August 28, 2016

Path of a knight on a 3D chessboard


From The Mathematical Tourist:


Knight Moves in 3D

This crazily crinkled structure, framed within a cube, is an impressive sight.

Suspended above the stairs on the sixth floor of the mathematics building at St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minnesota, it is also the solution to a mathematical puzzle.

Painstakingly crafted from wood by retired St. Olaf mathematician Loren Larson, the sculpture embodies a path that a knight could take on a 3D chessboard to complete a tour of the 512 (83) positions on the grid, visiting each position just once before returning to the starting point.

According to the rules of chess, a knight makes an L-shaped move that shifts its position by a single square in one direction and two squares in a perpendicular direction.

Indeed, the knight is the only chess piece that covers an asymmetrical pattern of squares.

Finding a sequence of 64 knight moves that visit each square of a standard chessboard — a Knight's Tour — is a classic problem with a long history.

Leonhard Euler (1707-1783) described a method for constructing such a tour in 1759, and mathematicians have investigated many variants of the problem since (see, for example, "Magic Knight's Tours in Higher Dimensions"), including knight's tours in three dimensions.

In Larson's sculpted solution, the sticks representing the 512 moves gradually change in color from pale yellow to deep red, with the final move linking the lightest yellow piece to the darkest red piece.

The color changes give insights into the algorithm used to find the route.

If you start at or near a face of the 8 x 8 x 8 cube, you first visit other positions that have relatively few outlets, such as corners or edges — in effect, you knock off the hardest cases first.

The result is that the tangle of moves seems to get darker and darker as you move toward the cube's center.


[via RealityCarnival]

August 28, 2016 at 12:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

"Compliments of" Calling Card Collection


From the website:



Everyone loves a good compliment. 

What makes a "good" compliment? Well, a few things.


A good compliment is specific, concise, and penetratingly accurate. It lands with a gentle splash. It induces a smile. It is cherished forever.

Each deck of Compliments contains 20 compliments; no two decks are alike.


Printed on 120# stock and edge-painted in cayenne.


Created by Molly Young and McKenna Kemp.



20 cards: $16.

August 28, 2016 at 08:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)

August 27, 2016

What is it?


Answer here this time tomorrow.

Hint: bigger than a bread box.

Another: no shoestring potatoes were harmed in its creation.

A third: located in the Northern Hemisphere.

Bonus points for exact whereabouts.

August 27, 2016 at 12:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (1)

Anti-Aging Mouthpiece — So stylish you'll NEVER want to take it out


The only problem I'm having is deciding which color to get.

But I'm getting ahead of myself.

From the website:


Pupeko-face-cheek-anti-aging-breathing-exercies-mouthpiece-2 copy

Pupeko Anti-Aging Mouthpiece — Cheek Exercise Beauty Skincare Product

Searching for that youthful look?

Forget expensive surgery or dangerous therapies!

Japan has the answer and it is as simple as it is, well, unusual.

Just pop the colorful Pupeko gently into your mouth, clench your jaw, and breath in and out.

This will then start training and tightening your cheek and jaw muscles, helping to offset the signs of aging and bringing a fresher, youthful look back again to your cheeks!

This easy-to-use beauty and skincare product was developed by an ordinary housewife.

Chikako Hirama was simply concerned about her own age and wanted an easy way to combat those telltale lines.

Just try the Pupeko daily using such techniques as puffing out your cheeks or sucking them in while breathing through the mouthpiece.

Then you can try it while keeping your head upright to give your neck and other muscles further exercise training.

Features and Details:

  • Recommended routine: 10-20 breathing exercises per session
  • Includes "aroma spot" for extra therapy (aromas not included)
  • Set of two mouthpieces (same color)
  • Made of polypropylene
  • Made in Japan



August 27, 2016 at 08:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (1)

August 26, 2016

Dum Dum Mystery Cracked


For some time now (since I became addicted to Dum Dums earlier this year, I think it was in the spring) I've been puzzled by the fact that even though the bags of 300* (below)


I buy from Amazon note on the outside that each Dum Dum contains 20 calories, the bags at Harris Teeter say 25 calories.

How can this be?

I put my Crack Investigative Team©® on the case and they took the proverbial bull by the horns, decamping from bookofjoe Mission Control and its secure undisclosed location for Harris Teeter.

Lo and behold, there were the Dum Dums, in bags of 44.

Sure enough, as any fool can plainly see (upper right hand corner; below),


these Dum Dums have 25 calories apiece.

Looking carefully at individual specimens (top) of the two iterations side by side, the 25 calorie version (left) is definitely larger.

Sidebar: the specimen purple Dum Dums are Grape, one my of most disliked flavors — others in this category include Cotton Candy, Bubble Gum, and Lemon-Lime.

But I digress.

Anyhoo, the mystery of differing Dum Dum calorie counts is now solved.

It's good to know that I can drill down and focus on something important for a change rather than the fluff and frivolity that seems to dominate this space.

But I digressed yet again.

Nicely done, team — and yes, you can have the Dum Dums as a bonus.

Who said I'm not a great boss?

*$13.34/bag of 300 = less than 4.5 cents each.

August 26, 2016 at 12:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (3)

What is it?

Not clever enough

Answer here this time tomorrow.

Hint: smaller than a bread box.

Another: intended for adults.

A third: also in yellow.

You don't give up, do you?

August 26, 2016 at 08:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (9)

August 25, 2016

Transparent Mouse


Abstract of the paper published August 22, 2016 in the journal Nature Methods below.


Shrinkage-mediated imaging of entire organs and organisms using uDISCO

Recent tissue-clearing approaches have become important alternatives to standard histology approaches. However, light scattering in thick tissues and the size restrictions on samples that can be imaged with standard light-sheet microscopy pose limitations for analyzing large samples such as an entire rodent body.


We developed "ultimate DISCO" (uDISCO) clearing to overcome these limitations in volumetric imaging. uDISCO preserves fluorescent proteins over months and renders intact organs and rodent bodies transparent while reducing their size up to 65%.


We used uDISCO to image neuronal connections and vasculature from head to toe over 7 cm and to perform unbiased screening of transplanted stem cells within the entire body of adult mice. uDISCO is compatible with diverse labeling methods and archival human tissue, and it can readily be used in various biomedical applications to study organization of large organ systems throughout entire organisms.


As a reward for reading this far, you get to watch a cool video 

showing a trip into a mouse brain.

[via Business Insider]

August 25, 2016 at 12:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

The Spectacular Nixie Clocks of Dalibor Farny


Steve Wozniak might be considered the godfather of the Nixie renaissance.

Dalibor Farny (below)


of the Czech Republic is the majordomo of this movement.

Can he build one for you?

He's standing by to take your call: +420 724 321 571


August 25, 2016 at 08:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)

August 24, 2016

Happy 12th Anniversary To Me

Screen Shot 2016-08-24 at 9.23.48 AM


They say the first 12 years are the hardest.

August 24, 2016 at 12:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (6)

NodPod — Sleep anywhere and put an end to annoying head flop


Res ipsa loquitur.

But in case you're deaf or unable to translate from the Latin, The Verge had this to say:



The NodPod solves a real problem.

When we fall asleep in random places — on airplanes or in a car — our heads nod and we temporarily wake up.

1. This is annoying.

2. It hurts your neck.

It's a big-time sleep bummer.

The NodPod is essentially a head cradle.

It prevents your head from bobbing and lets you sleep more soundly.

Here's the thing with it, though: it looks incredibly nerdy.*

I'm sure people would envy you if you had it on a plane, but I also think you'd definitely be the subject of some teen's discrete snaps.

Whatever, though, right?

You're practical.

Being practical doesn't mean you have to be fashionable.


From technabob:



It's hard to get sleep on a plane, a train, or in any chair, really.

Thank God that the NodPod finally exists.

This thing is basically a hammock for your big fat head, holding it in place so you can sleep.

The ladies in the pictures above and below are either super comfortable because of the NodPod or all drugged up from going to the dentist.

Either way they're loving having their heads supported for a change.

The NodPod looks ideal for car travel


though I'm not too sure about it there since it might break your neck in a car accident.

But you won't care, you'll be sleeping.

Resting in peace.


Go to the light.

Your heavy head is no more.


On the fence?

Why not waste a little more of your employer's time and watch the video?

Me, I'll have to pass: I can just see myself waking up gasping for breath while I strangle myself on the connecting cords during a particularly intense dream.


*Not to worry: I mean, you bought one of these


so it's not as if you care what anyone else thinks.

August 24, 2016 at 08:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (2)

August 23, 2016

World's Top 10 Most Liveable Cities


[via The Economist]

August 23, 2016 at 12:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wall Stud Finder Gives You X-Ray Vision

Why wait for the next X-Man movie when you can be one?

This device is called the Walabot, which is unfortunate but oh well.

From The Verge:


The Walabot is the stud finder of the future, connecting to a smartphone to let you see inside your walls.

The $199 price tag aside, it does come with a few features lacking in a run-of-the-mill $15 stud finder from the local hardware store.

Made by Vayyar Imaging, a company specializing in 3D-imaging sensors, the Walabot lets you see plastic and metal pipes, electric wires, and studs at distances up to 4 inches inside a wall.

You can then visualize the actual location of the pipes and wires through a connected Android smartphone running 5.0 Lollipop and above with USB OTG.

Vayyar Imaging also touts the Walabot's ability to sense motion, suggesting that it can be used to find pests in your walls.



Note: incompatible with iPhone.


August 23, 2016 at 08:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)

August 22, 2016

My Wikipedia Page


Res ipsa loquitur.

August 22, 2016 at 12:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (5)

Ultra-Highly Reflective Bicycle Spoke Clips — "Be seen on your bike at night"


From websites:



As the days get shorter, bike commuters have to find ways to make themselves more visible when riding in the dark.

Usually cyclists buy lights only for the front and back of their bikes, leaving themselves vulnerable from the side because they aren't easily seen.


Features and Details:

• Lightweight

• Weather-resistant

• No batteries required

• Easy to put on and take off

• Super-bright, highly-reflective 3M Scotchlite

• Boring enough no one wants to steal them

• Cheap in case they do



36 for $13.99.

[via Cool Tools]

August 22, 2016 at 08:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)

August 21, 2016

George Orwell's Six Rules of Thumb for Clarity in Writing

1. Never use a metaphor, simile, or other figure of speech which you are used to seeing in print. 

2. Never use a long word where a short one will do.

3. If it is possible to cut a word out, always cut it out.

4. Never use the passive where you can use the active.

5. Never use a foreign phrase, a scientific word, or a jargon word if you can think of an everyday English equivalent.

6. Break any of these rules sooner than say anything outright barbarous. 


If I taught English at any level, I'd put these at the front of the classroom high enough so that they were always visible to daydreamers like me.

[From his 1946 essay "Politics and the English Language"]

August 21, 2016 at 12:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

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