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July 6, 2009

21st-century alchemy: Hydrogen from urine


Maybe even better than gold from lead and other long sought, as yet unrealized dreams of transformation.

An aside: By the time turning lead into gold happens, both elements will have exactly the same value — zero.

The accommplishment will be the subject of a report that alludes to a dream of long ago.

But I digress.

From a group led by chemist Gerardine Botte of Ohio University comes a report (just published in the Royal Society of Chemistry's journal Chemical Communications) that hydrogen has been produced from urine.

According to a July 3, 2009 story on PhysOrg.com, "Urine's major constituent is urea, which incorporates four hydrogen atoms per molecule — importantly, less tightly bonded than the hydrogen atoms in water molecules."

"Botte uses electrolysis to break the molecule apart, developing an inexpensive new nickel-based electrode to selectively and efficiently oxidise the urea. To break the molecule down, a voltage of 0.37V needs to be applied across the cell — much less than the 1.23V needed to split water."


"'During the electrochemical process the urea gets adsorbed on to the nickel electrode surface, which passes the electrons needed to break up the molecule,' Botte told Chemistry World."

"Botte believes the technology could be easily scaled-up to generate hydrogen while cleaning up the effluent from sewage plants. 'We do not need to reinvent the wheel as there are already electrolysers being used in different applications.'"

More about this potentially world-changing work here and here.

Below, Botte with a small-scale working model powered by ammonia. 


It makes an estimated 1kg of hydrogen,


providing energy equal to that from a gallon of gasoline, for 90 cents.

[via Milena]

July 6, 2009 at 04:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Man Wall — Are you a man? Do you have a wall? Well, then...


The whole man cave shtick takes a great leap forward with this formidable potential addition to your hidey-hole.


"You get four TVs, a 1200-watt Panasonic 5.1 home theater system, DVD player with 5-disc changer, iPod docking station, a keg-o-rator, microwave oven, two cigar humidors, 32-bottle wine rack and — get this — a 7-foot long sports ticker with its own computer built into it," wrote Doug Aamoth in a July 1, 2009 CrunchGear story.


The entry level model described and pictured above and below costs $14,900.


You can add whatever suits your fancy — or fantasy.


More/bigger TVs, sound system upgrade, your favorite team colors, the sky's the limit.


Co-inventor Vince Caruso told the Wall Street Journal's David Biderman, "My wife loves it because there're no cords or wires... that's how you're supposed to pitch it to them."


Good luck.


Apply within.

July 6, 2009 at 03:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (12) | TrackBack

Sarychev Volcano Eruption from the International Space Station

"A fortuitous orbit of the International Space Station allowed the astronauts this striking view of Sarychev Volcano (Kuril Islands, northeast of Japan) in an early stage of eruption on June 12, 2009. Sarychev Peak is one of the most active volcanoes in the Kuril Island chain, and it is located on the northwestern end of Matua Island."

[via Milena and Yes, I Can't See You]

July 6, 2009 at 02:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Toilet paper is the new book


Just when you though it was time to call a Code Blue for words on dead trees.

Here's Rocky Casale's New York Times "The Moment" blog item to ask, "Who says print is dead?"


Novel Idea — Bathroom Reading


Who says print is dead? Koji Suzuki, the Tokyo-based author of smash-hit horror novels like the "The Ring," has found a new publishing medium: toilet paper. Suzuki has teamed with Hayashi Paper Company, which makes novelty printed paper products for public restrooms, to manufacture rolls of toilet tissue stamped with a nine-chapter horror novella called “Drop.” The story, about a goblin living in a public restroom, places the reader at the center of the tale, and each roll contains several copies of the novella so that you can easily pick up the narrative where you left off. (A friend of mine in Tokyo said it’s so scary, she was frightened to be alone in the bathroom.) A roll of “Drop” costs 210 yen, which, at just over $2, is a fair price for disposable art.

July 6, 2009 at 01:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

What's irking Sarah Palin?


According to Jim Carlton's story in today's Wall Street Journal, Palin mentioned in her bombshell resignation announcement last Friday that she'd been rankled by the nonstop attacks "... by bloggers and activists" and "... accused them of offering up 'silly accusations' and even mocking her infant son, Trig, who has Down syndrome."

Her exact words from a transcript: "I think much of it has to do with the kids seeing their baby brother Trig mocked by some pretty mean-spirited adults recently."

Continued Carlton in his WSJ article, "Several days ago, a photo [top] appeared on a blog showing Gov. Palin holding a baby with the superimposed head of a conservative talk-show host. The governor's spokeswoman said the blogger, Linda Kellen Biegel, 'should be ashamed of herself.' Ms. Biegel said the photo was intended as a parody of the talk-show host and in no way meant to disparage Trig, which 'never even crossed my mind.'"

The Photoshop creation above by a blogger named Dr. Chill showing the head of Eddie Burke first appeared on Biegel's blog, Celtic Diva's Blue Oasis.

It then became a political hot piñata after it was reposted on the Conservatives4Palin blog on June 24, 2009.

Adding fuel to the fire is this Photoshop creation,


a Palin+Burke mashup which appeared on Biegel's blog last Tuesday, June 30, 2009.

I must say that I don't understand why anyone would desire to hold office and have power over anyone else.

To me, that's the last thing anyone in a position of power should be seeking.

As in the case of Cincinnatus, called to rule Rome as dictator in 458 B.C. when all he wanted to do was work on his farm, power should be conferred only on those who would prefer not having it.

Those are the only people I trust.

And for those of you troubled by the fact that this post focused on conservative Republicans without a mention of those across the aisle — this one's


for you.

July 6, 2009 at 12:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Marc Newson Fractal Necklace


His diamond and sapphire one-of-a-kind piece was created for Boucheron.

It was inspired by Newson's obsession with the Julia sets of fractals discovered by Gaston Julia in the early 1900s.

The necklace "... contains around 2000 pavé stones and took the company's craftspeople 1,500 hours to realize using rapid-prototyping technology and a minimal three-prong setting, so the stones appear to float on the wearer's throat," wrote Sandra Ballentine in the New York Times "The Moment" blog.

Said Newson, "I wasn't thinking luxury at all, but the technical rigorousness of the piece, as well as the sheer number of stones that went into it will probably make this one of the most expensive necklaces Boucheron's ever made."

Apply within.

July 6, 2009 at 11:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Lüscher Color Test


Commented Flautist on yesterday's Munsell Hue Test post, "Was there ever a post here on the Lüscher (mit umlauts) color test?"

My response last evening: Not yet — but not never.

July 6, 2009 at 10:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Cheeseburger in a Can — Finally, a meaningful answer to the question*, 'I can has cheezburger?'


Long story short: A man named Honk ("Horse" is so 19th/20th century) from the Something Awful forums "took the plunge, bought the cheeseburger and documented the experience."


Here is his story.



As I am in Germany I just checked if there is a store carrying these products, and there really is a store having "Trekking Mahlzeiten" [top] just 5 minutes away. So, in my lunchbreak I'll check if they have the canned cheeseburger, buy it and open it (and if they don't have them then I will order one). Then I alone will know the secret of what really is in there.


Boiling the can is how you cook it.


Ready to open.



It tastes...








Very bland,


kind of like


pre-made tomato sauce


and a bitter aftertaste.


The bottom bun is soggy.

I'm not sick and I say I would eat this thing again if it weren't so expensive. And I really must say that this probably is far better when you're many kilometers away from civilization on top of some mountain and you can whip out a cheeseburger with nearly the same quality as a McDonald's cheeseburger while your friend eats dry bread or power bars.


[via Milena]


July 6, 2009 at 09:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

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