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January 10, 2019

Earthrise 2018: The Chinese View


Above, the Earth as seen from the Longjiang-2 satellite, in lunar orbit.

The Arabian peninsula, flanked by the Red Sea and the Persian Gulf, is clearly visible.

The satellite was launched from China's Xichang Space Center on May 20, 2018.

The photo was transmitted in early June, 2018.

On January 3, 2019, China succeeded in landing a rover on the far side of the moon, the first time this has ever been accomplished.

I've written it here before and I'll reiterate my prediction: the first human to walk on Mars will be Chinese, around the year 2035.

That person is currently in grad school.

January 10, 2019 at 04:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

BehindTheMedspeak: Old-people smell


Long story short: it exists, and results from high levels of 2-Nonenol (above) produced by skin.

• Contrary to popular supposition, the so-called "old-person smell" is rated as less intense and less unpleasant than body odors of middle-aged and young individuals.

• In humans, a unique "old person smell' is recognized across cultures. This phenomenon is so acknowledged in Japan that there is a special word to describe this odor, kareishūh.

It was first characterized in a paper published in 2001, whose abstract is below.


Human body odor consists of various kinds of odor components. Here, we have investigated the changes in body odor associated with aging. The body odor of subjects between the ages of 26 and 75 was analyzed by headspace gas chromatography/mass spectrometry. 2-Nonenal, an unsaturated aldehyde with an unpleasant greasy and grassy odor, was detected only in older subjects (40 y or older). Furthermore, analysis of skin surface lipids revealed that ω7 unsaturated fatty acids and lipid peroxides also increased with aging and that there were positive correlations between the amount of 2-nonenal in body odor and the amount of ω7 unsaturated fatty acids or lipid peroxides in skin surface lipids. 2-Nonenal was generated only when ω7 unsaturated fatty acids were degraded by degradation tests in which some main components of skin surface lipids were oxidatively decomposed using lipid peroxides as initiator of an oxidative chain reaction. The results indicate that 2-nonenal is generated by the oxidative degradation of ω7 unsaturated fatty acids, and suggest that 2-nonenal may be involved in the age-related change of body odor.


A study published in the British Journal of Dermatology in 2008 confirmed the earlier findings; the conclusions of that paper are below.


The natural variation in nonaxillary skin odorants described in this study provides a baseline of compounds we have identified from both endogenous and exogenous sources. Although complex, the profiles of volatile constituents suggest that the two body locations share a considerable number of compounds, but both quantitative and qualitative differences are present. In addition, quantitative changes due to ageing are also present. These data may provide future investigators of skin VOCs with a baseline against which any abnormalities can be viewed in searching for biomarkers of skin diseases.


Finally, an exhaustive study published in 2012, titled "The Smell of Age: Perception and Discrimination of Body Odors of Different Ages," concluded that "Humans are able to discriminate age based on body odor alone, and this effect is mediated mainly by body odors emitted by individuals of old age."

January 10, 2019 at 02:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Experts' Experts: Doormats


From the Washington Post:


Even if you have a no-shoe policy in your house, there will be times when you need to dash inside with your shoes on for one last thing, or times when a handyman or repair person needs to wear work boots indoors.

For these situations — and for shoe-on houses — doormats are essential.

"With a good brush and stomp, doormats can prevent debris, wet snow, and dripping rainwater from entering your home," says Lindsey Handel, a buyer for the garden and home store Terrain in Pennsylvania.

Doormats may help with a comprehensive allergy-fighting plan, too, says Stephen Kimura, a board-certified ­allergist in Pensacola, Fla. "If you're going to wear your shoes in the house, at least wiping them is going to help some. We've got pollen season now year-round, so these measures are important."

The right doormat for your house depends on whether it will be completely exposed or under a ­covered porch.

For exposure, Handel recommends coir; for covered exposure, she says you can go for a less-durable jute-and-coir mix.

The best thickness ­depends on whether the mat is inside or outside.

"It's nice to have a softer and thinner mat inside and a more bristly, durable one outside," says Joy Cho, of California design studio Oh Joy.

January 10, 2019 at 12:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (2)

Cornell University Ergonomics Website


Easy does it.

Much to see and do here.

I could usefully — and quite happily — spend quite a bit of time here.

Good thing you're conscientious, and wouldn't dream of doing something like that on company time.

As if.

Fair warning:

Screen Shot 2019-01-02 at 6.04.42 PM

January 10, 2019 at 10:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Bookmark Pen

Screen Shot 2019-01-03 at 1.49.35 PM

"Flat, so it can easily be closed in your book to pick up where you left off."

Bonus points for stealth matte black finish.

Screen Shot 2019-01-03 at 1.49.40 PM


January 10, 2019 at 08:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)

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