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Japanese researchers create smell sensor using genetically engineered frog eggs

Sunday, August 29, 2010

A University of Tokyo group of researchers, led by bioengineer Shoji Takeuchi, has made an electronic sensor capable of smelling gases. The sensor uses genetically engineered frog cells. Since previous sensors were not very accurate, the scientist decided to try a biological approach. The invention was revealed in a US scientific journal yesterday, and is supposed to be used to design better machines to detect polluting gases in the atmosphere.

Previous smell sensors were based on quartz rods, which vibrate when a substance binds to them. The gases are distinguished by their molar masses, which can be similar for molecules with different structure, thus relatively often triggering a false positive. Trying to find a more accurate solution, Takeuchi decided to follow an example from insect world. As he explained, “when you think about the mosquito, it is able to find people because of carbon dioxide from the human. So the mosquito has CO2 receptors. When we can (extract) DNA (from the mosquito) we can put this DNA into the frog eggs to detect CO2.”

Genes of several insects (the silk moth, diamondback moth and fruit fly), injected into African clawed frog Xenopus laevis eggs, allowed them to produce relatively inexpensive and useful sensors. The choice of the species was caused by their widely studied and well-understood protein expression mechanism.

The modified cells responded to three kinds of pheromones and one odourant, which have similar chemical properties. When a molecule of an odorous substance adhered to the receptor on the membrane protein, ion channels opened for a certain period of time, and a current was generated. Its magnitude was clearly different for all four tested substances, allowing to distinguish between them accurately.

The colleagues embedded the sensor into a mannequin, so that it could shake its head when a gas was detected. It was easier to observe. Pheromones and molecules with quite similar molecule structure produced clearly distinguishable reaction, with higher accuracy than other biological or human-made sensors. As the research group said, the detection sensitivity of the odor sensor is several tens of parts per billion (ppb), and it is as high as the sensitivity of an existing odor sensor that uses an oxide semiconductor. The distinctive feature of the new sensor is its capability to selectively detect some odorous substances, rather than its sensitivity. Very few false positives were possible due to the biological mechanism involved.

At normal temperature, the sensor lifetime is about 12 hours, which can be extended by putting it into a refrigerator before first use.

Shoji Takeuchi says has a great hope for research use in future, since the frog eggs are very practical for genetic engineering, and can be conveniently used to develop smell sensors for a wide range of gases. He said, “The X. laevis oocyte has high versatility for the development of chemical sensors for various odorants. We believe that a shared ability to smell might open a new relationship between man and robot. .. The research will have wide implications… If the sensor is embedded in a nursing robot, it will be able to identify certain mouth odors or body odors. Also, it can be used for detecting CO2, air pollution, water pollution and food. It’s very important for the environment.”

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Woman returns home with Christmas turkey, a month after setting out

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

A Scottish woman who set out before Christmas to purchase a turkey finally made it home on Monday, after being cut off by snow for a month. Kay Ure left the Lighthouse Keeper’s cottage on Cape Wrath, at the very northwest tip of Great Britain, in December. She was heading to Inverness on a shopping trip.

However on her return journey heavy snow and ice prevented her husband, John, from travelling the last 11 miles to pick her up. She was forced to wait a month in a friend’s caravan, before the weather improved and the couple could finally be reunited.

They were separated not just for Christmas and New Year, but also for Mr Ure’s 58th birthday. With no fresh supplies, he was reduced to celebrating with a tin of baked beans. He also ran out of coal, and had to feed the couple’s six springer spaniels on emergency army rations.

“It’s the first time we’ve been separated”, said Mr Ure in December. “We’ve been snowed in here for three weeks before, so we are well used to it and it’s quite nice to get a bit of peace and quiet.”

PostHeaderIcon Basic Guide To Curtain And Drape Tops: How Many Types Are There?

By Cherdkiat Taesookavat

Curtain and drape are one of the most important decorations in the house. Format and design of curtain reflects the preference and taste of the house owner. However, there are many people who still do not know about how many types of curtain and drape tops available in the market, so sometime they made wrong decision when they have to choose ones. This article will give you the basic introduction about how many types of curtain and drape tops as well as some little tips about how to choose and install them properly. There are some types of curtain and drape tops (also called curtain heading) that commonly used and available in the market, now let’s get to know them.

The Standard type

Many of home owners may familiar with this type. Standard curtain heading normally consists single one-inched tape was tied up in to a narrow heading. This type of heading is commonly used with free style curtains or with drapes that need less formality or in the corner of the house, where people not often access. The method of installation the heading is simple, normally there will be small drapes with a synthetic tape, and therefore by using this synthetic tape you do not have to tighten the curtain rod, so this is so convenient. The standard type of curtain heading suitable with dormer windows and cottage windows. They also used just half the width of the curtain. The materials that made standard curtain heading are cheap so if you have limited budget you can use this type and if you not require extremely neat and sophisticate work, the standard type probable suitable for you.

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The Pencil Pleat

In case if you do not have valance or pelmet but you still want a very good looking curtain decoration style, the Pencil Pleat heading style may be suitable for you. We can find many of house and rooms that decorated by modern style furniture will use the type of heading. However, there is one important thing when you use this curtain that you must leave the space about 2/3 width of the window to make the heading and curtains look neat and match.

The Slot Pleat

This is the most simplest form of curtain headings. The heading style can be made by cutting slot in a cased header tape to feed a pole through. Even though this heading style is simple, but they provide very good look and you can even make them more attractive by allow the rest of the curtain to stand above the header tape. And again like the Pencil Pleat heading you should leave the space about 2/3 width of the window and in order to make the pleats maintain the position as well as pleasant look.

The Cartridge Pleat

Cartridge Pleat sometimes called ‘goblet pleat’. The name goblet pleat derives from the pleats that form up on the top of the heading and they look similar to the goblet glass. This type of heading is quite special and need extra material such as polyester or tissue paper to stuff into the top of each pole to make them constantly form up. This type of heading is mostly used with curtain style that need formality and you have to make the curtain stretch in full length to make it looks impressive.

About the Author: Cherdkiat Taesookavat is an architect, providing information and directories about home decor, please visit

Curtains and Drapes

Source:

isnare.com

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Avalanche buries cars in Colorado

Saturday, January 6, 2007

An avalanche on U.S. Route 40, which was 100 feet wide and 15 feet deep, has buried many cars, caused other cars to be pushed over the edge of an expressway, and injured eight people, just outside of Denver, Colorado. The avalanche started at 10:30 AM, starting about 12 miles off Interstate 70, and taking three different paths down the mountain before coming to a stop.

“Our crews said it was the largest they have ever seen. It took three paths,” said a spokeswoman for the Colorado Department of Transportation, Stacey Stegman.

All eight (7 adults, 1 minor) have been taken to the St. Anthony Central Hospital in Denver. According to a hospital spokeswoman, all of the victims suffered minor injuries. Seven patients were released on Saturday. There were no casualties.

U.S. route 40 is currently closed to traffic. According to Winter Park spokesman Matt Sugar, there are no plans to close the ski hills. “We’ve gotten calls from all over the country asking if the resort is closed,” he said, “and the answer is no.”

This is the third snow storm to hit the Denver area in three weeks.

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Illinois police departments try to reduce number of road fatalities this year

Saturday, November 14, 2009

The Illinois Department of Transportation and Illinois State Police have begun a statewide campaign to reduce the number of road fatalities in Illinois this year by 100. The program began last Thursday and will continue until the end of the year.

There were 1,043 road fatalities in Illinois last year, and this year officials want that figure to be at 943 or less. If successful, the state will have experienced the fewest road fatalities since 1921. Organizations and advocacy groups throughout the state are encouraging citizens to promote public awareness of unsafe driving practices, such as driving while impaired, distracted, or unbelted. In addition to saving lives, the program is also aimed at reducing the costs associated with car crashes. According to the National Safety Council, the average economic cost associated with a road fatality is $1 million.

More than 400 law enforcement agencies throughout the state are being asked to enhance operations and provide weekly activity and crash reports. The Itasca Police Department, for example, has joined the initiative and will target DUI and seat belt violations, and the Ottawa Police Department will increase enforcement of driving laws by issuing citations to violators.

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Seeds placed in Norwegian vault as agricultural ‘insurance policy’

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

The Svalbard Global Seed Vault, a vault containing millions of seeds from all over the world, saw its first deposits on Tuesday. Located 800 kilometers from the North Pole on the Norwegian island of Spitsbergen, the vault has been referred to by European Commission president José Manuel Barroso as a “frozen Garden of Eden“. It is intended to preserve crop supplies and secure biological diversity in the event of a worldwide disaster.

“The opening of the seed vault marks a historic turning point in safeguarding the world’s crop diversity,” said Cary Fowler, executive director of the Global Crop Diversity Trust which is in charge of collecting the seed samples. The Norwegian government, who owns the bank, built it at a cost of $9.1 million.

At the opening ceremony, 100 million seeds from 268,000 samples were placed inside the vault, where there is room for over 2 billion seeds. Each of the samples originated from a different farm or field, in order to best ensure biological diversity. These crop seeds included such staples as rice, potatoes, barley, lettuce, maize, sorghum, and wheat. No genetically modified crops were included. (Beyond politics they are generally sterile so of no use.)

It is very important for Africa to store seeds here because anything can happen to our national seed banks.

Constructed deep inside a mountain and protected by concrete walls, the “doomsday vault” is designed to withstand earthquakes, nuclear warfare, and floods resulting from global warming. Norwegian Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg called it an “insurance policy” against such threats.

With air-conditioned temperatures of -18 degrees Celsius, experts say the seeds could last for an entire millennium. Some crops will be able to last longer, like sorghum, which the Global Crop Diversity Trust says can last almost 20 millenniums. Even if the refrigeration system fails, the vaults are expected to stay frozen for 200 years.

The Prime Minister said, “With climate change and other forces threatening the diversity of life that sustains our planet, Norway is proud to be playing a central role in creating a facility capable of protecting what are not just seeds, but the fundamental building blocks of human civilization.” Stoltenberg, along with Kenyan Nobel Peace Prize laureate Wangari Maathai, made the first deposit of rice to the vault.

“It is very important for Africa to store seeds here because anything can happen to our national seed banks,” Maathai said. The vault will operate as a bank, allowing countries to use their deposited seeds free of charge. It will also serve as a backup to the thousands of other seed banks around the world.

“Crop diversity will soon prove to be our most potent and indispensable resource for addressing climate change, water and energy supply constraints and for meeting the food needs of a growing population,” Cary Fowler said.

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BDSM as business: An interview with the owners of a dungeon

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Torture proliferates American headlines today: whether its use is defensible in certain contexts and the morality of the practice. Wikinews reporter David Shankbone was curious about torture in American popular culture. This is the first of a two part series examining the BDSM business. This interview focuses on the owners of a dungeon, what they charge, what the clients are like and how they handle their needs.

When Shankbone rings the bell of “HC & Co.” he has no idea what to expect. A BDSM (Bondage Discipline Sadism Masochism) dungeon is a legal enterprise in New York City, and there are more than a few businesses that cater to a clientèle that wants an enema, a spanking, to be dressed like a baby or to wear women’s clothing. Shankbone went to find out what these businesses are like, who runs them, who works at them, and who frequents them. He spent three hours one night in what is considered one of the more upscale establishments in Manhattan, Rebecca’s Hidden Chamber, where according to The Village Voice, “you can take your girlfriend or wife, and have them treated with respect—unless they hope to be treated with something other than respect!”

When Shankbone arrived on the sixth floor of a midtown office building, the elevator opened up to a hallway where a smiling Rebecca greeted him. She is a beautiful forty-ish Long Island mother of three who is dressed in smart black pants and a black turtleneck that reaches up to her blond-streaked hair pulled back in a bushy ponytail. “Are you David Shankbone? We’re so excited to meet you!” she says, and leads him down the hall to a living room area with a sofa, a television playing an action-thriller, an open supply cabinet stocked with enema kits, and her husband Bill sitting at the computer trying to find where the re-release of Blade Runner is playing at the local theater. “I don’t like that movie,” says Rebecca.

Perhaps the most poignant moment came at the end of the night when Shankbone was waiting to be escorted out (to avoid running into a client). Rebecca came into the room and sat on the sofa. “You know, a lot of people out there would like to see me burn for what I do,” she says. Rebecca is a woman who has faced challenges in her life, and dealt with them the best she could given her circumstances. She sees herself as providing a service to people who have needs, no matter how debauched the outside world deems them. They sat talking mutual challenges they have faced and politics (she’s supporting Hillary); Rebecca reflected upon the irony that many of the people who supported the torture at Abu Ghraib would want her closed down. It was in this conversation that Shankbone saw that humanity can be found anywhere, including in places that appear on the surface to cater to the inhumanity some people in our society feel towards themselves, or others.

“The best way to describe it,” says Bill, “is if you had a kink, and you had a wife and you had two kids, and every time you had sex with your wife it just didn’t hit the nail on the head. What would you do about it? How would you handle it? You might go through life feeling unfulfilled. Or you might say, ‘No, my kink is I really need to dress in women’s clothing.’ We’re that outlet. We’re not the evil devil out here, plucking people off the street, keeping them chained up for days on end.”

Below is David Shankbone’s interview with Bill & Rebecca, owners of Rebecca’s Hidden Chamber, a BDSM dungeon.

Contents

  • 1 Meet Bill & Rebecca, owners of a BDSM dungeon
    • 1.1 Their home life
  • 2 Operating the business
    • 2.1 The costs
    • 2.2 Hiring employees
    • 2.3 The prices
  • 3 The clients
    • 3.1 What happens when a client walks through the door
    • 3.2 Motivations of the clients
    • 3.3 Typical requests
    • 3.4 What is not typical
  • 4 The environment
    • 4.1 Is an S&M dungeon dangerous?
    • 4.2 On S&M burnout
  • 5 Criticism of BDSM
  • 6 Related news
  • 7 External links
  • 8 Sources

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Chinese chef Peng Chang-kuei’s death announced

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Peng Chang-kuei, a Chinese-born chef credited with creating the internationally popular dish General Tso’s chicken, was yesterday announced to have died by his son.

Chuck Peng told The Associated Press his father died of pneumonia in Taipei, Taiwan on Wednesday. The chef fled China to Taiwan in 1949 and invented the dish shortly thereafter. In the 1970s Peng opened a New York restaurant, which he claimed was a regular haunt of Henry Kissinger. Peng credited Kissinger with the dish’s popularity.

Peng conceived the famed dish, which is unknown in China, as unfried. Garlic and soy sauce provided flavour, as did chillies. Today the chicken is served across the US as fried chicken in a sweet, sticky sauce. The chillies remain, with broccoli also appearing. Peng named it after Zuo Zongtang from his native Hunan Province; Zongtang assisted in suppressing the 19th-century Taiping Rebellion.

Peng said the meal was invented for a US admiral visiting Taiwan. Over three days, Peng was contracted to produce several banquets, with not one repeated dish. After exhausting traditional chicken dishes Peng said he created what became General Tso’s chicken as an experiment.

In later years he ran Peng’s, a chain of Taiwanese restaurants. General Tso’s chicken also remained popular across the US. His son claimed he remained working in the kitchen until a few months before his death, at 97. In a documentary two years ago, shown photos of General Tso’s chicken served in the US in modern times, he remarked “This is all crazy nonsense.”

Running away from his farming family in Changsha, Peng trained under Cao Jingchen. He fled communist rule that followed the 1930s Japanese invasion. He fathered seven children, six of whom remain alive, from three marriages. Chuck Peng described his father as “very good to other people, [but] very hard on his family.” Peng Jr. spoke of a “very demanding” man who “thought other people’s cooking was no good.”

Two years ago the Taipei City Government awarded Peng an Outstanding Citizen award. Peng, then 95 and unstable, collected the award in person and delivered a speech in Mandarin Chinese.

PostHeaderIcon The Benefits Of Professional Tax Preparation In Queens, Ny

byAlma Abell

Many people try to cut corners whenever possible in order to a save a few extra dollars here and there. However, trying to save money by doing your own taxes can be a dangerous situation that can actually end up costing you more money in the long run. The following are a few of the benefits that come along with getting a professional to do your Tax Preparation in Queens, NY.

Saves Money

Unless you are a professional, tax codes and rules are very complicated to understand and apply properly. A professional in Tax Preparation in Queens, NY is well versed in being able to find deductions that can save you a ton of money in the long run. If you try to do your own taxes, you will most certainly miss many things such as deductions or tax codes that can cost you money or in some cases get you audited by the IRS. By using the advice of a professional tax preparer, you will be able to minimize the amount you have to pay in to the IRS and in some cases you will be able to get a substantial refund.

Lower Risk

Every year the IRS puts out a laundry list of new and updated tax codes that are to be followed for that tax year. A professional tax preparer has a detailed list of these codes and how to apply them to certain situations. By having a professional with this knowledge, you can avoid making costly mistakes on your taxes that can cost you time and a lot of money. If you are audited because of a mistake made on your taxes, it can take months to get everything revised and settled. Most professional tax preparers will offer a guarantee that you will not be audited, so check with the preparer you are using to see if they make such claims.If you find yourself in need of experienced tax professional, then look no further than the professionals at GJM Business Center. They have been in the tax preparation business for over 20 years and know the best way to get you the refund you deserve.

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News briefs:June 16, 2010

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