Hamster manual – not what you expect

Sometimes these flashbacks in scientific history that the Modern Mechanix blog gives us just make me laugh. Most recently, I was catching up with MM posts when I found this old advertisement from the April, 1948 Popular Science magazine for the hamster manual. Apparently, back in the 40s, when people thought of hamster manuals, they did think of them in the same way we might in our perverted modern society:


The most complete guide book on the successful breeding and raising of Syrian Golden Hamsters. Tells all about this new, fast growing, profitable and interesting hobby industry. Reveals all the secrets of the largest breeder of these delightfully profitable pets and laboratory animals. 34 Chapters chuck-full of information gleaned from actual experience as a breeder. Twenty Pages of illustrations. A few subjects are: history, housing, three methods of breeding, easy to get feeds, sexing, fertility vitamins, handling, educational, scientific projects, crating, profits and selling, where to buy and how to sell hamsters. Sent postpaid for $1.00.

Albert F. Marsh, 1524 Basil St., Mobile, Alabama

Now there is that brief mention of sexing the hamsters, but that looks to be in reference to breeding the hamsters with other hamsters. No mention of cardboard tubes or other oddities we think about in modern times. Because they weren’t naughty perverts back then like we are now – especially you…

[tags]The hamster manual, Hamsters and sexing – no cardboard tubes necessary[/tags]

Crushed milk – better than pasteurized

I’ve never even heard of this before, but apparently the process of crushing milk results in longer lasting milk.

Crushing milk at high pressures could help it last for seven weeks in the refrigerator without the unfavorable flavors associated with other long-lasting milks, researchers now report.

Conventionally, milk is pasteurized, or heated at high temperatures to kill harmful germs, at roughly 160 degrees Fahrenheit for 15 seconds. While pasteurization kills most germs, it does not wipe out bacterial spores, the dormant versions of the germs, which are extremely resistant to any form of destruction. Bacterial spores and remaining germs eventually spoil conventionally pasteurized milk, which is why it typically has a shelf life of only about 20 days when refrigerated.

. . .

The researchers found pressurizing milk at 85,000 pounds per square inch for five minutes at about 130 degrees kills germs while retaining the taste of fresh milk. The result is milk that stays fresh at least 45 days in the refrigerator. If the researchers can make this process commercially viable, Torres anticipated such milk could appear on the market in three to five years.

The article also mentions heating milk to as high as 300 degrees, resulting in milk that lasts up to 6 months unrefrigerated, but that this milk has not done well in the US due to associated strong flavors the process generates.

[tags]Crushed milk better than pasteurized, Milk purified via pressure lasts longer[/tags]

Will Wright – gaming’s god of god games

For the past six years, Wright has been working on a new game, which will be released in 2007. It is anticipated with something like the interest with which writers in Paris in the early twenties awaited Joyce’s “Ulysses.” At first, Wright called the project Sim Everything, but a few years ago he settled on the name Spore. The game draws on the theory of natural selection. It seeks to replicate algorithmically the conditions by which evolution works, and render the process as a game.

Covering briefly the start of videogaming and the god-game concept, this New Yorker article about Will Wright has information about how Wright works, what meeting with him is like, what he does to get creative, and so on. Anyone who has interest in the backgrounds of gaming’s better known creators will probably like this, long though the article is.

There is also some information on Wright’s new game, Spore, and its published, Electronic Arts, but for me, the real interest to the story is Will Wright himself. Beware – this is a long one, running 4 pages and many thousands of words.

[tags]Will Wright – game god, The New Yorker on Will Wright and Spore[/tags]