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Showing posts from July, 2014

Pleasant Geometric Surprises

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I'm working on version 11 of Gliftex (a Windows pattern and image maker), and sometimes, after all the thinking and geometry and programming nice experimental images pop up:



This image, and the ones which follow, all look a bit like colorful mosaics...




It makes the sines and cosines and intersections and tangents and for loops and matrices and vectors all seem worth while! 

One last surprise:


Unexpected consequencies

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In an earlier blog entry I mentioned how I was making a medal like object in software using two different sorts of geometry. I faffed around with a complex one, then settled on a simple one, but that simple one had consequencies. Consequencies I could have forseen if had more than three neurons in my brain.

The work was for PhotoToMesh V5, released last week...


...It creates bas relief files for 3D printers. There is a smoothing setting in the program, explained here, which makes the bas reliefs which the program creates less ragged.

When I finally settled on the "correct" medal geometry I'd forgotten about the smoothing. It works by taking the topologically (not neccessarily geometrically) nearest 3d point to the 3d point under consideration, and averages them.

With rectangular meshes topologically and geometrically are practically the same thing. With the medal mesh geometry which I'd decided on, they're not. This is because there are fewer distinct points at the e…

Men In Black, where did you get the monster ideas from?

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I guess they had a 200x, 40Euro, USB microscope (I keep saying that because I find it amazing value). No insects were killed, all found dead or later released.

Something that crash landed on a leaf:


Two things found floating in my cat's drinking water:



A dead moth found on the stairs, what a lovely curly nose/mouth it's got!


...and what lovely wing textures too...

A creepy crawlie found struggling in a puddle of water. This is really Men In Black:


Lovely legs and antenna! I released him afterwards. Probably having a drink at a bar on Venus right now.


Turning the bathroom into an operating theatre.

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My family have accused me of turning the bathroom into an operating theatre, because I changed a light bulb. The light in the bathroom contains two bulbs, and for years they have been normal incandescent light bulbs (the type with the coil which glows).
One of the pair burned out and I thought I'd so some energy saving so I put in one of those replacement neon lamps, coiled around itself to make it fit in the same space as a normal incandescent lamp. I noticed it had a bluish tinge, but thought nothing of it.
There was a small revolution, it was decided by the rest of the family that the neon light made the bathroom look like an operating theatre or mortuary. Every single time that light was switched on I got a "this is a horrible terrible light" comment. Every single time!
Eventually I gave in and bought a warm white LED lamp.
But why was the neon bulb so badly recieved? I have a spectrometer I use for work, so I decided to look at the spectrums. Hells bells if evolution …

New. Improved.

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I lived in Japan for a total of four years, in the 1980s. I learned 600 kanji, (Japanese ideograms) in those four years. Only 600. That meant I would not have been able to graduate from high school. High school graduates must know the 2000 standard kanji to graduate. And now I can remember maybe 100 and can write maybe 25.


But foreign students of Japanese who live in Japan learn some kanji very quickly, like "exit", and "entrance", "restaurant", etc. And some kanji combinations ("phrase" is not the right word) stick in your mind too.


This all came back to me on the Milano metro a few days ago when I saw a bloke with some badly copied kanji tatoos...





…I looked and looked and was sure that I knew what they meant. I took a surreptitious photo (blurred and shakey as a consequence) so I could look it up when I got back home. But I didn't have to, the meaning of the mysterious kanji just popped back into my memory. 
They are pronounced "shin hats…

What do we want?

- What do we want?!

- Hearing aids!

- When do we want them?!

- Hearing aids!

Dandelion seeds

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The other day I noticed the dandelions on our lawn were ready to have their seeds blown away by the wind. Aha! Another target for my 40 Euro USB microscope!

Look what nature has made...no words needed:


Clouds to an infinite paradise.

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I can't help it, I love clouds and could stare at them for hours. And I think it demeans them to say "oooh, that one looks like a duck and that one looks like a face." They are amazing abstract shapes which exist in reality and don't need a petty narrow "imagination" to force them into something else.


I mean, how can anyone not imagine going beyond these huge distant structures into some other world? I saw this scene coming back from work and drove around the block again so I could get a good photo of it.

I think it must have something to do with the brain knowing that these things are huge, compared with the trees and other things on the horizon, but it just does not know how huge. And they, in our imagination, do not stop at the horizon, they carry on forever beyond it. It seems. To. Me.

And when the huge clouds hang over and beyond a road with a vanishing point, I get the idea that the road could go on forever, again into some new and strange interesting pl…

These two are going to be hungry afterwards...

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...luckily there's a delicious feast right near them.

The day becomes more ragged as it moves from morning to night.

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The first time I came across this idea was in an introduction to the I Ching. (I was an adolescent and stupid with it.) 
I can remember a Chinese philosopher was quoted as saying something like:
"A man wakes up in the morning full of energy and good intentions, but there is only tiredness, irritation and failure by the end of the day."
(Being a teenager I harumphed at that and threw the three coins to tell the future. I eventually woke up and realised that the I Ching is totally useless at predicting the future or being a guide to future actions. At most it can be used as a seed for lateral thinking.)
The next time I remember coming across the same sort of idea was when reading "The Evolution of Consciousness" by R Ornstein. 

He asked the question of why we can't keep to diets, or stop drinking or smoking. His answer was that we are not one unity, we are many people all mixed up in the same body, and the person who swears to go on a diet is not the same as the pe…

Mosquitoes, melissa and limits to vegetarianism.

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I've always told anybody who will listen that I'm a vegetarian, but if it ever came to a fight and the choice was death for me or death for the animal, well, I'd prefer it if the animal died.


And I have doubts that the few neurons a mosquito has can have conciousness, so when I found one sucking my blood this morning – SLAP! And for once, I got it, and even better it was not too badly damaged. "Out with the microscope!" was my immediate thought, and here is the little sod:



You can see the blood sucking instrument between the two antennas, one antenna broken presumably by my slap. Can you see those white things between the antenne? They are the palps, the mosquito's nose(s). You can see them better below. So that is what she used to find my sweaty body.



My friend Klaus gave me a Melissa plant (Lemon Balm or Mint Balm in English). The smell is incredible, and makes me smile without even realising it. Must go straight to the pleasure centers of the brain. Anyway, I…