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InterestingJeff Soyer on 03 Feb 2015 05:30 am

A new device on the market lets pig farmers know exactly when it’s the perfect time to slaughter a pig. From the Irish Mirror:

The ray gun fires light particles into a porker’s skin – allowing the weapon-wielder to measure iodine levels.

This in turn predicts the perfect balance of muscle and fat – ensuring farmers get the chop at exactly the right time for the tastiest and crispiest rashers .

The gun - which its inventors Carometec call the NitFom - can save slaughterhouses and pig farmers a fortune by ensuring they only produce the best quality meat.

More at the link, and now I know what I must have for breakfast… Here’s a picture of it:

InterestingJeff Soyer on 21 Jan 2015 08:31 am

No, really! Not sure of the make or caliber:

Astronomer Joe White could hardly believe his eyes while studying footage beamed back from the planet by NASA’s Curiosity rover.

The 45-year-old, from Bristol, spotted what seems to be an old-fashioned pistol lying on the face of the Red Planet.

The handle and barrel of the gun-shaped rock are clearly defined, sitting amongst much smaller pieces of rubble on the surface of Mars.

Mr White, a space video journalist who runs the YouTube channel ArtAlienTV, said: “Is this a handgun on Mars?

“This object is about five to eight inches long and looks very much like an old flintlock pistol with a trigger, barrel and handle clearly visible.

With pictures at the link.

InterestingJeff Soyer on 22 Aug 2014 04:38 am

From Ars Technica:

United States copyright regulators are agreeing with Wikipedia’s conclusion that a monkey’s selfie cannot be copyrighted by a nature photographer whose camera was swiped by the ape in the jungle. The animal’s selfie went viral.

“The Office will not register works produced by nature, animals, or plants. Likewise, the Office cannot register a work purportedly created by divine or supernatural beings, although the Office may register a work where the application or the deposit copy state that the work was inspired by a divine spirit,” said the draft report, “Compendium of US Copyright Office Practices, Third Edition.”

So I guess those videos taken with a Go-Pro strapped to a rapture are public domain, too.

InterestingJeff Soyer on 27 Jul 2014 05:03 am

And since it’s from Pizza Hut, you know it’s deadly:

InterestingJeff Soyer on 11 Jul 2014 04:09 am

From the AP:

CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) — The ever-changing thermal geology of Yellowstone National Park has created a hot spot that melted an asphalt road and closed access to popular geysers and other attractions at the height of tourist season, officials said Thursday.

As they examined possible fixes, park officials warned visitors not to hike into the affected area, where the danger of stepping through solid-looking soil into boiling-hot water was high.

Other than that, enjoy your visit.

InterestingJeff Soyer on 24 Jun 2014 03:22 am

An interesting comparison between a $300 dollar one and another costing $1,700.

Having recently gotten into photography, I stick with cheap ones because my pictures are all destined for the web. But, according to the article, if you’re going to be producing large prints (say for framing) then yeah — spend the money for the better ones.

InterestingJeff Soyer on 08 Jun 2014 04:36 am

InterestingJeff Soyer on 16 May 2014 03:52 am


InterestingJeff Soyer on 28 Apr 2014 12:13 am

Do it for the tourists:

BIASHA: A rifle shot tears the air of a mountain hamlet — met not with terror but cries of delight in China’s only remaining village where authorities encourage gun ownership.

“We start carrying guns from about 15 years old,” said Jia Xinshan, fingering a wooden rifle’s trigger as tourists snapped pictures of him in a shiny black coat. “We’re the last gun tribe in China.”

The armaments in Biasha, a village tucked amid the wooded peaks of Guizhou province, are a reminder of an era of conflict between Beijing and the mountain tribes who still inhabit swathes of China’s southwest.

Villagers are allowed to own rifles but restricted to firing them during displays for tourists — illustrating how once-restive minority groups have integrated with the state.

Interesting article.

InterestingJeff Soyer on 05 Mar 2014 05:45 am

Actually, this guy is living his dream life. I’m jealous!

InterestingJeff Soyer on 17 Feb 2014 06:47 am

You’d think that southern states, what with more warm weather days, would represent the highest motorcycle ownership rates. Wrong! From the Motley Fool:

As of the most recent report by the Department of Transportation, there were 8,410,255 motorcycles registered in the United States by private citizens and commercial organizations in 2011. To put this staggering number into perceptive, out of every 36 people you meet in the U.S., one of them probably has a motorcycle. For ranking purposes, we won’t be looking at total bikes in a state, but rather people per motorcycle (the lower the number, the more common bikes are). So what states in America have the most die-hard moto-enthusiasts?

Rank State # Bikes Population People per bike
1 South Dakota 69,284 816,598 12
2 New Hampshire 79,266 1,316,807 17
3 Iowa 173,929 3,050,202 18
4 Wisconsin 317,276 5,691,659 18
5 Wyoming 30,351 564,554 19
6 North Dakota 32,654 674,629 21
7 Vermont 30,070 625,909 21
8 Montana 46,996 990,958 21
9 Minnesota 240,288 5,310,658 22
10 Alaska 30,983 714,146 23

See all 50 states’ data at the link.

InterestingJeff Soyer on 20 Dec 2013 06:20 am

Please don’t tell PETA or we won’t be able to eat anything! From Quanta Magazine:

It’s now well established that when bugs chew leaves, plants respond by releasing volatile organic compounds into the air. By Karban’s last count, 40 out of 48 studies of plant communication confirm that other plants detect these airborne signals and ramp up their production of chemical weapons or other defense mechanisms in response. “The evidence that plants release volatiles when damaged by herbivores is as sure as something in science can be,” said Martin Heil, an ecologist at the Mexican research institute Cinvestav Irapuato. “The evidence that plants can somehow perceive these volatiles and respond with a defense response is also very good.”

[ . . . ]

Scientists are also exploring how the messages from these signals might spread. Just a few months ago, the plant signaling pioneer Ted Farmer of the University of Lausanne discovered an almost entirely unrecognized way that plants transmit information — with electrical pulses and a system of voltage-based signaling that is eerily reminiscent of the animal nervous system. “It’s pretty spectacular what plants do,” said Farmer. “The more I work on them, the more I’m amazed.”

Much more at the link. Day of the Triffids was just a movie, right?

InterestingJeff Soyer on 19 Dec 2013 04:11 am

Over at io9: Science fiction themed postage stamps.

Many more examples at the link.

InterestingJeff Soyer on 06 Dec 2013 03:39 am

Wondering what to get your wife or girlfriend for Christmas? How about Gunpowder Rose Fragrance? From the description:

The English Rose, celebrated in art and literature for centuries, has finally been captured in this hymn to high summer. Rose oils and extracts from Lincolnshire and the Stour Valley distil the scented velvet-softness of the petals and zesty-green stems of this romantic and exalted bloom. In a dramatic twist, the delicate flowers dance over spicy embers of charcoal and the piquant fizz of sulfur - the thunderstorm notes of gunpowder! The approaching torrent is tempered by a heart of Lovage, harvested in Hampshire, Meadowsweet and Violet Leaf from Herefordshire and juicy Blackcurrant from Kent, which balance fresh summer greenness with energizing bite. Finally, Union’s own Oak Moss from Dorset and Oak Bark from Nottinghamshire provide the earthy forest floor on which this highly charged fragrance rests. Explosive.

*Whew* Some copywriter certainly earned his pay that day. Anyway, a shot of the stuff (100ml) will set you back $185. Or, you could just take your lady to the range for some plinking and then ask her not to shower for the rest of the day.

For more over-the-top hyperbole, you can read about the perfume here.

InterestingJeff Soyer on 05 Dec 2013 05:42 am

BTW, this is another case of “amateurs” leading the “professionals” in discovering and correctly identifying a new invasive species. If you live in Texas, my sympathies. Lengthy but interesting article here.

InterestingJeff Soyer on 09 Oct 2013 04:40 am

Guns and Vodka; two things I greatly enjoy, though never at the same time. A couple of entrepreneurs are seeking crowd-sourced funding to launch a distinctive brand of vodka:

9mm Vodka is a new, ultra-premium vodka packaged in a submachinegun bottle, menacingly presented in an aluminium flight-case with 4 shot glasses. It is a product designed without compromise in the face of the non-descript vodka industry.

The included magazine-shaped shot-glasses are a nice touch. This would be a spiffy addition and conversation starter for any firearms enthusiast. For details on how you can help the company get going, follow this link.

InterestingJeff Soyer on 02 Oct 2013 07:13 am

There’s a lake here on Earth that can “petrify” an animal in minutes:

There’s a deceptively still body of water in Tanzania with a deadly secret—it turns any animal it touches to stone. The rare phenomenon is caused by the chemical makeup of the lake, but the petrified creatures it leaves behind are straight out of a horror film.

Photographed by Nick Brandt in his new book, Across the Ravaged Land, petrified creatures pepper the area around the lake due to its constant pH of 9 to 10.5—an extremely basic alkalinity that preserves these creatures for eternity.

Very creepy photos at the link, and it’s not a slideshow.

No word on if Medusa is the lifeguard-on-duty.

InterestingJeff Soyer on 24 Sep 2013 04:51 pm

No video but enough pictures to make this an amazing story.

Well, they are descended from the dinosaurs.

InterestingJeff Soyer on 21 Sep 2013 07:05 am

I have to admit that while I first liked Noorey, he’s no Art Bell. In fact, Coast-to-Coast AM is awful, these days.

Anyway, here’s the good news if you’re into that sort of thing:

More than a decade after he retired as the full-time Coast host, and after several false starts, Bell [is] returning to radio. His new show, Art Bell’s Dark Matter, premieres Monday night at 10 p.m. Eastern on Sirius XM’s Indie Talk channel. (The toll-free call-in line? 1-855-REAL-UFO.)

Looks like I’ll have to subscribe. That link has a short interview with Bell and, yes, he still packs heat, a GLOCK 22 these days.

InterestingJeff Soyer on 21 Jul 2013 04:06 am

From the NY Post:

Brooklyn residents are experiencing a horror straight out of a Hitchcock movie.

Aggressive mockingbirds are attacking people in a Greenpoint park — dive-bombing their heads and yanking out hair with their beaks.

Though I wouldn’t want one hanging outside my window during mating season — that’s when they do their endless Memorex routine of every sound they’ve ever heard — I do find them more interesting than most birds. And, they are fearless, chasing off whole flocks of crows (who are twice their size).

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