Friday, May 22, 2009

A giant gulp of recycled urine for mankind

NASA is recycling Astronaut Urine. Maybe that's what the makers of gau jal are planning to use for their cow urine soda.

Here's the deal with NASA:

Space crew says cheers with recycled urine

AP, May 21

Astronauts toast NASA after switching on space station's new urine and sweat-based water supply

At the international space station, it was one small sip for man and a giant gulp of recycled urine for mankind. A first for space was celebrated yesterday with astronauts drinking water that had been recycled from their urine, sweat, and water condensed from exhaled air.

The crew, aboard the space station, said "cheers," clicked drinking bags and toasted Nasa workers on the ground who were sipping their own version of recycled drinking water.

"The taste is great," said the American astronaut Michael Barratt. Then as Gennady Padalka, the Russian, tried to catch little bubbles of the clear water floating in front of him, Barratt called the taste "worth chasing". He said the water came with labels that said: "Drink this when real water is over 200 miles away."

Thursday, May 21, 2009


There's a rumor that LL might drop by for Tea today.

Probably we'll need another vat of Gin, then.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

It's now less that 24 hours to go

We won't say how many fewer hours we're willing to wait to start pouring that elegant turpentinian concoction we've got the fixins for.

We can say that there'll be a cheese plate available, and that it will include GB's favorite Habanero cheese.

So far, not counting the bartender, we've got 2 orders, both for lemonade.

It's sad really.

Ida! Ida! Ida! (or Darwinius Masillae)

OK. Here's the timeline:

Britney Spears releases "Baby one more time": 10 years ago
Homo Sapiens settles predominantly around cities: 10,000 years ago
Homo Sapiens discovers Art: 40,000 - 50,000 years ago
Homo Sapiens: 90,000 - 250,000 years ago
Homo Sapiens - Neanterthal line split: 1 million years ago
Australopithicus Afarensis ("Lucy"): 3 - 4 million years ago
Chimpanzee - Human line split: 6 million years ago
Darwinius masillae("Ida"): 47 million years ago

The New York Times has good coverage, as do Pharyngula and Laelaps. From the NYT:

Speaking by telephone from Norway, Dr. Hurum recalled: “I realized at first it’s a primate. It just screams primate: opposable big toes and thumbs, no evidence of claws. This is like the Archaeopteryx of primate evolution.”

The scientists estimated that the primate was about 9 months old, the equivalent of a 6-year-old human. At maturity they suggest that it would have weighed two pounds and been two feet long, most of it tail. It had a broken left wrist, healing at the time of death, and may have drowned in the volcanic lake at Messel. It was, the researchers said, something like a combination “lemur monkey.”

PLoS ONE: Complete Primate Skeleton from the Middle Eocene of Messel in Germany: Morphology and Paleobiology

All this reminds us of a post that Neddie wrote: Never in a Million Years.

UPDATE: and from our previously forgotten timeline:

Flowering Plants: 130 million years ago
Mammals: 200 million years ago

Tuesday, May 19, 2009


A Tea announcement more than 2 hours beforehand? What's this?

It's a Martini, people. It's time for the Martini to make a comeback, if only to celebrate our golden 10-days-in-a-row-off-in-May-extravaganza.

We'll have both Lemonade and real (with-an-olive) Gin martini's available.

Of course, for those not quite so civilized, there will also be the makings of Orange Blossoms and Gin and Tonics available, too.

Victual accompaniment to be determined later.

To get us in the mood, here's a little something from Ogden Nash:

”There is something about a Martini,
A tingle remarkably pleasant;
A yellow, a mellow Martini;
I wish I had one at present.
There is something about a Martini,
Ere the dining and dancing begin,
And to tell you the truth,
It is not the vermouth -
I think that perhaps it's the gin.”

Would you believe?

Or rather, did you believe the cockamamie theory about Komodo dragons that the bacteria in their mouths was what killed people?

Well, believe no more. Auntie Beeb has the details.

The Komodo dragon has a bite tinged with a deadly venom, according to researchers.

Previously it was thought the Komodo's mouth harboured virulent bacteria that quickly infected and subdued prey.

But an analysis of Komodo specimens has shown a well-developed venom gland with ducts that lead to their large teeth.

The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences report shows that rather than using a strong bite force, Komodos keep a vice-like grip on their prey.

In this way, the venom can seep into the large wounds they make with their teeth.


Members of the same team have now used a computer simulation to model the skulls of Komodo dragons. They found that their bite was only one-sixth as strong as that of the Australian saltwater crocodile, which has a similarly-sized skull.

Instead, Komodo skulls seem optimised to withstand stress along their length - that is, to resist prey that is pulling away.

Further, the team took MRI scans of Komodo heads, identifying a large venom gland and ducts that lead to spaces between the animals' teeth.

Dissection of the duct showed toxins that are known to lower blood pressure and act as anti-coagulants - causing prey to go into shock and bleed to death.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Frost Warning Tonight!

...little late for that...

24 Years Since Graduation

As of today, it's been 24 years since I was graduated from college.

Can the "ZOMG, I haven't finished my graduation requirements" sort of dreams stop now?

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Elsevier? Scam?

Say it ain't so!

In a statement to The Scientist magazine, Elsevier at first said the company “does not today consider a compilation of reprinted articles a ‘journal’”. I would like to expand on this ­statement: It was a collection of academic journal articles, published by the academic journal publisher Elsevier, in an academic ­journal-shaped package. Perhaps if it wasn’t an academic journal they could have made this clearer in the title which, I should have mentioned, was named: The Australasian Journal of Bone and Joint Medicine.

Things have deteriorated since. It turns out that Elsevier put out six such journals, sponsored by industry. The Elsevier chief executive, Michael Hansen, has now admitted that they were made to look like journals, and lacked proper disclosure. “This was an unacceptable practice and we regret that it took place,” he said.
Merck is not unimplicated.

Thursday, May 14, 2009


For today's Tea, we'll be having Orange Blossoms, although should CC and/or CR make it, Gin and Tonics will be available upon request.

The cheese plate, will not be fresh this week, alas.

(Thanks to google for getting their services back on the air, mostly, at least).

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Today's Virtual Product Placement

Today's Virtual Product Placement is CrackHeads2.

Crackheads2® is gourmet 60% cocoa dark chocolate covered espresso bean with a crunchy candy shell with a big caffeine boost added! Gourmet meets functional. Each box of Crackheads2® contains the same caffeine in approximately 6 cups of coffee, 7.5 Red Bull® energy drinks, or 11 cans of Mountain Dew®!

Monday, May 11, 2009

Our Scientists are not the only Aliquoters around...

Lawyers do it too...

Cat Rapture

We returned home Friday night, to find the cats gone! Just vanished! (Well, there was a note - but not from the cats!)

The litter box was still here, cat food on the counter, but no cats!

We fear for what is to come.

Update: One cat's tale of The Rapture, from the isle of Catmos.

What it might have looked like:

Wednesday, May 06, 2009


Well! It's been quite a couple of weeks, hasn't it? The POs have started to roll in, and our summer vacation is at hand! That being the case, for the next few weeks at least, due to popular demand, we'll hold Tea at the usual time, minus 24 hours.

Since Spring (and its lime green leaves) is here, we thought we'd have Gin and Tonics to start off the new regime. (Yeah, it's a little early in the year, but these are special circumstances).

The cheese plate will be making its triumphant return tomorrow, too. We're sure that RS and CC (and CR) will be happy to be present at such an auspicious occasion. Too bad JM and RD will be on the road. More munster for us, we suppose!

Tek Jansen

We'd like to take the opportunity to welcome Tek Jansen to our little family of products. No doubt our customers will love his special brand of precision, sensitivity, and cartoonish libidinousness.

Tek, as we call him now, used to be referred to as "Number 30", or "JJ" - but these were code words, and now it can be revealed to all the world that Tek has joined our number. We hope Tek enjoys a long and happy life, and sells in the multi-million units range.

If you'd like to view some of his work before he joined us, it's available here.