June 25th, 2006


The Devil's Music


The Devil's Music
By Finlo Rohrer
BBC News Magazine

The Devil is said to have the best tunes, but what do they sound like? A new film about the history of heavy metal highlights the so-called Devil's Interval, a musical phenomenon suppressed by the Church in the Middle Ages.
On the surface there might appear to be no link between Black Sabbath, Wagner's Gotterdammerung, West Side Story and the theme tune to the Simpsons.

But all of them rely heavily on tritones, a musical interval that spans three whole tones, like the diminished fifth or augmented fourth. This interval, the gap between two notes played in succession or simultaneously, was branded Diabolus in Musica or the Devil's Interval by medieval musicians.

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Adult Erector Sets

TSLOTS seems like some pretty cool stuff:

TSLOTS modular structural aluminum extrusions are designed to make assembly of modular aluminum applications fast and easy. The t-slotted extruded aluminum design enables the user to quickly create workstations, machine enclosures, robot enclosures, safety guarding or many other automation and material handling applications. The biggest advantage of the TSLOTS modular structural aluminum extrusion system is that it was created by an aluminum extruder. This means your aluminum extrusions and components are made to a consistent, high quality time after time.

See also 80/20 Slotted Aluminum

Here's some things you can make with it:


Key to long life may be mom's age at birth


Key to long life may be mom's age at birth
"People are more likely to see their 100th birthday, research hints, if they were born to young mothers.

The age at which a mother gives birth has a major impact on how long her child will live, two researchers from the University of Chicago's Center on Aging told the Chicago Actuarial Association meeting this spring.

The chances of living to the ripe old age of 100 -- and beyond -- nearly double for a child born to a woman before her 25th birthday, Drs. Leonid Gavrilov and Natalia Gavrilova reported. The father's age is less important to longevity, according to their research.

In a previous study, the husband and wife research team of Gavrilov and Gavrilova identified birth order as a possible predictor of an exceptionally long life. They observed that first-born children, especially daughters, are much more likely to live to age 100.

But their latest research suggests that it is the young age of the mother, rather than birth order, which is significant to longevity.

Using U.S. Census data, the Social Security Administration database, and genealogical records, Gavrilov and Gavrilova identified 198 centenarians born in the U.S. from 1890 to 1893. They reconstructed the family histories of these individuals to try to identify possible predictors of longevity.

They found that while being born to a young mother was an important predictor of reaching 100, other factors seem to help someone live an exceptionally long life. These include growing up in the Western part of the U.S., spending part of one's childhood on a farm, and being born first.

"Centenarians represent the fastest growing age group in industrialized countries, yet factors predicting exceptional longevity and its time trends remain to be fully understood," Gavrilov and Gavrilova note.

The finding that children born to young women are more likely to live to 100 "may have important social implications," Gavrilov added in a statement, "because many women postpone their childbearing to later ages because of career demands."

"This research helps us better understand the predictors of longevity and quantify the implications on society and business," said Thomas Edwalds, a fellow of the Society of Actuaries, which co-sponsored the study.

The researchers emphasize that why children born to younger mothers have an advantage when it comes to longevity requires further study.

© Reuters 2006. All Rights Reserved. http://today.reuters.com/

The New Face of Bamboo


The New Face of Bamboo
Max Hunter

Bamboo is a naturally beautiful and durable alternative to the limited global supply of hardwood. In fact, bamboo is actually not a wood at all, but rather, a variety of grass. From a design standpoint bamboo radiates a tropical and exotic feeling, at a time when an increasing number of people are looking for something to bring a more worldly style into the home.

Bamboo is attractive as a building material because it is very hard, strong and dimensionally stable. It is comparable in strength to northern red oak. This strength is why bamboo has traditionally been used for fishing poles. A fishing pole made from an oak or maple dowel would need to be three times the weight and twice the diameter to catch the same size fish, and the pole would snap with the slightest flaw in the grain. But a bamboo pole is light and flexible. I've seen surfboards and longbows made of bamboo also, which should give some indication of its strength and resilience.

The key to bamboo's strength is that each strand of the grain is perfectly straight. There isn't a tree in the world that grows as straight as bamboo. And there are no branches so there are no knots. The only anomalies are the knuckles that occur every few feet. These slight variances are usually quite consistent and dense, and do not significantly weaken the structure of the material. And while bamboo is a light material, it is also remarkably stable with 50-percent less contraction and expansion than wood.

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