Granite Geek

Granite Geek
3:15 pm
Tue January 20, 2015

Granite Geek: How Well Would Geothermal Heat Work In New Hampshire?

No volcanoes in this geothermal system, but maybe some heat and energy savings.
Credit Craik Sustainable Living Project via Flickr/CC - http://ow.ly/HEy2x

This is a time of year when heating bills usually go up, and some residents consider alternative energy sources for their heating.

Proponents of geothermal heat say their systems ought to be a bigger part of New Hampshire's energy landscape.

The prospects for geothermal - that's the topic of this month's Science Café discussion, which takes place Wednesday, January 21st, at Killarney's Pub in Nashua.

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Granite Geek
4:08 pm
Tue January 13, 2015

Granite Geek: Think Waiting For Test Results Takes A Long Time? Try Running A Medical Study

Run for it, polyps! Screening tests are coming for you!
Credit e_monk via Flickr/CC http://ow.ly/HgJDR

Medical professionals have a hard time getting people to come in and get screened for various cancers and diseases.

What can be even harder, though, is finding the right screening test.

A large-scale, nearly decade-long study of two screening methods for colorectal cancer is underway. It’s  known by the acronym CONFIRM.

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Granite Geek
5:08 pm
Tue January 6, 2015

Granite Geek: Will The Mastodon Become New Hampshire's Official State Fossil?

Granite Staters found a mastodon tooth - not a whole skeleton, like this one in Japan - but it might be enough to make the American mastodon the state's official fossil.
Credit Momotarou2012 via WikiCommons/CC - http://ow.ly/GTPHG

New Hampshire has plenty of state symbols. The state rock is – no surprise - granite; the state fish is the brook trout. Our state tree is the white birch; our state insect, the ladybug; our state gem, smoky quartz, and so on.

Unlike many other states, New Hampshire does not have a state fossil – at least not yet.

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All Things Considered
4:53 pm
Tue December 30, 2014

Granite Geek: Should Motorcycles Get A Green Light To Move Through Some Red Lights?

Some stoplights sense cars and trucks and change signals when they show up. Motorcycles, not so much.
Credit Katie McColgan via Flickr/CC - http://ow.ly/GC9F0

These days many stoplights will start changing to green when the intersection detects a car or truck. But some of these intersections don't detect motorcycles, at least not regularly. And a bill before New Hampshire's legislature would let those otherwise stuck bikers ride on through red lights.

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Granite Geek
4:46 pm
Tue December 23, 2014

Granite Geek: Want To Know Santa's Carbon Footprint? We Have The Numbers

If Santa used gasoline to make his rounds for Christmas, he would kick climate change into high gear in days. Fortunately that's not the case.
Credit Brady Carlson, NHPR

We all have our holiday traditions – family dinners, decorating, songs, presents... or, in one particular case, doing calculations about some of the most famous parts of the holidays.

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All Things Considered
1:54 pm
Tue December 2, 2014

Granite Geek: The Math That Made M.C. Escher-Mania Run Wild

How big of a deal is M.C. Escher? His work shows up on posters, calendars, comics and this dude's back.
Credit Mulling It Over via Flickr/CC - http://ow.ly/Ffbdq

M.C. Escher has been all over Manchester lately (or, at least, his work has been). The Currier Museum of Art has been featuring Escher in an exhibit that runs through January 5th.

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All Things Considered
5:39 pm
Tue November 25, 2014

Granite Geek: The Science Behind Snowmaking

David Brooks says nearly all of New Hampshire ski areas use snowmaking machines, such as fan guns, to ensure the slopes are ready for skiers all winter long.
Credit Leo-setä via Flickr/CC - http://ow.ly/ETla1

Mother Nature looks ready to unleash some snow on New Hampshire ahead of Thanksgiving. That's not great news for travelers, but it would be good news for New Hampshire ski areas - though, of course, they already have the technology to make their own snow no matter what’s coming down from the sky.

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All Things Considered
5:31 pm
Tue November 4, 2014

Granite Geek: Should The 'Ballot Selfie' Stay Illegal In New Hampshire?

Credit Allegra Boverman for NHPR

If you check your Facebook feed on this Election Day, there’s a chance you may see a friend post a “ballot selfie” - a photo taken in the voting booth of a completed ballot.

If that friend lives in New Hampshire, posting that photo might not be such a great idea. Such photos are illegal in this state – at least for now.

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All Things Considered
3:47 pm
Tue October 28, 2014

Granite Geek: New Hampshire Archaeology Up To And (Maybe) Including America’s Stonehenge

Whatever the history of America's Stonehenge may be, you have to admit this is the best sign you're going to see on the internet today.
Credit Michelle Souliere via Flickr/CC - http://ow.ly/DtUCm

Ancient archaeology is the kind of thing that, with the right find, can quickly capture the public’s attention and fascination.

And yet a New Hampshire group that studies ancient stone structures is turning 50 this week – and few Granite Staters have heard of it.

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All Things Considered
4:22 pm
Tue October 14, 2014

Granite Geek: Wearable, Flexible Tech The Next Big Electronic Frontier

Credit Press Release Finder via Flickr/CC - http://ow.ly/CL7zT

The next big digital frontier seems to be wearable technology. One example that comes to mind is the newly-announced Apple Watch, but what if the device in question wasn’t a device per se, but electronics built into what you’re already wearing?

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All Things Considered
5:47 pm
Tue October 7, 2014

Granite Geek: Wanna Bet That Predictive Markets Are More Accurate Than Polls?

You know the election season is gearing up when pollsters and survey researchers start calling residents, trying to gauge where the electorate stands on the issues and the candidates of 2014.

Politicians are, of course, quick to remind us that the only poll that matters is the one on election day, but there’s some evidence that another method, used regularly in the UK, may provide a clearer picture of where a campaign is headed than a traditional poll.

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All Things Considered
10:46 am
Tue September 30, 2014

Granite Geek: Ultraviolet Light For A Better Human-Wildlife Relationship (Maybe)

Ultraviolet light is outside the visible spectrum for humans, but not for wildlife. That may help prevent aircraft bird strikes and other problems between people and wildlife.
Credit Hadley Paul Garland via Flickr/CC http://ow.ly/C7DIV

Humans can't see ultraviolet light - but many types of wildlife can. And a man in Nashua is researching whether that difference may help humans and wildlife better co-exist in the future.

David Brooks writes the weekly GraniteGeek science column for the Nashua Telegraph and Granite Geek.org.

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Granite Geek
3:56 pm
Tue August 26, 2014

Granite Geek: Flywheels In Vacuums For The Electric Grid (And Why It Might Not Be Crazy)

Imagine a flywheel like this, made of heavy carbon fiber, spinning in a vacuum and transmitting power to smooth out the grid. No wonder the Granite Geek says this power project is "just so cool."
Credit Jonathan Haeber via Flickr/CC http://ow.ly/AKBvK

There are lots of ways to make and transmit electricity – solar energy hitting photovoltaic panels. Or causing turbines to spin with wind, or fossil fuels.

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Granite Geek
12:50 pm
Tue August 19, 2014

Granite Geek: 3-D Printers Help Turn Libraries Into Makerspaces

"I'm sorry, Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that."
Credit Harris County Public Library, via Flickr/CC - http://ow.ly/AuFTA

Attention residents of Milford: we don’t want to alarm you, but there is a replicator in your library.

Actually, it's a Makerbot Replicator 2, and it’s not as sinister as it might sound. This device is better known as a 3-D printer.

David Brooks tested out the printer for his Granite Geek science column for the Nashua Telegraph and Granite Geek.org, and he walks us through the process.

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Granite Geek
4:16 pm
Tue August 12, 2014

Granite Geek: Why Doesn't New Hampshire Have Many Fossils?

Credit Bruce Lyndes / Plymouth State University

Last month, Fred Prince, a biology professor at Plymouth State University, found and confirmed the first woolly mammoth tooth on land in New Hampshire.

So the question is, what took so long - especially given that such teeth have already been found in Vermont and Maine?

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Granite Geek
5:42 pm
Tue July 22, 2014

Granite Geek: Get Paid For Buying Healthy? An Insurer Tests The Idea

Credit Ale Viyie via Flickr Creative Commons

The rewards card is everywhere these days. It usually works like this: the more consumers buy, the more incentives and discounts stores hand out.

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Granite Geek
5:56 pm
Tue July 15, 2014

Granite Geek: Who Says Chess Isn't As Dramatic As NASCAR?

Credit Tristan Martin via Flickr CC

Once again New Hampshire is playing host to a competition full of pulse-pounding intensity, where every move can pave the way to victory, or shatter championship dreams.

We're talking not about last weekend’s NASCAR race but the United States Girls Junior Closed Championship, which gets underway this week at UNH Manchester.

And by the way, those who geek out over competitive chess see just as much high drama on the board as stock car fans find on the speedway.

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Granite Geek
5:56 pm
Tue July 1, 2014

Granite Geek: Here's Where You Can Fly Drones In New Hampshire's Great Outdoors

Credit quadrocopter via Flickr/CC - http://ow.ly/thIHv

Unmanned aerial vehicles, also known as drones, have been keeping government officials busy lately. They’re wrestling with a range of questions on whether any potential uses of drone technology may pose any problems. Recently the National Park Service has issued a ban on drones in national park areas.

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Granite Geek
4:47 pm
Tue June 24, 2014

Granite Geek: A Slow, Hard Road Back For American Chestnut Trees

The American chestnut tree, in happier times.

For decades now, scientists and volunteers in the Northeast have been trying to bring back the American chestnut tree, which a century ago comprised about 25 percent of New England’s forests.

Blight nearly wiped out the American chestnut, and it did so quickly. Restoring the tree is taking a little more time, in part because the blight is still out there.

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Granite Geek
5:14 pm
Tue June 10, 2014

Granite Geek: Can’t Anything Fight Ticks And Leave Everything Else Alone?

They are one of the least-enjoyed elements of the warm weather landscape in New Hampshire.

Ticks.

They bite. They carry Lyme disease and other nasty illnesses – and they’re pretty creepy looking as well.

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All Things Considered
5:25 pm
Tue May 27, 2014

Granite Geek: Stand In The Place Where You Work

The workplace is changing a lot these days – for example, the coworker who used to sit next to you in the office may now telecommute, and work from home part of the week.

Or, the person who used to sit next to you may now stand next to you. Standing desks are a growing part of the office, and that now includes the offices of the Nashua Telegraph.

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Granite Geek
1:07 pm
Tue May 20, 2014

Granite Geek: Why Are So Many Gardeners P.M.O. (Pretty Much Organic?)

Credit Robert Bell via Flickr CC

Gardeners are gearing up for this year's growing season, and many New Hampshire gardeners are hoping to grow their vegetables organically this year.

But that term, "organic," doesn't mean that same thing to every gardener.

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All Things Considered
5:44 pm
Tue May 6, 2014

'Herp-spotting': Crowdsourced Science With Reptiles And Amphibians

Ehn! Red efts are one of the many creatures volunteers are looking to spot during this year's New Hampshire Reptile and Amphibian Reporting Program.
Credit Distant Hill Gardens via Flickr/CC - http://ow.ly/wyw4U

Crowdsourcing is all the rage on the web these days – people coming together to contribute money or knowledge to projects or initiatives they care about.

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All Things Considered
5:41 pm
Tue April 29, 2014

At Formula Hybrid Competition, Building Cars Is As Big As Racing Them

Credit Flkr Creative Commons / Plug in America

It’s race season again at the New Hampshire Motor Speedway. No, NASCAR hasn’t come early. It’s time for the Formula Hybrid Competition, which started out as a small-scale event but now attracts engineering students - and car industry officials - from around the world.

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All Things Considered
5:53 pm
Tue April 22, 2014

BASIC: How Dartmouth Helped Open Programming (And Gaming) To Everybody

Credit Flikr Creative Commons / Brave Sir Robin

When you think of the places that have shaped technology the most, you might think of the garage where Apple’s Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak put together their first personal computers. You might think of the buildings at Harvard where Mark Zuckerberg started building a social website then known as “The Facebook.” Or you might think of the facilities in Washington state where Microsoft made billions selling its Windows operating system.

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All Things Considered
5:49 pm
Tue April 15, 2014

Telemedicine Opening New Avenues For New Hampshire Patients And Providers

Proponents say telemedicine consults will allow doctors to treat patients who are in faraway or underserved areas, while limiting costs.
Credit Intel Free Press via Flickr/CC - https://flic.kr/p/bA3eBS

A growing number of Americans are doing their jobs outside the usual confines of the office. And that includes doctors – the multi-billion dollar telemedicine industry is opening up new avenues for patients and for providers in New Hampshire.

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All Things Considered
5:13 pm
Tue April 1, 2014

'Massive' Online Learning Can Sometimes Be Too Massive For Participants

Massive open online courses are one of the big ideas these days in higher education – free college level courses in which anyone with enough time and a decent Internet connection can participate.

And as people have taken part in MOOCs, as they’re called, we’ve learned a lot about what works – and what doesn’t – when it comes to this style of learning.

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Granite Geek
5:01 pm
Tue March 18, 2014

Why Bitcoin Fascinates New Hampshire Geeks

Look! Shiny (virtual) coins!
Credit antanacoins via Flickr/CC - http://ow.ly/uKtNw

Describing the virtual currency Bitcoin can be challenging. Sometimes the more questions you ask, the more complicated it sounds.

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All Things Considered
5:53 pm
Tue March 11, 2014

Emotions And Evidence: Why Pro-Vaccine Pushes May Backfire With Skeptics

Public health officials have a problem. They want more parents to get their kids vaccinated, because there's been a resurgence of dangerous diseases as vaccination rates have dropped.

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All Things Considered
5:52 pm
Tue March 4, 2014

Can Utilities 'Nudge' Consumers To Use Less Electricity?

Public Service of New Hampshire is an energy utility – but it’s about to try an experiment in psychology, which it hopes might prompt consumers to use less electricity.

It's known as "nudging," and to explain how it works we turn to David Brooks, who writes the weekly GraniteGeek science column for the Nashua Telegraph and GraniteGeek.org.

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