Month: October 2005

Scientists Tie Two Additional Genes to Dyslexia

Scientists Tie Two Additional Genes to Dyslexia: “The findings strongly support the idea that many people with severe reading problems may have a genetic disorder that affected their brains before birth.”

The article goes on to say that scientists think that they will have a cheeck-swab generic test for dyslexia within two years. This is both wonderful for the reasons Galaburda and Shaywitz say in the article and alarming. Why alarming? I wrote a futurist piece about this a while back and it’s looking like it was on target now: Eugenics and Learning Disabilities.

(Via NYT > Science.)

Tractor-powered hydraulic log splitter

Farmall Tractor

This is a relatively old, but still serviceable John Deere farm tractor at the Warren, CT fall fair. Some young guys were demonstrating using it to power a hydraulic wood splitter.

Tractor and hydraulic  log splitter

Here’s the tractor connected to the wood splitter. Notice the two hydraulic lines running to the pump mounted on the tractor’s PTO.

Power take off hydraulic pump

This is a hydraulic pump mounted on the second transmission/power take off point of the tractor. For those who don’t know about these things, most larger tractors have a second transmission, powered by the same engine that powers the drive wheels that powers farm implements that are connected to the tractor.

In this case, the PTO is powering a pump for pumping hydraulic fluid through the log splitter so it’s cylinder can split wood.

Tractor powering hydraulic log splitter

Here’s the whole rig: tractor, PTO, pump, hydraulic lines, splitter with (yellow) cylinder and valve.

The valve has a handle on it so that when pulled in the direction of the tractor, the cylinder pushes the piston (and log) toward the splitter and splits the log. These systems can generate 20 or more tons of pressure which will generally split anything.

To return the piston into the cylinder, you push the lever back toward the splitter wheels and it retracts into the cylinder. The pump, which is always going, keeps pressure in the system.

The size of the cylinder, the size of the hydraulic fluid reservoir, the size of the hydraulic pump, and the tractor’s horsepower all together determine the power of a given log splitting system.

Rosa Parks thought different

The front page of Apple’s web site today has the famous picture of Rosa Parks on the bus not moving while a white man sits behind her with the “Think different” caption/headline on it. Click through and you have a well-written article on her life done in a tasteful way.

Apple had included her long ago in their Think Different advertising campaign and this picture was up in many retail stores along with Edison, Einstein, Feynman, Goodall and others. Still, I give Apple as a company credit for using the front page of their site to make a statement about her memory.

Canon announces wireless digital camera

Canon has announced a new version of their “Elph” line of digital cameras: Canon PowerShot SD430 Wireless.

Phil Askey seems to think wireless cameras are a fad that will pass but I’m not so sure. This camera may not make it and wifi may lose to bluetooth but I’m pretty sure wireless devices like iPods and cameras are coming. The missing link is a central place to collect all the data and let you look at it easily and that central place is Apple’s new iMac with Front Row.