Monday, June 27, 2011 Like MacArthur, I Have Returned

Except I don't have a bitchin' corncob pipe.

I cannot go into detail regarding the reason for my absence. I can, however, deny the rumors that I am actually a Syrian lesbian college student only pretending to be a white middle-aged male blogger.

Monday, June 13, 2011 You Light Up My Life - From the Inside

Suddenly, Cyclops is no longer the least plausible X-Man. From BBC News:
Laser is produced by a living cell
By Jason Palmer
12 June 2011 Last updated at 20:42 ET

A single living cell has been coaxed into producing laser light, researchers report in Nature Photonics.

The technique starts by engineering a cell that can produce a light-emitting protein that was first obtained from glowing jellyfish.

Flooding the resulting cells with weak blue light causes them to emit directed, green laser light.

The work may have applications in improved microscope imaging and light-based therapies.

Laser light differs from normal light in that it is of a narrow band of colours, with the light waves all oscillating together in synchrony.

Most modern forms use carefully engineered solid materials to produce lasers in everything from supermarket scanners to DVD players to industrial robots.

The new work, by Malte Gather and Seok Hyun Yun at the Wellman Center for Photomedicine at Massachusetts General Hospital in the US, marks the first time the phenomenon has been seen in a living system.

The pair used green fluorescent protein (GFP) as the laser's "gain medium", where light amplification takes place.

GFP is a well-studied molecule, first isolated from jellyfish, that has revolutionised biology by acting as a custom-made "torch" that can light up living systems on command.

In the new work, cells derived from human kidney cells were genetically engineered to produce GFP.

The cells were then placed one at a time between two tiny mirrors, just 20 millionths of a metre across, which acted as the "laser cavity" in which light could bounce many times through the cell.

Upon bathing the cell with blue light, it could be seen to emit directed and intense green laser light.

The cells remained alive throughout and after the process. The authors note in an accompanying interview in the journal that the living system is a "self-healing" laser; if the light-emitting proteins are destroyed in the process, the cell will simply produce more.

"In cellular sensing, we may be able to detect intracellular processes with unprecedented sensitivity," they said.

"For light-based therapeutics, diagnosis and imaging, people think about how to deliver emission from an external laser source deep into tissue. Now we can approach this problem in another way: by amplifying light in the tissue (itself)."
Lab rats with laser eyes are not too far off, so start upgrading your lair's defenses now.

Sunday, June 12, 2011 Carry-On Thuggage

Yet another real-life supervillian with underwhelming powers! Originally heard on Wait, Wait Don't Tell Me, print story from Time:
Spain: Contortionist Thief Hid in Suitcase

Thursday, June 09, 2011

(MADRID) — A man was arrested in Spain after curling himself up inside a large suitcase that was placed in an airport bus cargo bay and sneaking out to steal from other people's luggage, police said Thursday.

The man arrested last week was 5'10" (1.78 meters) tall and very thin, a police official in the northeastern Catalonia region said. An accomplice was also arrested.

The suspects were successful on several occasions before being caught, the police official said on condition of anonymity because of department rules. The accomplice would place the contortionist thief inside the cargo bay of a bus running from the airport in the city of Girona south to Barcelona, board the bus and then retrieve him at the end of the line.

During the 60-mile (100-kilometer) ride, the man would slip out of the suitcase and use a sharp object to pick locks or open zippers to get into other people's luggage.

Police were alerted by bus riders who reported items stolen from their baggage.

Such a lot of trouble for petty larceny. That Gingold addiction must be a bitch.

"Casual Fridays" My Iron Ass!

All over the place, but MicGadget has all sorts of cool pics:
ZTE Employee Builds Ultra-realistic Homemade Iron Man Suit
By Chris Chang
Posted Jun 10, 2011 at 8:39 AM

We can’t believe this. A super smart Chinese man from Chinese telecommunications equipment maker ZTE spent 3,000 yuan (about $460) and 3 months time to built an ultra-realistic Iron Man suit. Wearing the super cool armor, Wang stuns his office colleagues in the ZTE campus in Shanghai. Video after the jump, and his unbelievable diary of making the suit.

The 25-year-old creator, Wang XiaoKang, became a big fan of Iron Man since the release of Iron Man movie in 2008, and he was inspired to build the awesome gadgets — the Iron Man helmet, arc reactor and repulsor arm. He started from searching information from Google (not Baidu), and he found a forum which talks about props. Then, he went searching for behind-the-scenes of the Iron Man movie, and watched the Blu-ray version everyday. And finally, he came out with this.

Wang has no experience on DIY at all, and he only has basic tools at home, such as pliers, tapes, scissors, and two tin boxes from IKEA. And Wang somehow worked it out with those basic tools, of course, he purchased other materials and LED bulbs to complete the project. And in 2010, Wang improved the mask, and built a repulsor arm. He wanted to be Iron Man.

Wang drew sketches, and spent most of his time in his workshop.


Previously, we have seen a Chinese netizen making an arc reactor knockoff, but there’s no suit at all. So, this Mark I suit weighs 110 pounds and cost 3,000 yuan ($460) to make. All the LEDs and the motors that drive the arc reactor and the fan have their own batteries hidden within the suit’s large frame. Well, Wang’s take on the movie’s Iron Man Mark I suit could easily frighten a supervillain. And this is not the end. Wang is now planning to get back to his Mark III project!

Clearly, this guy needs to team up with Troy Hurtubise - and fight crime!

Saturday, June 11, 2011 A Wake-Up Call for Leicester

Because if you're ready for zombies, you're ready for anything! From Ye Olde BBC:
Leicester City Council 'not ready' for zombie attack
10 June 2011 Last updated at 03:51 ET

A worried member of the public has forced Leicester City Council to admit it is unprepared for a zombie invasion.

The authority received a Freedom of Information request which said provisions to deal with an attack, often seen in horror films, were poor.

The "concerned citizen" said the possibility of such an event was one that councils should be aware of.

"We've had a few wacky ones before but this one did make us laugh," said Lynn Wyeth, head of information governance.

The Freedom of Information Act allows a right of access to recorded information held by public authorities.

Ms Wyeth said she was unaware of any specific reference to a zombie attack in the council's emergency plan, however some elements of it could be applied if the situation arose.

Other submissions to the council have included requests for records of paranormal activity and haunted buildings within the city.

"To you it might seem frivolous and a waste of time... but to different people it actually means something," said Ms Wyeth.

"Everybody has their own interests and their own reasons for asking these questions."

She added high-profile cases, such as the MPs expenses scandal, has raised public awareness of the right to request information records.

Ed Thurlow, who runs zombie website Terror4Fun, said he felt a zombie invasion in Leicester was highly unlikely.

"I think perhaps [the "Concerned Citizen"] has watched films like 28 Days Later a few too many times."

Oh, sure. It's all a big joke. Until the ravenous hordes of the undead are chewing on your femur.

Look, if the US Government can admit this is a real threat, so can Leicester!

Thursday, June 9, 2011 Zombie Justice Part Deux

If they were after brains, they sure were in the wrong place. From the Wisconsin Rapids-Tribune:
12 'zombies' arrested in protest at Wisconsin legislator's office
12:09 AM, Jun. 9, 2011

MADISON — Police arrested a dozen silent protesters who were wearing zombie makeup and refused to leave a state lawmaker's office.

The sit-in demonstration happened Wednesday afternoon in the Capitol offices of Rep. Robin Vos, the Republican co-chair of the Legislature's budget-writing committee.

Vos' communications director, Kit Beyer, said police carried out the demonstrators "one by one" after the group had spent about half an hour in the offices. Beyer says Vos was not in the office at the time of the protest.

Capitol Police say 10 were cited for disorderly conduct, one was booked and released, and one was required to post $263.50 because he was from out of state.

$263! I had no idea zombies carried that much loot on them! Stupid me, I never went through the pockets after shooting 'em in the head!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011 Highlander vs. the Canucks

Remember that "immortal" doesn't mean "taser-proof". Via CBC News:
Sword-wielding man subdued by Vancouver police
May 30, 2011 2:39 PM PT

Police used rubber bullets and a Taser to try to take down a sword-wielding man in downtown Vancouver near the busy intersection of Burrard Street and Georgia Street on Monday.

The man was hit by several of the bullets fired by Vancouver police officers as they tried to subdue him after he had been waving the sword on a downtown street and while on the city's public transit system, said police spokesman Const. Lindsey Houghton.

The rubber bullets — fired from an Arwen gun usually deployed in riot control — and a shot from a Taser stun-gun failed to take the man down, and he was then tackled to the ground by several officers, Houghton said.

The man was taken into custody and appeared to have suffered no serious injuries.

Houghton said SkyTrain passengers reported the man to police at about 1:30 p.m. PT when he started repeatedly unsheathing the sword while on a train at the Metrotown station.

Police confronted the man outside the Burrard SkyTrain station at about 2 p.m. PT.

The man is facing possible weapons-related charges and officers will be requesting the courts consider a psychological examination, Houghton said.

Video at the link!