Jeff Duntemann's Contrapositive Diary Rotating Header Image

September 3rd, 2011:

Odd Lots

  • Wired has a nice piece on the 1859 Carrington Event; basically, the strongest solar storm in the last 500 years, assuming ice core data is a reliable proxy for storm strength. Early landline telegraph operators actually disconnected their batteries and passed traffic solely on power induced in the lines by solar activity. Whew. Now that’s QRP!
  • Alas, even with sunspot numbers hovering at 120, I’m not hearing much DX out here. I’m not even hearing the East Coast. So much for Cycle 24.
  • There’s a difference between “loving reading” and “loving reading what the literary class loves to read.” We can teach the first. By teaching the second, we may teach a good many students to stop reading completely. (Thanks to Rev. Sharon Hart for the link.)
  • Here be the history of Godwin’s Law.
  • From the September 1922 issue of Popular Science comes a crystal radio in a corn-cob pipe, shown in one of the geekiest Roaring Twenties radio geek photos ever taken. I doubt this would work (well) but I suppose it had to be tried. (Thanks to David Stafford for the link.)
  • This radio geek photo shows a set that would certainly work (schematic here) but I’m not sure he would have been let on an airliner even in 1936.
  • By 1949, radio geek photos were in serious decline, but 15-year-old Hope Lange gave it a damned good try.
  • By sheer coincidence, the cover of that very same issue of Popular Science cited above for the corn-cob radio shows a drawing of a “monocopter,” an unlikely but at least physically possible device modeled on maple tree seeds, which I mentioned in Odd Lots back on July 28. This should be easy to model; has anybody ever seen it done?
  • Maybe I’ve been writing SF for so long that this article sounds a little obvious to me, but some of the points do need to be borne in mind by writers new to the field, particularly #3. (Thanks to Frank Glover for the link.)
  • This was Big News in Germany. Those people need to get out more.
  • I’m not sure what it is either, but if you’re going to cite its name as PIGORASS, you’d really better expand the acronym.