Jeff Duntemann's Contrapositive Diary Rotating Header Image

Odd Lots

  • Egad. No, egad squared: A major literary agency has asked to see the full manuscript of Ten Gentle Opportunities. The novel is done, but I still have to format it for submission and write the synopsis and logline. I’m going to be busy for a few days, that is fersure.
  • IBM is taking a new slant on fluidic computers, one that operates via charged fluids. The hope is that this will allow better modeling of human brain operation. I’m skeptical, but hey, it’s a species of nanocomputer, and I’m certainly bullish on those. (Thanks to Mike Reith for the link.)
  • If anybody reading this has a 3D printer, I’d like to ask: Does the extruded plastic stick to clean copper-clad PCB stock? The obvious idea is to lay down a single-slice pattern in the form of PC pads and then etch the board with the plastic as resist. I don’t see much about this online.
  • From Chris Gerrib: How American radio stations got their call signs. One minor refinement: US callsigns beginning with AAA-ALZ and NAA to NZZ are not exclusively military. Amateur radio callsigns have used those prefixes for at least 35 years. (An OTA friend of mine outside Chicago got his Extra and selected AA9J as his call in, I think, 1976.)
  • People always seem to be recording meteors on dash cameras. I now have a dash camera. If I put it on my dash, will I see a meteor? Or will I get my money back? (Whoops. Found it in the bushes. All finds final. No refunds.)
  • Speaking of dash cameras: The manufacturer of the little sports camera I found in my bushes issued a DMCA takedown notice to a reviewer, on trademark grounds. (The DMCA has nothing to do with trademark abuse.) Hey, GoPro, Barbra is singing. Backtracking about the blunder will not help you. (Thanks to Tom Roderick for alerting me to this.)
  • Salads are way more dangerous than hamburgers. Alas, you can’t grill salad until it’s done to the center.
  • From Michael Covington comes a link to a story about how a Medieval copyist’s cat peed on his manuscript. The scribe drew a peeing cat on the damaged section, with an appropriate curse in Latin.
  • And we think we have a junk DNA problem: Amoeba proteus has 290 billion (yes, billion) base pairs in its genome, as compared to homo sap’s piddling 2.9 billion.
  • The reason all of us baby boomers didn’t die as grade schoolers may be that none of us lived in rich-guy gonzo-modern homes like these. (Why did I think that these houses were designed to ernhance estate tax revenues?)


  1. But is your dash cam on the dash of your car, or Dash, the dog?

    And yeah, re: rich-guy gonzo-modern homes: designer spooge houses were never safe, practical, or rational. I understand quite a lot of them are also practically impossible to make watertight topside.


    1. I don’t think Dash would be a good sport about carrying a sports cam around, though it’s an intriguing notion.

      And yes, even the great Frank Lloyd Wright had trouble with that sort of thing. Fallingwater was plagued by…falling water. I can only imagine the anxiety triggered when the creek rises.

  2. Carrington Dixon says:

    Of course, the gonzo-modern homes were designed to win awards. As the old adage goes, you don’t want to live or work in a building that won an award.

  3. Mike Brown says:

    > US callsigns beginning with AAA-ALZ and NAA to NZZ are not
    > exclusively military. Amateur radio callsigns have used those prefixes
    > for at least 35 years.

    In addition to that, all American-registered airplanes have numbers starting with “N” for exactly the same reason – the FAA registration number is the FCC call sign.

    de WB2JWD, flying N46493

  4. Tom R. says:

    No 3D printer yet, but I have thought about using an old plotter and a resist ink if I could find the ink and get a pen for it. Also, plotters were vector devices and I think most 3D plotters are raster scan. for a 1D layer like a circuit board I would guess that the vector drawing would be faster and perhaps leave cleaner traces. Another thought is to use a focused UV LED and draw the pattern on negative chemistry boards and develop and etch.

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