Monday, September 26, 2011

Wine Label Art

Cool bottle from Honey Moon Winery in Bellingham, Washington.
This is a bottle of mead, which is made from honey.

I came across a great collection of labels in Coolist.

Wine labels are probably the best commercial art out there.

This label was banned in Alabama as too revealing. It is
also pretty weird with the flying bicycle.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Fertilizer from the Air and Its Invention

Carl Bosch
Carl Bosch, who was a chemist for BASF, and developed a practical industrial process for making ammonia from the air. It is called the most important chemical process ever discovered making fertilizer that allows farmer to feed so many people. It is said that half of the nitrogen in the human body has been synthesized from the air.

Bosch was assigned to the project by his bosses, who bought rights to the invention of Fritz Haber. Haber was a Professor at Karlsruhe, when he developed a high pressure process to fix nitrogen using a ruthinium catalyst in 1907.

Haber had a number of collaborators including Le Rossignol for the pressure equipment, Nerst for the thermodynamics, and Ostwald for prior art in catalyst selection.

The point here is that Haber had a network, and Haber and his bosses at BASF were plugged into it. Networks and the interfaces between organizations continue to be important in transmitting ideas. The isolated genius is not a very important phenomenon in science.

Didn't Fritz Haber have cool glasses? Oh, that is
his lab set up in the hood.
A Bosch Reactor
Bosch's project was the biggest chemical engineering plant at the time. It is an early example of Big Science. Significant technical projects today are increasing efforts of hundreds of people. Bosch's project was fast. He had the plant up in just five year making 7 million kg of ammonia a year. Today BASF makes 110 times that much in Germany.  Bosch got that plant up in 4-5 years. He was motivated by the threat of a British naval blockade, but also things just moved faster back then.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Heimliched at McDonalds

I was at McDonalds killing time before a business meeting on the road. Just behind me woman started choking, and the women at the table were wondering what to do, then they said loudly, "She's Choking!" A guy the next table got up, and grabbed the woman and did the Heimlich maneuver on her. I was wondering what to do, but I didn't do anything.

The woman was chubby, and that made it hard to get good leverage, but the guy kept doing it. The women turned blue in the lips, and kept trying to gasp for air. They just kept trying to Heimlich her, every minute or so.

The McDonald's workers noticed, and soon the store manager was there. He was pretty tall, and he tried to Heimlich her too. He was fast; he just kept Heimliching over and over. He pulled her up in the air when he pulled, and hardly let her down to the ground in-between Heimlichs he was pulling so hard and so fast.

The poor lady looked really desperate, and tired and scared and blue. She fainted or maybe she fell. The manager picked her up and kept trying. She had foam at her month since she couldn't swallow either.

The woman's friend (her 16 year old niece as it turns out) got on the phone to 911, and was trying to work the 911 operators question tree -- no she is not unconscious; no she can't talk; she was eating chicken nuggets and french fries...

The second time she fell; it was all the way to the ground, and she laid back. This time her head was right next to me since she fell across the aisle. She lost strength in her legs or she fainted, and the people couldn't hold her up. She looked just terrible.

In 2-3 minutes, a fire truck is coming down the street, and a guy is hanging out of the doorway waving for the firefighters to come in. The fire captain wasn't tall, but he was beefy, and he stopped the restaurant manager. Then he said something to the woman's friends, and started Heimliching himself. He was slower,  smoother and more rhythmic than the others.

I don't know if the woman was breathing, but she much have been getting some air. Soon they stretched her on the ground, and they were giving her an abdominal message -- something like a Heimlich maneuver but lying down. It looked like a heart message, but actually it was in the abdomen not the chest.

The color in the woman's face got better, and I exited the restaurant.

After watching all this, I felt terrible. This poor lady had been thought this terrible ordeal -- frightened and choking. I felt worn out from just being there.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Lion Droppings (Issues with Mac OS 10.7)

Everyone knows that Apple issued a new OS, and it is the biggest re-write in years. It brings a more iPad feel to the desktop, and geeks say that it brings far more security. It drops support for PowerPC code; that is applications native to OS 8 or OS 9.

This means that lots of specialty applications don't work.  I deleted about eight old programs including a screen capture program,  and a font manager. Notably the driver for my ancient Canon scanner no longer works. Looks like I am going to start photographing documents.

Most important to me is accounting software that my wife uses in her business -- AccountEdge 2004. This no longer runs in Lion, and it needs to upgrade to AccountEdge 2011 for $300.  Jenny's business is a lean operation, and $300 is a lot of money.   The main issue is that she uses a few features all year, and then we need to make statements for income taxes at the end of the year. Now $300 is less than an accountant would cost, so I suppose that it is cheaper. I guess a dual boot system  is the way to go.

News reports are that Flash is not supported in Lion, but I can say that it is. It runs on my computer fine.

The so-called "iPad" feel of Lion is overblown to me. Notably the window dragging gesture has been reversed on the Mac to make it more like the iPad. This seemed weird at first, but it actually is more natural -- more like push a piece of paper across a desk. On the other hand, I expect I will always be confusing the direction with that on my Windows PC. There are some changes in the menus, and indicator bars. There is a default full screen option, that gets rid of the desktop clutter. Overall look and feel is not that different.