Thursday, April 10, 2014

Tropicana Orange Juice Doesn't Rot

Some of you may recall the myth of the non-rotting McDonald's hamburger. Fortunately, this myth has been thoroughly debunked. But, I have been doing my own experiment:
We bought this carton of orange juice over 2.5 years ago, and the "best before" date is December 19, 2011. For the majority of the 2.5 years, this carton was held, unopened, at room temperature; it was hidden in the back of our spare fridge in the basement. Yet, there is no external signs that it was spoiled -- the carton isn't bulging or swollen. It just looks like a regular orange juice carton (well, except for the warning label):
So, I decided to open it and see what it looked and smelled like. This is what the juice looked like:
The only obvious change was that it was definitely oxidized -- it had a brown color instead of orange -- and some OJ sediment settled to the bottom, but there was no visible signs of mold or spoilage at all. It smelled like "fresh" orange juice. I was very tempted to taste it, but Stacy wisely convinced me that it wasn't worth it.

There has been a lot of coverage recently about the industrial methods used to make "fresh squeezed" orange juice. See here or here or here. But I think this total lack of spoilage of an allegedly-agricultural product held at room temperature for years speaks both to the amazingness of pasteurization, and to the extent of the marketing fib that is this:

Thursday, April 03, 2014

When else would you do it?

We occasionally drive by this building on the way to work:
Aside from the interesting mix of medical practices (something akin to the laundromat, bagel store and tanning salon we used to laugh at as kids1), I was struck by the specificity of the name "Nocturnal Sleep Medical Group." I mean, I can't imagine there's a "Diurnal Sleep Medical Group" around the corner. In any case, my advice to people who have trouble napping in school or at work: visit another practice.

1. They cook the bagels in the clothes drier, dry the clothes in the tanning beds, and tan in the bagel oven, of course!

Tuesday, April 01, 2014

April fools video post

Check out this trick video I made. Thanks for the help Aryeh!

Help me come up with a good title for this! (In the comments).

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Loud Bicycle in the news again

Last week was pretty exciting, Loud Bicycle my project making bike horns made it into the news. Below is a picture of the start of my name in the New York Time Gadgets to Boost Bike Safety.

Even more exciting though was the Boston Globe which actually had a picture of me and the horn in their article called That Loud Car Horn May be a Biker's. This is a picture of my eye from the paper.

And in case you are wondering what the deal is with the super tiny pictures - I recently turned my phone into a microscope so basically all my pictures become way more awesome :)

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Sunday, March 09, 2014

Fun with a microscope

I converted my smartphone into a microscope several weeks ago, and I've been microscoping everything in sight ever since... I might actually have a problem. Out of the hundreds there are a few I'd like to share with you.

Snowflakes in Boston are usually crummy looking. Every once in a while though, a complete snowflake will get all the way down to the ground without partially melting and refreezing, or smooshing into other flakes. Because of this, snowflakes are a mystery to many people. I encourage you to look closely freshly fallen snow, on your jacket or some other dark surface and you may be surprised; patterns like this are rare but plainly visible to the naked eye.

Spiders have tons of eyes. In front, in back, on the side. I think this one is some kind of a wolf spider. It wasn't all that big, remember I'm using a microscope.

This is some raw spaghetti.

This is a piece of retro reflective tape from my friend Bike Safe Boston. You can see the individual glass spheres that it is made of.

If you have something you want microscoped then leave a suggestion in the comments!

Thursday, March 06, 2014

More Hebrew in New York

The other week I saw this sign up in the 14th St. A train station:
Aside from the bizarre, slightly creepy (and yet excellent parody of MTA signage) elements of this sign, I was confused by the choice of languages. English, what-I-think-is-Chinese, and Hebrew. This isn't the first time I've reported on Hebrew being a language choice in the NYC area. But I don't understand it. If you check out this chart of languages spoken in NYC, after English, the top three most common languages spoken in NYC are Spanish, Chinese and Russian. So, they got the what-I-think-is-Chinese right, but Hebrew is in the 15th place, under Polish, Tagalog and Arabic. So the choice of Hebrew is pretty weird.

Then, there's the strange conjugation of "Pay attention" in Hebrew. It is a female singular conjugation, as if "New York" were an individual female person. Personally, I think "שימו לב" makes more sense, as in: "Pay attention [you plural people of] New York." I checked Google (they say 'שים לב', male singular, with 'שימו לב' as an alternate) and Bing gives my translation. So no clue where they got that translation from.

Monday, February 24, 2014

DIY Smartphone to Microscope Conversion

Last weekend I made a microscope out of my android phone; I was surprised how well it worked.

I wrote up a pretty long description of the project and some directions here: smartphone microscope. I'm just going to put some of the best photos here now, but click the link above to get the full descriptions.

Phone microscope

Red onion cells

Bromeliad cells

Thread puff

Salt under a microscope

toothbrush under a microscope

toothbrush under a microscope

Phone microscope