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July 20th, 2004 - Open Knowledge — LiveJournal

Jul. 20th, 2004

02:50 am - A photographer's right

Good to know:


02:25 pm - Bottle Cap Tripod

Via boingboing_net:


Michale sez, "Tripods are great for photography, but a pain in the ass to carry. Everyone these days seems to be carrying water bottles everywhere. So trust a Japanese company to combine the two to make a really useful thing: A mount that makes a bottle filled with water or soda a useful stable base for your digital camera."

02:40 pm - Perversion for Profit

Part of the Internet archives vast collection of "ephemeral" films: Perversion for Profit.

"...Anti-pornography film produced by financier Charles Keating, linking pornography to the Communist conspiracy and the decline of Western civilization..."

06:10 pm - The LiveJournal of Anne Frank

The LiveJournal of Anne Frank

06:19 pm - Ingrid Lucia NPR interview

All Things Considered NPR interview (March 2000) with Ingrid Lucia one of the Flying Neutrinos.

09:57 pm - Lettuce and LEDs: Shedding New Light On Space Farming


Lettuce and LEDs: Shedding New Light On Space Farming
By Todd Halvorson
Cape Canaveral Bureau Chief
posted: 07:01 am ET
26 September 2001

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. -- Ask most astronauts and cosmonauts what type of food they miss most on the International Space Station and they'll tell you fresh salads are a culinary commodity craved in orbit.

That situation, however, soon could change.

Researchers here at NASA's Kennedy Space Center are parlaying the technology used to develop the latest traffic signals into a salad machine that could enable station crews to grow and harvest their own greens within the next three years.

What's more, the type of advanced lighting systems now used in sprawling airplane maintenance facilities, automotive assembly lines and semiconductor clean rooms are being tested for potential use at Martian greenhouses.

And while a human expedition outside Earth orbit still might be years away, the space farming efforts are ultimately aimed at developing artificial light sources that promise to help make future explorers self-sufficient at space colonies on the moon, Mars or beyond.

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10:10 pm - Waste Not, Want Not: Recycling the Martian Way


Waste Not, Want Not: Recycling the Martian Way

By Robert Roy Britt
Senior Science Writer
posted: 07:00 am ET
14 August 2001

What comes out of the human body and goes into a toilet is often thought of as an end product. But for future residents of Mars, human waste will need to take on a more vital role.

Like becoming fertilizer for growing food.

Because it costs thousands of dollars to lift every pound of stuff into space, and even more to get it to Mars, mission planners don't want to waste a thing. Human excrement, being rich in nutrients, can be a composter's dream. So a group of European researchers is taking on the task of figuring out just how to safely manage a high-tech Martian outhouse.

Because somebody, of course, has to do it.

The European Space Agency is building an "artificial ecosystem" near Barcelona, Spain, that will use three rats to test an idea for processing rodent waste with microorganisms. The rats will be kept under close veterinary supervision throughout the test, according to ESA officials.

Rats, it seems, have more in common with humans than you might have realized. Their oxygen demand and carbon dioxide production are roughly equivalent to ours, for example. Certain microorganisms, on the other hand, have a penchant for dealing with whatever comes their way.

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10:15 pm - Waste Not: Microbial fuel cells


May 18, 2004: On a two-year trip to Mars, according to one estimate, a crew of six humans will generate more than six tons of solid organic waste--much of it feces. So what do you do with all that?

Right now, astronaut waste gets shipped back to Earth. But for long-term exploration, you'd want to recycle it, because it holds resources that astronauts will need. It will provide pure drinking water. It will provide fertilizer. And, with the help of a recently discovered microbe, it will also provide electricity.

Like many bacteria, this one, a member of the Geobacteraceae family, feeds on, and can decompose, organic material. Geobacter microbes were first discovered in the muck of the Potomac River in 1987; they like to live in places where there's no oxygen and plenty of iron. They also have the unexpected ability to move electrons into metal. That means that under the right conditions, Geobacter microbes can both process waste and generate electricity.

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10:39 pm - Super Dwarf Crop Seeds


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11:41 pm - Ultra-Light Concrete: The Answer to a Builder's Prayer?


Ultra-Light Concrete: The Answer to a Builder's Prayer?

If it weren't for a chance meeting with a Los Angeles official, Jim Hwang might never have invented what may be the neatest construction material since two-by-fours.

"It was at a mine reclamation conference, and I was very surprised to see him," said Hwang, an associate professor in the mining and materials processing engineering department. "I asked what he was doing there--there are no mines in Los Angeles. He said, 'No, but we have some of the same big problems.'"

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11:46 pm - A "Sack House" made of "Bubble Stone"


1924, Berkeley, Bernard R. Maybeck house (#3) "Sack House",
2745 Buena Vista Way, Berkeley
Bernard Maybeck.

Made of sacks dipped in Bubblecrete, a lightweight concrete, and hung on chicken wire (Woodbridge & Woodbridge 1992:212).

The disastrous fire in Berkeley in 1923 destroyed many of Maybeck's houses, and he turned again to concrete. However, he did not use monolithic construction as in the 1907 Lawson house. In search of a cheap fireproof surfacing material, he tried coating burlap sacks with a foamy concrete mixture called "Bubble Stone." This material, invented by a Berkeley man [John A. Rice], was produced by mixing chemicals with cement; it was so light in weight that a mass the size of a bale of hay could be lifted by one man.

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