2011: The Year in Pee and Poop

Treehugger gives us a recap of the year in innovative solutions to the sanitation issues facing us here on Earth and in space. The slideshow covers systems purifying human pee so astronauts can stay hydrated, to mushrooms that decompose diapers to the DIY rainwater-flushing toilet.

There’s some cool stuff in that presentation, check it out.

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Green / Eco Friendly

Another New Military Aircraft Mistaken for UFO

From Wired’s Danger Room:

Note to the Navy: When trucking a giant flying robot with a rounded fuselage across the country, people are going to think they’re looking at an artifact from Area 51.

As the local news coverage above shows, residents of Cowley County, Kansas, were freaked out to see a truck rumbling down U.S. 77 towing what looks a whole lot like a 32-foot spaceship. “People were calling in saying, ‘Oh they think they found a flying saucer,’” Donetta Godsey of the Winfield Daily Courier told the ABC News affiliate

If I saw this I wouldn’t think it was a UFO because surely the gov’t has been doing an outstanding job keeping their alien discoveries suppressed from the public view and they wouldn’t have been stupid enough to truck it through a town in broad daylight….or would they?

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Conspiracy, Military

Top 10 Reasons Why Darth Vader Was an Amazing Project Manager

I’m a few months late in recognizing this good article from Geek Wire, it takes a look at the Project Manager skills that Darth Vader exhibited. Since I’m currently training my team to prepare for a transition to Agile software development model, I got a particular kick from thinking of Vader as the Product Owner in a SCRUM project. Smile 

Number 8: Vader made commitments, and worked hard to keep them. If you think of the Galactic Empire as something of a SCRUM project, the Emperor would have to be playing the Product Owner role. Of course, in SCRUM/Agile, the team makes commitments to achieve predefined goals over the course of any given sprint or iteration. Darth did this with the Emperor many times, and he worked REAL hard to make sure those commitments were met. I mean, how did he manage to get that second Death Star operational so quickly anyway? Hard work, that’s how. Vader understood the importance of commitments, and more importantly, the significance of fulfilling them. Trust in teams is built on commitments.

Just geeky

How To Ripen A Banana

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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.

Got a desire for banana now? Here’s 100 things to do with the banana (a carefully curated list), with lots of photos.

Just geeky

Capturing video at the speed of light — one trillion frames per second

“We have built a virtual slow motion camera where we can see photons, or light particles, moving through space.”

WOW!

via kottke.org

Science