Thursday, October 23, 2008

Spider Eats Bird? You think it is nonsense?

Photos of a mammoth spider devouring a bird in a Queensland backyard are sweeping email inboxes - and according to experts, they are real.

Several photos of a giant spider eating an unfortunate bird have been posted on Thursday’s (October 23) edition of Australia’s Cairns Post. The photos - which are reported to have been taken this week in Atherton, west of Cairns - show the spider clenching its legs around a lifeless bird trapped in a web. The images first appeared on website forum Ars Technica on October 16.

Head spider keeper at the Australian Reptile Park at Gosford on NSW central coast, Joel Shakespeare, said the spider was from the species Nephila edulis, better known as the edible golden silk orb-weaver. "Normally they prey on large insects… it’s unusual to see one eating a bird," he told. Mr Shakepeare said he had seen Golden Orb Weaver spiders as big as a human hand but the northern species in tropical areas were known to grow larger. The average body of the female of the species is generally four times (23 mm - less than an inch) the size of the male (6 mm - less than a quarter of an inch), with a leg-span that can extend to that of a man’s hand. The spider eating the bird in the photo is a female. Some golden orb weavers have been found to reach 45 mm (less than two inches).

Queensland Museum identified the bird as a native finch called the Chestnut-breasted Mannikin. The bird, which appears frozen in an angel-like pose, most likely flew into the web and got caught, according to Mr Shakepeare. "It wouldn’t eat the whole bird," he said. But the spider would probably prepare a liquid soup with the finch - as it does with insects - and discard of what it doesn’t need. "It uses its venom to break down the bird for eating and what it leaves is a food parcel," he said.

Greg Czechura from Queensland Museum said cases of the Golden Orb Weaver eating small birds were "well known but rare". "It builds a very strong web," he said. But he said the spider would not have attacked until the bird weakened. "They blunder into [the webs] and their feathers get entangled," he said. "The more they struggle, the more tangled up and exhausted they get and they go into stress."

Associate Professor Ron Atkinson, who created the Find-a-Spider guide for Australian spiders, confirmed that the Golden Orb Weaver spider (Nephila pilipes) was "very efficient at catching insects". “Their venom quickly immobilizes insects, but it is unlikely it is potent enough to have any serious effects on humans, and I have never heard of anyone being bitten by one and certainly not anyone who was made ill as a result of such a biting," he said.

The Golden Orb Weaver spins a strong web high in protein because it depends on it to capture large insects for food, unlike funnel web and wolf spiders that actively hunt their prey. Another species called the bird-eating spider does not actually eat birds. "If a spider gets a bird, it’s a very lucky spider," Mr Czechura said.


Monday, October 20, 2008

Have you ever sent email to the wrong person?

The death by email search string at the very bottom of the 100 Google searches list directed me to the topic review that immediately captured my interest. Indeed, is there a way to retrieve back an email sent by mistake? Let it be the method to do that!!!! Pleaseeeee!


Harm from Misdirected Email

Nancy Dunetz, who teaches English as a second language in New York City, sat down in the school staff room to check her e-mail. One of the messages in her inbox was from an acquaintance she’d been corresponding with since their 50th high school reunion last year.

But this e-mail last June didn’t contain chummy banter or reminiscences. It simply included a lewd photo of a partly unclothed young man. The file name of the picture was "Mid East Hottie."

"I was shocked!" says Dunetz, 68. She hastily closed the e-mail and tried to erase the image from her mind.

Later that day, the sender e-mailed an apology to her and two dozen others who had received the e-mail. He explained he’d been experimenting with his new computer and was trying to figure out how to add attachments to an e-mail, Dunetz says. In doing so, he attached an image from his desktop and tried to send it to himself. Instead, the e-mail program automatically filled in an entire group from his address book -- something he apparently didn’t realize until after he hit the "send" button.

"I felt terrible for him," Dunetz says. "I could imagine just how mortified he must have been."

With some 55 billion e-mails being sent daily (not including spam), according to e-mail archiving company The Radicati Group, misdirected e-mails have become the online equivalent of a wrong number. They’re unavoidable, annoying -- and often embarrassing.

The ’uh-oh’ e-mail

In a recent online survey conducted by AOL, 32 percent of the 4,000 respondents have at one time or another mistakenly forwarded an e-mail to an unintended recipient. And often, it’s something not so nice.

Karla Comer, an account executive at an ad agency in Greensboro, North Carolina, knows just how embarrassing that can be. In 2004, Comer met a guy at a concert and went out with him a few times, but ultimately realized she wasn’t interested. "He was just awkward and clumsy. And sometimes I’d catch him staring at me, which really creeped me out," she says.

She tried to end the relationship by simply not returning his phone calls. "But then he e-mailed and causally said that he had not heard from me in a while and he hoped everything was fine but just assumed I was busy," says Comer, 31.

"Before I returned his e-mail, I sent the message to a close girlfriend with a blurb about what an idiot I thought he was and that dating him was a bad idea because he had no understanding of social cues."

She thought she sent the "he’s an idiot" e-mail only to her girlfriend.

To her horror, Comer says, the spurned beau replied a few minutes later, calling her some not-so-sweet names and suggesting that she "share THIS e-mail with your friends." "I was speechless," says Comer, who chose to not respond. "But eventually I was able to laugh at it."

When errant e-mails are sent at work, however, there’s often much more at stake than personal. Three years ago, Jamie Diamond, 33, e-mailed his then-boss to ask about a client at the public relations firm where he was working. His boss wrote back, criticizing the client as incompetent and urging Diamond to "go around him if you want to get anything done." , Diamond says, she also sent the e-mail to the client -- oops, make that ex-client.

"One click, and suddenly we’d lost a $5 million account," says Diamond, who is now self-employed as a publicist in Williams, Oregon.

Legal Protection

As you saw, if in some cases, forwarding email message to the wrong person can have unpleasant and confusing consequences, there are cases, when accidental release of the classified information might be disastrous. Law firms are trying to minimize the potential risks by adding the disclaimer to the bottom of every electronic message, something like:

This e-mail (including any attachments) is protected by the United States Electronic Communications Privacy Act, 18 U.S.C. §§2510-2521 and is confidential and may be legally privileged. It is intended solely for the addressee. All emails sent by me remain my property. You must obtain written permission to forward in part or whole any message, data contained within, MX and other header information. Doing so without my written permission constitutes an agreement between me, you and the party you forwarded the information to pay me a sum of no less than $5000. This is a legally enforceable contract between me, you, and the party to whom you forwarded the information. If you are not the intended recipient, you are hereby notified that any dissemination, distribution, copying, reproduction, modification, or publication of this communication is illegal and prohibited by law. If you are not the intended recipient, you are hereby notified that any dissemination, distribution, copying, reproduction, modification, or publication of this communication is illegal and prohibited by law. Please delete the message from your computer and destroy any copies. This message is not intended to be relied upon by any person without subsequent written confirmation of its contents. The sender therefore disclaims all responsibility and accepts no liability of any kind that may arise from any person acting, or refraining from acting, upon the contents of the message without having had subsequent written confirmation. If you have received this e-mail in error, please notify the sender immediately by return e-mail and delete all copies of this message and any attachments. Thank you. 

But that hardly can reverse the negative consequences of the information release.

Can you turn back time?

Short of erasing someone’s memory, there is no surefire way to retrieve a missent e-mail. Microsoft Outlook has a "recall" function that can erase unread e-mails from the in-box of the recipient -- as long as the recipient is using the same mail client or server as the sender -- as does AOL, but only for messages between AOL users. (Both AOL and CNN are divisions of Time Warner.)

Also, if you’re lucky enough to be on a closed (controlled access) e-mail system at a company or an institution-specifically, one that uses Microsoft Outlook for its mail server-it’s possible to actually recall an e-mail message, as long as it hasn’t been opened. To do that, follow these instructions. But remember: This probably won’t work from your home computer.

* Select View, and then select Folder List.
* Click Sent Items.
* Open the message you want to recall.
* On the Actions menu, click Recall This Message.
* To actually recall the message, click Delete Unread Copies of This Message.
* Click OK. Outlook will attempt to recall the message.

There’s also, an e-mail service which lets you tinker with (or even erase) messages that have already been sent by having the sender write e-mails that are created, stored and viewed on a remote server, where they can be edited or revoked at any time; recipients are actually accessing the e-mail on the remote server when they read the message, even though it looks like a regular e-mail.

But old-fashioned vigilance is probably the best way to avert these snafus in the first place. Roger Matus, CEO of e-mail archiving company InBoxer Inc. and keeper of the blog Death By Email, believes the easiest way to avoid these mistakes is to forget that the "reply all" button even exists. "Simply put, there is rarely a real reason to use it," he says. "Often, when you hit it, you end up e-mailing people who were blind carbon copied without realizing."

Matus offers the following tips on avoiding e-mail embarrassment:

* Type out the person’s full name when addressing your e-mail. If you type just the first few letters and let your e-mail program fill out the rest based on your address book, it could easily misroute your message without your realizing it.

* Double-check the addresses of your intended recipients before you hit "send." Do you really want all the people to get this particular message?
* Be sure to notify your company’s legal department if there is any chance that governance, compliance or privacy regulations were violated as a result of something you sent by mistake.
* If you are using Outlook, open the sent message, click actions & "Recall this message".
* Immediately notify the person who received the e-mail that it was a mistake and, if possible, ask them not to read the message -- or at least to delete it right away.
* Use the false excuse to request your recipients to delete the mail received from you. Send another e-mail to everybody who got the problem message. In the subject header, type something like VIRUS ALERT!!! In the body of the e-mail, tell them that you think your system has been infected by a virus and that they should immediately delete any e-mails received from you recently.


I decided not to leave you on verge of tears on your missent emails in the past, and give some reason for smile as well. So, joke for you:

A Minneapolis couple decided to go to Florida to thaw out during a particularly icy winter. They planned to stay at the same hotel where they spent their honeymoon 20 years earlier.

Because of hectic schedules, it was difficult to coordinate their travel schedules. So, the husband left Minnesota and flew to Florida on Thursday, with his wife flying down the following day.

The husband checked into the hotel. There was a computer in his room, so he decided to send an email to his wife. However, he accidentally left out one letter in her email address, and without realizing his error, sent the email.

Meanwhile, somewhere in Houston , a widow had just returned home from her husband’s funeral. He was a minister who was called home to glory following a heart attack.

The widow decided to check her email expecting messages from relatives and friends. After reading the first message, she screamed and fainted. The widow’s son rushed into the room, found his mother on the floor, and saw the computer screen which read:

To: My Loving Wife 
Subject: I’ve Arrived
Date: October 16, 2005
I know you’re surprised to hear from me. They have computers here now and you are allowed to send emails to your loved ones. I’ve just arrived and have been checked in. I’ve seen that everything has been prepared for your arrival tomorrow.
Looking forward to seeing you then!!!!
Hope your journey is as uneventful as mine was.

P.S. Sure is freaking hot down here!!!!


Sources and Additional Reading:

Friday, October 17, 2008

Adult ADHD is Real with Howie Mandel

I was born and raised in the Soviet Union. The kids’ responsibilities, as the future communists, were to study day-and-night. I was always a good student, patient and obedient, and all the teachers like me. But my best friend was completely the opposite. He was sharp, smart, and creative. But he simply could not sit still for 45 minutes, and he could not concentrate on the long and boring home works. Once a week, when he showed his journal with class grades to his dad, he usually got a fair portion of the belt beating. But still nothing could force him to overcome his “laziness” and become a good student.

Now, thirty years later, I know, that he simply could not do, what he was required. He definitely had ADHD as a kid. Unfortunately, the completely wrong educational program and household regular prosecutions did so much harm for his self-confidence, that he could not make it, committing suicide at the age of 17. If only everybody knew at this time, that he is not a “bad” boy, he might get a treatment and attitude, which would definitely save his dignity and his life.

Now, the child ADHD is widely accepted. There are treatments, techniques, and drugs to help the affected kid, and the combination of all the factors help living a normal life. But what about adults? Did you know that the Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is not limited by the certain age patients?

In the News:

Emmy nominated Howie Mandel, host of "Deal or No Deal," is raising awareness about Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) in adults through the national multimedia public service announcement campaign "Adult ADHD Is Real."

This campaign and its Web site,, have been developed by a coalition of groups dedicated to ADHD education and awareness and made possible by Shire, according to a press release. As an adult living with ADHD, Mandel has been tapped to encourage adults who think they may have ADHD to seek diagnosis and evaluation.

"When I was in high school, my impulsivity led me to all kinds of acts and pranks. I had trouble sitting still and could hardly focus or pay attention in class. It wasn’t until I was an adult that I was diagnosed with ADHD," Mandel said in the press release. "I’m involved in the Adult ADHD Is Real campaign because I want adults to know that it’s never too late to seek help for ADHD. I hope that sharing my story encourages people to seek help. I didn’t let ADHD prevent me from achieving my goals and neither should anyone else."

According to the press release, many people may think of ADHD as a childhood disorder, but up to 65 percent of children with the disorder may still exhibit symptoms into adulthood. In U.S. adults, aged 18 - 44, the disorder affects approximately 4.4 percent of this population based on results from the National Comorbidity Survey Replication, a nationally representative household survey, which used a lay-administered diagnostic interview to access a wide range of DSM-IV disorders.

The multimedia campaign features Mandel in television, radio, and print public service announcements.

Additional Reading:,0,3674554.story

Monday, October 13, 2008

UFO Prediction - October 14, 2008

Today is October 13, 2008. Actually, it is almost October 14, 2008 on the US West Coast. At most of the places in the World, the DAY October 14 already became a current date. What is so special about it? Why the search string october 14th ufo came to the tops of the Google Hot Trends? May be, it is nothing, or may be, it is a beginning of a new ERA.

On October 14th, 2008, hundreds of thousands of people around the world will train their eyes to the skies in the hopes of seeing whether or not Australian channeler Blossom Goodchild made good on her prediction: that a massive Extraterrestrial spacecraft and its occupants would visit planet Earth and allow their presence to be known internationally for a minimum of three days.


Goodchild went public with her message from The Federation of Light on August 22-nd of this year, in the form of a simple e-mail sent to 125 of her contacts. The announcement spread quickly (without her knowledge and help for the most part) via You Tube videos as well as blogs and web sites.

Since August, Blossom herself has appeared on several Internet Radio shows and with hosts such as; Mike Quinsey, Lia Ramses (Underworld), Captain Jack (Paranormal Radio), and others to help promote the message. The mainstream media of course, have chosen to leave the topic alone, save for a few local and regional outlets such as;, The Independent Online, The Clanton Advertiser, and

Many UFOlogists are quite skeptical on the possible appearance of a large UFO for three days. However, there is no point to argue yes or now, since the due date is around the corner. Wait and see. However, blog dedicated to the predicted UFO appearance claims that people should want the event to happen in order for to happen. Check their video presentation below:

About Blossom Goodchild:

Blossom Goodchild is a professional ‘direct voice’ channelling medium working with spirit and cosmic energies. She has been channelling the Native American Indian Spirit Energy ‘White Cloud’ for seven years now and shares his messages of Unconditional Love by means of personal readings and group meetings.

In addition to her spiritual work Blossom is also a wonderful actress, whose experience includes touring the UK in repertoires and musicals. Since immigrating to Australia in 2001 and settling in Noosa with her husband Goody and son Ritchie, she has firmly established herself as one of the finest actresses on the Sunshine Coast. Blossom has performed the one-woman show ‘Shirley Valentine’ as well as major roles in several David Williamson plays for the Noosa Long Weekend. She took on the challenging roles as the lead in ‘The Gingerbread Lady’ in which she was simply superb. She recently returned to the musical stage in Ian Mackellar’s ‘Now That’s Entertainment’
Additional Reading:

Friday, October 10, 2008

$50 Bonus from ShareBuilder

Do you trust your government to give you a sufficient retirement income for all the hard work you’ve done for the country? Neither I am. You need to take care of your retirement age personally as much as you can. I would not want to count on my kids, when I am old. I want to be financially independent up to the very moment to leave this world. It is easier building a safety retirement fund if you start your savings early in your life. I know, that you do not think in your 20s that you ever get to the old ages, and you have plenty options to burn your money for leisure and pleasure. But think about later just for the moment. It is maybe sad or unfair, but youth will not last forever.

There are multiple ways for the smart investments in the future, and it is good to diversify your efforts. I know, in the current economy status, it is hard to think about investments without disgust. But, somebody is making money even on the down market. Don’t jump in this train without precise investigation. If you do not trust your own personal opinion and insufficient experience, use the full-services broker to get professional advises. However, if yours initial investments funds are not substantial, and the thought of paying premium prices from brokerage advises does not look attractive, you can always use discount online brokers, who do not limit your initial investment funds, and who charges very little for every transaction.

I am using Scottrade for my modest account with their cost of transaction just $7. However, today top Google Searches brought on the surface another broker sharebuilder, looking even more attractive with their $4 transaction fees. I was checking this site couple of years ago, and I did not go for it as I did not find the solid financial backup for financial funds there. However, when company was acquired by the ING Direct unit of Netherlands-based ING Group (NYSE: ING) last November, it got the necessary credibility and assurance. I am personally using ING Direct for savings purposes, and I never had any problems with them.

Note, that Sharebuilder has numbers of features to protect your money. Many people are wary when it comes to using a credit card online, with all the rumors and threats on the credit card scams and frauds. Sharebuilder does not use a credit card for the funds transactions. Your account there is simply connected to your checking account, and it is easy for you transferring your funds back and forth whenever needed. There is a special validation at place to verify that you are the one making funds transactions.

Paying $4 transaction fee, you can afford buying stock in very small amounts, making your investment tactics very flexible. Sharebuilder lets you invest $10 at a time if you really want to. If you are a novice investor and do not feel comfortable choosing your own stocks, you can invest in common funds instead. With mutual funds, a fund manager chooses the stocks for you and, as an added bonus, you do not to pay any maintenance fees. You can settle upon from growth stock funds, bond funds, foreign funds, and other types of investment. You can trade manually, whenever you feel like that, or you can establish the automatic flexible investment schedule.

One more thing I really like in this option as you can keep money for investing in the account with no minimum balance requirements and you get a nice interest rate that is significantly higher than your bank offers.

It is almost end of the article, and I still did not mention what I meant by the attractive title, announcing $50 free bonus option. Sharebuilder is offering a $50 signup bonus. To qualify for this bonus, simply enter “CASH50” or “BONUS50” when prompted for your promo code and then make a trade before the end of November 2008. Within 4-6 weeks, they’ll deposit $50 in your account.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Rumors on In-N-Out: True or False?

Couple of days ago, I got the email from one of the all-know-about friends with the following text:

“In and Out will be celebrating 60th anniversary on 22nd of October which means 2 weeks later we will be able to buy hamburgers for 25 cents, Cheeseburgers 30 cents, Fries 15 cents, and drinks are 10 cents! You lucky Americans had better not forget to mark your calendars for in and out! 60th anniversary of in-n-out will be celebrated in all the stores! So where ever you go prices will be the same! You can eat in and out burgers till you vomit! Man you guys are really lucky, do not forget to wake up early since all the in-n-out stores will be crowded, and I think you better buy extra hamburgers to store them in deep freeze! Hamburgers for 25 cents!!! Yummy yummy!!! In-n-out rocks babe!” with the reference to the blog announcement source.

I deleted the email as I usually do with spam, because I am not a big fan of Fast Food, but today hot search for in and out burger 60th anniversary on Google Hot Trends draw my attention and reminded on the secret menu announcement. To make it short, I will just say that these rumors are not true, they are definitely a hoax and the case belongs to my other blog Best Hoaxes and Pranks. The rumors were so intense online, that In-n-out burgers had to put special announcement on their Web site: You may be aware of a rumor about our menu prices being lowered for our anniversary on October 22nd. This rumor is untrue. We’ve always tried to keep our prices as low as possible in order to give our customers the greatest value. One of the ways we accomplish this is by not discounting and our anniversary is no exception. We’re sorry if this rumor has caused any confusion.


With or without this promotion, undoubtedly, In-n-our Burgers is the best chain for Fast Food Burgers with the highest quality of food. To some Fast Food chains I will never go, even while starving from hunger, to some chains (as McDonald’s) I can go only in the case nothing more available in the neighborhood, but In-n-out is a kind of place that I have no problem with, so it is like a “father-and-son getaway place” to me. What makes them different? What draws lines to their restaurants, while their closest rivals are not so busy? Why their food has a higher quality?

A brief overview:

The first restaurant opened in Baldwin Park, California back in 1948, and is still going strong with locations in California, Arizona, Nevada, and Utah.

011752848 011752849

Visitors to the area marvel at the tasty burgers and fries that the little restaurants serve, and using the simple plan of giving the customers high-quality burgers, the company has remained a huge success. Specialty items on the menu aren’t visible, but rather exist in "secret" where everyone knows them, but they just don’t appear on the in-store menu. These items include things like there 3 x 3 or 4 x 4 which means 3 or 4 patties as well as 3 or 4 slices of cheese on one burger. I have been told that their web site does explain these extras, as well as a few other tantalizing options like the Flying Dutchman, but I could not find any reference to the mentioned menu items, and their Menu page is probably under construction.

Anyway, you can indeed order the secret menu items anytime, and there is a video proof that the 100 x 100 option is available as well. If you are really hungry.

The restaurants have been going strong for almost 60 years, and the estimated revenue of the company was at $216.8 million in 2007 according to the Company profile page. It goes without saying that this is a hugely successful company, and they do it by keeping both their employees and their customers happy. In fact, rather than hiring people at minimum wage, employees in California make a starting wage of $10.00 per hour, which is far better than any of the other fast food restaurants out there. Still privately owned, and proud of it, In-N-Out is one of those places that is so strong from word-of-mouth, that anyone who is a fan of hamburgers and traveling to California has to check it out.


It is not very common that Fast Food Restaurants inspiring poets to right about. But, with In-and-Out is not the case.

Oh In-N-Out Burger, how I love you so.
You fill my belly, you make it grow.
I eat your meat; your juicy tomato,
but to your onions, I must say "no".
A single, a double, a three by three,
I can get it any way, just for me.
Sans buns, animal style,
whatever it is, it makes me smile.
I would eat it in a box, I would eat it with a fox,
I would eat it in a house, I would eat it with a mouse.
I love your food, it fills me with glee
and I even laugh when your special sauce falls on me.
That’s not an innuendo if you must know,
this poem is from the heart, it’s not for show.
But one question I ask, one question if you will
why deny many your goodness; so many the thrill?
Found only on the west, the east is uninformed,
And their loss can only be mourned.
But I celebrate your burgers, I love them indeed,
for I eat them too much, too often with speed.
But now I must go, the poem must end,
for I have burgers to buy and money to spend.


Monday, October 6, 2008

Einstein fridge against Global Warming

Albert Einstein is probably most remembered by the public for his General Theory of Relativity, but how many remember his 1930 invention of a refrigerator that used no electricity? The idea was great, it operated without electricity, using ammonia, butane and water. The principle being that water boils at a much lower temperature at high altitudes where air pressure is lower than it does when you’re at sea level, where air pressure is higher.

Malcom McCulloch, an electrical engineer at Oxford University in the U.K., is leading a team in a three year project to produce appliances that can be used in places without electricity. That’s when McCulloch came to the point of rethinking the Einstein’s fridge idea again. The revival of interest to the old-time invention also brought the related search for Einstein refrigerator on the top of the Google Search trends today.

Modern fridges are notoriously damaging to the environment. They work by compressing and expanding man-made greenhouse gases called freons - far more damaging that carbon dioxide - and are being manufactured in increasing numbers. Sales of fridges around the world are rising as demand increases in developing countries.

Malcolm McCulloch’s team has completed a prototype of a type of fridge patented in 1930 by Einstein and his colleague, the Hungarian physicist Leo Szilard. It had no moving parts and used only pressurized gases to keep things cold. The design was partly used in the first domestic refrigerators, but the technology was abandoned when more efficient compressors became popular in the 1950s. That meant a switch to using freons.

Einstein and Szilard’s idea avoids the need for freons. It uses ammonia, butane and water and takes advantage of the fact that liquids boil at lower temperatures when the air pressure around them is lower. ’If you go to the top of Mount Everest, water boils at a much lower temperature than it does when you’re at sea level and that’s because the pressure is much lower up there,’ said McCulloch.

At one side is the evaporator, a flask that contains butane. ’If you introduce a new vapor above the butane, the liquid boiling temperature decreases and, as it boils off, it takes energy from the surroundings to do so,’ says McCulloch. ’That’s what makes it cold.’

For technically-savvy readers I am bringing the original patent for review.


Pressurized gas fridges based around Einstein’s design were replaced by freon-compressor fridges partly because Einstein and Szilard’s design was not very efficient. But McCulloch thinks that by tweaking the design and replacing the types of gases used it will be possible to quadruple the efficiency. He also wants to take the idea further. The only energy input needed into the fridge is to heat a pump, and McCulloch has been working on powering this with solar energy. ’No moving parts is a real benefit because it can carry on going without maintenance. This could have real applications in rural areas,’ he said.

McCulloch’s is not the only technology to improve the environmental credentials of fridges. Engineers working at a Cambridge-based start-up company, Camfridge, are using magnetic fields to cool things. ’Our fridge works, from a conceptual point of view, in a similar way [to gas compressor fridges] but instead of using a gas we use a magnetic field and a special metal alloy,’ said managing director Neil Wilson.

’When the magnetic field is next to the alloy, it’s like compressing the gas, and when the magnetic field leaves, it’s like expanding the gas.’ He added: ’This effect can be seen in rubber bands - when you stretch the band it gets hot, and when you let the band contract it gets cold.’

Doug Parr, chief scientist at Greenpeace UK, said creating greener fridges was hugely important. ’If you look at developing countries, if they’re aspiring to the lifestyles that we lead, they’re going to require more cooling - whether that’s air conditioning, food cooling or freezing. Putting in place the technologies that are both low greenhouse-gas refrigerants and low energy use is critical.’

McCulloch’s fridge is still in its early stages. ’It’s very much a prototype; this is nowhere near commercialized,’ he said. ’Give us another month and we’ll have it working.’

Sources and Additional Reading:

Friday, October 3, 2008

Urgently Looking for Bathroom?

How many times have you been out in the city and realized that you need to use a restroom, and... you need it badly. Even worse, when you kid needs to use a restroom, and you have no idea where you can find it in the unfamiliar neighborhood. You finally pull into a nearest gas station with joy only to discover that they don’t have public restrooms. Too much of the frustration…

The problem is real, and carrying the portable bathroom in the car does not sound as a best solution if you got to go. Due the problem worldwide importance, it came today to the top Google Searches list in the shape of mizpee approach. The award-winning MizPee service, developed by Yojo Mobile (, delivers a list of nearby toilets with their levels of cleanliness, when people enter their current location into their mobile browser. Facility details, including purchase requirements, diaper-changing amenities and handicap accessibility, are also provided. Users who have visited specific restrooms and experienced conditions first-hand can enter their reviews on the website.

MizPee meets the needs of urban women and men, mothers of young children; sufferers of Crohn’s or Colitis, or anyone else who needs to find a clean bathroom urgently.

Service operations are free, easy and straightforward. To access Mizpee on your mobile phone, go to from your mobile browser. Select your state and city from the pull-down menu, and MizPee will return a list of public toilets in your area. Each listing includes a rating of cleanliness, the distance from your location, business hours, and whether or not you’ll have to buy anything to use the bathroom. Through the MizPee mobile application, users can access the locations while on the go.


If your area is covered by MizPee Services, may be you do not need carrying portable toilet in your car anymore...