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How much does a kilogram weigh?

By Danny Sullivan

Since secondary school physics, I have always been intrigued by the idea of Le Grand K, the original prototype cylinder of platinum that accurately represents a mass of 1kg, which is still used. Surely such an item is simply a historical relic and is largely unimportant in the grand scheme of modern science. But it appears that this is not the case…

The BBC reports on the fact that Le Grand K’s mass is actually changing over time and that scientists are searching for a new way to define the kilogram.

Baffling stuff, to be sure, but I’ve always found it a little worrying to think that world science depends so heavily on one little lump of metal.

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Glasgow wins Commonwealth bid

By Danny Sullivan

Phenomenal news for Glasgow and the whole of Scotland as Glasgow was chosen to host the Commonwealth Games in 2014. The tension was palpable leading up to the announcement this lunchtime, but the celebrations have now begun in earnest.

Securing the games is predicted to have a major impact on Glasgow, with major regeneration projects planned for some of the city’s most deprived areas.

A great day for Scotland. Now, if we can just beat world champions Italy in next week’s massive football match, it will cap an amazing year for Scottish sport.

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86% have problems with online transactions

customer management

By inmedia

Looks like online retailers still have a long way to go. Today’s Customer Management newsletter reveals the results of a new survey that indicates almost 9 out of 10 British online consumers have experienced “problems completing transactions.” Apparently 37% of those surveyed also said they would “abandon their transaction entirely if they experienced a problem.” Seems like a lot of potential revenue is being lost there.

More interesting findings from the survey are revealed in the full article.

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Generics in the Canadian pharma market

competition bureau

By inmedia

There has been a trend emerging in recent years of pharmaceutical companies creating generic versions of successful off-patent drugs as a method of speeding the laborious, expensive and time consuming clinical and regulatory requirements of bringing a drug to market. When generic drugs hit the market, typically between seven and 12 years after the brand name drug was made generally available and the 20-year patent protection has ended, the cost for both the generic and the brand name drug decrease because of the increased competition. However, the results of a study by Canada’s Competition Bureau show that Canadians could be paying less for these drugs than they currently are. The rebates that generic providers are giving to pharmacies as incentive to stock their products are not being passed along to the consumer. The full study, which explains why these benefits are not reaching the consumer and suggests possible solutions, is available on the Competition Bureau’s web site.

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This is not a wind-up

freeplay foundation

By Danny Sullivan

Remember the amazing wind-up radio that appeared in the late 90s? Well, the Freeplay Foundation, the organisation behind that remarkable invention is close to extending the technology into an area that could have an even greater impact on third-world countries: home lighting.

The BBC reports, “As part of its LifeLight Project the Freeplay Foundation has drawn up designs for a charging base unit that would be able to power up several detachable lights that can be used around a home.”

It’s always exciting to hear about new technology innovations, but it’s even better when the impetus behind the innovation is truly for the benefit of others.

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