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July 24, 2019

BehindTheMedspeak: How ticks get under your skin

YouTube caption:

This video shows a cinematographic representation of the process of attachment of a nymphal Ixodes ricinus tick to host skin.

Please see the research paper "How ticks get under your skin: insertion mechanics of the feeding apparatus of Ixodes ricinus ticks" by Richter et al, published in Proceedings of the Royal Society B.

Below, the abstract of the above-cited paper.

How ticks get under your skin: insertion mechanics of the feeding apparatus of Ixodes ricinus ticks

The tick Ixodes ricinus uses its mouthparts to penetrate the skin of its host and to remain attached for about a week, during which time Lyme disease spirochaetes may pass from the tick to the host. To understand how the tick achieves both tasks, penetration and attachment, with the same set of implements, we recorded the insertion events by cinematography, interpreted the mouthparts' function by scanning electron microscopy and identified their points of articulation by confocal microscopy. Our structural dynamic observations suggest that the process of insertion and attachment occurs via a ratchet-like mechanism with two distinct stages. Initially, the two telescoping chelicerae pierce the skin and, by moving alternately, generate a toehold. Subsequently, a breaststroke-like motion, effected by simultaneous flexure and retraction of both chelicerae, pulls in the barbed hypostome. This combination of a flexible, dynamic mechanical ratchet and a static holdfast thus allows the tick to solve the problem of how to penetrate skin and also remain stuck for long periods of time.

[via the New York Times]

July 24, 2019 at 04:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

How to assess the quality of garments: A beginner's guide

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Wrote Anuschka Rees

What's the number one prerequisite to building a high-quality wardrobe? Exactly: You need to be able to recognize a quality garment when you see one. You need to be able to tell the difference between a durable, well-crafted piece and one that looks pretty on the rack but won't last more than half a season. You need to know a) which properties distinguish high-quality garments from low-quality ones, and b) how to recognize these properties when you're out shopping.

To help you do just that, this post and the next one will give you a broad introduction to assessing the quality of garments. We will start with fabrics in this first part and then cover seams, tailoring, linings and details like buttons, zippers and pockets in part II. I will also include a downloadable two-page cheat sheet (above) that summarizes the most important facts in the second post.

Most of this stuff is quite technical, so don't feel like you have to read through it all in one go. Instead, use these two posts like a resource that you can refer back to whenever you are planning to add a new piece to your wardrobe.

Please also bear in mind that most of the points below are best practices, not hard facts. When I did my research for this post I came across lots of different opinions on the best type of seams, the right way to hem tailored skirts, the best type of denim, etc and did my best to summarize the key points in these two posts. If you are a sewing or textiles pro and have anything to add, feel free to share your tips in the comments.

July 24, 2019 at 02:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Apple Watch Screen Size Comparison

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Constant readers will know that I dismissed the Apple Watch from the time it first appeared in 2015 until this past May, when the price of the Series 3 dropped to $199 and I decided to take a flutter because I was getting more and more tired of using my venerable discontinued Gen 7 iPod nano — locked into its sweaty terry cloth wristband — to deliver music during my runs and races.

Besides which the nano stopped working when two drops of rain fell on it, only to functionally recover a couple days later but with the display a little messed up.

I figured that was a sign that it was time to move on from 2012 technology.

The watch has proved to be far more than a lightweight, water-resistant music player: besides the elegance of its design, the many functions and capabilities are so beautifully integrated that I find myself doing this and that from time to time for no other reason than that I can.

The other day I was curious about how the various screen sizes and models compared (I have the 38mm Series 3).

I asked my Crack Research Team©® to find a nice comparison visual but it wasn't all that easy: took 'em hours to find the one up top, on a Norwegian electronics store website.

July 24, 2019 at 12:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (1)

All Things Linguistic

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From the website :

All Things Linguistic is a daily linguistics blog by Gretchen McCulloch.

I started this blog when I was a linguistics grad student at McGill University, but now I write about linguistics for a general audience full-time.

I got into linguistics at an early age through pop linguistics myself, and it's a delight to be able to create the kinds of resources that my younger self would have loved. 

I write pop linguistics articles and I'm the author of "Because Internet," a book about internet language which came out yesterday.

I also cohost Lingthusiasm, a podcast that's enthusiastic about linguistics, with Lauren Gawne of the blog Superlinguo.

July 24, 2019 at 10:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Bacon and Mac ‘N Cheese Pringles — Limited-Edition

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From Food & Wine:

For the rest of the summer, Pringles is bringing two limited-time-only, somewhat-cookout-themed flavors exclusively to over 15,000 Dollar General locations across the U.S.: Bacon and Mac 'N Cheese.

As diehard crisps fans may recognize, neither of these flavors are entirely new: Pringles Bacon had a run on store shelves about five years ago.

And Mac N’ Cheese was part of Pringles' promotional Thanksgiving package from 2017 — along with turkey-, stuffing-, and mashed potatoes-flavored chips.

But for those of us living in the here and now, these flavors are apparently only available at Dollar General from now until August "while supplies last."

July 24, 2019 at 08:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)

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