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That’s Enough, Sir; I Have to Ask You to Leave February 24, 2017

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from boinGboinG.net

My Next Hobby February 7, 2017

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White Newtonmas Eve December 24, 2016

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IMG_20161224_072254605 It’s Newtonmas Eve, and all the nuclear family is here.  Merry Newtonmas to all.


Don’t worry about the snow; it’s mostly gone already.  : )

It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Newtonmas November 21, 2016

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Can’t get it on Amazon…can it be real?

Gluten-free Bread Machine Adventures 5 November 21, 2016

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Wherein we find Our Hero has found that Pamela’s Gluten-free Bread Mix can be had from Amazon Prime for $2.42/lb delivered, which is no small thing here in the Frozen North, where the only town bigger than 2,000 is an hour away…

See previous Bread Machine Adventures for correct use, misuse and abuse.

Too Much Science to Read, Let Alone Review November 15, 2016

Posted by stuffilikenet in Awesome, Brain, Brilliant words, Geek Stuff, Science, Star Trek Technology, Toys, Uncategorizable.
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It’s been a banner week for science geeks, nerds, and squints. The locked-in lady gets to at least shout from her prison quietlyGoogle has radar sensitive enough to not only find objects but identify them by their radar signature and perovskite is once again breaking solar-conversion efficiency records.

Ordinarily I would give you a breakdown of each of these nifty developments, but more are coming and I may want to return to these later when I am not pressed for time.  Follow the links above; there are others as well that you will find more well constructed than my chicken scratchings, I’m sure.

Brain-Computer Interface Now in Use at Home!!! November 15, 2016

Posted by stuffilikenet in Applications, Awesome, Brain, Geek Stuff, Science, Star Trek Technology, Toys, Uncategorizable.
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A 58-year-old woman (“HB”) with ALS has had a functioning brain-computer interface (BCI) for a while now, and is able to communicate (slowly) with the outside world. She was facing total lock-in Real Soon Now, so any device which offers communication ability is welcome.

What it is:

A diagram illustrating the setup and use of the ECoG implant.

Electrode strips at the top laid across her brain like band-aids read faint electrical signals.  With training HB was able to “type” fairly quickly (words per minute, but still).  More work remains to be done on the interfacing software (I am imagining more inputs and a neural network to interpret her thoughts more and more efficiently), and HB is ecstatic to have a way t live in the world.  She would like to use the interface to control a wheelchair, for example, but that is a ways off.


Homework:  Vansteensel, Mariska J. et. al., Fully Implanted Brain–Computer Interface in a Locked-In Patient with ALS, New England Journal of Medicine November 12, 2016 DOI: 10.1056/NEJMoa1608085

Update: New Scientist has an excellent writeup as well.

Breakfast of Champions November 11, 2016

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A friend gave this to my wife today (the egg mold, not the scotch). I couldn’t wait for breakfast to enjoy it (hence the scotch).  Turns out you can get them sent to your house by tomorrow if you have Amazon Prime.  Hurry up! We can all commune tomorrow morning with pirate eggs.


Exciting update:


How I Started Every Morning This Summer November 9, 2016

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Vote for American Principles November 7, 2016

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I like Ike

I do believe I am an Eisenhower Republican. I like Ike.


I also apparently like dead heroes.

If You Leave it Open, They Will Come October 1, 2016

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…for breakfast:

…and dinner:

We were out for lunch, so no clue how he survived the Arctic Chill without us. Probably begged from the folks down the street.

Dinnertime When The Stars Are Right September 28, 2016

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Where I Live September 12, 2016

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is basically a forest meadow.  Even though I rent a house with a front and back lawn, a vegetable garden and a white fence, I still find bear scat in my back yard.  A fox lives under the tree in my neighbor’s yard.  Deer are so common that we hardly notice them.  My neighbor had a bear break into his pigsty and eat all the piggies’ food (but not the pigs: apparently a vegetarian bear).

Then there are the birds.  I have already described the flocks of black phoebes that colonized our front porch and took flying lessons behind the house (very cute; they practiced touch-and-go flying while the mother bird watched carefully from the mulberry). 


They fully displaced the starlings, for whom I have frankly never cared. And, every morning a pair of sandhill cranes flies in, eats bugs from the meadow behind the house and then takes off in the late evening, making the most interesting cries on landing and takeoff. You can barely see them in this photo:


Trust me; they are there.  Really they are.  We have also seen a solitary male sandhill crane, but he looks very sad. He may be a widower. Here is a slightly better shot:IMG_20160825_200358

Possibly my favorite bird is this little fellow, who often comes and asks for pumpkin seeds we keep in a jar for him:



He has perched on my knee while I was seated on the back porch sofa but I didn’t realize he would hold still for a photo, so I missed my opportunity for a very cute photo.

Lucky S Mine September 4, 2016

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The Lucky S mine is actually quite close to my house as the crow flies…but we aren’t crows.  My wife’s Vanagon does not fly; it crawls, bumps, jounces and bounces over logging roads, Forest Service roads and four-wheeler roads (if you can call them that with a straight face) so that the ten miles to Lucky S mine is an hour’s ride (“ride” is rather more civilized a description than I had in mind, but this is a happy blog, dammit). We used the Beardsley grade road


to get there which, if you stay on it long enough, will intersect the correct Forest Service road with a sign and everything to get you there.  I strongly recommend this route; the other way really does require skinny 4WD conveyances.

Do not trust this sign, however:


We first came across the mine itself, which is a little ways from the town proper:



There is a bog between the town and the mine proper. Do not attempt to follow the south road, as there is a large mudhole in the road even in summer.  I mean, my wife can drive through it in her Vanagon, but I wouldn’t trust anyone else to do it.

Bog pano

In the town, there is a store and hotel, although it’s challenging to tell one from the other.



No pioneer ghost town would be complete without a relaxation center.  This one is particularly relaxed:

Gluten-free Bread Adventures III August 27, 2016

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Well, not exactly, except the yellow thingie below is a toast-cutter for punching

out bat-logoed bread, while the egg cup is, well, um, yeah.  Looks like fun.  It comes as a set from Amazon.

Zinc Oxide and You August 26, 2016

Posted by stuffilikenet in Japan, Science, Uncategorizable, Video.
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Japanese researchers at Tohoku University have created a special coating which reduces friction on high-speed, high-temperature bearings by 30%.  Made of a zinc oxide material, the coating has been integrated into bearings in a nifty jet engine-powered generator for emergency use capable of producing eight thousand watts, enough for two Japanese homes:

ZnO-coated high-performance bearings developed

Tiny, isn’t it?  Is there anything zinc oxide can’t do?

Why Your Life is Not a Journey August 25, 2016

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Snippets from the film “Tree of Life”.  .

Gluten-free Bread Machine Adventures II August 23, 2016

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in which Our Hero tries Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free Wonderful Bread Mix, using the package directions exactly.  The bread machine in question is the Black and Decker All-In-One Deluxe(tm) Automatic Breadmaker, set for Regular crust and Rapid rise.  This nominally takes 1:58 to bake.



Delicious with butter so far.  Have not yet tried the toast  Update possible at breakfast.

Science News Roundup August 12, 2016

Posted by stuffilikenet in Awesome, Brain, Geek Stuff, Science, Star Trek Technology, Uncategorizable.
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I haven’t had a lot of free time for stuff I like lately, but I didn’t want a few items from my science newsfeeds to go unnoticed by you, my adoring public. I expect most people don’t follow this kind of stuff closely, so pay attention:

First off, a team from the UK has found that a commonly available drug Fenamate can reduce the inflammation in a particular pathway to protect against a Alzheimer’s disease model in rodents. A mouse is not a man, but the results are intriguing enough (protected all rats in the study) that trials with humans are being strongly considered.  Because the drug is already approved for pain relief, the difficulty in getting into trials in the first place is enormously reduced. “In the USA, wholesale price of a week’s supply of generic mefenamic acid has been quoted as $426.90 in 2014. Brand-name Ponstel is $571.70. In contrast, in the UK, a weeks supply is £1.66, or £8.17 for branded Ponstan. In the Philippines, 10 tablets of 500 mg generic mefenamic acid cost PHP39.00 (or the equivalent of $0.88USD) as of October 25, 2014.”—Wikipedia.

Evil bastards? Well, sure. What do you expect from companies who can buy or sell legislators?

Next, paraplegic patients have had nerve and muscle function partially restored using a three-step training regimen in Brazil. Starting with VR to give them the sensation of walking through haptic feedback during brain-controlled maneuvering through a VR landscape, the patients then proceeded to move using a robotic walker on a treadmill with full support, also run through the brain-machine interface. Finally, they practiced walking with the robosuit used in that World Cup game a couple of years ago.  This took months, but the eight fully paralyzed patients who completed (one moved away) ALL showed some improvement.

This is a big deal.  None of these guys were ever supposed to get any sensation or control back.

This program is on-going, so we don’t know how much improvement will ultimately result from this innovative program, but I for one am pretty excited. Isn’t this why we work in computer science in the first place?

The Quantum Thief by Hannu Rajaniemi August 3, 2016

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The Quantum Thief by Hannu Rajaniemi is a fun little novel of theft, betrayal, cleverness and impossible physics which brazenly attempts to disguise itself as science fiction.  Too advanced; it has to be magic.
Well, there is a Martian city that migrates run by captive human brains (in electronic bodies; apparently perfect copies of one’s self can be made in this future), shape-shifting people and spaceships, memory bullets (not ones that remember shapes, but more like computer viruses for mind and smart matter). Nothing impossible about that at all, no sir. There is a quantum prison in which the prisoners all play Prisoner’s Dilemma with guns instead of money inside a computer simulation, wherein these perfect copies of people play each other. Insane torture, sure, but certainly possible, right? Uh huh. There is the thief, rescued from this prison by the aforementioned shape-shifting person and ship, agents of a goddess interested in stealing…something. I kind of forget what the McGuffin is because of all the pretty shiny futuristic stuff going on in the impossible far future—it’s very distracting.

The focus on future tech didn’t make anyone else unhappy, though; Hannu Rajaniemi sold a trilogy’s worth of books, of which TQT is just the first. Honestly, I liked it enough to at least look for the second one.