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Coctail Photomicrography
Topic: Science 3:13 pm EST, Jan 17, 2008

My absinthe research continues, and I happened across an alcohol-related page of an optical microscopy website, of all things. The picture at right is a Tequila Sunrise.

We have found these cocktails to be one of the most difficult subjects for photomicrography (photography with a microscope) that we have ever encountered. In our system, we must crystallize or orient the sample so that polarized light will be refracted as it passes through--giving us the beautiful patterns that we typically see with this type of microscopy. Unfortunately getting pure tequila (or its counterparts) to crystallize has proven to be extremely difficult. Without divulging all of our tricks, we have found methods (such as cooling with liquid nitrogen) that can be used to force crystallization on the most stubborn specimens. This gallery represents a significant part of our efforts in this arena.

Coctail Photomicrography - Reviews
Topic: Miscellaneous 9:07 pm EST, Jan 14, 2008

Each wine put forth some stiff competition, and the judging was difficult. The bottom line: these wines are all horrible. We did the research so you can stay away from them.

[Wild Irish Rose] The thorn in your hangover is a wild rose from Ireland. Bottled by Canandaigua Wine in Chanadaigua, NY, the same company as Cisco. Like its brother Cisco, "Wild I" definitely has some secret additives that go straight to the cranium. Another web page claims that this foul beverage is a conspiracy by the republicans to kill the homeless.

[Thunderbird] If your taste buds are shot, and you need to get trashed with a quickness, then "T-bird" is the drink for you. Or, if you like to smell your hand after pumping gas, look no further than Thunderbird. As you drink on, the bird soars higher while you sink lower.

WARNING: This light yellow liquid turns your lips and mouth black! A mysterious chemical reaction similar to disappearing-reappearing ink makes you look like you've been chewing on hearty clumps of charcoal.

[Cisco] Known as "liquid crack," for its reputation for wreaking more mental havoc than the cheapest tequila. Something in this syrupy hooch seems to have a synapse-blasting effect not unlike low-grade cocaine. The label insists that the ingredients are merely "citrus wine & grape wine with artificial flavor & artificial color," but anyone who has tried it knows better. Tales of Cisco-induced semi-psychotic fits are common. Often, people on a Cisco binge end up curled into a fetal ball, shuddering and muttering paranoid rants. Nudity and violence may well be involved too.

In 1991, Cisco's tendency to cause a temporary form of inebriated insanity led the Federal Trade Commission to require its bottlers to print a warning on the label (above right). The FTC also forced them to drop their marketing slogan, "Takes You by Surprise," even though it was entirely accurate.

[Night Train Express] The night train runs only one route: sober to stupid with no roundtrip tickets available, and a strong liklihood of a train wreck along the way. This trainyard favorite is vinted and bottled by E&J Gallo Winery, in in Modesto, CA. Don't bother looking on their web page, because they dare not mention it there.

[Jeppson's Malört] ...the flavor is a mixture of tussin, nail polish remover, gasoline, bug spray, varnish remover, and metal with a hint of herbs. The taste powerfully lingers for at least ten minutes.

[Buckfast Tonic Wine] Buckfast was thick, with a strong taste of molasses. There was also a hint of some type of herb reminiscent of oregano, and a soapy aftertaste.

[White Ace] Our reporter brought a 3 liter jug of "White Ace" cider back to the states, which is 7% alcohol per volume and only about $3.50 US for the whole 3 liter jug. When the test subject drank the whole bottle of "White Ace," in Las Vegas, the effects were severe. He got kicked out of 4 Queens casino for washing his hands in a urinal, then fell asleep for 3 hours and woke up soaked in his own urine. He woke up and got into a 6 year old's pirate costume, ran around slapping gamblers in the gut, got kicked out of The Imperial Palace, and became so obnoxious that his friends put him on a plane and sent him home early. - Reviews

Did Insects Kill the Dinosaurs?
Topic: Science 10:43 am EST, Jan 11, 2008

Among other things in their lode, they've found ticks, nematodes, biting flies and all sorts of other nasties, including intestinal parasites, dating back to the Cretaceous period. From some of the insects, the Poinars have extracted microbes that cause leishmania and malaria — evidently new pathogens back then, against which dinosaurs wouldn't have had much resistance.

The authors aren't arguing that the dinos all died in a massive epidemic; rather, the constant wear and tear of illness weakened the dinosaurs so that other catastrophes, like comets and volcanoes, could have finished them off. Still, the Poinars couldn't resist a bit of made-for-Hollywood drama. One great quote from the book: "The largest of the land animals, the dinosaurs, would have been locked in a life-or-death struggle with [insects] for survival."

Did Insects Kill the Dinosaurs?

Colossal Black Hole Shatters the Scales
Topic: Science 10:03 am EST, Jan 11, 2008

The most massive black hole in the universe tips the cosmic scales at 18 billion times more massive than the sun, astronomers suggest today at a meeting of the American Astronomical Society. Even though researchers suggested black holes up to this mass might exist in quasars, this is the first direct confirmation of such a behemoth. The hefty gravity well is six times more massive than the previous record and is orbited by a smaller black hole, which allowed the measurement of the giant's mass.

Colossal Black Hole Shatters the Scales

Galaxy Blasts Neighbor with Deadly Jet
Topic: Science 9:42 am EST, Dec 18, 2007

For the first time astronomers have witnessed a supermassive black hole blasting its galactic neighbor with a deadly beam of energy.

The deadly galaxy — the largest of two in a system known as 3C321 — is aiming the high-energy jet from its center at a smaller galaxy 20,000 light-years away from it, or roughly the distance from Earth to the Milky Way's core. Both galaxies are situated about 1.4 billion light-years away from Earth.

Galaxy Blasts Neighbor with Deadly Jet

Google's "Knol"
Topic: Miscellaneous 10:13 am EST, Dec 17, 2007

Encouraging people to contribute knowledge
Udi Manber

Earlier this week, we started inviting a selected group of people to try a new, free tool that we are calling "knol", which stands for a unit of knowledge. Our goal is to encourage people who know a particular subject to write an authoritative article about it. The tool is still in development and this is just the first phase of testing. For now, using it is by invitation only. But we wanted to share with everyone the basic premises and goals behind this project.

Google's "Knol"

Bipartisan PRO IP Bill Turns White House Into Hollywood's Private Enforcement Agency
Topic: Technology 10:14 am EST, Dec 14, 2007

bold = Stefanie's

from the please-explain-why? dept

Every time you think that the tide is turning and people are beginning to realize the ridiculousness of overly burdensome IP laws, some politicians start doing the dirty work of Hollywood's worst lobbyists. The latest may be the most ridiculous yet -- though, it certainly wasn't unexpected.

Remember how NBC Universal execs started whining about how law enforcement's priorities were all screwed up, since they were focused on pointless things like burglary and bankrobbing rather than copyright violations? That was merely the starting point in a lobbying campaign for the new PRO IP (Prioritizing Resources and Organization for Intellectual Property Act) bill that has been introduced with backing of both top Republicans and Democrats.

As the bill's not particularly subtle name makes clear, this law is all about giving Hollywood much of what it has been asking for. Rather than decreasing the ridiculous fines that can be handed out for copyright infringement, this law would increase them. But, more importantly, it sets up a brand new gov't agency within the executive branch to help crack down on "piracy." This despite increasing evidence that "piracy" isn't a problem for the economy at all -- but rather a problem for a few big companies with obsolete business models (who just happen to have tremendous lobbying clout) who are too lazy to even bother trying to adapt to a changing market place.

This bill isn't just corporate welfare. It would be creating an entire government agency whose sole job it would be to protect the unnecessary and obsolete business model of a few dying companies while stifling innovative tools and services at every turn. It would help to kill off our creative industries by falsely assuming that creativity needs to be funneled through a few big companies. It's a disgusting travesty of the political process.

Bipartisan PRO IP Bill Turns White House Into Hollywood's Private Enforcement Agency

Microsoft’s Hyper-V Beta Arrives Early
Topic: Technology 10:06 am EST, Dec 14, 2007

Microsoft announced Thursday it has released the first beta of its Hyper-V server virtualization hypervisor, previously codenamed "Viridian." It wasn't expected until early next year. The first beta release runs on the x64 version of Windows Server 2008 Enterprise Edition. Microsoft released pre-beta code in the form of a community technology preview, or CTP, for what's now known as Hyper-V in September.

Each VM can also support up to four virtual SCSI drives and 64GB of memory per VM, according to company statements. Additionally, beta integration components are available for SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 10 SP1 x86 and x64 Edition.

Microsoft’s Hyper-V Beta Arrives Early

Jason Whitlock on Michael Vick: 'Blank's a hero, Petrino gets a pass'
Topic: Society 4:03 pm EST, Dec 13, 2007

Whitlock has an interesting take on the Atlanta Falcons' current situation.

America's refusal to allow ex-cons to re-enter our society and workforce is one of the biggest crises facing minority men.

Some people want Michael Vick locked out of the NFL forever. I don't.

You take away a man's dream forever and you create a hopeless, dangerous man. When you do it to a group of young men (black and brown men), you create a hopeless, dangerous culture.

What are the Falcons supposed to do, paint a portrait of Vick on a cross at the 50-yard line?

If there's a Vicktim in any of this, it's Arthur Blank. He gave Vick the $130 million contract, made him a franchise quarterback and rationalized Vick's missteps. Blank was influenced by all the Vick apologists who claimed any criticism of the misguided, video-game-playing, weed-smoking, unprepared quarterback was a product of racism.

Blank went down with Michael Titanic, trading away Matt Schaub before this season. Vick created such a mess in Atlanta that Bobby Petrino ran away from the organization like the Colts leaving Baltimore, in the middle of the night under the cover of darkness.

Jason Whitlock on Michael Vick: 'Blank's a hero, Petrino gets a pass'

South Korean scientists clone cats that glow in the dark.
Topic: Science 3:07 pm EST, Dec 13, 2007

South Korean scientists have cloned cats by manipulating a fluorescent protein gene, a procedure which could help develop treatments for human genetic diseases, officials said Wednesday. In a side-effect, the cloned cats glow in the dark when exposed to ultraviolet beams.

"The ability to produce cloned cats with the manipulated genes is significant as it could be used for developing treatments for genetic diseases and for reproducing model (cloned) animals suffering from the same diseases as humans," it added. The technology can also help clone endangered animals like tigers, leopards, and wildcats, Kong said.

Biological hacking = no more boring pets.

South Korean scientists clone cats that glow in the dark.

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