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Tuesday, July 20, 2004

please bleed on this cd, the sequel

ear the dawn of the meta-roj blog, i posted about a project to do organic chemistry on a cd. that work was done at ucsd, and now we have good old academic one-upsmanship… from ohio state.

The ELISA biochemical test — one of the most widely used clinical, food safety, and environmental tests — normally takes hours or even days to perform manually. Using a specially designed CD, engineers performed the test automatically, and in only one hour.

ELISA is “enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay.” if that’s not enough for you, you can drop by the usda site for some more info.

lead researcher at ohio state is l. james lee, so you can drop by that page and say hi.

posted by roj at 2:17 am  

Tuesday, July 20, 2004

the upside of nuclear testing

back in 1989, the ivory trade was officially (though not practically) shut down by international agreement. since then it’s been a bit of a contentious issue.

what makes this a science story and not an endagered-species story or an economics story, is that scientist thinks he has the technology to reopen the ivory trade, on more-acceptable terms.

Nuclear physicist Elias Sideras-Haddad says he can determine when an elephant died as well as its age by a new carbon-dating technique applied to the tusks — a process made possible by the above-ground nuclear tests of the past.

the reuters article mentions a presentation from two years ago in japan… there’s a faint echo of that here [pdf] – it was called “Dating studies of elephant tusks from the Kruger National Park South Africa using accelerator based mass spectrometry.”

that’s just not terribly satisfying, but the paper [pdf, october 3, 2002] itself is also available from lawrence livermore national labs. sadly, it’s a pretty bad scan-based document as opposed to real text, so it’s not much fun to read.

given the bush administration’s concept of science, this may just come back as a good reason to build those baby nukes and get out of the test-ban treaty. there seems to be more solid science behind this than behind, for example, the missile-defense plan…. and you can spin it as an economic support plan that lets those poor african countries pay back their debts.

posted by roj at 2:05 am  

Friday, July 16, 2004


it has to come from the scotsman, or this just isn’t worth mentioning….

Scientists have developed an invisible coating that will waterproof almost anything including mobile phones, it was revealed today.

The revolutionary nanometre-thick coating was first researched to protect soldiers’ suits against chemical and biological warfare agents by Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl) at Porton Down and the University of Durham.

shares of 3m, the producer of scotchguard seem to be unaffected to date.

posted by roj at 12:46 am  

Wednesday, July 14, 2004

texas got a bloomin’ corpse too

connecticut got one, this time it’s texas’s turn.

things come in bunches.

posted by roj at 12:17 pm  

Tuesday, July 6, 2004

connecticut’s corpse blooms

i’ve been watching, casually, for the past several days, and it’s finally happened. this afternoon, the university of connecticut announced that their amorphophallus titanum is blooming.

you can avoid the smell (of rotting flesh), and still take a peek via the webcam linked in the press release.

posted by roj at 8:28 pm  

Sunday, June 20, 2004

getting back to basics with the microbial fuel cell

researchers at penn state announced significant progress in the development of a wastewater-to-electricity microbial fuel cell by skipping the expensive bits (polymeric proton-exchange membranes) in favor of cheap stuff (carbon paper).

sometimes it’s good to think simple – this team got a more than 5-fold increase in output by replacing the high-tech polymeric proton exchange membrane with carbon paper. so sometimes “good enough” is “even better.”

posted by roj at 12:27 am  

Sunday, June 13, 2004

the sky is falling

A grapefruit-sized meteorite smashed through the roof of a New Zealand house, hitting a couch and bouncing off the ceiling before coming to rest under a computer.

good thing the sky is only falling on the other side of the planet, i guess… there’s still plenty of time to plan your doomsday

posted by roj at 1:54 am  

Monday, May 31, 2004

building a better cow

Kirin Brewery Co, Japan’s number-two beer maker, has succeeded in producing a cow that is immune to mad cow disease, but experts said it was too early for livestock producers to celebrate.

Kirin officials said on Monday the company had produced jointly with a U.S. company a cow that carried none of the “prion” proteins that cause the brain-wasting disease, also known as bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE).

now… if we could just figure out how to make people immune to “stupid human disease”….

posted by roj at 8:59 pm  

Friday, May 7, 2004

cd rot makes cnn

the story [via slashdot]

Koster has taken to copying his CDs on his computer to extend the life of the recordings. Unfortunately, it’s not easy to figure out how long those recordable CDs will work.

careful, that might be a license violation… better consult your friendly neighborhood lawyer before your cd’s rot.

posted by roj at 3:25 am  

Friday, April 30, 2004

the army discovers oobleck

Army scientists are working on a liquid body armor for clothing that stays flexible during normal use but can harden to stop a projectile when hit suddenly.

amazing 🙂 army scientists have discovered oobleck.

then again, maybe this is some sort of subsidy program for corn farmers in iowa.

[yeah, that is an apparent typo in the headline… but that’s how it appears in the link]

posted by roj at 2:10 am  
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