Turtleskin Snake Armor

Going someplace a bit off the beaten path?  You might just want some SnakeArmor.  Lightweight clothing with the strength to repel bites of large snakes like rattlesnakes, copperheads, and cottonmouths.  I don’t ever find myself in places where I would need this, but I imagine hunters and folks who work in the woods could use these.

TurtleSkin SnakeArmor’s patented technology produces the tightest weave ever made with high-strength fibers. Its weave is so tight, that snake fangs, briar, thorns, and cactus can’t slip past, while TurtleSkin’s ballistic fibers are so strong they resist breaking. This makes the fabric extremely protective while remaining lightweight and flexible. U.S. Patents 5,565,264 & 5,837,623 as well as other patents pending.

If this sounds like the kind of protection you need, hit their online store and buy to your heart’s content.

[tags]Turtleskin Snake Armor, Protective clothing[/tags]

Superheated metal moves liquid uphill

I’ve been reading the latest issue of American Scientist in my spare time lately. A really cool article caught my eye, and I thought I’d pass it on for the more geeky, science-loving types in my audience. While I think half my readership isn’t into the science stuff I enjoy, I believe that other reader might be. For him, I pass along this cool story of liquid moving in the wrong direction.

Going Against the Flow
Sometimes particles prefer to propel themselves uphill
Fenella Saunders

Particles strive for the life of a couch potato—sinking into a spot that has the least energy, where gravity can’t pull them down any farther and movement is at a minimum. Getting a particle moving requires keeping it off kilter, out of equilibrium. But particles in such a state tend to bounce all over; harnessing their movement in a single desired direction is the goal of many nanoscale devices.

One way to do this is with a ratchet effect—a mechanism that uses spatial asymmetry and energy gradients to make movement easier in one direction than another. It turns out that in some cases, ratchets not only control movement, but can also move particles in unexpected directions—away from a minimum energy state, the molecular equivalent of a creek climbing uphill under its own power.

. . .

If a skillet is heated to an extremely hot temperature, between 200 and 300 degrees Celsius, drops of water flicked into the pan will skitter across the surface, remaining intact for a minute or so. A surface not quite so hot will boil away the water droplets instantly, but the superheated surface instead instantly turns the bottom of the droplets into a layer of steam. Vapor is a poor heat conductor, so the steam insulates the drops from further boiling. It also provides them with a means of movement: The water drops bounce around like hovercraft on a cushion of air.

Linke and his colleagues did not use a smooth metal surface, but one covered with a sawtooth pattern. The teeth inclined more steeply in one direction than the other—an asymmetrical surface, and therefore a ratchet mechanism. Millimeter-sized water droplets piped onto the superheated sawtooth surface zip off in one direction like airport passengers on a moving walkway, reaching speeds of up to 5 centimeters per second, even if the surface is tilted so that the droplets have to climb uphill. As the investigators reported in the April 21 issue of Physical Review Letters, the phenomenon works for many other liquids, such as ethanol and liquid nitrogen, although the temperature at which the Leidenfrost effect kicks in varies from 50 to 150 degrees above the boiling temperature of the liquid.

More details on the science behind this in the full article. Also, access the full issue online, where many of the articles are freely readable. Some of the really juicy stuff requires membership ($28-$70 for 1-3 years in the US), but after reading a single issue, I’m considering a subscription.

[tags]American Scientist, Liquid moving uphill, Cool geeky science stuff[/tags]

Today in history – moon landing

In addition to being my older brother’s birthday, apparently humans first landed and walked on the moon today (assuming, of course, you discount any ancient alien races taking Egyptians to the moon, of course  🙂 ).  I meant to post this earlier today for edification of those who visit earlier in the day here, but I forgot.  Rather than steal more commentary from Wikipedia (which, in case you haven’t picked up on already, is one of my preferred sources for general information on a wide variety of subjects), I’m stealing details on the moon landing from the History channel today.

July 20, 1969

At 10:56 p.m. EDT, American astronaut Neil Armstrong, 240,000 miles from Earth, speaks these words to more than a billion people listening at home: “That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.” Stepping off the lunar landing module Eagle, Armstrong became the first human to walk on the surface of the moon.

The American effort to send astronauts to the moon has its origins in a famous appeal President John F. Kennedy made to a special joint session of Congress on May 25, 1961: “I believe this nation should commit itself to achieving the goal, before this decade is out, of landing a man on the moon and returning him safely to Earth.” At the time, the United States was still trailing the Soviet Union in space developments, and Cold War-era America welcomed Kennedy’s bold proposal. Continue reading “Today in history – moon landing”

Compensate for your shortcomings

Ahhhh, another brilliant Worth1000 contest. This recently ended contest challenged photochoppers to make up fake ads for real products. Some of them just make me laugh too hard to function. For example, the following, advertising a product I’d like but will never get precisely because I think people view it as this ad shows:

[tags]Worth1000, Hummer, Your shortcomings[/tags]