Unglued Submarine Fix, 10 Cups of Coffee, Windscreen Whine, The Found Footprint

This week’s Feedback column (that I write) in New Scientist magazine has four segments. Here are bits of each of them:

  • A sticky fix — News headlines tell a gripping, simple tale: “Royal Navy probe after claims £88m Trident submarine nuclear reactor fault was fixed with super glue” (Wales Online). “Furious Navy chiefs order investigation after ‘workers on Trident submarine glued broken bolts in a nuclear reactor chamber’” (Daily Mail)….
  • Ten cups of coffee a day — The word “could” carries a lot of water (so to speak) that could be used to brew a lot of coffee (so to drink) in a US study called “Benefit-Risk of Coffee Consumption and All-Cause Mortality: A Systematic Review and Disability Adjusted Life Year Analysis”. The study enlivens the sometimes death-centric journal Food and Chemical Toxicology….
  • Wipe without whining — A new study in the journal Applied Acoustics includes an intellectual treat: a short history of humanity’s attempt to grasp and solve a small, annoying problem. The specific issue: when a windscreen-wiper changes direction, it makes a noise….
  • The Gorham footprint — Fiction overflows with police officers who use good scientific technique to solve mysteries and journalists who use clear, terse prose to inform the public. Carmen Nobel reminds Feedback that such people do exist. The Gorham Times, in Gorham, Maine, features “the blotter”, a summary of incidents as noted by local law enforcement. The 19 January edition tells an entire detective story in just 35 words….