Orange Tangent Study

A boutique consultant service created by


Kameelah Janan Rasheed

➕ Week 005-009: August 23 - September 27, 2021

Weekly Tangents have been away for a minute, but we are back AND better.

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This week: potty trained cows, ugly laws, prosthetic building birds, and molecule-sized cameras!

Researchers Potty Trained Young Cows, a Promising Measure to Reduce Greenhouse Gases

(Smithsonian Magazine | David Kindy | September 15, 2021)

“Cattle pee a lot—up to eight gallons a day per cow. That urine contains nitrogen, which turns into ammonia when mixed with feces—an all-too-common problem in the barnyard, reports Hannah Devlin of the Guardian. So researchers wanted to see if they somehow could capture urine from cows to reduce agricultural pollution.”

The Ugly History of Chicago’s “Ugly Law”

(JSTOR Daily | Livia Gershon | September 3, 2021)

“In 1881, apparently with little debate or controversy, Chicago’s City Council passed a law barring all “diseased, maimed, mutilated” people from the city’s public streets. This was just one of a number of “ugly laws” passed in different parts of the country in the second half of the nineteenth century, as Adrienne Phelps Coco explains. Such legal discrimination against disabled people may be shocking to us today, but the context in which the law was passed and enforced also reflects patterns that still resonate.”

Bruce Is a Parrot With a Broken Beak. So He Invented a Tool.

(The New York Times | Nicholas Bakalar | September 10, 2021)

“He is about 9 years old, and when wildlife researchers found him as a baby, he was missing his upper beak, probably because it had been caught in a trap made for rats and other invasive mammals the country was trying to eliminate. [...] But Bruce found a solution: He has taught himself to pick up pebbles of just the right size, hold them between his tongue and his lower beak, and comb through his plumage with the tip of the stone. Other animals use tools, but Bruce’s invention of his own prosthetic is unique.”

Scientists Build Molecule-Sized “Camera” To Watch Chemical Reactions in Real-Time

(Futurism | Dan Robitzski | September 3, 2021)

“The device, little more than a clump of gold nanoparticles, semiconductor nanocrystals called quantum dots, and a molecular “glue,” uses a process similar to photosynthesis to reveal exactly what’s happening while various molecules interact with each other during a reaction, according to research published in the journal Nature Nanotechnology on Thursday.”

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