Saturday, February 24, 2007

They smile in your face

The TSA's new backscatter X-ray scanning system might be much more popular if they put out some TV spots with a fabulous vintage background audio track.

As long as people don't listen to the words, that is. Let's see the mashup, people.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Tag your furniture

I heard Ruth Brown on the radio yesterday singing If I Can't Sell It, I'll Keep Sittin' On It and my thoughts naturally turned toward furniture. You can buy fabric spray paint to use on upholstery (thus putting a new twist on the term sofa painting), and it seems to me that with the proper tagging skills, one could produce some interesting art furniture.

Sit back and think of Mick.
What would you spray on your sofa?

Monday, February 19, 2007

Not affiliated

This is not this blog. But I wish it could be, displaying all the power of isometric projection.
(Via Coudal Partners.)

Saturday, February 17, 2007

We are in hot pursuit

I was at the gym this morning without my headphones and saw some NASCAR up on ESPN, with cars crashing into others and into barriers, and started thinking about how one could make the sport more of a realistic depiction of driving. If, for instance, they deployed a police cruiser with siren and flashing lights at the back of the pack, would the drivers slow down or would they speed up? Would they start reaching over for their registration?

Then I thought about how in the Olympics they have pursuit races where competitors individually or in groups circle around trying to lap one another. Seems like a natural thing in an automotive form, and I am a little nonplussed why I have not been able to find anything along these lines on the net. It could be carried out with two cars or teams starting at opposite sides of an oval or otherwise closed track, or for added thrills and realism, in a road racing format with actual hazards (perhaps somewhat mitigated) that the drivers in pursuit would have to negotiate as they go round and round. Instead of seeing cars running into padded walls and bursting into flame, you might see them running into padded buildings, which would be something. That is something I could imagine watching, unlike most motorsports in this country.

Bright lights, big city, Ballard
Bright lights, big city, Ballard,
originally uploaded by jbrownell.

Friday, February 16, 2007

Battling bible verse PDA

An item about the demise of the four-legged chick (an actual bird, as in chicken, that is) reminded me of the issue of problematic biblical verses (see item b on the list) and revived this idea I had of a handheld device which would help in the sometimes difficult task of defending Scripture. You would type in "four-footed fowl" on the little keyboard, and it would search the Web wirelessly to demonstrate the existence, non-existence, or scholarly thought on the concept, so that you could use that as ammo in your debate.

Better yet, if one is fighting with someone else who is citing chapter and verse, you could input the reference into the program and it would search its own concordance of Scripture to give you the diametrically opposed argument out of the Bible. This would eliminate the tedium of having to actually listen to the argument and recall to mind the contradictory position yourself. I would want to make sure that it also had indexes for other works (The Origin of Species, the Qu'ran, the Book of Mormon) so that it would have the widest possible impact.

I've looked, very briefly, and have not found existing software with this precise functionality for Palm or Windows. I would call it iZealot and make sure that I trademarked it before Apple thinks of the idea.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

As befits the name

I feel a little bad for people who stumble on this blog searching for things like sf fashion heavy water and heavy water clothing only to find a almost complete lack of deuterium or tritium oxide content. No doubt they leave in disgust, never to return again. So I have decided to put up one modest heavy water posting by way of appeasement.

You can buy jewelry that contains ordinary water or holy water. From the right sources, it is possible to buy D2O, at least in bulk, so by adapting the instructions on how to make a DNA necklace of your own, it should be possible to make a isotopically correct heavy water jewelry, the perfect gift for your own physics geek. Caution, deuterium oxide is reported to be poisonous in large quantities, so don't be swilling the stuff in mixed drinks, despite anything I may have written in the past.

As for tritiated water, you will have to work a little harder because the world demand, the radioactivity, and the proliferation aspects limit worldwide shipments to only about 100 grams annually, so one would be hard-pressed to obtain enough T2O to supply a good-sized jewelry operation. I am not sure it would be a good idea to encapsulate the stuff in a thin layer of glass, because it is something you probably do not want to ingest, any more than one would go around wearing mercury-filled jewelry.


This may be the second scifaiku I ever wrote, back in 1998:
to impress
they spike cocktails with
heavy water

And so the circle is completed.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Burglar's workout

They have kickboxing workouts, pole dancing workouts, military boot camp workouts, and prison workouts but I don't think the fitness experts have turned to the criminal world for inspiration. I imagine a Breaking and Entering Workout where participants learn how to move stealthily, climb improvised ropes, break through doors and windows, and sprint wildly for their lives under extreme time pressure. The instructors would be chosen for the depth of their first-hand knowledge, on either side of the penal system, and music would be chosen from among the vast assortment of caper film soundtracks, punctuated by loud alarm sounds when a student muffs one of the moves.

Eileen, Breaking and Entering
Eileen, Breaking and Entering,
originally uploaded by geek.beard.

The students would have to sign a statement beforehand pledging that anything they happen to learn in the course of their instruction would be used only for good, not evil. Maybe they should be fingerprinted as well, just to be safe.

I decline to discuss specifically how this idea came to my mind today, but just wish to mention that I am sometimes very glad that I do take the time to try to stay in shape.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Smell my ride

The item in the New York Times today about scented tires made me think that they should be developing other nicely-scented automotive products as well.

Since vehicles running on biodiesel can smell a little like French fries, or Chinese food, maybe we could have tires that smell like ketchup or soy sauce to go along with them. A little essence patchouli in the motor oil of an old broken-down VW minibus might be in keeping with the esthetic, and maybe one might appreciate it when having to follow behind a diesel truck if it smelled like, well, Diesel. Save the spring flowers for the rubber in the windshield wipers I say, as they have to fend off the March showers.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

What matters

The volume of work has been very high for the last few weeks, yet, paradoxically, the money trickles only very slowly in. And on top of it all, this stretch of days with the thermometer steadfastly below freezing (meaning that the dishwasher is out of action) is an extra challenge which brings me up short every time I have to trek out to the van to pick up this tool or that, or to lug all my heavy temperature-sensitive materials into the house at the end of the day. So, it's hard to keep on scintillating as much as one would like.

Angry shapes at war
Angry shapes at war,
originally uploaded by milkfish.

Now and then, however, one finds some random bit of beauty or grace clear out of nowhere, and it's good to pause with one's worrying and slogging through the petty annoyances for a moment.

Friday, February 02, 2007