Monday, February 7, 2011

What's new at The Loft - Episode 83

Macro 3.6.5. Challenge


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A marble is a small spherical toy usually made from glass, clay, steel, or agate. These balls vary in size. Most commonly, they are about ½ inch in diameter, but they may range from less than ¼ inch to over 3 inches , while some art glass marbles for display purposes are over 12 inches wide. Marbles can be used for a variety of games called marbles. They are often collected, both for nostalgia and for their aesthetic colors. In the North of England the objects and the game are called 'taws', with larger taws being called bottle washers after the use of a marble in Codd-neck bottles

Marbles originated in Harappan civilization in India near the river Indus. Various marbles of stone were found on excavation near Mohenjo-daro. Marbles are also often mentioned in Roman literature, and there are many examples of marbles from ancient Egypt. They were commonly made of clay, stone or glass and commonly referred to as a "Glass alley".

Ceramic marbles entered inexpensive mass production in the 1870s.  A German glassblower invented marble scissors in 1846, a device for making marbles. The first mass-produced toy marbles (clay) made in the US were made in Akron, Ohio by S.C. Dyke, in the early 1890s. Some of the first US-produced glass marbles were also made in Akron, by James Harvey Leighton. In 1903, Martin Frederick Christensen—also of Akron, Ohio—made the first machine-made glass marbles on his patented machine. His company, The M.F. Christensen & Son Co., manufactured millions of toy and industrial glass marbles until they ceased operations in 1917. The next US company to enter the glass marble market was Akro Agate. This company was started by Akronites in 1911, but was located in Clarksburg, West Virginia. Today, there are only two American-based toy marble manufacturers: Jabo Vitro in Reno, Ohio, and Marble King, in Paden City, West Virginia.

Various games can be played with marbles; any such game can itself be called 'marbles' (ex. darts, skittles, bowls).  One game involves drawing a circle in sand, and players will take turns knocking other players' marbles out of the circle with their own marble. This game is called ringer. Other versions involve shooting marbles at target marbles or into holes in the ground (such as rolly or rolley hole). A larger-scale game of marbles might involve taking turns trying to hit an opponent's marble to win. A useful strategy is to throw a marble so that it lands in a protected, or difficult location if it should miss the target. As with many children's games, new rules are devised all the time, and each group is likely to have its own version, often customized to the environment. While the game of marbles was once ubiquitous and attracted widespread press to national tournaments, its popularity has dwindled in the television age.

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Sunday, February 6, 2011

What's new at The Loft - Episode 82

Macro 3.6.5. Challenge

Thro' the Year with Kipling (1898)

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Joseph Rudyard Kipling (30 December 1865 – 18 January 1936) was an English poet, short-story writer, and novelist chiefly remembered for his celebration of British imperialism, tales and poems of British soldiers in India, and his tales for children. Kipling received the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1907. He was born in Bombay, British India, and was taken by his family to England when he was five years old. Kipling is best known for his works of fiction, including The Jungle Book (1894) (a collection of stories which includes "Rikki-Tikki-Tavi"), Kim (1901) (a tale of adventure), many short stories, including "The Man Who Would Be King" (1888); and his poems, including Mandalay (1890), Gunga Din (1890), and If— (1910). He is regarded as a major innovator in the art of the short story; and his children's books are enduring classics of children's literature. 

Kipling was one of the most popular writers in England, in both prose and verse, in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.  In 1907, he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature, making him the first English language writer to receive the prize, and to date he remains its youngest recipient.  Among other honours, he was sounded out for the British Poet Laureateship and on several occasions for a knighthood, all of which he declined.

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Saturday, February 5, 2011

What's new at The Loft - Episode 81

Macro 3.6.5. Challenge

Okay, so I have 2 for you today because I couldn't choose!

Water Splashes 

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Water Drops

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Water is a chemical substance with the chemical formula H2O. Its molecule contains one oxygen and two hydrogen atoms connected by covalent bonds. Water is a liquid at ambient conditions, but it often co-exists on Earth with its solid state, ice, and gaseous state (water vapor or steam). Water also exists in a liquid crystal state near hydrophilic surfaces. 

Water covers 70.9% of the Earth's surface, and is vital for all known forms of life. On Earth, it is found mostly in oceans and other large water bodies, with 1.6% of water below ground in aquifers and 0.001% in the air as vapor, clouds (formed of solid and liquid water particles suspended in air), and precipitation. Oceans hold 97% of surface water, glaciers and polar ice caps 2.4%, and other land surface water such as rivers, lakes and ponds 0.6%.

Water on Earth moves continually through a cycle of evaporation or transpiration (evapotranspiration), precipitation, and runoff, usually reaching the sea. Over land, evaporation and transpiration contribute to the precipitation over land.

A recent report (November 2009) suggests that by 2030, in some developing regions of the world, water demand will exceed supply by 50%.

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Friday, February 4, 2011

What's new at The Loft - Episode 80

Macro 3.6.5. Challenge

Acetaminophen Caplets

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Acetaminophen is a widely used over-the-counter analgesic (pain reliever) and antipyretic (fever reducer). It is commonly used for the relief of headaches, other minor aches and pains, and is a major ingredient in numerous cold and flu remedies. In combination with opioid analgesics, it can also be used in the management of more severe pain such as post surgical pain and providing palliative care in advanced cancer patients.

While generally safe for use at recommended doses acute overdoses of Acetaminophen can cause potentially fatal liver damage and, in rare individuals, a normal dose can do the same; the risk is heightened by alcohol consumption. Acetaminophen toxicity is the foremost cause of acute liver failure in the Western world, and accounts for most drug overdoses in the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand.

Acetaminophen was first marketed in the United States in 1953 by Sterling-Winthrop Co., which promoted it as preferable to aspirin since it was safe to take for children and people with ulcers.
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Thursday, February 3, 2011

What's new at The Loft - Episode 79

Macro 3.6.5. Challenge


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The term "Q-tip" is often used as a generic trademark for cotton swabs in the USA. Cotton swabs (American English) or cotton buds (British English) or ear buds (South-African English) consist of a small wad of cotton wrapped around one or both ends of a short rod, usually made of either wood, rolled paper, or plastic. They are commonly used in a variety of applications including first aid, cosmetics application, cleaning, and arts and crafts. The cotton swab was invented in the 1920s by Leo Gerstenzang after he attached wads of cotton to toothpicks.  His product, which he named "Baby Gays", went on to become the most widely sold brand name, "Q-tip", with the Q standing for "quality".  Although doctors have said for years that usage of the cotton swab for ear cleaning is not safe, that use remains the most common.

The traditional cotton swab has a single tip on a wooden handle, and these are still often used, especially in medical settings. They are usually relatively long, about six inches (15 cm). These often are packaged sterile, one or two to a paper or plastic sleeve. The advantage of the paper sleeve and the wooden handle is that the package can be autoclaved to be sterilized (plastic sleeves or handles would melt in the autoclave).  Cotton swabs manufactured for home use are usually shorter, about three inches (7.6 cm) long, and usually double-tipped. The handles were first made of wood, then made of rolled paper, which is still most common (although tubular is also used). They are often sold in large quantities, possibly 300 or more to a container.  Swab stems exist in a wide variety of colors, such as blue, pink or green. However, the cotton itself is traditionally white.

The most common use for cotton swabs is to clean or scratch the ear canal and/or to remove earwax but this is not a medically recommended method for removing earwax. Cotton swabs are also commonly used for applying and removing makeup, as well as for household uses such as cleaning and arts and crafts.  Medical-type swabs are often used to take microbiological cultures. They are swabbed onto or into the infected area, then wiped across the culture medium, such as an agar plate, where bacteria from the swab may grow. They are also used to take DNA samples, most commonly by scraping cells from the inner cheek in the case of humans. They can be used to apply medicines to a targeted area, to selectively remove substances from a targeted area, or to apply cleaning substances like Betadine. They are also used as an applicator for various cosmetics, ointments, and other substances. 

One recent innovation is to use a special type of double-tipped cotton swab for over-the-counter drug application. These swabs have hollow tubular plastic handles, which are filled with the medicine. Breaking one marked end of the swab breaks an air seal, allowing the medicine to saturate the cotton at the other end so that it can be directly applied with the swab.

Cotton swabs can be used in the dyne test for measuring surface energy. This use is problematic, as manufacturers differ in the binders they use to fix the cotton to the stem, affecting the outcome of the test. Cotton swabs are also used for cleaning the laser of an optical drive in conjunction with rubbing alcohol.

The American brand name "Q-Tip" is now owned by the British conglomerate Unilever.

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Wednesday, February 2, 2011

What's new at The Loft - Episode 78

Macro 3.6.5. Challenge


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A colander is a bowl-shaped kitchen utensil with holes in it used for draining food such as pasta and rice. Conventionally, colanders are made of a light metal, such as aluminium or thinly rolled stainless steel, but some colanders are made of plastic or silicon. A colander is pierced with a pattern of small holes (or slots in plastic colanders) that let the liquid drain through, but retain the solids inside. It is sometimes also called a strainer or kitchen sieve.

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Tuesday, February 1, 2011

What's new at The Loft - Episode 77

Macro 3.6.5. Challenge


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In modern clothing and fashion design, a button is small fastener, most commonly made of plastic, but also frequently of seashell, which secures two pieces of fabric together. In archaeology, a button can be a significant artifact. In the applied arts and in craft, a button can be an example of folk art, studio craft, or even a miniature work of art.

Buttons are most often attached to articles of clothing but can also be used on containers such as wallets and bags. However, buttons may be sewn onto garments and similar items exclusively for purposes of ornamentation. Buttons serving as fasteners work by slipping through a fabric or thread loop, or by sliding through a buttonhole.

Buttons and button-like objects used as ornaments or seals rather than fasteners have been discovered in the Indus Valley Civilization during its Kot Diji phase (circa 2800-2600 BCE) as well as Bronze Age sites in China (circa 2000-1500 BCE), and Ancient Rome.

Functional buttons with buttonholes for fastening or closing clothes appeared first in Germany in the 13th century.  They soon became widespread with the rise of snug-fitting garments in 13th- and 14th-century Europe.

Here are some different types of buttons:

Shank buttons have a hollow protrusion on the back through which thread is sewn to attach the button. Button shanks may be made from a separate piece of the same or a different substance as the button itself, and added to the back of the button, or be carved or moulded directly onto the back of the button, in which latter case the button is referred to by collectors as having a 'self-shank'.

Flat or sew-through buttons have holes through which thread is sewn to attach the button. Flat buttons may be attached by sewing machine rather than by hand, and may be used with heavy fabrics by working a thread shank to extend the height of the button above the fabric.

Covered buttons are fabric-covered forms with a separate back piece that secures the fabric over the knob.

Mandarin buttons or Frogs are knobs made of intricately knotted strings. Mandarin buttons are a key element in Mandarin dress where they are closed with loops. Pairs of mandarin buttons worn as cuff links are called silk knots.

Worked or cloth buttons are created by embroidering or crocheting tight stitches (usually with linen thread) over a knob or ring called a form.

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