Saturday, October 27, 2012

Things I learned this week 27 Oct

  • The cost of solar energy fell to just $1.13 per watt in 2011.
  • Eating a moderate amount of European chocolate each week may help prevent a stroke.
  • Spirit rover was designed to last 90 days on Mars. It lasted 2269 days until last contact, Succumbing from a bad Martian winter. Opportunity, also designed to last 90 days,  is still going after 3114 days on Mars.
  • An Anti-Gay Activist and Prop 8 (anti-gay marriage) donor confesses to sexually abusing young boys.
  • Most people in Hong Kong pay for stuff with a contact-less card called the Octopus card. The Octopus card was introduced in 1997 to pay for transit, but the card's use quickly expanded to fast food restaurants, supermarkets, vending machines, convenience stores, parking meters, car parks and many other businesses where small payment is needed.
  • Apple employees who work at the Genius Bar are not allowed to use the words bomb, crash, hang, bug or problem.
  • Alberta has taken rat control seriously since the 1950s. It maintains a rat control zone 600km (375 miles) long by 3 km wide along the southern section of its border with Saskatchewan, where the greatest threat is thought to exist. A rat patrol pays special attention to farms and towns in that zone. That barrier broke this year with an outbreak in Medicine Hat, but they seem to have it under control again.
  • It's very possible that lab grown beef will become the basis for the burger of the future.
  • A sewage disposal system has been invented that uses waste engine heat to completely obliterate sewage, turning it into ash and water. Passenger aircraft and ships could use this to eliminate the need to store waste at all.
  • The first ever Internet Cat Video film festival debuted at the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota. “Experience the joy of a surprised kitten or keyboard cat together.
  • Thousands of Americans are learning that the intense drought that baked much of the country this summer has been sucking the moisture from underground, causing shifting that can lead to cracked basements and foundations, and damage above ground. Repairs cost up to $100,000 and are rarely covered by insurance.
  • Fred Armisen (of Saturday Night Live and Portlandia) used to be the drummer of a punk band (Trenchmouth). 
  • The US Copyright Office denied another request to allow for the copying of DVDs for personal use. These same people had no trouble re-issuing the right to jailbreak a smartphone.

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