Saturday, December 31, 2005
Now he has an internet audio show with Tech TV's Leo Laporte and talks a lot about computer security and new network ideas. It looks like they make a show every week that last about 20-30 minutes.
Check the show out: http://www.grc.com/SecurityNow.htm
I am listening to episode #20 now about the new Windows security problem and his show is quite informative. I like that he gives you more technical explanations. I learned about the security issue after my father told me about a story on NPR. That story was pretty vague about the issue except it be triggered by looking at image files on webpages. They interviewed someone from McAfee. Refer to http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=5076721
Thursday, December 29, 2005
Tuesday, December 20, 2005
Well, my pictures of Mars are not all that great. Getting the camera locked on Mars turned out easier than I thought but getting it focused proved elusive.
Here is another picture of the moon that I took last night. It has not come out yet tonight so I might try and image it tomorrow morning.
Monday, December 19, 2005
As you can see from the next picture my Saturn image did not turn out. I could not get it into focus.
Sunday, December 18, 2005
Saturday, December 17, 2005
I have taken my first image with the NexImage camera attached to a Meade telescope. The quality is poor due to several factors: 1) cloudy skies made the moon hazy, 2) I did not read the manual for the NexImage so I was muddling through the program while capturing images, 3) I need to read the manual for the image processing program as well. After capturing the images, I will probably upgrade to a faster computer to grab images. Also after finding the manual on the CD, I found that I was not using the maximum resolution to capture images. Also my exposure was not correctly set.
Thursday, December 01, 2005
The image to the right is of white house flour illuminated with the bottom light on the microscope.
The image on the left is of the same flour sample but illuminated from the side with white LEDs that seem to make the flour turn blue.
The image on the left is the same flour sample but illuminated with a red led from the side.
Tuesday, November 29, 2005
An American Eagle coin magnified 60 times. The surface on this coin is rough and not smooth like other coins I have seen. Very coarse looking when magnified 200 times.
Metal fragment found in a piece of shale. It original was a sphere about the size of a BB. I broke it apart to see what the metal looked like inside.
The nose of a buffalo on a new nickel.
Monday, November 28, 2005
Artificial sugar magnified compare it to the later images of sugar.
The right image shows several sugar crystals illuminated with a red LED from the side with small amount of the tungsten light on the microscope. Magnification I think is 60 times.
Here is a sugar crystal magnified 200 times with side illumination by a white LED. I noticed that the white LED makes items appear slightly blue.
Parsley flake magnified by 200 times. Focus would have been helped if I had a flatter specimen.
Popcorn shell magnified 60 times.
Wednesday, November 23, 2005
Doing a little research I found this website about vehicle tires:
The item that relates to what I saw is this, "Every time the outside temperature drops 10 degrees Fahrenheit, the air pressure inside your tires goes down about one or two pounds per square inch." So I need to reduce the pressure once the air temperature warms up again.
Sunday, November 20, 2005
It is a very informative article written by a local science teacher. The only odd thing is it was in the editorial/opinion page. Check it out at: http://www.courier-journal.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20051120/OPINION04/511200428/1054/OPINION
Saturday, November 19, 2005
The company that makes it is in Pennsylvania since World War II. Reading their website it appears to be a tool the military used when serving in jungle environments.
Check out this tool at: http://www.woodmanspal.com
Thursday, November 17, 2005
Today I will post some pictures taken from a electronic microscope.
The image to the right is of powdery mildew on a petal of an African Violet.
This image is a close up of fool's gold. Notice the crystal formation rising from the rock surface.
The metal in the image to the left is not identified. I was digging holes in a backyard to plant watermelon. The tool I was using was a post hole digger and it was going through a slate bed. A piece of slate has a shiny pellet in it and when I broke it open these fragments made up the pellet.
This picture is an EPROM that has been magnified 60 times.
Thursday, November 10, 2005
Right now I am looking at several local 4 star charities: Dare to Care Food Bank, Public Radio Partnership, and Disabled American Veterans Charitable Service Trust. Also one international one: Food for the Poor.
Tuesday, November 08, 2005
A somewhat related topic, during the show a scientist showed electrolysis in a flask. I found a site on the internet that allows you to easily break water into hydrogen and oxygen. Check it out at: http://www.theodoregray.com/PeriodicTable/Stories/001.1/
Next week's show about Isaac Newton and his interest in alchemy looks good as well. I am glad to see Google putting some of their wealth to work by supporting the science show Nova. The world needs more scientists figuring out how the universe works.
Saturday, November 05, 2005
Another neat feature on the bonus DVD was an analysis of 49 seconds of the light saber duel at the end. The documentary makers showed how all the people involved in the making of that section of the film. Let's just say, a lot of people are involved! It looks like a lot of work on the movie was done in Australia. I thought they would have done a majority of the work in California but apparently not. It was also interesting that they traveled to China to take pictures of the hills there for the Wookie planet.
One other thing that I learned was that the actors are in front of a lot of green and blue screens. It must be quite hard acting when you have no idea what your surroundings look like. They seemed to have had a lot of computer generated backgrounds. Also they put the heads of actors on stand in doubles.
Sunday, October 30, 2005
I took some more fiberglass insulation up and filled in the area and added some more through out where I traveled to get to that area. As I moved through the attic, I found it to be very tight quarters up there. A very useful tool was Brinkman headlight that has several white LEDs. I really needed both hands free up there to contort around that small space and move insulation to and fro. It was good to have it.
An added feature to the headlight is that it has a red LED for night work. When I was out working on the telescope it is nice to have a red light so the eyes are more acclimated to the night. When I made my Mars post last night, I thought the planet was overhead but looking at my telescope this morning it was elevated to 63 degrees. After more thought, I did have the telescope on a slope. I will try and look at it tonight as well.
Went to a very nice wedding this weekend. Here is a picture the church ceiling while I was testing my camera before the ceremony.
I only wish that the neighbors would turn their lights off more. My neighborhood is not the greatest to for sky viewing.
Thursday, October 27, 2005
Things I found interesting:
#21 Louisville has a company called National Products that produced disco balls. I wonder what kind of market there is for this product?
#37 The steamboat, The Belle of Louisville, is the oldest in operation in the United States. It was built in 1914. I remember the Sunday morning I was cycling down by the riverfront and thought the Belle was sitting in the water funny. It turns out someone had tried to sink her. The boat was repaired but it was not cheap.
#67 That Jefferson Memorial park is the largest American urban park at 5,500 acres.
It an interesting newspaper. Check it out at http://www.velocityweekly.com/
Tuesday, October 18, 2005
The Louisville crowd may have been in a smaller theater and having the host open the show by opening a bottle of Woodford Reserve Bourbon and start drinking definitely set the stage for that show. The band was definitely enjoying it as well. At the Indy show, we were seated on the left side of the theater. Michael Feldman comes down the right during the first half show and interacts with the audience and then the left half at the second part of the show. He got within 3 seats of us and this picture was taken. It is pretty cool that they allow cameras at the show.
During the show, he interviewed a writer from the Indy Star who was pretty good. He also interviewed a writer who was professor at Butler College (or University). She wrote an interesting book about Indiana manufacturing, called Fabrications. I might read it, if I can find it in the library. I found it nice that after the show, the cast stayed around and allowed the audience to come up on stage and have their pictures taken. You can learn more about the show by going to http://www.notmuch.com
Here is a picture of a waterfall on a river that runs through part of the city. Very relaxing area.
Sunday, October 16, 2005
This weekend I had a chance to look at some pictures on the camera memory card. The picture of the flower was taken in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. It was in a planter on the patio of a hotel that was next to the beach.
It has such a vibrant red color that stood out on that windy, overcast day.
The picture to the left shows the overcast weather over a pretty much deserted beach in September 2005. Myrtle Beach is a nice place but it really is geared to golfers. It is a nice place to fly into though the airport is small and not very busy. After flying out of New York or Atlanta and having to sit on the runway, their airport was a pleasant change.
Here is another picture of a flower that was reddish-pink. I liked the contrast of the flower to the rest of the planter.
Thursday, October 13, 2005
It is an interesting idea. I have heard of houses in my area that have foam insulation used to create forms for concrete.
Sunday, October 09, 2005
Another thing that I realized on the ride was our mortality and the how older people reflect back. The young tend see what is coming up and where they can go. Older generations reflect back on what was and who is gone. Older riders in the group reflected on where they had grown up as we passed houses in their old neighborhoods. One woman told me her grandfather had lived in a spot now rebuilt with brick townhouses. I would hear stories from the ride group like "this is the house I earned money in high school cleaning" or "there is the church I attended as a youth".
Last, our society has made high technology disposable. When I started using computers decades ago, equipment was somewhat rare and very expensive. So you valued the electronics and hobbled together things to make computers do some limited tasks. Today, all this is very common place and computers are orders of magnitude more powerful. As I was riding, I came cross a pile of discarded items on the side of street. I counted 3 monitors that were either 17" or 19" in size waiting to be hauled off. It is amazing that technology has permeated through our society where once expensive devices are not even attempted to be fixed but just thrown in garage heaps.
Saturday, October 08, 2005
The ride offered three loops to explore Louisville. I chose to ride 2 loops: the 12 mile route 1 which toured western Louisville and 14 mile route two going through downtown and the business district. I rode though several areas of town that I do not think I have been in before. It was an interesting ride. The most spectacular new thing I saw was the fountain at St. James St.
Joe Ward came up with the ride routes. I bought two of his books "Wheeling Around Louisville" and "Wheeling Around the Bluegrass". He signed them for me as well. More information about Joe Ward can be found at http://http://www.louisvillebicycleclub.org/misc/hist07.htm and he was interviewed on a local radio show look at the show for November 13, 2003:
The ride started at 8 AM so only about 30 people were there. I am not sure the total number of riders but they may have been larger groups that came after we left. It was a chilly morning start but since we were riding into streets that had a lot of active traffic, I can understand now why we went out early. The less cars the better for bicycling.
At lunch a big thank you to Papa John's, based in Louisville, for a lot of delicious pizzas. Volunteers also made cookies for desert. Plenty of good food at the SAG as well.
All and all it was a good ride. The ride map included a handout entitled "Things to Notice as You Cycle Through Louisville's Neighborhoods". I wish I had seen it my packet before we started. It listed what different numbers on the map signified. Item 9 on route 1 was marking Muhammad Ali's boyhood home. So I passed that house not realizing it.
Find out more about Urban Spirit at: http://www.urbanspirit.org
Tuesday, October 04, 2005
After reading a Wall Street Journal article about the economics of whether to switch to a hybrid or not. The author mentioned this site: http://www.fueleconomy.gov where you can find all kinds of useful information about cars and conserving our favorite natural resource (well, behind water & air). I logged in and started tracking my vehicle. Right now I am averaging 36 mpg which is the car's highway rating. I think I can reach 40 mpg if I drive the speed limit and avoid rapid accelerations.
Another change I might make is switching to synthetic oil. The cars are getting older and you do not have to change the oil but every 10,000 miles. Right now I put a Dupont engine cleaner in the car to help clean out the 12 year old engine. I will probably use regular 5W-30 for the next several changes. What prompted my interest in synthetics those was this article in Consumer reports about some cars that have problems with oil sludge: http://www.consumerreports.org/main/content/display_report.jsp?FOLDER%3C%3Efolder_id=665845&bmUID=1128480142263
Since my wife drives a car that has this problem, I switched her oil over to Mobil One synthetic on the next change. This oil change brought up another point can I mix old synthetic oil with conventional oil in the recycle container? After going to the Mobil One site, I found that you can. Here is there site with the benefits of using synthetic:
It is amazing what air resistance does to gas mileage. This site shows how an engineer modified his VW Beetle to get better gas mileage with aerodynamic wing. Check it out at: http://www.max-mpg.com
Closing Thoughts: I read or hear people saying there should be a boycott of gas stations on some particular day to show them not to raise prices. I think that is not really proving anything, you still need the gas. Instead people should drive the speed limit, not try to rocket accelerate when the light turns green, and maintain proper tire air pressure. This behavior if performed in mass will create less demand for fuel, that will LOWER THE PRICE OF GAS. After driving every day, this is a pipe dream. I see illogical driving every time I go out: people accelerating toward red lights just to have to hard brake when they get their, during morning rush hour, vehicles barreling 10-20 mph over the speed limit into an area mile or so ahead where traffic is moving 10-20 mph so they have to come to a stop minutes later, cars following too close to the one in front of them so they are hitting their brakes every 30 seconds or so, etc. As the price of gas rises, I think this type of stuff will become less and less because there will be less and less cars.
Saturday, September 03, 2005
Here is a picture of a Moon & Stars melon that has been cut in half. The picture shows this melon as being quite red but in reality it is more pink. At first, I thought they were not ripe but I now think this is the way they are suppose to look.
The picture on the right shows the melon before it was cut. Note the yellow spots that look like stars/galaxies in the night sky. Also look at the film on the melon's skin, they get this way as they ripen.
The largest melon in picture is a moon & stars variety that weighed 28 lbs. It is accompanied by two melons that might be the Sugar Baby variety. While looking solid green in the picture, they do strips. My understanding of the Sugar Baby variety is that it is solid dark green. Also notice the shine of the skin, looking at seed catalog pictures the melons also look shiny and have a nice color. I found that coming out of the field the melons are dirty and have white film on them. They have to be washed and hand dried to get that shine. If I was selling them, that would be a must because I believe a lot of people buy on not just taste but also appearance.
The melon in the picture to the left has been a real pleasant surprise. I am not sure what its name is but it might be the Ultra Cool variety I bought from Wal-Mart for $0.97. Of course, it was suppose to be seedless according to the package. Looking at the picture you can see 9 black spots that are seeds. Besides that this melon is very red and sweet. I really like its taste. It has the skin pattern of Charleston Gray but shaped more spherically. I believe the 4 that were picked weighed between 10-20 lbs.
Last week, we visited New York City. I found it to be an amazing place and I will post about it later. When we toured through China town with its open air produce stands, a number of stacks of large melons could be seen. They were selling some large, elliptical shaped seeded melons. The weight was probably in the 20-30 lb range. It was good to see others appreciate the traditional melons.
Wednesday, August 17, 2005
I have given away 10 melons so far. Five to people at work, four to relatives, and one to a friend.
Cycling has been taking up my spare time as I try to get in better shape. After riding for a while I am feeling better and my legs are getting stronger.
Tuesday, August 02, 2005
I cut the light green melon tonight and it was not ripe. It was pink and the seeds were under-developed. Oh well.
Thursday, July 28, 2005
I saw a number of moon & stars melons and with their large yellow spot. I will get further into the patch later and see if they are ready. Next year I need to plant some Crimson Sweet melons.
Picked 5-6 squash and 2 tomatoes. The tomatoes are starting to ripen and there are probably 10 ready to picked.
Sunday, July 24, 2005
I worked on my bicycle this weekend to install two new Continental (http://www.conti-online.com/generator/www/de/en/continental/bicycle/general/home/index_en.html) tires from Germany. The bike shop told me that these were less prone to flats. I decided to install them myself to get practice changing the intertube on the bicycle. It was a small disaster. I changed the flat on the rear tire but I must have punctured the tire because it went flat after 4 rides. So that is when I decided to get new tires. I also got more intertubes. The front tube stem was not fully extended from the rim. I tried to pull it more and broke off part of the stem (that tube is history). After I installed a new tube and put the tire back on, it would not inflate. I removed the tube and found two small holes. So I installed another tube and it seemed to lose air as well. AHHH! I removed that and could not find a hole just pumping up the tube. So I reinstalled it and found that not putting the pump head on correctly caused the problem. I then replaced the back tire with not too much of a problem (or I thought). I took the bicycle out for a ride and I found that I had the magnet on the wrong side for the bike computer to work. Later on in the ride was I was turning on a street my gears locked up right in front of a car. I pushed the bike into the grass and found that the back wheel was becoming detached from the frame. The quick connect was not properly locked down. Fixed that and the ride seemed to go okay.
Visited the watermelons today and they are coming along. The moon & stars melon has developed some yellow spots. My father found 3 more moon & stars melons hiding in the leaves on the plants in the back field. It looks like the plants will be producing late so it will be good if I can get a staggered harvest.
Thursday, July 21, 2005
Well, I went to the Nissan dealer to buy a new fan resistor board. I could not figure out how to fix the other one. I think there is a fuse inside the connector casing that has blown. The schematic shows a fuse but I do not see it on the board.
So I pull into the parking lot and get out. I go over to the passenger side and detach the circuit board from the place under the glove compartment. I take the board into the parts department and ask for the replacement part. The guy seems to be familiar with the part and pulls it from a shelf not far from his computer. It costs $26.86 and is part number 27150-62J60. I then took the part out to the parking lot and reattached it to the cable and bolted it back in. Started the engine and the fan works on all settings. It was kind of funny fixing it in their parking lot in about 3 minutes. Being hot outside I needed that fan with A/C in the car.
If you look at the new board (not really in focus), you will see a silver looking rectangle at the left of the board. I think this is the fuse. It will melt if too much current is put through it. The nice thing is it can be repaired but if it were to burn through, why?
I got new pedals for my bicycle and two new tires. The owner of the store told me another model was less prone to flats so I bought those. I think they were more expensive than my car tires! But I do not want a flat on that bike miles from anywhere so they will be worth it.
Wednesday, July 20, 2005
Watermelon prices at the grocery store were between $5-7 for seedless melons that looked to weigh about 10-15 lbs.
Tuesday, July 19, 2005
I had quite a few things keeping me busy at work. My windows have come in so I made an appointment to have them installed.
The watermelons growing. The leaves seem to expand out more where the fruit did no seem so obvious. We had a sunny and humid day today so that may have something to do with it. The vine that I thought was wilting had opened leaves today so I am not sure what that means.
The picture I post today is of a variety of watermelon I am not sure about. I have misplaced my planting map. It has the skin of a Charleston Grey but I did not plant any of those this year. I have found about 5 of this variety that will probably reach maturity.
I continue to read about the new Harry Potter book. It amazes me that people were finishing it in 6 hours. I know on Friday night/early Saturday morning amazon.com had 47 user reviews and now they have almost 1000. Most reviews are favorable and some of the negatives ones have some good points though some people are just mean spirited. I probably read it too fast but I wanted to give it to my nephew since he is a big fan. The webpage I had for amazon.com was just refreshed and the review count is now 1002. So cheers to all the other readers who finished. Enjoy the movies while we wait for the last book to come out. One really good thing they did was release it on a Friday night during the summer when kids are out of school.
Monday, July 18, 2005
I inspected the watermelons today I finally spotted one moon and stars melon. It has a shiny green skin. I have 6-10 plants and only one melon. This production yield is disappointing though they have another 4-6 weeks to produce so maybe things will happen. The garden has quite a few sugar baby melons and the fungus infection on the leaves does not appear to be spreading too much. I did see one vine further in the patch start to have rolled up leaves so I hope that is not some sort of wilt problem.
Mowed the grass this evening and it was somewhat depressing in the front yard. The grass was pretty brown and it had mildewed/molded. I can only hope the sun will come out and get rid of that. The rain clouds are approaching from the west so we might be getting some rain tonight. It could be worse though, it could be drought.
I need to figure out how to get the pedals off my bicycle. I worked at a while this evening and I did not seem to make them budge. Maybe if I go to the bike shop, they will show me after I buy some new pedals. There was an interesting story done by a local TV stations investigative reporter about motorists and cyclists. He basically found that both groups abuse the law and are not respectful to each other at times. The story might still be found at this website in Real Player or Microsoft Media Player format: http://www.thelouisvillechannel.com/index.html
Sunday, July 17, 2005
I was amazed at how fast some user reviews were posted on amazon.com. Our world has some fast readers. Readers in England have a 5 hour head start on American east coast readers so they might have been posting those reviews.
Saturday, July 16, 2005
Here are some more watermelon pictures. The new imaging tool is definitely more convenient to use and allows image to be put into the text. The image on the left shows a melon that looks like a miniature Charleston Gray melon but I did not plant any of those. The image on the right shows some of the melons in the back field. They have flowers but no fruit that I can find. The ones in the picture are Moon & Stars.
A new season of shows started on Sci-Fi. SG-1 looks to be interesting with a number of new people and some of the main stars missing. I thought Atlantis got off to a good start and hopefully the story lines will be better than last seasons. Battle Star Glactica is a dark show though I liked that it had more action than some of the ones I saw last season. Off to a good start and hopefully I will get a chance to watch some more.
The watermelon garden is looking pretty good. The fungus does not seem to be spreading too rapidly but it would be nice if we could get some sunny days to help fight off the infection. I brought some leaves back and I hope to look at them under the microscope.
Well, I need to get some reading in...
Thursday, July 14, 2005
Well, I visited the watermelon patch and found that the fungus was on the leaves of some of the watermelon plants. It may only be attacking some of the seedless melons right now.
I mixed a fungicide of canola oil, baking soda, sulfur and tap water into a spray bottle. I mixed it up and sprayed it on the leaves of the watermelon that had the brown spots. I tried to get under the leaves as well. The really bad leaves I cut from the stem and placed in a plastic bag. I probably trimmed 14 leaves. Hopefully, the fungus will not get into the stem where I cut off the leaves. The spray bottle jammed after a while, maybe too much oil? So I started pouring the mixture on the leaves. I ran out by the time I got to the last part of the patch affected by this outbreak. So now I have three groups: one set of leaves sprayed, one with the mixture poured on them, and another that was left pretty much untouched. I will collect a leaf tomorrow for closer examination.
Cycled tonight and got in a good ride. I started a little late but I probably rode for about 30 minutes. Visited some areas of the subdivision I do not think I had been to before. We let the yard get brown when it was hot instead of paying for water to keep it green. Well, that might have been a mistake. The dead grass has started to mildew since we have had about 5 days of overcast and rainy weather. I went out and raked the front yard to de-thatch it and get rid of some of the mildewed grass. I hope it does not rain tomorrow so I can mow it and get a little more air down into the grass and try to promote some new growth.
My mother's flower garden is looking nice. Here are some pictures
This site has brix refractometers for sale. They are used to measure the sugar content of watermelons though I am not sure how to use one.
A maker of refractometers can be found at this site:
I am also looking into what some brown spots that appeared on several watermelon plants are. I wonder if I should remove the leaves that are affected or let the plant take care of them. It appears to be on 3 of maybe 21 plants. The spots may be on only one variety of watermelon. According to the University of Georgia site (http://www.uga.edu/vegetable/watermelon.html) it could be Anthracnose. Reading the details of this Colletotrichum lagenarium fungus this does not sound good. It is on the oldest leaves at the center of the plants.
Of course, it might be a Cercospora citrullina fungus that can cause leaf spots described at this Texas A&M site (http://aggie-horticulture.tamu.edu/southtex/info/Watermelon.html). It does not appear as harmful but the pictures at the Univ. of Georgia site look closer to what I am seeing. Here is a list of watermelon problems http://plantpathology.tamu.edu/Texlab/Vegetables/wmelon/wmmenu.htm
I think I am going to remove dying leaves and spray a mixture of baking soda/vegetable oil on leaves that have few spots and those near by. I might try sulfur and hydrogen peroxide as well. Fingers crossed this will not spread with all the overcast and wet weather that is occurring.