Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Microscope Pictures 2

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

More Images from the Microscope

Using the Intel play microscope I took some more images for items I found in the kitchen.

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

Cold Weather and Tires

The onset of cold weather in northern Kentucky got me to check the air pressure in the vehicles. I found that pressure in about all the tires was about 5 pounds per square inch lower than it should be. The tires were inflated to match the pressures shown on the label inside the driver's door.

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

Edwin Hubble and His Connection to Louisville

The Courier-Journal posted an interesting article today about the astronomer, Edwin Hubble who the famous space telescope is named after. The piece chronicles Edwin's life and how his father moved the family to Shelbyville, KY in 1910 where Hubble would witness the return of Halley's comet. He traveled to Oxford to study law instead of astronomy. His father died in Louisville in 1913. Edwin returned to Louisville and taught high school in southern Indiana in 1914. In 1915, he moved to the University of Chicago to study for his PhD.

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

Woodman's Pal

Reading the Pursuits section of the Wall Street Journal today I found an interesting ad. It showed a machete like tool that has a curved blade on one side and hooked shaped blade on the other. I have been looking for something like this to clear brush on some rural land that has quite a few briars and overgrowth.

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

Pictures from the Microscope

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

Christmas Gift Idea

Christmas is a time for giving and not just receiving. So it might be a good idea to make a donation to your favorite charity. I know I will. A neat site I found that rates charities is at: http://www.charitynavigator.org/

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

Nova on PBS

I just finished watching Nova on our PBS affiliate. The show was entitled "Hitler's Sunken Secret". It was about heavy water production and shipment in Norway during World War II. Very interesting show, I learned that heavy water in the containers could be determine by the pH. The researchers brought up barrel #26 and found that it did indeed contain 1.1% of heavy water. Later research found that the Germans were just experimenting with the water and were not very close to building a nuclear bomb. Check out more about the show at: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/hydro/

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

Star Wars Episode III

I rented Episode III earlier in the week and watched it again. Definitely, the best of the newer trilogy. I liked seeing the deleted scenes and hearing George Lucas's commentary. They let the graphic supervisors discuss their scenes as well. In the opening space battle, one pointed out they actually had a kitchen sink fly out of an exploding ship and hit another ship.

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.