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How have I not seen this before?

This thing crossed my path yesterday. It’s called a Vein Viewer.

It’s a hand-held wand that you pass over the surface of the skin. It emits near-infrared light that is absorbed by the blood but bounces off the skin, showing the shape and position of veins – the closer to the surface, the better the image. Then the hand-held dingus makes a display out of that in real time and projects it onto the person with a laser.

I would really, really like to have one of those to play with for an afternoon. Its use is mostly just for precise needle sticks, particularly with difficult patients (like babbies). But it is very cool to watch in action.

So how come the top video on that page is eight years old?

February 11, 2019 — 8:07 pm
Comments: 1

Ew…skeevy…

This thing has been turning up in my FaceBook feed for days. It’s a sponsored post (meaning, they paid for an ad) for these tiny cameras.

Can you appreciate the size of them? I mean tiny. About an inch cubed. And according to the page, they run for 100 hours wirelessly and record to SD card. According to the website at the link, they’re $25.

I know there have been seriously tiny spy cameras for a while, but these things are so little and cheap and simple, and something about them being advertised on grandma’s social media platform of choice is just creepy.

February 6, 2019 — 7:58 pm
Comments: 6

Dispatched…

GIMME MY STUFF! GIMME! GIMME IT!!!

Ahem. My computer is on the way. I don’t have an ETA yet. It’s not actually in the tracking system for another couple of hours.

And it’s 3-5 day shipping, so we’re looking at next week.

I’m’onna come out of my skin.

December 5, 2018 — 8:07 pm
Comments: 13

too. much. choice.

Yup. My computer’s bricked. Now comes the painful process of replacing it.

Where once there were dozens of make-to-order sites in the UK, now I only know one: Novatech. I’ve always liked their stuff, though. All highly customizable. But I’m so far from the days when I thought I understood the innards of a computer, I am bewildered by the choices.

For a Photoshop machine, do I start with a gaming machine or a graphics workstation? I bought an Nvidia GTX 970 graphics card two years ago; is that still decent?

I’ve always believed in buying the best machine I could possibly afford, but I don’t even know where to concentrate any more.

If any of you tame computer geeks have insight, I’d be mighty grateful to hear it. I’m too boomer for this shit.

November 19, 2018 — 7:53 pm
Comments: 12

But wait, there’s more…

Divers around the area where the Antikythera Mechanism was found have discovered what they believe to be another piece of it. In fact, there have been continuous diving expeditions to the wreck site, official and otherwise, and all sorts of interesting things have come out of the water (though nothing as spectacular as this).

To refresh: in 1909, Greek sponge divers brought found a bunch of things on a 2,000 year old wreck near the island of Antikythera, including an unremarkable chunk of crap. Many years later, someone thought to x-ray the chunk of crap and discovered it was the corroded remains of a small, incredibly complex gear-driven analogue celestial computer.

The image above is an exploded view via computer model of what they think it looked like. Some of the structure is speculative, but quite a lot of it has been confirmed to be present and to work.

From the first link above (which is a very interesting article; you should read it):

The Mechanism could do not only basic math: with dozens of exquisitely worked cogwheels, it could calculate the movements of the sun and moon, predict eclipses and equinoxes, and could be used to track the solar system planets, the constellations, and much more.

We may never know how many cogwheels the original Antikythera Mechanism had. Assessments based on its functions in predicting the behavior of the cosmos range from 37 to over 70. For comparison, the most advanced Swiss watches have four cogwheels.

They don’t know exactly what the new bit is. It looks like a backplate of some kind. Under x-ray, there’s an etched image of a bull, so it may have something to do with the constellation of Taurus. It may not even be part of the famous mechanism, but it is metallurgically similar. Was there more than one?

There were all kinds of other things on the wreck I hadn’t heard of before; it was a huge ship. Like 50 life-sized statues of Homeric figures, and the wreck happened at a time when they think Homer had gone out of style. Antiques Roadshow, Ancient Greek Edition? Who knows?

And don’t tell me the Mechanism was the one and only calculating machine they had. Complex technologies don’t spring out of nowhere as a one-off. How much mind-blowing stuff has been completely lost to history…?

November 14, 2018 — 8:35 pm
Comments: 9

Kind of expensive, but way cool

The thing on the left is actually the thing on the right. They reclaimed the image using a freaking particle accelerator.

It’s a daguerrotype and it sounds this particular technique (or variant of the technique) only works with daguerrotypes, because the images were developed using a mercury vapor. The machine finds and maps the mercury. Though I don’t see why it couldn’t be done with silver or platinum or any other photographic emulsion. On the other hand, I’m not a partical physicist.

It is, as you might expect, REALLY EXPENSIVE to rent a particle accelerator and it took eight hours per square centimeter. So, you know, don’t go digging out grandma’s daguerrotypes just yet.

Here’s the item in Science News. And here is a heavier, boringer version in Nature.

I used to subscribe to Science News. I loved that rag. It was a tiny weekly — a dozen pages, maybe? — with short, interesting but not dumbed-down science items. Then they disappeared up their own assholes with globular warming and gender studies.

SJW’s — is there no wholesome thing they cannot pervert?

Have a good weekend, y’all!

July 13, 2018 — 10:20 pm
Comments: 13

The things you find on eBay

Introducing the FCD MK5.2 Ghost Box Spirt Box Portal All wood design Paranormal ghost hunting. I’m sure he means ‘spirit’ – it’s a ghost detector.

His picture really sells this thing, doesn’t it?

FCD MK5.2 GHOST BOX PORTAL (New for 2018!)
This is the all new wooden case FCD ghost box device. I have been working on this new design for a while now and I believe this unit has one of the clearest and loudest sound systems in such a handy portable case.

Features: All wood case, loud clear sounds, individual tone and bass controls, continuous sweep, digital display, sound to light indicator, Aux In to play your apps through the box, Aux out to record and attach effects boxes, adjustable multi-directional antenna, uses 5 volts batteries or at home usb, carry handle and rubber feet.

The device is lovely to behold and incorporates the 5th Element crystal too. All hand made from the ground up. Watch the video for a demo of how it sounds and operates before you buy.

Made to order, £110. For a hand crafted, polished wood box incorporating a fifth element crystal, I think that’s quite the bargain. There’s video on his auction listing. It sounds to me as though it picks up (slightly disturbing) snippets of stray radio signal, and it would be easy to attach meaning to them.

Now, I won’t have Nigel savaged, please. I think he’s perfectly charming.

June 25, 2018 — 8:21 pm
Comments: 25

Oh, I don’t like that…

Eh, I just did a Google search on my sad old machine upstairs and for the very first time, at the bottom of the search screen, it said something like “based on your search history, your location is THE LITTLE TEENY VILLAGE POPULATED MOSTLY BY SHEEP THAT YOU ACTUALLY LIVE IN(!!!)“. Substitute the real village name for the phrase in italics, obvsly.

Usually, the closest it gets is a largish town at least twenty miles away. When I use Opera, with its built-in VPN, it defaults to Amsterdam (which sometimes plays havoc with authentication).

I was sure I turned off location services on all my devices, but they have a bad habit of turning themselves back on after just about any software update. So the question is, who ratted me out — my phone? My Kindle? One of my three tablets? My desktop machine? The wheezy old thumper upstairs?

One thing’s for sure, it won’t be Uncle B’s machine. Dude is crazy paranoid.

So…what are you doing to keep Google out of your panties? Are you using a VPN? Are you paying for it? I…really don’t like this.

April 18, 2018 — 9:32 pm
Comments: 22

Toys

We may be out in the boonies, but we’re along the flight path to the Continent (just ask that nice Mr Hitler). Traffic is high and lately I feel sure we’ve heard an uptick.

Enter Uncle B, who’s a bit of a plane geek. He turned me on to a site called Flight Radar 24. It tracks every plane in the sky. Click one, and it tells you the registration, the destination, all sorts of neat flight information.

If you hear one go over and it ain’t on the map, that’s military. We get a lot of that, too.

When you hit that link, if the map isn’t showing your part of the world, drag the screen until it is. Next time, it will remember.

I love the flight arc of planes flying the Atlantic. They always go up and over, like somebody throwing darts.

March 22, 2018 — 10:15 pm
Comments: 29

It finally happened to me

wetphone

I thought it would never happen to me. I’m not one of those people who takes her phone to the loo and watches Gone with the Wind on the throne. I didn’t even remember the silly thing was in my pocket until I heard it >plonk< into the swirling waters of Flushing Stream.

It’s…okay. I peeled off the case and the seal and put the whole lot on the radiator for a few hours. Works okay. Looks kind of wonky.

The video is sort of de-interlaced and I have a spooky purple vignette around the edges of the screen, but only sometimes. I don’t know, is that residual moisture or actual damage? Doesn’t matter. I’m not due for a new phone yet and I’m kind of attached to this one.

Also, I just now tried to update my plugins so y’all can preview comments again, and the preview plugin broke the blog. I nuked the plugin from the control panel and it’s working again, but you still can’t preview. But I think you can edit! Will that do?

March 12, 2018 — 10:45 pm
Comments: 15