Archive for the ‘Science & Technology’ Category

The Berlin Heart

On July 29th Tiana Tillman, infant daughter of Chicago Bears cornerback Charles “Peanut” Tillman, became the first person in the state of Illinois to receive a device called the Berlin Heart. According to this article, the device is a small pump controlled by a laptop that allows more time for patients in need of a transplant. It has not yet been approved by the FDA. Tiana Tillman, who suffered from cardiomyopathy, received a transplant and was released from the hospital earlier this week. Today Charles Tillman held a press conference to raise awareness of the Berlin Heart, and to encourage organ donation.

I just thought it was a nice story.

"The internet is a series of tubes" guy gets indicted

This is not a Chicago thing, but it is an internet thing (of which we are a part, except for that creepy guy in the back…he needs to leave).

Alaska Senator Ted Stevens has been indicted for failing to report income. All of us on teh internets know and love Senator Stevens for his depiction of the internet back in 2006:

Ten movies streaming across that, that Internet, and what happens to your own personal Internet? I just the other day got… an Internet was sent by my staff at 10 o’clock in the morning on Friday, I got it yesterday [Tuesday]. Why? Because it got tangled up with all these things going on the Internet commercially.

[…] They want to deliver vast amounts of information over the Internet. And again, the Internet is not something that you just dump something on. It’s not a big truck. It’s a series of tubes. And if you don’t understand, those tubes can be filled and if they are filled, when you put your message in, it gets in line and it’s going to be delayed by anyone that puts into that tube enormous amounts of material, enormous amounts of material

We all know that the internet is not a series of tubes, but, rather, a series of funny cat pictures with misspelled text. And the internet might not be a dump truck, but the Steven’s house sure is:

Prosecutors say Mr. Stevens, who referred to his home as “the chalet,” accepted goods and services worth hundreds of thousands of dollars, ranging from an outdoor grill to extensive home remodeling and architectural advice. Not only did Mr. Stevens fail to report the items on his Senate financial disclosure form, as required, but he took active steps to conceal the receipt of the goods and services, the indictment says.

I’m guessing that Senator Stevens then hid the receipts in a series of tubes in his back yard.

ZING! I’ll take my net neutrality with a side of schadenfreude please.

iPhone line

[youtube] r3fIbxdumgU[/youtube]

At 9:10 am, the line at the downtown Apple Store was literally two blocks long. It might have longer if it hadn’t been raining all night.


[youtube] E32Ll3Tga2Y[/youtube]All hail the hail. (This is summer, right? Just checking.)


So, it’s Sunday morning and I’m watching X-Play on G4, because my wife is something of a video game nerd and I am a guy who thinks they are cool and wishes he was good at them. And they mention something I was unaware of before, but now that I know about it I want to pass it on: is, first of all, a great source for information about recycling your old electronic equipment. Just type in your ZIP code, select the type of thing you would like to recycle — anything from batteries, printer cartridges and floppy disks to old computers and game consoles — and get a list of locations in and around the city that will take your crap off your hands. I was surprised to learn that most area Staples and Best Buys will take most of this stuff, but even the Lincoln Park Zoo has a use for some of it. Each location has its own list of items they will accept.

The other reason to check out is because it is one of the coolest websites ever. You gotta check it out. It’s just plain fun to poke around on this thing.

I’ve always wondered what to do with this stuff. I’ve got old cell phones taking up drawer space that I just couldn’t bring myself to throw in the trash.

Hot Chicks at Chicago’s Museum of Science and Industry

PhotobucketMy first visit to Chicago’s Museum of Science and Industry was as a fifth grader on class trip from my hometown in Indiana, and I’ve been in love with the place ever since. I recently revisited the museum and, despite the disappointing absence of the Dippin’ Dots kiosk, I had a pretty marvelous afternoon. What’s not to love?

They have the only Nazi U-Boat captured by the United States, the U-505. It’s a mammoth, awe-inspiring piece of metal, and the exhibit surrounding the ship draws you deeper and deeper (literally and figuratively) into the fascinating story of how the nabbing of the U-505 meant turning the tide on Germany’s technological advantages, and ultimately, the war itself. Also, one marvels that men can endure a terrifyingly tiny living space with sweaty unshowered men and the lingering odor of sauerkraut for long periods of time without going bananas on each other. Or should I say bananen?

Then there’s the Henry Crown Space Center, where my companion and I nibbled on the cosmic deliciousness of freeze dried ice cream sandwiches, the favorite of astronauts and cosmonauts alike. (Wait, cosmonauts are still around, right?) And don’t leave the museum without taking your turn on the shuttle simulators that allow you to heroically land a spacecraft with your cool nerves and steady hand, or, like me, make three attempts to grab space cargo with a giant robotic arm and instead push it helplessly tumbling out into space every single time.

And finally, as my photo choice suggests, my favorite exhibit, the Genetics and the Baby Chick Hatchery, where you can walk through a huge 3-D model of a human genome and peruse other features I sped through to get to the cute part: the tremulously hatching eggs and resultant little yellow fuzzy-butted chicks running around squeeching at each other and napping together in adorable little clusters. But please don’t scoff — there is a lot of hard science behind cute, and I’ll be happy to explain it to you as soon as I finish chapter three of my latest Hello Kitty fanfic.

Photo by Bryan Bowden.

Beet It.

I’d heard about cities in Ohio experimenting with beet juice for ice/snow removal on roadways, but I didn’t know that Chicago was doing it, too.

Sounds pretty good to me, although that business about the laser mounted poles does frighten me a bit…


Snowing on the first day of spring.OK, I know that March 20 is just the equinox and even if it’s the “official” first day of spring that the weather isn’t going to get magically warmer on that day. And I know that Chicago often has snow into April (once as late as May 11). But still. C’mon!CC-licensed photo by Chris Foresman/Additive Theory

Evolutionary Excrement

Evolving Planet at the Field Museum

I won’t be sending this post to any of my friends, because once they find out that I’m blathering on about the Field Museum’s Evolving Planet exhibit yet again…well, it won’t be pretty. I guess you could say I’m a little obsessed with it, but trust me, I have good reason. I mean, where else could one traipse from the Precambrian to the present in under two hours, taking in such dazzling wonders as authentic Wooly Mammoth turds and suggestive fertility sculptures?
And if you’re in similarly dire financial straits, don’t forget to pick up a Museum Passport from your local library and kiss that pesky admission fee goodbye.

[Photo courtesy of Luke Schierholz.]

Hawk in the city

I’m feeding my friends’ cats, and as I was leaving their place this morning, I glanced out the window to look at the top of the awning next door (I have an affection for an upside-down plastic alligator that’s been there for 2 years) and there was a hawk sitting there, with a torn up pigeon in its claws. Because of the arrangement of the buildings, it was about 8 feet away from me. I tried to get my camera out, but I guess the movement spooked it, so it flew away. I went outside and I could see the hawk up in a tree in the backyard:

Terms of use | Privacy Policy | Content: Creative Commons | Site and Design © 2009 | Metroblogging ® and Metblogs ® are registered trademarks of Bode Media, Inc.