Boffins at MIT have run some tests and found out that if you peel the bark off a Pine tree branch and pour water through the stick, then it will block upto 99% of e-coli bacteria and a host of other bad stuff giving up to four liters of drinkable water per day. This makes it a lot cheaper than any current commercial water filtration implementation in the market and a lot more scalable.
Dirty water is a major cause of mortality in the developing world. ‘The most common water-borne pathogens are bacteria (e.g. Escherichia coli, Salmonella typhi, Vibrio cholerae), viruses (e.g. adenoviruses, enteroviruses, hepatitis, rotavirus), and protozoa (e.g. giardia). These pathogens cause child mortality and also contribute to malnutrition and stunted growth of children.’ People have been working on engineering cheaper and cheaper filtration systems for years, but now a group of researchers has found a promising and simple solution: a tree branch. ‘Approximately 3 cm^3 of sapwood can filter water at the rate of several liters per day, sufficient to meet the clean drinking water needs of one person.’
Of course there are some caveats; the system can trap most types of bacteria, the smallest of which measure about 200 nanometers but currently cannot trap viruses most of which are much smaller in size. Also, the stick needs to be kept wet or the filtration is not that effective.
The researchers have published a paper in this week’s journal PLoS ONE where they go over their findings and demo this functionality. Check it out if you have some time.
I am definitely adding this to my things to know in case of an emergency list.
Thanks to Slashdot for the initial story.
Additional reading: Need a water filter? Peel a tree branch – MIT News Office
Do you aspire to look like a homeless guy but don’t have the facial hair to pull of the look? If so fear not, NY Cosmetic surgeons are willing to help you for a mere $8,000. Hipsters all around the world rejoice!
Facial surgeons with private practices in Manhattan and Florida say they have seen a phenomenal increase in demand in the last five years, and hipsters are leading the way.
No longer the preserve of fishermen or aging academics, beards are the signature look of urbane men in their 20s and 30s who consider themselves witty, creative and politically progressive.
New York surgeons can perform up to three or four procedures a week for $2,000 to more than $8,000 depending on how much hair needs to be transplanted from scalp to cheek.
When I first saw this article I thought it was a joke which got accidentally released early for April fool’s day. But unfortunately this is true and that tells us something about these people. They are willing to pay ridiculous amounts of money for stupid stuff like this but won’t spare change for an actual homeless guy. If you really want to feel what the homeless feel, try living for a week on the street without your Starbucks or iPad’s.
The no of people asking for this procedure have gone up from 10 a YEAR to 5 a WEEK. Yikes!
Thanks to The Register for the initial story.
After months of waiting (about 2 to be exact) my RaspberryPi Camera module finally arrived today and I took it for a brief spin. Setting it up was really easy, I just installed the Rasbian image I have, updated the install to the latest version and then enabled the camera. Once that was done and I rebooted the Pi, the camera started working without any issues. The instructions I followed are at: RaspberryPi Camera.
As part of the test I got the pi to transmit the images to my desktop and the clarity was pretty good, there was a slight lag in the display of about 1/2 a second but at 1080p I don’t think I can complain. Below are some pics I took of the setup and of the image being streamed to my desktop.
The Camera module next to my keyboard for a size comparison
Photo of my hand being streamed live to my desktop from the Pi.
I do plan to take pics using the camera module itself, but there is nothing interesting on my desk that I wanted to take photos of so you will have to wait for a day or two and I will take pics of the view from my window and post.
Well this is all for now, I should go get some sleep now considering I have an early start tomorrow.
Are you tired of using the same old insults for people who annoy you? Are you tired of using the same insults as everyone else? I know I am, but worry not, the great’s of Science Fiction and Fantasy novels have your back with some really cool insults that you can use without actually abusing. Folks at io9 spent some time to generate a list of 20 best insults and it has some gems. Below are some examples that I especially liked:
3) Timequake by Kurt Vonnegut
“If your brains were dynamite there wouldn’t be enough to blow your hat off.”
5) Mort by Terry Pratchett
“‘It would seem that you have no useful skill or talent whatsoever,’ he said. ‘Have you thought of going into teaching?’”
6) Redwall by Brian Jacques
“To describe the young haremaid’s singing voice as akin to a frog trapped beneath a hot stone would have been a great insult to both frog and stone.”
Check out the whole list at 20 Great Insults from Science Fiction and Fantasy Books
Maybe I should start using these more often.
After a long time of trying to ignore the issues on the site, I finally spent some time last night doing some maintanence on it. Upgraded the version of WordPress that I am using to the latest version, also fixed the DB issue that caused the Photogallery to go down. No, I haven’t uploaded any new content or photos to the site yet. Will do that sometime this year.
I also need to move the site to a new hosting service but need time to do all the nitty-gritty backend work to get the site to work on the new servers so that is on hold till I know I have a weekend to spend on it. Dusted off some old articles that I was in process of writing till I got distracted so might finish some of them this weekend, but lets see.
Well this is all for now. Will post more later.
At times I have felt that mosquitoes have some sort of vendetta against me as if there is even one mosquito in the room, I am the first one to get bitten. Then not to be satisfied with biting me once, that mosquito will go and invite all it’s friends for a feast. Now it turns out there was research done that proves that some folks are more attractive to mosquitoes than others.
Mosquitoes prefer blood type O
In their quest for a meal, mosquitoes are nearly twice as likely to land on people with type 0 blood than those with type A, according to a Japanese study. Indeed, the biting pests consider type 0 more delectable than any other blood type, the researchers reported. Most people secrete substances that allow mosquitoes to identify blood type before they bite.
According to the research they prefer folks with blood type O, beer drinkers (so I should start hanging around more folks that drink beer) and people who wear dark clothes (which might be another reason they like me so much). Another way for me to avoid getting bitten is to hang round pregnant women, as apparently they are more ‘tasty’ for bugs.
Source: Why are some people mosquito magnets?
Just some random thoughts for todays post. Yesterday (well technically the day before) I lived through the third earthquake of my life. It was an interesting experience, I initially thought someone was shaking my bed (or rather kicking it) then saw the ceiling fan shaking and realized it was either an earthquake or a rally fat person jumping up and down on the roof.
Spent about 30 mins yesterday trying to figure out why my latest blog post didn’t show up on Facebook and then realized that this was because the FB sync script runs on my home computer and the desktop was shutdown since I was traveling. Felt kind of silly when I realized that.
Found some old sourcecode that I have been looking for a while on a CD that I had burnt in 2001, unfortunately I still seem to be missing one header file, but there are signs that we might have removed the header file altogether from the software, but the only way I can be sure is to compile all the separate files and see if the final product works. That requires a bit more effort and brainpower than I have willing to spend at this time. Maybe over one of these weekend I will try this, all I need is a lot of time and loud music to help me concentrate.
Noise canceling headsets are awesome and worth every penny spent. Just need to be aware that when I have them on I don’t hear anything including my phone ringing. So need to make sure I have the phone on the desk in front of me when I am using the headsets so I can see when a call comes in. Otherwise I seem to miss a lot of calls.
Well this is all for now. Have lots more random thoughts but need to get some sleep, or tomorrow will be bad.
If you are like me you love tinkering with technology and honestly speaking there is no age too early to start teaching kids about electronics and how they work. Adafruit has launched an educational show aimed at kids which is going to be a episode based series and their first episode is titled “A is for Ampere” and teaches the basic theory behind electrical current.
If you have young kids in the family, you should definitely check it out. I am going to try get Vir hooked on to it once he reaches the age where he doesn’t try to eat everything that is given to him. Don’t think Surabhi and Vinit will be happy with me if he manages to swallow a diode or a capacitor.
Source: Adafruit Launches educational show for Kids
Ideally you should know if you have posted something online that will get you fired, but as we all know there are people in the world who are a bit slow and need extra help in figuring out stuff. So for these people there is a new web service called “FireMe! Who wants to get fired?” that goes over your tweets and uses an algorithm to figure out the chances of you getting fired if you boss reads your Twitter history.
Personally I think that if you need help figuring out whether you said something online that will get you fired then there is a high chance that you actually did post something which will get you fired.
According to the site, they are doing this to raise awareness about the dangers of public online data. Plenty of folks have been fired for things they posted online. Don’t become another statistic, post responsibly.
Thanks to PopSci for the initial Link,
Found this while surfing the web. This is not an actual product yet but once it’s available I think people who don’t know how to setup a reminder on their phone or online (I use google Calendar), are really forgetful and like pain might want to invest in this. As per the site once the ring is on sale you can buy it for a measly price of $760 only.
From the product description:
If you’re prone to memory lapses — or simply have too many secret second families on the side — then you may want to consider the Remember Ring. Here’s how it works: A full 24 hours before your special day begins, a “hot spot” on the ring’s interior will begin to warm up to 120º F for approximately 10 seconds. And in case that doesn’t do the trick, the ring will continue to warm up every hour, on the hour, all day long!
120 Deg F (~49 Deg C)! Ouch… I think I will stick to my SMS alerts and reminders.
Thanks to Gadget Lab for the link.