Breastmilk ice-cream

Icecreamists, an ice-cream parlour in London’s Covent Garden, is selling human breast milk ice-cream for £14 a scoop. The breastmilk is purchased from lactating mothers, and the product (called “Baby Gaga”) is intended to raise awareness of breastmilk’s deliciousness and encourage more breastfeeding. The milk is pasteurised and flavoured with lemon zest and vanilla pods.

“Some people will hear about it and go yuck – but actually it’s pure organic, free-range and totally natural.”

Mrs Hiley, who gets £15 for every 10 ounces of milk she donates to the company, said it was a great “recession beater”.

“What’s the harm in using my assets for a bit of extra cash?” she added.

“I teach women how to get started on breastfeeding their babies. There’s very little support for women and every little helps.”

Mr O’Connor said health checks for the lactating women were the same used by hospitals to screen blood donors.

Breast milk ice cream goes on sale in Covent Garden (via Neatorama)

(Image: The IceCreamists. Guerilla Ice Cream @ Selfridges, a Creative Commons Attribution (2.0) image from evert-jan’s photostream)

3D printer that prints itself gets closer to reality

The RepRap is an open 3D printer design whose goal is to produce a printer that can copy itself. Now, Joris from i.materialise says, “The Open3DP team at the University of Washington’s Solheim Rapid Prototyping Laboratory have succeeded in cloning the plastic parts of the RepRap Prusa. The Prusa is the most accessible 3D printer the RepRap project has and this development allows for the quicker and cheaper production of 3D printers. By making molds the plastic parts for the 3D printer can be made in under half an hour. Furthermore, the team is going to give away the STLs of the molds so that people worldwide can make their own Prusas.”

Cloning the RepRap Prusa in under 30 minutes (Thanks, Joris!)

DHS kills color-coded terror alerts

After seven long, risible years, the US Department of Homeland Security has at last decided to end its color-coded terror alert scheme. As Wired‘s David Kravets puts it: “Apparently the terrorists have cracked the five-color threat advisory code.”

DHS to End Color-Coded ‘Threat Level’ Advisories

Flier beats TSA video recording charge in court

Phil Mocek knows he isn’t required to show ID to fly, and that it’s perfectly legal to record video in publicly accessible areas of an airport. A jury agreed with him earlier this week, acquitting him of trumped-up charges brought against him by TSA and police officers who demanded obedience. He didn’t need to call any witnesses or testify himself; he was acquitted based on the evidence entered against him.

I went to a conference in Albuquerque in 2009, I went to the airport there, I spoke with some people, I went to jail, I went to court, and I was acquitted. This took over a year and I owe for thousands of dollars of legal fees as a result. Here’s a video I created at the airport. The State of New Mexico entered this as evidence against me last week. The jury was unconvinced that I was disorderly, trespassed, refused a lawful order, or concealed my identity from police officers with the intent to obstruct.

He was helped, however, by TSA rules that say “in no uncertain terms [that] you do not have to show ID in order to fly, and that you can use cameras in public areas of the airport.” It’s also clear from the video that, while uncooperative, he remained polite to officers even after one of them waves a baton in his face. As soon as he revealed he didn’t even have ID with him, one officer claimed that he had to show it because ‘you are now part of a criminal investigation.’ [via Submitterator]

I haven’t used soap or shampoo in a year, and it’s awesome: personal experiment update

stink.jpg

I stopped using soap a year ago. It was easily one of the best moves I’ve ever made in my entire flippin’ life.

About this time last year I read an article (which Mark mentioned here as well) extolling the virtues of a soap-free bathing experience. TL;DR version: Your body is designed to regulate itself. Smearing chemicals all over it wrecks its own built-in processes, and screws with naturally balanced pH levels. This made sense to me and I thought I’d give it a shot for a month.

At the beginning of February 2010, I blogged about the results I’d seen so far. I didn’t stink at all (confirmed by friends, family and random people I ended up sitting next to on various forms of public transit), my skin felt better, oily and dry patches had all but disappeared and the light dandruff I’d had my entire life was almost gone. I was pleased with the results of my month experiment and decided I’d run with it for a while longer. As of January 1, 2011: it’s been a year now, and I can’t imagine ever going back.

Continue reading “I haven’t used soap or shampoo in a year, and it’s awesome: personal experiment update”

Pilot raided for YouTube video exposing airport security flaws

Antinous sez, “An anonymous airline pilot posted cell phone video of security lapses at SFO to YouTube. Federal air marshals and the sheriff’s department showed up at his house to take his gun away.”

“Well, folks, I just wanted to give you an idea of what type of security for the ground personnel there is. This is their screening. As you can see, there’s only a card slide and one door,” the pilot says in the video. “And right here’s a sign, ‘Think security.’ Well, I don’t think there’s much security here.”

…According to sister station ABC7 in San Francisco, the disclosure resulted in federal air marshals and sheriff’s deputies showing up at the pilot’s home — an event the pilot, a deputized federal air marshal, also recorded — to confiscate his federally issued handgun.

Attorney Don Werno, who represents the pilot, says he believes the TSA was sending a message that “you’ve angered us by telling the truth and by showing America that there are major security problems despite the fact that we’ve spent billions of dollars allegedly to improve airline safety.”

Pilot in Hot Water for Exposing Security Flaws

Split Pea Lighter

splitpea3large-1.jpeg My Cool Tool gift this year is the “Split Pea” Lighter from County Comm. It’s the “world’s smallest lighter,” a stainless steel tube 1.3″ high and 0.5″ in diameter. Unscrew the top, flick the flint wheel, and behold! Fire! Now I don’t smoke, and rarely do I need to start fires here in Brooklyn. But the Split Pea appeals to my inner gearhead. It’s ridiculously small, well machined, and functions well. It’s sealed so that you can carry it in your bag, Every Day Carry kit, purse, etc. without worrying about fuel spills or spontaneous combustion. Plus, you never know when you might need fire, right? splitpea4large.jpeg I’ve carried a number of fire-starters in my EDC kit, and the Split Pea is the one I’ve settled on for durability, weight and size. I wouldn’t want to light 20 cigarettes a day with it — it’s almost *too* small — but for occasional or emergency use it’s perfect. It’s a great gift because it’s useful, fairly cheap ($11.50), and universal in appeal. If you’re giving it to someone in person, it’s a good idea to fuel it up with liquid lighter fluid (from the hardware store) first, so they can try it out right away. (It’s probably a bad idea to send a fueled-up lighter through the mails, although apparently you can take it with you through TSA security as a carry-on item.) Even people who don’t carry lighters will like the Split Pea. — Mike Everett-Lane Split Pea Lighter $11.50 Comment on this at Cool Tools. Or, submit a tool!

Pornoscanners trivially defeated by pancake-shaped explosives

In case you were wondering whether pornoscanners are harder on the vast majority of innocent, non-terrorist fliers, or the minuscule minority of terrorists, wonder no more. From Leon Kaufman and Joseph W. Carlson’s “An evaluation of airport x-ray backscatter units based on image characteristics,” published in the Journal of Transportation Security:

The penetration not only distributes exposure throughout the body (this affecting the calculation of effective dose, which comprises a sum over all organs), but tends to diffuse the effects caused by contraband materials. Images can be made at low entrance exposures, but of very poor spatial resolution and S/N. The calculated signal excursions at high kilovoltage are so small as to make it doubtful that at any reasonable exposure levels density differences will be noticeable unless the contraband is packed thickly and with hard edges. Although the excursions are larger at low kilovoltage, they are still small and in the noise of the device’s operational limits. The eye is a good signal averager at certain spatial frequencies, but it is doubtful that an operator can be trained to detect these differences unless the material is hard-edged, not too large and regular- shaped. Anatomic features and benign objects add structured noise that interferes with signal averaging. Figure 18 shows a widely-distributed backscatter image. On the left is a complete view of her torso, on the right, a section has been blacked out. While the breasts are easily recognized at right, without some prior knowledge of the subject, it would be hard to distinguish the increase of intensity in the superior part of her breasts from the natural gradients of the image.

It is very likely that a large (15-20 cm in diameter), irregularly-shaped, cm-thick pancake with beveled edges, taped to the abdomen, would be invisible to this technology, ironically, because of its large volume, since it is easily confused with normal anatomy. Thus, a third of a kilo of PETN, easily picked up in a competent pat down, would be missed by backscatter “high technology”. Forty grams of PETN, a purportedly dangerous amount, would fit in a 1.25 mm-thick pancake of the dimensions simulated here and be virtually invisible. Packed in a compact mode, say, a 1 cm×4 cm×5 cm brick, it would be detected.

The images are very sensitive to the presence of large pieces of high Z material, e. g., iron, but unless the spatial resolution is good, thin wires will be missed because of partial volume effects. It is also easy to see that an object such as a wire or a box- cutter blade, taped to the side of the body, or even a small gun in the same location, will be invisible. While there are technical means to mildly increase the conspicuity of a thick object in air, they are ineffective for thin objects such as blades when they are aligned close to the beam direction.

An evaluation of airport x-ray backscatter units based on image characteristics (PDF) (via /.)

TSA “opt out” parody from the Red vs Blue creators

Rooster Teeth, creators of the brilliant Red vs Blue machinima series, produced this chortle-inducing short about the essential and creepy incoherence of the security theory that says aviation safety is improved by allowing the TSA to see and touch our junk.

TSA invades House Party (Thanks, AirPillo, via Submitterator!)