Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Have a musical day

Watching Ice Dance at the Sochi Winter Olympics this morning, I'm wondering how or if the choice of music affects the judges' perception.  The competitors were dancing to older tunes this morning - not a bar of Eminem to be heard - but some tunes were more familiar than others - and definitely more upbeat and fun.  Did the judges think so as well?  Or are they trained not to take any notice?  I know that as the competitors danced, I was bopping along with some of the music in my head and thought those with the "best" music had done better - and the judges seemed to think so as well!  Or perhaps they were just better skaters. Hmmm.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Milk drinks

Why is it that when you buy Vanilla flavoured milk, the Vanilla doesn't sink to the bottom like Choclate does.  Just wondering ,,,

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

It's Dino DNA ...

Well, probably not, but researchers have discovered components of blood cells in a 46-million-year-old fossilized mosquito. It is the first found fossil of a blood-engorged mosquito and while it might be a Jurassic Park life-imitating-art opportunity, there is apparently no viable genetic material in the sample. Who knew that DNA has a finite life span - around 6.8 million years? The fossil was found - heavens can only guess how given the size of mosquitos - unless they were much, much bigger way back when - in Montana!

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Tourist attraction?

There's trouble in Summer Bay! No not the "Home and Away" one; it's a Resort near Florida's Disney World. Guests were given only a short time to escape when a 30m "possible sinkhole" opened at the Resort causing a building to collapse. No-one was hurt in the incident - which means the 105 folk evacuated were much luckier than Florida man Jeff Bush who died in February when the earth opened under his bedroom - swallowing it and him. Hundreds of sinkholes open up in the U.S. each year - and according to a report on news.com.au Florida's "sinkhole season" lasts from the start of the state's rainy season to the end of Summer. As Larry McKinnon, a Sheriff's Office spokesman suggested: Florida is famous for bugs, alligators, pythons, hurricanes and now sinkholes.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Words ... who's responsible?


S read me a quote from one of the blogs she was reading today and asked me to guess whose it was (the quote not the blog). She said it was someone I had been talking about only recently and that was enough for me to guess correctly ... and on my first go. The other two people it could have been were Lizzie Borden (who, although there is that ditty about her killing mother and father, was actually acquitted at trial) or Christa McAuliffe (the winner of the NASA Teacher in Space Project who was lost, together with the other six crew members, in the Space Shuttle Challenger disaster in 1986). For some reason though, it was Mother Teresa who came to mind first. I have been reading about her decision to minister to the poorest of the poor in 1946, when she was 36 and traveling on a train on her way to a retreat. I hadn't realised that the Home for the Dying she opened in 1952 afforded those who were there the opportunity to die with dignity, according to the rituals of their faiths. According to Wikipedia: "Muslims were read the Quran, Hindus received water from the Ganges, and Catholics received the Last Rites". I hadn't realised how controversial some of her views were ... for example, reportedly failing to give painkillers, even in severe cases. According to Mother Teresa's philosophy, it is "the most beautiful gift for a person that he can participate in the sufferings of Christ". It's usually the way, sometimes though isn't it that others can see both good and bad in people: Mother Teresa was honored throughout her lifetime, and afterwards, and she was even appointed an honorary Companion of the Order of Australia!


Friday, August 09, 2013

Now, where are those keys?

What will they think of next? Apparently, someone has produced an app for the iPhone (and they're planning to have it for Android-based smartphones at some point) which will keep a copy of your keys for you ... not a real copy, of course, but a virtual copy ... it takes a photograph of your keys and scans them into a diagram which a locksmith can then use to make your new keys. According to the report I read on Zite, the app is called KeyMe but it doesn't yet appear to be available from the Australian iTunes store - possibly because we do not yet have participating locksmiths. But the whole thing isn't a bad idea at all - as long as the whole thing has the right security protocols and doesn't fall into the wrong hands. Now there's an idea for a crime novel ... valet parking ... copies of keys (house and car) ... multiple robberies.

Thursday, August 08, 2013

Meat ... the future

"It tastes like despair." That was how one of the characters on "Better Off Ted" (and what did that title mean anyway?) described the meat they made in the lab at Veridian Dynamics. It was the stuff of fiction then but now it's a reality. Over the weekend food critics in London were able to sample meat that had been made in a laboratory. It apparently didn't have the same flavour as all-natural meat although that might have been due to the cooking techniques. I didn't see anyone delicately (or otherwise) discard the meat after tasting it - a la Jeff Goldblum's character in "The Fly" after he has teletransported it and found something had been lost in translation - so it seemed edible. So what now? Will it be mass-produced and be used as an off-set against carbon credits? If they can grow meat rather than graze it, surely that could significantly change the environmental outlook - especially as cattle contribute so much CO2 to the ecosystem. But, more importantly, will it come in different flavours ... colours? Pork ... lamb ... beef - and what will they call it so it's not confused with "real" meat?