Archive for the ‘Science’ category

Bits & Pieces, Odds & Ends Version5.0

May 13, 2009

There’s always something happening that frosts my cupcakes—and when EYE get enough cupcakes sitting on my mental counter-top it’s time to serve them to you in :


After several weeks of Swine Flu coverage—we may be on the verge of learning the real truth about the way this strange genetic makeup of the H1N1 virus came about.

As you might recall scientists said it contained a here-to-for unseen combination Swine, Bird and Human flu…

A couple of weeks back, we speculated in this post the virus might have been artificially created.

Now as you can read here the researcher who helped create the anti-viral medicine TAMIFLU believes the H1N1 virus was a HUMAN creation that accidentally escaped a research lab.

Adrian Gibbs bases his conclusion on H1N1’s genetic blueprint, and says so in a report.

The World health Organization is investigating his claims while some are trying to pooh-pooh Gibb’s allegation.

But with four decades of studying the evolution of germs, my money’s on Gibbs.


First they told us we were running out of oil—but not to worry because we had plenty of coal that we could use to generate power..

Now, these two studies by researchers at the California Institute of Technology and the University of Washington claim we’ve overestimated the amount of coal we have available—and that we’ll hit peak production of it by 2025..

So, that pretty much gives us about 15 years to come up with workable, available alternative energy sources.

Can we beat the clock—or will we wait till 2024 before we do something?


The latest piece of Big Brother technology comes in the form of mathematical algorithms that check out surveillance video to figure out if you’re a shoplifter.

The BIG Y supermarket chain in Massachusetts has installed a system in its 57 stores that takes video camera feeds and runs them through a mathematical formula

As you can read here, the algorithms then decide if the store’s cashiers are engaging in an activity known as “sweethearting” where-by cashiers don’t ring up items as they work the check-out line.

If the system detects a problem, it alerts store security and then shows them the suspected video clip.

Stoplift, the company that invented the system claims on its website that it’s an accurate detector of employee theft.

But, knowing that math errors do occur in computer code, EYE would be a little worried about getting accused by a line of code that might corrupted.


My Zimbio

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The Road Less Traveled…

May 7, 2009

While the American  automotive industry begs for bailout cash and threatens us with dark tales of bankruptcy and economic turmoil—-

—-there are folks out there who are trying to innovate and improve the automotive industry…

Check ’em out….


A California based company has come up with a concept that’ll make any car cool—while getting rid of the standard door.

Jatech uses what it calls a rotary drop door to allow easier access into and out of any automobile.

It turns your ride into an elegant coach.

As you can see in this video— the door just disappears under the car—sliding away in a matter of seconds.

As the company’s website shows, the disappearing door can be outfitted any ANY kind of vehicle—and has the approval of major automakers.


How’d you like to have a car that’s not only Biodegradable—but runs on Chocolate?

Well, a team of British researchers from the University of Warwick have developed just such a vehicle.

World First Racing’s Formula 3 race car runs on Bio-diesel that’s made from vegetable oils and waste from chocolate  factories.

Not only that—but the major components  of this little beauty are made from various organic substances.

  • * The steering wheel  is constructed from carrot fibers
  • * The foam in the seats is from soybeans
  • * The rear view mirrors and body panels are made from potato starch
  • * The brake pads are made from cashew shells.

95% of the vehicle is Biodegradable, as you can read on World First Racing’s website here.

Researchers think that’s the way to go with ALL cars in the future.

Of course, with all those parts made from food, EYE suppose you could always serve your old car for dinner instead of trading it in for a new model.


With the government moving closer and closer to taking over the U.S. auto industry, we really ought o give this some thought.

The following video gives us a taste of what could happen if the folks who brought you FEMA decide they’ll start selling us cars too.


My Zimbio

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Pigging Out On The Swine Flu….

April 29, 2009

Like a toddler in a playpen grasping at the most shiny object that captures its attention, the media has glommed on to the Swine Flu story as the most desirable object at the moment and is engaged in frenzied, saturation coverage…

Before you run in fear at the sight of a pig, someone sniffling—or go hide under the covers till all this passes—you may want to know—some of us have heard all this before.

It was back in 1976—and a soldier at Fort Dix told his drill instructor he wasn’t feeling well.

With-in the day, 19-year-old Army Private David Lewis died.  The government identified the culprit as a “Swine Flu”—and predicted a horrifying epidemic…

It recommended mass inoculations—and along with the the frenetic news reports predicting dire consequences—-the government created a massive public relations campaign aimed at selling the fear of Swine Flu death.

The funny thing was— the supposed epidemic never materialized and  the only one person who ever succumbed to the  Swine Flu back then was Private Lewis.

Although just one person died from the Swine Flu, records indicate hundreds died from talking the shots that were created to protect people from the virus.

As you can read here there were a lot of political pressures and other factors involved in creating the turmoil about the ’76 Swine Flu epidemic.


Although it’s been over 3 decades since the Swine Flu was first discovered at Fort Dix— researchers have never been able to figure out HOW it originated there.

And that’s the funny thing about this latest outbreak of Swine Flu.

All the experts say they can’t figure out WHY it started in Mexico.

These viruses usually take root in Asia, and work their way around the world.

There’s no known reason for it to begin in Mexico.

THE  “B”  WORD…….

There’s one more little tidbit about this strain of the Swine Flu that’s odd.

It’s  makeup is something no one has ever seen before—and it’s highly unusual in its structure.

You see, it combines elements of three KINDS of flu: Swine, Bird and Human flu.

No one has ever seen a virus with all three of those characteristics together.

It almost sounds like it was specifically designed.

Let’s try and connect what few dots are out there.

  • * A hither-to unknown kind of virus, showing up in a place where it shouldn’t be.
  • * A virus with unusual characteristics that appears to be “created.”
  • * Mexican population panicked by threat.


Does it sound like maybe this was a test run of a generically engineered bit of Bio-Terrorism?

Before you dismiss that possibility—let’s see how this one plays out…


My Zimbio

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A 2-Minute Cosmic Warning…

March 4, 2009

A little asteroid in space ALMOST rocked our world.

It was small—but had it hit, the space rock classified as “2009 DD45″ could have created the same kind of destruction as a small nuclear device.

The asteroid took sky-watchers by surprise—spotted on its track just two days before it whizzed by on March 2nd as you can read here

Not only wasn’t it detected early—but it passed with-in the moon’s orbit—at 40,000 miles above the Earth’s surface.  That height is just about twice the altitude of most communications satellites—and a real near-miss by astronomical standards.

Here’s a video of 2009DD45’s little surprise visit.

If you look closely, you’ll see it moving slowly— it’s the faint object right in the center the video shown below.

The story here isn’t the closeness of the fly-by—but rather the fact that we had virtually NO WARNING until it was almost too late.

For years—scientists have been scanning the skies for Near Earth Objects—and have assured us that they can give us enough warning to take action.

Less than a month ago, EYE wrote this post about NASA’s attempts to calculate when an asteroid it was tracking was going to hit the Earth.

As we pointed out— the rocket scientists there had a bit of a problem figuring out exactly when the asteroid called “1999 AN10” will hit..

And that darn thing’s coming a lot closer than “2009 DD45″— because its going to whiz in at 19,000 miles which is between the Earth and the geosynchronous satellites that ring the planet.

Like Murphy once said, “what can go wrong, will go wrong,” and when it comes to figuring out if the Earth is going to be pummeled from outer space—don’t bet that we’ll even get a 2-minute warning!


My Zimbio

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How Much Space Do We Really Have….

February 18, 2009

They’re still trying to figure out exactly what caused the daytime fireball a couple of days ago in Texas.

Video of a road race shot by a Texas TV News photographer inadvertently caught the object’s plummet  to earth.

At first  they  thought it was pieces of debris from a collision of two satellites this past weekend.

But as you can read here, officials say that’s not the case.

Their best guess, a meteorite that burned up.

They’re estimating based on the size and duration of the fireball that it was less than 30 miles up when it put on its show.

We’re lucky it was a small object.

Despite the vast emptiness of space—this little old planet manages to get itself in the way of some pretty large flying rocks now and again—rocks that can change the everything if they make it all the way to the earth’s  surface.

Just ask the Dinosaurs.

For years scientists have been on the lookout for Near Earth Objects or NEO’s that could come blazing into our atmosphere.

The thought being—if they can figure out what’s aiming at us—maybe they can prevent it from doing major damage.

And now—scientists may have that chance.

According to NASA’s Near Earth Object project— an asteroid named 1999 AN10 is coming darn close to earth in 19 years.

The space agency says the rock is a kilometer wide—and in 2027, it’ll pass with-in 19,000 miles of the earth’s surface.

How close is that?

Well, we’ve got a whole band of stationary satellites in geosynchronous orbit around the earth that are 23,000 miles above the surface.

As you can see in this chart— the asteroid will pass between THEM and the EARTH..

Astrologically speaking—that’s darn close!

Although NASA insists that’s not close enough to collide with the earth—it’s still TOO CLOSE to leave the asteroid unaffected.

The space agency admits the pass will be close enough that the Earth’s gravity will affect the asteroid’s orbit— meaning when it circles around for it’s next encounter—it’ll smack RIGHT into the earth !

Originally, scientists thought the collision would happen in 2039… As you can read here, they’re now waffling on that and say it’s more likely to collide with us in 2044 or 2046..

But, here’s the rub.

They really can’t say for sure because their data has a lot of uncertainty.

It could be worse—or not happen at all.

One thing that should probably be done—find a way to deflect 1999 AN10’s orbit when it makes it’s close pass in 2027…

We’ve got nearly 2 decades to figure out HOW to do it…

If the effort is successful, we will have all the space we need.


My Zimbio

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Dye-ing To Behave…

January 23, 2009

There’s a move afoot by consumer groups to get the Fed’s to remove a bunch of food colorings because they could be linked to behavioral problems— especially in kids.

It’s not the first time the government has banned a food color.

Back in 1976—the FDA banned Red Dye #2 because there was concern that it might cause cancer…


Just about everything we eat has food dyes in it… Sometimes manufactures use the dye to make the food “taste” better.

You see, research shows humans associate certain colors with certain flavors, and adding the right color can influence the perceived flavor of that food.

The Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) wants 8 artificial colors banned believing they are linked to behavior and attention deficit problems—-especially in children.

However—the Food And Drug administration says on its website that controlled studies since the 70’s show no indication that the dyes affect behavior.

You can read both sides of the issue here including how food makers have actually changed the food dyes in stuff they sell overseas because of the growing concern about the issue.


Bad behavior isn’t limited to kids. Take a look at this surveillance video from an office somewhere in Russia—where an office worker goes berserk for an unknown reason.

Maybe it was something he ate that had artificial dye in it.

And in case you think it was an act—here, in color—and with sound—is a second angle apparently taken from an employee with a cell-phone camera.

You’ll notice in this version—you can hear the buzz of a Taser which is used to subdue the crazed worker after he is zapped repeatedly by security.


By the way— if you think you’re doing better by only using “natural” food colorings in your organic food—-keep this in mind.

An extremely common “natural” red dye known as Carmine Red or Extract of Cochineal is made from — a beetle.

The beetle produces Carminic Acid which is used to ward off predators. The acid is red in color and is obtained by grinding the bodies of female cochineal beetles.

Although it’s “natural” — it can still cause allergic reactions in some people who are affected by certain proteins in the bug’s body…

MMMMM… Yummy !

Maybe we ought to take our chances with ole’ Red Dye #2 again!


My Zimbio

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We Are The Jetsons…

January 12, 2009

Back in the Early 60’s, Hanna-Barbera Cartoon Studios created the Jetsons TV Show for adult prime-time…

The series—which ended up being re-run endlessly on Saturday morning TV—featured the family of the future.

As you can see—one of the Jetson’s futuristic toys was their flying car.

Today, we’re about a month away from becoming the Jetsons, because a real-life flying car is about to take off !

Called the Transition, this little two-seater can do what no other automobile can… In 15 seconds—it can unfold its wings, and take off…

Under development by a group of MIT engineers since 2006, the Transition is getting ready for its first flight test in February.

If its successful, its developers at the Terrafugia Company hope to have it in production by 2010.

In  this video, the company’s founder explains the advantages of an airplane that can drive on the  roads.

Selling at about $200,000, a half dozen orders for the Transition have already been placed.

You’ve got to be a qualified pilot to fly the thing, and no one expects the vehicle to suddenly lift off from a highway at  the whim  of the driver—because that’s both illegal and dangerous..

You’ve still got to use an airport for takeoffs and landings.

But the advantages are obvious.

Once you land, you just drive out of the airport to your final destination.

As you can read here on the company’s website, The Transition gets 30 miles to the gallon on  the road–and burns 5 gallons an hour when in the air cruising at 115 miles-an-hour.

It also comes with a full-vehicle parachute in case of engine failure.

And that’s something George Jetson’s flying car NEVER had .


My Zimbio

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