Cutest Guinea Pigs!

Snowbie and Bongo, with very special appearances by Bellie and Popcorn, the cute Fancy Rats

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Chemical coat to mean drier socks

water droplet on fabric

The process makes water bead on any surface

Almost any surface or fabric can be made waterproof but remain breathable thanks to a former military technology.

The process was originally developed to ensure soldiers’ clothing remained impermeable to chemical weapons.

Shoe maker Hi-Tec has signed a deal with the developers of the process to use the technology to waterproof many of its shoes.

The first commercially available shoes treated with the process were shown off in London this week.

Chemical coat

The technology was funded by the Ministry of Defence and developed at its Defence Science and Technology Laboratory for making military clothing resistant to nerve agents.

The process – dubbed ion-mask by its inventors – works using a chemical based on the element fluorine. In a closed chamber, the chemical is vaporised and attaches, molecule by molecule, to all the fibres in a fabric.

The chemical makes the surface “hydrophobic” or water-repelling, so that instead of water spreading out it forms droplets on the surface.

The chemical coating covers just the fibres, rather than forming a “skin” across the whole surface, as with currently available waterproofing treatments. That means the spaces between fibres remain open and the fabric is still breathable.

“The normal way in which you’d make a shoe waterproof is put a membrane inside the shoe; Gore-Tex is a well-known example,” says Ian Robins, business development director of P2i, the company marketing the process.

“That’s effectively putting a plastic bag inside the shoe. No water gets inside your shoe, but at the same time that reduces the breathability both in terms of sweat and of heat escaping.”

 a clean shoe, a dirty shoe

Treated materials stay cleaner too

Shoe fabric made with the ion-mask process was tested for breathability in an air-flow test, outperforming commercial waterproof fabrics such as Gore-Tex by more than a factor of 100, P2i claims.

The shoes were also subjected to flexing and wear tests, maintaining their breathable waterproof properties even after 100,000 flexes.

The fabrics are also inherently stain-resistant and easier to clean, says P2i

Dr Robins says coating a pair of shoes using the ion-mask process requires just a tenth of a gram of the fluorine compound, and costs in the region of a few dollars – significantly less than the cost of integrating membranes like Gore-Tex into a pair of shoes.

The process can easily be applied to any garments or any material, and Dr Robins suggests that it might also become the basis for a separate after-purchase service business, like dry cleaning.

It can also be used to waterproof outdoor gear. High Street outdoor equipment retailer Millets, owned by Black’s Leisure Group, will be stocking the men’s Hi-Tec ion-mask shoes in 75 stores.

“This could change waterproof footwear as we know it,” says Michelle Swan, a senior footwear buyer at Black’s.

She said the company would keep an eye on the “revolutionary” technology and perhaps use it in other areas of its business.

Source: BBC

Sarah Palin Report

Source: Reality Catcher

Sarah Palin, bear slayer. Photo credit: GrizzlyBay.org

Sarah Palin, Dick Cheney in a Dress
In his latest move, with his trademark blend of panicked desperation and political calculation, John McCain announced his choice of Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin as his running mate.

McCain’s anti-choice, anti-gay, anti-environment right wing extremist pick for vice president — particularly important in view of Sen. McCain’s advanced years and failing health — reveals the depth of his cynicism and condescension towards American voters, women in particular.

Palin has signed on the Bush administration’s economic policies, opposes increasing the minimum wage, and opposes equal pay for equal work regardless of gender. And this is McCain’s way of reaching out to women and the working class?

“Today, John McCain put the former mayor of a town of 9,000 with zero foreign policy experience a heartbeat away from the presidency,” said Bill Burton of the Obama campaign. “Governor Palin shares John McCain’s commitment to overturning Roe v. Wade, the agenda of Big Oil and continuing George Bush’s failed economic policies — that’s not the change we need, it’s just more of the same.”

Gov. Sarah Palin
Palin, a former small-town mayor with a taste for mooseburgers, has more experience catching fish than dealing with foreign policy or national affairs. I hate to mention the Peter Principle, but this lady is in way over her head. Her level of expertise is more appropriate at a city council meeting than on the Council of Foreign Relations. Even now, the Alaska governor is under an ethical cloud.

McCain passed over many other better qualified prospects, simply because in his eagerness to pander to the female vote, it seems that one qualification to be his running mate is possessing a vagina.

Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX)
Even in that regard, the depth of McCain’s cynicism is revealed by the fact that he picked the distinctly under-qualified — but very photogenic — Palin and passed over Kay Bailey Hutchison, the Texas senator who is very knowledgeable about the military, but is, unlike Palin, not a former beauty queen. (Palin was a runner-up in the 1984 Miss Alaska pageant.)

Palin brings a strong anti-abortion stance to the ticket and opposes gay marriage – constitutionally banned in Alaska before her time. As governor, Palin vetoed a bill that would have granted benefits to gay state employees and their partners.

Palin with her kill. Photo credit: The Weekly Standard
Palin lives in Wasilla, a town of 6,500 about 30 miles north of Anchorage, with her husband, Todd, a blue-collar North Slope oil worker who won the 2007 Iron Dog, a 1,900-mile snowmobile race. He is part Yup’ik Eskimo.

She is often seen walking the Alaska Capitol halls in black or red power suits while reading text messages on Blackberry screens in each hand. She made a recent appearance in a photo layout in fashion magazine Vogue — I kid you not. (Full disclosure: the following image was Photoshopped, but the Vogue appearance is real.)

Take me seriously. I wear glasses.

Palin’s reputation has come into question with an investigation recently launched by a legislative panel into whether she sacked Alaska’s public safety commissioner because he would not fire her former brother-in-law as a state trooper. Trooper Mike Wooten went through an ugly divorce from Palin’s sister.

Former Department of Public Safety Commissioner Walt Monegan says that since Gov. Sarah Palin took office, members of her administration and family pressured him to fire a Palmer Alaska State Trooper to whom her sister was involved in a bitter child custody battle.

The governor denied orchestrating the dozens of telephone calls made by her husband and members of her administration to Wooten’s bosses.

Palin is an avid proponent of petroleum development, in tune with McCain. In fact, she’s even more “drill here, drill now” crazy than McCain, favoring drilling in Alaska’s protected Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. McCain opposes it.


Not mainstream, by a fur piece. Photo credit: zieak.com

As governor, Palin also opposed designating polar bears as threatened under the Endangered Species Act, fearing that step would get in the way of a proposed natural gas pipeline tapping the North Slope’s vast reserves.

Before becoming governor, her entire political experience consisted of terms as Wasilla’s mayor and councilwoman and a stint as head of the Alaska Oil and Gas Conservation Commission.

Marijuana Fights Infections

Good news for potheads making their annual trek to Black Rock, Nev. this week to celebrate Burning Man: A new study says that marijuana appears to fight infections. According to research published in the Journal of Natural Products, the five most common cannabinoid compounds in weed—tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), cannabidiol, cannabigerol, cannabinol and cannabichromene—can kill antibiotic-resistant bacteria. Think MRSA (methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus), which claimed more lives than AIDS in 2007 or, more recently, extensively drug-resistant mycobacterium tuberculosis (XDR-TB.)

Researchers were unable to pinpoint exactly how the ingredients interact with bacterial targets. They called for rigorous clinical trials to determine the safety and effectiveness of cannabinoids as topical antiseptics and as antibacterial agents. Researchers stressed that certain strains of marijuana have high concentrations of nonpsychotropic cannabinoids (specifically CBD and CBG) and that these will be the focus of study for consumer use.* (Sorry to disappoint.)

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