Log in

since i already did when SeMagic decided to not function for me consistently. So i've just been using
clubneko.net, which is readable by RSS and commentable by bloggerid, google id, or openID - so if you have a flickr, a google whatever account or blogger account, you can just recieve my latest updates via RSS or ATOM (still can't figure out what the difference, if any, there is between the two), and/or they are pushed to my twitter (where my flickr posts are pushed as well) which is also available in RSS for the non-twitterians. I am planning at some point on updating my music publishing to have it's own RSS feed, and then will probably try get a RSS superfeed for everything going, to let people pick how they want their clubneko flavor delivered. Hey, just like that my website is part of a peer-to-peer social network. :)

(p.s. if anyone has a complaint about my blog or my flickr pushes spamming up the twitterstream, let me know)

Penny-Arcade's annual dickerdoodles contest

is recockulous. Not safe for work in the least, despite containing only pictures of people with cookies. They're just dickerdoodle cookies. And there is some frosting bukakke, which would be hilariously hard to explain to your boss.

Teenagers. Hmph.

From the same dolphin article as the last but on a different note:

“The daughters seem really keen to do it,” says Mann. “They try and try, whereas the sons don’t seem to think it’s a big deal and hang out at the surface waiting for their mothers to come back up” [New Scientist]. Mann speculates that this could be because sponging is a time-intensive and solitary occupation, with more work required per meal; she thinks it’s possible that male dolphins aren’t willing to give up the socializing that could give them access to fertile females.

As usual, the men are holding things back in their quest for dominance over one another and access to the dolpoon. I can't blame them, evolution is constantly yammering at them though the thick soup of sex hormones their brains command out.
Certain bottlenose dolphins off the coast of Western Australia have picked up an unusual trick, a new study reports: When they head off to forage for a meal, they first grab sponges and hold them in their beaks as they dive down to the seafloor. These dolphins dive to the bottom of deep channels and poke their sponge-covered beaks into the sandy ocean floor to flush out small fish that dwell there…. Foragers then drop their sponges, gobble up available fish and retrieve the implements for another sweep [Science News]. This complicated procedure is the first confirmed example of tool use by dolphins, researchers say.

Via 80beats. Of course, the usual scientific "we don't know what this means, we swear only a couple are doing it so it's an anomaly but a curious one etc etc" are trotted out. It seems odd to me that science still binds itself with the mindset of a separation between 'natural' and 'human' beings and activities, and 'humans are unique.' The attitude is slowly being overcome, but you can still see it in the surprise that is shown when finds like this are made.

We are Not Unique. We are Not Alone. We were Just Lucky. We just got here first, but that doesn't mean that others aren't fast catching up.

sea ess ess

reading a book on CSS version something, so I've been hammering away at clubneko, trying to get it looking a little less ass in internet explorer, and it appears i've at least partially succeeded. I've also turned the spell check on for this blog client, so hopefully any unintentional typos that have been creeping in will creep back out. The intentional ones shall remain.

Semesters almost over, projects almost done, finals about to kick some teeth. There will be a taco bar/cookie party this weekend I hear, so i guess it's good to have the stress of finals after that to work off the excess consumption.

Anyway, it turns out that I've been using CSS a little backwards, so we'll see how well things become after i finish this book. About halfway through, and already amazed at what I've been missing out on in the powerful little world of css, things you could never learn from just reading CSS files (like the complex lineage selectors you can create, no wonder this stuff gives normal people nightmares). I think someone needs to write a program that will display a webpage as a flow chart of HTML elements and then attempt to visually show the CSS web linking them all. I think that could be a useful development tool for this crap. I'm so sick of editing text files, but hooray for flatland, it's built all the greatness of the inter-u-toobs.

Nothing new on the flickrs, still waiting for ebay goodies to arrive.

what a load of previously-washed hog

Retailers such as Target Corp. say banks make so much money from the fees that they give credit cards to people who can’t pay their debts, just as they provided mortgages to homeowners who can’t afford them.

“It’s another version of subprime lending,” said Mallory Duncan, chairman of the Merchants Payment Coalition representing trade groups for 2.7 million gas stations, drug stores, supermarkets and other retailers. “The system should be fixed before we are in a position of having to bail out more banks.”

The merchants want an antitrust exemption so they can band together to negotiate with banks over the so-called interchange fee, usually between 1 and 2 percent of the purchase price, that a retailer’s bank pays the cardholder’s bank each time a customer swipes a credit card. The retailer’s bank then collects the fee from the merchant. Consumers don’t see the charge, which merchants say is built into their prices.

How much you want to bet we wouldn't see a blanket 1% drop in prices at these stores if they were allowed to band together to force banks to cut back on their credit card fees. The stores want that extra 1% for themselves, or they would take the quite legal route of offering discounts for cash customers. Big merchants like Target have to pay a fee for every check they cash. They have to pay a fee for every card they swipe. Why is this suddenly bad? Oh, right, they're claiming banks are giving cards away unscrupulously to people who can't pay their debts ... WHICH DOESN'T AFFECT TARGET BECAUSE THEY'VE ALREADY GOT THE MONEY. It's not like the credit card company doesn't pay the store if you don't pay your bill. Target's already made their money from the 'unscrupulous credit card' bubble. In fact, I can't remember a time I've been in a large store like Target anytime in the past 5-10 years where I wasn't offered a credit card and a discount for signing up for that credit card on the spur of the moment. Even overstock stores like TJ MAX *still* try to get me to sign up for their store card.

Screw(ed) mount

Received an old vivitar camera with a screw mount 50mm f/1.8 lens on it. Cheap lens adapter on it's way from ebay, then I can get any M42 cheap-ass screw mount lens one can think of and mount it on my camera.

Funny note: it's insanely more expensive to mount an old Canon FD lens to my camera than any prehistoric non-canon lens. You have to have special adapters made with corrective lenses mounted in them for it to focus. Which means that each type of lens needs it's own special adapter. They made a few, then immediately quit, and the only model they made them for was a telephoto. So, to get one nowdays, you have to spend around 1000 for the adapter, which only really works with one lens.

I spent less than 3% of that, and now I can dig up old throw-away lenses to play around with maniacally.

SEM composite image of various wires

SEM comp wires
Originally uploaded by nekotaku

A composite of 3 images captured from the JEOL 6100 SEM at school. This was two backscatter imaging modes comped onto a Secondary electron image . it highlights more detail, but the two backscatter images have inherently less resolution than a secondary image due to the way the electrons are derived. There is a whole bunch of technobabble that explains the reaction, involving salubrious words like 'reaction vessel' but I'll spare you the details, I can barely pay attention to them anymore, we've gone over them so much in class.

Each of the three images interprets the electrons coming off the sample (in this case some un-identified wires that I will have to try to identify by the amount and energy level of the x-rays generated by aforementioned electron interaction) in slightly different ways. The secondary electron image gives you your basic topographical rendering of an object the way most people think of 'electron microscope images' as being. The compositional backscatter image assigns grey values to material based on the atomic number of the substance - the higher the atomic number, the darker the material appears, and the second backscatter image, the topographic one, assigns contrast based on the surface dynamics of the material by using two backscatter detectors, which is basically a simplified differential interference contrast type of imaging that highlights minute topographical features on an otherwise plain surface. The topographic image basically comes out looking like a photonegative of the image above.

I merged the photos in a half-assed HDRish manner. I hope you enjoy. I'd be tempted to add in some false color, but the sample itself was monochromatic so you're basically seeing the way it looks without reflected light obscuring any part of it.

2 pounds of ancient pot

I'm guessing everyone but me has heard about this aready, but it's way too high-larious not to share.

It's *still* green nearly 3000 years later.
Lead author Ethan Russo told Discovery News that the marijuana "is quite similar" to what's grown today.

So much for all those dipshits claiming "Pot is 8 billion percent more powerful today than what I smoked in the 70s, so you shouldn't smoke it or it's gonna drive you batshit crazy etc etc."

A lie! Take that mom! :D

Oh Sigma

Your lenses are so good and pretty, your digital cameras are so crappy. But I can honestly say I'm totally satisfied with the buying of their crappy camera, since I sold it and the accessories for more than I bought them for.

Needless to say I'll never buy a camera based on spec without trying it out and/or reading plenty of reviews beforehand. The Sigma sensor has a definite potential, however their cameras are bulky and unweildy, eat battery like no tomorrow and are very, very inconsistent in the way they shoot - I'd change the settings on the camera, then shoot a few pictures - and they would change from picture to picture. I'm sure some of that was my incomprehension of things like aperture and shutter speed - but they also didn't have an automatic mode on the camera. Seriously. I mean, that's been a feature of DSLRs (and regular SLRs) for longer than I've been aware they even existed.

Buy Sigma glass, not Sigma cameras. Especially their pocket DSLR, which has all the problems of their big cameras (sloooooow) but none of the advantages of a pocket camera (it's still freakin huge and probably has no automatic modes)