Science Reveals How Not to Spill Your Coffee When Walking

coffee spill portrait hong yi 3 450x297 Science Reveals How Not to Spill Your Coffee When Walking

Coffee mugs call for intelligent design (img by Jay Chou)

@Live Science:

Ever wondered why it’s so hard to walk with a cup of coffee without spilling? It just so happens that the human stride has almost exactly the right frequency to drive the natural oscillations of coffee, when the fluid is in a typically sized coffee mug. New research shows that the properties of mugs, legs and liquid conspire to cause spills, most often at some point between your seventh and tenth step.

So says a pair of fluid physicists at the University of California at Santa Barbara (UCSB). They investigated the science of sloshing in a new study published in the journal Physical Review Letters E, and calculated the natural frequency at which coffee sloshes back and forth when held in mugs of a variety of sizes, from a dainty espresso cup to a cappuccino behemoth. They found that a normal human gait moves at nearly the same frequency, so each step amplifies the coffee’s heave-ho motion. Stumbling or changing pace — common occurrences when you’re low on caffeine — make matters worse by causing chaos in your cup, increasing the chance of a splash over the rim. (more…)

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The UN’s new International Tourism Ambassador: Robert Mugabe

Robert Mugabe 450x314 The UN’s new International Tourism Ambassador: Robert Mugabe

President Robert Mugabe is hastily sworn in for a sixth term in office after being declared the winner of a one-man election in Harare, Zimbabwe. The election was boycotted by opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai. (img by By Alexander Joe, AFP/Getty Images)


Zimbabwean leader Robert Mugabe may be under a European travel ban because of human rights abuses and preside over a country that is a dangerous, economic basketcase but he is still going to be appointed a special tourism ambassador by the United Nations.

The honour of being appointed International Tourism Ambassador — Zambian president Michael Sata is also receiving the title — is being bestowed by the United Nations World Tourism Office (UNWTO). The honours follow the news that Zimbabwe and Zambia are jointly holding the UNWTO General Assembly next year.

The Zimbabwe Herald quoted Walter Mzembi, the tourism and hospitality industry minister, as saying that the two presidents had shown that tourism was critical to the development of Africa by naming it one of the “four pillars” of economic development. (more…)

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Senators back increasing air travel fees to close TSA funding shortfall

photo414 450x465 Senators back increasing air travel fees to close TSA funding shortfall

Pat McKrotch (img by Reporter Gary)

@the Hill:

The Senate Appropriations Committee on Tuesday moved forward with legislation to increase airline passenger security fees, beating back a GOP attempt to keep them at current levels.

The 2013 Homeland Security appropriations bill would increase one-way fees for passengers from $2.50 to $5 in order to close a budget shortfall at the Transportation Security Administration.

Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.) said the $315 million in funding would otherwise come from taxpayers and argued it is better to stick passengers who rely on TSA with the bill. (more…)

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Monsanto maize banned in France

monsanto corn afp 543 450x336 Monsanto maize banned in France

Anti-GMO activists rip open bags containing 'MON 810', a variety of genetically modified maize (corn) developed by Monsanto company after entering a Monsanto storehouse on January 23, 2012 in Trebes near Carcassonne, southern France. (img by AFP)


A genetically modified strain of maize created by the notorious American company Monsanto has been temporarily banned in France “to protect the environment.” This comes at a time of protests against the biotech giant in its homeland.

France’s Agricultural Minister Bruno Le Maire Friday imposed the temporary ban on maize strain MON 810, in what his ministry is calling “a precautionary measure.” However, Monsanto itself said in January that it would not sell genetically modified maize in France, as it considered the market “not ready.” (more…)

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LEGO Heavy Weapons!

You cannot possibly be too old to want to play with these LEGO.

From LEGO guns mastermind and 17 year-old YouTube sensation Jack Streat comes LEGO Heavy Weapons, a collection of complete building instructions for four truly impressive, 1:1-scale replicas of the world’s most iconic firearms.

LEGO Heavy Weapons will show you how to build brick-based models of:

  • A massive Desert Eagle handgun, with working blowback action
  • The compact but deadly AKS-74U assault rifle with folding stock
  • A bolt-action Lee Enfield sniper rifle (a.k.a. Jungle Carbine)
  • A pump action SPAS combat shotgun

Each set of instructions includes a complete parts listing, so you can find (or special order) any hard-to-find bricks. The book’s illustrated, step-by-step building instructions will be clear to anyone who’s ever played with LEGO bricks, and the biggest models will challenge and delight even the most serious builders.

You can pick up a copy of LEGO Heavy Weapons here ($15).

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Jump a rally car for my homies

I first saw rally footage in 1995 and I was immediately entranced by one driver in a Subaru Impreza sliding through turns, bashing off snow banks, and airing out his car down forest tracks, daring it to let him down.

Since that day I’ve been a fan of Colin McRae. He was a competitor of the first order, and despite what looks like pure recklessness (even by rally standards) a master of car control. He didn’t push to the raggedy edge, he lived there, for entire rally stages. When he was on, it was a thing of beauty. He would approach a turn all blood and feathers, car 3/4 sideways, looking through the window in the passenger door, foot buried in the accelerator, grass hanging from the bumpers, soil sample in the radiator scoop, and more often than not some rock rash on each corner of the car. When he was off? Well, those team mechanics need to earn their keep sometimes.

Colin died when he crashed his helicopter in September 2007, but here is a stage from the 2001 Rally Great Britain in his Ford Focus WRC car. Set it to full screen, turn up the volume, and put a pad under your jaw so you don’t hurt yourself when it drops.

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