« May 30, 2010 | Main | June 1, 2010 »

May 31, 2010

Helpful Hints from joeeze: Peeling a banana

Reader Kitten commented on the March 16, 2010 Banana Peeler post, "Actually.... If you peel a banana from the bottom up instead of the top down (like da monkees), it prevents those annoying peel-strings, too."

Excellent, Kitten.

Not 32 minutes later Diana McLellan — yes, THAT Diana McLellan, wha choo tink, dis a high-class blog, mon — chimed in, "Joe, if you ever watch a monkey peel a banana, you know the right way: Do not tackle the end with the stem. Instead, pinch the other end. It will crack open. Then just peel down. Nature's way. Gadget? Hrumph. Like a gadget for picking your nose."

Don't get me started, Diana....

[video up top via Kelly Jo Garner, aka The Hungry Photographer]

May 31, 2010 at 04:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (4) | TrackBack

Copper Watering Can


Designed by Aldo Bakker for Thomas Eyck, it was one of many examples of the emerging superleggera (super light) style unveiled at last month's Milan Furniture Fair.

May 31, 2010 at 03:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

BehindTheMedspeak: CSI Bacteria

Long March 16, 2010 Associated Press story short: "Each one of us leaves a unique trail of bugs behind as we travel through our daily lives."

FunFact: "The average human hand contains about 150 species of bacteria with only about 13% shared by any two people."

Here's the article.


Forensic Role For Bacteria?

Warning to criminals: Rubbing out your fingerprints may no longer be enough. Your germs could still give you away.

It turns out the colonies of bacteria that live on people's hands are highly personal to each individual.

That means forensic experts could one day use those bacteria to prove who has touched an object, researchers report in Tuesday's edition of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

"Each one of us leaves a unique trail of bugs behind as we travel through our daily lives. While this project is still in its preliminary stages, we think the technique could eventually become a valuable new item in the toolbox of forensic scientists,'' lead author Noah Fierer, of the University of Colorado, said in a statement.

In one test, the researchers swabbed computer mice that hadn't been used in 12 hours and compared the bacteria with those collected from the hands of the computer owner and 270 other randomly chosen people. The closest match was to the computer owner.

In addition to smudged fingerprints, the technique may also be useful in determining who has touched things like fabrics and highly textured materials, the researchers said.

Overall, the researchers said, their technique was between 70% and 90% accurate. Researchers said accuracy is expected to improve as the technique becomes more sophisticated.

This analysis is something that scientists couldn't have done even two years ago, noted Prof. Fierer, an assistant professor in the ecology and evolutionary biology department at Colorado.

The average human hand contains about 150 species of bacteria with only about 13% shared by any two people, the research team found in earlier studies.

The new research was funded by the National Science Foundation, the National Institutes of Health, the Crohn's and Colitis Foundation of America and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute.

Here's the article.


Lead author Fierer told USA Today, "We're just coated in bacteria." 

But, said Fierer, "I don't think at this point any criminals need to be worried about leaving bacteria on objects."

Which leads me to wonder if smart transgressors of the 2020s will recolonize themselves with the bacteria of their prospective targets prior to beginning their nefarious activities.

Sounds a lot less expensive (and painful) than having one's fingerprints erased.


Here's the abstract of the paper cited above.


Forensic identification using bacterial skin communities

Recent work has demonstrated that the diversity of skin-associated bacterial communities is far higher than previously recognized, with a high degree of interindividual variability in the composition of bacterial communities. Given that skin bacterial communities are personalized, we hypothesized that we could use the residual skin bacteria left on objects for forensic identification, matching the bacteria on the object to the skin-associated bacteria of the individual who touched the object. Here we describe a series of studies de-monstrating the validity of this approach. We show that skin-associated bacteria can be readily recovered from surfaces (including single computer keys and computer mice) and that the structure of these communities can be used to differentiate objects handled by different individuals, even if those objects have been left untouched for up to 2 weeks at room temperature. Furthermore, we demonstrate that we can use a high-throughput pyrosequencing-based ap-proach to quantitatively compare the bacterial communities on objects and skin to match the object to the individual with a high degree of certainty. Although additional work is needed to further establish the utility of this approach, this series of studies introduces a forensics approach that could eventually be used to independently evaluate results obtained using more traditional forensic practices.


More on the work here.

May 31, 2010 at 02:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Coin Flash Drive


"What, me, a flash drive? Of course not, I know you can't bring those in here."


4GB; USB 2.0; hides in plain sight.


1-3/8"Ø x 3/8"H.



May 31, 2010 at 01:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Helpful Hints from joeeze: How to get sticky liquids off your measuring spoons


Before measuring small amounts of sticky liquids like honey or corn syrup, run the measuring spoons under hot water.

A heated spoon makes sticky liquids flow more freely, helping them release more easily and completely from the spoon's surfaces.

[via the May & June 2010 issue of Cook's Illustrated]

May 31, 2010 at 12:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Hippie Chic Bag


Better have a trust fund....

$7,850 at Bottega Veneta boutiques everywhere.

May 31, 2010 at 11:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack

How to start a fire with water

"This formula known as Negative-X will burst into green flames with a few drops of water."

May 31, 2010 at 10:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

LED Zipper Light


From the website:



Combines a functional zipper pull with a bright LED light.

7/8" x 3/4" x 1/2".

Easy-twist on/off switch.

Attaches easily.

Requires 1 CR927 battery (4 included).


Two for $5.99.

You say you need red ones to protect your night vision?

No problema.


Same price.

May 31, 2010 at 09:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack

« May 30, 2010 | Main | June 1, 2010 »