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Learn the art of hand-pulling noodles by two masters

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Here where I live in Alameda, California, there's a Chinese restaurant where they hand-pull noodles behind a window in the back of the room. The atmosphere at Ark feels dated but the food's pretty good and watching the guy swinging around noodle dough makes it worth the trip. However, there's no opportunity to talk to the noodle maker and learn his story.

So, I was thrilled to see this Tasty video show up today. It gives insight on the artistry of hand-pulling noodles by two noodle masters, Peter Song of Kung Fu Kitchen in New York City and Shuichi Kotani, the CEO of Worldwide-Soba. Come for their stories but stay for the awesome footage of two pros making noodles dance (or vice versa).

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bluebec
6 hours ago
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Melbourne
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Scientists taught a spider to jump on command

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It's not hard to teach a dog to do tricks, and sometimes even a cat. But spiders? Well, it's not easy, but scientists at the University of Manchester managed to train a spider to jump on command from one platform to another.

They wanted to study the mechanics of a jumping spider to help engineers develop micro-robots, but filming a random jumping spider in action would be a grueling task. So they set out to train one. It took a lot of patience. The first few spiders they tried to work with had no interest and simply walked away from the platforms. Some of the other spiders froze up, dumbfounded at what the scientists were trying to make them do.

Finally they came across Kim, a female Regal Jumping Spider, who was willing to learn, and after a few weeks she was a trained jumper, "allowing scientists to record, monitor and analyse a spider’s movement in high-resolution 3D for the very first time," according to The Telegraph.

The aim of the study was to understand how jumping spiders modify their speed and trajectory when jumping long or short distances or leaping upwards.

A jumping spider can leap up to six times its body length from a standing start. The best a human can achieve is about 1.5 body lengths.

The researchers were anxious not to skew Kim’s behaviour by tempting her to the other platform with food, as they would only have seen a predatory jump rather than recording the full range of her abilities.

Instead, over several weeks they placed Kim backwards and forwards between the ledges until she finally got the idea of jumping between them.

Kim has since died – jumping spiders only live up to a year – but below is a video by the University of Manchester showing their work with Kim. And here's a paper about it published today Scientific Reports.

https://youtu.be/C6PAClh1IZo

Image: University of Manchester

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bluebec
3 days ago
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Tomato plants can detect an imminent animal attack

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Tomato plants can detect the telltale sign of nearby snails -- slime -- and release an enzyme that deters those and other pests before they even touch the leaves, according to new research. The defense mechanism also keeps caterpillars from munching on the plants. From Scientific American:

“None of the plants were ever actually attacked,” says University of Wisconsin-Madison ecologist John Orrock. “We just gave them cues that suggested an attack was coming, and that was enough to trigger big changes in their chemistry...”

The research was comprehensive, (adds UC Davis plant communications expert Richard Karban who was not involved in the study), but he wonders how the tomato plants detected chemicals in snail slime that never actually touched them.

“That's the million-dollar question,” Orrock says. He hopes future research will tease out the mechanisms that enable plants to perceive these relatively distant cues.

“That's the million-dollar question,” Orrock says. He hopes future research will tease out the mechanisms that enable plants to perceive these relatively distant cues.

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bluebec
3 days ago
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Cartoonist Lucy Bellwood captures the ways inner demons sabotage in her latest comic book

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If there's anyone out there who's never felt like an imposter, or suffered from FOMO (fear of missing out), or struggled with self doubt, I sure would like to meet them.

Yet, just because these are common human experiences, it doesn't make it any easier to deal with when they happen to you. (Can I get an a-men?!)

In 2017, for the 100 Day Project, Portland-based cartoonist Lucy Bellwood penned her own demon in a series of 100 comics. Those illustrations have now become a book titled 100 Demon Dialogues.

In the forward she writes, "Back in 2012, entering my first year as a full-time freelance cartoonist, I hit an art rut. Trying to shake things up, I doodled a picture of a tiny, taunting inner imp who apparently believed I’d never make anything of myself."

"He cropped up time and time again over the next five years — when things were going well and I was worried I’d lose everything, or when things were going poorly and I thought it’d never get any better. Each comic I drew about him brought a little more humor or clarity to our relationship, but I still felt like I was at his mercy," she continues.

"Then, in April of 2017 I set out to complete my second 100 Day Project, a themed challenge in which participants do something creative every day for 100 days. Spanning just over three months, it seemed like the perfect chance to really dig into what was going on with this little jerk and get a handle on how to banish him for good."

Her project resonated with people of all walks of life. Here's a taste:

100 Demon Dialogues goes on sale June 19 but is available to pre-order now for $14.99 (paperback) or $7.99 (Kindle). Portlanders can meet Bellwood at the book's release party on June 4 at Ford Food & Drink.

In addition to the book, she's got some cool demon-themed schwag and prints including this plushie for $25. I suggest making poking it with pins like a voodoo doll when self doubt starts creeping in.

Previously: Sailor tattoos decoded and Comic about three weeks on an oceanographic research vessel

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bluebec
3 days ago
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Native American tribes vie for control of ancient remains found in Idaho's high desert plains

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Some mysteries don't need to be solved. They need to be laid to rest.

In spring of 2017, an Idaho Department of Fish and Game employee was going about his 'do you have a license to hunt that thing' duties,  in the wilds outside the city of Mountain Home, Idaho. As he kicked through the grass and dust of the high desert plains, he came upon partially buried human skeletal remains. The Fish and Game employee called in the cops, who in turn, cordoned off the area around the find as a crime scene. The condition of the bones was such that they could have been the remains of a double homicide that'd taken place in recent decades, or old enough to belong to settlers who would have been passing through the area as far back as the 19th century, as part of their trek down the Oregon Trail.

Five days after the bones were discovered, the police returned to where the bones had been discovered. They brought archaeologists with them to assist in the delicate task of extracting the remains from the earth and, since they were there, help look for any other remains that might be hanging around the area.

They found more.

There was no way to identify the bones as belonging to one society or another--not a single cultural artifact was found in the area. With no clues as to who the bones may have belonged to, the cops had the bones shipped off to a lab for carbon dating. A couple of decades old or maybe dating back to the 19th century? Man were they off the mark. By carbon dating the remains, it was discovered that the bones they'd uncovered belonged to two people--a young adult and a child--who lived at some point between the 1400s and 1600s. Bullshit, cried the investigators! Run the test again! At a different lab!

So they did.

Similar results were returned. With the data that had been procured, they were able to narrow down the dates that the pair had been alive even further: between 1436 and 1522. During that time, the only people who would have been in that part of Idaho, that anyone knows of, would have been the natives of the region. With this being the case the remains were handed over to the U.S Bureau of Land Management, who in turn, are supposed to provide the remains to a Native American tribe in the area where the find was made as per the Native American Graves Protection Act.

According to the Associated Press, anthropologists were kind of pissed off at the situation:

The tribes don’t let researchers conduct tests on remains of ancestors and anthropologists say the unique nature of the find means that experts are losing an opportunity to learn more about how Native Americans lived in a place where the first documented visit by outsiders was in 1805... evidence of how the two had lived might have been found by trained experts if the area had also been treated from the onset as a possible anthropological site. There are fewer than a dozen known Native American burial sites on the Snake River Plain, and this site was unique because none of the other sites have had the remains of more than one person.

Tough shit. If someone dug up my great, great grandfather's bones and wanted to keep poking at them instead of letting me bury them with respect, I'd likely say 'nah,' too.

Without there being any cultural artifacts to point at who the remains of the individuals found may have been during their lives, the Bureau of Land Management  opted to let Native American tribes traditionally associated with the area where the bones were found, to petition for the right to take possession of them. Three different tribes--Shoshone-Bannock Tribes, Nez Perce Tribe and the Shoshone-Paiute Tribes--expressed interest in repatriating the remains.

Over a year after the remains were initially stumbled upon, the Bureau of Land Management decided that the bones were to be shared by the inter-related Shoshone-Bannock and Shoshone-Paiute Tribes, and should be handed over to them this summer... provided no other tribes in the area decide to make their own claim to the remains. If anyone else does want to throw their hats in the ring, they have until June 28 to do so. In the meantime, the remains, are being stored in a secure federal facility.

Image via Wikipedia

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bluebec
3 days ago
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If you watch one cat video this year, let it be this one

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Watch this while you can. Run.

Thanks, Doug!

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bluebec
7 days ago
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Melbourne
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