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3D Printed Skull Ring

Posted: May 28, 2010 at 8:14 am

3D skull rings by Bits to Atoms

3D skull rings by Bits to Atoms

3D skull rings by Bits to Atoms

Not your average fancy schmancy ring, the Skull Ring by Bits to Atoms is actually created by 3D printing in bronze infused stainless steel giving it a multi-faceted and pitted texture.

Each ring is made to order and takes about 3-4 weeks to complete.  Available via Etsy for $120.  I’m thinking of ordering my own!

[spotted by Jenny]

Recommendation and review posted by G. Smith

Oxberry Pegs Presents: Animators Are God? Series, "The Clay Animation of Jimmy Picker," Saturday May 29th, Observatory

Posted: May 28, 2010 at 8:14 am

This Saturday night, animator GF Newland and School of Visual Art professor Trilby Schreiber will be launching "Oxberry Pegs Presents: Animators Are God?", a new series at Observatory that seeks to investigate the human drive to animate--to give life or the illusion of life--in the broadest of senses. The series will be extremely wide-ranging in its focus, spanning "from Winsor McKay to Ren and Stimpy, the Golem to video games, phantasmagoria to animatronics, Pygmalian to puppet theatre, automata to Avator," and will include performances, screenings, lectures, presentations, and workshops.

Confirmed participants thus far include Kevin Brownie of Beavis and Butthead, Bob Camp of Ren and Stimpy, Jonny Clockworks of the Cosmic Bicycle Theatre, John Dillworth creator of Courage the Cowardly Dog, animator Bill Plymton, Mike Zohn of Obscura Antiques and Oddities on the History of Automata, and Joanna Ebenstein of this blog on The Golem; To find out more about this series and see a full list of participants confirmed thus far, click here.

The series will launch this Saturday night at 8:00 with "The Clay Animation of Jimmy Picker," in which clay animator and bon vivant Jimmy Picker--whose oeuvre includes the clay animation sequences from cult-classic 80s film Better Off Dead and the 1983 academy-award winning short Sundae in New York--will discuss his work and screen his latest project.

Full details for the event follow. More on the series here. Hope to see you there!

The Clay Animation of Jimmy Picker Screening and conversation with Academy Award winning animator Jimmy Picker
Date: Saturday, May 29th, 2010

Time: 8:00 P.M.
Admission: $5
Day one of the
Oxberry Pegs Presents Series

This Saturday, May 29th, Oxberry Pegs presents the first night of our Animators are God? Series, featuring the clay animation of Jimmy Picker. Nestled in the bustling Flatbush neighborhood of Brooklyn, is Motion Picker Studios, where Jimmy Picker has been making hand-made films for nearly 30 years. He’s received several Academy award nominations along the way, and won the Oscar in 1983 for “Sundae in New York”, a musical animated short, with characters modeled on iconic New Yorkers, and staring a plasticine Ed Koch. Upon receiving the famed golden statuette, Picker remarked, “Now no one can say I’m a bum!” And how, Mr. Picker!

So, come to Observatory this Saturday and meet Jimmy Picker in person. Hear him talk about the art of clay animation, see his award winning shorts, and gawk as his lesser known cult-favorite clips, like those dancing hamburgers from the film Better Off Dead starring John Cusack. He will also screen his latest work, the “Age of Ignorance,” a clothing-optional creation story!

To find out more about the "Oxberry Pegs Presents: Animators Are God?" series, and to see a full list of participants scheduled thus far, click here. If you would like to recommend a participant, or are interested in participating yourself, email You can get directions to Observatory--which is next door to the Morbid Anatomy Library--by clicking here. You can find out more about Observatory here, join our mailing list by clicking here, and join us on Facebook by clicking here.

Image: "Yasutaro Mitsui poses with his own steel humanoid, Tokyo, Japan, in 1932."Via Retroliciousdesigns

Recommendation and review posted by G. Smith

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Confiscated Items Online Auction, Ongoing

Posted: May 28, 2010 at 8:14 am

They all have to go as the federal government cleans out the National Wildlife Property Repository, a vast warehouse crammed with 1.5 million miscellaneous items containing bits of creatures great and small...

Anyone who has lost a bird dome, a stuffed crow, or an anthropomorphic fox to U.S. Customs over the year take note: your chance to retrieve your lost merchandise--legally!--might have come!

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service--in a series of rolling online auctions--is selling off hundreds of thousands of confiscated items in order to clear out their warehouse and raise funds for wildlife conservation. Items found in the warehouse range from snake skin boots to "a beribboned walrus penis," Cape Buffalo heads to "a caiman, posed with a pipe in its mouth and an ashtray in its claws" (above, bottom image).

It should be mentioned that, "by law, the government can't sell anything containing, or even suspected of containing, an endangered species." Also, much of the higher-end contraband has been already sent to schools, zoos and museums for exhibits, and objects deemed crass are being withheld from the auction, so some of the more exotic, freaky, and museum-quality objects won't be finding their way to auction. Still, this auction promises to be a fascinating and contraversial one.

You can find out more here, compliments of the Wall Street Journal online:

Uncle Sam Wants You to Bid on This Fine Weasel Fur Coat
Confiscated Wildlife Goods Are Auctioned; Boon or Bane for Conservation?

COMMERCE CITY, Colo.—Uncle Sam is having a clearance sale, and it's heavy on genuine cobra-skin boots.

Also, python boots. Ostrich boots. And stylish footwear made from lizard, eel and kangaroo.

They all have to go as the federal government cleans out the National Wildlife Property Repository, a vast warehouse crammed with 1.5 million miscellaneous items containing bits of creatures great and small.

All the goods in the warehouse, from the shaggy Cape buffalo head to the beribboned walrus penis, have been seized at ports of entry by agents of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for violating laws regulating international trade in wildlife.

Warehouse supervisor Bernadette Atencio sends much of the contraband to schools, zoos and museums for exhibits. Ho-hum items that don't have much educational value are destroyed; she recently sent dozens of lizard-trim eyeglass cases to the incinerator. Ms. Atencio also disposes of all the medicinal potions that cross her desk—and the occasional bug-infested trophy leopard.

But she can never catch up. The Congressional Research Service pegs the illegal trade in wildlife products at more than $5 billion and perhaps as much as $20 billion a year world-wide. Nearly 200,000 items came into the warehouse last year, overwhelming Ms. Atencio's staff of four.

The solution? Clean house.

In a rolling online auction that started in February and will run through the summer, the Fish and Wildlife Service is selling off 300,000 items.

A dozen fur coats made from Siberian weasel sold for $4,450. A box of 270 acrylic key chains, each encasing "one small black salamander," went for $35. There are table lamps made of clam shells, drums covered with unspecified mammal skin, watches festooned with mother-of-pearl.

And a curious collection of clay dwarfs decorated with bits of python skin.

"What do you call those little figurines, the strange ones?" Ms. Atencio asked her colleague Doni Sprague.

Ms. Sprague had spent the afternoon sorting a jumble of new arrivals: 21 boxes of medicine containing dried sea horse; an antique sword inlaid with sea turtle shell; several bottles of foul-looking wine—purportedly good for treating arthritis—with pickled snakes coiled inside.

She looked up, casting about for a proper name for the figurines.

"They've got big hats," she said finally. "They're bizarre."

The auction disturbs some animal-rights activists who say an agency in the business of confiscating illegal goods shouldn't turn around and sell them because that only spurs demand. But Fish and Wildlife officials say they will use the money to preach conservation, and they've won some key backers.

The agency "needs more resources," said Crawford Allan, regulatory director of Traffic North America, a nonprofit organization dedicated to stopping the illegal wildlife trade. "Rather than burn these things and create excess carbon," Mr. Allan said, "it's fine to sell them."

By law, the government can't sell anything containing, or even suspected of containing, an endangered species. Ms. Atencio also holds back items she thinks are crass.

That includes a belt made from the spotted fur of a Margay, a South American jungle cat. The unlucky creature's head, stuffed and glassy-eyed, is still attached, whiskers and all. It serves as the buckle. "That's just wrong," Ms. Atencio says.

She feels the same about a handbag made from a whole toad—tanned and shellacked, with a zipper down its belly. And about a knickknack made from a crocodilian reptile known as a caiman, posed with a pipe in its mouth and an ashtray in its claws. Looking at it, Ms. Atencio winces. "This is so degrading," she says. "And it's a waste of the resource—just to sit on someone's end table."

Much of the merchandise seized by inspectors is more pedestrian: belts, coats, wallets, jewelry and footwear, including top name brands (though the agency can't vouch for their authenticity). Such items are typically legal to import to the U.S.—but only with the proper paperwork.

When documents are missing, the goods end up here, in a 22,000-square-foot warehouse outside Denver.

Last time the government sold off surplus from the repository, at a live auction in 1999, it raised $500,000 for wildlife conservation.

Ms. Atencio hopes to match that take with the online bidding, run by Lone Star Auctioneers. The Texas company focuses on surplus government property, selling everything from bulldozers to diamond rings to Elvis Presley collectible coins.

Fish and Wildlife items—all sold as is—are posted online in batches, several dozen a week.

Jeremy Reed, an insurance salesman in Spring, Texas, stumbled across the site while looking for used-car auctions. He was drawn to some snazzy ostrich boots. Starting bid: $225 for 19 pairs, none his size. Mr. Reed figured he could resell them to a friend who owns a Western-wear store.

"I'm kind of entrepreneurial," says Mr. Reed.

By the time he started bidding, the price was up to $325. He went to $375—then watched in dismay as four new bidders jumped in. A week later, the boots were sold for $825.

Mr. Reed was disappointed. "There are people with really deep pockets," he says. "That kind of ruins it for bargain shoppers like me."

It's perfectly legal to resell most items bought at auction, so many pop up on eBay as soon as they leave federal control.

That angers Ashley Byrne, a senior campaigner with the animal-rights group PETA.

Ms. Byrne argues that the sale just stimulates demand for weasel coats and python-trimmed figurines. Instead, she says, the agency should donate the merchandise to PETA. She has laid in quite a store of fake blood to splash on the shiny green snakeskin shoes and the weathered leather jackets trimmed with fox fur. She would like to put the bloodied goods on display anywhere she can, next to video monitors rolling footage of "animals being skinned alive or bludgeoned to death."

The juxtaposition will make would-be shoppers queasy, Ms. Byrne promises. "As opposed," she says, "to perpetuating the idea that it's OK to turn an animal into a keychain."

You can read the full article and see the full slide show--from which the above images, by Matt McClain, were drawn--by clicking here. The action house dealing in this merchandise--Lone Star Auctioneers--can be accessed by clicking here.

Thanks to Michelle of Lapham's Quarterly for letting me know about this rather intriguing happenstance!

Recommendation and review posted by G. Smith

Comparing the fermentation performance of Escherichia coli KO11, Saccharomyces cerevisiae 424A(LNH-ST) and Zymomonas mobilis AX101 for cellulosic ethanol production

Posted: May 28, 2010 at 8:14 am

Fermentations using Escherichia coli KO11, Saccharomyces cerevisiae 424A(LNH-ST), and Zymomonas mobilis AX101 are compared side-by-side on corn steep liquor (CSL) media and the water extract and enzymatic hydrolysate from ammonia fiber expansion (AFEX)-pretreated corn stover.
The three ethanologens are able produce ethanol from a CSL-supplemented co-fermentation at a metabolic yield, final concentration and rate greater than 0.42 g/g consumed sugars, 40 g/L and 0.7 g/L/h (0-48h), respectively. Xylose-only fermentation of the tested ethanologenic bacteria are five to eight times faster than 424A(LNH-ST) in the CSL fermentation.All tested strains grow and co-ferment sugars at 15% w/v solids loading equivalent of ammonia fiber explosion (AFEX)-pretreated corn stover water extract. However, both KO11 and 424A(LNH-ST) exhibit higher growth robustness than AX101. In 18% w/w solids loading lignocellulosic hydrolysate from AFEX pretreatment, complete glucose fermentations can be achieved at a rate greater than 0.77 g/L/h. In contrast to results from fermentation in CSL, S. cerevisiae 424A(LNH-ST) consumed xylose at the greatest extent and rate in the hydrolysate compared to the bacteria tested.
Our results confirm that glucose fermentations among the tested strains are effective even at high solids loading (18% by weight). However, xylose consumption in the lignocellulosic hydrolysate is the major bottleneck affecting overall yield, titer or rate of the process. In comparison, Saccharomyces cerevisiae 424A(LNH-ST) is the most relevant strains for industrial production for its ability to ferment both glucose and xylose from undetoxified and unsupplemented hydrolysate from AFEX-pretreated corn stover at high yield.

Recommendation and review posted by G. Smith

How to Treat Diabetes Without Medication

Posted: May 28, 2010 at 8:14 am

Diabetes is the most common disorder of the endocrine system and occurs due to either the body's inability to make insulin or the body's inability to respond properly to the effects of insulin.

There are two main types of diabetes:

Type I or insulin-dependent or juvenile diabetes, is usually diagnosed during childhood or adolescence. In Type I, the pancreas produces little or no insulin, which means that patients need regular insulin therapy. The symptoms of juvenile diabetes usually appear suddenly and evolve rapidly. The most common symptoms include thirst, frequent urination, constant hunger, sudden weight loss and dehydration. Read more...

Ayurtox for Body Detoxification

Recommendation and review posted by G. Smith

Medical blog content and relationship with blogger credentials and blog host

Posted: May 27, 2010 at 8:17 am

A quantitative content analysis was performed on 398 blog posts from a constructed 1-week sample of posts in WebMD, Yahoo!Health Expert Blogs, and independently hosted blogs.

Most health and medical blog posts highlighted and provided commentary pertaining to medical issues found in external media such as books, television, Web sites, magazines, and newspapers

Only 16% contained actual health or medical information.

Distinct differences in patterns of content were evident between credentialed and noncredentialed bloggers, as well as different blog hosts.

Health and medical blog content and its relationships with blogger credentials and blog host. Buis LR, Carpenter S. Health Commun. 2009 Dec;24(8):703-10.

Comments from Google Buzz:

Shabber Hussain - Now if I can some how know about those 16% medical blogs that "contain actual health or medical information", it should make my day. Feb 26

Arin Basu - I think (I just read the abstract perhaps a closer reading of the full text of the article might be more useful, @Ves, did you have a chance to read the full text?)
* The findings are not unexpected, at least that's what you expect based on "credentialing the blogger who has written the posts"
* There seems on first reading at leas the abstract that there may be quite a bit of bias in that study (just one week snapshot (too few blogs sampled), few selected sites (selection bias right there), and interpretation)
* Not surprised that most blogs contained commentaries published in popular press and journals.
I think that's what blogs should ideally do. Raise awareness, enable and alert people to read & interpret meanings. I'd not expect blogs to replace "actual" texts (well, that's my perspective)
* Which makes @Shabber's point very pertinent, what are those 16% saying, on a one week selective sampling?

All in all, a very interesting article. I think it needs to be closely read and discussed in medical blogosphere. Feb 26

Image source: public domain.

Posted at Clinical Cases and Images. Stay updated and subscribe, follow us on Twitter and connect on Facebook.

Recommendation and review posted by G. Smith

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