Archive for September 17th, 2010

September 17, 2010



OLED stands for Organic Light Emitting Diode. The ‘organic’ in OLED refers to organic material. Carbon is the basis of all organic matter. Examples of carbon-based substances include sugar, wood and the majority of plastics. ‘Light Emitting Diode’ describes the process of converting electric energy into light. OLEDs are used in television screens, computer monitors, mobile phones, watches, advertising, information and indication; they can also be used in light sources for general space illumination and in large-area light-emitting elements. An OLED display functions without a backlight. Thus, it can display deep black levels and can be thinner and lighter than liquid crystal displays and more power efficient. Similarly, in low ambient light conditions such as dark rooms, an OLED screen can achieve a higher contrast ratio than an LCD screen using either cold cathode fluorescent lamps or the more recently developed LED backlight. It can also be made up to 85% transparent and printed on flexible substrates.

The layer of organic material is sandwiched between two conductors (an anode and a cathode), which in turn are sandwiched between a glass top plate (seal) and a glass bottom plate (substrate). When electric Current is applied to the two conductors, a bright, electroluminescent light is produced directly from the organic material. OLED has more control over color expression than LCD because it only expresses pure colors when an electric Current stimulates the relevant Pixels. There are two main families of OLEDs. Those based upon small molecules, and more recently, those employing polymers.

September 17, 2010

Mitochondrial Eve

Mitochondrial [mahy-tuh-kon-dree-uhlEve refers to the most recent common matrilineal ancestor from whom all living humans are descended. Passed down from mother to offspring, all mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) in every living person is directly descended from hers. Mitochondrial Eve is the female counterpart of Y-chromosomal Adam, the patrilineal most recent common ancestor, although they lived thousands of years apart. Mitochondrial Eve is generally estimated to have lived around 200,000 years ago, most likely in East Africa, when Homo sapiens sapiens were developing as a species separate from other hominids.

One of the misconceptions of mitochondrial Eve is that since all women alive today descended in a direct unbroken female line from her that she was the only woman alive at the time. However nuclear DNA studies indicate that the size of the ancient human population never dropped below some tens of thousands;  there were many other women around at Eve’s time with descendants alive today, but somewhere in all their lines of descent there is at least one man (and men do not pass on their mothers’ mitochondrial DNA to their children). By contrast, Eve’s lines of descent to each person alive today includes at least one line of descent to each person which is purely matrilineal.

September 17, 2010


no rats

johnny tightlips

Omertà [aw-mer-tah] is a popular attitude and code of honor, common in areas of southern Italy where criminal organizations like the Mafia, ‘Ndrangheta, and Camorra are strong. A common definition is the ‘code of silence.’ Omertà implies ‘the categorical prohibition of cooperation with state authorities or reliance on its services, even when one has been victim of a crime.’ Even if somebody is convicted for a crime he has not committed, he is supposed to serve the sentence without giving the police any information about the real criminal, even if that criminal has nothing to do with the Mafia himself. Within Mafia culture, breaking omertà is punishable by death.

The code was adopted by Sicilians long before the emergence of Cosa Nostra (some observers date it to the 16th century as a way of opposing Spanish rule). It is also deeply rooted in rural Crete, Greece. The origin of the word is often traced to the Spanish word ‘hombredad,’ meaning manliness, through the Sicilian word ‘omu’ for man. According to a different theory, the word comes from Latin ‘humilitas’ (humility), which became ‘umirtà’ and then finally omertà in some southern Italian dialects.

September 17, 2010

Mars Blackmon

mars blackmon

Mars Blackmon was a fictional character from the 1986 film ‘She’s Gotta Have It.’ He is also the alter-ego of filmmaker Spike Lee. In the film, he was a ‘Brooklyn-loving,’ die-hard New York Knicks fan. During the late 1980s and early 1990s, Blackmon became the primary pitchman in Nike commercials for Air Jordans, the basketball shoes worn by Michael Jordan. In these commercials, Mars Blackmon popularized the phrases ‘Is it the Shoes? Is it the Shoes? Is it the Shoes? … Money, it’s gotta be the shoes.’

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September 17, 2010


Gianduja [gee-an-du-ya] is a sweet chocolate analogue containing about 30% hazelnut paste. It was invented in Turin, Italy by choclatier Caffarel in 1852, after taxes on cocoa beans hindered the production of conventional chocolate. It takes its name from a Carnival and marionette character who represents the archetypal Piedmontese, the Italian region where hazelnut confectionery is common. Ferreo Nutella is a giaduja spread first sold in Piedmont in 1963 and now available in over 75 countries.

Pietro Ferrero, who owned a patisserie in Alba, in the Langhe district of Piedmont, an area known for the production of hazelnuts, sold an initial batch of 300 kilograms (660 lb) of ‘Pasta Gianduja’ in 1946. This was originally a solid block, but in 1949, Pietro started to sell a creamy version in 1951 as ‘Supercrema.’ In 1963, Pietro’s son Michele revamped Supercrema with the intention of marketing it across Europe. Its composition was modified and it was renamed ‘Nutella.’ The first jar of Nutella left the Ferrero factory in Alba on 20 April 1964. The product was an instant success and remains widely popular. The estimated Italian production of Nutella averages 179,000 tons per year.