The day has finally come when we here at Therefore I Geek can legitimately mix beer and science (without drinking while writing…I do that plenty already). Scientists at White Labs, a California yeast distributor, and a Belgian genetics lab have teamed up to map the genome of different types of brewing yeast. The goal is to eventually breed custom yeast, which would in turn yield custom flavors in beer. While genetic modification has been available for years, most brewers have shied away from modified yeast due to the public movement against GMOs. The most likely use of these different yeast strains will be by craft brewers as large breweries guard their yeast very carefully.
Who knows what interesting flavor and aroma combinations are headed our way in the not-too-distant future. Hurray beer!
I love Star Trek but was always troubled by the fact that most aliens in the show look essentially like humans. First contact and communicating with a new set of aliens was just a matter of learning their language. The closest Star Trek ever got to really adapting to cultural differences was my absolute least favorite episode “Darmok,” in which Picard has to communicate with an alien captain who expresses everything using some epic story. Recently, NASA published a book on just this topic called Archaeology, Anthropology and Interstellar Communication. The book takes the time to discuss all sorts of different problems that might exist when trying to communicate with life forms that could be completely different than us. The book also provides a pretty good history of SETI, the search for extraterrestrial intelligence.
Not like this.
NASA has pulled the ebook version while they wait for printed versions to come out.
As the world turns…Ok, I’m not going to start talking about soap operas, but I will talk about the mathematics and physics behind the way the Earth actually turns. Science has a great explanation of the experiment that demonstrates how fast the Earth turns. The original experiment in 1851 provided the first quantitative measurements of how fast the rotation actually is. The pendulum continues to swing on a straight line, but its direction changes as the earth rotates. If a person did the pendulum experiment at the North or South Pole for six hours, he would actually find the 90 degree change in direction, as expected. Since the original experiment was done in Paris (which is obviously not at one of the poles) the value in that location, though exactly as expected, is less than it would be if done at the poles.
A Foucault Pendulum
I love simple experiments like this. Science does not always need to super complex.
The Cassini spacecraft has discovered what appears to be a new moon being formed in the rings of Saturn. The new moon, named Peggy, is being formed from the ice that makes up Saturn’s rings. While this baby moon is still currently too small to see, the gravitational effects on the rings are visible. Peggy joins the 62 other moons that Saturn has, both official and provisional.
The moon might be named after a real person, but all I can think about is the guy from the Capital One commercial.
Leave it to the folks at MIT to determine that our furniture is too lazy. They seem to think it should be doing more for us. The Transform projects created a table-ish structure that moves and responds to people. The system senses when a person is nearby using a Kinect (from an Xbox). The table uses 1,152 plastic pins to provide motion. There is also a fantastic video of the table rolling a ball around. Yes, you just read that right, the surface is moving a ball around, in a controlled and complex manner.
Maybe it won’t be too long until we have hospital beds like Yashida’s in The Wolverine. Seems like it could be comfy.
Scientists in Russia have successfully grown a new esophagus and implanted it in a rat. What is an esophagus? When you drink something and you start coughing because it went “down the wrong pipe,” it should have gone down the esophagus. It’s the part of the body that takes food and liquids (e.g. beer) from the mouth to the stomach. The Russian scientists were able to accomplish this by using a scaffold of existing cells and then allowing stem cells to develop around that scaffold. Not only is this a fascinating advance, but an interesting technique for doing it as well.
I’m pretty partial to my own esophagus because of the whole loving beer and food thing.
NBC News recently got a tour of “the coolest museum you’ll never see”. The reason you’ll probably never see it is because it’s located inside CIA headquarters in Langley, VA. For the most part access is restricted to CIA personnel and invited guests. The museum houses some really cool items dating back from to the CIA’s predecessor organization, the Office of Special Services (OSS).
Not only is there the cool, nearly inaccessible museum, there is also a classified collection that I’m sure is even cooler. While the general public can’t get access to the museum itself, some of the collection can be viewed here.
Ever gone to a baseball game in the middle of summer, gotten yourself a nice cold beer, sat down, taken a sip, only to find out that the 98°F weather outside has already turned your cold beer warm? This is why I don’t get beer at baseball games, and it’s a shame. But now, thanks to the brilliant people at Dodger’s Stadium, this is no longer an issue. These geniuses (and I truly mean that) have discovered a machine that freezes beer foam to act as a mini cooler for the beer.
It’s like the adult version of a Root Beer Float.
This apparently keeps beer cool for up to 30 minutes, which should be plenty of time to finish it before it gets to warm. Perhaps I will have to rethink my baseball game beer purchases.
Beware if you are planning to visit France! An unnamed French woman and her poodle (you can’t make that up) were severely mauled by feral cats in Belfort. This only reinforces my fears that my cats are trying to kill me.
They are always watching…
I’m wondering if this is what happens when they can’t haz cheezburger.