The EJBlog
Here's One For Any Muppet Show Fans
August 29, 2011, 12:44 PM
OK Go partners with the Muppets as they cover the Muppet Show Theme Song!
Tags: Muppet, Show, Video
Ladies and Gentlemen, The Rainbow Toad Is Back
July 20, 2011, 5:30 PM
Rainbow Toad Image I can't even begin to describe how satisfying it is to rediscover an 87-year-gone toad that you thought was extinct. I'd imagine it's probably similar to finding a ten dollar bill in your pocket after throwing your pants in the washing machine for 87 years. Or something like that. Last spotted by European explorers in 1924, three of these rainbow toads were recently discovered in the same tree, deep in the jungles of Southeast Asia. The group of toads included an adult male, an adult female and a juvenile. But unlike many other toads, you probably don't want to put a rainbow toad in your mouth: From National Geographic
Like many other colorful amphibians, the toxic toad's appearance is likely a warning to potential predators, said Robin Moore, an amphibian expert with Conservation International. "You can see the skin is rough, which usually indicates the presence of poison glands," Moore said. "You probably don't want to put this in your mouth."
Hey Robin Moore, I just said that! Well, I suppose a double warning is better than no warning at all. Now you know. Sources: 1. Rainbow Toad Rediscovered, Photographed for First Time [National Geographic] 2. Rainbow Toad Image by Indraneil Das, Conservation International [Image - MSNBC Cosmic Log]
Tags: Toads, Wildlife
It's a car! It's a plane! It's both of those things!
July 7, 2011, 12:53 PM
Terrafugia Flying Car Do you have $250,000 just lying around? Maybe it's burning a hole in your pocket? While my first instinct is to compliment you on your impressively large pocket, it would probably be best if you attend to that fire. You want to have children one day, right? No? Well that explains your excess funds then, doesn't it? No future college tuition for you to worry about! Now...if you're looking to spend your copious amounts of cash on something fancy, have I got an item for you! It's called the "Transition," and it's a car that turns into a plane! Or a plane that turns into a car! Or a truck that turns into Optimus Prime! (Though maybe that's something else altogether.) From Physorg:
The Transition is able to move between the sky and road by making use of push-button retractable wings that narrow the plane enough to allow it to fit on standard roads...It has room for a pilot and one passenger and also has airbags and utilizes an energy absorbing crumple zone similar to that used in many cars. Also, like race cars, it has a carbon fiber safety cage in case of rollovers.
Oh man...a carbon fiber safety cage. I love those. I actually sleep in a carbon fiber safety cage. It's like a security blanket, except it's a cage. It's a SECURITY CAGE. Having received approval from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the Federal Aviation Administration, Terrafugia (the Transition's manufacturer) expects to start shipping this land-and-air vehicle to customers by next year. They estimate that it'll cost around $250,000, though that price might change. But for just $10, can reserve one right now! Sources: 1. Flying car 'Transition' gets road approval from NHTSA [Physorg] 2. Transition First Flight Image 3. Terrafugia Website
Tags: Cars, Planes, Expensive
Cats Get More Exercise Than I Do!
May 27, 2011, 4:55 PM
Two Cats
Where do your cats go when you aren't looking? Contrary to what Erwin Schrödinger might say, new evidence suggests that cats do in fact exist when they're out of our sight. And they roam! Italy style! Wait...that doesn't make any sense. Ignore that last part. From CNET:
A master's thesis study, led by former University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign graduate student Jeff Horn, tracked 42 feral and pet cats as they collectively roamed more than 6,000 acres over the course of two years. Radio telemetry and movement sensors gave the researchers a pile of interesting data. The largest range for a single cat belonged to a feral male that claimed 1,351 acres of room to roam. Pet cats tended to keep things much closer to home.
Up till this point, most of my other cat knowledge came from that long-running broadway musical...uh...what's it's name... Oh! Right! West Side Story! Those cats sure did want to live in America. Sources: 1. Sensor setup stalks wandering house cats for study [CNET] 2. Researchers track the secret lives of feral and free-roaming house cats [News Bureau | Illinois] 3. Tiger and Scaredy Cat...Spring Time [yngrich]
Tags: cats, travel, study
Dogboarding...It's The Thing To Do!
April 5, 2011, 11:01 AM
Here's something that you may or may not know about me. I love dogboarding. If you've never heard of dogboarding, this video explains it best: Now the thing about dogboarding is that if you don't actually have a dog, it's easy to get out of practice (and cats handle wayyyyy differently). Needless to say, I dogsit a lot (like babysitting, with dogs), but don't confuse that with "dogsitting" (the recreational sport). That's completely different. That's just sitting on a dog for prolonged periods of time. But really, who sits on a dog? That's just mean. Don't sit on dogs. Sources: 1. Dogboarding [DANIELS]
Tags: Dogs, Skateboarding
You're Not Afraid Of Heights, Are You?
March 30, 2011, 12:52 PM
Fear Of Heights Image
Are you afraid of heights? I'm not. In fact, I'm high right now! (I live on a hill, you see.) A recent study by Dr. Dominique de Quervain at the University of Basel, Switzerland, suggests that the administration of glucocorticoid hormones may help to enhance the effectiveness of exposure therapy - exposing a person to his or her fear in a safe and controlled environment. In the case of Dr. de Quervain's experiment, the stress hormone cortisol was administered to 40 patents who all shared a fear of heights. The individuals in the experiment were exposed to a virtual reality height simulation, and later evaluated in a "real-life heights situation (going up an outdoor staircase with three levels)." The results? Less anxiety with the cortisol treatment (compared to a placebo group)! Nice! Exposure therapy has been shown to help combat fears and anxiety ranging from post traumatic stress disorder to more straightforward phobias like a fear of heights. It's a tried and true practice with proven beneficial effects, and it's great to see that glucocorticoid treatment may make it even more successful. Of course, now we're at the part where I need to ask some kind of important, challenging and highly relevant question... How do you treat the fear of exposure therapy itself?! Hmm...actually, I guess that's an easy one. Sources: 1. Stress hormone combats fear of heights [NewScientist] 2. Glucocorticoids enhance extinction-based psychotherapy [PNAS] 3. Patti conquers her fear of heights [K Mick]
Tags: Science, Phobias
Japanese Robotic Arms Make Eating Food Easier
March 23, 2011, 10:03 PM
Eating food is difficult. Always has been, and up until this point, I thought it always would be. Fortunately, someone has finally found a solution to this problem. Chukyo University student Isao Wakabayashi, through the use of a Robix robot kit, has created two voice-activated robotic arms that can use a utensil to pick up various types of food. Check out the video below! I'm assuming that if I were to put my face (and mouth) where the bowl in that video is, the robot would feed me too. Eh...maybe I'll let someone else try that out first. Sources: 1. Voice-controlled Japanese robot assists with eating, makes veggies more fun (video) [Engadget]
Tags: Robots, Food
A Dog In A Suit!
March 16, 2011, 3:58 PM
A Dog In A Suit
I really don't need an excuse to write a post about a dog in a suit. Look at this dog! He's wearing a suit! Also...glasses. Awesome. He looks like some kind of a historian. I'm not sure why. Maybe it's the books behind him. I wonder what kind of books they are. Probably history books. Yeah, history books. That would make sense for a dog historian. Sources: 1. dog in suit [matt512]
Tags: Dog, Suit
Visualizing WiFi Networks
March 15, 2011, 9:14 AM

Immaterials: Light painting WiFi from Timo on Vimeo.

Have you ever wondered what your average city street would look like if we could visualize WiFi signals from routers? Well I'm sorry, but I don't have a visualization for your average city street. You're going to have to settle for Oslo, Norway. Close enough though, right? Three pretty cool guys, Timo Arnall, Jørn Knutsen and Einar Sneve Martinussen, went around Oslo with an LED light rod (which displayed nearby WiFi signal strength levels) and took some pretty impressive long-exposure pictures. From Walyou:
The rod is 4 m tall and has 80 LEDs running through its length (the more LEDs flashing, the stronger is the signal). Despite the fact that it looks like a fence on the video, actually it’s just the single rod. The amazing effect was achieved through long-exposure photography and a few weeks of walking, measuring and photographing a part of Oslo, the capital of Norway, in December 2010. The project is called “Immaterials: light painting WiFi“.
Someone should invent a similar device for visualizing smells. Sources: 1. And What If WiFi Networks Were Visible? [Walyou]
Tags: WiFi, visualization
Americans Are Sicker Than Their British Counterparts
March 9, 2011, 12:33 PM
Woman Sneezing Image
Americans are sick, yo! I mean totally sick! Like maaaad sick! Ahem...*clears throat* Journalism mode...activate! A recently published study from the American Journal of Epidemiology finds that Americans have higher rates of most chronic diseases than their British counterparts. This was found to be true across all age groups. From PhysOrg:
Health measures based on physical examinations and/or laboratory reports included the following risk factors or conditions: obesity, hypertension, diabetes, low high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol, high cholesterol ratio, and high C-reactive protein* in addition to self-reported health issues (see study for details). These are the same measures that were used in other recent analyses that compared health of older adults in the two countries. Differences between the two countries are statistically significant for every condition except hypertension.
But why? Why are the rates of chronic disease higher in America? There isn't a conclusive answer at this time, but it's probably because Americans want to be better at everything. Good to see that we're winning! Sources: 1. Americans have higher rates of most chronic diseases than same-age counterparts in England [PhysOrg] 2. Sneeze in white hankie [mcfarlandmo]
Tags: Disease, America, England
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