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Microbiome

Did you know that our bodies are more bacterial than human?

There are so many bacteria living on our skin, in our nose and (especially) in our bowel, that only 1% of the DNA that we carry around is human. The rest is bacterial.

Our body is made up of 10 trillion cells. In addition, we are home to 100 trillion microbial cells, consisting of thousands of different species.

We need these bacteria. They play an improtant role in our immune system, help to break down the food we eat, and produce some vitamins on which we depend.

This ‘microbiome‘ is all the rage. It is increasingly recognsied that our general health is dependent on the composition of the bacteria that we host. Scientists suggest that ‘we are what we eat’ because the food that we have affects the makeup of our microbiome so directly.

Wired magazine this week has published an atlas of this ‘microbiome’, with a discussion of how it affects our general health.

And Norman Swan on the Health Report has recently discussed  how our diet affects the microbes in our bowels with Professor Charles Mackay, Director of Immunology and Inflammation at Monash University.

 

 

 

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Sep 28 2011

Spy vs Spy

Spies have to make difficult decisions.

When it comes to iPhone-controlled manoeuroable video surveillance gadgets, do you go with the tank or the quadricopter?

Both create their own wifi network. You can steer them using the iPhone, and onboard video cameras allow you to view what’s happening from a safe distance.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CcTqv1EflTY?wmode=transparent]

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=75jFYiA1RZY?wmode=transparent]

The brand new Rover Spy Tank is $159, ordered from Brookstone USA.

The AR Drone from Parrot is $349 available in Australia from Dick Smith.

iLounge has a comprehensive review.

There are a number of augmented reality games available for the drone that enable you to compete in dogfights with your drone-owning friends.

Perhaps, as a professional spy, it would be prudent to add both to your arsenal.

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Almost 10 million people have watched this video.

Unfortunately, the tune seems to have stuck in Will’s head.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5_sfnQDr1-o?wmode=transparent]

The song was created by Parry Gripp, who has a long history of song writing.

His 2005 solo album ‘For Those About to Shop, We Salute You’ had 51 parody tracks!

If that’s not enough, the success of the video has lead to the creation of an iPhone game.

Baby Monkey (going backwards on a pig) - Kihon Games

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“All right… all right… but apart from better sanitation and medicine and education and irrigation and public health and roads and a freshwater system and baths and public order… what have the Romans done for us?”

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hSELOCMmw4A?wmode=transparent]

How Stuff Works has a feature on “10 Cool Engineering Tricks the Romans Taught Us

If you wanted someone to explain geometry, you asked a Greek. If you wanted someone to build you a floating bridge, a sewer network or a weapon that could fire flaming balls of gravel and tar 300 hundred yards (274 meters), you called a Roman. As much as the Greeks gave us, Rome’s brilliant architectural, organizational and engineering feats that make them stand out among the ancient peoples.

You can read about the ten top engineering tricks of the Romans here.

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“Sometimes I wonder whether the world is being run by smart people who are putting us on or by imbeciles who really mean it.” Mark Twain

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