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Comment: No SCOBY Leather. No! (Score 1) 52

by handy_vandal (#48558507) Attached to: Material Possiblities: A Flying Drone Built From Fungus

Don't be fooled into thinking that "kombucha leather" (aka SCOBY leather) is suitable for this application.

Kombucha/SCOBY is interesting stuff, and yes, the SCOBY mat can be dried out to make a "leather-like" substance.

That is -- SCOBY leather is "somewhat leather-like" when perfect dry.

It's also hygrophilic, meaning it has an affinity for moisture.

In other words, it's always kind of damp and sticky, even in a relatively dry environment.

Expose it to rain, and you've got a sloppy, slippery, un-leather-like mess on your hands. I say this from personal experience.

Also, it smells like cat urine.

Comment: Lampreys in the Great Lakes (Score 4, Informative) 118

by handy_vandal (#48545035) Attached to: How One Man Changed the Ecology of the Great Lakes With Salmon

Four lampreys are native to the Michigan Great Lakes region. Two are parasitic; two not. The two parasitic species, while they cause deep wounds, rarely kill their hosts.

The Sea Lamprey is the relatively recent invader (1930s-40s) which has caused ecological havoc.


Comment: Cosmic DNA? (Score 3, Informative) 47

by handy_vandal (#48531295) Attached to: Researchers Design DNA With New Shapes and Structures

Space dust may store information as a double helix.

A new computer simulation shows that dust immersed in ionized gas (i.e., dusty plasmas) can organize itself into double helixes. The simulations suggested that under conditions commonly found in space, the dust particles first form a cylindrical structure that sometimes evolved into helical structures. Along some spirals, the radius of the helix was seen to change abruptly from one value to another and then back again, providing a mechanism for storing information in terms of the length and radius of a section of a spiral.

Hessdalen light

Comment: Yesterday's Science Fiction, Today's Fact (Score 1) 35

by handy_vandal (#48345711) Attached to: Researchers Develop Remote-Controlled Cyber-Roaches

I am reminded of a passage from Roger Zelazny's Lord of Light (1967):

He did not move his head, but reached out to crush a beetle that stood near his hand. The tip of a small crystal and two tiny wires protruded through the broken chitin of its back.

An excellent novel, one of my favorites.

Sadly, the Avon edition that I used to own was the absolute worst example of typographical errors I have ever seen: at least a dozen cases of misplaced or duplicated lines. Bad enough that I could no longer enjoy re-reading a book so grievously mangled by the publisher.

Don't say it -- stop -- I'll say it myself: the book was full of bugs.

Comment: California, the Gateway Drug of States (Score 2) 233

by handy_vandal (#47756823) Attached to: California Passes Law Mandating Smartphone Kill Switch

... the inefficiency of producing phones solely for California means the kill switch is expected to be adopted by phone makers on handsets sold across the U.S. and around the world.

First they tempt you with California legislation.

Next thing you know, you're hooked on NAFTA, ACTA, and God knows what other Profit-Seeking Acronyms (PSA's).

I suppose we should feel lucky that Amazon is not using United Nations Black Drones to deliver tracking devices (such as your new phone) to your door ... or wherever they know you are ....

Comment: Face Recognition in Casinos (Score 1) 146

"One of the most important advances in casino technology comes from facial recognition systems, where guests entering the gambling area are photographed and their visages are compared with an ever-growing database of known cheaters and suspicious people."

- Link

Every successful person has had failures but repeated failure is no guarantee of eventual success.