Blog Archives

QuanTEM takes best costume award at EIA Conference

EIA 2015The Environmental Information Association held its 2015 National Conference and Exhibition last month in Atlanta. The conference hosted it’s second annual SExy Awards to celebrate Superior Exhibitor Booths and Salespeople.

John Barnett and Cristal Veech were in attendance, looking quite dapper in their ‘Gone with the Wind’ inspired outfits which earned the Best Costume award for QuanTEM Labs.

The Environmental Information Association, with its beginnings as the National Asbestos Council, has spent over 30 years at the forefront in providing the environmental industry with the information needed to remain knowledgeable, responsible, and competitive in the environmental health and safety industry.

Next year’s conference will be held March 06, 2016 to March 09, 2016 in Las Vegas.

How slime mold can design transportation networks and maybe even transform computing

By Biz Carson, http://gigaom.com

slime-mold-board-1

The yellow blobs of slime mold normally grow in dark forests, not on computer chips or on gelatinous squares shaped like the United States. But through his research, University of the West of England professor Andrew Adamatzky has shown that the mold can, and should, be grown elsewhere because of its potential in computing.

Physarum polycephalum is a brainless mold that’s sole purpose is to build transportation networks for the nutrients that sustain it. As it expands in search of food, it sends out slimy tubes that continue to branch out until it finds a food source, at which point it forms a blob around the nutrients. Its slime tubes then continue to grow and split until the mold forms a network of tubes to transport the food throughout itself.

The key to Physarum polycephalum’s computing power, however, is its ability to form the most efficient and optimal network.

Because it’s a self-repairing, living creature, it can also model emergency situations. So if a road was cut off due to flooding or an accident, the mold could also be suddenly cut off at that point and its resources redirected in another optimal way.

“By understanding how living creatures build transport networks, an urban planner would probably modify their approaches towards urban development and road planning,” Adamatzky said.

And while we may not see a petri dish of slime mold on an urban planner’s desk anytime soon, there are more practical applications of the mold when it comes to computing. Adamatzky wrote a book in 2010 where he defined the concept of Physarum machines: programmable, amorphous, living computing devices. Because the mold is sensitive to light and certain chemicals, the mold can be programmed to travel certain ways while still finding the optimal network. Read More

Asbestos Exposure, Asbestosis, and Smoking Combined Greatly Increase Lung Cancer Risk

-American Thoracic Society (ATS) via ScienceDaily

The chances of developing lung cancer associated with asbestos exposure, asbestosis and smoking are dramatically increased when these three risk factors are combined, and quitting smoking significantly reduces the risk of developing lung cancer after long-term asbestos exposure, according to a new study. Read More

Lead paint, other toxic products banned in U.S. still exported to unsuspecting customers abroad

Lead paint may be banned in the U.S., but that is not stopping some companies from exporting it to unregulated countries.

By Lynne Peeples, http://www.huffingtonpost.com

Not until Perry Gottesfeld pulled up to the front gates of Seigneurie in Cameroon did he realize the African country’s leading paint manufacturer was owned by a U.S.-based corporation.

“A big sign read PPG,” Gottesfeld, executive director of the nonprofit Occupational Knowledge International, recalled from his March 2011 visit to the factory. “We were shocked.”

The reason for the surprise: His research team had just discovered that more than 40 percent of Seigneurie house paints on the market in Cameroon contained high levels of lead, with the neurotoxic heavy metal accounting for up to half the weight of some paints. Read More