Monthly Archives: December 2010

e-ink (329/365)



e-ink (329/365), originally uploaded by :Duncan.

I am very impressed by the clarity, stability and naturalness of the e-ink displays. I bought a Kindle for Caroline’s Christmas present and now I’ve ordered one of my own. Black and white seems a slight step backwards compared to the multi-coloured iPad but after all, most books are in black and white. Not having an LCD/LED screen is also easier on the eyes and means a battery life of one month.

Battery Eggs – Defend The Big Move

Defend the big move

In 1999, the European Union (EU) passed the Laying Hens Directive, which laid down minimum standards for the treatment of egg-laying hens across the EU. From 1 January 2012, the use of barren battery cages in the EU, and the sale of EU eggs from those cages, will be illegal.

A potential threat to the ban

The egg industry has been given a generous 12 years to prepare for the ban. Now, with just one year to go until the ban comes into force, some egg producers across Europe are claiming that they still cannot be ready in time, and are requesting more time to comply with the new legislation.

What could this mean for hens?

This delay would mean egg-laying hens continuing to suffer in cramped, barren battery cages where they are denied recognition of their most basic behavioural needs – scratching for food, laying eggs in a nest, roosting, dustbathing, and even stretching their wings.

via Defend The Big Move – Compassion in World Farming.

The peacock courting the chickens (323/365)

…and the chickens carry on regardless.

I thought that the photograph looked kind of unreal and it’s because of this many of the colours you see are not pigment but refraction:

Many of the brilliant colours of the peacock plumage are due to an optical interference phenomenon, Bragg reflection, based on (nearly) periodic nanostructures found in the barbules (fiber-like components) of the feathers.

Different colours correspond to different length scales of the periodic structures. For brown feathers, a mixture of red and blue is required: one colour is created by the periodic structure, and the other is a created by a Fabry–Pérot interference peak from reflections off the outermost and innermost boundaries of the periodic structure. Many colour mutations exist through selective breeding, such as the leucistic White Peafowl and the Black-Shouldered Peafowl.

Such interference-based structural colour is especially important in producing the peacock’s iridescent hues (which shimmer and change with viewing angle), since interference effects depend upon the angle of light, unlike chemical pigments.