Jeff Duntemann's Contrapositive Diary Rotating Header Image

Odd Lots

  • Robert Jastrow, the well-known NASA space popularizer, has left us, at age 82. My copy of Red Giants and White Dwarfs is in pieces from overuse, but as with Jastrow himself, I can only say: Mission accomplished.
  • I stumbled upon an interesting piece of art today (while following an unrelated link sent by Pete Albrecht) by the late French Impressionist Albert Besnard. Rather too casually entitled “Decoration for a Ceiling,” to me it suggests something altogether more cosmic: The reunion of all things and all people with God at the end of time. As Pete suggested for a caption: “Honey, I picked up your wings from the cleaners.” (And how about using it as a book cover? Right there in the middle is space for a title!)
  • D-Stix are amazingly rare on eBay (considering all the rest of the bizarre and obscure crap that I see there regularly) but today I finally scored the 464-piece set from the mid-1960s, and for only $10 at that. I've mentioned D-Stix here on Contra in the past, and on our second date, Carol and I flew a tetrahedral kite that I had made out of D-Stix. Building a replica of that kite has been on my do-it list for some years now. All I have to do now is find some purple madras tissue paper…
  • Jim Strickland sent me a link to a nice page from a German chap (it's in English) who has done considerable work with spark speakers. This isn't quite a flame speaker as I saw one in 1969 (which used an ionized propane torch flame) but is more like a modulated Tesla coil.
  • Also from Jim (in honor of the Westminster Dog Show, which ran last night) is an entry from what might as well be LOLDogs. Alas, the bichon didn't win his group last night. (There are too many poodles in the world, and not enough melted butter…)
  • Still again from Jim is a fascinating short history of the Teletype.
  • While we're talking ancient communication technologies, I finally remembered to link to a summary of Western Union's “92 code,” which is a list of 19th century telegrapher's numeric abbreviations that includes the ''–73–” that has been my email signature since my MCI Mail days in the early 80s. This is as good a summary as I've found, but it's missing a few codes that I've heard, like –86– which is short for “We are out of…”
  • And further in that same direction, here's as good a list as I've seen of the 10-codes used by CBers, police, and, of course, Broderick Crawford.

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