Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Poison in Baby Shampoo

Did you know I use Johnson Baby Shampoo?  I use it to avoid an allergy that I have to some preservatives used in shampoos. I often get rashes from the cheap hotel shampoo.

I was really surprised when I learned that Johnson's Baby Shampoo has two strikes against it for health and safety.

One is that it is using Quaternium-15 a preservative that emits formaldehyde as it degrades, and the second is that it contains > 4 ppm of dioxane. It should be pointed out that dioxane, a carcinogen, is not dioxin. Dioxin is the short name given to chloronated dibenzodioxins which are very toxic, but not very similar to dioxane, but it sounds similar.

Dioxane; found
in shampoos

Dioxane is an unintended biproduct of ethoxylation processes; these are used to make milder detergents. To make a gentle baby shampoo, sometimes this is needed.

Quaternium 15, is a complicated amine that many people are allergic too. It degrades into formaldehyde, because it was made from formaldehyde and simpler amines.

Susan Nettesheim from J&J says that there are only tiny amounts of formaldehyde and dioxane in the product, and that they will try to get rid of the problematic preservatives. I know that in polymers the industry has been switching away from these preservatives for years, and that J&J is behind the curve, although the replacements might be too irritating for a baby shampoo. J&J promised advocacy groups to do this.

In the meantime, I am going to continue using the Johnson's product, though I am worried about Quaternium-15.  I have no way of finding out which products have it, and which don't.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

How Internet Works on the Plane

Gogo's EVDO System
I have taken to using Gogo internet when I am traveling on business. The price depends on the length of the flight, a short flight can be $5 and a longer flight $10.

I wondered how it worked. It is simpler than I thought. It is just like a cell phone in the car.

The plane is picking up signals from Gogo's cell tower network across the country.  The towers look just like regular cell towers so much that there was no reason to have a picture.

Antenna for reception of ground based internet using
Gogo's EVDO system. 
The plane has a small antenna mounted on the bottom to accept the signal. Just like a regular cell phone, the plane switches between towers based on reception.

There is another system for aircraft internet involving an antenna on top the plane and reception from satellites. United just picked Panasonic Avionics Corporation for its Ku satellite based technology.  Panasonic Avionics makes the passenger entertainment systems that show movies and plays music. (For example Delta uses Panasonic Avionics to show movies on its longer flights.)

Gogo is planning an upgrade to a faster technology soon, and they are thinking about a satellite based solution for the future. It is possible satellite based is cheaper.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Amazon Kindle Fire and the Whole Amazon Universe

I sold my old Mac on eBay, and pocketed enough money to buy a new color reader -- even after the exorbitant eBay fee which was over 9%. Anyway, I want a better way to get my news or magazines.

I like my second generation Kindle. I like the size of it at 5 x 8 in and 290 g. The screen (9 x 12 cm; 108 cm^2) could be bigger for viewing pdf files though. The iPad's screen at 15 x 20 cm is a lot better at 300 cm^2. The new Kindle Fire's screen is 10.7 x 14.2 cm or 151 cm^2, or 25% bigger than my Kindle, but half as big as an iPad.  The iPad 2 weighs 539 g and the Kindle fire is 414 g.  The Nook Color is almost the same size and weight as the Kindle Fire -- 14 g lighter.

A important advantage of the Kindle Fire is that it can show free video for Amazon Prime members, which I am. There are a large number of pretty interesting titles, like the first season of Lost or 24. My problem with video is that I never have time to view it. I could also see it on my Mac easier. My Mac Air has a 432 cm^2 screen, but it weighs 1392 g.

I saw the Kindle Fire and the Nook Tablet at Best Buy, and they were the same price. The Kindle Fire worked well, but the magazine text was hard to read.  It looked like the source file was too low in resolution, and the pages were stored as images. The Nook Tablet's screen was harder to work, and seemed less touch sensitive. The Nook has a faster processor and more storage. It should be faster.

Both the Fire and the Nook Tablet glow in the dark so I can read at night, but they have fairly short battery life compared to the ePaper versions.

Amazon is also allowing Prime Members to borrow one of 5377 book titles for free, and a large number of TV series and old movies.  Since I am an Amazon Prime member this is a good deal. This is a pretty good reason to be in the Amazon ecosystem.

In Summary: Color readers are best for video and color books. The magazines are OK, but not great. The newspapers are better on an iPad because Android does only offers a few newspapers as apps like the NY Post. For real books, the ePaper readers are better because they are lighter and have much longer battery life. For text, one does not need the weight or the big screen. The Nook Tablet is better for surfing the web, but Barnes and Noble does not offer the extra sweeteners that Amazon does like the Prime Service.

I'll let you know what I buy.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Super Giant Protozoa

How big can a single living cell be?
A 4 inch wide single cell protozoa living on the ocean floor. Related
species can be twice this size.

This  cell is a xenophyophores from the western Pacific.

They are a single cell with  a single nucleus.

However they are pretty disgusting too. They are scavengers who root around in the mud looking for food. They exude mucus and the mucus entraps articles from around them, including their own feces. 

 The feces get infected with bacteria, and then the xenophyophores eat that.