November 26, 2010
Movie poster quiz: Can you guess the movie from just one letter?
[via Joe Peach]
From the website:
The perfect solution to a smelly problem.
These treated granules absorb moisture and odors.
Used to treat books, papers, clothing or other inanimate objects, they will remove cigarette smoke, mildew odors, and general mustiness.
The granules are an inert and highly absorbent material which look like brown couscous and have an organic base.
All natural. Non-toxic. Made in the USA.
- Put a layer of granules in an airtight plastic container and seal the book up for at least 2 weeks.
- The length of time depends on the harshness of the odor.
- The granules last for about 6 months or more, depending on how much you use them.
- When they are spent, you can add them to your compost pile, they are biodegradable.
The site quotes four favorable reviews of the stuff, in each case linked to a book dealer's website.
One pound: $16.
[via Cary Sternick]
When snakes fly
First it was squid, and now come reptiles to claim their rightful place in the air.
Watch them soar here.
From Marc Kaufman's November 23, 2010 Washington Post story:
An unusual breed of Asian snakes can glide long distances in the air, and the Department of Defense is funding research at Virginia Tech to find out why.
Most animals that glide do so with fixed wings or a wing-like part. But not the "flying snakes" of Southeast Asia, India and southern China — at least five members of the genus Chrysopelea.
As video of the reptiles shows, they undulate from side to side, in almost an air-slithering, to create an aerodynamic system. It allows them to travel from the top of the biggest trees in the region (almost 200 feet high) to a spot about 780 feet away from the tree's trunk.
"Basically . . . they become one long wing," said John Socha, the Virginia Tech researcher who has traveled extensively in Asia to study the snakes and to film them.
"The snake is very active in the air, and you can kind of envision it as having multiple segments that become multiple wings," he said. "The leading edge becomes the trailer and then the trailer become the leading edge."
It gets stranger. During a technique not yet understood, some of the snakes can actually turn in air. What's more, they all take a flying leap off their perch to get airborne, then drop for a while to pick up speed before starting the motion that keeps them aloft much longer than they would otherwise.
The snakes, Socha said, spend most of their lives in the trees. They are between 2 and 3 feet long and about as wide as a finger. The larger snakes, he said, generally cannot glide as far as the smaller ones.
Here is a link to the abstract of Socha's latest paper, which appears in the current issue of Bioinspiration and Biomimetics.
You can read the paper in its entirety here (free, the way we like it).
Here, an editorial in the current issue of Bioinspiration and Biomimetics exploring the topic of natural flight and its "startling diversity" as well as investigations of robotic flight.
Here, a May 5, 2005 Journal of Experimental Biology (JEB) article about the flying snakes and Socha's early work in characterizing them.
At the conclusion of the JEB article you will find links to the abstracts and full texts of two of Socha's 2005 papers published in JEB and forming the basis for the 2005 article cited above.
[via Richard Kashdan]
French Fry Color Chart
From Adam Kuban's November 6, 2007 seriouseats.com story:
"Called the Munsell USDA Frozen French Fry Standard, 'this fast, easy visual color reference helps ensure perfectly cooked fries every time.'"
[via Brenden I. Koerner]
Annotate any web page
Since even I can use it, you know it must be simple.
Free, the way we like it.
Requires Safari 5.0.1.
[via Cary Sternick]
From a review in this past Monday's Washington Post: "Sixth-graders said this game, a version of the classic word game, took a little while to master. Line up the electronic squares until they show five random letters, then race to rearrange the letters into as many word combinations as possible. Because it beeps when you make a word, sometimes you 'learn new words' when playing, the kids said. The score at the end tells you how many words you made vs. the total number possible."
Drive yourself crazy.
Hummingbird photography by Tony Markle
Writes Markle, "I have been taking photos for many years, but since taking early retirement in 1996, have concentrated mainly on wildlife on Vancouver Island. Fortunately, I discovered a few locations where Bald Eagles go to bathe, and have shot many images of them over the past five years while concealed in blinds as they carry out this secretive behaviour."
"Luckily, we also get several hundred Rufous Hummingbirds which end their northern migration at our property. It is amusing to capture their behavior as they prepare their nests and raise their young before heading back to Mexico."
News Clutch Bag
"Fashion pages from the New York Times and Los Angeles Times have been recycled and coated with soft matte laminate to create this fun fashion accessory."