RenderSeven writes: Science has so far been at a loss to explain why tapping a beer bottle with another causes it to explosively foam over. Thanks to a grant from the Spanish Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness, a research team at the University of Madrid studying fluid mechanics has found the answer with some fascinating slow-motion video. Their soon-to-be-published paper found that tapping the bottle (or shooting it with a laser) causes a series of compression and expansion waves, that generate unstable buoyant plumes, quickly turning most of the liquid into foam. PhysicsBuzz notes that the process is very rapid and nearly unstoppable once started.
RenderSeven writes: In a press release issued today, baker Hostess Brands asked a bankruptcy court for permission to close all of its plants and sell off their assets, immediately laying off 18,500 workers. Citing high labor and rising health care costs, increasing competition and growing consumer awareness of healthy foods, Hostess says it can no longer operate without union concessions. A crippling strike has already shut down operations at all facilities, and while the Teamsters Union has ratified a new contract to keep Hostess in business, the Bakers Union has refused saying they would rather see the company closed than accept pension cuts. The Teamsters union is urging the bakers union to hold a secret ballot on whether to continue striking; citing its financial experts who had access to the company's books, the Teamsters say that Hostess' warning of liquidation is "not an empty threat or a negotiating tactic" but a certain outcome if workers keep striking. If your late-night programming is fueled by Twinkies, Ding Dongs and Zingers, better stock up now.
RenderSeven writes: As previously reported the immensely popular Buckyballs office toys have been targeted by the Consumer Product Safety Commission. Last week Maxfield and Oberton, the maker of Buckyballs gave up the battle and announced they would discontinue sales and close. However, being driven out of business is not enough for R Buckminster Fuller's estate, who has filed yet another lawsuit that they own all rights to the name "buckyballs" despite widespread use of the term. If you still haven't bought your own yet, a few thousand sets in stock are still available.
RenderSeven writes: Manufacturing.NET reports that U.S. Food and Drug Administration officials plan to investigate whether inhalable caffeine sold in lipstick-sized canisters is safe for consumers and if its manufacturer was right to brand it as a dietary supplement. AeroShot went on the market late last month in Massachusetts and New York, and it's also available in France. Consumers put one end of the canister in their mouths and breathe in, releasing a fine powder that dissolves almost instantly.
RenderSeven writes: Although soaring sales of Amazon’s Kindle Fire and other low-priced tablets trimmed Apple Inc.’s media tablet market share in the fourth-quarter, it was Apple’s own newly introduced iPhone 4S that proved to be the strongest competitor for the iPad during the final three months of 2011.
RenderSeven writes: The BBC reports that a High Court judge ruled on whether climate change film, An Inconvenient Truth, could be shown in schools. The ruling said it contains "nine scientific errors", and cannot be shown unless accompanied by guidance giving the other side of the argument. He found that "but for the new guidance note, the film would have been distributed in breach of sections 406 and 407 of the 1996 Education Act" which cover political indoctrination. The Times Online gave a more detailed list of the judges objections, including dismissing as "distinctly alarmist" the claim that sea levels could rise by 20ft "in the near future" .