Yearly Archives: 2010

Beer Review: Alaskan Winter

Benjamin Franklin famously said that “beer is living proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy.”  Not only did he enjoy a beverage or two, but the founding father also wrote a recipe for beer flavored with spruce tree needles, which is still being made in several breweries today. The Alaskan Brewing Co. offers an original and tasty take on spruce beer with their Winter Ale, using Sitka spruce tips to flavor this special seasonal brew.

Microbes accelerate corrosion in ethanol-carrying fuel tanks

Above ground fuel tanks and steel pipelines may be at risk of corrosion due to new fuel grade ethanol (FGE). Doctorate student Luke Jain has been investigating how fuel tanks corrode with new and ever more common ethanol-based automotive fuels. In Jain’s study, it was found that the ethanol in the new fuels is providing an environment where microbes can corrode the metal. Initially, it was thought that ethanol-gasoline fuels would circumvent the problem by locking up the ethanol in the gasoline. In the field, however, it has been noted that the ethanol will fall out of the gasoline and dissolve in any water that may be present in the storage tank. This mixture of ethanol and water provides an environment capable of producing microbes that “eat” the metal.

Scientific discoveries this week: 12-6-10

Vienna, Austria – Killer whales may mimic each other when they’re socializing. Brigitte Weiss of the University of Vienna in Vienna, Austria, has been studying the behavior of Orca Whales near Vancouver Island in British Columbia, Canada. Weiss has noticed that the whales seem to imitate calls that are similar to the calls of whales from another pod. Vocal mimicry among mammals is very uncommon, which is why Weiss took notice when she was analyzing the sonograms of Orca calls and noticed that about one in every 500 calls was a clear imitation. It is as yet unclear why killer whales imitate each other.


Game development covered in MCS talk

“These are games where the idea is to learn ideas,” Dr. Clayton Lewis of the University of Colorado at Boulder stated to clarify the topic of Friday’s MCS Colloquium. “Not to learn a skill, but to learn some important concepts, concepts in math or science or something like that.” The presenter has for several years administered a Computer Science course on educational game design at CU, with an end goal of getting students to develop games that both engage the player and strengthen their understanding on hard-to-grasp concepts in evolutionary biology, parallel computing and other abstract areas.

Secretaries are not email servers…

E-mail is wonderful. With only a few clicks, you can send a message zipping across cyberspace. The only feelings you have to worry about are those of the recipient and with the possible exception of computers running Micro$oft software, your e-mail will almost always arrive at its destination, no matter how abusive you were to your computer. Unfortunately, this rosy communications model disappears when you walk into your department office.

Apple to add Auto-Tune to GarageBand

“We’re really disappointed in the amount of media hype, and sales, that we got from our most recent announcement,” admitted Apple Chief Operating Officer Tim Cook in a phone interview Friday, referencing Apple Inc.’s recent introduction of The Beatles’ complete collection in digital form to iTunes. “So we’ve got something else to announce next Tuesday: Auto-Tune in GarageBand.”

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