Archive for May, 2013


ObiWanKenobi-cu(May the Face be with you… always)

They’re not just for hipsters and the homeless any more. While both dead sexy and totally awesome, beards are also a boon to your overall health. Researchers discovered that men with beards and moustaches actually enjoy numerous benefits including, but not limited to, instant handsomeness.

phil-robertson-duck-dynasty(Happy Happy Happy)

A study from the University of Southern Queensland, published in the Radiation Protection Dosimetry journal, found that beards block 90 to 95 percent of UV rays, thereby slowing the aging process and reducing the risk of skin cancer. Got asthma? Pollens and dust simply get stuck in that lustrous facial hair. Additionally, all that hair retains moisture and protects against the wind, keeping you looking young and fresh-faced. What’s more, shaving is usually the cause of ingrown hairs and bacterial infections that lead to acne.

duck-dynasty-quotes(Jase Robertson – a man and his beard)

To conduct the study, researchers left bearded mannequins, along with less attractive, follically-challenged ones, in the blistering sun of the Australian outback and then compared the amount of radiation absorbed by each.

Beards are not a get out of sunscreen free card however. Dr. Lowe still recommends men with facial hair use a thin, non-greasy sun lotion or spray.

katana-1s(Yours truly – The Kosher Samurai)

And don’t forget to take care of those blessed follicles; beards can also spread infection if not properly cared for and make consumption of certain foods (e.g. cheeseburgers, corn on the cob, falafel sandwiches—anything with hummus actually, bagel ‘n’ schmear, syrupy pancakes) rather laborious. Fuzzy-faced men would be wise to take advantage of beard wash and beard oil, essential tools for looking and feeling your beardy best.



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As is probably known to many, Canada has about 20% of the world’s fresh water.

The subject matter of this article is, however, somewhat less than ‘fresh.’

According to a finding published in the journal Nature, a U.K.-Canadian team of scientists has discovered billion-year-old water deep underground from a mine that is 2.4 kilometers beneath Ontario. This water could be the oldest on the planet, and leads to the possibility of similar life being discovered on Mars.

billion-year-old-water-mine_67585_600x450(Water filters out of the floor of a Canadian mine)

These ancient pockets of water were analyzed by researchers from the Universities of Toronto, Lancaster, Manchester and McMaster. The researchers believe that this isolated deep underground water may contain chemicals that are known to support life.

Believed to be one of the oldest water samples ever found, the rocks that hold this water are similar to those found on Mars, raising hopes that similar life-sustaining water could be discovered in the depths of Martian polar ice caps.

billion-year-old-water-found-in-canada-holds-clues-about-ancient-life(Martian surface – not the wettest place around)

Pockets of water trapped in rocks from a Canadian mine are over a billion years old, and the water could contain life forms that can survive independently from the sun, scientists said this week.

The ancient water was collected from boreholes at Timmins Mine beneath Ontario, Canada, at a depth of about 1.5 miles (2.4 kilometers).



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I have to hand it once again to the intrepid geeks and nerdlings over at ScienceDaily.com!

Actor Johnny Depp Immortalized in Name of Fossilized Creature With ‘Scissor Hand’ Claws

The article begins, “A scientist has discovered an ancient extinct creature with ‘scissor hand-like’ claws in fossil records and has named it in honour of his favourite movie star.”

The 505-million-year-old fossil called Kooteninchela deppi (pronounced Koo-ten-ee-che-la depp-eye), which is a distant ancestor of lobsters and scorpions, was named after the actor Johnny Depp for his starring role as Edward Scissorhands — a movie about an artificial man named Edward, an unfinished creation, who has scissors for hands.

Kooteninchela-deppi-4(What a cutie. Just like its namesake!)

Kooteninchela deppi is helping researchers to piece together more information about life on Earth during the Cambrian period when nearly all modern animal types emerged.

David Legg, who carried out the research as part of his PhD in the Department of Earth Science and Engineering at Imperial College London, says:

“When I first saw the pair of isolated claws in the fossil records of this species I could not help but think of Edward Scissorhands. Even the genus name, Kootenichela, includes the reference to this film as ‘chela’ is Latin for claws or scissors. In truth, I am also a bit of a Depp fan and so what better way to honour the man than to immortalise him as an ancient creature that once roamed the sea?”


It lived in shallow seas off the coast of what is now British Columbia, Canada, although in those days, the area was closer to the equator.

It was approximately four centimetres long with a trunk for a body and millipede-like legs and large eyes which it used to search for food along the sea floor, according to research published in the Journal of Palaeontology.

The researcher believes that Kooteninchela deppi would have been a hunter or scavenger. Its large Edward Scissorhands-like claws with their elongated spines may have been used to capture prey, or they could have helped it to probe the sea floor looking for sea creatures hiding in sediment.

lobster(Kooteninchela deppi – a distant relative of lobsters & scorpions)

It also had large eyes composed of many lenses like the compound eyes of a fly. They were positioned on top of movable stalks called peduncles to help it more easily search for food and look out for predators.

The researchers discovered that Kooteninchela deppi belongs to a group known as the ‘great-appendage’ arthropods, which includes spiders, scorpions, centipedes, millipedes, insects and crabs.

Mr Legg said: ‘Just imagine it – the prawns covered in mayonnaise in your sandwich, the spider climbing up your wall and even the fly that has been banging into your window and annoyingly flying into your face are all descendants of Kooteninchela deppi.’

‘Current estimates indicate that there are more than one million known insects and potentially 10 million more yet to be categorised, which potentially means that Kooteninchela deppi has a huge family tree.’

Legg now wants to study the fossils from the Ordovician period, when species diversity increased.

The research was published in the Journal of Palaeontology 2 May 2013.


Journal Reference:

  1. David Legg. Multi-Segmented Arthropods from the Middle Cambrian of British Columbia (Canada)Journal of Paleontology, 2013; 87 (3): 493 DOI: 10.1666/12-112.1

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Two years ago today, May 18, 2011, I wrote my first article for this blog, the Kosher Samurai.


Here it is!

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

I prefer to spell it bl*g or bl*gging.

I have some strange aversion to the way the word is usually spelled. Not sure why. I just do.

I’m sure that, in time, I will succumb and use the full un-asterixed version. But for now, this is my bl*g.

I’ve been inspired (or provoked, depending on one’s point of view) to start up this site by a dear friend of mine.

Shameless plug for dear friend of mine:  XUP

Her writing is quite good. If you haven’t done so already, check it out. Quality stuff, I assure you.

A few details about yours truly…

I’m Jewish and I have a fondness for Japan, Japanese food and Japanese culture.

(Hence the name for this site:  Kosher Samurai)

I am a criminal defence lawyer. Divorced

Two kids:

Exhibit One: 21 yr old daughter

Exhibit Two: 19 yr old son.

That’s all for now, I think. I’m new to this so I need to get past my “green as Gumby” stage and start writing.

Bye for now

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

I never thought that two years later, I would still enjoy providing you little geeks and nerdlings out there with my own two cents on life.


I enjoy writing articles for this blog, mixed with some recipes and, of course, lots of stories on movies, science, bugs and bats.


Thanks for reading.

Here’s to another year. And yes, that is a threat.


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What happens when two galaxies collide? Although it may take over a billion years, such titanic clashes are quite common. Since galaxies are mostly empty space, no internal stars are likely to themselves collide. Rather the gravitation of each galaxy will distort or destroy the other galaxy, and the galaxies may eventually merge to form a single larger galaxy.

Expansive gas and dust clouds collide and trigger waves of star formation that complete even during the interaction process. Pictured above is a computer simulation of two large spiral galaxies colliding, interspersed with real still images taken by the Hubble Space Telescope. Our own Milky Way Galaxy has absorbed several smaller galaxies during its existence and is even projected to merge with the larger neighboring Andromeda galaxy in a few billion years.

colliding_galaxies(When worlds collide. Literally!)

Thanks as always to NASA’s Astronomy Picture of the Day!



From Tuesday May 14 to Monday 20, I will be out of town for (among other reasons) the Jewish holiday of Shavuot as well as the following Sabbath. See you when I get back!

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I was at one of my favourite cafés the other day, tapping les mots juste into my Blackberry Playbook when I noticed a charming if somewhat intense young lady at the table next to me.

She appeared to be doing much the same thing (i.e. writing), only with a bit more… oomph!

She frowned. She scowled. She grinned. She sat back, glaring at her laptop monitor. I found it hard to keep my eyes off of her.


As she was packing up and getting ready to leave, some of her stuff… a paperback novel, I believe, and her iPhone… slipped off of her table and into my bag which had until now been sitting patiently by my feet, minding its own business.

She apologized. I said it was nothing and retrieved her book and iPhone for her, showing manly restraint in not checking out what it was she was reading.


I mentioned that I had noticed her getting wrapped up in her writing. She blushed and admitted she often did that, even in public.

I asked what was it that got her so passionate. “I’m writing a blog article… review… about a fashion show I was at last night,” she replied, smiling again.

Passionate about Fashion. In a word, Fashionate!

“Ah,” I said, the proverbial penny dropping. “That explains it. You’re ‘fashionate’ and wrote accordingly.”


She chuckled and said, “Yeah, I guess I am!” She sat back down at her table and we spoke for about 10 minutes.

She said she was a writer and theatrical director. I said I was for 12 years in professional theatre as a lighting designer and stage manager.

We exchanged our two cents on the differences between the theatrical world and the world of fashion.

One of the things upon which we both immediately agreed – while many in the theatre are bitchy and catty, there is nowhere near the sheer viciousness that is regularly and openly displayed in the fashion industry. Even the movie business didn’t compare.

It was so nice to connect with a perfect stranger on such an unusual subject in which we both shared an interest.


She stood up to leave. We shook hands wishing we could spend more time together discussing the topic and how maddening it could be.

“Are you in the neighbourhood often?” she asked. I nodded. “Oh well, then I am sure we’ll run into each other again.”

“It was fun. I hope we can get upset about it again some time soon.”

“I’d like that. But there’s no sense getting all worked up about it, though,” she said, moving a strand of hair from her face. “After all…

“It’s only fashion!” I said, finishing the sentence for her.


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Col. Chris Hadfield

Mission specialist on STS-74 and performed multiple EVAs on STS-100.

Currently on board International Space Station as Commander of Expedition 35.


The other day, he posted a photo of my little corner of The Great White North, southern Ontario.

If you look closely and squint, you can see me waving from the middle of the Niagara Peninsula.


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