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April 13, 2019

Dancing Water Droplets

From the New York Times:


Any water droplet can dance. All it needs is the right dance floor.

Take, for instance, the water drops bouncing around in Yanlin Song's lab. They twist, twirl, and even pirouette after falling onto a special surface he and his colleagues designed.

Dr. Song and his team at the Institute of Chemistry at the Chinese Academy of Sciences study how surfaces interact with water droplets, research that applies everywhere, from your car's windshield to the wings of an airplane.

To make their surfaces, the researchers covered small alumina plates with a super-water-repellent coating. Then, the team exposed the plates to UV light, to create water-adhesive designs on top of the coating. When a droplet touched the surface, the water that touched the sticky design rebounded much slower than the water that touched the rest of the water-resistant plate. That difference in speed caused the rebounding droplet to spin.

Normally when a water droplet hits a plain surface, it immediately recoils straight up. But in this case, the drops bounce right or left, or they spiral, depending on the pattern of the plate. Dr. Song and his team have constructed half-moons, pinwheels and one design that resembles a circle divided into three curved lines. By changing the pattern on the plate, the researchers can essentially control the dancing drop's choreography.

"The symmetry of the patterns is very important for the behavior of the droplet," said Dr. Song. "Another factor is the size of the pattern should be comparable with the size of the droplet."

The team published their results earlier this month in the journal Nature Communications.

Dr. Song recorded some of the drops spinning at about 7,300 revolutions per minute when they bounced back from the special surface. In the future, this technology could be helpful in developing self-cleaning car windshields, defrosting airplane wings or even to harness energy from raindrops, Dr. Song said.


Wait a sec — what's that music I'm hearing?

April 13, 2019 at 04:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

The OA — Season 2

Everything Brit Marling does is interesting.

This new season (on Netflix) continues her streak.

Yet she flies pretty much under the radar.

My sense is that she's fine with that.

April 13, 2019 at 02:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (1)

bookofjoe's Favorite Thing: World-Class Licorice


This is not the licorice we grew up with, red vines and Good & Plenty and that ilk.

The licorice I've recently gotten a jones for is as different from those candies as chalk is from cheese.

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They hail from Australia (four of 'em), the Netherlands, New Zealand, and Finland.


The seven in my current pantheon:

• Kookaburra (Australia)

• Darrell Lea Soft Eating (Australia)

• Darrell Lea Black (Australia)

• Darrell Lea Natural Black (Australia)

• Venco Droptoefjes (Netherlands)

• RJ's (New Zealand)

• Halva (Finland)

All but the Darrell Lea Black and Natural Black are available here in Podunkville, at Whole Foods/Foods of All Nations/Wegmans, which have some of them — but not all of them — in stock most of the time.

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The two Darrell Leas I can't get locally I order in multiples from Licorice International, located (oddly enough) in Lincoln, Nebraska. 

You can too!

Screen Shot 2019-04-04 at 1.51.53 PM

If you can't find the other five where you live, you can order all but the Kookaburra and Venco (both available on Amazon) from Licorice International.

Pro tip: use a knife specialized for cutting soft cheese to cut the licorice pieces — most brands of which are log-shaped and about 2" long — into smaller discs 1/8"-1/4" thick.

These licorices are so intensely delicious, the resulting smaller pieces hit the spot. 

Also, that way you get hundreds of pieces instead of 20-30.

Invoke the spirit of Yogi Berra who said "I like my pizza cut into eight pieces, not four, because you get twice as much."

April 13, 2019 at 12:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

How to increase your chances of finding a hidden camera


Read it and weep.


It went viral.


Wait a sec — what's that music I'm hearing?

April 13, 2019 at 10:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Skeppshult Cast Iron Mustard Grinder Ball


From the website:


Here is the Skeppshult Cast Iron Mustard Grinder Ball.

Works in any suitable bowl or dish available.

No electricity necessary!

Features and Details:

• Solid cast iron

• Weight: 4 pounds

• Diameter: 3 inches


$70 ("bowl not included").

April 13, 2019 at 08:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)

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