Jeff Duntemann's Contrapositive Diary Rotating Header Image

January 4th, 2011:

Odd Lots

  • I may be the last person to aggregate this, but if you haven’t seen it yet, consider: The Sun being eclipsed simultaneously by the Moon…and the ISS! Thanks to Bill Higgins for pointing it out. (Talk about having to set up a shot!!!)
  • And for further astronomical boggle-fodder, consider this: A ten-year-old girl discovered a supernova a few days ago, and is the youngest person ever to do so.
  • Here’s a site listing a great many 19th Century and early 20th Century studio photographers, many with addresses and sometimes timeframes. All but one of the studios I’ve seen on old family photos I’ve scanned (circa 1880-1910) are listed. How useful this might be is hard to tell, but if you’re currently doing genealogical research it’s worth a bookmark.
  • RF Cafe has a nice table of dielectric constants, useful if you’re winding coils on odd scraps and not commercial forms or cores.
  • The same research yielded this short discussion of how good PVC piping is for RF use. Quick form: Most plastics are better, but they don’t make polystyrene pipe. They don’t even make polystyrene vitamin bottles anymore. (Fortunately, I still have a few in the scrap box.)
  • From my old friend Dennis Harris comes a pointer to, which has short MP3 clips of 18,351 TV theme songs and all their variations. Elmer the Elephant is missing, but damn near everything else is there, from Supercar to The Ugliest Girl in Town .
  • Last week while we were in Chicago, my nephew Brian showed me Google Sky Map on his Android smartphone. Basically (assuming your phone “knows where it is” and when) you can hold your phone up against the sky, and it will show you what stars and planets lie in that direction, even in broad daylight. Aim the camera at your feet, and you’ll see what’s on the other side of the planet, swinging toward rising or circling the opposite pole. Way cool.
  • From the Words I Haven’t Heard In A Long Time Department: bric-a-brac , a collective term for odd items of low value. I realized, digging through a box in the garage, that I must hold one of the world’s largest reserves of bric-a-brac. Damn. I shoulda invested in rare earths.
  • Related to the above: Rubrique-a-Brac , a long-running cartoon strip by French cartoonist Gotlib. His 1971 Taume 2 collection of strips is the funniest book in French I ever read without knowing French. (I do have a French-English dictionary, which helps, but the art largely speaks for itself.)
  • As if the Nazgul weren’t enough: We’ve gotten word that there was once a giant stork that preyed on the Flores Island hobbits.