ResearchBlogging editor’s selections: wee beer beasties, war mathematics, guillotines for snow, and nematode bomb sniffers

skyskull “Dr. SkySkull” selects several notable posts each week from a miscellany of ResearchBlogging.org categories. He blogs at Skulls in the Stars.

  • Spontaneous fermentation: the role of microorganisms in beer. The brewing of beer by necessity employs the action of microorganisms, specifically yeast. In the past, however, when the concoctions were not prepared in a sterile environment, other wee beasties could infiltrate the mix, including antibiotic-forming bacteria! In a fascinating post, Katie Kline of EcoTone discusses early brewing processes and their contaminants, both good and bad.
  • The mathematics of war. War might seem like the last place for a mathematician, but Aimee of misc.ience discusses recent research done using “open source intelligence” — and some counter-intuitive conclusions that are drawn from it!
  • Snow, water, digital imaging, metamorphism…and a guillotine! How does a geoscientist measure the dissolution/melting and precipitation/freezing of water in a thick layer of snow? By using a guillotine, of course! Anne Jefferson of Highly Allochtonous discusses this unusual-sounding technique.
  • Detecting explosives with nematodes. Nematodes — which include the creatures that cause heartworm in dogs — are just plain icky. As Michael Long of Phased explains, however, they may play a future role in bomb detection technology!

Check back next week for more miscellaneous suggestions!

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