Human waste shuts down BART escalators

When work crews pulled open a broken BART escalator at San Francisco's Civic Center Station last month, they found so much human excrement in its works they had to call a hazardous-materials team.

While the sheer volume of human waste was surprising, its presence was not. Once the stations close, the bottom of BART station stairwells in downtown San Francisco are often a prime location for homeless people to camp for the night or find a private place to relieve themselves.

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Visualizing Photons in Motion at a Trillion Frames Per Second

Volumetric Propagation: The pulse of light is less than a millimeter long. Between each frame, the pulse travels less than half a millimeter. Light travels a foot in a nanosecond and the duration of travel through a one foot long bottle is barely one nanosecond (one billionth of a second).

TED talk.

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The Profound Programmer

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DNA Lounge: Wherein we make another sweep of Best of the Bay, and spread open some holes.

We are the best! So says SFBG's Best of the Bay readers' poll. DNA Lounge won Best Overall Party Venue (for the fifth year in a row!) as well as Best Bar Staff, along with our monthly parties Bootie: "Best Overall Dance Party"; Trannyshack: "Best Drag Show"; and Hubba Hubba Revue: "Best Burlesque Show"!

Congratulations and thank you to everyone who made these parties happen, and thanks to you for voting!

Meanwhile, back at the job site, this happened:

First they drilled holes in the wall and bolted a steel track to it; then they mounted the saw on that track and cut the concrete with a 24" diamond-tipped blade. It was incredibly loud.

They sawed the wall out in sections, then kicked the slabs over onto a pile of tires. Then they broke them up with jackhammers and carried the pieces out. It was very messy. They sprayed water on the drill while cutting to keep the dust down (turning it into a river of mud instead of a white cloud) but apparently not enough, because the dust got everywhere. Since we're open tonight, we had to bring in a cleaning crew this afternoon to spend many hours dusting the club from top to bottom -- like, taking down every bottle and wiping it off by hand. Good times.

Sadly, I have not yet been able to walk fully between the buildings, because so far one side or another has always been boxed off. I was hoping for one of those moments like when a tunnel-boring machine breaks through, and the two crews shake hands and drink champagne. Alas, it was not to be.

Here's a picture of some of the ancient square rebar inside our hundred-year-old walls, and here's a curiously intact slab of wall on its way out. Good day, wall. I SAID GOOD DAY.

I guess the opposite of "rebar" is "bar", and we've got the skeleton of one of those too:

There was a lot of plumbing work going on on the DNA Pizza ceiling to hook up this bar's drains and sinks, so between the pipe all over the floor, the guys on ladders with torches and the apocalyptic level of demolition noise, I'm surprised we had any customers at all! We still did, though. It didn't scare everybody away.


Pigs: Getting All Up In Their Business

Why don't we drink other animals' milk?

"The problem is that it's nearly impossible to milk pigs. When sows are lactating, they get very aggressive. They're not docile like cows. They're smart, skittish, suspicious, and paranoid. They do not like you to get up in their business."

Lee managed to accumulate a few jars' worth of pigs' milk, from which he made half a cup of pig ricotta that he says was delicious. Getting even such a small amount of milk required jackal-like derring-do: Lee crept up on the sows while they were sleeping, frantically pinched at their tiny nipples, then ran away when they woke up and started to freak out.


This explains everything.

Christopher Conte:

Previously, previously.

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Dear Lazyweb, anyone got some sample code for talking to iTunes 10 through DAAP?

I tried to use Net::DAAP::Client but it Does Not Go.

(It seems that the search results for this question are poisoned with a billion answers that stopped working around iTunes 4.)

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DNA Lounge: Wherein the site gets a redesign.

I have inflicted a pretty major redesign upon the DNA Lounge web site. What do you think? Let me know how it works for you.

Cornea transplant eyeball stitches!

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Artificial jellyfish built from rat cells

"Morphologically, we've built a jellyfish. Functionally, we've built a jellyfish. Genetically, this thing is a rat."

Bioengineers have made an artificial jellyfish using silicone and muscle cells from a rat's heart. The synthetic creature, dubbed a medusoid, looks like a flower with eight petals. When placed in an electric field, it pulses and swims exactly like its living counterpart.

"I grabbed him and said, `John, I think I can build a jellyfish.' He didn't know who I was, but I was pretty excited and waving my arms, and I think he was afraid to say no."

Nawroth created a structure with the same properties by growing a single layer of rat heart muscle on a patterned sheet of polydimethylsiloxane. When an electric field is applied across the structure, the muscle contracts rapidly, compressing the medusoid and mimicking a jellyfish's power stroke. The elastic silicone then pulls the medusoid back to its original flat shape, ready for the next stroke.

Parker says his team is taking synthetic biology to a new level. "Usually when we talk about synthetic life forms, somebody will take a living cell and put new genes in. We built an animal. It's not just about genes, but about morphology and function."

They also hope to reverse-engineer other marine life forms, says Parker. "We've got a whole tank of stuff in there, and an octopus on order."

Previously, previously, previously.

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Current Music: Rasputina -- Rats ♬

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