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

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Popping around....

Just popping around the garden and Mill Creek, seeing what is pretty and taking pictures to share.
The pink poppy in the front yard has bloomed for the first time.
It is more purple mauve than this photo looks on my computer.
I find the way the light comes through the petals is just marvelous!

The brush stroke like accents on the outside...

and the inside are so perfect! 

I woke up early and there was a spooky beautiful sunrise going on outside.
I thought of the old saying:
Red sky at morning, sailor take warning.
The was high winds and some rain later on that day.

My gardener in his orange crocs....worked hard to mix up some planting soil.
The hat used to be beach wear.
Now the surfer has become landlocked and is loving gardening instead.

Nothing is ever done around here without snoopervision.

Including the bird feeder.
Or shall I say especially the bird feeder?

The backyard orange oriental poppies put on quite a show.
The light play through the petals again...begs for someone to capture on canvas.

Maybe some day that will happen.

The petals are nearly transparent in the sunlight.
I can see the shape of the  seed bearing "pepper pot" inside.

The satin smooth petal California poppies are paired so nicely with their own lacy blue green leaves.

The pinks each bloom with a unique pattern on the same plant.

I left the garden to the care of Bernie and Tate. 

And drove over to Millcreek Canyon, about four miles away.

I hadn't walked up Porter Fork in awhile.

A few wild flowers were in bloom.
The stream in the fork was surprisingly low for this time of year. 

Photo tip I have just learned: Avoid photographing streams in sunlight. They look much better in shade, and photographed early or late in the day.
Use a slow setting (like a night scene option) if you want te water blurred, use a sport or fast setting if you want to see the water frozen in motion.

I've posted the Porter Fork rock formation in all seasons already, but never resist taking a parting photo of the formation whenever I walk around Porter Fork.

Back home in the garden....Frenchie is looking put upon.

And no wonder.
The Magpies are everywhere.
They are nesting and attacking cats, and waking us up with their loud calls.

One nest was in our blue spruce tree out front.
A baby fell out of the nest.
The magpies went suddenly silent.

Baby 'Pie has blue eyes!
We were torn between hoping that the baby would hop back up into the safety of the tree or rooting for a neighborhood cat to have 'pie for breakfast.
They really are LOUD birds...

Japanese maple leaves shadows catch my eye.

Seersucker like hosta leaves catch the light beautifully too.

A nice self seeding floral treat is blooming along the fence.
Store bought Gerba daisies also bloom now.

I kind of like the "weeds" better.
How about you?