April 28, 2010
Metal as lace — by Cal Lane
The Canadian-born sculptor
to take away rather than combine,
transforming old oil tanks and drums, cars, tools,
dumpsters and their ilk into
other things entirely.
By Thom Browne.
[via Sandra Ballentine and the New York Times]
Flying with a single wing: a maple seed
From the April 27, 2010 Washington Post: "In late April, the ground becomes littered with samaras, the winged seeds of maple trees. With the right wind, the single-winged 'whirlybirds' can carry the tree's embryos more than a mile."
The abstract of the paper:
As they descend, the autorotating seeds of maples and some other trees generate unexpectedly high lift, but how they attain this elevated performance is unknown. To elucidate the mechanisms responsible, we measured the three-dimensional flow around dynamically scaled models of maple and hornbeam seeds. Our results indicate that these seeds attain high lift by generating a stable leading-edge vortex (LEV) as they descend. The compact LEV, which we verified on real specimens, allows maple seeds to remain in the air more effectively than do a variety of nonautorotating seeds. LEVs also explain the high lift generated by hovering insects, bats, and possibly birds, suggesting that the use of LEVs represents a convergent aerodynamic solution in the evolution of flight performance in both animals and plants.
Detailed video explanation:
The movie shows a leading edge vortex that is stably attached near the base of a freely flying maple seed (Acer pseudo-platanus L.). The seed is spinning at stationary height in a vertical wind tunnel and the flow is visualized at different spanwise stations using a laser light sheet. The laser light sheet illuminates the motion of smoke particles dispersed in the air around the wing that trace the airflow. The seed has a small horizontal speed and, therefore, the seed flies slowly out of the laser sheet. As a result the local airflow is visualized at successively more outward spanwise stations of the spinning seed.
Additional supporting material may be found here.
Above, two revolutions of a twirling maple samara, illuminated by a strobe light.
Half Full Glass — Cognitive therapy on the cheap
For the optimist, affirmation.
For the pessimist, annoyance.
For everyone, $11.95.
If it's in the New York Times, it must be true
So yesterday I was noodling around backstage, doing something close to nothing (but different than the day before) and I happened to notice that the New York Times was among my top referrers.
Why's that? I wondered.
I clicked on the link and was taken here, where I scrolled down to find, right at the bottom of the page, this:
Isn't that weird?
Because any one of the six billion plus other people on the planet could've thought of it and posted it and no one would ever believe I did it first.
I really don't understand myself at all and at this point it's too late to do anything about it.
Big Brother Birdhouse
Japan — The Strange Country
Apple Dock Adapters
The other day I noticed my old Gen 1 iPod touch sitting there on a shelf, dusty and untouched for months.
I wondered: now that I've got a new iMac that lets me sync the latest generation of iTunes and iPod software updates, is it possible I could put OS 2.2 on the discontinued, unused touch (up from 1.whatever) and use it as another handy screen?
Charged it up, plugged it in, and voilà, there it was, ready to go.
Then I wondered if I could use that nifty Universal Dock I'd been using with my Gen 2 touch so as to make it the old one even more accessible.
Answer: Yes — and no.
Yes, I can charge it on the dock, but no, it won't work with the stabilizing adapter (#16) that came with the Gen 2 touch.
So I noodled around awhile on the Apple site and after some dead ends happened on this page , which explains in detail which adapters fit which iPods and let you order the precise one — in my case, #14 — as a three-pack to use with my now discontinued model.