accuracy checklist often.

Silverman is now targeting Internet rumors, partly because they have a bad habit of morphing into news accounts. He has a new site called (note the URL suffix) as part of the Tow Center for Digital Journalism at Columbia University, which seeks to provide sourcing and determine which are real and which aren't.

Snopes is a much older version of the same idea. It's created by couple, and is popular enough that it has been attacked by groups who don't like being debunked.

Part of me thinks this is hopeless - it's so incredibly difficult to tell truth from fiction online, when all "news" sources look the same, that killing rumors is Whac-a-mole to the Nth degree. But I suppose you have to try.

The most typographically difficult sentence in New Hampshire law


Quick! Call an industrial chemist!

Writing a story about "spice," the synthetic marijuana that is causing law enforcement and health-care headaches, I discovered the most typographically interesting sentence in the New Hampshire Revised Statutes Annotated (RSAs), or state law:

"Synthetic cannabinoid agonists or piperazines” means any chemical compound that contains Benzylpiperazine; Trifluoromethylphenylpiperazine; 1,1-Dimethylheptyl-ll-hydroxytetra-hydrocannabinol; 1-Butyl-3-(1-naphthoyl)indole; 1-Pentyl-3-(1-naphthoyl)indole; dexanabinol; or 2-[(1R,3S)-3-hydroxycyclohexyl] -5-(2-methyloctan -2-yl)phenol).

It was added to the Controlled Drug Act two years ago.

Despite being the third-largest elected body in the English speaking world, I doubt whether the New Hampshire Legislature (which is dominated by retired people, since the job doesn't pay anything) has many chemists. The clerk must have had fun reading this sentence aloud.

Why is there a ray gun pointed at a pond filled with 14,000 trout?


What's going on at the Milford Fish Hatchery?

It was a lovely cool morning morning today when I took the above photo of a weird-looking contraption that is shooting invisible rays (whoa!) at a rainbow-trout-filled pond at the Milford Fish Hatchery.

What's going on, you wonder? You'll have to read my Telegraph column on Monday to figure out - until then it's my secret. Bwa-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha!!!

By land or by sea: Competing plans to improve electricity grid between NH and Boston

New Hampshire Business Review has a nice article about two competing plans to create new electricity-grid connections between Southern New Hampshire and Boston: One by land (in existing rights of way) and one mostly by sea.

One plan, from National Grid and Northeast Utilities – parent company of Public Service of New Hampshire – would add alternate current upgrades, constructing 25 miles of 345-kilovolt and 115-kilovolt overhead lines in existing power line areas. The new lines would connect a substation in Londonderry, N.H., to Tewksbury, Mass. National Grid would also build an underground line from Wakefield, Mass. to Everett, Mass.

The second plan, called SeaLink, and proposed by New Hampshire Transmission – a subsidiary of NextEra Energy, owner of the Seabrook nuclear power plant – would build a high-voltage direct current line originating at its transmission substation in Seabrook, traveling under the ocean floor for 50 miles before surfacing to connect to the Mystic substation in Everett, Mass. Eighteen miles of the line on land would be buried four to six feet underground.

Four NH hotels to offer charging stations for Teslas, other electric cars


This is not a picture of my garage.

Four "upscale" inns in New Hampshire are setting up Tesla charging stations for electric cars. These aren't the fast 480-volt Supercharger stations being built along turnpikes, so we're not talking 40-minute recharge; they're 240-volt chargers, similar to the stations that Tesla owners put in their homes. Still, not bad.

And, I'm told by a company spokesman, they will be usable by non-Tesla cars like Leaf and Volt.

The stations are part of what Tesla calls its "destination charging" network openeing in a number of hotel chains. I think these four, announced Wednesday by Hay Creek Hotels, are the first in New Hampshire.

Hay Creek Hotels owns four inns in New Hampshire: Eagle Mountain House in Jackson, Exeter Inn, Wolfeboro Inn and The Centennial Inn in Concord. They also owns similar properties throughout the Northeast.

India puts a cheap but useful spacecraft in orbit around Mars


This is probably the most important number involved with Mangalyaan, the Indian spacecraft that entered Mars orbit yesterday, as reported by the Washington Post:

India’s $72 million Mars orbiter is the cheapest interplanetary mission ever. Modi said that India’s Mars mission cost less than what it took to make the Hollywood space movie “Gravity."

The Hindustan Times points out that India is the first country to successfully send a craft to Mars on its first try. Around 51 spacecraft have been sent to Mars, either orbiting or landing, and about half have failed.

Here's the mission's home page.

Yes, I miss manual typewriters



OK, this is really stupid and not worth $309, but I am sorely tempted to buy one: A Bluetooth-connected keyboard that looks like, and hopefully feels like, a manual typewriter.

A bonus: You don't have to return the carriage at the end of each line.

Here's the website. Christmas isn't far away, you know.

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About this blog

David Brooks has written a science column for the Nashua (N.H.) Telegraph since 1991 - yes, that long - and has overseen this blog since 2006.

He chats weekly with New Hampshire Public Radio about GraniteGeek topics, around 5:50 p.m. on Tuesdays. You can listen to old sessions here.

Contact:   E-mail or call 603-594-6531.


Free, informal get-togethers at a bar that feature discussion among the audience (everybody is welcome) and experts in various fields. Check the website here.

NEXT CAFE: Wednesday, September 17 (we take the summer off)

TOPIC: Marijuana, the biology of what it does and doesn't do to us.

Location: Killarney's Irish Pub, 9 Northeastern Boulevard (Holiday Inn, just west of Exit 4 on the turnpike).


Fluoridation in public water. May: Organic gardening. April: Tele-medicine, or doctoring from afar. March: Bitcoin - what is it? February: The science of allergies. January: Electric cars.

Multiple sclerosis. October: Genetically modified organisms. September: Aquaponics. June: Flying robots (drones!) May: PTSD and brain tauma in veterans. April: Cats vs. wildlife in NH. March: Mosquito-borne disease. February: The science of brewing. January: 3-D printing, with MakeIt Labs.

"Dark skies and light pollution" with Discovery Center. October: "The science of concussion." September: "The science of pain management." June: "Arsenic in our environment." May: "Invasive species in New Hampshire" April: "Nanotechnology in business and the lab". March: "Lyme disease in NH". Feb: "Seasonal Affective Disorder." Jan: "Biomass energy"

Nov.: "Science of Polling." Oct.: "Digital Privacy." Sept: "Vaccinations." June: "Future of Food." May 2011: "Climate Change"


Alternative power map

Click here to see my alternative-power Google map showing large-scale solar, wind, hydro and nuclear plants in N.H., plus intriguing alternative-power items.

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