Tag Archives: science

Scraphouse

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In the grand tradition of the DIY spirit and in celebration of World Environment Day, a group of designers, builders, and professional “obtainers” are building a house on the lawn in front of San Francisco city hall out of things they scrounged over the past six weeks. The house opened to the public today and will be taken down on June 6th and recycled.

Scraphouse website

Slideshow

Ukrainian man hasn’t slept in 20 years

I tend to be a bit of a night owl but I can’t see how this is humanly possible.

I used to read boring scientific periodicals in the hope they would send me to sleep. But as soon as I felt my eyes getting droopy and put the magazine down, I would find myself wide awake again. I thought it would just be a phase but its gone on for over 20 years now and I’ve simply had to get used to it.

If you figure he’s had 8 hours more a day than the rest of us mortals than over 20 years that works out to 2,433 days or six and a half years! One wonders why he isn’t a whole heck of a lot more productive than the rest of us, he should have a few Nobel prizes under his belt by now – what gives?

Thanks to Kottke for the pointer.

Try, Try Again

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Launched in August 2001, NASA’s Genesis was a delicate unmanned spacecraft designed to collect solar wind samples for further analysis on Earth. The pod was to enter the atmosphere and deploy a chute to slow down it’s speed and while drifting to the ground was going to be intercepted by trained helicopter pilots who would snag the pod mid-air and bring it down safely without damaging it’s delicate sapphire collection plates.

I knew about this mission because the retrieval methods were covered by NPR on the radio when they interviewed the helicopter pilots who were actually stunt pilots from Hollywood. NASA usually turns to the military for such tasks but they decided that the stunt pilots would be better experienced for such a mission.

Things did not go as planned. Hopefully they can piece things together enough so the mission isn’t a total loss.

Questions

Izumi and the kids are away in Japan for a month so Tyler could attend the last few weeks of Japanese kindergarten and hopefully pick up some of the language – a bit of an experiment. Before he left he asked me why things get smaller when they move further away into the distance. Good question – I had to think about that one for a bit. My answer was that if they didn’t get smaller, they wouldn’t fit.

Any other ideas?

UPDATE: Mie put the question to Dr. Hal

Cicadas

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Thanks to Aunt Karen for the image.

They’re friggin’ everywhere in the neighboring town of Princeton and I can hear the din if I have the windows down during the drive home (on second thought, maybe I should keep the windows up). No sign of them in our small hamlet yet and the joke around town is that their too high-brow to be seen here.

At any rate, the re-appearence of Brood X, that has been lying dormant for the past 17 years is all the talk around time and the source of frequent humor.

Solar System

I taught Tyler a little bit about the solar system and I could tell he was taking it in and trying to apply it to the world around him. A few days later, when I told him that I’m going on a long plane ride for a business trip (I’m in San Francisco for a few days) he asked, “Which planet are you going to?”