ultraspare change

all sorts of things

9/12/09

Tenants Claim Landlord Used Them In Experiments - Honolulu News Story - KITV Honolulu

KALIHI, Hawaii -- Dozens of Kalihi tenants who escaped the collapse of their make-shift apartment building Sunday night said the landlord subjected them to more than just unsafe living conditions.

They said they were human guinea pigs for his medical experiments.

The multi-story metal pipe scaffold that tumbled into Kalihi Stream Sunday night was on the verge of city foreclosure after Landlord Daniel Cunningham accumulated thousands in building fines. He protested as police blocked the entrance Sunday night.

"For what I've tried to do for these people it's very hurtful," Cunningham, said.

On Monday, Cunningham's tenants collected their things and were resting at a Red Cross Shelter at Kalihi District Park. Many said Cunningham kept deposits and disputed complaints they documented with these pictures.

A frustrated neighbor said the city should have condemned the property long ago.

"It's not right. The way it exists, it's not safe. It should be down. There are way too many people," neighbor Jay Young said.

Several tenants said Cunningham forced them to be subjects of his medical experiments.

Former tenant Richard Sumiye had to be helped to shelter. He said Cunningham used a needle to inject a solution around his eyes.

"So I got blind because of Daniel Cunningham because of what he did to me," Sumiye said.

Former tenant Jesse Taylor said he and others accepted the injections because they feared eviction.

"We were in pain. We were desperate and he took advantage of that," Taylor said.

Cunningham lost his chiropractor's license in 1996 for injecting patients. He recently claimed to have invented a stem cell treatment to extend life indefinitely.

Copyright 2009 by KITV.com All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

i considered moving in to this place when i was homeless and visiting a friend who's room looked out over the very stream it collapsed into. i met daniel, the landlord. but...well, it was obvious the thing would indeed collapse. i saw it about a year before this article was written. decided to pass on renting a room, even very cheap.

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mental_floss Blog » 10 Technologies We Stole From the Animal Kingdom

By David Goldenberg and Eric Vance

People have been lifting ideas from Mother Nature for decades. Velcro was inspired by the hooked barbs of thistle, and the first highway reflectors were made to mimic cat eyes. But today, the science of copying nature, a field known as biomimetics, is a billion-dollar industry. Here are some of our favorite technologies that came in from the wild.

1. Sharkskin—The Latest Craze in Catheters

Hospitals are constantly worried about germs. No matter how often doctors and nurses wash their hands, they inadvertently spread bacteria and viruses from one patient to the next. In fact, as many as 100,000 Americans die each year from infections they pick up in hospitals. Sharks, however, have managed to stay squeaky clean for more than 100 million years. And now, thanks to them, infections may go the way of the dinosaur.

shark-skinUnlike other large marine creatures, sharks don’t collect slime, algae, or barnacles on their bodies. That phenomenon intrigued engineer Tony Brennan, who was trying to design a better barnacle-preventative coating for Navy ships when he learned about it in 2003. Investigating the skin further, he discovered that a shark’s entire body is covered in miniature, bumpy scales, like a carpet of tiny teeth. Algae and barnacles can’t grasp hold, and for that matter, neither can troublesome bacteria such as E. coli and Staphylococcus aureus.

Brennan’s research inspired a company called Sharklet, which began exploring how to use the sharkshin concept to make a coating that repels germs. Today, the firm produces a sharkskin-inspired plastic wrap that’s currently being tested on hospital surfaces that get touched the most (light switches, monitors, handles). So far, it seems to be successfully fending off germs. The company already has even bigger plans; Sharklet’s next project is to create a plastic wrap that covers another common source of infections—the catheter.

2. Holy Bat Cane!

ultracane1It sounds like the beginning of a bad joke: A brain expert, a bat biologist, and an engineer walk into a cafeteria. But that’s exactly what happened when a casual meeting of the minds at England’s Leeds University led to the invention of the Ultracane, a walking stick for the blind that vibrates as it approaches objects.

The cane works using echolocation, the same sensory system that bats use to map out their environments. It lets off 60,000 ultrasonic pulses per second and then listens for them to bounce back. When some return faster than others, that indicates a nearby object, which causes the cane’s handle to vibrate. Using this technique, the cane not only “sees” objects on the ground, such as trash cans and fire hydrants, but also senses things above, such as low-hanging signs and tree branches. And because the cane’s output and feedback are silent, people using it can still hear everything going on around them. Although the Ultracane hasn’t experienced ultra-stellar sales, several companies in the United States and New Zealand are currently trying to figure out how to market similar gadgets using the same bat-inspired technology.

3. Trains Get a Nose Job for the Birds

When the first Japanese Shinkansen Bullet Train was built in 1964, it could zip along at 120 mph. But going that fast had an annoying side effect. Whenever the train exited a tunnel, there was a loud boom, and the passengers would complain of a vague feeling that the train was squeezing together.

kingfisherThat’s when engineer and bird enthusiast Eiji Nakatsu stepped in. He discovered that the train was pushing air in front of it, forming a wall of wind. When this wall crashed against the air outside the tunnel, the collision created a loud sound and placed an immense amount of pressure on the train. In analyzing the problem, Nakatsu reasoned that the train needed to slice through the tunnel like an Olympic diver slicing through the water. For inspiration, he turned to a diver bird, the kingfisher. Living on branches high above lakes and rivers, kingfishers plunge into the water below to catch fish. Their bills, which are shaped like knives, cut through the air and barely make a ripple when they penetrate the water.

Nakatsu experimented with different shapes for the front of the train, but he discovered that the best, by far, was nearly identical to the kingfisher’s bill. Nowadays, Japan’s high-speed trains have long, beak-like noses that help them exit quietly out of tunnels. In fact, the refitted trains are 10 percent faster and 15 percent more fuel-efficient than their predecessors.

4. The Secret Power of Flippers

One scientist thinks he’s found part of the solution to our energy crisis deep in the ocean. Frank Fish, a fluid dynamics expert and marine biologist at Pennsylvania’s West Chester University, noticed something that seemed impossible about the flippers of humpback whales. Humpbacks have softball-size bumps on the forward edge of their limbs, which cut through the water and allow whales to glide through the ocean with great ease. But according to the rules of hydrodynamics, these bumps should put drag on the flippers, ruining the way they work.

Professor Fish decided to investigate. He put a 12-foot model of a flipper in a wind tunnel and witnessed it defy our understanding of physics.

The bumps, called tubercles, made the flipper even more aerodynamic. It turns out that they were positioned in such a way that they actually broke the air passing over the flipper into pieces, like the bristles of a brush running through hair. Fish’s discovery, now called the “tubercle effect,” not only applies to fins and flippers in the water, but also to wings and fan blades in the air.

Based on his research, Fish designed bumpy-edge blades for fans, which cut through air about 20 percent more efficiently than standard ones. He launched a company called Whalepower to manufacture them and will soon begin licensing its energy-efficient technology to improve fans in industrial plants and office buildings around the world. But Fish’s big fish is wind energy. He believes that adding just a few bumps to the blades of wind turbines will revolutionize the industry, making wind more valuable than ever.

5. What Would Robotic Jesus Christ Lizard Do?

There’s a reason the basilisk lizard is often referred to as the Jesus Christ lizard: It walks on water. More accurately, it runs. Many insects perform a similar trick, but they do it by being light enough not to break the surface tension of the water. The much larger basilisk lizard stays afloat by bicycling its feet at just the right angle so that its body rises out of the water and rushes forward.

lizard

In 2003, Carnegie Mellon robotics professor Metin Sitti was teaching an undergraduate robotics class that focused on studying the mechanics present in the natural world. When he used the lizard as an example of strange biomechanics, he was suddenly inspired to see if he could build a robot to perform the same trick.

It wasn’t easy. Not only would the motors have to be extremely light, but the legs would have to touch down on the water perfectly each time, over and over again. After months of work, Sitti and his students were able to create the first robot that could walk on water.

Sitti’s design needs some work, though. The mechanical miracle still rolls over and sinks occasionally. But once he irons out the kinks, there could be a bright future ahead for a machine that runs on land and sea. It could be used to monitor the quality of water in reservoirs or even help rescue people during floods.

6. Puff the Magic Sea Sponge

puffThe orange puffball sponge isn’t much to look at; it’s basically a Nerf ball resting on the ocean floor. It has no appendages, no organs, no digestive system, and no circulatory system. It just sits all day, filtering water. And yet, this unassuming creature might be the catalyst for the next technological revolution.

The “skeleton” of the puffball sponge is a series of calcium and silicon lattices. Actually, it’s similar to the material we use to make solar panels, microchips, and batteries—except that when humans make them, we use tons of energy and all manner of toxic chemicals. Sponges do it better. They simply release special enzymes into the water that pull out the calcium and silicon and then arrange the chemicals into precise shapes.

Daniel Morse, a professor of biotechnology at the University of California, Santa Barbara, studied the sponge’s enzyme technique and successfully copied it in 2006. He’s already made a number of electrodes using clean, efficient sponge technology. And now, several companies are forming a multimillion-dollar alliance to commercialize similar products. In a few years, when solar panels are suddenly on every rooftop in America and microchips are sold for a pittance, don’t forget to thank the little orange puffballs that started it all.

7. Wasps—They Know the Drill

Don’t be scared of the two giant, whip-like needles on the end of a horntail wasp. They’re not stingers; they’re drill bits. Horntails use these needles (which can be longer than their entire bodies!) to drill into trees, where they deposit their young.

For years, biologists couldn’t understand how the horntail drill worked. Unlike traditional drills, which require additional force (think of a construction worker bearing down on a jackhammer), the horntail can drill from any angle with little effort and little body weight. After years of studying the tiny insects, scientists finally figured out that the two needles inch their way into wood, pushing off and reinforcing each other like a zipper.

Astronomers at the University of Bath in England think the wasp’s drill will come in handy in space. Scientists have long known that in order to find life on Mars, they might have to dig for it. But without much gravity, they weren’t sure how they’d find the pressure to drill down on the planet’s hard surface. Inspired by the insects, researchers have designed a saw with extra blades at the end that push against each other like the needles of the wasp. Theoretically, the device could even work on the surface of a meteor, where there’s no gravity at all.

8. Consider the Lobster Eye

There’s a reason X-ray machines are large and clunky. Unlike visible light, X-rays don’t like to bend, so they’re difficult to manipulate. The only way we can scan bags at airports and people at the doctor’s office is by bombarding the subjects with a torrent of radiation all at once—which requires a huge device.

But lobsters, living in murky water 300 feet below the surface of the ocean, have “X-ray vision” far better than any of our machines. Unlike the human eye, which views refracted images that have to be interpreted by the brain, lobsters see direct reflections that can be focused to a single point, where they are gathered together to form an image. Scientists have figured out how to copy this trick to make new X-ray machines.

The Lobster Eye X-ray Imaging Device (LEXID) is a handheld “flashlight” that can see through 3-inch-thick steel walls.

The device shoots a small stream of low-power X-rays through an object, and a few come bouncing back off whatever is on the other side. Just as in the lobster eye, the returning signals are funneled through tiny tubes to create an image. The Department of Homeland Security has already invested $1 million in LEXID designs, which it hopes will be useful in finding contraband.

9. Playing Dead, Saving Lives

When the going gets tough, the tough play dead. That’s the motto of two of nature’s most durable creatures—the resurrection plant and the water bear. Together, their amazing biochemical tricks may show scientists how to save millions of lives in the developing world.

Resurrection plants refer to a group of desert mosses that shrivel up during dry spells and appear dead for years, or even decades. But once it rains, the plants become lush and green again, as if nothing happened. The water bear has a similar trick for playing dead. The microscopic animal can essentially shut down and, during that time, endure some of the most brutal environments known to man. It can survive temperatures near absolute zero and above 300˚F, go a decade without water, withstand 1,000 times more radiation than any other animal on Earth, and even stay alive in the vacuum of space. Under normal circumstances, the water bear looks like a sleeping bag with chubby legs, but when it encounters extreme conditions, the bag shrivels up. If conditions go back to normal, the little fellow only needs a little water to become itself again.

The secret to the survival of both organisms is intense hibernation. They replace all of the water in their bodies with a sugar that hardens into glass. The result is a state of suspended animation. And while the process won’t work to preserve people (replacing the water in our blood with sugar would kill us), it does work to preserve vaccines.

The World Health Organization estimates that 2 million children die each year from vaccine-preventable diseases such as diphtheria, tetanus, and whooping cough. Because vaccines hold living materials that die quickly in tropical heat, transporting them safely to those in need can be difficult. That’s why a British company has taken a page from water bears and resurrection plants. They’ve created a sugar preservative that hardens the living material inside vaccines into microscopic glass beads, allowing the vaccines to last for more than a week in sweltering climates.

10. Picking Up the Bill

char_toucansamThe bill of the toucan is so large and thick that it should weigh the bird down. But as any Froot Loops aficionado can tell you, Toucan Sam gets around. That’s because his bill is a marvel of engineering. It’s hard enough to chew through the toughest fruit shells and sturdy enough to be a weapon against other birds, and yet, the toucan bill is only as dense as a Styrofoam cup.

Marc Meyers, a professor of engineering at the University of California at San Diego, has started to understand how the bill can be so light. At first glance, it appears to be foam surrounded by a hard shell, kind of like a bike helmet. But Meyers discovered that the foam is actually a complicated network of tiny scaffolds and thin membranes. The scaffolds themselves are made of heavy bone, but they are spaced apart in such a way that the entire bill is only one-tenth the density of water. Meyers thinks that by copying the toucan bill, we can create car panels that are stronger, lighter, and safer. Toucan Sam was right; today we’re all following his nose.

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This article originally appeared in mental_floss magazine.

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Hipparchia of Maroneia - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Life

Hipparchia was born c. 350 BC in Maroneia, Thrace.[1][2] Her family came to Athens, where Hipparchia's brother - Metrocles - became a pupil of the Cynic philosopher Crates of Thebes.[3] Hipparchia fell in love with Crates, and developed such a passion for him, that she told her parents that if they refused to allow her to marry him, she would kill herself. They begged Crates to dissuade her, and he stood before her, removed his clothes, and said, "Here is the bridegroom, and this is his property."[1] Hipparchia, however, was quite happy with this; she adopted the Cynic life assuming the same clothes that he wore, and appearing with him in public everywhere.[4] Crates called their marriage "dog-coupling" (cynogamy).[5] We are told that they lived in the stoas and porticoes of Athens,[6] and Apuleius and later Christian writers wrote lurid accounts of them having sex, publicly, in broad daylight.[7] Although this would have been consistent with Cynic shamelessness (anaideia), the mere fact that Hipparchia adopted male clothes and lived on equal terms with her husband would have been enough to shock Athenian society. Hipparchia had at least two children, a daughter,[8] and a son named Pasicles.[5][9] It is not known how or when she died. There is an epigram ascribed to Antipater of Sidon, as the sort of thing which may have been written on her tomb:

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Library Grape: Obama's Speech to School Children Freaks Out Even Hitler

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    hahahahah! best use of hitler...evah.

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    9/10/09

    Pure Genius: Genius Recommends An App That Frees Memory, Which Is Supposedly Not Allowed | Just Another iPhone Blog

    funny

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    9/8/09

    Facebook | Jonathan Ligon's Photos - Morons Holding Signs

    Check out this website I found at facebook.com

    this is hilarious! best album on facebook, and starting to go viral.

    Posted via web from iquanyin's posterous

    9/7/09

    slowly, slowly

    well, i'm working on this blog little by little. mainly by adding photo widgets from anywhere i can, and trying to write posts a bit more often, and adding in some widgets that--so they claim--will do something good somewhere. i'll add more if i can find some that look ok enough to not trigger my obsessive libra-rising art critic. it's frivolous, but i just don't want to have crappy looking widgets on here. and i have to actually support the cause. i guess my widget standards are identical to my possession standards: beautiful *and* useful (tho the widgets...well, i stretched the beauty definition a bit).

    as for content, it's mainly sent from things i read so far. i'm still unsure what i want to write on this blog. not that i can't think of stuff to write about. far from it. i'm just unsure what i should put on the internet, as my personal life has been eventful, to say the least, and all but one person who figures in it is still living. as far as i know.

    and then, there's the question of that libra rising: do my posts need to be both beautiful and useful as well? and there are many, many types of useful. i find honesty blindingly useful (i'm just going to assume my writing will be, if not a stunning example of wondrous wordsmithing, at least reasonably pleasant, or i'll never write a damn thing.)

    maybe i'll make blogger the "public" blog, and tumbler the "personal" blog (ie, the poetry-confessional-speculative-cathartic blog).

    oh well, i don't have any readers right now, so it's moot.

    Mr. President, When Do We Stop

    Running away from who we are?

    When do you stop feeding your friends and our values to a pack of mad dogs whose hunger for hate will never be satiated?

    What is most affecting for me about this little scene from the "West Wing" is Toby's sense of exhaustion. It isn't merely that the Right gets every one of its "facts" wrong; it is the enervating sense that this is a conversation which everyone has already had hundreds of times.

    It resonates so strongly because every Liberal I know has sat where Toby is sitting and knows that no matter how many hundreds of times you correct them, point out their ideology's faults and failures and their leaders' factual mistakes, outright lies and moral hypocrisies -- some small, some large and some genuinely Apocalyptic -- there is absolutely no chance whatsoever that they will ever change their minds or their behavior, or even conceded that your opinion, while different from theirs, might not be part of a vast Rezko/ACORN/Muslim/Commie conspiracy, but an honorable position arrived at by, y'know, reading something other than "Glenn Beck's Common Sense" and thinking something other than what Rush Limbaugh shat into your ear the day before.

    None.

    When do we publicly stop pretending that the modern Right does not despise this country -- our country -- and can never be appeased and will never be satisfied until everything that we care about and everything this nation should be proud of is buried in an unmarked, mass grave beneath a single, White, Christian Conservative WalMart that stretches from sea to shining sea, and whose Electronics section shows nothing but acre after acre of teevees, all turned to FoxNews -- now just called The News -- featuring an endless loop of President Palin and Vice President Beck ranting and baiting about the next group of sinister, imaginary enemies at which they have decided to point their army of slack-jawed, single-digit-IQ "patriots".

    That is the hard truth about what is breaking this nation's back, and your job above all else is to look the American people in the eye and tell us the hard truths that we don't want to hear, and that our media categorically will not discuss for fear of losing market share.

    Your job is to lead.

    To. Lead. Us.

    And if you are not up for that hard job, then what in the world are you doing in our White House?
    driftglass

    9/6/09

    i'm vanishing

    odd start to a sunday morning.

    first, i fire up the mac. there's a big question mark in the dock in place of the eventbox icon. i downloaded eventbos last nite, spent some time setting it up and enjoying it (nice app). anyway, now it's icon is gone and the app itself is not in finder anymore. spotlight can't find it either. i shrug and move on to facebook...

    ...where i can't enter a photo contest because its group--which i joined last week--won't show up in my groups list, nor does it show me as a member, even tho my only option on its page is to "unjoin." the photo itself (on facebook) only lets me post to my wall. the option to send it to a person or group is gone. oh, and i can't find the group at all using search in the iphone fb app. nor send the group anything, since it's not there, according to the app

    huh. well. so i go surfing and decide to join a site. it takes two browsers and several tries, but stubborness finally wins. once joined, i can't log in. because--it turns out--my user name has "@" on the end. um, whatever. i use the field to reset the pass and log in that way, only to find i "lack access" to the user cp to set up a profile. wtf?

    fine. it's just a site. i move on to google reader, where i see a neat app for upload/download/mgmt of pix on both facebook and flickr. cool! i join its fb page, i go to the site to download the mac beta. clicking the download link does...nothing. clicking the iphone app: ditto. i fire up the appstore on my phone and search for the app: nada. it has users and a forum on pc world, so it's not vaporware. q quick search shows that maybe the mac beta isn't actually out yet. same for the app? if so, why don't they mention that?

    having had a few years of my *life* being like my morning online, i did the shug-move on bit and returned to reader to delete an rss feed that never posts but hogs space in my iphone rss app. can't. not there to delete. whoa, big surprise, eh?