Analytical evidence supports prehistoric hibernation
Better preservation of animal specimens, combined with advancing analytical technologies, has enabled some remarkable discoveries. I recently blogged about how scientists used genetic research to study the decline of the woolly mammoth. A separate research study has yielded an intriguing theory: ancient horses hibernated.
Hibernation is a state of prolonged inactivity practiced by some warm-blooded animals. It is characterized by lowered metabolism, body temperature, breathing and heart rate. Hibernation helps animals conserve energy when food becomes scarce, especially during cold winters. Prior to the long sleep, an animal will consume large amounts of food and convert it into fat stores.
Researchers from Spain and Russia analyzed the fat of several prehistoric animals, including two horses from 4,600 and 4,400 years BP (before present). Analysis instrumentation included an Agilent gas chromatograph.
Fatty acids and polyunsaturated fatty acids were found in values similar to those normally found in hibernating animals such as badgers, bears and beavers. The implication is that woolly mammoths and prehistoric horses hibernated or semi-hibernated. This would have helped the animals survive the long and dark winters in the Arctic zone of Siberia.
This theory is actually supported by a …read moreContinue reading →
Today begins the Senate committee’s discussion of allowing small Vermont farmers to slaughter on site instead of utilizing inspected slaughterhouses. Currently, the state laws do allow the on-site slaughtering for strict numbers of animals, but the bill will need to be renewed in order for that to continue.
The passing of the bill would give small farms the ability to continue slaughtering until 2019. This bill has a lot of support on both sides, from those wanting to regulate the slaughters as well as those wanting to give farmers more control.
For those that do not want to allow farmers to slaughter on site, they believe that food safety is compromised because there are no regulations for individual farms. Unlike inspected slaughter facilities, individual farms do not have to adhere to strict regulations regarding the monitoring of temperature or other parameters during and after the slaughtering. This gives bacteria opportunity to grow and infect meat, putting end consumers at a greater risk.
Because slaughterhouses’ main focus is on customer safety during the slaughtering of animals, they have a variety of tools to ensure that meat remains safe through the entire process. This includes incorporating processes such as monitoring temperature using tools likeContinue reading →
Today, April 11th, is opening day at Fenway Park, the Boston Red Sox home field, located less than 100 miles from MadgeTech’s headquarters. During the course of one game, anywhere from eight to ten dozen baseballs are used, meaning each ball gets only a few pitches.
With all of those balls used each game, it is no wonder the MLB goes through thousands of baseballs each season. But how are they made, and what is really inside them? The answer may be surprising as the balls travel around the globe before ending up at the pitcher’s mound.
Beginning with a small cork center, all MLB baseballs begin their life in Costa Rica. The small cork center, referred to as a pill, is wrapped in two thin, rubber layers until it weighs exactly 7/8th of an ounce. Once the correct weight is reached, a machine is used to consistently wrap a total of 369 yards of different thicknesses of wool yarn around the small ball.
Next comes applying the leather to the outside. The iconic white leather originates in the United States, where it is meticulously checked for defects before being tanned using alum, giving it the bright white color. A machine attaches two …read moreContinue reading →
We have smart cars, smart homes and smart phones allowing for constant connectivity. Now, researchers are looking to add ‘smart’ to another commodity; fabric. This latest smart technology is being studied and created right here in the United States at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).
The fabrics that researchers are exploring incorporate materials such as fiberglass, various metals and ceramics. These uncommon clothing materials are combined to create semiconductors and sensors, capable of recording, and more remarkably, processing the collected information. The end result will be a fabric that can monitor the health of the wearer, and adjust temperature to ensure comfort.
The possibilities with these fabrics are endless. From creating temperature controlled uniforms for firefighters, military and law enforcement to ensuring the safety of triathletes, this new fabric is revolutionary. One researcher explains that having a pregnant woman wearing smart fabric would allow the minute to minute monitoring of the baby’s vital signs, alerting if there are any complications.
Although the research of smart fabrics is just beginning, it is expected to be life changing in more ways than one. In addition to creating fabric to ensure the safety of wearers, more than 50,000 jobs across a variety of industries …read moreContinue reading →
The First Metrology Solutions Expo PROVIDENCE, RI, USA – Mahr Federal will feature the MarShaft™ SCOPE 250 plus, along with the MarVision MM 320, the MarVision QM 300, and MarCal digital calipers and MarCator digital indicators at the first Metrology Solutions Expo, May 4-5, 2016, TD Convention Center in the James H. Woodside Conference Center, Greenville, SC, USA. The … Continue reading →
Agilent helps prove that a 15-century painting is a fake
A few weeks ago, I wrote about Agilent’s role in art conservation. During my research, I found a fascinating story that is worth a separate post.
For decades, the National Gallery in London had displayed a painting called “The Virgin and Child with an Angel.” The work was especially prized for being the earliest known dated painting by Italian artist Francesco Francia – it was faintly signed and dated “1490.”
Then, in 1954, an identical version of the masterpiece appeared at an auction. The National Gallery needed to determine which of the two paintings was Francia’s original.
The controversy was settled thanks to an Agilent GC/MS system. A sample of yellow paint taken from the National Gallery’s copy was analyzed and found to contain a synthetic pigment that was only commercially available after 1818. A sample of red paint similarly contained a pigment that was probably manufactured in the 19th century.
Further analysis by microscope, X-ray and infrared reflectography concluded that London’s painting was indeed a fake. Today, the National Gallery classifies its copy as “After Francesco Francia, probably second half of the 19th century.” The original …read moreContinue reading →