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Anti-Date Rape Straw

"The straw can currently detect the two most common drugs being used, ketamine and gamma-hydroxybutyric acid, of GHB. Patolsky and Ioffe are working on adding more drug detection abilities, including rohypnol, aka ruffies.

The idea is that women will carry the straw with them when they go out, and they can reuse the straw as many times as they like until the straw encounters the presence of any date rape drugs. If the straw detects any drug in the drink, a chemical reaction will be created and the straw will change colour, depending on the drug."


'FiveThirtyEight’s mission is to help New York Times readers cut through the clutter of this data-rich world. The blog is devoted to rigorous analysis of politics, polling, public affairs, sports, science and culture, largely through statistical means. In addition, FiveThirtyEight provides forecasts of upcoming presidential, Congressional and gubernatorial elections through the use of its proprietary prediction models.

FiveThirtyEight was founded by Nate Silver in March 2008, and was licensed by The Times in August 2010. It is produced in conjunction with The Times’s graphic and interactive journalists and its team of political editors, correspondents and polling experts.'

José Andrés, sobre España y la cocina creativa

“Tenemos que formar a centenares de americanos para que elaboren platos españoles. Así conseguiremos vender nuestros productos, como hacen los italianos. Solo en “The Bazaar” en Los Ángeles compramos al año 750.000 euros en productos españoles. No te olvides que en cada uno de mis restaurantes recibimos a 800 /1000 personas diarias.

Tampoco estoy de acuerdo con los cursos de promoción del ICEX. No están bien orientados. Invitamos a cocineros extranjeros a aprender gratis junto a cocineros españoles. Y cuando regresan a sus países no dicen dónde han aprendido. Ni siquiera compran nuestros productos. El que quiera aprender cocina creativa que se lo pague de su bolsillo."

Via El Pais:

Mitt Romney, ese (presunto) traidor a la causa.

By Roger Senserrich, via Politikon.

"Hace unos años, cuando Mitt Romney dejó el cargo de gobernador de Massachusetts, el estado encargó su retrato oficial. Como todo político que se precie, Romney decidió posar con gesto adusto, de líder decidido, acompañado de algo que simbolizara sus logros en el cargo. La imagen lo dice todo:


¿Veis ese libro a la derecha de la imagen, junto a la foto de su mujer? Es la ley de reforma de la sanidad de Massachusetts, o “Romneycare”, el primer sistema de sanidad universal de Estados Unidos. Una ley bien diseñada, conservadora y elegante. Tan buena, de hecho, que Obama copió el modelo descaradamente para la Affordable Care Act. En un país normal Mitt Romney estaría orgulloso de esta reforma pionera, proclamando a los vientos su gran logro. Pero claro, hablamos del partido republicano y Estados Unidos.


"With Duolingo you learn a language for free while helping to translate the web". And it works fairly well.

On long term solitary confinement

On the days of flying backpacks, self lacing shoes and music you can touch, some things never change.

'Human beings are social creatures. We are social not just in the trivial sense that we like company, and not just in the obvious sense that we each depend on others. We are social in a more elemental way: simply to exist as a normal human being requires interaction with other people.


Among our most benign experiments are those with people who voluntarily isolate themselves for extended periods. Long-distance solo sailors, for instance, commit themselves to months at sea. They face all manner of physical terrors: thrashing storms, fifty-foot waves, leaks, illness. Yet, for many, the single most overwhelming difficulty they report is the “soul-destroying loneliness,” as one sailor called it. Astronauts have to be screened for their ability to tolerate long stretches in tightly confined isolation, and they come to depend on radio and video communications for social contact.'

Full text, by Atul Gawande:

The truth

Food for thought.

Aerial grasping and manipulation

"We are developing a robot helicopter integrated with a gripper, able to directly grasp and transport objects. The proof-of-concept system opens the door to future sophisticated aerial manipulation capabilities. This task is very challenging due to the need to precisely position the aircraft over the target object to grasp with a rigid gripper, the inherent instability of helicopters and the presence of aerodynamic disturbances." Pretty cool.

By The Grab Lab at Yale.

The BCG matrix

While studying marketing II, I came across this version of the BCG matrix and I thought it was kind of cute.

Via Krikor.

Patent free zones

'Vivek Wadhwa has an interesting post at TechCrunch, pointing out that much of the world beyond the US, Europe and BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India, China) are effectively a patent free zone. Even if many of these places do have patent laws, very few companies find it worth the trouble to file for patents in those places -- and, technically, that means that anyone producing products in those areas can legally copy from the patents filed elsewhere.'

If only.

Statistic wizards (or nerds).

"A bit over two weeks ago, a group of statistic wizards (Mark Grebner, Michael Weissman, and Jonathan Weissman) approached me with a disturbing premise -- they had been poring over the crosstabs of the weekly Research 2000 polling we had been running, and were concerned that the numbers weren't legit.

I immediately began cooperating with their investigation, which concluded late last week. Daily Kos furnished the researchers with all available and relevant information in our possession, and we made every attempt to obtain R2K's cooperation -- which, as I detail in my reaction post here -- was not forthcoming. The investigators' report is below, but its conclusion speaks volumes:

We do not know exactly how the weekly R2K results were created, but we are confident they could not accurately describe random polls."

The full story: