Jeff Duntemann's Contrapositive Diary Rotating Header Image

April 10th, 2008:

Odd Lots

  • Those who marveled at the quirky motion of the Big Dog quadripedal robot should not miss the (inevitable) video parody.
  • And while we're watching videos, make sure you watch this one, starring a Pope Benedict XVI bobblehead identical to the one on my bookshelf. While this is what I call “gentle humor” and I suspect that Good Pope Bennie (with whom I disagree but whom I do not despise) would have laughed had he seen it, the usual grump-ass moroons who object to things like this prevailed to have the ad pulled. Fu on 'em.
  • Which of course reminded me of this famous Far Side cartoon, which incensed Jane Goodall's staffers but made the great lady herself laugh. My father told me early on: Life demands a sense of humor. Only cowards cannot laugh at themselves, and only hopeless slave-collar tribalists cannot abide humor about their own leaders.
  • George Hodous sent me a link to an artist who uses intersecting lasers to etch a crystal cube containing a 3-D starmap of our stellar neighborhood out to five parsecs. Nice work, and if you ever forget, he's marked the direction to the galactic core.
  • Maybe this is why I started to get muscular in middle age. Thanks to Frank Glover for the pointer.
  • Takahiro Kato of Japan sent me a link to his page on 12V tube work, including a 30mw transmitter he designed. It's in Japanese, and (alas) the machine translation link does about as well as machine translation links generally do. But look at his construction techniques—I haven't seen anything that clean and rational for a long time.
  • Those who love The Rocketeer (whether the graphic novel or the film) will want to take a look at this, documenting a Swedish inventor who has come damned close to making it real. (Yes, he does look more like Buzz Lightyear than Cliff Secord.) No explanation here of why his pants don't catch fire, but hey, wow.
  • While hunting for a new standard model thumbdrive to replace the no-longer-made Cruzer Mini I ran across this prototype. Not what I need but very cool nonetheless. Let's just hope they don't pollute it with U3.
  • In thinking about non-obvious disruptive technologies, it occurred to me that using nanotech filters to separate gold from seawater could be hugely disruptive to nationalk economies if it became effective. However, with gold at about thirteen ppt (parts per trillion) in seawater, it would take a lot of nanofilm to get any useful quantity. I vaguely recall an old SF story about a guy who pulled gold out of seawater somehow. Anybody remember what that was?