“Don’t dump that”
“Don’tDumpThat is all about helping people reduce the amount of perfectly useful but otherwise unwanted household items going into landfill sites. By registering in a local Don’tDumpThat forum, you can post items you no longer want so that other Don’tDumpThat members who do want them, can take them off your hands.
By recycling those things we no longer need to others, we can reduce waste, spend less, save energy and preserve the Earth for future generations. The ultimate aim is to reduce the amount of reusable and recyclable things we throw away that end up in landfill sites.”
A friend directed me to this site – and I think it’s a great idea. There is even an active forum in my area so with any luck I’ll be able to find new homes for some of my clutter.
“Australian researchers have combined art and science to make dresses from fermented fabric, using bacteria to ‘grow’ slimy dresses from wine and beer.”
The process involves the use of an inflatable doll which, I have to admit, I haven’t seen in many lab supplies catalogues!
How Do You Get Crabs From A Gorilla?
“If you’re at all curious about the secret that pubic lice have been keeping for over three million years, the tale of a mysterious liaison between our ancestors and the ancestors of gorillas – read on.”
This is a fascinating essay, by Carl Zimmer, about the co-evolution of parasites and hosts. Here’s something I didn’t know this morning: We did not get pubic lice from other hominids. We got them from the ancestors of gorillas.
Total lunar eclipse
This evening I have been putting my binoculars to use to view the total lunar eclipse. During “totality” the Moon appeared reddish in colour. Beautiful.
If the Earth had no atmosphere the Moon would become invisible when it fully entered the Earth’s shadow. However, light refracted and scattered through the atmosphere can still illuminate the Moon, though with far reduced brightness. If the Earth were viewed from the surface of the Moon during a total lunar eclipse, then a black disc surrounded by a bright red ring would be seen. It is the light from this ring that we see reflected by the Moon’s surface – hence it appears a coppery red.
Where the total lunar eclipse was visible (Image: BBC)
At the moment I don’t seem to be able to avoid meerkats, thanks to the BBC. Not that I want to – they make far more fascinating viewing than most of the usual crap on the telly. I can see why they are such popular animals – their illicit pregnancies, wayward children, and neighbourhood rivalries are very Soap Opera-ish (and how we love to anthropomorphise!).
This article is an overview of the research being done by the behavioural ecologist Tim Clutton-Brock and his colleagues – and gives quite a good summary of the science behind the Soap.
Meerkat fight (Image: Andrew Young)
“Bubble-chamber images reveal the unseen beauty of particle physics”
Lylie Fisher, a young artist from San Francisco with a fascination for bubble chambers, has taken original images of bubble tracks from the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center archives and made artworks from them.
The article also gives a handy history of bubble chambers – now largely relegated to the dustbin of particle physics history, replaced by more powerful, computerised accelerators. Well worth a read.
“How the ‘Plastic’ Brain Rewires Itself”
“By exposing mice that had been closeted in complete darkness for days to light, Italian researchers have determined why adult brains lose the plasticity of younger brains. Their findings… provide further evidence that a certain class of drugs may one day be used to successfully treat degenerative nerve diseases like Alzheimer’s and Huntington’s.”