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Archive for the 'space' Category

Still Painting

Monday, October 13th, 2008

It seems like I’ll never get done painting this place. It looks like the cold weather moves in after the weekend so it’s time to wrap it up. I don’t really remember being taught to paint. I’m pretty sure my father must have done it at some point. Since the internet is so full of ‘how to’ videos I decided to look at some and see if I can learn anything. I didn’t use Sherwin Williams’ paint but I learned they have a ceiling paint called Visible Solutions. It goes on violet and then dries bright white so you don’t miss a spot. I thought that sounded pretty clever.

I’ve gotten to the final level on Fantastic Contraption. After you finish a level, you can see how other people solved it. It can be humbling to spend hours building something only to see someone else did it with two motors and a stick. I did get a 4 out of 5 rating on my solution to the second to last level and I didn’t see any solutions that seemed much simpler. Here is a link to it but if you haven’t solved the level called “Unpossible’, you may not want to look at it yet.

I had to laugh at this time lapse sequence of someone trying to sleep. It reminded me of my cat Amy. After about 5 hours, there is no way she is going to let you  sleep.

Speaking of cats, check out this cat oriented Japanese house design.

I’ve written about TV a lot lately. Flexible displays, laser TV, and now finally we might eventually get holographic television.

Good grief, exploding pumpkins!

I have a bunch of links to interesting photos I built up over the weekend. We have…

Jumping dolphins.

Living in-style on the sea.

Microwaving a CD, then putting it on a Tesla coil.

Earth houses.

Freezing time.

And also, some very cool pictures of the sun.

Having been stung over a hundred times TWICE, this picture of a massive yellow jacket nest totally creeps me out!

This is good for a laugh. It’s worth the extra $3.05.

And finally, here are some cute pictures of a chimp with its tiger pals.

Future Shock

Tuesday, September 23rd, 2008

I read this article at InfoWorld on 10 future technologies which may be available in ten years. Number 8 is a little scary. I laughed at number 3. Everything works and you don’t have to wait. Some times I sit down to do something on my computer and by the time it boots and everything asks me if I want to upgrade it, I’ve forgotten what it was I was going to do in the first place. I guess I have thought about the idea of being able to capture all of your life and record it somehow. As much as it would be nice to be able to create a high resolution image of something beautiful you saw when you didn’t have your camera. I often think how strange it would be now to be a kid and have something stupid you did being posted to YouTube.

The idea of using a space elevator has been around for a long time. This article points out carbon nanotubes would only have to be 4 times stronger than they are now to accomplish that. This is one technology I thought was well off into the future but if you believe the article, the Japanese are planning to build one.

I’ve often felt like there should be a way to go play golf on an extremely hot day and stay cool somehow, especially if you rented a cart. This device sounds like the only real difference between it and sticking you hands in cold water is that it draws a vacuum on your palms to speed up the process. The part where the guy goes from 180 pull-ups to 616 in six weeks is pretty amazing.

First there was dark energy, then dark matter, now dark flow. Is there a cosmic vacuum cleaner sucking up the universe?

This is an ad for condoms which has an interactive visualization of the “beer goggle” effect.

I thought this came out kind of cool. A guy decorates his basement by drawing on the walls with a Sharpie.

Probably not safe for work, but if you can cross view, check out these photos from a bikini contest. If you want to learn to cross view, see my tutorial here.

TV on the web is really evolving. Now at Hulu you can watch shows which have not premiered on TV yet.

And finally, here is your funny animal picture.

Politics vs Logic

Wednesday, September 17th, 2008

I got up this morning and as usual, sat down with a cup of coffee to read the news on the internet. I don’t know why I start my day this way. The news is always bad and it often makes me angry. Once again the government is bailing out another private financial institution to the tune of 85 billion dollars. I’ve had a number of businesses and the government never helped me out. In fact, when I was doing well and trying to grow they just taxed the hell out of me. Then there was the political wrangling of the story by both parties. My degrees are in physics, chemistry, and computer science, all tied strongly to experimental verification and logic. I often ask myself why politics is so illogical. I mean, it seems social policies, tax laws, and so forth could be subjected to experimentation and people on both sides could surely see what works and what does not. We could examine policies in other countries and takes what works from them. That is absolutely never going to happen and I think I’m beginning to understand why.

This article by Psychologist Jonathan Haidt is titled “What Makes People Vote Republican?” but it could just as well be titled “What makes People vote Democratic?” I found it a pretty fascinating read and also an explanation for why politics is the way it is and why it will never change. Then I found this video he did at TED Talks. It does contain some adult language. It is insightful and at times very humorous. It also presents some ideas on how it might be possible for people to work together for the greater good.

Also if you wonder why there is so much misinformation and lying in the political process, it’s because it pays off. If you read quotes from this article on left leaning websites you would only find the stuff towards the bottom but if you read the article in full you see both sides will believe things even after they have been refuted. There is no hope for the “truth” therefore no possibility of logic.

If you read the article by Jonathan Haidt and or watched the video, you are on my team. You know, my side, my tribe. I don’t mean Democrat or Republican, I mean you are just like me, you get online. What ever you think of Senator McCain, you have to think it’s odd he doesn’t use the internet because you do, or you wouldn’t be reading this now. Now you might be young and just think it’s that age group but my parents are considerably older and they are avid users of the web, email, and using a printer to produce my Mom’s artwork. Their friends are too. I have to admit I was unsure what to expect when my nephew gave them an old computer. I guess I was expecting to have to do a lot of support but they learned very quickly and were quite capable of finding solutions on their own. I have to admit it was a bit of a shock the first time my mother used the word Jpeg in a sentence.

On the other hand, click this.

Don’t believe for a second I’m going to get people to come to my site based on the above intellectual observations.  Here are some really hot pictures of Jessica Alba.

And we have alien speech found in a NASA radio signal.

And yes, I do have an explanation. If you start frequency shifting audio you can make a lot of things sound like very different things.

If that wasn’t strange enough for you, check out the Mongolian Death Worm.

That’s it from me today. Here are your cute animal pictures.

Ball Lightning

Monday, September 15th, 2008

I read a post today about generating power from ball lightning. I tracked down the site belonging to Dr. Kiril Chukanov here. Dr. Chukanov claims to have developed Quantum Free Energy generators capable of generating clean energy without fuel. There are some interview videos at the site but his accent is pretty heavy so it can be hard to follow at times.

It seems like I saw a movie or TV show recently where someone wanted to fire a gun in space and they ended up putting it in something so it would shoot. Turns out you don’t need oxygen to fire a gun in space.

This is just strange. It’s an article you might expect in the Enquirer but it’s from the Discovery Channel and it is about a girl with X-ray eyes.

Here is a pretty nice animation of how the Large Hadron Collider works.

Speaking of the LHC they are having a contest to give it a better name. I don’t suppose they would go for ‘Smash-o-matic’?

Binaural recording isn’t just using two microphones. It actually models the human head and ears. It’s pretty amazing to hear when you are used to just stereo. Here is an interesting demonstration.

Check out these dramatic pictures of tornadoes. We had the remains of hurricane Ike pass over us yesterday. When the house was creaking and you could hear debris hitting it, you just can’t believe some people would attempt to ride out the real thing.

From the violent to the serene, here is a nice collection of photos of reflections.

This was kind of funny. Someone used photo editing to just remove some elements from different scenes.

No photo editing here. I was just pleased on how our garden has done this year so I took a picture of what I harvested in one day.

A Nice Harvest

A Nice Harvest

I was joking my old van would make a nice tree house if you could get it up in a tree. These guys made a deer stand out of a trailer.

And finally, who would have thought hedge hogs could be so cute?

UFO Strangeness

Monday, September 8th, 2008

This Larry King interview is just odd for so many reasons. This is video of a UFO interacting with a ballistic missile test. Be sure to read the text below the footage. If the footage was confiscated by the CIA, why are we watching it?

I was surprised by these photos of the most alien-looking place on earth because I hadn’t seen a lot of these plants before. Very cool pictures!

Speaking of striking places, check out the 10 most incredible oases in the world.

As long as we are looking at pictures, here are 35 examples of rain photography. Some are definitely better than others.

This is just strange. A kid has a rare medical condition that gives him super strength. When that baby throws a tantrum, you’d better get out of the way!

Here are top ten amazing science videos. I saw the Mythbusters episode the one clip is from and I thought the scene where they float things in a tank with sulfur hexafluoride was more interesting. My personal favorite was this one. I’m surprised I haven’t seen one of these in a bar or casino at some time.

Pretty sweet! Now you can build your own electric plane for $21,000.

And finally, check out this cute pair of animals

Cooking in Plastic

Thursday, September 4th, 2008

I was having lunch with my parents recently and the subject of using Saran wrap in the microwave came up. I thought you weren’t supposed to use Saran in the microwave. After looking around a bit I found this answer at their web site. It could be I was taken in by this rumor. I was curious about other plastic containers and also found this about Ziploc containers. I was also glad to hear they don’t use bisphenol A in their products.

A deeper mystery is whether you can boil Ziploc bags. There are a number of sites which have recipes that involve this. Perhaps the most common is making an omelet using the bags. I was unable to find the information listed on these sites at SC Johnson. Make up your own mind but check out this at About.com, Breakfast Blogger, and Yahoo Answers.

On a totally different subject, I ran across this short documentary on lightning. It not only includes explanations of what we do and do not know about lightning, it has a pretty cool scene of a tree being blown to bits.


Lightning PhenomenaFunny video clips are a click away

This is one of the best images of the space shuttle I have seen.

I have seen some of these before but 24 peculiar creatures are worth checking out.

I’ve linked to some TED Talks before. This one has some heavy science concepts involved but it describes some pretty amazing technology.

Speaking of cool technology, researchers are using ultrasound to create the ability to feel virtual objects. Before I even got to the last paragraph I had the thought it might be dangerous. I’ll let you draw you own conclusion as to what this will mean to the adult video game market.

And finally, here is a cute story about a spider, a frog and a turtle.

Labor Day

Thursday, August 28th, 2008

I can’t believe Labor Day weekend is upon us already! The summers just go by so fast and the winters drag on forever. Last year we had a really late frost so maybe we will have a lot of good weather to come. I’m already pretty much in ‘goof-off’ mode for the holiday but I thought I’d post a few links for you.

This is a video of extreme base jumping. These guys put on winged suits and fly like flying squirrels. It’s awesome to watch!

Is it real or photo editing? A while back I linked to the first picture in this article figuring it’s probably not real. The second and third pictures are a different cat.  Can cats grow wings?

Even if you don’t care about the science behind these Noctilucent clouds, scroll down to the second picture which is very cool.

From PC Magazine a list of the top 100 undiscovered websites. No matter what you are into, there is probably one you will find interesting.

Kids these days will make a solar cell out of about anything!

I thought these tiny houses look kind of cool but they are kind of pricey for being so small.

And finally I have two cute animal links for you today. One is this collection of cat and dog friends, the other is a story of a baby chipmunk rescue.

Perseids And Peaches

Monday, August 11th, 2008

The Perseid meteor shower peaks tonight so if you are up really late or really early, go out and look up. We always try to see them but there is so much light pollution around here, it makes it difficult. Someday we are going to travel somewhere this time of year where we can see them.

Here is a nice photo of a meteor and an aurora.

It probably has too many lights around it but this would be a good setup for meteor watching. It’s a house with a bedroom that extends out like a desk drawer.

They are finally ready to pick

They are finally ready to pick

This would be really cool if it works. How to get to Mars in 8 weeks.

I was thinking about how movies are sometimes re-released after being digitally cleaned up. I wonder if some of the films that have been computer generated might be re-rendered as the technology improves. One example is The Polar Express where the humans look rather strange, especially the eyes. Check out this impressive demo of software to produce facial emotions in computer generated characters.

This is a pretty cute video of someone singing puppies to sleep.

Ancient Aliens

Tuesday, August 5th, 2008

I got a kick out of this story about the supposed discovery of a spaceship that crashed on earth 150 million years ago. It makes a good story. I had not heard of the Eben so I googled ‘Eben alien‘ and got a ton of conspiracy theory links. The article made me think about how silly it is in Star Gate when they find some alien ship and Carter is all up in the wiring like it’s based on familiar technology.

On the subject of flying objects here are pictures of objects sucked into an MRI scanner. The pictures aren’t necessarily that good but it does give you a feel for how powerful those things are.

I found this article at the Times interesting because one of the things I like about our new car is it displays the tire pressure. I find the whole thing about offshore drilling depressing. I’m hoping in twenty years we surely will have some technology to replace gasoline. As I’ve said before, oil is too valuable to burn. It’s the source of plastics, solvents, and many pharmaceuticals. Also given the power of sunlight, and the implications of Moore’s law, I just can’t believe we won’t figure out how to harness it and use it more cheaply than any other energy source.

Speaking of new technology, I had never heard of electron-stimulated luminescence but it sounds a lot like how a TV works. Apparently there is a company coming out with lightbulbs based on it.

A friend of mine sent me an email with pictures of things made out of oranges and lemons and so forth. I found the web site but the slide show doesn’t seem to work. You can see the pictures changing on the banner though.

This parking garage is an interesting use of perspective. I’ve often thought you could use a 3D program to generate a template for doing something like this.

If you owned an 8 foot eagle wouldn’t you teach it to play fetch?

One of the cool things about having a high resolution digital camera is being able to crop out a smaller part of the picture and still get a decent shot.  Kodak has released a fifty megapixel sensor. I can’t wait to get a camera with one of those. Then again when I saw the price at the end of the article, I guess it’s going to be a while.

Creating a ball which bounces on water never occurred to me. I’m surprised they aren’t selling paddles and a floating net with it. I have often thought it would be cool to play golf where you used a boat instead of a cart to get around. I suppose you could make some sort of water golf game using that ball.

And finally, check out these cute pictures of dogs and cats together.

Breaking Up Is Hard To Do

Thursday, July 31st, 2008

I didn’t realize the main bottleneck in splitting water into oxygen and hydrogen efficiently are the catalysts used in the design of the electrodes. One of the problems with using solar power has been storing the energy for night use. If you could efficiently generate hydrogen during the day, then you could use a fuel cell to turn the hydrogen back into electricity at night. Apparently researchers at MIT have solved this problem. It’s pretty interesting how the catalyst works.

The new catalyst marks a radical departure from earlier attempts. Researchers, including Nocera, have tried to design molecular catalysts in which the location of each atom is precisely known and the catalyst is made to last as long as possible. The new catalyst, however, is amorphous–it doesn’t have a regular structure–and it’s relatively unstable, breaking down as it does its work. But the catalyst is able to constantly repair itself, so it can continue working.

If you didn’t catch it there was also an apparent breakthrough in the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease recently. I can’t imagine how frightening it would be to be diagnosed with that affliction. Read more here.

This was an interesting article. Couch potatoes can rejoice as researchers have found taking a pill can provide some of the benefits of exercising. We aren’t really go-to-the-gym kind of people. In the summer, we get most of our exercise gardening, playing golf, or camping. In the winter, there isn’t much to do outside. Especially for the last 5 years or so when there isn’t enough snow to do anything snow related.

The other day I linked to an article about someone who clipped a portrait of the Mona Lisa into their yard. This takes that to an extreme, where people actually exposed plots of grass to light through a photographic plate to produce a picture using grass.

I’ll probably never make it to Norway but Trolltunga looks like a really nice place to visit.

A trick to traveling faster than light? Make the ship stand still and have space move underneath it instead.

I’ve been making 3D objects on the computer for many years. I have yet to actually have one turned into a real physical object. Shapeways uses a 3D printing process to create 3D objects out of plastic for consumers. I’m going to have to try it.

And finally, check out this picture of a dog who adopted tiger cubs at a Kansas zoo.