Wednesday, June 13, 2012

A "new" coming to a world near you.

Most of the time I like things to stay just the way they are.
Othertimes, I gasp with joy when I encounter a "new".
Example:  Bernie and I were chatting out on the deck at high noon, and when I looked out toward Mt. Olympus, there was a band of colors across the sky! 

Not a rainbow (no arch), and not a 22nd degree  halo (it didn't make a circle around the sun.)
It was just a long band of rainbow like colors that lasted about ten minutes.
I have never seen anything quite like it before.
It was a "new" for me!

And as long as I had my camera out, I snapped a picture of a hanging basket petunia glowing in the sun.
It wasn't until I downloaded the picture that I noticed that the fuchsia pinwheel pattern broke down into individual heart shapes.
How on earth had I missed seeing that before?

Tate had his own "new" yesterday.
He spotted a baby woodpecker up in the tree during a supervised visit outside.
(Young male cats tend to roam, even if neutered, so we keep a sharp eye on him whenever he gets garden privileges.)
Tate raced up the tree higher and faster than we have ever seen him go before.
Of course even the fastest cat can't fly....the woodpecker just flew away from the approaching fluffy orange kitty.
Poor Tate. 
I don't think he had known that birds could do that sort of thing.

"New" seems to be a constant, like it or not.
Luke is trying to decide if he likes new cordoroy alligators parked on his chest.
(Well, at least I have never had to face that kind of "new" in my life so far.) 

So...about "new":
The New York Times published an article entitled:

 "32 New Innovations That Will Change Your Tomorrow."

Are you ready for this?
Two years from now we will have:
Electric Clothes
Physicists at Wake Forest University have developed a fabric that doubles as a spare outlet. When used to line your shirt — or even your pillowcase or office chair — it converts subtle differences in temperature across the span of the clothing (say, from your cuff to your armpit) into electricity. And because the different parts of your shirt can vary by about 10 degrees, you could power up your MP3 player just by sitting still. According to the fabric’s creator, David Carroll, a cellphone case lined with the material could boost the phone’s battery charge by 10 to 15 percent over eight hours, using the heat absorbed from your pants pocket.

Also in two years:
New Coffee
Soon, coffee isn’t going to taste like coffee — at least not the dark, ashy roasts we drink today. Big producers want uniform taste, and a dark roast makes that easy: it evens out flavors and masks flaws. But now the best beans are increasingly being set aside and shipped in vacuum-sealed packs (instead of burlap bags). Improvements like these have allowed roasters to make coffee that tastes like Seville oranges or toasted almonds or berries, and that sense of experimentation is trickling down to the mass market; Starbucks, for instance, now has a Blonde Roast. As quality continues to improve, coffee will lighten, and dark roasts may just become a relic of the past.

Nagging Underwear
Your spandex can now subtly nag you to work out. A Finnish company, Myontec, recently began marketing underwear embedded with electromyographic sensors that tell you how hard you’re working your quadriceps, hamstring and gluteus muscles. It then sends that data to a computer for analysis. Although the skintight shorts are being marketed to athletes and coaches, they could be useful for the deskbound. The hope, according to Arto Pesola, who is working on an advanced version of the sensors, is that when you see data telling you just how inert you really are, you’ll be inspired to lead a less sedentary life. 

The way you answer a phone is your password.
A team of Dutch and Italian researchers has found that the way you move your phone to your ear while answering a call is as distinct as a fingerprint. You take it up at a speed and angle that’s almost impossible for others to replicate. Which makes it a more reliable password than anything you’d come up with yourself. (The most common iPhone password is “1234.”) Down the line, simple movements, like the way you shift in your chair, might also replace passwords on your computer. It could also be the master key to the seven million passwords you set up all over the Internet but keep forgetting. 

In four years we will have teeth that think.
(And Luke will have teeth by then...)
Scientists at Princeton and Tufts are working on a superthin tooth sensor (a kind of temporary tattoo) that sends an alert when it detects bacteria associated with plaque buildup, cavities or infection. It could also notify your dentist, adding an extra layer of social pressure to make an appointment. The sensor may have wide-ranging use: the researchers have already used it to identify bacteria in saliva associated with stomach ulcers and cancers. While the sensor won’t last long on the surface of a well-brushed and flossed tooth, Michael McAlpine, the project’s leader, says that the sensors will be inexpensive enough that you can replace them daily. 

Eatable Food Packaging.
It’s depressing to think how much food packaging there is in your kitchen right now — all those juice cartons, water bottles and ice-cream containers. But what if you could eat them? “We’ve got to package in the same way nature does,” says a Harvard bioengineer named David Edwards. And so he has devised a way to convert foods into shell-like containers and films that he calls Wikicells. Yogurt will be encased in a strawberry pouch, for instance. You could wash and eat the packaging, like the skin of an apple, or you could toss it, like the peel of an orange, since it’s biodegradable. The newly wrapped ice cream and yogurt will be available later this month at the lab store in Paris, with juice and tea coming within the next year or two.

Four years from now...
Robotic Pets
Petting a living animal has long been known to lower blood pressure and release a flood of mood-lifting endorphins. But for various reasons — you’re at work, or you’re in a hospital, or your spouse is allergic to dogs — you can’t always have a pet around to improve your mental health. So researchers at the University of British Columbia have created something called “smart fur.” It’s weird-looking (essentially just a few inches of faux fur) but its sensors allow it to mimic the reaction of a live animal whether you give it a nervous scratch or a slow, calm rub. Creepy? Yes. But effective.

Bye Bye Microwaves, and possibly home cooking.
Frozen food may soon be on par with anything you can get at a three-star restaurant. Sous vide — a process in which food is heated over a very long period in a low-temperature water bath — has been used in high-end restaurants for more than a decade. (Thomas Keller and Daniel Boulud were early proponents.) But the once-rarefied technique is becoming mass market. Cuisine Solutions, the company that pioneered sous vide (Keller hired it to train his chefs), now supplies food to grocery stores and the U.S. military. Your local Costco or Wegmans may sell perfectly cooked sous vide lamb shanks, osso buco or turkey roulade. Unlike most meals in the freezer aisle, sous vide food can be reheated in a pot of boiling water and still taste as if it were just prepared. And because sous vide makes it almost impossible to overcook food, it’s perfect for the home cook. Fortunately, sous vide machines are becoming more affordable. “It’s like the microwave was 30 years ago,” Keller says.

I haven't copied all 32 can read them from the link above, or HERE


Vee said...

So are you guys having enough fun with that little grandson of yours? He is so cute and full of expressions. I'm sure that you look at him and wonder what life will bring him in the form of advancements and medicine and food and clothing and... Oh that underwear just sounds awful, but the password thing is what I need!

ellen b. said...

Oh my goodness the photos of Luke and Bernie are fabulous! Love all the different expressions!

Lana said...

Beautiful pictures, Jill! Your home looks gorgeous. I love your perspective. Thanks so much for sharing your passion.

Pamela Gordon said...

Wow, what is this world coming to? Crazy new ideas and innovations to make our lives easier?? I was more taken with your beautiful baby Luke. What an adorable little guy he is. I think he and Bernie are getting along really well. Great photos! Pamela

Just a little something from Judy said...

The "new" things coming sound like some ideas I might like, but I must tell you, the pictures of your little guy with your big guy are priceless! What love and admiration exist in every picture. Great pictures!

Janice Haney said...

Thanks for sharing the guys with us. It will be fun to watch Luke grow.

Kathleen Lisson said...

It's exciting to think about all these new ideas. I wonder if all the technology in the world can help people to do things they do not want to do. Brush their teeth, work out, etc. Frozen boil in bag meat sounds like a good resource for busy families. Maybe they will develop a special slow cooker that can boil the water for hours during the work day.

Kathie said...

Looks like Luke is ready to box the dinosaur :) and love Tate's little pink tongue :)

Thanks for this research Ms Librarian - I don't know about electric clothes though. But the edible food packaging sounds like a good idea - as long as someone else isn't handling it before I eat it!

Anneliese said...

Yes.. what is this world coming to will take on new meaning.. but it is so good hat some things stay the same.. cute babies and their innocence, for example.

Lovella ♥ said...

I totally missed this one and had you not alerted me to pictures of Luke I would not have seen it. I just think he is so cute!! I bet he is quite long isn't he?

Oh..and all those inovations. The way things keep changing it is not unbelievable.