Thursday, January 25, 2007

Sidewalk chalk-drawings: Incredibly realistic 3D

Aunt Janice, bless her heart, sent along some images from Julian Beever, a famous sidewalk artist. I was particularly stunned by his anamorphic images which present an absolutely terrific 3D illusion (the two shown here are used without permission, hope he doesn't mind but I'll remove 'em if he does).

Notice in the first one that you can see the join marks between the pavement blocks through the image; while the tones aren't photorealistic, the illusion of depth is outstanding. He's got a bunch more on the site, go look!

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Blogger Tag: Five Things You Don't Know About Me

Alexa tagged me, so here are the eponymous tidbits:
  1. I have -- and still fly -- a 21-year-old Estes model of the Space Shuttle. (This was written about the DC-3, but is appropriate here. We like to think our 31-year-old airplane is a little more scrupulously maintained than "chewing gum, baling wire and string", however.)
  2. Although I'm a pilot, ride chairlifts every week during the winter, and am a Ski Patrol chairlift evacuation instructor, I am acrophobic.
  3. I showed up one semester at Indiana University determined to clean out my dorm room and drop out for a year, but my suitemate talked me out of it in one passionate hour. Never saw the man again after moving out of the dorm the following year. But I owe you, Randy Broadus.
  4. I proposed to my wife while she was wringing out her wet socks. (Long story, but it was on a backpacking trip in the Great Smoky Mountains and we had just crossed a river. Couldn't cork it in any longer.)
  5. I gave PJ Saine his first photography lessons. What he made of them was all his, so I take no credit. But I did give him that first exposure (heh).

OK, Stan, you're it.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

McNaught Continues to Dazzle

Wow. Astronomy Picture of the Day has a beautiful shot of Comet McNaught as seen from the Southern Hemisphere.

Southern Comet
Credit & Copyright: Noel Munford (Palmerston North Astronomical Society, New Zealand)
(Used without permission -- I'll take it down if you ask, Mr. Munford.)

I didn't have a tripod along, so my pix of McNaught are pretty awful by comparison. Still, here's proof that my kids and I did in fact see the comet. (If you look exceedingly carefully, in the exact center of the second image, you'll find the comet head. Honest.)

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Movie: Lake Mendota Ice Floe Departs Across the Lake

Our webcam caught this today; the movie is low-res, but should work in any Java-enabled browser.

Is this cool, or what? Thanks for spotting it Finn!

Here are the higher-res snapshots during the hour-plus it took this big ice mass to depart:

10:00 CST

11:00 CST

12:00 CST

Oooh, ooh, I need that!

iRobot, creators of the Roomba robotic vacuum cleaner, now offer their tech in a DIY kit, so that you needn't purchase and disassemble a Roomba to build your own robot.

The Register


Wednesday, January 03, 2007

What's with Wal-Mart?

It's positively eerie. Just image cultivation? Actual corporate responsibility? Time will tell. But they have a huge request for proposal out to convert their facilities to solar power, and also are apparently going to be pushing compact fluorescents in a major way to their customers.

The fact that these news stories show up on the same day, so soon after New Year's, is suspicious to me -- I smell a PR campaign. But if they back up the foofaraw with actual policy change, hey, let 'em hog some credit!

Wow. Them boys can run. And jump.

At New Year's, Jenny (hey) introduced us to "le parkour", a bad-boy sport involving gymnastics, scrambling, and total insanity.

We watched, we didn't participate (as evinced by my having unbroken arms and fingers to type this). But if you can watch these videos without having the "How do they DO that?!" light come on at least once, you're more blase than I am!

A little pretentious in the filming, but amazing to watch: