The miracle of Hanukkah, according to Jewish tradition, is that there was only enough holy oil in the Temple in Jerusalem to burn for one day, but it lasted for eight. The above chart by Towson University professor Seth Gitter explains the event from an economics perspective.
Scrambling an egg inside its shell is nothing new, but Windell at Evil Mad Scientist Laboratories wanted to go the extra step of making a complete omelette without fully opening an egg. Here's how he planned to do it:
1. Puncture the egg with a small hole (1-5 mm) 2. Scramble the egg inside the shell, through that hole 3. Plug the hole (maybe with egg) so that the egg won't leak 4. Boil the egg for a few minutes to cook the outside part alone 5. Use a syringe to extract the (still-liquid) center 6. Fill the center with some appropriate filling 7. Plug the hole again, so that the egg won't leak 8. Return the egg to boil, to cook the raw part that is contacting our filling 9. Retrieve the egg and serve it
That turned out to be much easier said than done, and Windell had to ultimately resort to cooking the eggs in vacuum-sealed bags. At the end of the post, he proposed a number of advanced recipes, such as inverse Scotch eggs -- that's sausage injected into an egg.
The salak fruit, native to Indonesia, has an outer skin resembling that of a snake. The pulp inside divides into three edible lobes. Agriculture Guide has pictures of this fruit and fourteen other odd-looking fruits and vegetables.
Researchers in the US and UK wanted to evaluate whether or not the regional boundaries established by governments reflected how people interacted on an individual level. They used 12 billion telephone calls placed over a one month period as their data set:
This paper proposes a novel, fine-grained approach to regional delineation, based on analyzing networks of billions of individual human transactions. Given a geographical area and some measure of the strength of links between its inhabitants, we show how to partition the area into smaller, non-overlapping regions while minimizing the disruption to each person's links. We tested our method on the largest non-Internet human network, inferred from a large telecommunications database in Great Britain. Our partitioning algorithm yields geographically cohesive regions that correspond remarkably well with administrative regions, while unveiling unexpected spatial structures that had previously only been hypothesized in the literature. We also quantify the effects of partitioning, showing for instance that the effects of a possible secession of Wales from Great Britain would be twice as disruptive for the human network than that of Scotland.
The paper goes into some detail about how their findings illuminate changes in Britain's regional cultures.
Zoologists implanted frogs with radio transmitters. The result was that most of the transmitters were found in the frogs' bladders or fully excreted. Further experimentation indicated that certain species of frogs and toads have bladders that can detect, surround, and excrete foreign objects. At Wired, Dave Mosher writes:
They enlisted five green tree frogs and five cane toads, implanting small inert beads in each the same way they implanted the radio transmitters. Each tree frog expelled its bead within 23 days. One cane toad also gave its bead the boot, and the beads in the other four toads had migrated to their bladders.
To unravel the secrets of the process, the zoologists implanted beads in 31 more cane toads, toxic amphibians native to South America but introduced to northeastern Australia in 1935 to control beetle infestations. (Since then, Shine says, the toads have become invasive and poisoned populations of large predators such as pythons. As a result, ecologists now closely track their numbers and behavior.)
Toads dissected on sequential days revealed that the bladder grew a thin offshoot of cells to surround the bead, which later developed into mature, bladder-like tissue and merged with the organ’s main cavity. From there, they “floated freely in the urine” and were peed out if near the bladder’s opening.
Law and the Multiverse is a blog by attorneys James Daily and Ryan Davidson. It examines, from a realistic perspective, the legal ramifications of life depicted in superhero comics books. They go into great detail, citing specific cases and statutes.
For example, some superheroes such as Black Alice can absorb the powers of others. Would doing so expose her to liability?
One immediate consequence of viewing superpowers as property is that power-drainers like Rogue, Scrambler, or Leech may be liable for the tort of conversion and the crime of theft (or common law robbery, if you prefer) in addition to the tort and crime of battery for which they were likely already liable. This would only apply to unjustified uses of the ability, of course. Use of such powers against a willing subject or out of self-defense, defense of others, or necessity would still be justified.
But the consequences don’t stop there. If Superman uses the power of a blue sun to bestow superpowers on another person, is that a taxable asset transfer? Who would want to try to collect?
If two superheroes marry, share a power, then later divorce, could one be forced to give up the power during the division of assets? Does it matter who had the power originally? Even though the shared power may be a non-rival good, one of the two superheroes may still have a claim to exclusivity. Perhaps the power is a trademark ability of one character, or maybe they signed a superhero pre-nuptial agreement that determined the disposition of any shared abilities.
Researchers at Vanderbilt University are trying to develop robots that could perform the evaluative functions of triage nurses and doctors at hospital emergency rooms:
They envision robots, dubbed TriageBots, which would check patients in, gather their medical records, administer diagnostic tests and work with doctors to provide preliminary diagnoses and allocate medical attention according to need.
While people wait in the emergency room, they would sit in special "smart" chairs stocked with interactive diagnostic equipment that could relay more comprehensive data to medical personnel.
Based on the level of urgency, the triage bots could either immediately notify medical staff or give the patient an estimated wait time. Mobile robots would circulate around the waiting room to check on the status of patients awaiting care and reallocate priorities if necessary.
Link | Photo by Flickr user snabby used under Creative Commons license
The company SpaceX has been developing and launching rockets for a few years. But it was only today that the company launched its first commercial payload into orbit:
The launching was the first of three financed by NASA under its Commercial Orbital Transportation Services (COTS) program, an initiative intended to encourage development of private-sector rockets to deliver cargo to the International Space Station after the space shuttle is retired next year.
SpaceX has a $1.6 billion Commercial Resupply Services contract with NASA to provide 12 cargo flights to the station for delivery of more than 44,000 pounds of equipment and supplies. The contract may be expanded to cover additional flights, boosting its value to some $3.1 billion.
A man emigrated from London to New Zealand. Shortly after arriving, he was ticked for speeding. He recognized the police officer as Constable Andy Flitton, who had ticketed him for speeding in London two years before. Flitton, too, had just immigrated to New Zealand:
"He asked if I had worked in London," Constable Flitton said. "I said, 'yes'.
"He asked if I used to operate the laser gun on the A5 in north London. I said, 'yes'.
"And he said, 'I thought it was you. You gave me my last speeding ticket there two years ago'.
"The minute he said it, I remembered the whole thing," Constable Flitton told the New Zealand Herald.
"We both just had a laugh."
The man told Constable Flitton he had been in New Zealand for less than two weeks and was still looking for a place to live.
Kaylene Kau is a recent graduate of the industrial design program at the University of Washington. She built a prosthetic arm. But instead of trying to replicate the functions of a human hand, she built a functional tentacle.
For several months, the #wookieeleaks tag on Twitter has been the source of many unveiled secrets in the Star Wars universe. Lately, the activity has greatly increased. blastr has a list of some of the juiciest revelations that have come out.
Architects Andreas Claus Schnetzer and Pils Gregor designed "Slumtube" -- an affordable house built out of discarded shipping pallets and insulated with clay and straw. It's designed to be comfortable in the widely-varying temperatures of Johannesburg, South Africa.
Marc, an engineer who lives in Miami, built a pneumatic sliding door for his home. It was inspired by the sliding doors on Star Trek: The Next Generation. An air compressor engages two 16-inch pistons to slide the door along a track. At the link, you can view detailed photos showing how Marc built it.
Douglas Allen Smith, Jr. petitioned the State of Oregon to change his name. His new name will be Captain Awesome. Pictured above is how he currently signs his name. Smith is quite consistent, signing his name the same way all four times that the single-page document requires. Presumably his new signature will be even more awesome.
Pictured above is a map of Yellowstone National Park in the United States. Most of it is within the borders of Wyoming, but northern and western slivers lie within Montana and Idaho. University of Michigan law professor Brian C. Kalt has written a paper about why the piece within Idaho is the perfect place to commit a crime. Dan Lewis summarizes:
Let's say you, heaven forbid, are charged with a crime. The Constitution itself (Article III, Section 2 for those who wish to look it up) requires that the "Trial shall be held in the State where the said Crimes shall have been committed." Pretty straight forward. The 6th Amendment requires that the jury must be "of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed." Again, pretty clear. The only confusing part, unless you're a lawyer, is probably the term "district."
The U.S. Federal Courts are divided into zones called "districts" which correlate almost perfectly with states themselves. Connecticut has one district: the District of Connecticut. New York has four, using ordinal directions, e.g. "Southern District of New York" which includes Manhattan, the Bronx, and six counties in the state. Wyoming has one, as well, which includes the entire state -- and, in addition, the parts of Yellowstone National Park which are in Idaho and Montana. And that's where the perfect crime scene appears.
So that crime you're charged with? Imagine you committed it in the part of Yellowstone which is actually in Idaho. Where would your jury come from? It would have to be from the state (Idaho) and district (the District of Wyoming) in which the crime was commited -- in other words, from that same part of Yellowstone which is in Idaho. The population of that area?
John Kestner and other MIT students designed the Proverbial Wallet. It provides tactile feedback about the state of the user's finances. Whenever there's a bank transaction, it vibrates. As the user's bank account grows, it swells. As money is depleted, it compresses. A hinge tightens as the user approaches a financial goal, discouraging further spending.
Jalapeño peppers rate about 2,500 to 5,000 on the Scoville scale of pepper hotness. The new Naga Viper, however, measures 1,359,000 Scovilles. It was developed by researchers at Warwick University in Britain who crossed the hottest peppers in the world. The Naga Viper is so hot that it's actually dangerous to eat:
"It's painful to eat," Fowler told the Daily Mail. "It's hot enough to strip paint." Indeed, the Daily Mail reports that defense researchers are already investigating the pepper's potential uses as a weapon.
But Fowler -- who makes customers sign a waiver declaring that they're of sound mind and body before trying a Naga Viper-based curry -- insists that consuming the fiery chili does the body good.
Did the movie Inception make sense to you? Me neither. But this video by YouTube user weikang helps. It shows the four different dream levels in the story simultaneously, rather than flipping back and forth between them as the movie does.
Instructables user sdudley created a frame for his Dremel rotary tool that makes it an effective, if tiny, table saw. He's provided a stencil that you can print out and use as a guide when cutting the wood.
Until recently, robots have been unable to replace human workers at the task of deboning meat due to the differences between individual pieces of meat. But the HAMDAS-R built by Mayekawa Electric can now debone ham effectively:
HAMDAS-R has made it possible to automate the processing of irregularly shaped, soft foods like meat. Until now, the use of robots for food processing hasn't progressed very much. That's because it's necessary to mechanize the techniques of skilled workers, and it's hard to mechanize tasks that rely on human hands. Another problem was that the cleaning and hygiene requirements of food processing plants made it difficult to introduce robots into such an environment. Until now, very little progress had been made in that regard, but HAMDAS-R enables those requirements to be met. So we hope this robot will expand the possibilities for automating the processing of irregularly shaped, soft types of food.
Matthew Connor of Cheshire, UK made two snowmen that look like Iron Man and Spider-Man:
Inspired by my 5 year old son's love for the Marvel Alliance characters, I made them for him. We have Spider-Man and Iron Man costumes for him, the Marvel Ultimate Alliance game for Xbox we even have the bath characters, all twelve of them, which we fight with every bath time.
The snowmen were made December 1st and 2nd 2010, in our back garden at home, in some of the lowest temperatures seen in the UK for a long time, but worth every frozen finger. Unfortunately the snow has turned to ice otherwise there might have been a Silver Surfer to send you, that's the next on the list if we have anymore snow..."
The Canadian documentary show How It's Made shows viewers how ordinary objects in their lives are created. This segment explains how crayons are made. The factory in the video can produce 30,000 crayons an hour.
The Webb Bridge is a pedestrian and cyclist bridge across the Yarra River in Melbourne, Australia. It's designed to resemble eel traps used by the Koori, a people native to New South Wales and Victoria. The bridge was constructed out of material recycled from a previous rail bridge of the same name.
via DVICE | Photo by Flickr user mugley used under Creative Commons license
The above video shows a SUV crashing through the front wall of a barbershop in Anchorage, Alaska. Shop owner Heng Song paused to make sure that no one was hurt, and then resumed cutting the hair of his customer:
He was momentarily stunned, yes, when the vehicle burst through a door and window Wednesday afternoon as he was clipping a customer's hair.
But with no one hurt, and another customer in the shop already notifying police, the 53-year-old shop owner went back to finishing the cut.
On top of that, Song gave both customers haircuts on the house. He says it's the least he could do.
When zoologists previously attempted to return a panda bear cub to the wild, the cub did not survive. They suspect that other wild pandas killed him. So this time, the researchers at China's Wolong panda preserve limited human contact as much as possible. They even dressed in panda suits while returning cubs to the preserve:
In a new strategy, earlier this year conservationists released four pregnant Pandas into a protected area of Sichuan forest in order to prepare their future cubs for life in the wild.
In these pictures researchers at Wolong's Hetaoping Research and Conservation Center take the temperature of a four-month-old cub before carefully returning him to the 'wild' where he is monitored by 24-hour CCTV.
Italian sculptor Franco Recchia builds models of cities from components of old computers. Pictured above is a representation of Central Park in New York City made from circuit boards. At the link, you can view other sculptures of New York City, Boston, and Pittsburgh.