Monthly Archives: March 2015

I tried to make the K-Cup environmental issue one of my top 100 concerns, but just couldn’t do it.

Neil says it well.

The K-cups that I throw away every week can fit in my hand. We aren’t talking the Exxon-Valdez spill here.

Eternity Matters

How Bad Are K-Cups for the Environment?  Probably not that bad. The “My K-cups” with filters make very little waste. Amazon’s San Francisco Bay coffees are less than 30 cents each on Subscribe and Save and are partially biodegradable.

P.S. Are Starbucks lids biodegradable? I don’t hear people complaining about those. And even a full year of K-cups wouldn’t fill a single garbage bag. Not sure why this thing gets so much attention.  We pay $10 or so a month to recycle and one week’s worth of that takes up less space than a year of K-Cups.

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Filed under Miscellanea

Green Burials, Ancient Chinese Style: Buddha Statue Holds Mummified Remains of Monk

A Chinese Buddha statue that dates from approximately the 11th or 12th century was found to have a mummified monk inside of it as well as even older pieces of rolled textile carpet, covered in Chinese text.  (Story from

The Buddha statue itself is made of gold-plated papier-mâché and, according to the carbon dating performed on it, was created around the eleventh or twelfth century. The monk inside of the statue may have performed self-mummification, wherein he slowly starved himself to death in a way that would promote mummification and reduce decay.  His body was then placed in a lotus position inside of the statue.

It’s interesting that we think of this as a mummified monk who was surprisingly found inside of a Buddha statue, rather than viewing the statue itself as a part of the mummification.  Here is the CT scan of the mummy:

Given that the Buddha statue seems to have so precisely matched the contours of the monk’s remains, it appears to be an artistic, elaborate coffin, rather than a statue that just happens to have a corpse hidden inside of it.  (Just bear in mind that my study of the classics was limited to Greece, Rome, and a smidge of Egypt, and ended sometime around 400 AD.)

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Filed under Nerdiness, Science & Engineering

Shadow Selfies from Space

The Rosetta spacecraft inadvertently took a picture of its own shadow when it snapped a high-resolution image of Comet 67P.  (Story.)  Because this is the twenty-first century, wherein spacecraft take their own pictures on comets, the European Space Agency tweeted thus:

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Filed under Nerdiness, Science & Engineering