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David Eisner
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David Eisner

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Last week Sandra and I were wondering what these clear globules washing up on the Delaware beaches were. I thought they might be eggs  (or diaper fill ...), but now the mystery is solved: they are salps, a type of tunicate. Who knew? READ THE NEXT PARAGRAPH

By the way, this is some crazy-ass shit right here: "Eventually, the salp chains break apart. All the individuals that are released turn into females containing one egg. Males from a previous generation of salps will fertilize the females, producing an embryo. The "mother" then develops testes and goes on to fertilize the eggs of other nearby salps, all while the embryo continues to grow inside of it. That embryo eventually pops out and grows up to create another chain of clones."
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I really like the typography used over the doorways in the Silver Spring First Baptist Church. It has been empty for some time and is slated to be demolished, sadly. #silverspring
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It's usually the other way around (with mixed results), so this is a nice idea. The referenced paper's abstract:

"We describe the theoretical ideas, developed between the 1950s-1970s, which led to the prediction of the Higgs boson, the particle that was discovered in 2012. The forces of nature are based on symmetry principles. We explain the nature of these symmetries through an economic analogy. We also discuss the Higgs mechanism, which is necessary to avoid some of the naive consequences of these symmetries, and to explain various features of elementary particles."

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RznZ_e6aDHc
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"In a small in-house theatre, the Meyers showed how Constellation works. Its principal purpose is to enable flexibility, so that halls can adapt to the needs of different kinds of event. Cinema needs a dry, echo-free environment, so that words can be understood. Chamber music benefits from crisp sound with resonant warmth. Orchestras are at home in halls with a longer reverberation time—more than two seconds, at the Musikverein. And choruses thrive on the booming acoustic of a cathedral. Constellation replicates this range of reverb times, which vary with the size of the space. One can choose from among different settings: cinema or lecture hall (0.4 seconds); chamber (one second); theatre (1.4 seconds); concert hall (two seconds); and “sacred space” (2.8 seconds). Thus, the system can give bloom to a somewhat dry acoustic, as at Zellerbach Hall, in Berkeley, and it can supply a cleaner sound for amplified jazz and pop, as at Svetlanov Hall, in Moscow.

“We couldn’t do this until we had a really high-powered computer,” John told me. “It’s calculating twenty thousand echoes a second, and that information has to stay in the memory for four or five seconds—a huge amount of data. Only a few years ago could we pull off the sacred-space setting, which is the most complex of all.” "

http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2015/02/23/wizards-sound
Meyer Sound’s Constellation system performs the sonic equivalent of Photoshop. Credit Illustration by Michael Kirkham
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This happy little fellow was just Rhining his own business.
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A pay phone on 9th ST NW, across the street from the Walter E. Washington Convention Center.
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Vintage. 
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David Eisner

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The aforementioned Utah Teapot print, in progress.
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My first foray into 3D printing. Hooray?
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I woke up one morning with the already-formed thought that my first 3D print should be the famous "Utah/Newell Teapot": http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Utah_teapot. Fortunately somebody had made a model suitable for printing available here: http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:68880 (in the form of an .stl file). I submitted the job (via web form) to the Engineering and Physical Science Library's Makerbot Replicator 2 printer (http://store.makerbot.com/replicator2). A few days later, my print was ready for pickup. I'm told it took 6 hours to print.

The teapot is about 18cm from back-of-handle to tip-of-spout. The librarians wanted to know if this was a Mother's Day gift (sorry, mom). They said it was the largest print they'd seen to date. I took it as a personal triumph when I noticed later in the day that the librarian was printing one for herself (or her mother).

The only challenging part was removing the "raft" from the lid. The raft is a removable platform that the printer prints first, and on which the model itself is then printed. For some reason it was really sticking to the lid (but not the body of the pot).

I'll post a video I took of the print in progress.
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Happy Purim, and thanks to The Kosher Pastry Oven for the hamentashen
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I was considering purchasing a Microsoft wireless keyboard, but I suspected  the encryption was probably rubbish. I was right: it winds up being XOR the key code with 0xCD.

This is a pretty nice project.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WqkmGG0biXc
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I guess it's this one: http://www.microsoft.com/hardware/en-us/p/wireless-keyboard-2000. Imagine if Honda offered an "EX-L SECURE" trim of the Accord that was just like the regular Accord, but with "door locks and a key" to "help protect the contents of your car."
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This is not an alien cityscape -- it's Flourite! This is astonishing to me. Look what nature made, all on its own. Good job, World.
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Maybe I'll try it: http://www.scientificsonline.com/product/crystal-growing-kit-quartz

I was going to make a snarky comment about the "Space Age", but now that I think it about it, it doesn't feel stale anymore.
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I noticed today that This American Life has changed distributors from PRI to PRX.

"Stations will be able to access the show through PRX’s Internet-based distribution platform, an alternative to the Public Radio Satellite System, which now carries TAL. Under the deal, stations will pay carriage fees to PRX, which will pass on a share of the payments to the show’s producers."

This might be interesting to +Thomas Edwards, for historical reasons, sort of.

http://www.current.org/2014/05/this-american-life-opts-for-self-distribution-with-prx-as-pipeline-to-stations/
The producers of public radio's This American Life will take over distribution of their show starting July 1, using Public Radio Exchange to deliver the program to stations. TAL and Public Radio International, its distributor of 17 years, announced in March that they would part ways effective ...
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I'm amazed that PRSS is still in the business of distributing non-live radio shows, when you can download a high quality hour long show in a couple of minutes even with a 1 Mbps DSL line (and you could back it up with cellular data).

There is the differential between data distribution (how the bits flow) and the business of distribution.  A show like TAL doesn't need much of a sales pitch, but a show just starting out might need the "sales support" of someone like PRI/NPR/etc.
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I'm not in the habit of reviewing routine service, but the feedback here is so bad I thought I'd file a report. I reserved my car online and received a call a few days in advance to confirm my reservation. I arrived at the scheduled time to pick up my car and it was ready. The service rep. tried to sell me superfluous insurance, but in my experience that's standard industry practice. Finally, I was able to return my car without delay. The staff were friendly and professional, and the car worked well, as expected. In summary: good, prompt service, good car, no complaints.
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