Archive | Technology & ideas

RSS feed for this section

scientific developments, inventions, design, sci fi

Tale of two bits of tech


UC Irvine and Australian chemists have figured out how to unboil egg whites – an innovation that could dramatically reduce costs for cancer treatments, food production and other segments of the $160 billion global biotechnology industry, according to findings published today in the journal.

“Yes, we have invented a way to unboil a hen egg,” said Gregory Weiss, UCI professor of chemistry and  & biochemistry. “In our paper, we describe a device for pulling apart tangled proteins and allowing them to refold. We start with egg whites boiled for 20 minutes at 90 degrees Celsius and return a key  in the egg to working order.”

Like many researchers, he has struggled to efficiently produce or recycle valuable molecular proteins that have a wide range of applications but which frequently “misfold” into structurally incorrect shapes when they are formed, rendering them useless.

“It’s not so much that we’re interested in processing the ; that’s just demonstrating how powerful this process is,” Weiss said.

Das Boot, das Buch und die Blogging

The boyz are dropping me hints about the boat.  First, haiku:

dilbert das boot

Then Amfortas [though to be fair, this is for comparison purposes]:


I’m also getting it in the ear at this end – the site manager next door, my landlord and my mate are all dropping hints.  Simple answer is I’m not gluing under 8 degrees.  Once it goes above that, I’m down there again.

Cunning plan is to get the book into EPUB and PDF – all efforts are currently directed there] and hopefully that will dovetail later this week in the first build for a while.

There is likely to be light blogging [by N.O.’s standards] today, dear reader.  Ivan’s waiting.


#  First up, from haiku:

Man lists his Tesla Model S as an $85-a-night Airbnb room:


#  Moving on … Well, no equivocation in this one, sent by Chuckles:

In the wake of the campus rape lies of 2014, who can blame these guys for believing feminism is conducting its own War Against Men:

This is not a debate about gender roles. It is not about economics or the esoterica of hateful radicals in an ivory tower. This is a war, an ideological campaign to smear all men as moral monsters. It is not a war against “patriarchy” or some imagined evil rich guy. This is a war on men as such – of all races and social classes. It is a war against your brothers, sons, fathers, friends and relatives. And right now, the bad guys and girls are winning.

Looking bad in the world of the young.…

Suppressing the moral compass [1]

hopper hotel 1952

[Edward Hopper; Hotel by the Railroad, 1952]


Many of the best films, especially thrillers, start with some small anomaly in the middle of the dross of a typical day and go from there. Sherlock Holmes stories used that formula.

It’s often the small behaviour or act which goes relatively unnoticed by the wider public which hides the deep cancer that’s eaten out the body politic and the analogy holds up of the small mole on the skin which goes unnoticed and is actually a sign of the cancer.…

Why are they killing off Windows 7?

This conversation began with Chuckles sending this link:

… about them trying to kill off Windows 7.  I wrote back:

Back to Macs then.  :)

… to which the reply came:

The true irony James is that they are STILL trying to kill off Windows XP, which with Windows 2000 and Windows 7 comprises the list of MS releases that are actually usable. Windows XP market share actually went UP last month…

… to which I replied:

I had XP in Russia and it worked a treat. Why must they do these things?

… to which he replied – and this is the point of this post:

The short answer is an extremely long answer. The invention of computers allowed them to use such to keep track of accounts and shares to an extent never before possible with manual record keeping. This allowed the rise of the accountants, in parallel with the rise of HR in companies, and in turn led fairly rapidly to the rise of financial ‘services’.

Rope drive power


A factory interior in Germany. Source: Singen Industry.

You don’t need electricity to send or receive power quickly. In the second half of the nineteenth century, we commonly used fast-moving ropes. These wire rope transmissions were more efficient than electricity for distances up to 5 kilometres. Even today, a nineteenth-century rope drive would be more efficient than electricity over relatively short distances. If we used modern materials for making ropes and pulleys, we could further improve this forgotten method.

The rope drive is the culmination of a long history of mechanical power transmission. In the 1500s, mining engineers designed “Stangenkunsten”: a method to transmit power from distant water wheels to machinery at the mineshaft, using reciprocating wooden rods. This early predecessor of electricity was improved in the 1860s oil industry’s “Jerker line systems”, which used steel cables instead of wooden rods.

[H/T Chuckles]…

The beauty of square [2]

In cruising mode, it’s all about load carrying – supplies, living space, gear, that’s a certain weight, that weight needs buoyancy to suspend it above the waterline.


For a given length, you need a wider monohull to bear that load but the wetted area is prohibitive.  It must sail on a steep angle to reduce that wetted area and allow the lines to meet the water properly.  The sail area would tip it over immediately, so it needs ballast which also holds her down in the water.…

The beauty of square [1]

The yachts of the 30s were graceful, with delicate ends and curves, nothing square and ugly.

For some reason, I’ve always liked what could be called the rounded square or rounded rectangle, preferring straight sides, vertical ends, squarish sails.  It’s redolent of earlier times and though the dreadnought was not strictly squarish, the straight-sided designs are redolent of that.

In fact, the designers of Steve Jobs’s mega-yacht [H/T Rossa] adopted a similar stance and though the glitsy, high shine is not my thing, the lines are.

what a jobs

You can call it Ark but I like Ark and the more ungainly the straight sides, flat deck and roof, the better I like it – on a yacht, not on a house.…

The continuing saga of less wheels than four

My comment about £1000 for an electric assisted bike [see Amfortas‘s explanation in comments on that post] seems to have shocked the sensitivities of Rossa who has been trying to save me from myself.

Her opening suggestion was perhaps a little OTT- the Fisker Karma electric supercar – but at least she did mention winning the lottery.

She had a think about it and then – well if he’s going to pootle around on two wheels, at least do it with some panache:


Fiat S76

You really have to admire these people, these enthusiasts:

fiat 28.5L

There were just two Fiat S76 record-breakers built in 1910 and 1911, and this one that has just been rebuilt and restored, appears to be a mix of those two cars. The record the car was designed to break was the land speed record then held by Blitzen-Benz. Fiat attacked that record with not just the sheer, insane scale of that 28.5L engine, but also with some genuinely advanced tech — four valves per cylinder, multi-spark, overhead cam, and all this added up to somewhere near 300 HP — that’s astounding for 1910.

Probably best reading the rest at the site.