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the various and sundry creations of sylvus tarn


cropToday's non-political bonus is brought courtesy of a correspondent who sent me a link to this very cool 3D printed honeycomb object. I should note, the image is not a photograph, but rather CGI. This isn't the first time I've featured run across cool stuff like this; I especially like this outfit because a) it uses Open Source and b) it relates back to some really beautiful prosthetics.

I myself am not terribly gifted with 3D patterns, unless you count braids...


cropHi all. Happy Spring, for those of you enjoying snowdrops, crocus, squill, rock iris, chionodoxa and the like:) For various and assorted tedious reasons, I haven't got a lot of new material, but I do have a backlog of old stuff. Up this week, disk kumi, more or less (as far as I can determine) in chronological order.


cropVia boingboing (right now pretty much all my links are coming from them...) a vid by a guy investigating a math whiz's method for visualizing numbers. The prodigy sees numbers as geometric shapes that represent their prime composition. Math was never my strong suit, but every time I see math made into a visual pattern game, I get lots more excited about it. I wish I could've learned some variation of this approach for doing arithmatic!

One of the points that the narrator (Numberphile) makes is that kid is playing with math. This quality seems to be nearly universal to people who de interesting things with numbers, and I figured, given the role of triangles, I ought to link to that vihart Sierpinski vid again—except I found this halloween themed one instead, which seems completely appropriate, not only given the season, but also the extreme playfullness...

Or have a seasonally & only (very) slightly playful dead mouse.


cropToday, on a rather more upbeat note, a useful tip from another one of those little, socialist countries: how a simple mind/habit hack can prevent dooring cyclists. —A little background, for those of you not commuter (or urban) cyclists: most people riding bikes to and from work, or to the grocery store/bank/post office/etc typically go from 10–20 mph (I average about 12, which by the way is evidently also average for Amsterdam). All of those speeds are too great to ride on the sidewalk, because automobile drivers backing up treat all obstacles on sidewalks as essentially stationary, which is fine, as long as they're moving 5 mph (a little faster than walking pace) or less.

(Aside from the danger cyclists going at commuter speeds pose to pedestrians, strollers & dogs, for whom sidewalks are actually intended, of course.) Unless making a left turn, cyclists are typically mandated to stay to the right (where in fact bike lanes are usually positioned). Of course, if there is on-street parking, that will be to the right of the cyclist, with cars to the rider's left.

Well. You can imagine what happens when someone parks, opens their car door to get out and WHAM! over the handlebars the rider goes. This type of collision is common enough to have its very own name, ‘dooring’. Like telling people backing out of their driveways to watch for cyclists (or kids on those really speedy scooters) informing cyclists that they should ‘just watch for drivers’ is not terribly helpful—the last time it nearly happened to me, the car was murdered out (had all darkened side and rear windshield windows); even without that additional problem, it can be surprisingly difficult to tell whether a parked vehicle is occupied. (I usually can't: tail & brake-lights turning off are a more reliable clue, but not one I always catch.)

But the Dutch, who take their commuter cycling seriously, came up with a simple and very elegant hack to prevent this problem. The catch? It has do be done by the driver of the car, not the cyclist. Nevertheless it's so simple I thought I'd spread the word, because doing this could save a cyclist's life, or spare them a world of pain. Are you ready?

When in the driver's seat, open the door by reaching your right hand over to the door handle. This automatically causes you to twist your body so that you look behind you. Even if you're not very limber, you're more likely to notice your driver-side mirror, which can help cue you as to oncoming traffic. —That's it. (And you get a nice little shoulder & neck stretch into the bargain;)

Via boingboing, here's the Dutch Reach. Do please consider incorporating this into your driving routine. Aside from being less likely to door cyclists, it also strikes me (ahem) as a safer way to exit a car when traffic and on-street parking are uncomfortably tight (as for example on one of main streets.)

Oh, and continuing with the green theme, another green piece, a cat-head dead-mouse...


cropAlthough you hear about the old joke of prisoners making license plates, in fact as I understand it, prisoners in the US make a variety of products, many of them commercial (as opposed, say, to items for the prisoners’ own use, such as uniforms, or even items for the state.)

And they're paid a pittance, well below minimum wage. This is a political movement for which I don't have much knowledge, excepting what I picked up in Michelle Alexander's The New Jim Crow, which can be summarized as “Well, now that segregation is illegal, we need some other way to control black and brown people (especially men).” Also, we lock up not only a greater percentage, but more people, period, than any other country (e.g. China, which has a far bigger population.)

So, via mathbabe, a link about a prison strike that has been almost invisible in the mainstream media (I had heard about it—I thought on Freethoughtblogs, or perhaps Slacktivist...)

Round about the time I probably heard about this strike the first time, I encountered this article about why the so-much-less draconian scandinavian prisons are superior. To bring this full circle, however many times my house has been broken into I've lost far more money to jokers like these who not only will never serve jail time, but will live with wealth I can only dream of. And the links for whom started me on the path for the ones above.

Anyway, here's a not dead mouse!


cropI have a great fondness for Japanese aesthetics, and this link showing animations of various woodworking joins (some of which, such as dovetails or finger joints are also used in western woodworking, of course) illustrates why: extraordinary technique, spare, elegant finish, and (secret) complex underpinnings that you have to look for:)

I, of course, tend to put my visually complex stuff on the outside.