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Archive for the 'Oceans' Category

Magicians and Pickpockets

Thursday, November 20th, 2008

This article at Scientific American on how magicians and pickpockets trick your brain mentioned a couple of videos. Before you read the article, if you haven’t seen the video where you are supposed to count the number of times a basketball is passed between people wearing white shirts I wrote about it in this post.

I’m pretty sure I’ve linked to another one of the videos they mention before but it’s worth re-posting below.

It’s interesting in the article when they point out simply moving your hand in a curved or straight manner causes a different perception on the part of the viewer.

Of course, it’s nature who presents the grandest illusion of them all. This article is rather strong in physics content but the gist of it is summed up in the ending paragraph. All reality is virtual.

Speaking of physics, apparently there is an annual contest in Delaware to see who can build a device that can throw a pumpkin the farthest. According to this, it will be televised on the Science channel on Thanksgiving. After reading that I’m wondering what they meant by “growing special, aerodynamic pumpkins”.

Could solving the worlds energy needs be as simple as putting giant pipes in the ocean? I guess when it’s that big, it’s not simple.

After reading this article on why McDonald’s fries taste so good, I was reminded of the time I had to make artificial banana flavoring in chemistry. I spilled a little on my notebook and it stunk for months. All that chemistry and we still can’t seem to find frozen food we like.

Time magazine picks the best inventions of 2008. I was amused to see Hulu on the list. I have to admit I have gotten so used to it already I find it frustrating I can’t watch the shows I want at CBS and the Discovery channel sites. Also, I don’t know if it’s my setup or what but it’s not unusual for me to lose my data stream while watching a show online at ABC and have to try to find where I was. It’s funny you have to try to figure out which episode you saw last or want to see next.

On the subject of videos, I had seen some of these amazing animal videos before but not the one of the polar bears playing with dogs. I can’t imagine having a hippo around the house.

I got a chuckle out of this silly cat picture.

I don’t remember any archery at the bowling alley I went to as a kid.

The most dangerous roads in the world look pretty dangerous.

This house would be nice for the solitude but if would be tough when you needed groceries.

Here is a nice collection of beautiful landscape photos.

This rather bizarre article about Tennessee universities’ intention to spend 9.5 million dollars on anti-piracy measures made me wonder if it would just be cheaper for the university to buy content for their students.

These animal pictures are pretty nice, but it’s the landscape shot that really impressed me.

The photos of this Japanese winter light show featuring 4.5 million LEDs just gives you a taste of how cool it would be to actually be there.

And finally, we often joked getting one of those robot vacuum cleaners would scare our cats but obviously this one seems to enjoy it.


Tuesday, November 11th, 2008

Often I don’t get around to writing on Mondays. Then on Tuesday I sit down and discover I’ve collected so many links over the weekend I have too many to go though. Then I find the ones like this one where a young kid tries to be mean throwing a cat into some water only to find the tables have turned. It’s amazing to watch the cat pretty much turning around in mid-air.

I found a number of cool photo galleries this weekend including strangely colored sand beaches, very nice hot spring photos, and 50 strange buildings.

Speaking of strange buildings, this inflatable shelter is an interesting concept for disaster victims.

I don’t know much about the burning man festival other than I’ve heard it’s in the desert in the summer and people don’t wear a lot of clothing. Check out these colossal art structures they create.

Someone was being clever when they put together this picture of ‘Baroque’ Obama.

The people down the road from us have sheep and around the Christmas holiday season they tie large red ribbons around them. I’m not sure the sheep mind and I chuckle every time I see it. This guy went so much further actually dying the sheep a bright red.

Talk about colorful; look at the size of this what-ever-it-is.

This is such a beautiful picture of a beautiful place.

The digital art of Benedict Campbell includes some artistic nudity so if you are at work you may want to hold off.

Also this cute collection of animal pairs does have one non-explicit image of what animal pairs sometimes do.

The Akinator is a site where you think of someone and it asks you a series of questions until it guesses who you are thinking of. When I first went there it didn’t seem to be working so I tried using Internet Explorer and it worked but maybe I just didn’t wait long enough. It’s kind of slow and I didn’t know what to expect.

I got a laugh out of this help wanted ad.

And finally, this collection of cat pictures say sometimes they are dangerous but a lot of them are cute too.

Why We Vote On Tuesday

Tuesday, October 28th, 2008

I guess I always wondered why we vote on Tuesdays. In the old days you traveled to the county seat on Monday, voted on Tuesday and traveled home on Wednesday. The article also points out in the countries with high voter turnout, they vote on the weekend.

This is strange. John McCain and Tina Fey on the cover of Life Magazine in 2004.

It’s pretty depressing but this site shows the national debt scaled to match the median income of around $50,000 a year and who we owe.

This list of odd inventions includes some pretty humorous ones. The stair drawers looked useful to me.

Years ago I bought a book on Isle Royale which is the largest natural island in Lake Superior. We have still never made it there. I thought it was amusing you could camp on an island on a lake on an island on a lake. This site takes that idea and expands on it.

Check out this amazing basketball shot.

A spectrometer is a device that analyzes light. This is a pretty clever way to build one using a cardboard box and a CD.

This is one of those doodling programs where you can draw abstract pictures. It has more variations than some of the other ones I’ve seen.

I’ve got to try this to see if it really works. You should at least watch the end of it.

How to Turn “water” into Balls

One time we had a party and everyone created a clay creature. We made a really short and simple claymation. This claymation of a chess game must have taken a very long time to do.

In this optical illusion you are supposed to see the dancer turn either clockwise or counterclockwise depending on whether the right or left half of your brain is the dominate one. I can pretty much make myself see it either way.

I got a laugh out of this.

Turn your name into a face. I wonder what algorithm it uses.

Check out this nice killer whale shot.

My neighbor takes his dog to the golf course with him. She is the white one in my 2D art section. She is usually pretty well behaved but one time we were out several holes behind them. She saw us and went racing across the course to come see us. This is a story about a dog who likes to eat golf balls.

Here is another funny dog photo.

And finally, these two cats sure like to talk.

Trick Or Treat

Wednesday, October 22nd, 2008

We used to have over 120 kids come to our door on Halloween. That was years ago. Now I think there are a lot less young kids in town and most of go to the new subdivision. I suppose it’s a lot safer to walk around there. I remember we used to cover a fair amount of ground in the town I grew up in, but we never treated Halloween like this. That’s a business plan!

I saw a picture of a large bottle of soda held up by a tiny piece of tape inspired by gecko feet lately but I didn’t bookmark it and couldn’t find it. People keep mentioning being able to play Spiderman with it but I can just imagine all the practical jokes it might be used for. Here are ten innovations inspired by nature including that one.

This is just funny. It’s so small I’m surprised anyone noticed.

I normally carry a lighter when I’m camping. After watching Bear Grylls use flint and steel on Man vs Wild though it looks remarkably effective. It’s difficult enough to get far enough into the wilderness in Indiana to not be within walking distance of a restaurant. I suppose if I was in a survival situation somewhere where I didn’t know a lot of the plants I would take this guys advice. Around here there are numerous edibles in the wild. There are few I would choose to eat though. Spring beauty and sumac lemonade are quite tasty, as are the morel mushrooms that grow around here.

I’ve heard golden orb weaver spiders are big but I didn’t realize they ate birds. Also speaking of spiders, I’m glad humans  don’t eat their mates.

One of these days carbon dioxide may be considered too valuable to throw away.

Strangely enough, if you use scotch tape in a vacuum it emits X-rays.

For some reason I don’t think this picture of a lion and a zebra is as ‘touching’ as it seems.

Don’t panic but in 1.1 million years we are all going to die, unless we move.

Check out the world’s most relaxing room.

And finally, what is cuter than zoo babies?


Monday, October 20th, 2008

When I went to look at these 50 underwater photos, I expected sea life. There are some but also some unexpectedly creative water photos as well.

Speaking of water pictures, check out these images of swimming with tigers. Those are some big cats!

And who would have thought rats can surf?

I learned a couple of things I didn’t know about bees in this article. Plus it has some nice macro photographs.

I got a good laugh out of this.

In this TED Talk, Ken Robinson makes some good points about how schools kill creativity. He is also quite an amusing speaker.

The other day I linked to an article about metal foam but buckypaper sounds so much cooler.

A pilot was ordered to shoot down a UFO which gave a radar signature the size of an aircraft carrier.

I thought this article on using light to reduce wrinkles was interesting. Who would have guessed pressing lights to your face would have that effect?

And finally, seals can be cute too.

Physics Test

Wednesday, October 15th, 2008

I was at the hardware store the other day. The line was long and I struck up a conversation with the woman in front of me. I can’t remember why the subject came up, we were taking about hardware but I said something about having worked at the Indiana University Cyclotron. She said “so you’re a physicist?” I paused and said “Well I used to be”. She looked at me and said “It’s been my experience that once someone is a physicist, they are always a physicist.”  I’m not sure, maybe it’s one of those things you have to practice to be one, or maybe it’s just a way of looking at the world around you.

I got a laugh out of this funny account of the famous physicist Niels Bohr taking a test where he was to describe how to determine the height of a skyscraper using a barometer. It turns out it isn’t true but it’s still a good story.

Often I don’t get around trying a game until I see it linked in a couple of places. That was true of the eyeballing game which isn’t much of a game actually; it’s more of a test. I wondered if people who do graphics arts are better at it but my score varied pretty wildly.

I keep seeing amazing articles about new cancer drugs. I never really thought about how many normal cells would die from a drug verses how many cancer cells.  My guess is someday they will have a drug which only kills cancer cells but this one kills 12,000 cancer cells for every normal one and it’s based on a salad plant.

This is strange. It’s a picture of a man who had an image of Senator Obama shaved into the back of his head. I was surprised you could get that much detail in ‘hair’ media.

My cucumbers this year were from seeds that were a few years old. I wondered if they would sprout. This article is about sprouting an extinct date palm from seeds which were over 2000 years old. If it’s female they may be able to taste the fruit in 2010. After all that, I hope it doesn’t taste bad.

This summer when my garden was in full swing I joked if I could just get fish to swim through my yard I could live off the land. I thought this article about fish farming was pretty clever. They put them in cages that can navigate themselves so they show up at some destination city at just the right time.

Some years ago when the economy was also in a downturn and our business was failing, I used to go out in the yard and transplant volunteer forsythia to burn off steam. It got so bad my wife used to joke about me ‘moving bushes’ again. Now my yard is pretty amazing in the spring when they flower. It’s not really a maze but it’s arranged like you would if you were 10 years old and designed a yard for the game hide-and-seek. That’s nothing compared to these examples of hedge art.

Ha! Check out these levitating islands in the Bermuda Triangle.

This is a funny picture of what happens when Cupid gets rough.

Here is an interesting way to design a robot. It needs a couple arms so it can fetch from the fridge though.

I found this site on how to make paper pop-up cards.

And finally, Amy (my cat) doesn’t do it anymore but she used to come up and attack my foot when I put my pants on. That’s what I thought of when I saw these cute baby polar bear pictures.

Robot Painters

Wednesday, October 1st, 2008

We are painting the living room. We’ve gotten to the point where you look at it and decide whether to do another coat or it’s good enough and time to move on to another room. We have a lot of house plants and it won’t be too long before we have to get them inside. As I work, I can’t help but think how I would design a robot to paint a room. I found a couple of painting robots but they aren’t the kind that paints a house. This one ‘Action Jackson‘ mimics Jackson Pollock’s style of painting. This site had a number of examples including a simple one you could build.

Speaking of different ways of creating art, here is a video of what happens when you pour salt on a speaker.

Google is celebrating their tenth anniversary by offering ten million dollars for a world changing idea.

Canon has a new camera.

Canon’s EOS 5D Mark II Digital SLR camera features a 21.1-megapixel full frame 24 x 36mm CMOS sensor, DIGIC 4 imaging processor and significantly lower noise, with an expanded sensitivity range from ISO 50 to ISO 25,600.

It does full HD video too, and my wife says “No, you can’t have one”. Someday it will be nice to have something that’s not only very high resolution but so fast you can shoot in any natural light.

I thought these videos of the most amazing UFO sightings were intriguing but the camera work could have been so much better. The second one is interesting because you see the movement.

Here is something you also don’t see everyday. It’s a video of a crab riding a jellyfish.

My guess is most Americans who read my blog are familiar with both nanotechnology and synthetic biology.

I got a laugh out of some of these crazy bikes.

And finally, here is your silly animal picture.

ET Is Out There

Wednesday, July 23rd, 2008

The company my wife works for encrypts her computer now. She has been having problems with it since she got back from Denver. Normally I would just fix it for her but now I just have to put up with the fact that she isn’t getting much done and she is not a happy camper. Here another one of those lists of tools to help troubleshoot a PC. Also when I went to try to work on her computer, my friend Matt told me about Knoppix. It’s a version of Linix which fits on a CD and is bootable. My spell checker is complaining about the word bootable. Anyway even if you have never run Linix or Unix, the desktop is pretty much windows-like and easily figured out. It comes with a browser, text editor, and a lot of basic tools you would need. It’s free and can be downloaded from a number of sources so just Google it.

I was pretty amazed to read this article about 6000 new species being found in the Smokey Mountains. It’s not like the Smokey Mountains are some distant unexplored area. Speaking of strange critters, check this thing out.

This article about a cancer vaccine reminds me of a Star Trek episode where they come up with a cure for something in a day or so. Talk about personalized medicine! They take the patients tumor and clone it and then grow proteins on tobacco. The irony here is tobacco providing a cure for cancer.

I thought this piece on light phenomena was kind of interesting. Some of the pictures are pretty nice.

Who doesn’t enjoy a good pirate story? Here is a list of 5 treasure islands. It makes a good story but I have a problem with the idea a guy discovered treasure because his compass started spinning when he stood over chests of gold.

It’s one thing when someone claims aliens are out there but when it’s Dr Edgar Mitchell Apollo 14 astronaut, it makes you wonder. I suppose there would be a number of reasons governments would want to keep that information from the public but seeing as though it would be one of the greatest discoveries ever, I hope they would tell us. I liked this line in the article.

Chillingly, he claimed our technology is ‘not nearly as sophisticated’ as theirs and “had they been hostile”, he warned ‘we would be been gone by now’.

Really, Captain Obvious, they are capable of interstellar travel and have more sophisticated technology?

And finally, I have a cat who tries to drink beer. We stop her but it can be embarrassing if you have a guest over and they set a beer where she can get to it, which is just about anywhere. Check out this beer drinking weasel.


Tuesday, June 10th, 2008

Yesterday I included a link to some video of people popping popcorn using cell phones. I didn’t think it was real and apparently it is not. It’s interesting how marketing has really picked up on the viral video idea. I suppose you can’t get much cheaper exposure than that.

Here is another article about EEStor and Zenn motors a car maker who is supposed to make cars built based on the device EEStor is producing. I’ve been following this for some time because if it is real, it is an amazing breakthrough, not only for cars but for storing solar and wind power. This is supposedly EEStor’s patent.

Here is a series of pictures of water including, among other things, one of China’s quake lakes and also some images from the recent flooding in my home state.

Speaking of water, here is a way to desalinate water using an anesthetically pleasing building.

This is a washing machine that can wash a load of clothes using only one cup of water.

I was going to try using cornmeal to get rid of ants this season but they haven’t showed up, at least for now. I think they all moved into our strawberry tower which is bursting with ripe strawberries.

This is one really huge snail.

This is supposed to be the perfect male voice but I don’t know, I’m not sure what the perfect male voice would be.

BMW’s new concept car can shape-shift. I’d like one that is a sports car on the road but can shape-shift into a camper.

Here is another nice collection of photographs.

And finally, check out this silly picture of baby ferrets in a cup.

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Rain and More Rain

Monday, June 9th, 2008

We didn’t get the 10+ inches of rain they did just south of here this weekend but we got a lot. Friday night I was out closing up the garage when we had a really large gust out ahead of the storm. Debris started pelting me from the trees and I had the thought it was crazy being out there. I also heard a strange sound like metal moving over pavement. On Saturday, after a lot of rain had fallen, I crossed the neighbor’s yard to check the creek. It was about as full as I have seen it, and their yard was covered in mushrooms.

I dropped off my wife at the airport this afternoon. Before her plane took off, another big line of storms blew up. She did finally call me to say they were taking off after being delayed.

It’s amazing to see the destructive power of all the rain. They are having mudslides in Morgan County and interstates are being closed from erosion. I have the news on and they are showing video from helicopters with water as far as the eye can see. You can see flood pictures and video here and here.

This is one of those things you wonder if it’s real or fake. It’s a video where they take four cell phones and put popcorn in the middle and it starts popping.

Here is a nice picture of Niagara Falls at night.

This is kind of interesting. They make a belt out of a chemical which reacts to light and then make a motor out of it. UV light makes it contract and visible light makes it expand.

The military built a computer capable of processing more than 1.026 quadrillion calculations per second out of video game components.

Here are some amazing pictures taken by the Cassini spacecraft.

Here is a very cool but very expensive Green house.

Is oil made by decaying organic matter or does the earth just spew it out?

I thought this was a interesting approach to car alarms; herds of cars watching over each other.

I’ve thrown sodium in water and I’ve thrown Potassium in water, but I’ve never messed with Rubidium or Cesium. After watching this video I’m thinking that’s a good thing.

Check out these nice pictures of the ocean.

And finally, here is a very cute kitten.

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