The concept of SkinPrint, thought up by a group of students at Leiden University, uses a 3D printer to print pieces of human skin for skin grafting. SkinPrint has won the Digital Award, the country’s most sought-after student award.
“SkinPrint could mean a revolution in medicine”, explains team leader Ingmar van Hengel in the press. A healthy piece of skin is removed from a burn victim and then printed, ready to be used for medical procedures. SkinPrint must undergo a lot more scrutiny and certification before it can be used, say about five years.
Doctor (‘Medicine man’): ‘Jambalayla, Jambayla’ (= nonsense words, nothing to do with cooking)
Patient: Thank you… I feel much better already.
Caption: It should be easier for foreign doctors to practice here.
I personally know doctors and nurses with perfectly good diplomas from Eastern European countries that cannot or could not find work in the Netherlands, as their diploma was either not recognised or highly devalued.
After 14 years in the Netherlands, a land that generally hates to be politically correct, I can imagine that this cartoon didn’t even raise an eyebrow for most people. I’m not saying I agree, but I do understand why people didn’t have a problem with it: it’s a ‘far-from-my-bed-show’, the Dutch equivalent of ‘it doesn’t really concern me’, after all the medicine man is just a caricature not a real person, someone would say.
However, I also understand why some people would be offended at the depiction of a tribal sounding African-like Black person portrayed as a quack. I just think the cartoon is not that great (Hein de Kort does have his moments), but it does have a racial slant that could have been avoided.
The media have enough Dutch doctor mishaps to report about. Just today a Dutch doctor hit the presses for unnecessarily removing a man’s prostate in Leiden (in Dutch). The man had the same name as someone else. ‘Jambalayla, Jambayla’ to you, too.
Researchers have discovered and recently presented five types of penicillium that are bright orange, reminding them of the main colour of the Dutch Royal family, aka the House of Orange-Nassau.
They call them ‘Penicillium vanoranjei’ (family) and fourth other kinds that belong to this family, named after Crown-Prince Willem-Alexander’s three daughters (Amalia, Alexia and Ariane) and wife and future Queen consort Máxima: Penicillium maximae, Penicillium amaliae, Penicillium alexiae and Penicillium arianeae.
Expiration dates on food are just a guideline. Sometimes, things like milk are bad from the get-go, while tinned products seem to last for years. However, we don’t really know, as most of us make sure nothing green is growing on our food or sniff it to make sure it smells alright.
But wouldn’t it be great to have the guesswork taken out of the equation? The Eindhoven University of Technology is working on doing just that using a plastic analogue-digital converter, or plastic chip. The cost of having these chips on food are less than a euro cent and could also be used for other expiration date sensitive goods such as medicine.
One of the researchers on this project says food can be monitored already using standard silicon chips, but that is too expensive, about 10 euro cent, which is too much for a one euro item. That is why they are using plastic, as the chips can be applied directly to packaging. And apparently, the chips use some very complex mathematics to make sure they work properly.
People who speak Dutch with a foreign accent are just as easy to understand as native speakers. Listeners may need a while to adapt to the accent, anywhere from a few sentences to a few minutes.
Yesterday Marijt Witteman received her PhD for researching how fast listeners adapt to foreign accents. One perhaps surprising finding was that native speakers who were used to the accent, for instance, Dutch people living near the German border listening to Dutch spoken by Germans, understood words pronounced by language learners just as fast as they understood words pronounced by native speakers.
Even listeners who were not regularly exposed to the foreign accent only needed a few minutes of ‘priming’ to get up to speed. Witteman used reaction time tests in which subjects first heard a word, then saw the word written out on a screen, after which the subjects had to state if a word existed or not. Previous experiments had shown that people respond faster if they hear the word before they see it on the screen. The response times for words pronounced with an accent were just as fast as for words pronounced without an accent.
Witteman’s results could be useful in designing language courses. Course materials could be less about perfecting pronunciation and more about understanding a language. My personal take-away lesson is that Hollanders can stop pretending they don’t understand what the rest of the Dutch are saying. The game is up!
Astronomers of Leiden University have discovered a method of detecting life on planets outside our solar system.
In a paper published in the Astrophysical Journal of 20 February (and also at Arxiv.org) Ignas Snellen and his colleagues explain how current technology can be used to detect oxygen on far away planets using transit observations—observations performed when a planet crosses the line of sight between the observatory and the planet’s star.
Until now detecting oxygen from Earth was considered problematic because the oxygen in our own atmosphere would interfere with the observations. Snellen and his team propose to use “the enormous potential of high-dispersion spectroscopy to separate the extraterrestrial and telluric signals making use of the Doppler shift of the planet”—meaning that because the Earth moves, detected oxygen of the far away planet will show up slightly different every time it is measured.
The astronomers expect oxygen could be detected in as little as ‘a few dozen’ transits. Oxygen is too eager to form molecules with other elements to remain a free agent for long in an atmosphere and an abundance of oxygen suggests it is being replenished by life forms (the way plants do on our planet).
Snellen told Space Daily: “With an array of such flux collectors covering a few football fields one could perform a statistical study of extraterrestrial life in the solar neighbourhood. Although there is still a long way to go, this should be possible within the next 25 years.”
A telescope in space could also do the work, but currently there are no plans to build such a telescope and the cost would be high.
Researchers at the University of Twente have developed a way of trapping cells in microscopic pyramids.
According to the university, these pyramids allow the study of cells in a three dimensional environment. “Compounds and protein-like deposits were soon seen forming between cells in nearby pyramids. Changes in cell phenotype can therefore be studied better than in a flat plane, as this is the right way to grow cells. This yields a promising tool for research into such things as tissue regeneration.”
Building microscopic silicone pyramids was accidentally discovered. The technology can also be used to make microscopic writing utensils.
Two engineers from Delft, Paul Breur and Adnan Tunović, have finally solved decades of issues that men have had with using condoms. The Wingman condom is easy to use with one hand that doesn’t even touch the condom, it’s extra thin and it’s safe. The 30 second film doesn’t need any voice over or music to get its message across and even in the dark you cannot put it on the wrong way.
The condom was invented almost 100 years ago and very little has been done to make its use easier or more pleasant. All the colours, textures and scents have done absolutely nothing to improve condoms. Now, the use of the ‘wing’ to roll down the condom means no more condom odour on your hands. You still need to open the package with two hands, but they claim to be working on that bit. They have one size available, but will be launching the Wingman in more sizes once it takes off.
To prove that ‘everything sounds better in the Concertgebouw’, Amsterdam’s beautiful 125-year-old concert hall, some amusing adverts were made, albeit not every one of them brilliant or believable. I find the showering one a bit boring, and I don’t need to hear burping children either.
In the video below, the acoustics were tested using three scooters, which sounded much less annoying than they do on the street whizzing by on bike paths. The three scooter guys are pretty typical for Amsterdam’s streets, and they had never been in the Concertgebouw before. Having attended concerts there myself, all I can say is that the hall is very live sounding and makes brass and strings sound very vibrant, as long as you have good seats.
During one of his last days in office former Education Minister Halbe Zijlstra has saved the bachelor programme Minorities and Multilingualism: Into the Frisian Laboratory at the University of Groningen (RUG).
The minister granted the program a subsidy of 120,000 euro per year, the provincial government reported last Tuesday. The RUG will sponsor the programme for the same amount.