Monthly Archives: November 2014

The livestream below is from one of the four commercial, off-the-shelf high-definition cameras, which take turns streaming a live video feed of Earth for online viewing.

As NASA says, “The cameras are enclosed in a temperature specific housing and are exposed to the harsh radiation of space.”

“Analysis of the effect of space on the video quality, over the time HDEV is operational, may help engineers decide which cameras are the best types to use on future missions.”

The system is operated one camera at a time on an automated repeating cycle so that the video follows a location on Earth as the ISS passes over, all with no intervention from human operators. It also drops out relatively frequently due to loss of Ku-band transmission, and it goes completely dark while in the night sections.

It’s fascinating to watch and is strangely relaxing.  Enjoy!
Broadcast live streaming video on Ustream

Black Scenes = Night side of the Earth

The live video feed from HDEV will occasionally be unavailable due to loss of Ku-band transmission from the International Space Station. Please check the site again in approximately 30 minutes

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An analgesic, or painkiller, is any member of the group of drugs used to achieve analgesia — relief from pain. The word analgesic derives from Greek ἀν-, “without”, and ἄλγος, “pain.

There are two main types of painkiller – opioids and non-steroid anti-inflammatory drugs (or NSAIDs).  The type of medicines that you need to treat your pain depend on what type of pain you have.


Analgesic drugs act in various ways on the peripheral and central nervous systems. They are distinct from anesthetics, which reversibly eliminate sensation, and include paracetamol (known in the US as acetaminophen or simply APAP), the non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as the salicylates, and opioid drugs such as morphine and oxycodone.

The exact mechanism of action of paracetamol/acetaminophen is uncertain but appears to act centrally in the brain rather than peripherally in nerve endings. Aspirin and the other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) inhibit cyclooxygenases, leading to a decrease in prostaglandin production. In contrast to paracetamol and the opioids, this reduces not only pain but inflammation as well.

The graphic below from Compound Interest takes a look at a selection of common painkillers, their common brand names, and how they work.
Click to enlarge

For pain associated with inflammation, such as back pain or headaches, paracetamol and anti-inflammatory painkillers work best.

If the pain is caused by sensitive or damaged nerves, as is the case with shingles or sciatica, it is usually treated with tablets that are also used for epilepsy and depression. These tablets change the way the central nervous system works.

The aim of taking medication is to improve your quality of life. All painkillers have potential side effects, so you need to weigh up the advantages of taking them against the disadvantages

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P&R Labpak now on LinkedIn

P&R Labpak now have a company page on LinkedIn.

Please visit the site link and follow us.

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Platinum has the chemical symbol Pt and atomic number 78. It’s a dense, malleable, ductile, highly unreactive, precious, grey-white transition metal. Its name is derived from the Spanish term platina, which is literally translated into “little silver”.

Platinum occurs in the wild as the pure element as well as alloyed with iridium, known as platiniridium.  It is one of the rarest elements in the Earth’s crust with an average abundance of approximately 5 μg/kg.

In addition to its high density, resistance to oxidation and other desirable qualities, platinum is remarkably chemically unreactive. For these reasons, a 90-10% alloy of platinum-iridium is still used as the International Prototype Kilogram. Originally, this prototype kilogram was made of pure platinum, but iridium was added to increase its hardness while retaining platinum’s many desirable qualities.

Platinum Nuggets

Platinum is used in catalytic converters, laboratory equipment, electrical contacts and electrodes, platinum resistance thermometers, dentistry equipment, and jewellery. Being a heavy metal, it leads to health issues upon exposure to its salts, but due to its corrosion resistance, it is not as toxic as some metals. Some compounds containing platinum are applied in chemotherapy against certain types of cancer.

Platinum;s resistance to wear and tarnish is well suited to its use in fine jewellery.

Platinum is obtained commercially as a by-product from nickel and copper mining and processing.  As an example, of the 245 tonnes of platinum sold in 2010, 113 tonnes were used for vehicle emissions control devices (46%), 76 tonnes for jewellery (31%). The remaining 35.5 tonnes went to various other minor applications, such as investment, electrodes, anticancer drugs, oxygen sensors, spark plugs and turbine engines.

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On this day – Marie Curie

Marie Curie was a Polish-born physicist and chemist and one of the most famous scientists of her time. Together with her husband Pierre, she was awarded the Nobel Prize in 1903, and she went on to win another in 1911.

Marie Sklodowska was born in Warsaw on 7 November 1867, the daughter of a teacher. In 1891, she went to Paris to study physics and mathematics at the Sorbonne where she met Pierre Curie, professor of the School of Physics. They were married in 1895.

She developed a theory of radioactivity (a term that she coined) and techniques for isolating radioactive isotopes.  She also discovered two elements, polonium and radium. Under her direction, the world’s first studies were conducted into the treatment of neoplasms, using radioactive isotopes. She founded the Curie Institutes in Paris and in Warsaw, which remain major centres of medical research today.
During World War I, she established the first military field radiological centres.  After a quick study of radiology, anatomy, and automotive mechanics she procured X-ray equipment, vehicles, auxiliary generators, and developed mobile radiography units, which came to be popularly known as petites Curies (“Little Curies”).  She became the director of the Red Cross Radiology Service and set up France’s first military radiology centre, operational by late 1914.

Marie and her husband worked together investigating radioactivity, building on the work of the German physicist Roentgen and the French physicist Becquerel. In July 1898, the Curies announced the discovery of a new chemical element, polonium. At the end of the year, they announced the discovery of another, radium. The Curies, along with Becquerel, were awarded the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1903.

Marie received a second Nobel Prize, for Chemistry, in 1911.

Curie died in 1934 due to aplastic anaemia brought on by exposure to radiation – including carrying test tubes of radium in her pockets during research (she also stored them in her desk drawer, remarking on the faint light that the substances gave off in the dark) and her World War I service in mobile X-ray units created by her.  She was exposed to X-rays from unshielded equipment.

Marie and Pierre Curie experimenting with radium, a drawing by André Castaigne

Because of their levels of radioactivity, her papers from the 1890s are considered too dangerous to handle.  Even her cookbook is highly radioactive.  Her papers are kept in lead-lined boxes, and those who wish to consult them must wear protective clothing.

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