Archive for March 10th, 2011

March 10, 2011


mr kiasu

Kiasu [kee-ah-soo] (lit: ‘fear of losing’) is a Chinese word describing behavior such as accumulating too much food on one’s plate during a buffet lunch (for fear of there not being enough) or joining a queue many days in advance just to ensure that one successfully gets hold of the limited free tickets to events. This word is so widely used by Singaporeans and Malaysians that it is incorporated into their English vocabulary (in the form of Singlish and Manglish).

It is often used in describing the social attitudes of people, especially about South East Asian society and its values and competitiveness. Kiasu is commonly compared to Kiasi (lit: ‘fear of death’) and both are commonly used to describe optimization behavior. Kiasu-ism means to take extreme measures to achieve success, and Kiasi-ism is doing the same to avoid risk.

March 10, 2011



TerraPower is a nuclear reactor design spin-off company investigating a class of nuclear fast reactors called the traveling wave reactor (TWR).

One of TerraPower’s primary investors is Bill Gates. Whereas standard light water reactors such running worldwide use enriched uranium as fuel and need fuel reloads every few years, TWRs, once started, use depleted uranium instead and are considered to be able to operate for up to 100 years without fuel reloading.

March 10, 2011

Arm & Hammer

arm and hammer


Arm & Hammer is a registered trademark of Church and Dwight, an American manufacturer of household products. The logo of this brand is a muscular arm holding a hammer. Originally associated only with baking soda and washing soda, beginning in the 1970s the company began to expand the brand to other products using baking soda as a deodorizing ingredient, including toothpaste, laundry detergent, underarm deodorant, and cat litter. The Arm & Hammer brand is one of the longest-running and most recognized U.S. trademarks.

The Arm & Hammer logo dates back to the 1860s. James A. Church ran a spice business known as Vulcan Spice Mills. According to the company, the Arm and Hammer logo represents Vulcan, the Roman god of fire and metalworking. Originally a stylized representation of the Greek god of fire and forge, the muscular male arm with hammer in fist was used prior to the American Civil War as a symbol of the labor movement.

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March 10, 2011


Sous-vide [soo veed] (French for ‘under vacuum’) is a method of cooking food sealed in airtight plastic bags in a water bath for a long time—72 hours is not unusual—at an accurately determined temperature much lower than normally used for cooking, typically around 60 °C or 140 °F. The intention is to maintain the integrity of ingredients.

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March 10, 2011

Generational Theory

strauss howe

The Strauss-Howe generational theory, created by historians William Strauss and Neil Howe, identifies a recurring generational cycle in American history. Strauss and Howe lay the groundwork for the theory in their 1991 book Generations, which retells the history of America as a series of generational biographies going back to 1584.

Former U.S Vice President Al Gore called Generations the most stimulating book on American history he’d ever read, and sent a copy to each member of Congress. Some reviewers of the duo’s books, such as the New York Times’ Michael Lind have criticized their theories for being too vague, and for verging into the realm of pseudoscience.

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March 10, 2011

Stolen Generation

taken away by sally morgan

The Stolen Generations is a term used to describe the children of Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander descent who were removed from their families by the Australian Federal and State government agencies and church missions, under acts of their respective parliaments. The removals occurred in the period between approximately 1869 and 1969, although in some places children were still being taken in the 1970s.

The extent of the removal of children, and the reasoning behind their removal, are contested. Documentary evidence, such as newspaper articles and reports to parliamentary committees, suggest a range of rationales. Motivations evident include child protection, beliefs that given their catastrophic population decline after white contact that black people would ‘die out,’ a fear of miscegenation by full blooded aboriginal people.

March 10, 2011

Lost Generation

the sun also rises

The ‘Lost Generation‘ is a term used to refer to the generation that came of age during World War I. It was popularized by Ernest Hemingway who used it as one of two contrasting epigraphs for his novel, ‘The Sun Also Rises.’ In that volume Hemingway credits the phrase to fellow novelist Gertrude Stein, who was then his mentor and patron.

In ‘A Movable Feast,’ which was published after Hemingway and Stein had had a famous feud and fallen apart, and after they were both dead, Hemingway reveals that the phrase was actually originated by the garage owner who repaired Stein’s car. When a young mechanic failed to repair the car in a way satisfactory to Stein, the owner shouted at him, ‘You are all a generation perdue. That is what you are. That’s what you all are…All of you young people who served in the war. You are a lost generation.’

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March 10, 2011

Spider Silk


Spider silk is a protein fiber spun by spiders. Spiders use their silk to make webs or other structures, which function as nets to catch other animals, or as nests or cocoons for protection for their offspring. They can also suspend themselves using their silk.

Spider silk is a remarkably strong material. Its tensile strength is comparable to that of high-grade steel, and about half as strong as Kevlar, but Spider silk is about a fifth of the density of steel; a strand long enough to circle the Earth would weigh less than 500 grams (18 oz).

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March 10, 2011



BioSteel is a trademark name for a high-strength fiber material made of a spider silk-like protein extracted from the milk of genetically modified goats, made by Nexia Biotechnologies. Biosteel and other biopolymers are being researched to provide lightweight, strong, and versatile materials for a variety of medical and industrial applications. Nexia Biotechnologies plans to use the spider silk from the milk of transgenic goats for bullet proof vests and anti-ballistic missile systems.

The company has successfully generated distinct lines of goats that produce in their milk recombinant versions of either the dragline silk proteins. When the female goats lactate, the milk, containing the recombinant silk, is harvested and subjected to traditional chromatographic techniques in order to purify the corresponding recombinant silk proteins to homogeneity. The purified silk proteins are then dried, dissolved using appropriate solvents and transformed into microfibers using wet-spinning fiber production methodologies.