Monday, March 3, 2014
These organisms developed along with the fetus, to a baby, to a child...etc. They aid digestion and immunity, among other functions.
Dr. Elaine Hsaio, though an award from the National Institutes of Health, is tracing how gut bacteria may control your mind.
One bacterium sends messages that link the gut to your mind through the vagus nerve. Another shapes the immune system.
Working with mice, she has shown many links between mother and developing baby. Maternal infections can affect brain development, for example.
She has even shown that when mice display autistic tendencies but are given probiotics, those tendencies can disappear.
I wonder what magic bugs this young woman has in her insides. Pretty creative. Maybe she will come up with a painting bacterium or an inventing germ.
All down in our "tummy" brain!
Monday, February 17, 2014
Now researchers at McGill's Department of Mechanical Engineering has made tougher glass. If you drop it, it sort of deforms, but does not shatter.
The scientists were taken with mollusks (this is called biomimicry--patterning after natural items). The shells of these sea creatures are 95% chalk, which is brittle as we know. But nature added nacre--mother-of-pearl--which is tiny tablets sort of like Legos.
The team studies the internal "weak" boundaries of the chalk and nacre and then used lasers to engrave networks of microcracks in glass slides to create similar weak boundaries.
Somehow--I was losing it here--this stopped the cracks from continuing to spread and become larger. The glass sort of bent rather than breaking.
This process, they say, absorbs the energy from an impact. They also say it could be scaled up--they were using the glass slides lying around the lab, but bigger sheets would work, too.
Where does bulletproof glass fit in? Tempered windshield glass? Would it ever just sproing inward, stop, and remain whole? Like in a ... cartoon?
Monday, February 10, 2014
I am writing animated comedies now--and sometimes wonder if I am benefiting society, if I ever did. But then I read about the Orange County Regional History Center's show on "The Art of Warner Bros Cartoons."
And there he was--the Wascally Wabbit! I remember my ex and my daughter on Saturdays laughing away in the living room while the Wile E. and Road blazed around the desert trying to kill each other.
This show--created by the Museum of Modern Art in NY--lauds the greats, Bob Clampett, Chuck Jones, Friz Frelend and other giants of animation.
After "Steamboat Willie" with Mickey in 1928, moving shorts (ha ha, moving shorts) became the rage. Over at the "other" place--Warner's--Merrie Melodies and Looney Tunes were "tuning up."
At Warner's, they wrote cartoons for grownups. The curator of the exhibit said kids loved thinking they were part of the joke--seeing something for grownups but safe for them.
I could not describe better how I think of my Paw & Order projects. Not that I have any business comparing myself to the people who brought you Pepe LePew.
The lesson is--you don't have to be highfalutin' to be worthwhile. In fact, it helps if you are not.
Sunday, February 2, 2014
Welcome to the world of "smellables." Smell is impossible to block--it's connected directly to the limbic system of memories and sensual reactions. Smell a perfume, remember who wore it. That sort of thing.
So now they are hawking a plug-in atomizer for smartphones--well, the Japanese are. Think about it--sushi smell in your pocket.
Or how about a puff of a scent every time your Facebook page gets a "like." Or when it's time to get up.
This thing--called Scentee--also has a grilled meat scent in case you can't afford grilled meat. Or baked potato. "Let me order in dinner...ha ha, just kidding." (That's the doohickey in the pix.)
Another biomedical engineer named David Edwards, is messing with the Ophone in his Paris-based studio. He is creating blends of different odors. "Meet me for coffee" could smell like java and pastry.
There is also a watch called the Scent Rhythm Watch, by Aisen Caro, which goes through the day sending you scents, espresso in the morning, camomile in the evening. What in the daytime? Toner? Bus exhaust?
One smell, Pop Dongle, a scent popcorn maker Pop Secret made a few devices to disperse as a promotion, was described as "queasy-making from the first puff."
A person can identify 10,000 scents, one expert said. Now that was interesting. That many?
I can see some drawbacks to this, can't you? Yes, a smell is evocative--but what if you don't want others to know what is it evoking?
Plus you won't be the only one in the room, office, or vehicle getting smexts. (I made that up--like it?)
Sunday, January 26, 2014
Well, hasn't THIS taken a long time in coming.
SW Westpac Lifesaver Helicopter sighted 1m hammerhead shark 500m offshore @ Bunker Bay, tracking north. Lifeguards have been notified & beach remains open.
Does this mean a shark a yard long 500 miles away? I am bad with the metric system.
But I must say the least these predators can do is tweet a warning.
Watch out--this may make me want Twitter. At least when they do this for bears and mountain lions.
Thursday, January 16, 2014
First in this category: Momdoms. These are condoms with a slip of motherly advice in each. Like a fortune cookie--only different.
The manufacturers say this will incite a discussion about s-e-x and how to make condoms more attractive. A word from Mom at that magic moment--a lot of people might find that ... awkward.
You decide at http:///www.springwise.com/condoms-mother-advice/
Second, Ishin-Den-Shin.This is Japanese for "what the mind thinks, the heart transmits." Disney Research has invented a way to make the body a sound transmitter. A computer connected to a handheld mic records the message, then transforms it into a sound loop that is converted to a high-voltage audio signal, then transmitted....Let's say a lot of stuff jumps from place to place...ending up at a person who can then touch another person and the sound is transmitted.
I am not sure on this one, are you? Couldn't the person hear it from the computer, not another person's activated finger? (H/T: Gizmag and WIRED)
Oh, well, I lack imagination, I guess. Did you hear that?
Wednesday, January 8, 2014
They touted it for a campaign to raise $250K to complete FDA studies on a drug to fight autoimmune diseases, an app to play whale songs and fund ocean research, and $18,700 for algae research..
Another project mentioned by WIRED was to examine Golden Eagle poo to see what they are eating. This only costs $1,600.
I went to the site and someone wanted money to replace his roof. Other projects seemed equally nice, but not really scientific.
What do you think of crowdfunding in general? I think it seems like a hard way to go. There is a time limit and the ones I have seen--including one for a great little independent film--seem impossible to fulfill.
But I guess people--sometimes--get what they need. And maybe it will be refined as time goes on.