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Odd Lots

  • I’ve been maxed out for the last week or ten days on numerous things, not excluding Christmas, which is why you haven’t heard from me here. So even if the Odd Lots file is a little short this time (who’s had time to wander online in search of Interesting Things?) it’s the best I can do for the moment.
  • There is a very-close-to-optimal total lunar eclipse tonight, with totality beginning at 11:40 Pacific Standard Time, 12:40 Mountain, 1:40 Central, and 2:40 Eastern. Totality lasts for 72 minutes. Because we’re at the Winter Solstice, the eclipsed Moon will be as high in the sky for North Americans as it ever gets; you will be looking very close to straight up, especially if you’re on the West Coast. Here’s the NASA page on the eclipse. I don’t boggle at this kind of trivia anymore, but we haven’t seen a total lunar eclipse on the WInter Solstice since 1638. (I believe there will be another, however, in 2094.)
  • In other astronomy news, the Sun is dead quiet again, and we are in our second day without sunspots at all on its visible face, at a point in the sunspot cycle when the sunspot number should be at least 30 or 40 at minimum. With the solar magnetic field continuing to drop, suggestions that we are in for another Dalton-scale solar minimum seem less outlandish than they did a year or so ago. So much for 10M DX.
  • I’m still trying to determine if this is a hoax or not. If not, I might order some to calibrate my still-incomplete (if haltingly functional) Geiger counter. Don’t skim past without reading the first comment: 4,182 of 4,252 people thought it was useful!
  • Apple is keeping certain iBooks layout features to itself, sharing them (under NDA and perhaps at a high price) with large publishers only. WTF? How can this possibly help them?
  • Perhaps (finally!) realizing that annoying your honest customers is a dazzlingly stupid thing to do, Microsoft has quietly retired its Office Genuine Advantage program, which required users to verify the propriety of their copies of Office before allowing them to download templates and so on. This does not mean that Office activation has been abandoned, only that MS will no longer give you the third degree for existing Office installations, especially 2000 and 2003.
  • The term “non-Newtonian fluids” makes them sound a lot more exotic than they really are, but as materials go, they’re pretty cool. I borrowed the concept (which I read about years ago) for a bullet-proof cloak in my in-progress short novel Drumlin Circus, but it looks like that idea may become real-life at some point. (Hey, doesn’t “Bullet-Proof Custard” make a great imaginary band name?)
  • Not sure what to think about an assertion that C. S. Lewis is the Elvis Presley of Christian publishing.
  • Don’t have a Chester A. Arthur bobble-head? Want one? Grab some old photos online and send them to Sculpteo, and get a hand-painted bobbler of the guy and his muttonchops. Not cheap–$80 to $100–but we’re seeing the first wave of commercial 3-D printing apps here. Why not be an early adopter?

5 Comments

  1. Tom says:

    Welcome back Jeff, you were missed!

    If you are looking for some uranium ore have you taken a look at this site:

    http://www.unitednuclear.com/

    It is a pretty cool site and seems legit.

    In order of occurrence, a cool Solstice to you, and a Merry Christmas, Nice Kwanzaa, and Happy New Year — with apologies for any I may have missed.

  2. Tim Fidler says:

    Uranium ore. Ha ! you can dig the stuff out of Skippers road eare of the buller Gorge in NZ for free. No chain wire fences. hardly anyone knows it is there. It is in a limestone type of rock. Hint is as good as a wink to a blind man. Most of the U ore in Auz. is hard to get at.
    If you want something free and radioactive and safe then buy thoriated tungsten Tig welding electrodes. Don’t cut or grind them though. Plenty do. Plenty will see the result late in life. T hey are supposed to be ground for welding in fully enclosed grinders but theworld being what it is (cheap and careless….)

    Hey Jeff. Did you see my query on the Lancaster RTL logic download. Problem solved but my post seems to have never got posted. Does yer dog do the auditing/moderating ? 🙂

    Tim Fid in Oz

    1. That earlier comment was not screened, since you’ve posted comments before and are thus automatically whitelisted by WordPress. So it’s been there since you submitted it, and it’s there now. Take a look and let me know if you can see it; I looked when this comment came in and it was there.

      I ultimately want to get a number of samples to test the counter with, and the ore sample would be a good baseline. I have a couple of radium pointer panel meters, and supposedly Coleman lantern mantles are mildly radioactive.

  3. Tim Fidler says:

    Um yes tat is Area and Buller gorge (named after a German explorer). you can find references to this free for the taking U ore on the web. NZ govt is sensitive a bout this though. Prolly take my passport off me. Ha ! I got an oz one. Kiwis can go drown on that one. I believe there is a sample of this ore in The museum in Wellington. Geiger counter alongside. He_ll that’s smart. They will all be junior nuclear scientists soon. Maybe can type too…. 🙂

    Tim F (now recently Ex NZ citizen ) in Oz.

    1. I’m sure that if I do get to NZ before I kick off, I’ll be looking at other things than Uranium ore, since it’s a gorgeous and good-sized place and not to be done in a week or less. Ditto Australia, which I have hoped to see for many years, but I’ve barely been to Europe. Life may have to dial itself down to a considerably lower level of nuts before I can take trips like that, no matter how much I might want to.

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