Re: Stuff & Nonsense
« Reply #13989 on: Dec 15th, 2015, 08:35am »
GOOD MORNING, GOOD MORNING!
New York Post
Thousands of people have converted to the Jedi faith
By Tim Donnelly December 14, 2015
For thousands of believers, ’tis the season to honor one of the most important religious figures in history: Yoda.
The number of people who self-identify as part of the Jedi religion has grown dramatically in recent years, according to census data. The US census doesn’t count Jedi as a religion, but other countries’ data give us a sense of the size: In England it’s the seventh-largest religion, with 175,000 members; 15,000 Jedi can be found in the Czech Republic, along with 9,000 in Canada and 65,000 in Australia.
That makes the long-awaiting release of “The Force Awakens” this week a kind of second coming for believers.
“I think we’re heading to a point where we’re going to see a physical Jedi temple sometime in the next 10 years,” John Henry Phelan, of Temple of the Jedi Order, the most trafficked Jediism Web site in the US, told Details magazine in 2013. “Probably something like a monastery, where Jedi monks will live and where other Jedi can visit. I’d be surprised if that didn’t happen.”
The Jedi, introduced in 1977’s “Star Wars,” are described as ancient warriors who wield the power of the Force, a mystic energy that binds the universe. They wield lightsabers and seek to purge fear and hate from their lives. Jedi — the real-world religion — comes with its own set of tenets and principles, a combination of Zen Buddhism, Taoism and samurai culture.
There’s no god to worship, but primary faith is put in the Force, the power that binds all living things on Earth. Jedi oppose torture and the death penalty, and oppose prejudice and discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender or ethnicity. They also stress self-determination and the freedom of expression.
Hoods were originally required when walking around in public (a founder of the church was booted from a store in the United Kingdom for refusing to remove his). Carrying a lightsaber is not required, for safety reasons, and also because they aren’t real.
Jedi-adherent prisoners in the UK last year protested not being allowed to freely practice their religion — even while Quakerism, paganism and Rastafarianism are allowed.
“There are at least 50 Jedi warriors in prison in the UK and they are not being fairly treated,” a Star Wars expert told the Daily Express newspaper. “We must ask: Why not Jediism, when it is more popular than most of the other religions?”
Jediism isn’t exclusive: Its followers can practice other religions too. But Patrick Day-Childs, a video-game journalist in England, told the BBC he joined Jedi because it was the only religion that made sense to him.
“It’s an actual religion, not just about fandom,” he says. “At its absolute core it’s about helping people.”
So while Christians debate whether there’s a “war on Christmas” because the Starbucks corporation changed its holiday coffee cups, Jedi followers know that there really was a “War on Jedi.”
While the validity of any faith inspired by a film is bound to be controversial, you just might see a Jedi performing a marriage ceremony before too long.
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
« Reply #13990 on: Dec 15th, 2015, 08:37am »
Precise method underlies sloppy madness of dog slurping
Mechanisms of how dogs drink revealed
Date: December 14, 2015 Source: Virginia Tech
Stories about lap dogs are everywhere, but researchers at the Virginia Tech College of Engineering can tell the story of dog lapping.
Using photography and laboratory simulations, researchers studied how dogs raise fluids into their mouths to drink. They discovered that sloppy-looking actions at the dog bowl are in fact high-speed, precisely timed movements that optimize a dogs' ability to acquire fluids.
Their discovery appears today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
Researchers also compared what they learned about how dogs drink with what they knew from previous studies of cats. The scientists discovered that even though feline and canine mouths structurally are similar, their approaches to drinking are as different as -- cats and dogs.
"We know cats and dogs are quite different in terms of behavior and character," said Sunghwan "Sunny" Jung, an associate professor of biomedical engineering and mechanics. "But before we did fundamental studies of how these animals drink fluids, our guess was dogs and cats drink about the same way. Instead we found out that dogs drink quite differently than cats."
Dogs and cats are biting animals and neither have full cheeks. But without cheeks, they can't create suction to drink -- as people, horses, and elephants do. Instead they use their tongues to quickly raise water upward through a process involving inertia.
Both animals move their tongues too quickly to completely observe by the naked eye. But dogs accelerate their tongues at a much faster rate than cats, plunging them into the water and curling them downward toward their lower jaws, not their noses.
They quickly retract their tongues and a column of water forms and rises into their mouths, but they also curl the underside of their tongues to bring a tiny ladle of water upward.
Dogs precisely bite down to capture the water. In an instant they reopen their mouths and immerse their tongues back into the water.
Cats, on the other hand, lightly touch the surface of the water with their tongues, usually never fully immersing them, according to previous imaging by Jung and other researchers. When their tongues rise into their mouths, liquid adheres to the upper side, forming an elegant water column.
When dogs accelerate their tongues upwards, the latest research reveals a water column rising, but some water remains in the ladle of the tongue and is tossed to either side of the dog's mouth.
Although dogs do not use their tongues to actively scoop water into their mouths, it is possible that the scooped liquid has some positive effect on the water column dynamics below the tongue, the researchers said.
"Dog drinking is more acceleration driven using unsteady inertia to draw water upward in a column, where cats employ steady inertia," Jung said.
In all, 19 dogs of various sizes and breeds were volunteered for filming by their owners. Thirteen of the dogs were filmed outdoors at their owners' residences in the Blacksburg, Virginia, area. The remaining six were filmed at the Virginia Tech campus.
"This was a basic science study to answer a question very little was known about -- what are the fundamental mechanics of how dogs drink?" said Sean Gart, a graduate student in biomedical engineering and mechanics who filmed the dogs. "Cats tend be viewed as neater, dogs are messier, but dogs really have to accelerate their tongues to exploit the fluid dynamics of the water column."
The researchers measured tongue motion, recorded water volumes, and generally measured lapping in the dogs. They used the results to generate a physical model in the laboratory of the tongue's interaction with the air-fluid interface, according to Jake Socha, an associate professor of biomedical engineering and mechanics at Virginia Tech.
Pavlos Vlachos, a professor of mechanical engineering at Purdue University, also participated in the study.The research, supported by the National Science Foundation, is an accomplishment of the Bio-Inspired Fluid Lab of the Virginia Tech College of Engineering. The lab seeks to take cues from living systems to make practical applications that exploit the natural movement of fluids.