December 09, 2011
Wasabi Fire Alarm wins 2011 Ig Nobel Prize in Chemistry
From a September 29, 2011 article in The Guardian: "How do you wake a deaf person in the middle of the night if there's a fire? Squirt a cloud of wasabi at them, of course. For the Japanese researchers who came up with the horseradish-based alarm system, it was a lifesaving piece of work, but on Thursday night they entered the history books with the award of the Ig Nobel prize for chemistry."
"The Japanese scientists and engineers who came up with the 50,000-yen (£400) wasabi alarm tried hundreds of odours, including rotten eggs, before settling on the Japanese condiment — a favourite of sushi lovers. Its active ingredient, ally isothicyanate, acts as an irritant in the nose that works even when someone is asleep. 'That's why [people] can wake up after inhalation of air-diluted wasabi,' said Makoto Imai of the department of psychiatry at Shiga University of Medical Science, one of the team that won this year's Ig Nobel for chemistry."
The official Ig Nobel chemistry citation:
Makoto Imai, Naoki Urushihata, Hideki Tanemura, Yukinobu Tajima, Hideaki Goto, Koichiro Mizoguchi and Junichi Murakami for determining the ideal density of airborne wasabi (pungent horseradish) to awaken sleeping people in case of a fire or other emergency, and for applying this knowledge to invent the wasabi alarm.
McIntosh Mantle Clock
From Wired: "Those needles aren't measuring watts. This is a clock, styled like a classic McIntosh stereo amp — complete with an identical faceplate and the pleasant feedback of precision analog gauges."
$1,500; apply within.
Museum of Fakes
Wrote Nathan Mattise in the December issue of Wired magazine, "You can see... fake Furbys, watches, Game Boys, and more at the Museum Plagiarius in Solingen, Germany, a gallery that showcases the nuances of knockoffs by exhibiting fakes alongside their authentic counterparts. Every year curators add to the collection by soliciting nominees for the Plagiarius Awards. Designers and manufacturers submit the offending objects, and the 'winners' earn a spot in the museum."
"This past year, a counterfeiter in Thailand replicated a Swiss Fortis watch (shown above) with such precision that it garnered a special award for falsification. The fake differs in details only the sharpest eye would notice — missing glow-in-the-dark paint on the face, smaller crowns that are buffed rather than brush-finished, and temperature scales with incorrect unit symbols. 'The expensive details are left out, but the first impression is the same,' says Christine Lacroix, the museum's managing director."
So did you spot the fake up top?
Stilton Gold — At $428 per pound, the world's most expensive Stilton
From the Wall Street Journal: "Long Clawson Dairy, of Leicestershire, in the U.K., is confident its newly produced Stilton Gold cheese — containing gold leaf and gold liqueur — is the world's most expensive Stilton at £608 per kilogram, or roughly $428 per pound. That's because there are only five Stilton producers, and their products are easy to track, says Janice Breedon, the dairy's marketing manager. Clawson introduced Stilton Gold to celebrate the dairy's centenary this year, and it has already gotten nearly 1,000 inquiries from prospective buyers."
Weapons of Mass Creation
By Justin Kamerer aka Angryblue.
Limited edition of 150 of each of his three screenprints.
From the top down: Music; Cooking; Art.
City-Data.com — Drilling way down
From the website: "We've collected and analyzed data from numerous sources to create as complete and interesting profiles of all U.S. cities as we could. We have over 74,000 city photos not found anywhere else, graphs of latest real estate prices and sales trends, recent home sales, home value estimator, hundreds of thousands of maps, satellite photos, stats about residents (race, income, ancestries, education, employment...), geographical data, state profiles, crime data, registered sex offenders, cost of living, housing, religions, businesses, local news links based on our exclusive technology, birthplaces of famous people, political contributions, city government finances and employment, weather, tornadoes, earthquakes, hospitals, schools, libraries, houses,
airports, radio and TV stations, zip codes, area codes, air pollution, latest unemployment data, time zones, water systems and their health and monitoring violations, comparisons to averages, local poverty details, professionally written city guides, car accidents, fires, bridge conditions, cell phone and other towers, mortgage data, business storefront photos, a forum and a social network with 1,200,000 registered members and 20,000,000 posts, blogs, 5,000 user-submitted facts, individual property info for millions of houses, 30,000 exclusive local business profiles with photos, restaurant inspection results, and more demographics. If you ever need to research any city, zip code, or neighborhood for any reason, from considering a move there to just checking where somebody you know is staying, this is the site for you."
There goes the day.
[via Richard Kashdan]
Exotac nanoStriker Ultra-Portable Ferrocerium Fire Starter
Attention campers: For when your matches are wet and your lighter fails.