Jeff Duntemann's Contrapositive Diary Rotating Header Image

Odd Lots

  • My Geiger counter project is still alive, but I ordered an old telephone magneto from eBay and it just got here. Now I have to work up a scheme to transform its hand-cranked 120VAC to 900VDC in the capacitor bank. Will report back once that section of the device is in the can.
  • I’ve seen these people in used bookstores and tent sales, and although I knew (vaguely) what they were doing, I hadn’t seen a detailed description of the culture. Here’s why you don’t find lots of bargains at used book sales.
  • A correspondent who will remain nameless suggested that, since I’m fighting ongoing shingles pain, I should get a Colorado medical marijuana card and do a series on the Colorado weed scene. After all, an MMD is the third-closest retail establishment to my home (after Blockbuster Video and a nail shop.) Well, no. I’ll go with gabapentin. But if you’re curious about the kind of nuthouse medical marijuana has become (at least in Michigan and probably Colorado as well) read this.
  • Taco sauce cleans the oxide layer off of pennies, leaving bright metal in its wake. How? We’re not entirely sure, but here’s an interesting discussion of the question–and some fun citizen science.
  • The Soviet Union had a lot of hardware done and mostly tested for a lunar landing circa 1970, but it didn’t have the required launch power of a Saturn V, so the program was mothballed and the landers abandoned. (Thanks to Frank Glover begin_of_the_skype_highlighting     end_of_the_skype_highlighting begin_of_the_skype_highlighting     end_of_the_skype_highlighting for the link.)
  • On the same site, and in the same vein, are some photos of early Soviet snowmobiles, many of which were powered by aviation engines and air propellers rather than treads of some kind.
  • This may be TMI about chicken nuggets. You judge. I’ll stick with beef.
  • Here’s an interesting take on the Periodic Table, called Helix Chemica, from the 1944 book Hackh’s Chemical Dictionary. “Hackh” is a wonderful name. I think I’ll steal it.
  • Our President wants a better America through science, technology, engineering, and math. A little more glue behind the Presidential Seal would be a good start.
  • Ok. This is silly. But there is something wonderfully, goofily likeable about it.
  • Like I predicted, people are going to be making jokes about this thing forever. I liked this one. Not only epic fail, but epic humilation. Anger is deadly.


  1. Rich Shealer says:

    I’m slow today. I don’t get the cartoon. What does a doorbell have to do with carbon emissions?

    1. Oh, dear. I guess you didn’t hear about the nasty little film called “No Pressure.” Quick summary: Schoolchildren are asked if they agree with everything their teacher says about global warming. Two refuse to agree. Teacher pushes red button. Dissenters explode in a cloud of blood and guts.

  2. Rich Shealer says:

    I read about that in your blog I just didn’t tie the door bell from the cartoon into it. Peer pressure is a powerful tool/weapon.

  3. Carol Pruitt says:

    A few years ago, Alex & I were staying in a motel until our new apartment was available. While there, I came down with a painful rash on my back waistline, accompanied by a backache and an overall malaise. I hoped that whatever it was would just go away, but it didn’t.

    The bed in our room was nice and cozy, but offered very little in the way of actual support. It occurred to me that the bed probably accounted for my backache, and scheduled an appointment with our chiropractor. About the same time, it occurred to me that the painful rash could be shingles, so I asked the chiropractor about that.

    As you undoubtedly know, shingles is merely a latter-day manifestation of the chicken-pox virus. Even though we recovered from the pox itself, the virus didn’t actually leave us, it just went into hiding. The chiropractor explained that if one of the virus’s hiding places is adjacent to a vertebra that goes out of whack, the virus’s capsule can be pinched open, resulting in a shingles attack. He said that putting the vertebra back in place will often clear up the shingles.

    I can’t say how accurate that is, but my woes cleared up immediately.

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