Jeff Duntemann's Contrapositive Diary Rotating Header Image

Odd Lots

  • Here’s a nice, high-school physics level lab demonstration of an aluminum air battery, made from aluminum foil, aquarium charcoal, salt water, and a paper towel. A few of these in series will run a simple solid-state radio. It would be fun to figure out how to expand the concept into something a little more durable, with thicker aluminum plates, in some kind of container that will confine the messy materials and yet admit oxygen to sustain the reaction.
  • Damned if the photo of this beambot doesn’t remind me of the Ed Emshwiller F&SF cover for “Callahan and the Wheelies,” a 1960 story by Stephen Barr that I blatantly imitated in my own high-school fiction.
  • When I first got into computing in the midlate 1970s I had a number of CPU green cards, but was always a little puzzled that none of them were…green. (The COSMAC green card was blue, and the 8080 green card was white.) In truth, I didn’t know at the time why everybody called them “green cards,” and if you still don’t know, here’s a site where you can see the real deal. (Thanks to Richard Haley for the link.)
  • And from Richard’s own hand comes a list of instruction mnemonics that you won’t find on most green cards, of whatever color. My favorite is EMW, Emulate Maytag Washer, which the crotchety frontloading 3330 disk packs back at Xerox building 214 were very good at doing, except that they were in the spin cycle all the damned time.
  • Google Books has mounted most (if not quite all) of a fascinating book called Hi There, Boys and Girls! which is a history of local children’s TV programming in the US. The book is organized by TV markets around the country, and the Google Books version is intriguing for how much material is actually available for free. The Chicago material is available, and excellent, if not as detailed as Jack Mulqueen’s full-book treatment in The Golden Age of Chicago Children’s Television, which has a much more limited Google Books preview.
  • We are getting close to the release of Michael Arrington’s Crunchpad Internet tablet, but little or nothing has been said about the only thing I really want it for: a large-display ebook reader. It needs an SDHC slot (which I think it has) and some decent ebook software (anybody’s guess) but given those two things, it could remake the ebook biz. July is flying. Wherezit at, Mike?


  1. Erbo says:

    Hmmm…he seems to have left off the “IDAIDWP” instruction, for “I’ll Do As I Damn Well Please.” May be emphasized by a “FU” prefix, the meaning of which should be obvious. (As seen in one of Rick Cook’s Wiz books.)

  2. Brook Monroe says:

    I seem to remember adding to a list like this back in the early 80’s.

  3. Brook Monroe says:

    Large-screen e-book reader?

    Got Kindle DX?

    1. Got display contrast?

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