Archive for the 'Science' Category

KBBQ – The “K” Stands For “Kidney Failure”

After a 16 hour day at CUTC, the staff and I were ready to hit the sack to recharge for the next day. Then someone suggested the $8.99 late night special at Korean Grill House. Everyone was tired, but who could resist copious amounts of Korean barbecued meat? Certainly not I… and about 16 others.

After our late night snack, I mentioned to a friend how my nephrons were going to take a beating that night. My friend replied, “Yeah, you’re probably going to be pissing brown in the morning.” Since my friend is in medical school, I can safely assume “pissing brown” is, in fact, a technical term commonly used by doctors and medical professionals alike.

That got me wondering… how much meat is too much?

The average American requires 0.8 – 1.0 grams of protein for every kilogram they weigh. I weigh 63.6kg (140lbs) which works out to 50.9 – 63.6 grams of protein per day. Keep in mind this was calculated based on a sluggish life style. My recommend protein intake for an active lifestyle increases to 89g for endurance training, and 128g for resistance training.

A quick internet search reveals your primary meats (beef, chicken, pork) contain about 20 – 35g of protein per 100g. Okay… so I’m pretty sure I ate about 1.5kg of meat that day… if not more… Based on a conservative estimate of 25g of protein/100g, I would have consumed about 375 grams of protein that night… about 7x my recommended intake.

Crap.

So what happens when you OD on protein?

  • You become easily tired, as protein takes a lot of your bodily resources to digest. This is what the Atkins diet is based on: attempting to make it harder for your body to access the  calories normally obtained from carbohydrates.
  • Your liver and kidneys are strained from breaking down extra protein into nitrogen. This may lead to kidney stones, and other related medical conditions.
  • Your intestines are made primarily for digesting starches. Traces of meat adhere to the lining of your intestines which over time may lead to appendicitis, colon cancer, etc. (This is why you need to eat fiber, which acts as roughage for your digestive system)
  • A lot more.

So am I dying?

Maybe. Most of these negative effects occur over an extended period of time. Of course, I’m pretty sure I consume more than the recommended daily intake of protein anyways… But I’m not a doctor – even if I was, I’d be too busy writing fancy medical journal articles such as “Pissing Brown and Other Colours That Shouldn’t Be Coming From Your Wang”

pbrown2

I’ll just detox with three meals of salad and fruit after each meal I pretend to be a man eating dinosaur.

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Cosmetic Engineering

I was an organizer for the 2009 Canadian Undergraduate Technology Conference which showcases and explores many cutting-edge technologies and scientific areas of growth. One of the seminars I attended discussed nanotechnology, focusing on the self replication aspects, and uses as a chemical vector to treat illnesses.

However, what really caught my attention was the application of nanotech in everyday cosmetics. Highly engineered materials are holding eyelashes, and adding colour (and whatever else makeup is used for) of the many, many attractive women I interact with in my everyday life (many). Have you ever wondered how some products give you 10x the lashes versus their leading competitors? The answer lies in good engineering… and nano-tubes, amphilic compounds, and a hilarious amount of other chemicals.

An example of nanotech in makeup, the infamous buckyball makes an appearance in recent facial creams. Its properties include deflecting UV rays (an invisible spectrum of sunlight which causes skin cancer – making you ugly) and absorbing free radicals (molecules which are highly reactive causing damage to organisms – making you ugly) which are harnessed to create a state-of-the-art product.

So who are the best cosmetic engineers?

European and American brands such as MAC and Revlon, are among the most well known, however, these companies invest millions towards marketing to the masses, and pulling in celebrity endorsements. Even with a large budget for clinical research, the turn around time to leverage new technologies may be much slower for large caps due to the red-tape chaos of large organizations and their investors. These companies are also run as corporations, where cost cutting is the norm.

I’m not saying these companies don’t make good cosmetics, but take a look at some Japanese products. Many of these companies concentrate on research and development, letting their products speak for themselves. The Japanese are also highly focused on innovation, and technology, not to mention their efforts in health and environment. They’ve taken over the electronic and automobile industries in the past, and it looks like the cosmetic market may be a new area to watch for Japanese dominance.

Check out the brands Ayura, Gatsby, Kanebo, Lunasol, RMK, Shiseido, Shu Uemura, and SUQQU to name a few.

Favourite Position

So you’ve finally bought your next gen gaming console. You probably debated for days which system to get, and you’re glad it’s over. You’ve made your choice. You’ve made your purchase. You’ve made it home… But now there’s a new problem.

Holy Crap! Which way do I orient the console?!

The thoughtful industrial designers and engineers at Sony and Microsoft have given us the option to setup their new generation of consoles vertically or horizontally. Of course, if your space is limited, you may not have the liberty to choose – but if you do, which position is better? Which orientation is best for heat dissipation? Based on principles of surface area and convection, arguments scattered across the internet have never been conclusive.

But now there’s definitive evidence.

Thermal imaging reveals a slight advantage for the ps3 in a horizontal position. The higher average temperature for the horizontal ps3 is likely due to the holistic, versus zoomed imaging of the vertical ps3. Is this minuscule difference a cause for panic? Yes. Get your gear horizontal before you start a fire, son.

Thermal imaging for the xbox 360 reveals slightly different results.

Cooking to the MAX

It’s a commonly known fact that the dials on your stove correspond to the awesomeness of food you are preparing. Why anyone would cook on less than max (for maximum deliciousness) escapes me.

Unfortunately, commercially available cooking oils are extremely pussy and usually only allow for a cooking setting of 6 – 8. The smoke point of an oil is the temperature where the fatty acids begin to decompose, and smoke can be visibly seen. This is followed by the hilarious flash point of an oil where the fatty triglycerides gain the ability ignite and combust.

The smoke point of commonly used cooking oils can be seen in the poorly formatted table below, with a more complete listing found here.

Oil

°F

°C

Butter

350

177

Canola

225

107

Extra Virgin Olive

320

160

Lard

370

182

Peanut

440

227

For reference, the auto-ignition point of diesel is 210°C (410°F).

From the chart, it’s clear that peanut oil is the most badass cooking oil available – it can handle cooking to the max. Unfortunately, not everyone can bear the badassery of peanut oil, let alone the entire peanut itself. Those who suffer from peanut allergies may settle for something milder, such as the mother Mary of cooking oil, extra virgin olive (or if you’re naughty, Canola oil, the politically correct name for Rapeseed.)

Personally, I don’t use any oil at all. Instead, two slices of bacon are fired up, coating my pan with a layer of delicious. Try it – you won’t regret it!

Dangerously Low Levels of Love

Ahhhh, Valentine’s Day! My favourite holiday to celebrate martyrdom and pay tribute to those who laid down their lives to counter the forces of evil. However, there are more important things behind Valentine’s Day than merely recreating the ceremonial cremation of Obi-Wan Kenobi and imitating the Burning Monk.

Valentine’s Day is also the holiday to assess the standard of love in your life.

There’s a very easy way to gauge the levels of ambient love in your local environment. The Valentine’s Catcher, is a sophisticated piece of technology which filters the air, capturing and collecting traces of love.

I constructed my Catcher early last week, and deployed the apparatus at work.

The results are in!

Among a raisin and several twisted paper clips lay a post-it note with “this is cute” inscribed in blue ink. This reveals a shockingly low level of ambient love in my place of employment. Very poor findings considering my device was collecting data over a span of five days.

Experts agree this signifies dangerously low levels of ambient love which may lead to disappointment and hurt. I will be writing a formal complaint to the facilities department later today.

I deplore you all to make your own Love Catchers and gauge your own ambient love levels. Take action before it’s too late.

Remember, you have the right to work in a safe and loving environment.