June 22, 2004

Acme Catalog

The ORIGINAL Illustrated Catalog Of ACME Products

Here you have it....the illustrated catalog of ACME products from all those years of cartoon watching -

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June 14, 2004

Phoebe's Surprise

Cassini-Huygens Home

Well the first pics are in from the Cassini-Huygens mission to Saturn and Titan...and they are really amazing. Currently the mission is in it's beginning phases of exploration and has just sent back pictures from Phoebe as well as data from all 11 scientific instruments.

"With the Phoebe accomplished, Cassini is on course for Saturn. A trajectory correction maneuver is scheduled for June 16. Cassini will conduct a critical 96-minute burn before going into orbit around Saturn on June 30 (July 1 Universal Time). During Cassini's planned four-year tour it will conduct 76 orbits around the Saturn system and execute 52 close encounters with seven of Saturn's 31 known moons."

Some info on the Cassini-Hurgen spacecraft and another article with background on its mission.

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June 13, 2004

Bike with Square Wheels

Bicycle Riding on Square Wheels

A mathematician (who else) has designed a bicycle the rides on squares wheel....smoothly. How does he accomplish this seemingly impossible feat? Well, he moved the roundness of the wheel to the road.

In essence, as the radius from the "wheel" center to the edge changes, the road counteracts this and together they produce a straight line. Pretty clever.

Additionally, you could make a road that would work with a pentagon, hexagon, etc....and as you increase the sides the inverted cateneries that make up the road get smaller and smaller.....and as you approach infinity, voila, you end up with a round wheel and a flat road.

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In This Day...

"To suppose that any form of government will secure liberty or happiness without any virtue in the people is a chimerical idea." James Madison.

"Only a virtuous people are capable of freedom. As nations become corrupt and vicious, they have more need of masters." Benjamin Franklin.

"The sum of all is, if we would most truly enjoy the gift of Heaven, let us become a virtuous people; then shall we both deserve and enjoy it. While, on the other hand, if we are universally vicious and debauched in our manners, though the form of our Constitution carries the face of the most exalted freedom, we shall in reality be the most abject slaves." Samuel Adams.

"Virtue, then, is a habit or trained faculty of choice, the characteristic of which lies in moderation or observance of the mean relatively to the persons concerned, as determined by reason, i.e. as the prudent man would determine it." Aristotle.

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HowToons.org presents a great series of PDFs and video clips that show kids how to build "stuff". Marshmallow shooters and homebrew air-hockey to a shockwave shooter they've got tons of fun projects for kids this summer. Adults too. ;)

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June 11, 2004

A Classic Senses Quiz

Think quickly and accurately! This little quiz from the BBC tests your senses and what you think you know. Is your sense of perspective in perspective? How your audio and lip-reading skills?

It's fun, it's short, check it out.

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June 05, 2004


Internet Archive

Archive.org has been building a digital repository for websites and other cultural artifacts that are in digital form. For me the most interesting is the Live Music Archive which contains over 10,000 live concert recordings!

I have already downloaded 10 or 20 various concerts from my favorite jam and bluegrass artists like String Cheese Incident, Railroad Earth, Yonder Mountain, Grateful Dead, and many others. Most importantly they are all in a lossless format so there is no degradation of content (usually compressed into either SHN or a similar format). Just like the famous tape-traders of the Grateful Dead past, except you don't have to trade or mail anything....just a direct download to your computer.

For those of you not familiar with this concept, this is 100% legal recording and downloading. All of the bands here encourage listeners to record the shows and share them with others -- it's their way of getting their name out. In fact, I was involved with a Railroad Earth sampler CD that I copied and gave out to both strangers and friends to promote an upcoming tour - and every one of them was received with a smile and big thanks.

In addition, there are also a few MP3 or OGG shows available for streaming, which is nice to do while you work.

I give this site 5 stars for sure.

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June 04, 2004

Curta Calculators

The CURTA Calculator Page

Well, I've found a new item to lust after - the Curta Calculator. These amazing, mechanical items were envisioned by a prisoner of a Nazi concentration camp and then brought to life after he was released.

What is it? A mechanical, hand-cranked calculator that is very compact and quite a piece of wizardry inside - and was covered by around 16 distinct patents.

How complicated? See the dissassembly of one into it's 605 parts. Mind you, the Curta is about 2.5" in diameter and only 4" tall.

They were made from the 1940s through the 1970s and are really a high quality item....apparently the designer kept extremely high manufacturing standards. I believe they contain no? plastic and all non-ferrous parts.

Accordingly, they fetch quite a pretty penny these days - I've seen prices ranging from $500 to over a $1000. I'll be keeping my eyes open for a seller that will unknowingly give me a deal of the century....

The operating manual and a Flash Curta simulator along with another Curta simulator.

Let me know if you come across one or have ever used one....

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