Where Can I Get One

Ed sent us a link to this amazing retro-looking gas powered bicycle. It gets 120+ mpg and does 40 mph. [Thanks Ed]

The frame is from a '90s vintage Huffy cruiser I got at a flea market for $25.00. The front fork is a reproduction Schwinn style springer. I fabricated "leaf springs" for the look, but their only function is as fenders. The wheels are from Husky- very heavy duty with thick steel and 11 ga spokes. It has a high quality coatser brake, but it also has calipers front and rear which is what I generally use for braking. The tires are all-white vintage style from Kenda. (From make
Pretty cool if you ask me. 

Don't Look at Me


Better Gas Mileage

ScienceDaily (Sep. 26, 2008) — With the high cost of gasoline and diesel fuel impacting costs for automobiles, trucks, buses and the overall economy, a Temple University physics professor has developed a simple device which could dramatically improve fuel efficiency as much as 20 percent.

According to Rongjia Tao, Chair of Temple's Physics Department, the small device consists of an electrically charged tube that can be attached to the fuel line of a car's engine near the fuel injector. With the use of a power supply from the vehicle's battery, the device creates an electric field that thins fuel, or reduces its viscosity, so that smaller droplets are injected into the engine. That leads to more efficient and cleaner combustion than a standard fuel injector, he says. (Full Story at sd)

There are tons of "gas saving" gadgets on the market. Just about all of them do nothing at best and harm your car at worst. That said, I actually understand the priniciple these guys are working from and could see it working. The only question I have is, what about cars that are already efficient? Would this mainly work on older cars or is this something that would help any vehicle? 

It's Real

Little Shop of Horrors fans may see a resemblance to the bloodthirsty plant from the 1986 movie in the above electron micrograph image.

Drexel University doctoral student Jessica Schiffman won an honorable mention in photography in the 2008 International Science and Engineering Visualization Challenge for capturing what's actually an array of suckers found on the tentacles of a long-finned squid.

Each sucker--about 400 micrometers wide, or a little smaller than the width of a human hair--is surrounded with "fangs" of chitin, a hard organic material. (via make)

Pretty cool if you ask me.


Bottle Greenhouse

This "Bottle House" created by artist Jasmine Zimmerman is an open-roofed greenhouse made from hundreds of the plastic drink bottles that we use 70 million of everyday. The project will be exhibited in empty lots, rooftops, parks, and vacant buildings in order to spread the word about recycling and reporposing everyday objects in our environment. Pretty cool design that might just be a bit tricky to keep clean. (via make)

This is kind of neat. I mean, I don't know how effective it is, but it sure is better than throwing bottles in a landfill. 

Uh. . . No.


Brain Games

See how quick (and accurate) you are at spotting a break in the pattern. Go here to check out a game that will test your reflexes and wit. . . Come on it's short and pretty easy. 

Maybe He Thought It Was Just a Dance. . .


The Way It Was

Brilliant Birds

Crows seem to be able to use causal reasoning to solve a problem, a feat previously undocumented in any other non-human animal, including chimps.

Alex Taylor at the University of Auckland, New Zealand, and his team presented six New Caledonian crows with a series of "trap-tube" tests.

A choice morsel of food was placed in a horizontal Perspex tube, which also featured two round holes in the underside, with Perspex traps below.

For most of the tests, one of the holes was sealed, so the food could be dragged across it with a stick and out of the tube to be eaten. The other hole was left open, trapping the food if the crows moved it the wrong way.

Three of the crows solved the task consistently, even after the team modified the appearance of the equipment. This suggested that these crows weren't using arbitrary features – such as the colour of the rim of a hole – to guide their behaviour. Instead they seemed to understand that if they dragged food across a hole, they would lose it. (Full Story at newscientist | via marginalrevolution)

I think that a crow would make a very cool pet. I know there would be issues with it, but I would much, much rather have a crow over a parrot (or a cat). 

Parting Picture

Where GM's Eggs Are

Walk Yourself a Chair


Parting Picture

Big Mac

FOND DU LAC, Wis. (AP) - Talk about a Big Mac attack! Don Gorske says he has eaten 23,000 of the burgers in 36 years.

The Fond du Lac man said he hit the 23,000 milestone last month, continuing a culinary obsession that began May 17, 1972, and is fed by his obsessive-compulsive disorder.

"I enjoy them every day," said Gorske, 54. "I need two to fill me up."

Gorske has kept every burger receipt in a box. He says he was always fascinated with numbers, and watching McDonald's track its number of customers motivated him to track his own consumption.

Despite a diet some would call unhealthy, Gorske says he keeps himself in good shape. He says he's 6-foot-2 and weighs 185 pounds, and walks as many as 10 miles a day. (Full Story at wtop)

I think I remember them showing this guy on "Supersize Me." I can't say I would suggest this diet, but it is his choice to make. . . 

Tea Treatment

ScienceDaily (Sep. 16, 2008) — Drinking chamomile tea daily with meals may 

help prevent the complications of diabetes, which include loss of vision, nerve damage, and kidney damage, researchers in Japan and the United Kingdom are reporting.

The findings could lead to the development of a new chamomile-based drug for type 2 diabetes, which is at epidemic levels in this country and spreading worldwide, they note. Their study appears in the Sept. 10 issue of the ACS' Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, a bi-weekly publication.

In the new study, Atsushi Kato and colleagues point out that chamomile, also known as manzanilla, has been used for years as a medicinal cure-all to treat a variety of medical problems including stress, colds, and menstrual cramps. Scientists recently proposed that the herbal tea might also be beneficial for fighting diabetes, but the theory hasn't been scientifically tested until now. (Full Story at sd)

I'm glad they found something that can help people. What I don't get, however, is why the focus is always creating a drug that bandaids a problem rather than focusing on the root cause. 


Food Dehydrator

I have always wanted to make a REAL food dehydrator, but all the plans I have found always start out "make a box..." That lets me out! I don't have the patience to make a box, let alone the skills to make it square, then add racks (also square!!) so I came up with a super easy way to make a container that looks like the commercial dehydrators using stacking trays in a cylindrical shape. It took me less than an hour and cost about 20 dollars. I could have scavenged and cut that in half, as I am sure many of you readers can. Read on! (Full Story at instructables)

I'm not sure if this is genius or insanity. For some reason that just looks like a fire waiting to happen, and on the other hand.  .  . I have a strong desire to start building. 

The New Collider

Want to check out the new Large Hadron Collider? Here are some webcams you can check out:


Walmart Not Making You Fatter?

We estimate the impacts of Wal-Mart and warehouse club retailers on height-adjusted body weight and overweight and obesity status, finding robust evidence that non-grocery selling Wal-Marts reduce weight while grocery-selling Wal-Marts and warehouse clubs either reduce weight or have no effect. The effects appear strongest for women, minorities, urban residents, and the poor. We then examine the effects of these retailers on exercise, food and alcohol consumption, smoking, and eating out at restaurants in order to explain the results for weight. Most notably, the evidence suggests that all three types of stores increase consumption of fruits and vegetables while reducing consumption of foods high in fat. This is consistent with the thesis that Wal-Mart increases real incomes through its policy of "Every Day Low Prices," making healthy food more affordable, as opposed to the thesis that cheap food prices make us eat more.

Of course, not everyone likes Wal-Mart. (From marginalrevolution)

Interesting. Not that this settles the whole Walmart debate by a long stretch. 


Pooh Bear

En route to a training camp in Quebec during World War I, Canadian army lieutenant Harry Colebourn bought a bear cub for $20 from a hunter in White River, Ontario.

He named her Winnipeg, after his hometown, and smuggled her to England, where "Winnie" became the mascot of his militia regiment.

Eventually he donated her to the London Zoo, where she became a great favorite of Christopher Robin Milne, the son of a local playwright.

You know the rest. (From futilitycloset)


The American Fortune Cookie

THE instructions on the red wrapper are very explicit: (1) Open the packaging. (2) Use both hands to break open the fortune cookie. (3) Retrieve and read the fortune. (4) Eat the cookie.

In China, such details are necessary, it seems.

“Chinese people don’t know what to do with a fortune cookie,” said Nana Shi, who started an online business last October that is likely the only company currently selling fortune cookies in China. “They don’t know that you have to open it.” (Full Story at nytimes)

I can't say this is all that surprising. One thing I really wish, though, is that we had more authentic restaraunts. I realize they have them in large metro areas, but I wish we had more in general. Yes, I know there is reason they Americanize all the food. It's because that's what Americans will buy/eat. Hopefully the American palette will broaden. I suppose that's the only chance I have of experiencing some truely authentic fair.


ScienceDaily (Sep. 4, 2008) — A new study conducted at a large university finds more than 25 percent of those surveyed reported symptoms of tanning dependence, including symptoms similar to alcohol and drug-addicted individuals.

Suggestively, the study also found those with a tanning dependence tend to be more likely to be thin and smoke cigarettes than others. The study by researchers at Fox Chase Cancer Center is published in the September/October issue of the American Journal of Health Behavior. (Full Story at sd)

This is just odd to me.

Rat Prices

The price of rat meat has quadrupled in Cambodia this year as inflation puts other meat beyond the reach of poor people, officials say.

With consumer price inflation at 37 per cent according to the latest central bank estimate, demand has pushed a kilogram of rat meat up to around 5,000 riel ($1.48).

Spicy field rat dishes with garlic thrown in have become particularly popular at a time when beef costs 20,000 riel a kilogram. (Full Story at abc)

OK. I am officially not complaining about food prices anymore. . . well, at least for the rest of the day.

Wolves Hunting Salmon

Move over, grizzly bears. "Fishing wolves" in coastal British Columbia are also looking to snatch some salmon, and will eat the fish almost exclusively when they are available, new research reveals.

Biologists analyzed years of data from gray wolves' feces to monitor what the animals were eating.

The team found that the coastal predators, like many other wolves, rely on deer most of the time in the spring and summer.

But during several months in the fall, the wolves ignored deer to focus on migrating salmon.(Full Story at nationalgeographic)

Hey, I can't blame them. I love deer meat, but mixing in some salmon sounds about right to me.


Parting Picture

Eat a Black Raspberry

New research strongly suggests that a mix of preventative agents, such as those found in concentrated black raspberries, may more effectively inhibit cancer development than single agents aimed at shutting down a particular gene. (Full Story at sd)

The great thing about this study: even if they are wrong, it means you just got a little extra vitamin C. No harm no foul. So go find some berries.

Food for Fuel

In experiments, sweet potatoes grown in Maryland and Alabama yielded two to three times as much carbohydrate for fuel ethanol production as field corn grown in those states, Agricultural Research Service (ARS) scientists report. The same was true of tropical cassava in Alabama. (Full Story at sd)

Not a good idea. I hope this doesn't end with high prices on sweet potatoes.

Kids Don't Care About Others

If you’ve ever spent time with toddlers, sooner or later you’ll hear the word “Mine!” It’s usually followed by an adult saying, “Now, now, you have to learn to share.” But a study in the August 28th issue of Nature suggests we may be wasting our breath. Because kids in the preschool set have no interest in making sure everyone gets their fair share.

Scientists from Switzerland wondered if, and when, young children begin to consider the welfare of others. So they gathered up over 200 Swiss schoolchildren and a small mountain of candy. And one-by-one they gave each child a choice that goes something like this: I can give one M&M to you and one to one of the other kids. Or I can give one to you—and none to anyone else.

Children who were three or four years old didn’t much care whether or not their friends also got an M&M, or a jellybean or any other sweet. But that attitude changed by the time the kids were seven or eight, when almost 80 percent of them opted to be fair. Okay, that doesn’t exactly make them candidates for a Nobel Peace Prize. But maybe magnanimousness begins with an M…&M. (From sciam)

I don't think they aren't telling the whole story. My 3 year old is often very concerned that her younger brother gets a treat if she is getting one. Of course there is a sibling connection there and it may be learned behavior, but I still am skeptical of this study. Maybe they just need to clarify if they found certain relationship qualities trump the child's natural inclination.


Attracting Money

IT'S an uncomfortable truth that beautiful people make more money: in the US, attractive workers earn 10 per cent more than their less winsome colleagues. Although it is plausible that the "beauty premium" arises because we favour pretty people, it might be that ambitious employees spend more time on grooming, or that attractive people are more confident employees.

Now a study of a TV game show supports the prejudice hypothesis. The effect is so strong that contestants often lost out on hundreds of euros because they made poor judgements about fellow players. (From newscientist)

One of the reasons I should pay more attention to my appearance. . .

Friendly Competition

The boy was attempting to set fire to his farts as part of a competition against his cousin in the garden of a house in Tipton when the accident occurred.

Fire fighters were called to the address but the small blaze had already burned itself out when the crew arrived.

Officers administered first aid until an ambulance arrived.

The victim was taken to Russells Hall Hospital in Dudley suffering from 18 per cent burns to the backs of his legs and his thumb.

Watch commander Paul Harpin, from Tipton station, said it was the first time he had been called out to deal with such an incident.

“The boy had been pranking around in the garden having a competition with his cousin, when they were breaking wind and lighting it. Right behind him was a petrol can and that just flashed.

“I think he must have won the competition but he will have some nasty burns now.

“It is a warning not to mess around with fire,” he added. (Full Story at telegraph)

There's not much you can add to that. . .

Getting Ready

The time women spend putting on make up and getting dressed works out at 3,276 hours over their lifetimes while men only devote 1,092 hours to looking their best.

A survey of 1,000 women also showed that 67 per cent thought that the time spent getting ready was actually a chore.

Only a third of women said they enjoyed preening themselves.

They spend about half an hour washing and styling their hair followed by 20 minutes applying make-up and 15 minutes applying nail varnish. (Full Story at telegraph)

How much time do you spend getting ready? I would say I take about 30 minutes from prying myself out of the bed to getting out the door. I know I should care more about my appearance, but I'm just lazy I guess.

Solar Highway

Roads and parking lots as solar collectors? Is that the newest revolutionary innovation since the term “alternative energy”? Capturing solar energy from pavements has been perfected for years now.

Researchers at the Worcester Polytechnic Institute will unveil Tuesday, August 19, 2008 the findings of a research project on the concept of using the heat absorbed by pavements. Rajib Mallick, associate professor of civil and environmental engineering, who was the team leader will hail the achievement as “revolutionary”.

By using the heat from asphalt, the researchers have developed a solar collector that could turn roads and parking lots into invisible and cheap sources of electricity and hot water. (Full Story at ecoworldly)

I just have some doubts about this whole idea. Seems like it cld be expensive, failure prone, and with little returns (in terms of energy). Maybe I'm just a naysayer. Anyone else have thoughts on this.

Placebos in Kids

It's a strange finding nestled inside a weird phenomenon: children are 50 percent more likely than adults to respond favorably to placebos.

So concludes a Public Library of Science Medicine review by French pediatricians of anti-epilepsy drug studies. If replicated in other drugs, researchers may need to adjust their analyses of clinical drug studies involving kids.

What could account for the tendency of kids to feel better after taking a drug designed to do nothing? The reasons, write the researchers, "remain largely unknown and mostly speculative." (Full Story at wired)

What do you think folks? I wonder if imagination has something to do with it. The whole placebo thing, in general, facinates me.


Parting Picture

Lute Maker

The Magic Pill

ScienceDaily (Aug. 1, 2008) — Trying to reap the health benefits of exercise? Forget treadmills and spin classes, researchers at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies may have found a way around the sweat and pain. They identified two signaling pathways that are activated in response to exercise and converge to dramatically increase endurance.

The team of scientists, led by Howard Hughes Medical Investigator Ronald M. Evans, Ph.D., a professor in the Salk Institute's Gene Expression Laboratory report in the July 31 advance online edition of the journal Cell that simultaneously triggering both pathways with oral drugs turned laboratory mice into long-distance runners and conferred many of exercise's other benefits.

In addition to their allure for endurance athletes, drugs that mimic the effects of exercise have therapeutic potential in treating certain muscle diseases, such as wasting and frailty, hospital patients unable to exercise, veterans and others with disabilities as well as obesity and a slew of associated metabolic disorders where exercise is known to be beneficial.(Full Story at sd)

If it can help people with rare diseases I'm all for it, but I'm just too skeptical (bitter?) to believe that the drug companies will leave it there. If this drug ever does make it to market, it will be perscriped like crazy. The real problem is that people will start thinking they can eat anything (junk) and look better by taking this pill, and everything will be OK. It just doesn't work that way, and you can't convince me otherwise.

Bike Powered Fridge

Pretty sweet. I like it.

(via make)


. . . What Happened

CANBERRA (Reuters) - A modern-day love story of a man spotting the girl of his dreams across a New York subway train and tracking her down over the Internet has failed to have a fairytale ending with the relationship over.

For Web designer Patrick Moberg, then 21, from Brooklyn, it was love at first sight when he spotted a woman on a Manhattan train last November. But he lost her in the crowd so he set up a website with a sketch to find her -- www.nygirlofmydreams.com.

Unbelievably in a city of 8 million people, it only took Moberg 48 hours to track down the woman, with his phone ringing non-stop and email box overflowing as usually cynical New Yorkers took sympathy on the subway Romeo and joined his hunt.

The mysterious brunette was named as Camille Hayton, from Melbourne, Australia, who was working as an intern at the magazine BlackBook and also lived in Brooklyn. One of her friends spotted the sketched picture on the Web site and recognized her.

But after finding each other, appearing on TV and getting international press, the couple took their romance out of the public eye, with Moberg closing down the Web site and with both refusing to making any more comments -- until now. (Full Story at rueters)

If life were like the movies. . .

More Harry


As minor inconveniences go, itchy bug bites are the bane of the summer season. The Parent Hacks blog reader Molly offers a tip she learned in the Peace Corps: a dab of the common pain reliever cream Bengay on a bug bite goes a long way towards relieving the itch. What tricks do you have to stop the itch? (From lifehacker)

Personally, bug bites don't bother me that much, but having kids. . . . I will take any hints that help keep the peace.

Bad Bio

Biofuels sound like such a good idea. A clean-burning fuel that reduces our need for foreign oil. What’s not to like? Well, for one thing, turning corn into biodiesel could be taking food off hungry people’s plates. “Okay,” biofuel advocates say, “suppose we just use the stems and leaves that are left over after crops are harvested? That should solve the problem.” Well, maybe not entirely. Because removing that so-called crop residue takes food away from soil microbes. They convert that material into the nutrients that crops need. So says USDA scientist Ann Kennedy of Washington State University.

Microbes break down crop residue to form organic matter—the stuff that gives soil its rich, dark color. Organic matter, in turn, provides nutrients, helps the soil retain water, and prevents erosion. So, if you harvest the crop residue to produce biofuels, you remove the materials that are fodder for the bugs that make organic matter. Soil quality would drop, and farmers would have to find some other way to fertilize their fields. So biofuels are not a magic bullet. Maybe you should just eat the corn and ride your bike. (From sciam)

I keep saying this kids: biofuel is not the answer.

Streaming NFL

Webcasting has officially made its way to the beer-and-football mainstream thanks to the National Football League, which has announced plans to stream live broadcasts of Sunday night football games this fall. These streams will be the first time the NFL's content is made widely available online, and the news means that the patented Madden "Boom!" will soon be coming to a laptop near you.

Both the NFL and its broadcast partner, NBC, will provide sites dedicated to the webcasts. In addition to the live TV feed that features commentary from Al Michaels and John Madden, both sites will feature a variety of extra content. These include highlight clips, views from multiple cameras, live statistics, and blog content. True fanatics may find the site worth visiting even if they have access to the TV broadcast.(Full Story at arstechnica)

I'm not really an NFL fan, but being an internet only content guy - this is a nice turn of events. I might just find myself watching Sunday night football. (Sorry babe).

Boy Art

(From makezine)

Green Motor Oil

ScienceDaily (July 29, 2008) — Titanium, a protean element with applications from pigments to aerospace alloys, could get a new role as an environmentally friendly additive for automotive oil, thanks to work by materials scientists from Afton Chemical Corporation (Richmond, Va.) and the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST).

The researchers established that a titanium compound added to engine oil creates a wear-resistant nanoscale layer bound to the surface of vulnerable engine parts, making it a credible substitute for older compounds that do not coexist well with antipollution equipment. (Full Story at sd)

On a similar note: Check your owners manual for the frequency of oil changes suggested. The old adage that every 3000 miles or 3 months doesn't usually hold true. In general, you can wait longer than that which is good for the wallet and the environment.

There May Be a Yeti Yet

Scientists in the UK who have examined hairs claimed to belong to a yeti in India say that an initial series of tests have proved inconclusive.

Ape expert Ian Redmond says the hairs bear a "startling resemblance" to similar hairs collected by Everest conqueror Sir Edmund Hillary.

He told the BBC the Indian hairs are "potentially very exciting".

After extensive microscope examinations, the hairs will now be sent to separate labs for DNA analysis. (Full Story at bbc)

Like I've said before, I love the idea that there are many more myths that will eventually be proven true.



Sometimes I end up at a website that is on the border of disturbingly strange and funny. This is one of them.

More Exercise Needed

ScienceDaily (July 29, 2008) — In addition to limiting calories, overweight and obese women may need to exercise 55 minutes a day for five days per week to sustain a weight loss of 10 percent over two years, according to a report in the July 28 issue of Archives of Internal Medicine, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

More than 65 percent of U.S. adults are overweight, a public health concern, according to background information in the article. "Among obese adults, long-term weight loss and prevention of weight regain have been less than desired," the authors write. "Therefore, there is a need for more effective interventions." Current recommendations prescribe 30 minutes of moderate physical activity on most days of the week, for a total of 150 minutes per week. However, a growing consensus suggests that more exercise may be needed to enhance long-term weight loss. (Full Story at sd)

I have to say that's a big difference. 30 mintues a few times a week wouldn't seem too daughnting to most people but an hour a day most days. . . I just wonder how they will try to sell the new recommendations.

When You Have Lots of Spare Time


Parting Picture


Over at walkscore, they will rate how walkable your location is. Depending on how close things, such as a grocery store, are to your abode make it more or less walkable. Incidentally, they say my house is about as un-walkable as it gets.

Health Mapped

If you want to keep abreast of your areas medical situation check out healthmap. It basically allows you to look at where all the disease outbreaks are located and how severe they are. Of course if you are a little "hypo" you may want to just ignore this site.


Parting Picture

Get Moving To Keep The Heart Young

ScienceDaily (July 24, 2008) — Absence may make the heart grow fonder, but endurance exercise seems to make it younger. According to a study conducted at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, older people who did endurance exercise training for about a year ended up with metabolically much younger hearts. The researchers also showed that by one metabolic measure, women benefited more than men from the training.

"We know that the heart deteriorates as people get older, and that's largely because they don't stay as active as they used to," says first author Pablo F. Soto, M.D., instructor in medicine in the Cardiovascular Division. "Past research has suggested that exercise can reverse some effects of aging, and we wanted to see what effect it would have specifically on the heart." (Full Story at sd)

Can't say I'm surprised really.

Can You Break The Code?

Benjamin Franklin wrote from Passy, in 1781, a letter to M. Dumas. He said:— 'I have just received a 14, 5, 3, 10, 28, 2, 76, 203, 66, 11, 12, 273, 50, 14, joining 76, 5, 42, 45, 16, 15, 424, 235, 19, 20, 69, 580, 11, 150, 27, 56, 35, 104, 652, 20, 675, 85, 79, 50, 63, 44, 22, 219, 17, 60, 29, 147, 136, 41, but this is not likely to afford 202, 55, 580, 10, 227, 613, 176, 373, 309, 4, 108, 40, 19, 97, 309, 17, 35, 90, 201, 100, 677.' This has never been deciphered. The state department at Washington has no key to it. I submit it for the consideration of the whole world.

– Elliott Sandford, New York World, cited in Henry Williams, A Book of Curious Facts, 1903

(via futilitycloset)

Who Needs Nerf When You Have Legos

The Poor Gamble

ScienceDaily (July 24, 2008) — Although state lotteries, on average, return just 53 cents for every dollar spent on a ticket, people continue to pour money into them -- especially low-income people, who spend a larger percentage of their incomes on lottery tickets than do the wealthier segments of society.

A new Carnegie Mellon University study sheds light on the reasons why low-income lottery players eagerly invest in a product that provides poor returns.

In the study, published in the July issue of the Journal of Behavioral Decision Making, participants who were made to feel subjectively poor bought nearly twice as many lottery tickets as a comparison group that was made to feel subjectively more affluent. The Carnegie Mellon findings point to poverty's central role in people's decisions to buy lottery tickets. (Full story at sd)

Say what you want about the ethics of gambling, it's interesting that those who can least afford to play the lottery are the ones who make it profitable. My question would be: Do these people remain poor, in part, due to this type of irrational behavior when it comes to monetary decisions, or are they simply a victum of a broken socio-economic system?


Zebra Chips

ScienceDaily (July 22, 2008) — Dr. Don Henne isn't wasting his degree when he's standing by the deep fryer waiting for potato slices to turn brown. He's conducting research that will help the potato industry and consumers.

Henne, an assistant research scientist in the Texas AgriLife Research plant pathology program in Amarillo, is one of many who are trying to find answers about zebra chip. Zebra chip is the latest disease to plague the potato industry, especially those in the chipping business. . .

Zebra chip is a disease that alters the sugar levels in the potato, Henne said. The sugar caramelizes and turns the chip brown when it is fried, giving it an off taste and burnt appearance. While it is not harmful, it is a cosmetic and taste concern for consumers. (Full Story at sd)

Is it just me or does anyone else like the extra crispy zebra chip. I never thought it was a fault but a lucky treat.


Parting Picture

Free 411

This isn't all that new but on the off chance that some of you didn't know:

Who Would Win

If you had to bet on a leapard or a croc in a death match, which would it be? Well Go here to find your answer...

(thanks tom)


Parting Picture

Again With The Obvious

ScienceDaily (July 18, 2008) — Scientists have long been puzzled by how the Masai can avoid cardiovascular disease despite having a diet rich in animal fats. Researchers at Karolinska Institutet believe that their secret is in their regular walking.

There is strong evidence that the high consumption of animal fats increases the risk of developing cardiovascular disease. Many scientists have therefore been surprised that the nomadic Masai of Kenya and Tanzania are seldom afflicted by the disease, despite having a diet that is rich in animal fats and deficient in carbohydrates.

This fact, which has been known to scientists for 40 years, has raised speculations that the Masai are genetically protected from cardiovascular disease. Now, a unique study by Dr Julia Mbalilaki in association with colleagues from Norway and Tanzania, suggests that the reason is more likely to be the Masai’s active lifestyle. (Full Story at sd)

I like how the first assumption was, "Oh, they must have some different genes." Of course, it turns out that the blokes just walk a lot.

Book ID

When we walk into the library, the atmosphere is somewhat dreary and cold. Unfortunately, it is not the most inviting of places, we go out of necessity. The library can also be a bit intimidating while we go aisle for aisle looking for the books that we need. Even then, we come upon the section where the book should be located, yet the call tag is someone rubbed off or maybe even the ink has smudged on the paper and we can’t really tell if this is the exact book that we need.

Valeri Madill has created a way to bring color to a once dreary space, a rainbow- if you will -sitting on the shelves housing numerous bland colors of books. With colorful call number labels, we rid the books of taped on labels and the risk of the labels falling off. Each of Madill’s call number labels allow for each section in the library to be color coded, as well as allowing the call number information to be displayed without covering the spine of the book. Each books’ information is displayed on the label for easy scanning by the user and also contains citing information on the label’s side.

With Madill’s design, the library atmosphere is transformed and is more inviting, and the user has much more success in locating the books that they need. This takes organization to an entirely new level. (Full Story at yanko)

Let me tell you, this would have been a huge help in school. Those footnotes and bib pages would have been a lot less hassle.