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Nashua;56.0;http://forecast.weather.gov/images/wtf/small/ovc.png;2014-09-30 09:50:08

New Jersey wants the source code from a MIT student who helped create a bitcoin miner

In a case that has legal, if not technical, similarities to the Aaron Swartz disaster, a zealous prosecutor is going after an MIT student because be helped create an interesting … Full story »

Automated ("robotic", if you will) milking parlors can free up dairy farmers

Vermont Public Radio has a story about an automated milking parlor at a large-for-New-England (450-head) dairy farm in Orford, N.H. The cool part is that the cows can be milked … Full story »

A VGo 'telemedicine' robot (featured in Science Cafe in April) will be on Dartmouth football sidelines

Nashua-based VGo will provide a “telemedicine” robot on the sidelines of Dartmouth College’s home football games, as part of a remote concussion assessment pilot project. The program started at the … Full story »

More on the interesting (but illegal) phenomenon of Instagramming your own ballot

I've reported several rtimes on "ballot selfies" - my term for taking a picture of your completed ballot and posting it online, which is illegal. Now the attorney general's office … Full story »

Ig Nobels are tonight

The Ig Nobel awards get handed out tonight at Harvard's stately Sanders Theatre. I didn't get a ticket before they sold out, so this will be only about the fifth … Full story »

Tech-Out finalists are from Manchester, Manchester, Manchester, Manchester and Hampton

Tech-Out, a three-year-old $100,000 contest for tech start-ups in New Hampshire, has announced the five finalists this year. There's a definite Queen City theme among them: Attic Gem/gemr of Hampton, … Full story »

Does the government have a patent on medical marijuana research? No. But sort of yes

An interesting assertion was made by an audience member at last night's Science Cafe NH in Nashua, which had two hours of absolutely superb discussion about the biology and chemistry … Full story »

UNH mathematician Yitang Zhang wins yet another award - a MacArthur "genius" grant

UNH mathematician Yitang "Tom" Zhang has an irresistible story. He worked in a Subway shop and as an accountant after getting a Ph.D. in math, before being hired by UNH … Full story »

Tomorrow (Wednesday): Science Cafe in Nashua about marijuana

Science Cafe New Hampshire returns to Nashua tomorrow after our summer hiatus. We're tanned, rested and ready, so let's eat, drink and be knowledgeable.  The topic will be the science … Full story »

My old iPod is cooler than your old iPod - because it's from H-P

The fact that Apple is no longer producing the iPod classic - the last clickwheel version of the music player - has led to much historical thumb-sucking about the impact … Full story »

Any excuse to climb an old tower is a good excuse

One of the area's more interesting buildings, Western Tower in Manchester (aka Weston Observatory, not to be confused with Boston University's Weston Observatory, which is in Weston, Mass.), will be … Full story »

Woody Guthrie never sang about our flood-control dams

New Hampshire has a couple dozen flood control dams, built in the 1960s and 1970s, that virtually nobody knows about. These aren't Grand Coulee-type flashy dams (hence the lack of … Full story »

No aurora from atop Pack Monadnock, darn it  

There must have been 50 people who walked up to the top of Pack Monadnock after dark last night - including a Peterborough cop, who drove up (much to many … Full story »

Big solar storm - maybe tonight I'll finally see the Northern Lights!

A big solar flare on Wednesday means that there's a chance of Northern Lights tonight (Friday, Sept. 12), as Sky and Telescope reports. I have never seen the aurora, and … Full story »

'Ballot selfies' are even more illegal now than last year in NH 

When I rehashed an earlier piece about "ballot selfies" - posted pictures of your own completed ballot - I didn't realize something: The Legislature strengthened the law on the issue … Full story »

UNH testing a balloon to measure gamma rays from supernova

By DAVID SIMS, UNH News Service: Starting today at NASA’s Columbia Scientific Balloon Facility in Fort Sumner, New Mexico, space scientists from the University of New Hampshire will attempt to … Full story »

Candidate quote of the primary (from a GraniteGeek perspective, anyway)

Election nights have dead time for reporters (and candidates), since polls close at 7 to 8 p.m. but results don't trickle in until 9 p.m. at the earliest. So we … Full story »

NH Senate primary result squelched hope for switch in climate-change attitude

If I may break the "no politics!" rule in GraniteGeek, there is one depressing takeaway from Tuesday's primary: The stomping of the only Republican in the state (and perhaps in … Full story »

Why is it illegal to post a photo of your own ballot? Here's why

I am fascinated by the issue of why it's illegal to take a picture of your own filled-in ballot in the voting booth and post it online - creating a … Full story »

The head is used for bait; the tail is used for my dinner

I'm getting a half-pound of fish each week from the state's Community Supported Fishery (I wrote about it last month). It's like a CSA, except instead of getting whatever vegetables … Full story »

Time to find that pogo stick: Annual 'human-powered vehicle' festival comes to Nashua River

I have never actually seen anybody on a pogo stick - have you? My best chance of making such a sighting may be an event set for Saturday (Sept. 13): … Full story »

'Bridge in a backpack' fast-construction system is, when you get down to it, a series of tubes 

A relatively quick (two weeks vs. a few months) method of building a traffic-carrying bridge is being rolled out, using carbon fiber reinforced polymer tubes to hold concrete and act … Full story »

Portland schools nix public online classes to compete with online charter school

The school superintendent in Portland, Maine, wanted to offer some "virtual" (online only) classes to compete with the state's first virtual chater school, but other city officials nixed the idea, … Full story »

In Worcester, it's OK to sing 'Electric Avenue' when you take the bus

Worcester, Mass., is rolling out (so to speak) the region's first electric buses - six of the $1 million machines are on the road, as the Worcester Telegram reported last … Full story »

Study: Gulf of Maine is warming 8X faster than global ocean average

New Hampshire Public Radio reports on a study by the Gulf of Maine Research Institute that says the Gulf of Maine - basically all the water from Cape Cod up … Full story »

Surviving an ice bucket challenge with liquid nitrogen - because: Chemistry!

A Canadian chemist took the "ice bucket challenge" - dump some ice water on your head and give money to ALS research - but gave it a s twist: He … Full story »

Tracking ospreys from NH to Brazil, and back

From NH Audubon Society:  On Thursday, September 11 at 7 p.m. the McLane Audubon Center in Concord will host Iain MacLeod, who will describe Project OspreyTrack, a multi-year project using … Full story »

Those ice bucket challenges may help Maine's lab-mouse-breeding facility

Jackson Labs, one of the nation's best-known breeders of mice for laboratory experiments, may benefit from all those "ice bucket challenges," reports the Portland Press-Herald: The lab distributes thousands of … Full story »

If New England cottontails had better eyes, maybe they wouldn't be endangered

The New England cottontail is in trouble because its favored habitat - scrubby land, not developed land or groomed fields or woodlands - is increasingly rare. But the almost identical … Full story »

Vermont biologists asks bear hunters to save them a tooth (ursine, not human)

From Associated Press: The Vermont Department of Fish and Wildlife is asking the state’s successful bear hunters to submit a tooth to biologists so they can collect information about the … Full story »

Manchester science museum & art museum join hands over - who else? - M.C. Escher

The geekiest of artists has to be M.C. Escher, he of the beautifully drawn optical illusions. (Yes, I had an Escher print on the wall of college dorm room - … Full story »

Bigger is better for wind turbines, so UMaine tests a 180-foot-long blade

The Univeristy of Maine's Composites Center ie one of two places in the country that can do stress tests on a 180-foot-long wind turbine blade, reports the Bangor Daily News. … Full story »

The power of Nature: Ripping my porch apart

We have a lovely wisteria plant growing up over the railing of our porch, which overlooks a dugout basement, so it's kind of on the second floor. The plant looks … Full story »

N.H. veteran G4 Communications (which started as a BBS) purchased by NY firm

New Hampshire Business Review reports: FirstLight Fiber of Albany, N.Y. announced Wednesday that it has reached an agreement to acquire G4 Communications, one of New Hampshire’s oldest Internet service providers, … Full story »

Public electric vehicle charging station comes to Keene, via Antioch University

Antioch University New England in Keene has installed an electric vehicle charging sation, which is say si the only publicly available charging "within a 50-mile radius of its campus." (The … Full story »

Even in the digital age, the sound of typewriters can drive deadline (says Rupert Murdoch)

OK, this is weird. The British paper Independent reports that The Times of London has installed speakers that blare the sound of typewriters, as a spur to meeting deadline. To … Full story »

States with medical marijuana see fewer opiate overdoses

A study in the Journal of the American Medical Association says states that legalized medical marijuana had fewer deaths from opiate painkillers that similar states which didn't legalize it. Check … Full story »

Vermont high-power line from Quebec moves ahead

A project similar to Northern Pass that would bring a gigawatt of electricity into New England from Quebec hydropower has taken the next step ahead. The project, called New England … Full story »

A flying 3D printed bald eagle! What could possibly go wrong?

Anybody with a garden or berry bushes who has tried to keep birds from eating everything in sight knows that those fake birds of prey - plastic owls and hawks … Full story »

Keeping the region's power grid operating requires an 'extraordinary machine'

Franklin Pierce professor and energy blogger Mike Mooiman took a course on Wholesale Electricity Markets from ISO-New England, the non-profit that oversees operations of the region's electricity grid. Despite the … Full story »

Rhode Island creates electric car license plates to alert EMTs, firefighters

Electric cars and hybrids may be the future of individual transportation but they're worrisome for the folks who respond to accidents. The latest energy in giant battery packs can be … Full story »

The graphics are good at Exeter UFO Festival, even if the information's a bit suspect

New Hampshire's Seacoast has been a UFO hotbed for many years, dating back at least to Betty and Barney Hill (the nation's first alien abductees, as a state historical marker … Full story »

Except on Cape Cod, courts are rejecting the idea of 'wind turbine syndrome'

The news and advocacy site Climatecentral reports that a study of 49 court cases in five countries involving claims of "wind turbine syndrome" - the claim that there's something specific … Full story »

U.S. agrees with wikipedia: Humans can't copyright a monkey's "selfie" 

ArsTechnica reports on the latest step in an important story, that of the monkey selfie: United States copyright regulators are agreeing with Wikipedia's conclusion that a monkey's selfie cannot be … Full story »

Why is small solar power booming, but small-scale wind power isn't?

Small-scale solar power is booming but small-scale wind power is a dud. I've always assumed this is because of technology: Wind power scales by size (bigger rotor arms = much … Full story »

As I told you in June: Fly no drones over the Appalachian Trail!

The National Park Service has made clear something that I reported in late June (my Telegraph column here, my NHPR piece here): You can't fly drones over the Appalachian Trail. … Full story »

Study finds sea plankton, of all things, living on the surface of the space station  

It's pretty obvious that nothing can survive long when exposed in space, what with vacuum, radiation, cold, zero gravity and the like. Or maybe not. As the Russian news agency … Full story »

UNH tackles analysis of strawberry DNA, with its eight (eight?!?) sets of chromosomes

By Lori Wright, UNH News Service: At the NH Agriculture Experiment Station at the University of New Hampshire College of Life Sciences and Agriculture (COLSA), scientists have been instrumental in … Full story »

3D print a 2 million-year-old skull - at Milford library or elsewhere

After doing a column about the new 3D printer at Milford public library (read it here) I stumbled on a great example of the use of "additive manufacturing":  The public … Full story »

Gentlefolks, start your tools: The state's only Maker Faire returns this Saturday

The DoverMini Maker Faire, at the Children's Museum of NH in Dover, returns this Saturday, Aug. 23. Tickets are $10 in advance, via the website. It will have the obligatory … Full story »

Talking about ticks and Lyme disease on NHPR - the magic of radio

Yes, that was me this morning talking about ticks and Lyme disease with Laura Knoy, the host of New Hampshire PUblic Radio's "The Exchange" talk show. But I wasn't at … Full story »

Comcast's not a TV company with Internet, it's a broadband company with TV 

Comcast has 21 million broadband Internet subscribers, more than AT&T or Verizon, and far more than any other cable firm, reports Leichtman Research Group of Durham. In fact, they say, … Full story »

A "salmon cannon" that can shoot 40 fish a minute over a 7-story building

Moving migrating fish around dams isn't easy. Many dams have ladders and elevators and ramps (the best place to see them in action locally is at Amoskeag Fishways in Manchester) … Full story »

Private pilots can't swap rides for gas money, says FAA (i.e., no Uber for Cessnas)

Startups that allow owners of small plans to split the cost of flights qualifies as compensation to private pilots, the FAA has decided, which is prohibited without a government air … Full story »

Unusually wet or unusually dry - that's become usual

I got 2.22 inches of rain in about 12 hours at my house yesterday, which I believe is the most rain I've ever measured in that short a period time … Full story »

3D printing comes to my local library

A local library - Wadleigh Library in lovely Milford - has just gotten a 3D printer for public use, which is very cool. This a thing, says the British magazine … Full story »

Rutland, Vermont to see nation's first solar & battery microgrid

A project being built on a closed landfill of Rutland, Vermont, is being touted as "the first project to establish a micro-grid powered solely by solar and battery back-up, with … Full story »

Internet service problems show why UNH has been an IPv6 evangelist for 2 decades

A small but growing number of sites are having Internet connectivity problems due to old routers whose IPv4 addressing space is full, reports ZDnet. Many Internet providers — including Level … Full story »

First woman Fields Medal winner doesn't break all barriers: She's from Stanford

The first woman to win the Fields Medal, commonly described as mathematics version of the Nobel Prize, does research in topology and dynamical systems - which means that, as is … Full story »

In Milford, a talk about particle physics research via spacecraft

The public library in Milford will host a talk tonight (Tuesday, Aug. 12 at 7 p.m.) by UNH physics professor Eberhard Moebius - who is no relation to the strip, … Full story »

Gary Kasparov is clobbered in his run for president of world chess federation

As the NY Times, and virtually no other major media outlet, reports, Gary Kasparov - the greatest chess player of modern times, although Magnus Carlson is a serious rival - … Full story »

In the unsettled energy world, an old, oil-fired power plant is suddenly valuable again

Tux Turkel of Portland Press-herald reports that an old, oil-fired power plant on the Maine coast, just the sort of pollution source that natural gas was supposed to push aside, … Full story »

Tesla drive-unit problems show that even a wonder-car can be human

UPDATE: Another Elon Musk cool project, SpaceX, is also facing a real-world issue: Laid-off employees suing, claiming that it snuck around existing labor laws. LA Times story here.  The Tesa … Full story »

Got 2,001 pounds of food waste? Stay away from Massachusetts landfills

After October, Massachusetts institutions that generate more than a ton of food waste per week can no longer put it into a landfill. As NPR reports: 1,700 some-odd supermarkets, schools, … Full story »

Mass. firm that makes big flywheels for electricity production returns from financial brink

Back in 2011, I wrote an enthusiastic article about a company just over the Massachusetts border from here called Beacon Power that was making flywheels in units the size of … Full story »

Tidal power in Maine, on edge of Bay of Fundy, is still in the works

Drawing electricity from the strong and regular movement of tides has long been a dream, especially along the northern Maine coast where tides are high. I've been writing about it … Full story »

Apocalypse sooner: Bad positive-feedback warming news from Siberia

Just to start the day off as depressingly as possible (that way, it gets better over time), let's contemplate the very real possiblity that a positive-feedback climate warming loop has … Full story »

Vermont has 30 times as much solar power as New Hampshire (don't even ask about Massachusetts)

New Hampshire had 1.5 watts per person of solar power installed by the end of 2013, according to a new report from Environment America (PDF here). Is that a lot? … Full story »

The Ig Nobels are already sold out, six weeks in advance

I remember when the Ig Nobel Prize ceremony was a small affair, delighted to get coverage even from a small New Hampshire newspaper. Now it's a global phenomenon, touring Europe … Full story »

Hey localvore foodie - my local farm is a fishing boat!

The area’s local-food movement has learned to embrace everything from arugula to pork to raw milk in recent years. The question now is whether it will also embrace cape shark, … Full story »

NHPR's "The Exchange" to discuss electric cars tomorrow, with some Science Cafe NH guests

The Science Cafe NH in Nashua about electric cars - one of the most popular ever, with an overflow crowd - will be sort of re-enacted on the N.H. Public … Full story »

Google barge update: Now it's just barge, not Google

An update from yesterdays post: The Portland Press-Herald reports that the mysterious Google Barge, with its four-story structure built of shipping containers, isn't going to be a glamorous tech store … Full story »

The mysterious Google Barge leaves Maine, still pretty mysterious  

The Google barge being worked on in Portland, Maine's harbor is heading for an "ocean voyage," but that's about all anybody knows for sure, reports the Bangor Daily News. The … Full story »

PSU professor finds first wooly mammoth fossil in NH - a tooth, but a very cool tooth

By Bruce Lynde,PSU News Services Manager Nearly ten years ago, Plymouth State University biology professor Fred Prince was fly-fishing on a remote stream in Campton, when a strange object caught … Full story »

New England has a lot more tornadoes than I thought

Massachusetts has had 159 tornadoes since 1951, according to the Tornado History Database, and New Hampshire has had 87 of them. Most were small, of course - this isn't Kansaa … Full story »

California says: For crying out loud, don't fly drones over wildfires we're fighting! 

The LA Times reports that folks fighting wildfires in California "encountered a civilian-piloted drone over the weekend for the first time while fighting a large wildfire" and "banished ir from … Full story »

Logarithms turn 400 this year (that's 10^2.6020599913)

Logarithms are a way to do multiplication by adding, which is a lot less work than doing multiplication by multiplying. Scottish mathematician John Napier presented them to the world 400 … Full story »

Hopefully, it's in the nonfiction section

The Merrimack town library has the state's first public seismograph. We're not exactly California in New England (or even fracking-quake-spurred Oklahoma) but it's interesting.  I leanred about it from this … Full story »

Liquified natural gas plant for NH on hold

This is more a business story than a geek story, but I just got back from 10 days vacation WITH NO INTERNET (aaaaah ... delightful) so I'm a little behind. … Full story »

GraniteGeek is going to hide under a rock for a week or so - see you then 

I'm about to go on vacation with the family and doing it tech free (without paying for a Tech-Free Camp, thank you), so GraniteGeek is going to enter another land … Full story »

Electricity from leaky landfills is bigger than solar power in NH

Nashua is in the process of signing a new contract with a company called PPL to operate the electricity-generating system at the city landfill (story here), currently sized at 800 … Full story »

Government can improve with A/B testing, which is good: unless they experiment on me, of course

The tech world loves A/B testing - basically releasing two versions of a product or website or marketing campaign out into the real world and seeing which one does better. … Full story »

Teaching chess in school is a good idea - but where will you get the teachers?

This is a week for celebrating chess (as in my column today, anticipating the first junior Womens Championship, taking place at UNH-Manchester this week) so it's also a week for … Full story »

Texas Medical Board files 202-page complaint against cancer "cure" being used in NH

The Texas Medical Board has issued a 202-page complaint against Stanistlaw Burzynski, the Houston-area doctor who has been peddling a cancer "cure" for three decades. He hasn't actually curing anybody … Full story »

Graduating science PhD's face a surprisingly stagnant job market

Slate has a long and well-researched piece about the job prospects for graduating Ph.D.s in science fields in the U.S., tracking not just employment and unemployment but also post-docs, academia's … Full story »

Is the next-but-one China lunar probe a manned moon-landing practice run?

China plans to land Chang'e 5, a lunar lander that would return samples to Earth, in 2017. That would be very cool - more moon rocks! - but Wired says … Full story »

Australia decides patent for "circular transportation facilitation device" (i.e., wheel) was a mistake 

Marc Abrahams, who is the mind (if that's the right word) behind the Ig Nobel awards, reports that the Australian patent office has decided it was a mistake to issue … Full story »

We don't have mountain lions but we do have bobcats - although how many, again?

I know a few people who have seen bobcats in New Hampshire. Unlike mountain lion sightings, however, these are often accompanied by photos - because bobcats, unlike the other big … Full story »

Northeast is behind the U.S. curve when it comes to ditching landline phones

We in the Northeast like to think of ourselves as urbane and sophisticated and with it (dare I say "hep"? "groovy"?), yet we're national laggards when it comes to ditching … Full story »

NH firm tries to expand bitcoin ATM industry with open source code

Lamassu, the Manchester-based bitcoin ATM company, has created open-source software for "back end systems" of bitcoin ATMs, in hopes of goosing the whole business by creating more uniform standards and … Full story »

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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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