This blog is essentially a scrapbook. I put up random snippets that I hope you will enjoy reading. They may be analytical and open your eyes to new perspectives, or they may be factual and topple your frame of reference. Some could even be funny and make you laugh. Ultimately, the idea is to have a wide variety of accessible content that either adds to what you know, reiterates it, or counters it.

FLYING MAKES YOU FART

Yes, it’s true. Science says that people are actually more prone to flatulence when they’re flying, because the drop in pressure makes you feel more bloated. To avoid this, it is recommended that you avoid high fibre foods that inspire such reactions, like beans, before flying. From their side, airlines handle this by offering in-flight means that are low in fibre and high in carbohydrates, a balance that likely to calm the digestion system. Source: BBC Image: AllNurses.com

THE CLASSICAL COMPOSER AS A COMPLETE DRUNKARD

A surprising number of great composers were fond of the bottle: the full list of the heavy hitters would include Handel, Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert, Schumann, Liszt, Brahms, Mussorgsky, Tchaikovsky and Sibelius. Liszt drank a bottle of cognac a day (but didn’t think he was an alcoholic); Schubert frequented the outskirts of Vienna and roamed around in taverns (as did Beethoven); Schumann was for long an embarrassing drinker. Even on his deathbed, Beethoven was looking forward to the delivery of a case of wine. Just before Brahms died, he had lifted a glass of wine to his lips and said ‘That tastes nice.’ Source: Spectator Image: Jantoo

REIMAGINING A SCISSOR

For those moments when we think everything that can be done has been done, designer Lex Pott’s Spring Scissors come in handy. Created for Nomess, they are made from a single length of spring steel, which means that they will reshape to their original form after use. They are also symmetrical and equally ergonomic for left-handed and right-handed usage. See how they are made here. Source and Image: Design Milk

FIVE INVENTIONS FOR A BETTER WORLD: OCEAN CLEANER

Boyan Slat dropped out of an aerospace engineering course in 2013 to pursue his ambition of clearing the world’s oceans of plastic debris. The Dutchman has since crowdfunded more than $2 million for the Ocean Cleanup Project, which uses a network of extremely long floating barriers and the ocean’s natural currents to concentrate the plastic towards collection points. The debris is then recycled and sold, with proceeds going towards making the operation self-sustaining. Source and Image: Wired

FIVE INVENTIONS FOR A BETTER WORLD: AIR QUALITY WARNER

After years of struggling with their own allergies and asthma, Lebanese entrepreneurs Cyrille Najjar and Eve Tamraz developed SensioAIR, an air quality sensor that identifies harmful particles in the air. The device connects to an app – currently in beta testing on iOS and Android – that helps people understand symptoms and manage them in real time. They hope providing the right information and advice in real time could help avoid allergy outbreaks. Source and Image: Wired

FIVE INVENTIONS FOR A BETTER WORLD: SKIN TALKER

Researchers at MIT Media Lab and Microsoft Research have fabricated NFC chips on to gold leaf, which is then cut into various sizes and designs for use as wearable jewellery called DuoSkins. The chips can ‘talk’ to your mobile, allowing data to be collected directly from your skin. Once put on, DuoSkin can be used to control mobile devices in close to the body. Source and Image: Wired

FIVE INVENTIONS FOR A BETTER WORLD: FOOT SOLE FOR BLIND

Anirudh Sharma’s Lechal system (note the Hindi le, chal) helps guide the blind to their destination. The system involves a haptic insole, which is connected to an Android app integrated with Google Maps, fitted to the inside of a shoe. Users are guided to their destination by a series of vibrations, which build in intensity as the wearer nears those points at which they have to take a turn. A proximity sensor in the front of the shoe also alerts wearers of obstacles, leaving their hands and hearing free to avoid dangers such as traffic. Source and Image: Wired

FIVE INVENTIONS FOR A BETTER WORLD: SMOG TOWER

Daan Roosegaarde was inspired by the smog in Beijing to create a ‘clean air temple’. The Smog Free Tower, which opened in China’s capital in September 2016, cleans 30,000 cubic metres of air every hour using just 1,170 watts of energy — roughly the same amount it takes to power an average water boiler. The extracted smog particles are compressed into solid materials that get turned into design objects, such as cufflinks and rings. Source and Image: Wired

MEET AMOS TVERSKY, THE SMARTEST MAN YOU’VE LIKELY NEVER HEARD OF

There’s a psychologist at the University of Michigan named Dick Nisbett who, after he’d spent a lot of time with Amos, designed a one-line intelligence test: After you’ve met Amos, the longer it takes you to figure out that Amos is smarter than you, the stupider you are. There are hundreds of anecdotes like this. After Amos attended a party (by accident) with some of the greatest physicists in the world, one of the young physicists asked the hostess who Amos was. On finding out he was a psychologist, the young gun replied “That’s impossible, because he’s the smartest physicist I’ve ever met.” Source: Knowledge@Wharton Image: Graweeyer.org