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Archive for October, 2008

The Death of a Companion

Friday, October 31st, 2008

Amy 1991 - 2008
Amy 1991 – 2008

I know a lot of animal lovers read my blog. Among other things, I put up a lot of cute animal pictures and funny animal stories. I generally choose to try to write about positive things. However, the following story is a sad, sometimes graphic description of our recent loss of one of our cats. At the same time, it is a celebration of the joy and companionship living with an animal can bring to your life including the challenges. I just felt I should warn you.

If you don’t want to be sad, just look at the pictures.

Click here to go on.

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.

Halloween

Friday, October 24th, 2008

I had seen some of these do-it-yourself Halloween projects individually but this site has a nice collection. I remember going to a party a few years back where a guy was wearing those spooky contact lenses. When we use to get a lot of kids, we would build spooky critters on our front porch but we learned quickly not to make them too spooky or the very young kids freaked out.

Just in time for Halloween, scientists create a glow-in-the-dark cat. Really, a real glow-in-the-dark cat.

I thought this collection of old Halloween photos was pretty interesting.

Someone ordered a cake with Olympic rings on it and this is what they got.

This escape video reminded me of my cat Maggie. She was unbelievably good at getting outside especially when we went on vacation.

This is an interesting tutorial on how to shoot infra-red pictures. It also has some nice examples of what you can get.

Here is another nice aurora picture.

I didn’t have kids myself but this rather humorous list of what can be learned from raising sons did remind me a little of my childhood. Sorry Mom and Dad!

In this science experiment, I’m not sure what the material in the tub is, but I was surprised how it worked out.

Could mosquitoes actually deliver vaccines instead of diseases?

This is a pretty funny video of a shopping cart calamity.

I’ve seen pictures of this cave in Mexico before. I can’t remember if I’ve already posted about it but if you haven’t seen it, you will be amazed.

And finally, someone is watching you.

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?

Furniture

Tuesday, October 21st, 2008

Now that we have finally finished painting, we are thinking about buying furniture. We have few pieces of furniture we have actually purchased. It seems most of our lives someone we knew wanted to dump a couch, chair, or table which was in reasonable condition. Not so this time, but with the economy melting down maybe now isn’t the best time. Does this chair somehow look sad to you?

Here are some pretty creative tables.

I can see how you would train the top of this chair but I’m not clear on how the bottom would be done.

This guy offers a tutorial on carving pumpkins. Check out the predator pumpkin. I once carved a pumpkin using a Dremel but he has some serious talent.

Speaking of pumpkins, watch out for the baby eating variety.

Not pumpkins but still sculpture these garden works of art are very surreal.

Everyone likes a good treasure story.

A big fish story is one thing but man eating catfish?

The typewriter vs computer.

And finally here is a whole collection of funny animal pictures. My favorite is the kitten in the cup holder.

Water

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.

This Is Your Brain On The Internet

Friday, October 17th, 2008

A UCLA study has concluded searching the internet increases brain function. Don’t you feel smarter now?

HacknMod is a site devoted to building or altering your equipment. Who doesn’t want a giant pedal powered tank?

Speaking of mods here’s how to build a Wifi antenna using a vegetable strainer.

This article about the IRS using a hack-able computer system makes me feel oh-so-comfortable with the information they have.

Is it about zombies or not? A student was arrested on terrorism charges after his grandparents found a story he’d written. I have often thought Steven King would never make it though school these days.

Even so, police say the nature of the story makes it a felony. “Anytime you make any threat or possess matter involving a school or function it’s a felony in the state of Kentucky,” said Winchester Police detective Steven Caudill.

Give me a break! These people are afraid of zombies? Don’t expect any classic horror writers to come out of Kentucky in the future. Do you think the number of horror films involving proms will decrease after this? If they prosecute this kid for writing a zombie story, the terrorists have truly won.

The tune “Stayin Alive” has the ideal beat for giving CPR. Can you imagine waking up to someone pounding your chest while singing disco music? Great, now that song is stuck in my head.

Besides bringing you back to life, music has other amazing powers.

This site gives you the ability to generate you own soft drink can. Now I’m just not sure why I would want to. Actually, it is a pretty well designed site.

I’ve often thought some of the coolest things we will have in the future aren’t really predictable because they will be possible due to breakthroughs in material technology like this metal foam

Here’s a collection of award winning microscope photos.

Check out this nice collection of photos of frozen waterfalls.

Here is a site devoted to pictures of upside down dogs.

If that wasn’t silly enough for you, this lady has taught her cat to eat with a fork.

And finally, I really like this picture but frogs may not be cute enough for my ending picture so try this one.

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.

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.

The Giant Swing

Wednesday, October 8th, 2008

This video of a guy completing a full loop on a giant swing was far more suspenseful than I expected. When he gets close, you are just waiting for him to fall on his head. It’s a victory for kids everywhere.

For obvious reasons, one of my favorite recipe sites is Cooking for Engineers. I recently purchased a new set of steak knives from Costco. At $19.95 I was afraid they would not be very nice but I’m really happy with them. This article about knives reminded me of my neighbor who has a Chinese wife saying that Chinese cooks retire early because of their wrists.

Here is a cool micro photograph.

I’ve written about making gasoline from plant material before but I think this article explains it pretty well for non-scientists.

And finally, yeah it’s a short post but I’ve been wasting a bunch of time on that game I talked about yesterday. Here’s your funny animal picture.