October 9th, 2010

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 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.