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Artificial tongue’s nanoscale “tastebuds” can sort real whisky from counterfeits more than 99% of the time

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In Whisky tasting using a bimetallic nanoplasmonic tongue (Nanoscale/Royal Society of Chemistry), a team from U Glasgow’s School of Engineering describe their work on an “artificial tongue” lined with “tastebuds” that sense “plasmonic resonance” (the absorption of light by liquids) to produced highly detailed accounts of the profiles of Scotch whiskys, which can be used to determine whether a given whisky is counterfeit.

The team claims more than 99% sensing and identification accuracy.

We have presented a reusable bimetallic nanoplasmonic tongue that displays two distinct resonance peaks per region and whose orthogonal surface chemistries can be selectively modified to tune their ‘tasting’ sensitivity. These unique features have allowed us to halve both the sensor size and necessary data-acquisition time while still providing dataset clustering upon PCA and successful classification with LDA. This is a versatile system, allowing the development of high quality nanoplasmonic tongues for any given application via simple alterations to the chosen surface ligands and/or plasmonic metals in order to produce new sensors with unique chemical responses. This new approach to artificial tongue design may spur the development of portable devices for applications in a point of care diagnostics, counterfeit detection in high-value drinks, environmental monitoring, and defense.

Whisky tasting using a bimetallic nanoplasmonic tongue [Gerard Macias, Justin R. Sperling, William J. Peveler, Glenn A. Burley, Steven L. Neale and Alasdair W. Clark/Nanoscale]

(via Beyond the Beyond)


Source: Artificial tongue’s nanoscale “tastebuds” can sort real whisky from counterfeits more than 99% of the time

The Possible Link Between Seasonal Allergies and Anxiety & Depression

Olga Khazan on The Reason Anxious People Often Have Allergies:

“There is good circumstantial evidence that’s growing that a number of mental illnesses are associated with immune dysfunction,” says Sandro Galea, a physician and epidemiologist at the Boston University School of Public Health.

If the link is in fact real, allergies could be causing anxiety and other mood disorders in a few different ways. For one, it’s stressful to be sick, and people with allergies frequently feel like they have a bad cold. The experience of straining to breathe, or of coughing and wheezing, could simply make people feel anxious.

Then there are biological explanations. Allergies trigger the release of the stress hormone cortisol, which can interfere with a feel-good brain chemical called serotonin. It’s not clear how the cortisol does this, Nanda says; it might inhibit the production of serotonin or make it fail to bind with its receptors properly. But when something goes wrong with serotonin, the theory goes, depression or anxiety might set in.

Huh. I definitely suffer from seasonal allergies (they have thankfully slacked off for the summer) and have struggled with anxiety since I was a kid (though I’ve never been clinically diagnosed). I’ll be following this research with interest.

Tags: medicine   Olga Khazan


Source: The Possible Link Between Seasonal Allergies and Anxiety & Depression

Irrerevent cat and dog butt coloring books for (not-so) grownups

It’s not often talked about but people with pets see a lot of animal butt. Too much, really. Well, now the folks at Honey Badger Coloring have made coloring books that offer the same view – the backside of cats and dogs. Get out your crayons, colored pencils, and/or gel pens because it’s time to decorate some #Catbutt and #Dogbutt ($6.55 each).

(The Awesomer)


Source: Irrerevent cat and dog butt coloring books for (not-so) grownups

Hoi Toider, an American Dialect that Doesn’t Sound American

Hoi Toider is a dialect spoken by long-time residents of Ocracoke, North Carolina. It sometimes sounds more Australian, Scottish, or like Elizabethan English than American English.

When older Ocracoke natives, or O’cockers as they call themselves, speak, the ‘I’ sound is an ‘oi’, so they say ‘hoi’ instead of ‘high’. That’s where the Hoi Toider name comes from: it’s based on how the O’cockers say ‘high tide’.

Then there are the phrases and vocabulary, many of which are also kept over from the original settlers. For example, when you’re on Ocracoke, someone might ‘mommuck a buck before going up the beach’, which means ‘to tease a friend before going off the island’.

“We have a lot of words that have been morphed to make our own,” said Amy Howard, another of William Howard’s descendants, who runs the Village Craftsmen, a local arts and crafts store. “[Hoi Toider] is a combination from a whole blend of cultures. A lot of the early settlers were well travelled, so they ran into lots of different types of people. For example, the word ‘pizer’ we use comes from the Italian word ‘piazza’, which means porch. So if you’re going to be sitting on your pizer, you’re sitting on your porch.”

You can hear some folks speaking Hoi Toider is these videos:

Tags: language   video


Source: Hoi Toider, an American Dialect that Doesn’t Sound American

This machine learning-assisted cat door keeps kitty from bringing furry surprises home

Using an Arduino, a bunch of code and a little machine learning, Benn Hamm created a cat door to keep his cat from bringing dead–and sometimes live–rats and birds into his home in the middle of the night. It’s not often that I’m down with bringing surveillance technology into homes but, as a former cat owner who’s had to clean bird shit off a flat-screen TV, I have nothing but love for this project.

Image via Wikipedia Commons


Source: This machine learning-assisted cat door keeps kitty from bringing furry surprises home

That’s Dr. Marijuana Pepsi Vandyck to you!

After eight years, Marijuana Pepsi Vandyck has earned her PhD in higher education from Cardinal Stritch University. And yes, Marijuana Pepsi is her real given name. From the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:

Her mother, Maggie (Brandy) Johnson, who still lives in Beloit, (Wisconsin) picked out her name and proclaimed that it would take her around the world. Her sisters, one older and one younger, got relatively common names, Kimberly and Robin.

Teachers, classmates, bosses and other people in Marijuana’s life pushed back against her name and teased her. Some suggested she go to court and change it. Some flat out refused to call her that or insisted on Mary, which she rejected.

As much as people blamed and judged her mother for the name, Marijuana credits her mom with making her the strong, balanced, entrepreneurial woman she is today…

But mostly she embraces the name as proof that you can overcome any obstacle in life and achieve your dreams…

It’s fitting that an African American woman who has gone through life as Marijuana Pepsi chose as her dissertation topic: “Black names in white classrooms: Teacher behaviors and student perceptions.”

Yes, her name really is Marijuana Pepsi, and now she’s Dr. Marijuana Pepsi to you” by Jim Stingl (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)


Source: That’s Dr. Marijuana Pepsi Vandyck to you!