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Thread: Trivial or non-trivial technology that amazes you.

  1. #91
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    Quote Originally Posted by grant hutchison View Post
    All of whom were known by their given names (or versions thereof): Leonardo, Michelangelo, Donatello, Raphael.
    Mutant Ninja Turtles, correct; Dan Brown, wrong.
    I'd be interested to see some epidemiology on how common "Da Vinci" was in the USA before Brown's novel was published--which was cause and which was effect?

    Grant Hutchison
    This is just my recollection, but I think it was common even before Dan Brown. I think that when I was growing up. I guess from an American perspective people might wonder why they can say DI Caprio but not Da Vinci. But on the other hand, nobody ever said of Locksley to refer to the famous legendary robber, since itís clear itís not a name.

    I think I used Da Vince when I was a kid, until I found out it was wrong.
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    Quote Originally Posted by grant hutchison View Post
    I'd be interested to see some epidemiology on how common "Da Vinci" was in the USA before Brown's novel was published--which was cause and which was effect?
    Well, I'd been hearing it all my life, long before the novel, including from schoolbooks and documentaries. I cannot offer any stats on commonality, only my own experiences.

    In any case I have no intention of changing my ways. I'll just be "wrong".
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jens View Post
    The thing is, I’m not sure it is common usage. I think in the US it is, perhaps because of The Da Vinci Code, but in Wikipedia Leonardo is used. In the case of Michelangelo, who was a contemporary, there doesn’t seem to be a disagreement. The problem with Leonardo may be because it is a fairly common name. Just as a question, what are other historical figures where we do similar things? I’m sure there are many, but just can’t think of any.
    Were I writing formally or speak naturally, I would have used his whole name as descriptively as possible: "Leonardo da Vinci". Obviously, "da Vinci" isn't his name, it's just how we describe him. I didn't this time because I didn't have to. I'm a Colonial Latin American History major and names can get rather confusing, so I have a tendency to spell it all out. That limited exploration of history, you get people from the Americas traipsing all over Spain, Portugal and Italy and vice versa. You get used to tacking on any identifiable information because it can be horribly confusing.

    I heard a funny story about such a thing. There was a scribe in England writing about a meeting of the lord's men. He came up with a unique idea for identification of people since they didn't have last names. He decided to pair the husband's name with the wife's name so everyone was easily identified.This was just after 1066. A lot of the English women took on French names. But only the popular ones. The scribe started off ok, but then realized what was happening and decided to plough on even though the whole scheme fell a part. There were names like "John and Matilda" followed by "Robert and other Matilda" followed by "Jeffry and another Matilda" and then "John and second other Matilda".

    Since this would have been in a transitional period to Middle English, you can read it fairly easily. It's really funny because once you get the gist, you get hit with the sense of the scribe's anguished humor as they plowed on with an unworkable idea.
    Solfe

  4. #94
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    Quote Originally Posted by profloater View Post
    Leonardo used both hands to write and draw, to compensate for the stylus or silver point he used for fine lines which only works when pulled, not pushed. So it was easier for him to use left hand and work right to left creating mirror writing, I guess to him it was just writing. We are lucky that so much survived.
    Actually, that's true today. You should never push a fine instrument.

    I posted this link before, but here I am drawing left handed, upside down. This is so I never push the pen.

    If I am trapped into a certain space, like the frame of a camera, I will push a pen. This video is a good example of that. You'll notice the lines aren't precisely drawn as the stippling above. I also use a $3.00 pen instead of my good pens so as not to burn through expensive nibs.
    Solfe

  5. #95
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jens View Post
    I guess from an American perspective people might wonder why they can say DI Caprio but not Da Vinci.
    People do that, don't they? "Well this is how it works in my part of the world!" But the past is another country, and it's a bit like wondering why you can (depending on her preference) address a married American woman as "Mrs [husband's surname]", but can't do the same in Iceland. Because it makes no sense in an Icelandic context, that's why.

    Fortunately (or perhaps unfortunately) we don't have any Renaissance citizens around to object when we mangle their names.

    Grant Hutchison

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    I grew up hearing "Da Vinci." I learned it was wrong. I changed. It's the same courtesy I show actual friends.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gillianren View Post
    I grew up hearing "Da Vinci." I learned it was wrong. I changed. It's the same courtesy I show actual friends.
    I had a coworker that called me "Paul" or "Bill" for about 12 weeks. I was wearing a name tag that said: "Phil" the whole time. Someone else decided to make fun of her by calling me: "Mr. P. Hil." She still wouldn't stop and the "P. Hil" gag is still going on. She would do that to everyone apparently. When you do phone work, that's bad. She was escalating calls for no other reason than not using the customer's correct name.

    "Can I have your name?"
    "Sure, Rose Nylun"
    "Thank for that Mr Jennings."
    "What the???"

    She works elsewhere now.
    Solfe

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    I think more than a dozen posts in the "da Vinci" vein are too much of a sidetrack. Let's get back to the amazing techology, please.
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    Back to the science. I love my eInk readers. A zillion book on a tablet like device. It really is amazing. I have an old school Nook and an even older Kobo. All they do is books, nothing fancy.
    Solfe

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    I've never seen an e-ink screen while switched on. I'm curious how it compares to paper and laptop screens.
    With sufficient thrust, water towers fly just fine.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Nicolas View Post
    I've never seen an e-ink screen while switched on. I'm curious how it compares to paper and laptop screens.
    Old ones didn’t have the best contrast, but the Kindle Paperwhite is quite good. It’s black and white - well, I think there has been work on color e-ink but I don’t know of a commercial application. Screen update speed is slow compared to lcd, but fine for books. Battery life is long.

    Having said that, I use a tablet (an iPad pro) for most of my reading because I do so much else with it too. My iPad is my default device unless I want to do something in Windows or use a real keyboard or watch tv on a big screen or listen to radio the old fashioned way.

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  12. #102
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    The technology that really blows me away is the stuff I come across at work, since I work at an institute that does basic research. For example, I visited a neutrino detector and a researcher told us that the photomultipliers they use could detect an astronaut lighting a match on the moon...

    And another time, a guy who does antimatter research was explaining to me how we could tell that there was exactly one antiproton rather than two antiprotons stuck in his trap...


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  13. #103
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nicolas View Post
    I've never seen an e-ink screen while switched on. I'm curious how it compares to paper and laptop screens.
    It is more like paper than a screen. Of course, just like paper it doesn't illuminate itself. The true comparison is in cost and utility.

    I paid $50 for a Kindle Fire and twice that on the Kobo in 2010. The Kindle Fire is almost a computer with all of it's functions. I could keep my 11 year old Kobo with a faulty battery running for a couple of weeks, maybe a month between charges. The charge used to last longer. The Fire has a life of a couple of hours, even if I shut everything off and only read. The first 10% of the battery is gone in the first 20 minutes. I have no idea why. While the screen is illuminated on the Fire, its also glossy. And the biggest drain on power.

    The Fire also updates which invariably bomb at random and force a factory reset. The Kobo stopped updating a long time ago. Amusingly, since the Fire has a hefty OS, it has less memory available than a 11 year old Kobo. The 16 GB Fire has about 9 GB of usable space. However, if you use more than 8 GB, it complains and gets glitchy. Also, a memory card is useless since you can't really off load stuff to it. You can but then you can't access it on the fly. The Kobo has 8 GB of usable onboard memory and 32 GB card which supplements it. It was made in era when external and internal memory were seamlessly integrated. I can't even tell there is an SD card in it.

    I'm also on my 3rd FIre while the Kobo is going on a decade. The Kobo has 2 dead pixels. My first Fire overheated and the second bricked itself. The third is in a case more expensive than the Fire itself. It also weighs as much as a brick. The replacement time on a Fire can be as little as 2 years.
    Solfe

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    Quote Originally Posted by Solfe View Post
    I paid $50 for a Kindle Fire and twice that on the Kobo in 2010. The Kindle Fire is almost a computer with all of it's functions. I could keep my 11 year old Kobo with a faulty battery running for a couple of weeks, maybe a month between charges. The charge used to last longer. The Fire has a life of a couple of hours, even if I shut everything off and only read. The first 10% of the battery is gone in the first 20 minutes. I have no idea why. While the screen is illuminated on the Fire, its also glossy. And the biggest drain on power.

    The Fire also updates which invariably bomb at random and force a factory reset. The Kobo stopped updating a long time ago. Amusingly, since the Fire has a hefty OS, it has less memory available than a 11 year old Kobo. The 16 GB Fire has about 9 GB of usable space. However, if you use more than 8 GB, it complains and gets glitchy. Also, a memory card is useless since you can't really off load stuff to it. You can but then you can't access it on the fly. The Kobo has 8 GB of usable onboard memory and 32 GB card which supplements it. It was made in era when external and internal memory were seamlessly integrated. I can't even tell there is an SD card in it.

    I'm also on my 3rd FIre while the Kobo is going on a decade. The Kobo has 2 dead pixels. My first Fire overheated and the second bricked itself. The third is in a case more expensive than the Fire itself. It also weighs as much as a brick. The replacement time on a Fire can be as little as 2 years.
    Tardigrades can survive things that would kill us because they're so much simpler in structure than us complex mammals. But we can also do things no microscopic beastie can ever come close to.
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    The Buffalo Science Museum has a workshop that used to be ah... "plumbed" for steam powered tools. They adapted the saw to work off of an electric motor, but all of the steam equipment is still in place even though it's not functional. It's a bandsaw and I can't tell how long the blade is. It goes up 9 feet in the air, over 12-15 feet before turning again to disappear into the drive which is under the floor. There is a bit of cage work around the blades, but its really not that safe. I'm not tall enough to reach up 9 feet but it is one thing I viscerally fear. Edit - You stand under the path of the blade to operate it.

    As if to highlight the danger, they have a sign that reads: "Do NOT place your hands in the blade. It will cause severe damage. Please ask for the bone blade. Thank you."

    And the bone blade is stored in plain sight, with a description of how to install it on a 3 by 5 foot laminated board. They are really touchy about that because it's the only set of instructions for this machine. Oddly, you can still buy replacement blades.
    Solfe

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    I came across centreless grinding during a project. It is used for making precision rods, tapered rollers for bearings, and in my case phonograph spindles and needles (not phonograph needles, I am not that old). That process is at the limit in that you cannot detect the errors by laser phase detection, those rollers could not be bettered and as a result, car wheels can be cantilevered, driven over rough ground, silently for thousands of miles. Rolling element bearings are a triumph and my favourites are angular contact tapered matched pairs, stiff in all directions except the rotation axis. Some are so tiny you need a magnifier to see them, some so large, you could not lift them. Amazing technology.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Noclevername View Post
    Tardigrades can survive things that would kill us because they're so much simpler in structure than us complex mammals. But we can also do things no microscopic beastie can ever come close to.
    I found out Nokia is still making some of its early 2000s feature phone models and the battery lasts a month between charges. Once I have enough saved up to be on my own data plan instead of using my parentsí, which would only let me use Verizon-approved phones, I might go for it.
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  18. #108
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jens View Post
    The technology that really blows me away is the stuff I come across at work, since I work at an institute that does basic research. For example, I visited a neutrino detector and a researcher told us that the photomultipliers they use could detect an astronaut lighting a match on the moon...
    There's something just wrong about that statement.
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  19. #109
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    Hmmm. I suspect a match head has all it needs to ignite, atmosphere or no. The body of the match can't burn, but you'd get a brief flare.

    And the match would be hard to hold in space gloves!
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    Quote Originally Posted by Trebuchet View Post
    Hmmm. I suspect a match head has all it needs to ignite, atmosphere or no. The body of the match can't burn, but you'd get a brief flare.
    Maybe it depends on the match. Tedious YouTube video of man failing to light matches in a vacuum chamber.

    Grant Hutchison

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jim View Post
    There's something just wrong about that statement.
    Just to clarify, because people seem to be taking it a bit to literally. I think what he meant to say was just, they are sensitive enough to detect the amount of light that would come from lighting a match from the distance of the moon, hypothetically.


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    Quote Originally Posted by Solfe View Post
    "Do NOT place your hands in the blade. It will cause severe damage. Please ask for the bone blade. Thank you."
    "Bone blade" is not a reassuring name. It sounds inherently threatening, like something out of the Saw movies.

    "Let me get the bone blade for you... no, come back, it's a safety measure!"
    "I'm planning to live forever. So far, that's working perfectly." Steven Wright

  23. #113
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    Quote Originally Posted by Noclevername View Post
    "Bone blade" is not a reassuring name. It sounds inherently threatening, like something out of the Saw movies.

    "Let me get the bone blade for you... no, come back, it's a safety measure!"
    A bone blade is a kitchen utensil. It will go through frozen meat and bone. It looks like a hack saw with giant teeth so it doesn't clog or splitter the bone. It's better than a cleaver, Clever. (I had to say it, having misspelled Clever so many times in my life.) I would use one when preparing roast beef at a restaurant. What I was cutting was basically a very large piece of beef like you'd find at the back of the deli. It'd come out of the freezer and get divided into 10-20 lbs pieces, repacked, dated and placed in either the fridge or the freezer. You had work fast so that it could go back in the freezer.

    What they have at the Science Museum is what's used to cut through a mummy, a bear skull or an elephant's limbs. The blade is unmounted so that some genius doesn't try it for fun. It's remarkably dangerous if you don't know what you are doing. The limb, skull or whatever can easily become a projectile. The museum also doesn't want some idiot practicing on an dinosaur bone. Mostly because the dinosaur bones they do have are a plastic/plaster copies and pretty much turn to dust when hit by that thing.

    Back to the topic at hand, those chainmail gloves for cutting are life savers. Probably for real because kitchens and butchers have ridiculously sharp knives.

    Since I like dinosaurs so much, I would like to mention the process used to make faux dino bones from real ones. That places so many great "artifacts" in the hands of the general public relatively cheaply. I have no idea how the magic is done, it's just cool.
    Solfe

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    The really dumbed down version of it is they make a soft negative split mold (the blue rubbery stuff) around the real bone, then cast the new fake bone from that split mold. At this stage, the real bone is already stabilised and a release agent is applied to maximally protect the real bone in the process. After casting the fake bone, it is further Dremeled into perfection where needed and coloured to match.

    Many of the dinosaur skeletons you see in a museum aren't real but casts. The real one is in another museum. And many real ones are only partially real, and completed with casts from parts of other skeletons. It is indeed a great way of spreading these artifacts to a larger audience. And it still has the same educational value of the real one. It doesn't feel to me like looking at eg a print of a painting. It feels "more real". Though I must say, especially when the fossil is not in very good condition, you tend to see the difference between real and cast. The real bones have a rougher, more fragmented composition. The cast skeletons tend to be the smoother, "solid" bones.

    The museum in Brussels which has a huge collection tends to indicate quite clearly which are real and which are casts. Of course, the famous Iguanodon collection is entirely real bones.
    Last edited by Nicolas; 2021-Jun-10 at 07:59 AM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Solfe View Post
    It looks like a hack saw with giant teeth so it doesn't clog or splitter the bone.
    Nothing in that sentence makes it one bit less scary.

    It's better than a cleaver, Clever.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Solfe View Post
    As if to highlight the danger, they have a sign that reads: "Do NOT place your hands in the blade. It will cause severe damage. Please ask for the bone blade. Thank you."

    And the bone blade is stored in plain sight, with a description of how to install it on a 3 by 5 foot laminated board. They are really touchy about that because it's the only set of instructions for this machine. Oddly, you can still buy replacement blades.
    Who is being urged to "ask for the bone blade" in this scenario? Why?

    Grant Hutchison

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    It delights me that chain mail still has a purpose in this day and age.
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  28. #118
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gillianren View Post
    It delights me that chain mail still has a purpose in this day and age.
    It's a practical design. No reason to phase it out when it still works for certain purposes, like sharkproof suits.

    In that same vein, sometimes technologies get passed by or phased out for reasons not related to the usefulness, practicality, or sometimes even cost of the thing. Just everybody wants the latest whiz-bang, so out with the old.
    "I'm planning to live forever. So far, that's working perfectly." Steven Wright

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    Chainmail aprons are real life-savers for butchers. There's some sort of jointing technique which involves supporting a chunk of animal against your thigh and lower abdomen while slicing sideways with a sharp knife. More than one butcher has pranged a femoral artery when the knife slipped. And you could severe the femoral artery in your groin in front of a roomful of trained and equipped emergency-room personnel and still not survive the experience.

    Grant Hutchison

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    Quote Originally Posted by grant hutchison View Post
    Who is being urged to "ask for the bone blade" in this scenario? Why?

    Grant Hutchison
    It's sarcasm. The sign is asking you to be safe using the saw, but then tells you to use the special bone blade if you want to put your hands into the blade.

    This is a snide response to someone who actually put their hand into the blade and was horribly hurt. This is one of those chance collisions where the world gets very small quickly. I had put in for a job at a hardware store in my area. They told me they just hired someone so they didn't need me. I put in for a volunteer position at the Science Museum figuring I wouldn't be working. I was informed that they had just brought in a batch of volunteers and they didn't need me.

    Dejected, I went back to looking for work. Less than a month later, I got a call from both places saying that they needed me the very next day. Being a go getter, I juggled both. As I settled in, I noticed that someone pinned the exactly same nickname on me at both places which seemed suspicious. They called me "Rob 2.0".

    It turns out "Rob 1.0" was an employee at the hardware store I applied to and a volunteer at the science museum. They were calling me that because I had the same interests and background as Rob 1.0.

    However, Rob 1.0 was an idiot. He accessed the tool shop after his shift at the museum, something he shouldn't have done. He stole a key to do it. He turned on the saw and was putting things into the blade for fun. This ended with the aforementioned dinosaur bone being destroyed and Rob 1.0's hand going into the blade. They had it on video so, claims that it was an accident were quickly settled. Having not gotten what he wanted at the museum, he filed a complaint against the hardware store claiming the injury occurred there. Edit - This is the point where security at both places started talking to law enforcement. They even had a private investigator or two involved.

    The sign was a result of that series of events.
    Last edited by Solfe; 2021-Jun-10 at 04:57 PM.
    Solfe

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