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Member since: Sat Mar 29, 2008, 10:11 PM
Number of posts: 42,674

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Best Buy: 120GB PNY solid state HD on sale for $39.99 with free shipping..

I just bought two of these, one for one of my computers and another for a neighbor, he had found the deal through an app he has on his iPhone and asked me about whether it was worthwhile for him. If you have a computer with a mechanical SATA HD and don't need huge storage space this should speed things up considerably for a nice price.


You will need something like EasUS Partition Master (free) to swap your OS over to the new HD, this unit does not come with software.

Sunspot by Tasco

This is my solar projector setup I put together recently, a Tasco 60 mm x 700 mm refractor scope from a yard sale with a 12.5mm Huygens eyepiece with some wooden pieces and a piece of steel tubing from a folding chair made up for the sun shield and the projector screen assembly. I'm going to take it out to some events I've been invited to soon when it's clear and show off the Sun live. I have to build a cage around the screen before I take it public so no one can get their eye up to the eyepiece end..

Got a picture of a sunspot today with it, my phone camera seems to do a better job than anything else I have of taking the picture of the projected image. There are several smaller spots around the main one, they were quite clear projected out but didn't photograph very well, the granulation of the solar surface did show up better than I had anticipated though.

Stop playing with your phone and open the door

My dog, waiting for the truck door to be opened.

Yashinon Moon

I have 60's era Auto Yashinon 200mm f/4 screwmount lens adapted to my Sony NEX C3, I took this shot just before the end of twilight tonight with the combination, 1/400th second @ f/8 and ISO 400.

Some of the old glass is really not half bad.

And here is the full frame..

Chick-Fil-A is a discriminatory business and made/makes a bundle off of it..


Around here their already more than healthy business became overwhelming as certain Christians lined up many deep to buy their fast food from the restaurant chain that "supported their values". Quite often you couldn't even pull into the parking lot because the SUVs were lined up out onto the street and Chick-Fil-A is still the most popular fast food by a substantial measure on our local strip of such establishments.

While I think that a store that put up a sign that said they didn't discriminate could probably increase their business that doesn't mean that advertising your bigoted ways won't increase your business also. There are a lot of religious bigots out there and they will spend their money with businesses that tell them what they want to hear.

I never liked Chick-Fil-A that much anyway and stopping eating their stuff altogether wasn't much of an imposition but it's not like my particular boycott made much financial difference to them...

Liberals/progressives living in states where they are in the minority deserve punishment

Let's face it, living in a red state with a majority who hate your guts isn't sufficient punishment for being in the minority in that sort of place, we really should work to ensure that liberals/progressives living in red states lose their jobs, their homes and eventually become destitute just like the conservative majority in those states would wish for them.

That will teach those awful liberals and progressives not to be in the minority, the only ~real~ liberals live in blue states.

American Scientist: Computational Photography

An interesting look at where digital photography may be headed..


The digital camera has brought a revolutionary shift in the nature of photography, sweeping aside more than 150 years of technology based on the weird and wonderful photochemistry of silver halide crystals. Curiously, though, the camera itself has come through this transformation with remarkably little change. A digital camera has a silicon sensor where the film used to go, and there's a new display screen on the back, but the lens and shutter and the rest of the optical system work just as they always have, and so do most of the controls. The images that come out of the camera also look much the same—at least until you examine them microscopically.

But further changes in the art and science of photography may be coming soon. Imaging laboratories are experimenting with cameras that don't merely digitize an image but also perform extensive computations on the image data. Some of the experiments seek to improve or augment current photographic practices, for example by boosting the dynamic range of an image (preserving detail in both the brightest and dimmest areas) or by increasing the depth of field (so that both near and far objects remain in focus). Other innovations would give the photographer control over factors such as motion blur. And the wildest ideas challenge the very notion of the photograph as a realistic representation. Future cameras might allow a photographer to record a scene and then alter the lighting or shift the point of view, or even insert fictitious objects. Or a camera might have a setting that would cause it to render images in the style of watercolors or pen-and-ink drawings.


For some purposes a hand-rendered illustration can be clearer and more informative than a photograph, but creating such artwork requires much labor, not to mention talent. Raskar's camera attempts to automate the process by detecting and emphasizing the features that give a scene its basic three-dimensional structure, most notably the edges of objects. Detecting edges is not always easy. Changes in color or texture can be mistaken for physical boundaries; to the computer, a wallpaper pattern can look like a hole in the wall. To resolve this visual ambiguity Raskar et al. exploit the fact that only physical edges cast shadows. They have equipped a camera with four flash units surrounding the lens. The flash units are fired sequentially, producing four images in which shadows delineate changes in contour. Software then accentuates these features, while other areas of the image are flattened and smoothed to suppress distracting detail. The result is reminiscent of a watercolor painting or a drawing with ink and wash.

Cloudy Dipper, Android Sunrise

Sony NEX C3 on a tripod, basic kit lens at 18mm & F3.5 2 sec at ISO 6400, my first shot as clouds rolled in right after I got set up after the clouds rolled out..

Anyhow the clouds enhanced the Big Dipper nicely and gave it a bit more character perhaps.

The second one is a Samsung Exhibit Android smartphone with an app on it called A Better Camera and it really is, this was handheld in HDR mode.

Privilege or not?


Fraternities breed leaders. That, at least, is what most any chapter website will tell you, in not so many words—and the message certainly makes for a compelling rationale for joining the Greek system. It seems, too, to be borne out by the hard numbers. While only eight and a half percent of American male college students is a member of a fraternity, University of Kentucky professor of communication Alan DeSantis points out in his 2007 book, Inside Greek U: Fraternities, Sororities, and the Pursuit of Pleasure, those who are tend to cluster in one particular sweet spot of society: the top.
Fraternity Debate
An Atlantic Special Report
Read More

Citing data from the Center for the Study of College Fraternity, DeSantis charts some impressive figures. Fraternity men make up 85 percent of U.S. Supreme Court justices since 1910, 63 percent of all U.S. presidential cabinet members since 1900, and, historically, 76 percent of U.S. Senators, 85 percent of Fortune 500 executives,and 71 percent of the men in “Who’s Who in America.” And that’s not counting the 18 ex-frat U.S. presidents since 1877 (that’s 69 percent) and the 120 Forbes 500 CEOs (24 percent) from the 2003 list, including 10—or one-third—of the top 30. In the 113th Congress alone, 38 of the hundred Senate members come from fraternity (and, now, sorority) backgrounds, as does a full quarter of the House. Is there something inherent in the fraternity culture that sends its members to the country’s top echelons?

I learned a frugal trick this cold and wet winter, double spinning my clothes before drying

I've cut the time needed to dry my clothes in the dryer by nearly twenty percent by running the final spin cycle on my washer a second time.

It's been far too wet and cold to hang laundry out much this winter so I've been using the dryer more than usual. Had some problems with the timer mechanism on my washing machine and ended up final spinning the clothes a second time by accident a couple of times and realized it wasn't taking as long in the dryer as otherwise. I'm not sure of the overall energy savings but my washer runs on 115V and doesn't draw a lot of power while my dryer runs on 230V and does draw quite a bit for the heating elements.

One of these days I'm going to weigh a washer load after the first spin cycle and then put them back in and spin again then reweigh just to see how much extra water it gets out.. My old top load washer really doesn't pick up full speed spin until about half way through the spin cycle on the first time, the second time it comes up to speed much faster without all the water in the basket dragging it down. Even near the end of the second final spin some water still comes dribbling out of the drain hose into my utility room slop sink where it dumps.
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