Sorry About No Posts Yesterday… We Lost Another Dog to Snakebite.


Our woodpile was subjected to a search and destroy mission. The troops in Fallujah would have been proud of us.

Due to privacy issues… The body count will be published at a later date.

Something About This Just Bugs Me… I Like Salt & Vinegar Chips

Potato Chip Flavoring Boosts Longevity Of Concrete

Science Daily  The ingredient that helps give “salt & vinegar” potato chips that tangy snap is the key to a new waterproof coating for protecting concrete from water damage, according to a study scheduled for the August 1 issue of ACS’ Industrial & Engineering Chemistry Research.

Awni Al-Otoom and colleagues in Jordan point out that concrete’s unique properties have made it the world’s most widely used structural material.

Concrete, however, is so porous that water soaks in, corroding steel reinforcing bars and meshes that strengthen concrete roads and buildings and causing cracks as water expands and contracts during freeze-thaw cycles. Sealants are commercially available, but they have serious shortcomings, the study notes.

In the new report, researchers describe the use of sodium acetate as an inexpensive and environmentally friendly concrete sealant. One of sodium acetate’s many uses is in flavored potato chips.

In laboratory studies using freshly made concrete, the researchers showed that sodium acetate seeps into pores in concrete and then hardens and crystallizes upon exposure to water. The resultant swelling blocks entry of additional moisture, they said. Under dry conditions, the crystals shrink back to their original size and allow moisture to evaporate.

The net result is “a significant reduction in water permeability,” that “can be expected to increase the service life of the concrete,” the report said.

Article: “Crystallization Technology for Reducing Water Permeability into Concrete”

Baby DVDs, Videos May Hinder, Not Help, Infants’ Language Development

Science Daily  Despite marketing claims, parents who want to give their infants a boost in learning language probably should limit the amount of time they expose their children to DVDs and videos such as “Baby Einstein” and “Brainy Baby.”

Rather than helping babies, the over-use of such productions actually may slow down infants eight to 16 months of age when it comes to acquiring vocabulary, according to a new study by researchers at the University of Washington and Seattle Children’s Hospital Research Institute.

The scientists found that for every hour per day spent watching baby DVDs and videos, infants understood an average of six to eight fewer words than infants who did not watch them. Baby DVDs and videos had no positive or negative effect on the vocabularies on toddlers 17 to 24 months of age. The study was just published in the Journal of Pediatrics.

“The most important fact to come from this study is there is no clear evidence of a benefit coming from baby DVDs and videos and there is some suggestion of harm,” said Frederick Zimmerman, lead author of the study and a UW associate professor of health services. “The bottom line is the more a child watches baby DVDs and videos the bigger the effect. The amount of viewing does matter.”


How We as Humans Went From Poverty To Affluence… And It’s Consequences.

For thousands of years, most people on earth lived in abject poverty, first as hunters and gatherers, then as peasants or laborers. But with the Industrial Revolution, some societies traded this ancient poverty for amazing affluence.

Historians and economists have long struggled to understand how this transition occurred and why it took place only in some countries. A scholar who has spent the last 20 years scanning medieval English archives has now emerged with startling answers for both questions.

Gregory Clark, an economic historian at the University of California, Davis, believes that the Industrial Revolution — the surge in economic growth that occurred first in England around 1800 — occurred because of a change in the nature of the human population. The change was one in which people gradually developed the strange new behaviors required to make a modern economy work. The middle-class values of nonviolence, literacy, long working hours and a willingness to save emerged only recently in human history, Dr. Clark argues.