Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Troubled duck waddles into Edmonton bird store


Duck wandersJaynne Carre, owner of Wildbird General Store, poses for a picture in Edmonton, Alberta, on August 26, 2011. On August 9, 2011 a Bufflehead duck wandered into her shop were it was captured and released a week later. (RYAN MCLEOD/EDMONTON SUN)

Have you heard the one about the duck that walked into the Wildbird General Store?

Earlier this month, a small, injured bufflehead was spotted wandering the streets near the Letourneau Centre at 4752B 99 St., before literally ducking inside the nearby Wildbird General Store, at 4712 99 St.

"We just thought this must be the smartest duck ever because she sure came to the right place," laughed the store's co-owner, Jaynne Carre, of the bird's Aug. 9 visit. "Perhaps the duck can read?"

Carre has been running the store with her biologist husband, Lu Carbyn, for the last 10 years.

She said it's the first time a wild, feathered creature has stopped by unannounced.

"It was definitely one of the strangest days at the store," she laughed.

Carre was hosting a community event when the duck popped in out of the rain.

"A big storm had just passed through the city and my husband, who had gone out to his car, spotted this duck walking along the strip mall," she said.

"Just as he was about to catch her, two customers left our store and the duck snuck through the open door."



Une ├ęchelle pour rejoindre la Lune

Cork Mosaics

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Photoshop Rap of the Day - TDW Geeks

New blog platform called JUX


Just found this blogging platform and have already began a blog on it. Geared toward large image and video posts. Check my first post out @

HDV_rapids on Coon Creek_Erlandson Park_Coon rapids MN 08_24_2011

Laughing Squid

Laughing Squid


Pileus Iridescent Cloud

Food Bank President FAIL - Epic Fail Funny Videos and Funny Pictures

Gregorius Suhartoyo | Fubiz™


MC Frontalot’s latest nerdcore album: SOLVED – Boing Boing

MC Frontalot’s latest nerdcore album: SOLVED

Nerdcore rap legend MC Frontalot sez, "SOLVED, my new album came out today! It's a concept record about how all solutions are hacks. It has got guest appearances from some other nerdcore rappers (MC Lars, ZeaLouS1, Dr Awkward), some rockstars (Wheatus), and some comedy masterminds (Kristen Schaal, Wyatt Cenac, Eugene Mirman). If anyone wants to take a peek, the first single, "Critical Hit," is free and the CD page offers instant download with purchase. The package on my site includes 24bit FLAC, but if you aren't such an audiophile, it's also posted on iTunes, Amazon, Rhapsody, etc. I hope folks like it. It was quite a labor of love and I am happy about how it came out."

I've been giving this a spin this morning and it's definitely vintage Frontalot -- I love "Captains of Industry," a great track about how every nerdcore rapper is really in the t-shirt business.

Solved (Thanks, Frontalot)

via boing boing obviously

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Animated Short of the Day - The Daily What

Bridge from Ting on Vimeo.


« Previous | Next »

Animated Short of the Day

Animated Short of the Day: For her Academy of Art University thesis film, Ting Chian Tey animated an adorable, allegorical short “about four animal characters trying to cross a bridge, but ending up as obstacles to one another in the process.”

Play of the Day - The Daily What

Play of the Day: Nashville Sounds outfielder Logan Schafer kicks off a triple-play with a ball that bounces off his head (i.e. the only legitimate way to kick off a triple play).

90% Of People Don't Know About Ctrl+F | Geekosystem

A recent post at The Atlantic has called attention to the statistic that approximately 90% of people do not know about Ctrl+F “find” functionality. The topic came up during a discussion with Dan Russell, a search anthropologist for Google. About a year ago, after having an experience with a school-bus trainer who spent about five minutes looking for text in a document, Russell decided to do some research into how many people were unaware of the glory that is Ctrl+F. The results were staggering.

Geekosystem -

9/11 Memorial construction

Time-Lapse Video Featuring Eight Years of 9/11 Memorial Construction

NBC New York is featuring a time-lapse video showing the 2004-2011 construction of the 9/11 Memorial at ground zero, which opens on September 11, 2011, the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.

via NBC New York & Gawker

3D Trampoline Dodgeball


Sky Zone 3D Trampoline Dodgeball

what ?


At the Sky Zone Trampoline Park in Rocklin, California near Sacramento, visitors can play a rollicking game of “3-D” trampoline dodgeball.

via reddit

City's plan to kill ducks inspires public outrage


About two dozen people gathered at Tuscawilla Park on Sunday to protest the planned killing of ducks at Ocala recreation areas.

Photo Galleries

Nearby, just about as many adult ducks lounged in the shade or slowly cruised the pond, oblivious to the emotions stirred by their presence.

NYC Cabbie also Works as a King in Africa


Isaac Osei started out driving a taxi in New York City when he immigrated to the US about thirty years ago. He has built up that business into a fleet of fifty cars operating day and night. But that’s not his only occupation. When his older brother in Ghana died, Osei took his place as king over a region of Ghana. Now Osei divides his time between US and his royal realm:…….


Monday, August 22, 2011

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Try it

Architectural Paper Models by Christina Lihan | Oddity Central - Collecting Oddities

prosthetic knowledge


Canyon by Adrien Segal

Sourcing data from the USGS report titled “Analysis of Water Use in the United States: 1950– 1995,” Canyon is three dimensional representation of national water use statistics, where the central river and its tributaries are related to a specific categorical use. ......

Video: Braves fan leaps to make fantastic one-handed grab - Big League Stew - MLB Blog - Yahoo! Sports

Testing Windows LiveWriter


\\\: Vincent Ganivet



The series Broken houses is based on photographs of abandoned structures neglected by man and destroyed by the weather. The photos are found in the web while pursuing an amateur photographer from North Dakota who obsessively documents the decaying process of these houses. His photographs are used to create small scale models. Afterward, in the studio, the models are photographed again, omitted from their background and placed in gray.

today and tomorrow - Page 2


Michael Kukla made these amazing sculptures. He wants to create organic surfaces by drilling and grinding out cellular-like structures in marble or plywood slabs. Very impressive work.

Yurikamome Rail Transit


AppuruPai made these beautiful long exposure shots on the Yurikamome rail transit.

GraphJam: Music and Pop Culture in Charts and Graphs. Let us explain them. - Page 2

Laughing Squid

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Scientists Discover That Antimicrobial Wipes and Soaps May Be Making You (and Society) Sick | Guest Blog, Scientific American Blog Network

A few weeks ago as I was walking out of a Harris Teeter grocery store in Raleigh, North Carolina, I saw a man face a moment of crisis. You could see it in the acrobatic contortions of his face. He had pulled a cart out of the area where carts congregate, only to find that its handle was sticky with an unidentifiable substance. He paused and looked at the handle, as if to imagine the nature of the offense. Gum? Meat juice? Chewed marshmallows? So many vulgar possibilities. Forlorn, he reached for an antibiotic wipe conveniently placed by the door. He scrubbed his hands VERY diligently and then pushed the cart back for someone else to rediscover [1].

Scenarios like this one are playing out all over America. There is an epidemic of sticky, dirty and otherwise gross handles on shopping carts. But it isn’t just carts. Disgusting doorknobs have also been found, as have cryptically damp table-tops in restaurants and even, sad as it is, slimy back rests on the weight machines in gyms! Increasingly, the world seems to be rife with contamination. Fortunately, all of the main companies producing hygiene products have offered a solution–sanitary, antibacterial, antimicrobial, antibiotic, wipes, and soaps to kill anything that dares to creep into our wholesome lives. These salves will cure us of the demons that dare to grow near us.

The really intriguing news–a kind of breakthrough–is that the main compounds in antibiotic wipes, creams and soaps, triclosan and/or the chemically similar triclocarban, have also been sprinkled around our lives more generally. A recent study notes that triclosan is now used to "impregnate surfaces and has been added to chopping boards, refrigerators, plastic lunchboxes, mattresses as well as being used in industrial settings, such as food processing plants where walls, floors and exposed machinery have all been treated with triclosan in order to reduce microbial load." You can now go home, wipe your world down and live a happier life, surrounded by an antibiotic force field. Be especially sure to wipe your children down. Children are just about the grimiest thing in the world.

Yet, although I hesitate to digress or cause trouble, the devil on my shoulder, that voice of so-called reason, is urging me to avail myself of more than the vague suspicion that everything around me is contaminated. Maybe, the devil says, we should glance, just for a second, at what scientists like to call–in their nasally ivory-tower voices–"the evidence." I do not mean anything too fancy… Let’s just take a moment to look at a study here and there that might be relevant as we go about coating our lives–from underpants to kitchen pans–in antibiotic wonder.

For example, what if we just considered whether people who wipe down the world around them with antibiotic soap or wipes are less likely to be sick. Of course, they must be. The world is gross and they are, God bless them, clean, but let’s just check.

OK, we shouldn’t have checked. There are some problems. One is the actual evidence, or just as often, lack thereof. Case in point: along with her colleagues, Allison Aiello, a professor at the University of Michigan, recently surveyed all of the experimental or quasi-experimental studies published in English between 1980 and 2006 on the effectiveness of different hand washing strategies [2]. Aiello focused on studies that compared different strategies, for example the use of normal soap versus the use of antibiotic soap, in terms of their effect on the probability of developing gastrointestinal or respiratory illness. Our intuition is that antibiotic soaps and wipes should make everyone healthier. Aiello’s results were something else entirely.

Aiello’s first result was fine enough, but it set the stage for the trouble to come. She found "the use of nonantibacterial soap with hand hygiene education interventions is efficacious for preventing both gastrointestinal and respiratory illnesses." In other words, if you wash your hands with soap (and are educated about washing your hands with soap) you are less likely to get sick. Score one for intuition and grandma’s admonitions. But then things went terribly wrong.

Aiello next considered the antibiotic soaps and wipes now used, in one form or another, by 75% of American households. Odds are that you use them. Go check your labels. Sadly, Aiello and colleagues found that antibiotic soaps and wipes with triclosan were no more likely than good old-fashioned soap to prevent gastrointestinal or respiratory illness. In Aiello’s words, "There was little evidence for an additional impact of new products, such as alcohol-based hand sanitizers or antibacterial soaps compared with nonantibacterial soaps, for reducing either gastrointestinal or respiratory infectious illness symptoms."

For example, in a study Aiello reviewed that was conducted in Pakistan, gastrointestinal illnesses were reduced by half when people washed their hands with soap and by a little less than half when they washed their hands with antibiotic soap [3]. What is worse, perhaps the most comprehensive study of the effectiveness of antibiotic and non-antibiotic soaps in the U.S., led by Elaine Larson at Columbia University (with Aiello as a coauthor), found that while for healthy hand washers there was no difference between the effects of the two, for chronically sick patients (those with asthma and diabetes, for example) antibiotic soaps were actually associated with increases in the frequencies of fevers, runny noses and coughs [4]. In other words, antibiotic soaps appeared to have made those patients sicker. Let me say that again: Most people who use antibiotic soap are no healthier than those who use normal soap. AND those individuals who are chronically sick and use antibiotic soap appear to get SICKER.

Here, then, is the evidence we need, evidence very clearly at odds with our intuition to scrub and scrub. Yet hardly anyone has followed up on Larson’s study and no one has reexamined what happens with chronically sick patients and antibiotic soaps. The truth is that few biologists are studying what antibiotic soaps do to us. Still, the evidence indicates that when confronted with a dirty grocery store cart handle, we should just wash with soap and water like our great grandmothers would have done (if they had had grocery carts). At the very least, antibiotic wipes do not appear to help us and, it may be that they are actually hurting us.

The devil on my shoulder suggests we need to take the radical step of actually thinking for a second about what happens when you wash your hands, or whatever other part. This is a step almost never taken in the study of illness. Our skin (just like Lady Gaga’s skin) is covered in bacteria species. More than a hundred species of bacteria (not to mention fungi and other kinds of organisms) can be found on a single hand of any given adult [5] or for that matter belly button, forehead or other part, at any given moment (Image of some of the more abundant bacteria in the author’s belly button: ). It appears that those species include two main groups. There are the "native" species, our own bodily citizens that have evolved to live in peace on our skin and, in doing so, benefit us by acting as a kind of defensive layer. Then there are the tourists. It is these tourists that cause us harm, the tourists who bear chemical knives.

When you wash your hands, the goal is not to kill all the microbes. As Larson and a group of colleagues put it in a 2003 paper "Handwashing with a non-antimicrobial soap does little to modify the natural [citizen] flora. In fact, such an effect would be undesirable." What is desirable is, instead, to kill the tourists who have just turned up but not yet established, or at least the dangerous among those newly arrived species. Kill the tourists is a reasonable hand washing motto (although the truth is we still know surprisingly little about the citizens; they are the neglected serfs of our bodies). Soap is thought to be effective at killing the tourists, not always, but at least often, although this hypothesis has never been directly tested.

But what do antibiotic wipes and soaps do? Amazingly, no one really knows. In the vacuum of a laboratory they can kill both viruses and bacteria, but what about on the jungle of our bodies? It seems possible that they are able, in some cases, to kill both some of the tourists AND some of the citizens. Perhaps (which is to say, I am mostly guessing for the rest of this paragraph) when we are mostly healthy, this doesn’t matter; the bacteria regroup and recover or our body in other ways defends. But when we are already unwell, it may be that this is enough to make us more unwell by killing both natives and tourists and, in some cases, allowing the weediest tourists to recolonize first. Maybe, but this is just my scientific intuition which, let’s be honest, needs to be as carefully doubted and picked at as with our intuitions more generally.

What we do know is that the influence of these wipes and salves does not end with our hands, but instead spreads from them down our drains and out into society. What happens when antibiotic soaps and suds go down drains? To find out, a group of scientists recently made artificial drains clogged with bacteria (oh, the difficulties of science) and then subjected them to low and high doses of triclosan (similar to what happens when your detergent goes down the drain). Even at high concentrations, triclosan appears to have no effect on the number of bacterial cells in our drains. BUT, it does affect which species are found there. Triclosan kills "weak" bacteria but favors the tolerant, among them species of bacteria that eat triclosan [6]. Yes, I said eat triclosan. Triclosan may also favor lineages of bacteria that are also resistant to the oral antibiotics used in hospitals and elsewhere [7], though how often and consistently is, as of yet, unclear. Nonetheless, the hint of the tougher future triclosan might be favoring is, perhaps, a bit troubling.

Nor are drains the end of the story. Triclosan continues its journey, the little chemical that could, on to sewage treatment plants and into water supplies. In many municipal water supplies triclosan can now be found in relatively high concentrations. Those high concentrations affect the microbes that are always present in water, but also appear to act as endocrine disrupters in fish. For example, fish exposed to triclosan have lower sperm counts than those that are not [8]. Even if you don’t care about the sex lives of fish, this might still worry you, given the great similarities, on evolutionary grounds, between the hormones of fish and humans [9].

But I apologize. All of this was a diversion from the original story of the man with the cart, the man wringing his hands. This story digressed from his story, just as the consequences of his choice appear to cascade away from him out into the world.

The man continued on into the store, pausing only briefly to look at me, as if maybe he knew me. Then I saw that he was looking at my son. I looked at my son too, which is when I saw his marshmallow covered hands. I mouthed sorry back to the man, having realized, of course, that it was my cart he had first taken. My son would have mouthed sorry too, if he talked yet, and if his mouth wasn’t so gummed up with marshmallows.

"Sorry…," I was going to mouth again, but then he was gone and we needed to be going too, to get home and eat, after washing our hands, but just with good old fashioned soap. I’ll abandon the antimicrobial soap, detergent, and wipes. And I am pretty sure that I have never purchased the other antimicrobial products, whether the counter tops or underpants. This may seem sad, as though we have lost the war on the bad bacteria and viruses, those tourists with their counterfeit visas. If it does, I extend my apologies to you too. What is worse is that we seem to have lost it at a terrible time, what with all of the gross shopping carts and, more seriously, the reality that last year 2 million people died of respiratory infections. The good news, though, is that scientists have figured out a way to reduce the frequency that people get sick by as much as forty percent.

It turns out that although we know that washing our hands prevents a range of illnesses and are incredibly eager to buy products marketed to kill germs, we don’t actually take the simpler measure of washing hands in the first place. A study of nearly eight thousand individuals in five U.S. cities found almost half of the participants failed to wash their hands after going to the bathroom. In this light, no mystery salve is necessary, no miracle cure, special wipe, or magic. We need to wash our hands, because soap does the body good, at least in all the ways studied so far. It is not fancy. It is not expensive or heavily marketed and yet it works, as it long has, even though as of yet, no one can conclusively, unambiguously, tell you why.


[1] Those who are ignorant of cart history are doomed to repeat it.

[2] Aiello AE, Coulborn RM, Perez V, Larson EL. 2008. Effect of hand hygiene on infectious disease risk in the community setting: a meta-analysis. Am J Public Health 98:1372-1381.

[3] Luby SP, Agboatwalla M, Painter J, Altaf A, Billhimer WL, Hoekstra RM. Effect of intensive handwashing promotion on childhood diarrhea in high-risk communities in Pakistan: a randomized controlled trial. JAMA. 2004;291:2547–2554.

[4] Larson EL, Lin SX, Gomez-Pichardo C, Della-Latta P. Effect of antibacterial home cleaning and handwashing products on infectious disease symptoms: a randomized, double-blind trial. Ann Intern Med. 2004;140:321–329.

[5] Fierer, N. M. Hamady, C.L. Lauber, R. Knight. 2008. The influence of sex, handedness, and washing on the diversity of hand surface bacteria. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci, USA. 105: 17994-17999.

[6] McBain, A. J.; Bartolo, R. G.; Catrenich, C. E.; Charbonneau, D.; Ledder, R. G.; Price, B. B.; Gilbert, P. Exposure of sink drain microcosms to triclosan: Population dynamics and antimicrobial susceptibility. Appl. Environ. Microbiol. 2003, 69, 5433−5442.

[7] Aiello AE, Larson EL. Antibacterial cleaning and hygiene products as an emerging risk factor for antibiotic resistance in the community. Lancet Infect Dis. 2003;3:501–506.

[8] Raut, S. A., and R. A. Angus 2010. Triclosan has endocrine-disrupting effects in male western mosquitofish, Gambusia affinis. Environ Toxicol Chem 29: 1287–1291.

[9] Rees Clayton, E.M., Todd, M., Dowd, J.B., Aiello, A.E.† (2010) The impact of bisphenol A and triclosan on immune parameters in the US population, NHANES 2003-2006. Environmental Health Perspectives


Image Credits: Bacteria cartoon, colorful shopping carts, Cart wipes, Triclosan ingredient, BioFresh mushrooms.

About the Author: Rob Dunn is a science writer and biologist in the Department of Biology at North Carolina State University. His first book, Every Living Thing, told the stories of the sometimes obsessive, occasionally mad, and always determined, biologists who have sought to discover the limits of the living world. His new book, The Wild Life of Our Bodies, explores how changes in our interactions with other species, be they the bacteria on our skin, forehead mites or tigers, have affected our health and well being. Rob lives in Raleigh, North Carolina with his wife, two children, and lots of microbes.

The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily those of Scientific American.

I knew it all along

‪Full HD High Speed Movie - Eagleowl - Photron SA2‬‏ - YouTube