Archive for August 12th, 2010

August 12, 2010

Fan Death

fan death

Fan death is a putative phenomenon, generally accepted only in South Korea, in which an electric fan left running overnight in a closed room can cause the death of those inside. Fans sold in Korea are equipped with a timer switch that turns them off after a set number of minutes, which users are frequently urged to set when going to sleep with a fan on.

The genesis of this misconception is unclear. Some have speculated that the South Korean government created the idea of fan death as propaganda in order to curb the energy consumption of Korean households. This theory is based on the fact that reports of fan death first appeared in the 1970s. This coincided with the 1970s energy crisis, which led to a short supply and high prices of oil; it also coincided with the rule of President Park Chung-hee, who listed attaining a self-reliant economy and modernization as his top goals, as announced in his Five Year Economic development Plan.

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August 12, 2010


tastes like chicken

Umami [oo-mah-mee], also referred to as savoriness, has been proposed as one of the basic tastes sensed by specialized receptor cells present on the human and animal tongue. Umami is a loanword from Japanese meaning ‘good flavor’ or ‘good taste.’ In English, however, ‘brothy,’ ‘meaty,’ or savory’ have been proposed as alternative translations. Inasmuch as it describes the flavor common to savory products such as meat, cheese, and mushrooms, umami is similar to French gastronome Brillat-Savarin’s concept of osmazome, an early attempt to describe the main flavoring component of meat as extracted in the process of making stock.

The umami taste is due to the detection of the carboxylate anion of glutamic acid, a naturally occurring amino acid common in meat, cheese, broth, stock, and other protein-heavy foods. Salts of glutamic acid, known as glutamates, easily ionize to give the same carboxylate form and therefore the same taste. For this reason, they are used as flavor enhancers. The most commonly used of these is monosodium glutamate (MSG).

August 12, 2010



Anaglyph [an-uh-glif] images are used to provide a stereoscopic 3D effect, when viewed with 2 color glasses (usually red and cyan). Video games, theatrical films, and other media can be shown in the anaglyph 3D process. Practical images, for science or design, where depth perception is useful, include the presentation of full scale and microscopic stereographic images.

Examples from NASA include Mars Rover imaging, and 3D images of the sun. Other applications include geological illustrations by the USGS. A recent application is for stereo imaging of the heart using 3D ultra-sound with plastic red/cyan glasses. Anaglyph images are much easier to view than stereograms, but don’t render colors as accurately. Recently, cross-view prismatic glasses with adjustable masking have appeared, that offer a wider image on the new HD video and computer monitors.

August 12, 2010

Anti Climb Paint

anti climb paint

Anti-climb paint (also known as Anti Vandal Paint) is a class of paint which is a thick glutinous coating that is applied with a stiff brush, trowel or by hand using a protective glove. In appearance it is similar to smooth gloss paint when applied but it remains slippery indefinitely so preventing any intruder from gaining a foothold. It is used to prevent climbing on objects such as lampposts, walls and fences. It owes its effectiveness to the fact that it is based on a non-drying oil and keeps the surface greasy and slippery. As an additional advantage, it leaves its mark on the person touching it and hence makes it possible for intruders to be identified.

August 12, 2010



Ketsuekigata is a Japanese pseudoscience based on human blood types.  There is a popular belief in Japan that a person’s ABO blood type is predictive of their personality, temperament, and compatibility with others. Ultimately deriving from ideas of historical scientific racism, the popular belief originates with publications by Masahiko Nomi in the 1970s. The scientific community dismisses such beliefs as superstition. Discussion of blood types is widely popular in women’s magazines as a way of gauging relationship compatibility with a potential or current partner. Morning television shows feature blood type horoscopes, and similar horoscopes are published daily in newspapers. In addition, a series of four books that describe people’s character by blood type ranked third, fourth, fifth and ninth on a list of best selling books in Japan in 2008.

Although there is no proven correlation between blood type and personality, it remains popular with the many matchmaking services that cater to blood type. In this way, it is similar to the use of astrological signs in the West, which is also popular in Japan. Asking one’s blood type is common in Japan, and people are often surprised when a non-Japanese does not know his or her own blood type.

August 12, 2010


Formosa [fawr-moh-suh] is the name given to Taiwan (Ilha Formosa, ‘Beautiful Isle’) by passing Portuguese mariners in 1544. It is now also the name of a province of Argentina, a city in Brazil, a small island off the northwest coast of Africa, and the language of Taiwanese aborigines.