Critical Section


11 ... 12 ... 13 ...

Tuesday,  11/12/13  09:14 PM

rewarded!Greetings, it's 11 ... 12 ... 13 day.  I worked all day, coding, and at the end of it my trusty Chinese food prediction module tells me I shall be rewarded for these efforts.  Good to know.

Thanks for welcoming me back.  I'm not sure I'm truly back, only time will tell.  But two's a trend.

Voronoi-style chess setDid I tell you, I have a MakerBot Replicator 2?  I do.  It is a most awesome toy.  Whenever people ask me "why did you get it", I don't know what to say ... it seems almost self-evident.

Anyway I just completed my finest print yet, a Voronoi -style chess set.  (That link goes to the amazing Thingiverse, a public repository of most excellent designs to print.  Think of Napster in the early days, everything is there, and everything is free.)  Voronoi was a guy who studied random distributions, and his name is now used as an adjective for physical objects with lots of random holes in them.  These are particularly great for 3D printing because they look cool, they're printable, they're not entirely solid, and they're hard to make any other way.

Besides the MakerWare software which actually prints stuff, the other magic here is Tinkercad, a free web-based 3D modeling software.  That such a great tool can be developed entirely in a web browser is amazing, and that it can be used by anyone free is even more amazing.  What a time to be alive.

Newsweek: iPod announcement coverWhile I was out a lot of interesting events occurred, including the 10th anniversary of the iPod.  Do you remember the original iPod announcement?  It was a classic Jobsnote; I remember it well.  I didn't "get" where this was going, but I remember feeling like something important just happened.  Who knew this was going to completely change the music industry, and lead to changing the movie industry as well as cellphones?  (And might we even say, change the computer industry?)

Yeah, I know; Newsweek!  Wow.  It has been a long ten years.  I guess print media is another industry which changed completely :)

Here's another big change: the death of the home stereo system.  Sigh.  This *totally* rings a bell for me; I loved home stereos.  I loved everything about them; the sound of course, but also the display panels, and the switches and the knobs, all the connections in the back, even the smell of hot electronics :)

steam powered carHow excellent is this?  Steam powered car from 1884 sells for $4.6M.  Looks like it is worth every penny.  It took about 50 years to get from steam to gasoline, and another to get from gasoline to electricity.  How much will gas powered cars sell for in 2084?

Hublot watch: the Antikythera MechanismHere's another thing I want: Hublot rebuilds the famed Antikythera Mechanism.  I've always loved Hublot watches, they're ridiculous but in a cool way.

Here's an interesting thought: what would be the greatest technological leap you'd have to explain to someone who time traveled from the 1950s?  Well, you'd have to explain what happened to music, movies, print media, telephones, and computers.  Maybe you could cover a lot of this simply by describing the latest iPhone :) 

What's interesting is that the answer would be mostly the same for someone from the 1880s, and maybe even someone from the time of the Antikythera Mechanism (est 100BC).  A lot has happened lately!

the Earthiest planets we knowNews you might be able to use: the Earthiest planets in the Universe (that we know of ).  Complicating this search is the inconvenient fact that Earthy planets aren't especially easy to find.  There might be many of them out there - undoubtedly there are - but we might never know it.

Then there's stuff like this: Dwarf planet Eris is bereft of atmosphere, about the size of Pluto.  It's been out there right in our own solar system all along, but we just found it.  How many objects like this exist?

You know I'm a total fan of Cassini, right?  Well here's why: check out these awesome pictures of Saturn, backlit by the Sun.  There are not frames from a sci-fi movie, these are real pictures of a planet.  Yippee.

Saturn backlit by the Sun, from Cassini

 

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