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Laughing at the darkness...

January 8, 2009 11:10 AM 1/8/09

A good policy to live by.

Laughing at the darkness puts you more at ease no matter which side of the coin you’re on. If you’re more light than dark then laughing at it makes you stronger because you’re filling the darkness with light. If you’re more dark than light it makes you stronger because you’re confident that the darkness can’t harm you. Either way it works out.

I try and laugh at a lot of things now. I didn’t used to and I still don’t do it enough. But I find humor in a lot more of the universe than I have in the past.

I once heard someone complain about the parody bumper sticker “God was my co-pilot but we crashed in the mountains and I had to eat him.”.

And it occurred to me that the supreme being(s), whoever you want to believe in, created this universe. And because it was created by him/them then it has to mirror some part of them. That being said there _IS_ laughter and humor in this universe and that mean that whoever created it had to have a sense of humor.

So when it comes down to it the creator(s) of this universe have to be able to laugh at themselves.

So I guess what it comes down to is that we just don’t get the joke in its entirety yet. ;-)

In stranger news I was wandering around the web and noticed that some new age people put orgone generators around a local cellphone tower in Britain to neutralize the extra EM fields. I’m not going to judge that but it put me on the track of finding out what an orgone generator was and I have to admit that the pyramid ones look pretty cool. I’m wondering what they use to cast them. I can’t help but think that a clear glass pyramid with gemstones cast into it wouldn’t look really cool despite any other properties it may possess.

As for the whole EM field thing I’m going to go with my gut feeling here and stick to my opinion that we never truly understand any technology 100%. That being the case it might very well be that something is going on there but we can’t reliably detect it at this point.

This train of thought beings me back to something I wanted to do with the garden.

There’s this funky thing that you can pay too much for on ThinkGeek.com called an “Orb” that will change color according to some information sent to it over a wireless network. It’s a cool at-a-glance idea for a status indicator so I thought about taking it out to the garden.

1) Take a bunch of misc. colored LEDs or some of the tri-color LEDs and wire them into a random framework in say three separate circuits.

2) Make a mold shaped like a large quartz crystal and place the random framework into the mold.

3) Pour clear casting resin into the mold and place a simple project box in the bottom of the resin but suspended by string so it doesn’t sink below the surface.

4) Put a pre-programmed Arduino board in there and wire the outputs to the LED framework.

5) Wire moisture sensors and temperature sensors to the Arduio inputs as well as a solar charged battery source to the power.

6) Program the Arduino to change colors according to the temperature and moisture range it detects for that bed of plants. Brighter (more LEDs lit) means a higher value and the color determines the temperature.

7) Place system in garden bed to be monitored and enjoy the lights.

8) Bonus step: Attach an output of the Arduino to a watering solenoid to allow it to water the bed in question as needed.

This is easy stuff but time consuming. And casting resin isn’t all that cheap. But still it’s a cool idea. And it’s yet another idea that tweaks my button on blending technology, function, and art. And it’s so simple that I have no doubt that others could replicate it so I’d love to see a garden of glowing crystals.

Now if you wanted to be sadistic to your neighbors you could do this with sound as well. Imagine the Arduino producing noises from the decorative “rock” speakers according to what the soil conditions are. Then you could just go out and listen to your garden to find out if you need to water it.

My neighbors would kill me because I’d probably use clear chimes for my indicators. ^_^

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( 21 comments — Leave a comment )
Jan. 8th, 2009 10:07 pm (UTC)
Why not just grow some crystals around the LED's? Rather than use casting resin.
Jan. 8th, 2009 10:13 pm (UTC)
Because as far as I know the only crystals that I could grow large enough would be water soluble ones and those wouldn't work well in the garden. I don't think there's a good enough coating that could be used to protect them from that much weather.

Though I was driving home today and it occurred to me that this would be a cool "quick status" idea for server farms as far as load indicators are concerned. In that case you _could_ grow the crystals from scratch and just spray them with some non-water-based protective coating since the environment is less harsh.
Jan. 8th, 2009 10:25 pm (UTC)
For the indoor crystals you could use rock salt, which is slightly hygroscopic and would absorb water from the air over time, a very long time given how dry server rooms tend to be.

As for the outdoor ones, the key is temperature. They might be water soluble at higher temperatures, but not at ambient. IIRC allum [aluminium something or other] dissolves at around 60 but is stable and insoluble at below 30...[degrees c]
Jan. 8th, 2009 10:57 pm (UTC)
I never considered the rock salt idea for indoors but that is quite doable.

As for the others did you mean alum crystals?


There is something else to consider though and that's the fact that I wanted the LEDs _inside_ the crystals. I wonder how well you can use the soldered LEDs as the growing framework...
Jan. 8th, 2009 11:07 pm (UTC)
Yes that's the stuff, I grew some of those as a kid once... and from what I recollect, they'd form quite readily around anything that acted as a nucleating site...although I'd probably want to use a dab of something like an epoxy-resin to waterproof the solder connections first!

Jan. 9th, 2009 05:33 am (UTC)
You're both forgetting that those water-soluble salts for growing crystals are highly ionic, which would tend to fuck up any circuitry you might try to embed in them. They also corrode metal over time. Stick with casting resin, or drill holes in a construction made of clear acrylic and mount the LEDs in the holes. (Besides, using changing color and/or intensity of light as an indicator of some changing value works a lot better when the light is diffused somewhat - notice that the Orb gizmo is milky.)
Jan. 9th, 2009 05:54 am (UTC)
That's yet another good point for not growing a crystal around the circuit but I can't help but think a good automotive clear-coat over the LEDs and circuit box would likely stop that without too much trouble.

You're right about the frosted look though.
Jan. 9th, 2009 11:26 am (UTC)
The thought of embedding circuitry, even coated with lacquer, in a material that's both conductive and hygroscopic, just makes me nervous...
Jan. 9th, 2009 03:58 pm (UTC)
Bah! We'll create LED flavored pudding yet! ;-)
Jan. 10th, 2009 11:32 am (UTC)
I can't find it on Google, but a couple of years ago, I read that someone had developed a chemical-glow substance that was supposedly safe to consume, and it was just waiting for FDA approval. The main idea was to use it in drinks, but why not have "radioactive" glowing pudding? ;-)
Jan. 10th, 2009 03:31 pm (UTC)
Well europium _is_ non-toxic but I'm not sure how much you would want to eat of it. And it would need to be light-charged anyway before it would glow.

If you find the link let me know because I'd love to make some nuclear chili to bring to work. ;-)
Jan. 13th, 2009 10:14 am (UTC)
I'm not talking about "glows for a while after it's been exposed to bright light", which can contain europium. I'm talking about "glows for hours after the chemicals have been activated", like a glow-stick. I know I saw it online a few years ago, but I can't seem to find it any more. I guess they couldn't get FDA approval for the compound... but it would sure be cool to drink something that glows! (And yes, I know that there's a UV-reactive dye in Mountain Dew soda.)
Jan. 9th, 2009 05:46 am (UTC)
I'm just a tiny bit surprised that the pseudo-science relating to "orgone" is still around. Note that an "orgone accumulator" is basically a large, rather messily constructed capacitor - which is not connected to anything! It has precisely as much scientific validity as a tinfoil hat. And now someone's gone and built pyramid-shaped orgone accumulators? Wooo, two flavors of pseudo-science together! Better have a coffee enema to "purify" yourself before you use the thing, though...
Jan. 9th, 2009 06:00 am (UTC)
Radionics still exists so why not orgone?

Oh and those pyramid ones are "orgone converters" that take in negative energy and put out positive energy. *cough* Supposedly anyway.

Frankly I have no grudge against this type of stuff as long as they don't force me to accept their beliefs. And the universe is so vast and unknown that they may be right. It's easier to give them the benefit of the doubt as far as I'm concerned.
Jan. 9th, 2009 11:32 am (UTC)
"Radionics" is just the ancient magickal concept of "Contagion" ("Things that have once been in contact with each other continue to have some effect on each other when separated") dressed up with some pseudo-scientific bafflegab. Orgone, on the other tentacle, is pure bullshit - nineteenth-century electrical engineering misinterpreted by a sex-crazed psychologist.

I'm willing to give strange beliefs a chance to demonstrate that they actually do something - empirical evidence is good enough for me. (Empirical evidence is why I believe in magick at all.) Show me conclusive evidence that a pyramid shape has some sort of special powers that no other solid does, or that alternating layers of conductive and resistive material produce replicatable phenomena, and I'll put aside my skepticism.
Jan. 9th, 2009 03:57 pm (UTC)
I just kind of shrug them off and go "okay whatever".

I think that's the safest route providing their not killing people for their beliefs or building doomsday weapons. ;-)
Jan. 10th, 2009 11:36 am (UTC)
The trouble is, "junk science" tends to crowd out real science, which keeps people from learning the real science, makes them more gullible, and possibly prevents some people from seeking appropriate medical treatment when they need it. (Snopes.com is your friend!)
Jan. 10th, 2009 03:28 pm (UTC)
That's a very good point but sometimes it's also the junk science people that can dream beyond the current limits and find things most scientists would never have even thought of. (Minato's motor for instance. I firmly believe he found something there even if others are having trouble duplicating it.)

It's yet another one of those tough calls - to squash people's imagination with reality or to bend reality to our will. An interesting dilemma.
Jan. 13th, 2009 10:22 am (UTC)
Minato's motor looks like yet another perpetual-motion machine to me, and when I read about the demonstration equipment, with its dials "proving" that the devices are using almost no power, all I can think is that you can rig a meter to show anything you want it to. TANSTAAFL.

The only reason I believe that magick works is because I've experienced it enough times to be convinced - but the fact that it doesn't work all the time still leaves me partially skeptical.
Jan. 13th, 2009 01:18 pm (UTC)
Actually I believe his motor works because in a number of ways it makes sense to me - specifically the fact that he had to find just the right positioning of the magnets.

As for claims that it's a perpetual motion machine it's obviously not. It's merely an extremely efficient motor and Minato has said so on a number of occassions. (He is often mis-quoted as saying it's an over-unity device though.)

Remember also that there is a company out there that invested and made 40,000 fans using his motor and people have looked at them and found that they do run a hell of a lot more efficiently than the standard motor.

The trick is that he's using standard coils to kick the rotor over the magnetic dead spots and letting the magnets do the rest of the acceleration. That makes perfect sense to me.

And yes I know I'm posting this without linking to data. The problem is that the data I saw a half decade ago on this subject is not the data I see now. It's either missing entirely or...different. :-/
Jan. 14th, 2009 04:01 pm (UTC)
It's that missing and/or "different" data that makes me skeptical. However, I'll try to keep an open mind to future developments.
( 21 comments — Leave a comment )



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