What Came First? The Chicken or the LASER?

If you’ve had a child in the last few decades, you’ve had a choice to make: if you want to know the sex of the baby ahead of time. With ultrasound you can find out or–popular these days–you can have the result sealed and have a baker create a reveal cake. Apparently, researchers at the Dresden University of Technology and the University of Leipzig wanted to do the same trick with unborn chickens.

You might wonder why anyone cares (we did). Apparently, chickens that are bred for egg laying don’t produce roosters suitable for food use. This leads to about half of the chicks being “culled” (a less ugly euphemism than gassed or shredded) and used in–among other things–animal feed. Worldwide, billions of chicks are culled each year and that’s not counting other similar situations like male turkeys and female ducks.

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Build your own laser spectrograph


The news is awash about a 17 year old girl who won a $100,000 scholarship for her spectrograph, but nobody actually linked to information about the thing. After some digging around, I located [Mary]’s web site. It’s a work in progress, but I found an early version of her spectrograph build. The picture shows her project with a spectrograph head made for a meade telescope. Hopefully she’ll get documentation of her spectrograph head up soon. This is one of the better uses I’ve seen for a 5mw green laser.

I forgot to mention her sweet dobsonian telescope build. Very nice work.