Oldster's View

Fight Against Maturity

No Sneeze Kitten

Sneeze-free kitten
US scientists claimed today to have bred the world's first hypoallergenic kitten, opening the doors and arms of millions of pet lovers for whom cuddling a cat has, until now, been a curse. At $US4000 ($5400) a head, the allergy-free felines will not be cheap.

But the biotechnology firm behind the project believes sensitive owners will happily fork out extra for the chance to have a cat that does not leave them wheezing and sneezing.

In a statement, the San Diego-based company, Allerca, said it had produced the cats using a technique known as genetic divergence. After identifying the genes of kittens with proteins that provide less of a reaction in humans, they selectively bred litters over several generations to end up with an allergy-friendly "super cat".

June 7, 2006 Posted by | Uncategorized | Comments Off on No Sneeze Kitten

Dead Fly Quota? Who Gets To Count The Flies? And What Do They Do With Them?

Link to article

A supermarket in Dongguan [China] has been criticized for setting a quota of dead flies that its staff must hand in at the end of every working day, Southern Metropolis News reported. Every employee at this store in Guangdong Province is required to kill 150 flies a day, or face a daily fine of 50 yuan (US$6.25).

The supermarket said the move aims to help its staff improve their sanitary awareness. But many staff argued the special requirement contributed little to the supermarket's overall cleanliness, alleging that it was unfair for them to be fined.

June 7, 2006 Posted by | Uncategorized | Comments Off on Dead Fly Quota? Who Gets To Count The Flies? And What Do They Do With Them?

Paper clip outage

Traffic signals [in Ashland, Wisconsin] that went haywire at the city's busiest intersection over Memorial Day weekend left technicians stymied as they hunted for the cause. The malfunction reverted the signals at Ellis Avenue and Lakeshore Drive to a default mode, flashing yellow and red, and they stayed that way for five days as the problem went unsolved.The signals have gone out the same way in the past, but only after accidents when vehicles hit one of the poles. There was no accident involved this time. When city crews finally called in the state Department of Transportation for help, a DOT official spotted a paper clip that had fallen behind the control panel for the signals.

Pat Colgrove, city operation manager, said the wayward clip had simply shorted out the system…When the clip was removed and the system was reset, the signals resumed normal operations, Colgrove said.

In a bit of irony, the paper clip that fell had been used to hold a card with names and phone numbers of technicians who maintain the signals, he said.


June 7, 2006 Posted by | Uncategorized | Comments Off on Paper clip outage

New White Dwarf


white dwarf

Like a butterfly, a white dwarf star begins its life by casting off the cocoon that enclosed it.In the cocoon-like structure above, the planetary nebula designated NGC 2440, contains one of the hottest white dwarfs known to scientists. The white dwarf can be seen as the bright dot near the photo's center. Our sun eventually will become a "white dwarf butterfly," but not for another 5 billion years.



June 7, 2006 Posted by | Astronomy, Great Pictures | Comments Off on New White Dwarf

If Cows Aren’t Your Thing Try Banana Rustling

Three months after a cyclone devastated Australia's banana crop, some growers have reported a new threat — banana rustlers.
The slippery thieves have been stealing bunches off trees in the northeast of New South Wales to take advantage of sky-rocketing prices after crops further north were decimated by Tropical Cyclone Larry in March.

Police in Coffs Harbour, about 450 km (280 miles) north of Sydney, are investigating several thefts in the area.


The crop has become worth stealing because the price has risen by a factor of ten or more.


June 7, 2006 Posted by | Uncategorized | Comments Off on If Cows Aren’t Your Thing Try Banana Rustling

Webcam mod to IR cam

Did you ever wonder what it is that goes BUMP in the night around your house? Maybe you can find out, even take a picture of it with this webcam mod that turns a webcam into an infrared camera.


June 7, 2006 Posted by | DIY, technology | Comments Off on Webcam mod to IR cam

A Sixth Sense: Magnetism?

magnetfingerWhat if, seconds before your laptop began stalling, you could feel the hard drive spin up under the load? Or you could tell if an electrical cord was live before you touched it? For the few people who have rare earth magnets implanted in their fingers, these are among the reported effects — a finger that feels electromagnetic fields along with the normal sense of touch.It's been described as a buzzing sensation, a tingling, an oscillation, movement, pure stimulation and, in the case of body-modification expert Shannon Larrett's encounter with a too-powerful antitheft gateway at a retail store, "Like sticking your hand in an ultrasonic cleaner."


June 7, 2006 Posted by | Uncategorized | Comments Off on A Sixth Sense: Magnetism?

Well, As Long As It’s Just At Half-time

World Cup visitors can pray for divine intervention if their team is losing in special half-time religious services. Two Berlin churches, the Berlin Cathedral and the Kaiser-Wilhelm Memorial Church, will be holding 15-minute half-time services throughout the tournament. The services will feature football related sermons and hymns that resemble team anthems allowing worshippers of the World Cup to pray for victory.

Bernhard Felmberg from the Kaiser-Wilhelm Memorial Church said: "We don't want to fight against the World Cup, we want to use it to support our message."


June 7, 2006 Posted by | Uncategorized | Comments Off on Well, As Long As It’s Just At Half-time

Talk About A Realistic Course

Students on a summer criminology course in Florida were shocked to discover a real corpse at a fake crime scene. The body of a man was found during a field trip by a group of high school students from Fort Lauderdale, reports the Sun-Sentinel.

For more than 20 years, course tutor Sue Messenger had planted cardboard skeletons pocked with bullet holes, fake knives and other evidence at mock crime scenes.

"I think they kind of went into shock and disbelief, but also, you have to say it's completely bizarre," she said.

"It was a good crash course," said Juan Cantor, 15, who signed up for the 13-day class because it sounded like fun. But he added: "I don't really think I could take finding any more dead bodies…"

Police later identified the body as that of a 45-year-old homeless man. An autopsy is still to be held but police do not suspect foul play.


June 7, 2006 Posted by | Uncategorized | Comments Off on Talk About A Realistic Course

Spreekt u “dog Dutch”?

dutchdogThree British police officers have been forced to learn Dutch – because three dogs they have recruited do not respond to English. Police officers in Bristol have had to learn to speak Dutch after police dogs imported from Holland failed to understand English commands.Three Avon and Somerset officers travelled to Holland to select the dogs, after struggling to find good quality animals in the UK. But there was a communication problem so dog handlers at the force's dog section in Bower Ashton, Bristol have had to adapt. The handlers which look after the Dutch dogs – two German Shepherds and a Malinoi – are now able to fluently speak the Dutch commands. The canines had already been trained as police dogs in their homeland.

Sergeant Hardy Hussain said: "The recruitment of The Professor, Amigo and Dutch goes to show that we will go to any length to ensure we take on dogs that are of the highest calibre."

. Link

June 7, 2006 Posted by | Uncategorized | Comments Off on Spreekt u “dog Dutch”?

Relatively Inexpensive GPS Data Logger

gpsloggerI just came across this gadget that looks like fun. Here's the catalog description.

Compact GPS data logger suitable for a variety of applications including vehicle position monitoring. Stores up to 25,000 way points which can be viewed through Google Maps or other third party applications like Microsoft Streets and Trips. External antenna connector and Li-Ion rechargeable battery.



June 7, 2006 Posted by | Uncategorized | 4 Comments

DIY Solar Cooker

solarcookerAccording to the article, this solar cooker is capable of temperatures of 200 degrees (Celsius, I assume, although the article doesn't state that) and can be home made. There are rather complete instructions in a machine translated article at the link. Odd phrasing due to the machine translation but readable and good images.

You have to manually re-align it about every twenty minutes but that seems a small effort to get free energy.



June 7, 2006 Posted by | Uncategorized | Comments Off on DIY Solar Cooker

Band Aid Fuel Cell?

bandaidfuelcellI don't know if this fuel cell made from a band aid actually works or not because I haven't tried it. Interesting if true. Looks like it could be scaled up rather easily into a useful device. And fun to play with in the meantime.


June 7, 2006 Posted by | technology | 2 Comments

Wonder if he brought the marshmallows?

A Serb man set his car on fire when he heard how much he had to pay to reclaim it after it was towed away for illegal parking.

An attendant told the daily Press the man was very calm.

"He went to his car, took a few things then opened the hood and set the engine on fire. When it was well ablaze he got back on his bike and rode off."


June 7, 2006 Posted by | People | Comments Off on Wonder if he brought the marshmallows?