Monday, October 31, 2011

Oh, great: Another unemployed lawyer looking for work

The Chicago Tribune reports today that Tony La Russa is stepping down as manager of the St. Louis Cardinals. (La Russa passed the Florida Bar Examination in 1979.)

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Milk -- it does a closet good?

Yahoo! News today carries a Reuters report, by Natalia Drozdiak, about a German fashion designer who makes clothes out of milk.

Yes, milk:
Anke Domaske, 28, has developed a fabric called QMilch made from high concentrations of the milk protein casein -- the first man-made fiber produced entirely without chemicals.

"It feels like silk and it doesn't smell -- you can wash it just like anything else," Domaske told Reuters.
Domaske's company, Mademoiselle Chi Chi, has attracted celebrities like Mischa Barton and Ashlee Simpson. But Ms. Domaske was a microbiology student before she became a designer.

Domaske says she has found a process that extracts casein from dried milk powder. The casein "is heated up in a type of meat-mincing machine with other natural ingredients. The fiber comes out in strands and is then spun into yarn on a spinning machine."

Milk has been made into fabric since the 1930s, Drozdiak writes, "but was always produced in unecological ways that used a lot of chemicals. Unlike earlier prototypes, QMilch is made almost entirely from casein." The new yarn, Domaske insists, is not only ecological but also has many health benefits. Domaske told Reuters that the amino acids in the protein are antibacterial, anti-aging and can help regulate both blood circulation and body temperature.

That's a lot to ask from a dress.

Reading today's article about this new milk fabric, I couldn't help but think of the 1951 Ealing Studios classic, The Man in the White Suit." In the movie, a Cambridge-trained research chemist, Sidney Stratton, portrayed by a young Alec Guinness, winds up working as a laborer in an English textile mill. While thus employed, Guinness inadvertently invents a new fabric -- that seemingly never wears out and never gets dirty. It also glows in the dark.

For a moment, Stratton is hailed as a genius. But his triumph is short-lived. Once capital and labor realize that the new fabic, if it really performed as designed, would put them all out of business, the class enemies unite against a common foe -- Stratton.

Of course, in the movie, Stratton's fabric was slightly radioactive. Supposedly the new milk fabric will not decompose. According to the Reuters article, "Due to its anti-bacterial qualities, the milk fiber can also be used in medicine and makeup. Even some auto companies have looked into using the fiber for car upholstery."