Thursday, July 20, 2006




The always excellent 'The Register' has more of these amazing images picked up by a dedicated Google Earther.

The first image shows a Chinese military base, next to which has been constructed a mind-blowing model of a mountainous section of the China-India border.

As you can see in the comparison images below, showing the a close-up of the model and the real location, the attention to detail is absolutely extraordinary.

One theory goes that Chinese military use the model for the training of helicopter pilots. Presumably they fly over the model to gain familiarity with the terrain of the real location.

The benefit of using a model for such training is they don't actually need to send helicopters over the real location which might stir up the military of India.

The US Airforce, and Australia during World War 2, have also used models of real locations to train pilots, but I've never seen anything with such attention to detail.

Imagine walking around the model? You'd feel like you were forty foot tall.

Truly, truly awesome.

Go to The Register For More Images And The How, Where And Why

Wednesday, July 19, 2006


The symmetry of this two faced kitten looks so perfect I thought it was photo-shopped. But it's real enough, and it's healthy, and it's nursing along with the rest of its normal-enough litter.

There seems to be a growing number of mutant animals popping up all over the world, and while we've covered the five legged dog and the four-footed duck below, there have been many others we passed on.

Maybe it has more to do with the widespread use of video and phone cameras. Same number of mutant animals being born, more cameras to catch them before they die, or are put down, and a worldwide circulation system for blogs like us to find them and post them onwards.

Here's the news story that went with the pic :
A kitten has been born with two faces and veterinarians don't understand why.

The kitten was born Wednesday morning in Ohio. It has two mouths that meow in unison, two noses and four eyes that have not opened yet.

The little boy who owns the cat said he hasn't decided on a name for the kitten yet, but said he wants to name it Tiger.

Monday, July 17, 2006



Why do these stories of fast-growing, semi-synthetic meat just totally gross people out so much?

It's wrong, it's unnatural.

But what is the average normal growth cycle for the flesh we eat as hamburgers and steaks?

In the wild it can change according to breed, diet and environmental conditions.

Obviously as this meat growing technology is so new there aren't any long term studies to determine whether it has far-reaching health fallout effects for the consumers, but it can barely get off the ground because people just don't like the idea of it in total.

But no animal dies to produce this meat. So is that what meat-eaters want from their steaks and lamb chops? That it came from an animal slaughtered to feed us?

Very weird and strange territory. It seems mired in ethical minefields when, in reality, there are none at all. Unless you believe that all growing flesh has a soul or spirit.

Whatever, here's the story :
A U.S. scientist has developed a process to grow cow cells into full-size hamburger overnight but he can't get anyone to invest in the process.

Vladimir Mironov, a biology researcher at the Medical University of South Carolina, said the process involves taking immature cells that develop into skeletal muscles from cows -- or pigs, or chickens, or turkeys -- and fusing them to a protein that, with the help of steroids, grows into big hunks of meat, The Charleston (S.C.) Post and Courier reported.

The newspaper said the process isn't exactly cloning, but more like cattle farming through chemistry.

The scientific procedure has been published in tissue-engineering journals, but Mironov says he can't find any financial backers, Post and Courier says.

"In business, who pays to make a product nobody wants to buy?" Mironov asked. "You show this technology and say, 'Do you want to try the meat?' and they all say, 'No.'"

But Mironov says the long-term benefits of the technology could outweigh the negative public perception.

He told the newspaper: "It's not Frankenstein meat. It's like hydroponic tomatoes."
The whole deal with this amazing meat tech is going to be a hard cell.

But what about McDonalds? Or Burger King?

How about making it fun? Beef steak grown into the shape of a plucked chicken?

Okay, now I feel sick.

The quick-grow meat tree is coming, get used to it. Choose a flavour, choose a texture, set and let grow in time for tomorrow night's big dinner.

Who knows, it might even be good for us....


Wednesday, July 12, 2006


Another miracle/mutant animal turns up.

Apparently the duck can get around on land and in water with no problems. It was found in a market in South China.

Is it just me, or is that duck actually smiling?

Wednesday, July 05, 2006


Grandma was right all along. A hot water bottle kills pain more effectively than most pharmacuetical pain killers, and now scientists know why :

From the UK Guardian :

The old wives' tale has it that a hot water bottle can relieve pain deep in the body - and now scientists have discovered why. A hot compress can physically shut down the normal pain response involved in stomach aches, period pain or colic.

"The heat doesn't just provide comfort and have a placebo effect - it actually deactivates the pain at a molecular level in much the same way as pharmaceutical painkillers," said Brian King, a senior lecturer in physiology at University College London, who led the research.

Dr King found that if heat of more than 40C (104F) is applied to the skin near where internal pain is felt, it switches on heat receptors at the site of injury. These in turn block the body's ability to detect pain. He will present his findings today at the annual meeting of the Physiological Society.

"Heat is recognised by a group of receptors called transient receptor potential channels," said Dr King. "One of them, TRP1, responds to heat at around 40C. It's known to be on the sensory nerves that supply the internal organs like the gut."

When someone feels pain in the gut, a separate mechanism is firing. Receptors called P2X3 have detected ATP, a chemical that pours out of cells when they are damaged. The heat response appears to shut these receptors down.

"You've got the heat receptor on one side and the ATP receptor on the other side that will recognise the pain. Both are present in our cells and yet, when you activate one, it switches off the other," said Dr King. "What appears to be something that can sense heat can help you get over visceral pain by switching off the pain mechanism."