Results for science

Below are the posts that should have something to do with 'science'.

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Short links for October 10th, 2007

Some interesting things I bookmarked on del.icio.us on October 10th, 2007:

  • Mona Lisa from recycled train tickets – Employees at the Takashimaya department store in Osaka have created four reproductions of world-famous paintings using 320,000 old train tickets obtained from the nearby Nankai Namba station.
Mona Lisa made with old train tickets
  • Graffiti Archaeology – a project devoted to the study of graffiti-covered walls as they change over time. The core of the project is a timelapse collage, made of photos of graffiti taken at the same location by many different photographers over a span of several years.
  • Dragonfly or Insect Spy? – Robobugs on the loose!
  • Smashing Magazine Best of September 2007 – Some of the most interesting web-development-related web-sites, references, tutorials, services, tools, techniques and articles.

Short links for October 9th, 2007

Some interesting things I bookmarked on del.icio.us on October 9th, 2007:

Recommended read: The Little Food Book – You Are What You Eat

I spent the last 2 weeks on a beach resort in beautiful Tunisia, doing pretty much nothing, just like I had planned.

Taking it easy on the beach in Tunisia
Taking it easy on the beach in Tunisia

Tunisia is a perfect place to relax, as long as you stay away from the Medina‘s where people will try anything to get you into their store to buy their overpriced junk. Souvenir shopping in Tunisia involves lots of bargaining so don’t be afraid to counter their offer with like a 10th of their original “special price for you my friend” offer. (Some shops have fixed prices, which is a good indication of what the “right price” would be).

Most days involved breakfast, a game of tennis, beach, lunch, more beach, dinner, entertainment. Lather, rinse, repeat.

Suffice to say I got plenty of rest and time to read some books. One particular little book I would like to share about is The Little Food Book: You Are What You Eat by Craig Sams.

The Little Food Book

Here’s a short description of what this book is about:

30,000 Americans a year die of obesity, more than the total annual toll of motor accidents, firearms, drugs and alcohol combined. The World Health Organization estimates there are 500,000 pesticide-related poisonings a year. Who controls what we eat? What happens to it before it gets to us? The Little Food Book will help you understand how by tackling the issues that affect the way we eat. Craig Sams writes with authority in this collection of mini-essays, explaining the mechanics of food production and related subjects such as organics, nutrition, hormones, pesticides and GMOs.

Do you ever really think about the food you buy in the supermarket? Where it comes from, how it was made, what’s in it?

When you get fresh vegetables and cook up a healthy veggie dish, do you know how much pesticide residue you’re eating? How about the antibiotics and hormones used to keep sick animals from dying so they can become profitable enough to be slaughtered to end up on your plate?

It seems this is one of those “people don’t know about this” issues… Then again: Obesity (not just from eating fast food, but chemical and hormone induced imbalance of our bodies), cancers, animal diseases like BSE, foot and mouth disease and avian flu. When you think about it, you just know that there is a problem with our food.

We’re messing with the food, in a way it isn’t meant to be messed with.

Just to name a few concerns:

  • Food additives: E numbers, artificial flavors (even when they call it natural flavor it’s chemical), etc. How safe are they really?
  • Intensive farming: destruction of soil for short term profit, unhealthy for both environment and consumer.
  • Genetic modification: do we even know what we’re doing here?

Unfortunately, food is big business, and when there’s money involved things tend to get messy. Organisations like the FDA are supposed to look out for consumer health interests, but it is politically outgunned because corporate campaign contributions and powerful lobbyists speak louder voice than even clearly documented science (link).

So what can we do?

Well, I’m trying to buy fresh or processed Organic foods (also called biological food in Europe).

Organic food
Organic food (and no, it’s not just vegetables)

I’m already seeing a steady increase of organic foods in my local supermarket, and I’m happy to buy it to voice my opinion (you know how loyalty cards work right?), even though it’s more expensive for most products (up to 50% even).

In my opinion governments should subsidize organic food (instead of subsidizing burgers, a burger without subsidies would cost about 3 times the price you pay now…). Healthy people benefit a country immensely, if only for the gigantic reduction in health costs.

Anyway, don’t take my word for it. Investigate! Check the labels on your food and look up what’s in it. It’s important to know vegetable fat is not the same as vegetable oil, and a bio chicken is not just a chicken with more space to run around.

Is the world flat or round?

Flat World?

Have you ever had someone ask you a simple question, and you find out you’ve never really thought about that particular issue and don’t really know the answer?

One of the co-hosts of The View, Sherri Sheppherd, said she didn’t believe in evolution so co-host Whoopi Goldberg asked her if she believed the world was flat or round.

The video here, including a partial transcript.

Crazy, you’d think something like this is common knowledge.

Link via BoingBoing

Shocking Pac-Man: How our brains respond to an approaching menace

Related: , , , , , Posted in random posts on Aug 27, 2007 - comment 2 comments
Pac-Man

Wellcome Trust scientists have identified for the first time how our brain’s response changes the closer a threat gets.

From the article:

When faced with a threat – such as a large bear – humans, like other animals, alter their behaviour depending on whether the threat is close or distant. This is because different defence mechanisms are needed depending on whether, for example, the bear is fifty feet away, when being aware of its presence may be enough, or five feet away, when we might need to fight or run away.

To investigate what happens in the brain in such a situation, researchers at the Wellcome Trust Centre for Neuroimaging at University College London created a game where subjects were chased through a maze by an artificial predator – if caught, they would receive a mild electric shock. The researchers then measured their brain activity using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI).

In short, the closer the threat, the more we rely on primitive behaviour for quick-response survival mechanisms (fight, flee, etc) instead of planning our response strategies to the threat.

Check Science Magazine for more on this.

Link via Boing Boing

Frog cleans stomach by ejecting it

Related: , , , , Posted in random posts on Aug 22, 2007 - comment 0 comments

Pink Tentacle reports about a video clip from Trivia no Izumi, in which you can see how frogs cope with severe indigestion.

After a disagreeable meal, a frog can empty its stomach by ejecting the entire organ inside-out through its mouth and washing it with its front legs before swallowing it back down.

Frog throws up his own stomach
Frog throws up his own stomach

The host of the show explains that a frog throws up in much the same way that humans do, but its stomach pops out because of its relatively wide and soft esophagus. Incidentally, some people believe frogs are right-handed because the ejected stomach protrudes to the right and they mainly use their right front leg to wash it.

Short links for August 9th, 2007

Some interesting things I bookmarked on del.icio.us on August 9th, 2007:

  • I’m Elton Johning Today – We’re pleased at CDM to introduce a new verb: to Elton John will hereby mean to unplug from the Web in order to do creative work.
  • Largest-known planet befuddles scientists – The largest planet ever discovered is also one of the strangest and theoretically should not even exist, scientists say.
  • Autodesk AliasStudio Personal Learning Edition – Autodesk® AliasStudio&trade Personal Learning Edition is a special version providing free access for non-commercial use. Autodesk AliasStudio Personal Learning Edition offers almost every feature included in the full commercial version of Autodesk® Studio
  • Woodstock for sale – Mr. Yasgur, now a cultural icon, allowed 40 acres of his 1,100 acre farm in upstate New York, to be used for Woodstock, thus making the musical and cultural event of the century possible.
  • Google News to add user comments – We wanted to give you a heads-up on a new, experimental feature we’ll be trying out on the Google News home page. Starting this week, we’ll be displaying reader comments on stories in Google News, but with a bit of a twist…
  • Cornell University becomes newest partner in Library Project – “In its quest to be the world’s land-grant university, Cornell strives to serve the scholarly and research needs of those beyond the campus,” said Cornell President David J. Skorton.
  • HTTP errors – Inspired by Goopymart’s “Teh Internets”, here’s an illustrated set of common http error codes for use on your blog or site or what have you.
  • Memorial Sculptures – One-of-a-kind, hansculpted, newborn art dolls, created by artist J. Stocks-Dearborn.
  • Boycott Regal Cinemas – Free Culture @ NYU is joining the call for a chain wide boycott of Regal Cinemas over their draconian punishment of a 19 year-old girl caught taping 20 seconds of the Transformers film.