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Archive for 'Boys Will Be Boys'

Deep Learning to Help People Know Your Shit

Monday, April 6th, 2020

A new, distinct form of backend processing— a very distant relative of potty training, for computers—is presented in this new study:

A mountable toilet system for personalized health monitoring via the analysis of excreta,” Seung-min Park, Daeyoun D. Won, Brian J. Lee, Diego Escobedo, Andre Esteva, Amin Aalipour, T. Jessie Ge, Jung Ha Kim, Susie Suh, Elliot H. Choi, Alexander X. Lozano, Chengyang Yao, Sunil Bodapati, Friso B. Achterberg, Jeesu Kim, Hwan Park, Youngjae Choi, Woo Jin Kim, Jung Ho Yu, Alexander M. Bhatt, Jong Kyun Lee, Ryan Spitler, Shan X. Wang, and Sanjiv S. Gambhir, Nature Biomedical Engineering, 2020. (Thanks to Abhishek Nagaraj for bringing this to our attention.)

The authors, at institutions in the USA, South Korea, Canada, and The Netherlands, explain:

Here, we describe easily deployable hardware and software for the long-term analysis of a user’s excreta through data collection and models of human health. The ‘smart’ toilet, which is self-contained and operates autonomously by leveraging pressure and motion sensors, analyses the user’s urine using a standard-of-care colorimetric assay that traces red–green–blue values from images of urinalysis strips, calculates the flow rate and volume of urine using computer vision as a uroflowmeter, and classifies stool according to the Bristol stool form scale using deep learning, with performance that is comparable to the performance of trained medical personnel. Each user of the toilet is identified through their fingerprint and the distinctive features of their anoderm, and the data are securely stored and analysed in an encrypted cloud server.

Mentos + Cola at Various Altitudes

Tuesday, March 31st, 2020

The mentos/cola experiment has reached new heights. Details are in the study:

Probing the Mechanism of Bubble Nucleation in and the Effect of Atmospheric Pressure on the Candy–Cola Soda Geyser,” Thomas S. Kuntzleman and Ryan Johnson, Journal of Chemical Education, epub 2020. The authors, at Spring Arbor University and at Doherty High School, Colorado Springs, Colorado, report:

The so-called Diet Coke and Mentos experiment is initiated by dropping Mentos candies into a bottle of Diet Coke or other carbonated beverage. This causes the beverage to rapidly degas, causing foam to stream out of the bottle. Simple application of the gas laws leads to the straightforward prediction that ejection of greater foam volume is expected at lower atmospheric pressure. This hypothesis is bolstered when principles of bubble physics are taken into account. This hypothesis was tested and confirmed by monitoring the foam produced during the Diet Coke and Mentos experiment at various altitudes above sea level.

Author Tom Kuntzleman sent us this lovely note:

Ryan Johnson and I recently examined the effect of altitude (and therefore atmospheric pressure) on the Diet Coke and Mentos experiment. To do so, we carried out the experiment in many places around the US at altitudes that ranged from below sea level in Death Valley to over 14,000 feet at the top of Pikes Peak. We had an absolute blast.

For my father’s day present in 2019, my family gave me permission to carry out Coke and Mentos experiments at various locations (elevations) as we traveled through Arizona, California, Nevada, and Utah for summer vacation.


Monday, March 30th, 2020

Science advances two nostrils at a time. Or moves in some other direction. The Guardian reports, on March 30, 2020:

An Australian astrophysicist has been admitted to hospital after getting four magnets stuck up his nose in an attempt to invent a device that stops people touching their faces during the coronavirus outbreak.

Dr Daniel Reardon, a research fellow at a Melbourne university, was building a necklace that sounds an alarm on facial contact, when the mishap occurred on Thursday night.

The 27 year-old astrophysicist, who studies pulsars and gravitational waves, said he was trying to liven up the boredom of self-isolation with the four powerful neodymium magnets.

Troy and the Grizzly Bear

Sunday, March 29th, 2020

Anyone seeking distraction can find it in this documentary video, “Project Grizzly.” See Troy Hurtubise in his self-mythic quest to personally build and test a suit of armor that he hopes will let him spend time with grizzly bears. Troy was awarded the Ig Nobel Prize for safety engineering, in 1998, for the work documented here.

Dinner Lecture: Parasitology Club Fecal Lecture and Lab

Wednesday, March 4th, 2020

Today’s Dinner Lecture of the Day is the “Parasitology Club Fecal Lecture and Lab” at Cornell University, at which “Dr. Araceli Lucio-Forster will give a dinner lecture on the principles of veterinary fecal examinations which will be followed by a practical lab in which students will have the opportunity to perform fecals on their pet’s feces”:

(Thanks to Norm Trigoboff for bringing this to our attention.)

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