A&S in the News- May 14-20, 2016

  1. University of Alabama interim course looks at fantasy author Terry Pratchett
    Tuscaloosa News – May 14
    Classics of fantasy — Heinlein, Tolkien, Herbert and the like — rest on Andrea Barton’s shelves. They’ve been read. Terry Pratchett’s books sprawl all over the kitchen, the bathroom, by the bed, everywhere. Those have been read, are being read, and will be read again. “With Pratchett, you kind of live with it,” said Barton, an instructor in the University of Alabama English department, teaching an interim course on his work, titled “Special Topics in Literature: Discworld.”
  2. Supercomputing Helping Clean Up Waste From WWII
    HPC Wire – May 16
    More than seven decades after the end of WWII, radioactive waste from the Manhattan Project is still awaiting cleanup. Progress at sites around the country — the largest is Hanford in southeastern Washington — has been slow, costly and plagued with problems . . . Now a coalition of scientists is using GPU-accelerated supercomputing to better understand the radioactive materials inside storage tanks and find safe, inexpensive ways to remove and store them. “When they built atomic weapons, nobody knew how dangerous this stuff was,” said David Dixon, a chemistry professor at The University of Alabama who is principal investigator on the project.
  3. In Latin America, Forests May Rise to Challenge of Carbon Dioxide
    New York Times – May 16
    A new study reports that recently established forests on abandoned farmland in Latin America, if allowed to grow for another 40 years, would probably be able to suck at least 31 billion tons of carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere. That is enough to offset nearly two decades of emissions from fossil-fuel burning in the region. Abandoning additional pastures and allowing them to revert to tropical forest could soak up another seven billion tons of the gas, the scientists found. Their paper, published in Science Advances, offers the most detailed estimates to date for a promising approach to combating climate change.

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