American Elephants


Super Bowl Sunday! by The Elephant's Child

Seattle-Seahawks-Logo-485x728

Had an appointment at the hospital yesterday, and it was fun to see all the receptionists in Seahawk tee shirts. There were some women, who clearly were not former cheerleaders, who seemed to be wearing extraordinarily large lime-green pompoms on their heads, and wearing a strange variety of homemade costumes. The grocery store was wall-to-wall appetizers, and beer of course.

Go Hawks!

43-8 !

 



You Made It! by The Elephant's Child

Atom-Thin, Stronger Than Steel, A New Super-Material Ignites a Patent Rush by The Elephant's Child

Every time you think that all discoveries have been made, all economic progress is over — comes a wonder material: a substance 200 times stronger than steel yet as thin as a single atom — which has sent “companies and universities racing to understand, patent and profit from the skinnier, more glamorous cousin of ordinary pencil lead.”

The material is graphene, and to demonstrate its potential, Andrea Ferrari recently picked up a sheet of clear plastic, flexed it and then tapped invisible keys, triggering tinkly musical notes.

The keyboard made at Dr. Ferrari’s University of Cambridge lab was printed with a circuit of graphene, which is so pliable that scientists predict it will fulfill dreams of flexible phones and electronic newspapers that can fold into a pocket.

It is the thinnest material known. But it is exceedingly strong, light and flexible. It is exceptional at conducting electricity and heat, and at absorbing and emitting light.

Andre Geim, a Russian-born scientist at the University of Manchester in Britain, and Konstantin Novoselov were awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics in 2010 for isolating graphene. Dr. Geim wanted thin graphite to study its electrical properties. A doctoral student suggested using cellophane tape.”They used the tape to peel off layers of graphite until they got to a layer so thin it was transparent. Not only did it not fall apart, it was strong, flexible and possessed astonishing electrical properties.”

It is still far too expensive for mass markets, it doesn’t lend itself in computer-chip circuitry and scientists are trying to find better ways to turn it into usable form. There are still lots of hurdles, but Graphene is a material like steel or plastic or silicon that can change society.

And the race has begun, as of May, there have been more than 9,000 patent applications for graphene. Companies like Apple, Saab, Lockheed Martin, Samsung, Nokia, BASF SE. The potential uses are as broad as filtering salt from seawater, flexible touch screens, anti-rust coatings, sports equipment like tennis racquets,  DNA sequencing devices, and distilling vodka. Everybody is trying to patent everything, so that you have the option of suing your competitors later and stopping them. Labs all over the world are hard at work, as is the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA).

Dr Geim, the Nobel laureate, has said that “Graphene opened up a material world we didn’t even know existed.” Scientists are looking at scores of other two-dimensional materials with unusual properties.

The Wall Street Journal piece is here, it may be behind a paywall. Watch for news stories about this new wonder material as scientists learn more about its possibilities. Think also of the Alaska Gold Rush and the Oklahoma Land Rush, now we have a Patent Rush — this may be the real Twenty-First Century promise.

geim_postcard  geim novoselov_postcard
………….André Geim………………………………Konstantin Novoselov

 



Headline of the Day. by The Elephant's Child

Today’s Headline: Aol

Tim Bartlett Chased by Wolf on Motorcycle in Canadar-WOLF-RUNNING-large570

If you had visions of someone named Tim running, screaming,  down the highway hotly pursued by a wolf riding a motorcycle., Nevermind.  I just thought it was funny.



Greenland by The Elephant's Child


A mode of transportation thousands of years old, a pack of dogs and a dogsled. Notice the way the dogs are harnessed. Quite different from what I’ve seen on the Iditarod.



The Concours de Castells in Tarragona, Spain by The Elephant's Child


The Concours de Castells in Tarragona, Spain is a human tower-building competition. It is a long tradition in the region, castells began at the end of the 18th century. The sport has rules, techniques, and team responsibilities to guard safety and success. The pinya or base is made of a few hundred people that can catch anyone who falls. The tower itself has a variety of different formations. The top three levels are the pom de dalt, made up of children in helmets. This 2010 video by Mike Randolph shows why safety and teamwork are so important.

Strange and interesting sports. I’d be a spectator.



A Picture Worth a Thousand Words. by The Elephant's Child

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Twitter-brm90
This picture hit me harder than the videos of the explosion itself.  A “person of interest” is in custody, and Boston’s police are efficiently following up on every lead, combing through videos and pictures taken at the scene, and through surveillance tapes.

It all seem so pointless. Americans are not cowed by acts of terror, but enraged. Groups that are too small and too weak to gather either notice nor interest think that acts of destruction can—what? Draw interest to their cause? The record would not bear that out. Terrorist groups don’t usually attack conventional security forces, they attack “soft” targets like tired athletes and their supporters that will draw widespread publicity.

In Iraq, al Qaeda operatives are suspected of 12 explosions responsible for killing 55 people across Iraq on the same day as the Boston Marathon. Max Boot, an expert on guerrilla warfare, traveled to Boston yesterday where he was scheduled to speak about the history of guerrilla warfare and terrorism, which he reprised in today’s Wall Street Journal.

Our thoughts and prayers are with those injured and the families of those who were killed. City officials, security people and ordinary bystanders and first responders were magnificent. Bless them all.

 

 



The Centrifuge Brain Project by The Elephant's Child

The Centrifuge Brain Project is a short (fictional !) film by German digital artist Till Nowak about making super imaginative amusement park rides that are divorced from ordinary physics and reality. As Chief Engineer Dr. Nick Laslowicz says “These machines provide total freedom…”

You could consider this a metaphor for the president’s budget released today, only two months late. Divorced from reality. But adventurous.

(h/t: thekidshouldseethis.com)



The Making of Nike Football National Team Jerseys by The Elephant's Child

Football here refers to Soccer, not American football. But this is what happens to all your recycling. Well, not all, just the plastic bottles. Kinda cool though.

[(h/t: NikeBetterWorld)



How To Catch The Easter Bunny. by The Elephant's Child
March 29, 2013, 6:23 am
Filed under: Heartwarming, History, Humor, Sports | Tags: , ,

Re-posted from last Easter:

You need some preparations first. The Easter bunny comes in the early morning hours, right at dawn, when the sun is just coming up and the dew is still shining on the grass. You have to find a likely spot which seems as if it might be a bunny path. You will require a standard bushel basket, a long straight stick of kindling, and a good strong straight pin or slender nail. And you will need a nice fresh young carrot with its greens still intact.

You must set up the trap the night before Easter, just when it is about to get dark. Turn the bushel basket upside down, and prop up one side with the stick of kindling. Attach the carrot so it hangs on the front of the stick of kindling. You many have to take the kindling out and attach the carrot with a hammer.  It must be well attached, and yet still look enticing. When the Easter bunny comes hopping along, he will spot the carrot right away. Bunnies cannot resist nice fresh carrots. When he takes a bite of the carrot, the stick of kindling will fall and the basket will land on top of the bunny, and he is captured.

Then he needs only love and care.  Bunnies are particularly fond of carrots, of course, and soda crackers, and rabbit chow, grass and clover.

It always worked for me. You can tell if it is the real Easter bunny because he will have a blue ribbon around his neck.

 



Olympians: From the Winter Olympics, Salt Lake City, Utah, 2002 by The Elephant's Child

A large group of Olympians from Team USA, 2002 spoke about their experience in the Winter Olympics. It was not long after 9/11 and the nation was still reeling from the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center.The Salt Lake Olympics were a shambles of scandal, mismanagement and financial failure that threatened to cancel the games and damage the Olympic Games program itself.The athletes thought all their years of training might go to waste, but Mitt Romney pulled it together, corralled hundreds of smiling young LDS volunteers who made every attendee feel welcome.

Mitt made it all work and gave the athletes their chance to compete. Remember the “Miracle on Ice”when the  new kids on the block defeated the Russian team. Couldn’t find a video of the whole Team USA medal winners, but Derek Parra, a 5’4″ Mexican American kid from Southern California talked a bit about his background and how unlikely it was that he should become a champion speed skater. He called Mitt Romney a “Facilitator of Dreams.”

Parra set world records, and won the gold in the 1500 meters and silver in the 5000 meters.  He went on to become the coach for the U.S. Olympic speed skating team for the 2010 Olympics.



Good Intentions: Really Stupid Regulations. by The Elephant's Child
May 26, 2012, 10:33 pm
Filed under: Capitalism, Economy, Law, Sports | Tags: ,

The Justice Department promised on Thursday to be “flexible” in enforcing the new rules that force public pools to buy and install lifts or ramps for the disabled, Pool operators have said this is an invitation to a flood of lawsuits against small business.

This marked a possible retreat for the department which earlier had ruled that under the Americans With Disabilities Act, all pools open to the public would  have to invest in elevators, ramps or lifts to accommodate the disabled.  Members of Congress threatened action, and earlier this month Justice extended the stay into next year. On Thursday, the department went further, saying the rules apply chiefly to new pools, while existing pools will only need to comply if it’s easy and cheap to do so.

“Readily achievable means that it is easily accomplishable without much difficulty or expense” the department said.  “This is a flexible, case-by-case analysis, with the goal of ensuring that ADA requirements are not unduly burdensome, including to small business.”

The reprieve comes just before the Memorial Day weekend, which marks the traditional opening day for many outdoor pools. So they can cross their fingers and open?

“It is obvious that the Obama administration is quickly backtracking after giving little thought to the real-world impact of this one-size-fits-all mandate,” said Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC) who had tried to pass legislation halting the mandate.

There is as yet no amendment removing the language, which means it is still an active part of the bill. As usual, people with good intentions make silly regulations, because they cannot allow free people to make their own business decisions.

Steny Hoyer (D-MD), Minority Whip burbled: “For many Americans with disabilities, swimming pools are an important source of physical activity and emotional comfort.” Rolling back the rules, he said”would constitute a serious setback to American with disabilities, including many of our veterans —and I want you to think about this— many of our veterans were wounded while serving our nation overseas.”

And just think about it, many public pools have no disabled people among their customers, nor in their districts. It is a characteristic of the left that they believe themselves so clever that they can make wise rules for a huge country of some 330,000,000 people. Their intentions are so good, and the results of their hubris make such a mess of things.




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