Tag: money

Canada's New Quarters Will Have Glow-in-the-Dark Dinosaurs on Them

By Veronique Greenwood | April 18, 2012 8:09 am

quarter

And unicorns, too.

Well, no. Just the dinosaurs. But isn’t that enough?

Each of the quarters, which will retail for $29.99, will feature an image of a Pachyrhinosaurus lakustai, a dinosaur discovered in Alberta. But take it into the closet under the stairs or wherever your favored glow-in-the-dark viewing site is, and the creature’s skeleton glows.

This is, according to TIME’s Moneyland, the Canadian government’s latest scheme to help shrink the deficit. We’re not hopeful, though—how many dino-loving 6-year-olds have $29.99 to spare?

[via Moneyland]

Image courtesy of Canadian Mint

Are ATMs as Filthy as Toilet Seats?

By Patrick Morgan | January 14, 2011 4:37 pm

Cue the “filthy money” jokes: The same germs that touch your bum in public potties also touch your fingers during ATM transactions.

In response to a survey of 3,000 British adults, a majority of which believe that public toilets out-filth everything else, the company BioCote–a producer of anti-bacterial coatings–decided to get to the bottom of the issue by comparing ATMs and toilets. Researchers scoured England, swabbing heavily-used ATM key pads as well as nearby public toilet seats. After letting the swabbed bacteria grow over night, they compared the cultures and discovered that both contained bacteria from the groups Bacillus and Pseudomonadaceae.

The Daily Mail quotes BioCote microbiologist Richard Hastings:

“We were surprised by our results because the ATM machines were shown to be heavily contaminated with bacteria; to the same level as nearby public toilets. In addition the bacteria we detected on ATMs were similar to those from the toilet, which are well known as causes of common human illnesses.”

But one should always consider the source: BioCote specializes in selling anti-bacterial products. How convenient, then, that they are able to find so much bacteria on ATMs. And the company’s finding has garnered at least one detractor. CBS News quotes William Shaffner, a preventative medicine specialist at Vanderbilt University Medical Center:

“Bacillus is trivial,” he tells CBS News. “It only causes infections in the most compromised people in hospitals. Pseudomonads is quite similar.” Schaffner says you could swab almost anything and find these two microscopic buggers. “We live in a microbial world,” he says. Whether found on telephones, ATMs, toilet seats, folded money, or  counters in department stores, these types of environmental bacteria have never been conclusively demonstrated to transmit illness.

Although the research gives new life to the term “filthy rich,” you probably won’t see the ATM-equivalent of plastic toilet seat covers in the near future. Most harmful bacteria transmissions, after all, still happen via airborne or human-to-human contact. But all the same, after your next stop at the money-mouth machine, you might feel better if you wash your hands.

Related Content:
80beats: Did Your Morning Shower Spray You With Bacteria?
Science Not Fiction: Dirty, Dirty Spaceships
Science Not Fiction: Dreaming of Carnivorous Plants and Life-Saving Bacteria
DISCOVER: 20 Things You Didn’t Know About Hygiene

Image: flickr / catatronic

World’s Coolest Repairman: The Guy Who Services Antarctica’s ATMs

By Joseph Calamia | July 22, 2010 12:31 pm

atminsideResearchers at Antarctica’s McMurdo Station may face annual average temperatures of minus .4 degrees Fahrenheit and drifting snow of depths around five feet–but at least they have easy access to cash. Since around 1998, Antarctica has had an operating ATM.

The blog NeedCoffeeDotCom interviewed a Wells Fargo representative about the challenges of keeping an Antarctic ATM working. According to a vice president in the ATM banking division, David Parker, there are actually two of the machines in the remote McMurdo Station, but one serves exclusively as a back-up that can be “cannibalized” for parts in case the other fails. The machine recycles the station’s limited cash supply, since–beyond chucking dollar bills at penguins–there aren’t many things to do with cash outside the snug walls of McMurdo.

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CATEGORIZED UNDER: Technology Attacks!

How Butterfly Wing Patterns Could Thwart Counterfeiting Crooks

By Joseph Calamia | June 1, 2010 5:12 pm

colorpicThese researchers want to take their butterflies to the bank. They’ve found a way to mimic the nanostructures responsible for giving butterfly wings their colors, and they think butterfly-inspired money designs might hinder counterfeiters.

“We still need to refine our system, but in future we could see structures based on butterflies wings shining from a £10 note or even our passports,” said Mathias Kolle in a university press release. Kolle researched the butterfly’s wing structure with Ullrich Steiner and Jeremy Baumberg at the University of Cambridge.

Butterfly wings don’t use traditional pigment for their flair. Instead, they rely on the way light bounces off tiny multilayer structures on their wings. These micro- and nanostructures come in a variety of shapes (see the “egg carton-like” scanning electron microscope picture below), and scientists have long had inklings as to how different structures result in different colors. But Kolle and colleagues have gone one step further, managing the elusive task of copying this craft.

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Zoo Animals Join the Unemployed Ranks, Make Videos

By Boonsri Dickinson | March 24, 2009 11:51 am

Even porcupines are visiting the unemployment office these days. After New York governor David Paterson proposed taking away all funding to the state’s zoos, botanical gardens, and aquariums for the 2010 fiscal year, the Wildlife Conservation Society decided to post a viral video, hoping to create enough opposition to the suggested budget cut.

In it, a porcupine called Wednesday is fired from the Bronx Zoo and goes on a job hunt. At first, he appears to be pretty employable. But Wednesday lacks computer skills — he never learned to use power point in his time at the zoo. So when he’s not looking for a job, he’s making ends meet by standing in front of the zoo entrance and holding a “please help” sign.The gesture is cute, but seems to be putting an overly-kind spin on the truth: If the budget cuts are made, zoos must cut back on the variety of animals. What will they do with the animals they have to “cut”?

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