Johnny Photon Logo
home 2D Art 3D Art Contact Info





Archive for the 'Weather' Category

Dream Machine

Thursday, December 11th, 2008

I read this article about scientists developing a machine that can produce images from your dreams with some skepticism. I guess it’s one of those things you would have to experience to believe. I had the thought if they could do that then why couldn’t they make a machine that allows you to render an image and all you have to do is imagine it.

The biggest full moon of the year occurs on Dec. 12th.

A Dyson sphere is where an advanced civilization has built a sphere completely encompassing a star to optimize solar energy collection. This article is about trying to detect them. If a civilization were advanced enough to actually build one of those things, they might also have the technology to keep even low level infrared energy from escaping.

I posted some wallpaper sources recently. Here is another one which is mostly holiday pet pictures. Then again I can’t read anything there so maybe that is just a section.

As if dressing up your poor animal isn’t bad enough, these people actually painted their cats. I wonder what type of paint you would use given the first thing they would do is try to clean themselves off.

I got a chuckle out of this story about a real life cat burglar who steals fuzzy toys from the neighbors. It reminded me of one a while back where a cat collected gloves and mittens.

This is another one of those collections of fantasy sci-fi like creations.

This is a pretty funny shot.

This one’s just pretty.

I’ve never actually seen lenticular clouds, just pictures. Then again I haven’t spent much time near any large mountains.

And finally, here is a collection of photos of cats sleeping in unusual places.

Wallpapers and Other Pictures

Tuesday, December 9th, 2008

Every year I design a new holiday card. Some of them are in my galleries. Usually I try to do something in 3D. Last year I didn’t and at least one person mentioned they were disappointed. Here it is getting well into the month and I’m struggling with coming up with a concept. So, I have been looking at a lot of images on the web.

This site has a lot of nice desktop wallpapers. A lot of the recent ones are holiday oriented.

Also, a friend of mine sent me this link to another site that has a lot of free wallpapers.

Here is a nice gallery of snowflake pictures. There is also a chart at the end explaining what type of flakes form under what conditions.

These are just nice creative photos.

Then there is the opposite. From images which are not photoshopped to some that are extremely photoshopped.

These are just being in the right spot at the right moment.

This one is just funny.

Check out this giant storm.

This is a cool shot of the space shuttle lifting off.

Here are some funny tee shirt illustrations.

And finally, yeah you guessed it, a bunch of cute animal pictures.

Creative Video

Friday, December 5th, 2008

I spent my first year in college at an engineering school. It was a tough school and we didn’t have a lot of extra time. One of the things I remember was the guys building tennis ball cannons. Of course we eventually soaked the balls in lighter fluid so they would be flaming tennis balls. Here is a video of some guys playing tennis with flaming tennis balls.

I suppose that wasn’t all that dangerous. It would definitely keep you concentrating on the ball. Here’s something really crazy. At least the guy had the sense to put the liquid oxygen on a long pole before he poured it on the grill.

This video of bioluminescence was particularly striking. I have seen pictures of it before but the motion is really very cool.

You have to wait a bit for the next one to load before you see the motion. It is some guys being creative with stop motion video.

This one is from my friend Matt. It’s a silly dog video. This dog goes charging around in snow well over his head. You wonder how he manages to not run into something. I have never seen a dog move through snow like that.

Check out this image of two guys having lunch in a very high spot.

I thought this piece on the 10 most amazing things the sky can do was interesting.

Some of these are better than others. People make themselves invisible by covering or painting themselves the same as the background.

I’ve been thinking I need a new background for my new monitor but I wanted to create something myself. Here are some free high resolution wallpapers.

This close up of a snowflake was not at all what I expected.

Nature has perfected splitting water. I thought this was clever. If you can’t figure out exactly how plants do it then the next best thing is to extract the molecules from the plants and create cyborgs.

These vintage drawings of what the future would be like are pretty funny.

This is a very in-depth piece on fountains with some incredible pictures.

And finally, this is really silly. It’s a collection of Ninja cat pictures.

HDTV

Tuesday, December 2nd, 2008

I’m sure if we had waited, the price of a new HD set would have continued to fall but I was tired of squinting at my old Sony monitor. We don’t really have much HD material to watch, just the local stations. This weekend we finally broke down and purchased a 40″ Toshiba HDTV. I had read a number of bad reviews from people who bought a set online only to find the picture quality was disappointing. I wanted to see the set in the store. With an instant manufacturer’s rebate of $100 we ended up spending $750 on it at the local Costco. That is just about what we paid for our first 32″ television many years ago.  I would have gone with a 32″ but they didn’t have many to choose from. It seems huge. I usually write on my smaller computer which had a 19″ LCD display set at 800 x 600. At that resolution, it’s pretty readable but the web has gone wide screen and I found myself scrolling around more and more to see what is out there. My larger machine where I do most of my art had the same size monitor. I usually ran it at 1024 x 768 but it was a CRT and over the years it seemed to get fuzzier. Maybe it’s my eyes. A lot of the tools I use required scrolling through a bunch of icons. Now I’m running at 1360 x 768. The text is large and clear and I can see all my icons without scrolling and my menus are out of the way in my workspace.

One feature some of the new sets have is the 120 Hz refresh rate. I was afraid at 60 Hz this set would flicker when using it as a monitor but it looks good. It is barely noticeably darker in the corners. I had to put the cursor in the corner and point it out for my wife to see it. It does draw a lot more power than the small screen. Last night the power went out and I hooked it up to my battery/inverter. It was drawing 100 watts. Luckily the power wasn’t out for long. I guess I was surprised to realize how many digital channels were out there since I didn’t have a tuner capable of picking them up before. Since a lot of the web uses white backgrounds it can be a little too bright at night.

Speaking of the web, how long before you speak to it and it speaks back? That is one of the things IBM predicts will happen in the next five years. We recently learned an old friend is losing the use of her arms and hands. I was googling voice recognition software and I wondered if it really has improved much.

I played with this tool which allows you to choose colors and then it finds pictures on Flickr that use those colors. I’m not sure how useful it is but it was kind of interesting for a few minutes.

This was cool. I have seen this done before but on a much smaller scale. It’s a video of a fountain with strobe lights where the water appears to be suspended in air or moving backwards.

This is one of those pictures that looks just awesome on my new monitor. It’s a shot of Crater Lake in Oregon with the clouds moving in.

Of course everything looks better on here including this cute cat picture.

This is a collection of wild cat pictures.

Time magazine choose the eight new natural wonders. Too bad the images aren’t larger.

Here are 100 underwater hi-res images.

Also, these images could be larger but they are spectacular solar and lunar eclipse pictures.

I thought this concept of chalk shadows was pretty creative.

I’ve read about this strange creature recently, but this is one of the better sets of pictures of a Raz. That thing is so odd looking!

Now for some odd mice, the computer kind that is.

When Neil Young was young; Sugar Mountain — Live At Canterbury House 1968 is being released today but you can listen to the entire album at NPR.

Christmas and holiday cards for geeks are really geeky. Let me explain that first one for you. In hexadecimal a single digit can have 16 values. That means zero through nine then they start using letters so F is fifteen. In two digit hex the largest number is FF or 255 in decimal. Since colors are described in the amount of the primary colors red, green, and blue FFFFFF is white. The # sign is normally used to indicate the number is in hexadecimal. Hence may all your Christmas be #FFFFFF.

I have linked to some of these liquid magnetic sculpture videos before. This one has some cool towers.

I first ran across the storm cloud image in this collection and then realized there were lots of other nice images there as well. Here is the top level of Neil Paskin’s galleries.

My wife doesn’t care much for blond jokes but I thought this keyboard for blonds was pretty creative.

Turritopsis nutricula is an immortal jellyfish.

Here is another large panoramic image; this one is of Melbourne at night.

I have to say I agree with this guy. The amount of money being thrown at banking bailouts is so huge, solving the climate problems or ending poverty is small change in comparison. To try to stay positive here are a couple interesting articles. This one is about how financing can make solar cost effective. This one is about a new generator that can make use of slow currents for generating electricity.

The song If I only had a brain was stuck in my head after seeing this.

And finally, I didn’t even know red pandas existed. They sure are cute!

Gloom

Monday, November 24th, 2008

I have a bunch of links for a regular blog but I’m going to put that off till tomorrow as it’s getting late and I have to run into town.

We have had some very dreary weather lately. There are lots of things I hate about winter. I’m taller than most people and although middle age has added a few pounds, I’ve tended to be thin most of my life so my  surface area to volume ratio is higher than most I suppose. But it isn’t the cold, or lack of life outside, or snow that bothers me the most, it’s the lack of light. Not only are the days short but on days like today, the cloud cover is so thick it might as well be dusk out there in the middle of the day.

Sunlight is about the next best thing to coffee when it comes to waking me up. Unfortunately our cat Kelly has strangely taken on one of our recently deceased cat Amy’s worst habits. She wakes us up at night. Not as often as Amy did, but last night was one of those nights. So today I feel like my brain has to work hard just to complete a sentence. My spelling is so bad, my spell checker can’t even figure out what I’m trying to say.

It doesn’t really help but here are some of the things I do to try to deny it’s winter. We have a ridiculous number of houseplants for this small of a house. To support those plants we have three fluorescent grow lights in our living room alone. The light and the green help but they hardly compensate for the brown and drab outside.

I own one of those heavy North Face jackets. I don’t think it’s really expedition grade but it’s a little like wearing a sleeping bag. I haven’t yet placed on order with this company but they make custom winter clothing so I should be able to get a pair of snow pants that actually fit my long frame.

Yesterday I spent some time cleaning up the garden but I also planted 45 tulips out in the yard so I felt like i was gardening. Also the digging warmed me up a little.

We have this big jar thing with a plastic rack in it. I probably paid too much for it but I bought it a couple years ago. It had tulips in it we enjoyed in the dead of winter. We recently put more tulip bulbs in it. I have found it’s pretty much impossible to create enough light for flowering plants in here in the winter but this technique works well, you just have to keep replacing the tulips.

forcing tulips to flower in the winter

forcing tulips to flower in the winter

OMG the sun is coming out. I have to go.

The Golden Hour

Tuesday, November 18th, 2008

Last night I ran into town around sunset. I have a small camera I bought a while back. I thought I would carry it around with me more than my big camera. It’s been really gloomy lately around here but as I was driving home the clouds opened up for a minute. The light was really lovely and surreal with a beautiful sky. Unfortunately I had not grabbed my camera on the way out. Here is a list of landscape photography tips and number nine is shoot during the golden hour. The number one tip should be to remember to grab your camera!

Of course, there are places where you could hardly take a bad picture if you tried. The color of the water in this picture is amazing.

This collection of pictures from a park in Namibia includes striking landscapes and animal photos.

And here is another collection of nice animal photos. It does include a shot of two squirrels ‘wrestling’ or that’s what you would say if you kids come in the room.

I’m not sure where this one was shot but the eyes on those big cats are really spooky.

Speaking of cats, here is a silly picture of a house cat playing with its prey. It seemed like my cats were pretty good about just killing what they caught quickly but I guess I remember when they were young trying to get them to just be quick and not draw it out.

High dynamic range pictures are created when you shoot a scene at several different exposures and then use computer software to blend them together. I’ve tried to shoot 3D pictures of people using a single camera and taking two shots but it’s difficult because they can’t move during the process. This collection of HDR photos includes a couple of portraits. It’s strange how often the result looks like a painting.

This article is about using gene therapy to make old dogs young again. I suppose they would come up with one for cats as well. If you read the article though, it sounds like there might be some bad side-effects.

Speaking of dogs, here is a silly dog picture.

I’ve written about wrap rage before but I couldn’t remember where I had read  the statistics on how many people are injured by packaging. According to this article, 6000 Americans go to the emergency room each year due to injuries from opening packages. I have often thought they should let people stand outside Costco and open your packages for tips. Actually the article is about companies who are leading the way on “non hostile” containers.

Here is a silly container picture.

Check out a real life Firefox logo.

This is one of those things you wonder how someone would learn to do. A guy does a flip over a stairway and lands on a skateboard.

Similarly the things these guys do with a soccer ball are pretty amazing.

I wonder what these birds think of this rather unusual cage?

This image brought back memories of my childhood. My uncle would sit down to milk the cows and the cats would line up just like they are in the picture.

I got a laugh out of this one too.

It seems like today most of my links are pictures. Here is a dramatic weather shot.

Here is a shot of Saturn being eclipsed by the moon.

On the right is what a candle looks like if it burns in zero gravity.

And finally, here is a humorous collection of cats with ‘invisible’ objects.

Hardware Prices

Thursday, November 13th, 2008

Back in the old days, I used to work with Targa cards. When most of the world was using 8 or 16 colors at a time, these were true color cards, something we take for granted now. The problem was, I’m not sure I remember exactly, but just the graphics card was something like five thousand dollars. When you added in the machine and two monitors, well it amounted to a small fortune.

These days I try not to follow prices too closely because I might be tempted to upgrade. However, I had to do some repair work on my parent’s machine lately and I was amazed. As this article pointed out you can save a lot of money not just on hardware but other stuff too.

I’m used to putting together my own machines. When I built my first machine we really ‘built them’. We soldered and wire wrapped. Now it’s just  a matter of buying a motherboard, memory, graphics card, and drives and slapping them together. I just bought a Terra byte drive, that’s 1000 Gigabytes, for a little over $100!

Not that I do that much anymore which really challenges the hardware except when I render 3D stuff. Here’s a creative image using that technology I wish I had thought of.

Of course, you just can’t beat being in the right place at the right time with a silly cat and a  plain old camera.

I have been to parts of Alabama were the soil is red. I wonder where this was taken.

Also, check out this roll cloud over Missouri.

I was going to try to make it to Cataract Falls this fall when the leaves were nice and try some long exposure photos. Unfortunately the fall was hectic and unusually disappointing as far as color goes. We had some really big wind just as the leaves were starting to turn which took a lot of them down. Also we had pretty dry conditions in late summer and there was a lot of plain brown. Here’s a nice collection of photos of what a good fall really looks like.

Here are some examples of long time exposures including but not limited to waterfalls.

Speaking of time, is it possible someone has finally built a machine which is seeing noise from the fact that time is fuzzy?

If there are a bunch of parallel universes, the odds that you are rich in one of them is pretty high. Too bad you can’t ask yourself for a loan. This article on the subject points out even though it sounds like sci-fi, it could explain a lot including the probabilistic nature of quantum outcomes and an explanation of why time travel would not cause paradoxes. As I once pointed out to a friend; if you believe in an infinite universe, it’s not that big of a step to believe in an infinite number of infinite universes.

O.K. this is a little silly. It’s a tee shirt that lights up to show you when you are near Wi-Fi signals and how strong they are.

This article goes on about how this robot can make facial expressions just like a real human but when you watch the video, you don’t think real, you think creepy.

I have a friend who lives on a lake down south of here. The lake is spring fed and even in the summer it’s comfortable on top but if you go down even a foot or two it can become very cold.  I have often thought about trying to float a pool in it which would hopefully become warmer. Turns out there are a number of floating pools out there in the world already.

Put this on the list of things you don’t want to have done to your car at one of those quick oil change places.

I wasted a fair amount of time last night on this game called RoboKill. I didn’t see a way to save my game. If there is one and I just missed it, someone leave a comment telling me how.

If you have epilepsy or are inclined to seizures you definitely don’t want to click on this optical illusion of a spider where it seems like you keep getting closer but you don’t. It’s so flashy; I can hardly stand to look at it.

Here’s another nice fractal image.

And finally, check out these pictures of a squirrel who thinks it’s just another one of his puppy friends.

Painting

Friday, September 19th, 2008

Hello On-liners

I’m beginning the long overdue process of painting my living room. I watched Iron Man last night and I could sure use one of those exoskeletons. Grabbing a large speaker I hadn’t lifted in years, I wondered if I could still lift it. It was up high and once I started there was no going back. Luckily it didn’t flatten me. Why doesn’t someone invent wall paper that just peels off and has another layer underneath? So instead of painting you just peel off the dirty sheet to reveal a clean one. You could have fresh walls in minutes without having to move everything.

Our house is pretty small so having to do without our largest room even for a short time is pretty painful. I guess one thing I like is now I have the computer I use for blogging next to the one I use for rendering so it’s easier to post while I have the other one making pictures. Check out these computer generated pictures by 33 different artists.

I have a picture in the 2D art section where I created a 2D fractal and then reflected it on a 3D object.  I’ve thought about this issue before; how would you create a true 3D fractal?

I’ve linked to musical roads before. The idea is you put a pattern of grooves in the road so they play a tune as you drive over them. I’ve always thought the ones they have on the side of the road, which my wife calls slumber bumps, should say “Wake Up!”

These cloud pictures reminded me of one time when we had a bunch of Mammatus clouds. Some of the others are very cool and scary.

Here are some interesting and very innovative photographic techniques.

Speaking of clever pictures, here is one I like.

Oh my, scroll down to the section on reproduction. I sure wouldn’t want to be an Anglerfish.

With all the political news, I keep seeing a lot of studies on why people vote the way they do in the science sites. Do conservatives scare more easily than liberals?

I’ve written about Bisphenol A before. Here is how to avoid eating it.

And finally, check out this collection of tiny animals.

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