Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Indoor mold and fungal identification workshop 2013

Line drawing of Alternaria spp. - N. Carlson

I will be teaching a 1.5 day mold and fungal identification workshop on the St. Paul Campus of the University of Minnesota on March 19th and 20th, 2013. My co-instructor will be Kelly Mullane.  The hands on workshop will allow participants to learn the basics of identifying fungal organisms.  Participants will be provided with a text book, a photo CD of fungal organisms and access to online resources for continuing education after the class.  Identification of organisms in culture, tease tape and spore trap sampling will be covered.  Registration for the class is available through the Center for Public Health Outreach.

Contact agar and Tease Tape analysis - N. Carlson

The text book for the class is Identifying Fungi by Guy St. Germain.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Tasty Rodents of Unusual Size
Heifer Project is helping people raise domesticated Grass Cutter rodents or cane rats for a source of protein.  These (ROUS) Rodents of Unusual Size have been a food staple in Ghana for years.  They had been captured by poisoning or by burning vegetation to smoke them out of the wild.  With the help of a German group the animals were recently able to be domesticated.  Because the animals are native to the area with local grasses as a food source the cost for animal husbandry is limited.   The meat is considered a delicacy especially around the holidays. 

The ROUS from the movie Princess Bride

Update:  Pierre Ferrari interview CEO of Heifer International from Ensia June 10, 2013.  He uses his experience with Coke to develop value chain markets that allow community projects to be sustainable within 5 years.  The project is then cut loose.  They do not want to foster a culture of dependency. 

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Free Fungal Identification apps for Android

I recently purchased a Samsung Stratosphere Cellphone and decided to create some Android Apps using  The Apps below are specifically for an Android phone and deal primarily with mold identification. To install these apps you will need to allow app installation from non Google Play sources. I will provide an update when and if these are loaded onto Google Play.

Sustainable Mycology mobile blog - This blog as a mobile app.

Mold microscope flash cards  - Common molds viewed at 100x to 400.  It works best in flash card mode full screen

Mold spore line drawing flash cards - Colored line drawings of microscopic molds that work best in flash card mode full screen

Mold spore trap photo quiz - Photos of mold spores and other particles found on spore trap air samples that works best in flash card mode full screen.


Free emergency response apps from Google play

Cargo Decoder A searchable reference to the 2008 and 2012 emergency response guidelines

Brightest flashlight Converts the phone into a bright flashlight for a short period of time.

Real Time CPR guide Gives instructions on how to provide CPR in and emergency.

First Aide; A quick guide to first aide.

OSHA Heat Safety Tool:  OSHA's guide to heat safety

Noise Meter: A dBA weighted sound level meter.

Test your hearing:  A multifrequency hearing test

Army Survival guide:  A field guide for surviving in an area with limited resources.

WISER: Wireless Information System for Emergency Responders

Wiki Emergency Medicine Concise emergency medical notes for physicians


Saturday, November 3, 2012

Bacterial Protein in House Dust is Asthma Trigger

In the October 14, 2012 issue of Nature scientists from NIH and Duke University scientist suggest that bacterial flagellin protein in house dust may be an asthma trigger - Science Daily.  Studies in mice sensitive to the flagellin protein found they displayed these asthmatic symptoms when exposed to the protein. 

In a related finding, asthmatic humans were found to have higher levels of antibodies to flagellin in their blood than non asthmatic individuals. 

The scientists recommend cleaning to reduce the dust load in a house.  This may be a way to reduce the asthma triggers. It also has implications for reducing asthma triggers at work.


Friday, November 2, 2012

Sandy Flooding Fries Fisker Fleet

As reported on Fox News and World Car Fans, sixteen Fisker Karma electric hybrid cars burst into flames and exploded after being submerged in salt water at a New Jersey shore parking lot as the waters from Hurricane Sandy receded.  No one was reported injured.

This is not the first time the Fisker Karma has been involved in a fire. A Fisker Karma caught fire in a Woodside California grocery store parking lot. The exact cause is unknown.  The A123 Systems  battery pack is a suspect.


Justin Bieber owns one of these cars as reported in an earlier blogpost "Justin Bieber's shiny car".