Here’s an interesting article taking us behind the scenes of a large banana distributor in New York. It also touches on the history of banana transportation and how refrigeration transformed this snack.
During our visit, Paul Rosenblatt told us that he aims to ripen fruit in five days at 62 degrees, but, to schedule fruit readiness in accordance with supply and demand, he can push a room in four days at 64 degrees, or extend the process to seven days at 58 degrees.
“The energy coming off a box of ripening bananas could heat a small apartment,” Rosenblatt explains, which means that heavy-duty refrigeration is required to keep each room temperature-controlled to within a half a degree. In the past, Banana Distributors of New York has even experimented with heating parts of the building on captured heat from the ripening process.
To add to the complexity, customers can choose from different degrees of ripeness, ranging from 1 (all green) to 7 (all yellow with brown sugar spots). Banana Distributors of New York proudly promise that they have “Every Color, Every Day,” although Rosenblatt gets nervous if he has more than 2000 boxes of any particular shade.
Science Blog has the details on this bold new concept to bring comet material back to earth for research. Now this is what I’m talking about, a manly method of collecting samples from a comet is to harpoon it. This is much more interesting to me than to land the probe.
Phil Menard (aka “The Chatty DM”) posted his twitter exchange with a fellow that turned into a very cool RPG-type adventure via twitter posts. I love this as an idea, why aren’t more of us doing this? This is more like the old school text based adventure games, with the difference being you are communicating with people or someone like a DM.
Dang, now I have a hankering to go play Zork again…
Here’s a snippet from Phil’s exchange:
FDL: Ok. you see a grue. What do you do?
Chatty: Wave torch
FDL: As you wave your torch, you set your furniture delivery guys on fire. Game over. Restart? [y/n]
(I fell down my flimsy beach chair onto my hardwood floor laughing. This could become fun.)
Chatty: LOL yes. Talk Grue.
FDL: The grue says she’s your upstairs neighbor and she hopes her noisy Angry Birds parties won’t bother you too much. What next?
Chatty: examine exits
FDL: There is only one exit, a hangar bay door.
Chatty: kick door
FDL: Door says “Ow!” and kicks back. Grue looks at you in disgust.
Chatty: Apologize door.
(I was still playing it old school with 2 words)
Anyone know of Twitter adventures or TwitRPGs going on?
Fellow citizen scientists, the call is out asking for your assistance at whale.fm.
Did you know that Killer Whales (Orcas, which are actually the largest dolphin species) can talk to each other in quite sophisticated ways? Each family of Killer Whales has its own dialect and closely-related families share calls. We know this because biologists have begun to categorize the complex calls of Killer Whales and to try and understand what they mean.
Pilot Whales (again, actually a dolphin species) have dialects and calls similar to those of Killer Whales, but biologists have not categorized them. Scientists have assembled recordings of both species, and they’re asking us to help them put their sounds into categories. They want us to help them understand what Whales are saying.
After a little online training in their tutorial, you listen to the their recording of an Orca and find a similar one that matches it best. This helps categorize it as the same whale, or from the same family or region.