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Hello world!

I have returned! Soon, there will be pictures from the Fishies latest projects (and some older ones too). For now though I am just a filler page, tryin to get along

For now though, recent photos from flickr:

The Journey Begins

So a while back I’m not sure how the conversation started, but Elizabeth said she wanted an R2D2. I agreed, then she said “we should make one”, I also agreed then “wait, was that an official project plan? not a hypothetical one?” So I did a lot of research, then set it aside and largely forgot about it due to complexities. Jump forward to about a month ago, I run across something my old roomba (that works, but isn’t a great vacuum for our new place, it’s old for one thing). So I realized that with the raspberry Pi’s ability to control the roomba, we’ve got almost all the electronics, except for the dome and decorative bits.

So last week I ordered parts, a bluetooth/wifi adapter for the Pi (remote control), and a USB to serial cable that will eventually connect to the roomba, once I figure out how to make an approximation of it’s interface jack (didn’t buy one when I had a chance *sigh* years ago, now I can’t find them for anything reasonable cost wise). I’ve not started on the roomba side yet, I’m focusing on finding a good way to keep my phone connected to it via bluetooth & send control signals, I’d link to what I’m using… but I’m trying half a dozen things at the moment software wise so it’s hard to say. Early planning is BTInterface for the android side, and python for the Pi side. But it’s been oddly hard to find one complete walkthrough, and BTInterface’s forums are young and well, lacking practical information….

More updates to follow as there’s anything to post, hopefully some pictures too…

How about something simple, like DNA

Really this title is a hillarious bad misnomer, DNA, the blueprint for every living thing on the earth cannot be said to be simple. Small would seem to be a good term for it, after all every cell in your body contains all the DNA necessary to recreate your body in its entirety (generally speaking, and assuming much science we can’t do yet). That’s pretty small isn’t it? Scientists have to use amazingly awesome microscopes to look at strands of DNA in its jumbled ball in your cell.

WARNING: From here on out, there’s going to be a lot of rounding, and as a result, some of my numbers and the numbers I found while searching (while they too varied greatly) aren’t going to agree. Generally speaking I’m going to try to find the general consensus on the base values and round it to numbers that I feel like dealing with (not a mountain of decimal points basically, what can I say, I’m lazy). Let’s rejoin our already in progress post…

But hold on, is small really the right word either? Because though there seems to be some difference in the exact length, every estimate I’ve found says that if you take the DNA from a single cell and stretch it out straight, you’ll stretch between 2.3-3 meters (7.5-9.8 feet). Suddenly it doesn’t seem so small, but then let’s think about this, there are a lot of cells in the average adult person. From what I can find the estimates range between 10-100 trillion (10^13 -10^14). In my best Keanu Reeves… Whoa. So lets combine those numbers, but I’m going to split the difference on both distances. So… 2.65 meters per cell times 50 trillion cells… 1.325 x 10^11 kilometers or, 885.7 astronomical units. If you’ve read the previous post, you might remember that pluto’s orbit on average is just shy of 40.1 au away from the sun (1 au being the distance from the earth to the sun). So that would suggest that our DNA, though far narrower than the human hair could be long enough for 11 round trips from the sun to pluto. Wow, just wow. Yeah there’s a lot of estimation in there, but even on the low end by the way, that’s still 2 round trips (high end is 25). I don’t think I can add anything to that number, that’s just freaking amazingly long. In fact I’m just going to stop here, my head hurts, these numbers (even treated as slices of our own solar system) are just too big for me.

Pieces of Mars

Reposted from something I wrote on facebook in reaction to this (A tiny sliver of a martian meteorite available for purchase on thinkgeek). With a couple corrections to lengths I got wrong

Ok it’s a tiny tiny fragment, but there’s this part of me that still really wants this. Because holy crap it’s a tiny piece of another planet! Yeah sure it’s neatly packaged so it’s not like I can hold it in my hands but there’s something pretty cool about being able to pick up a piece of our nearest planetary neighbor (also there’s chunks of the moon but still man, *Mars*). Nearest still means that at the very closest it’s nearly 34 million miles away (and even that’s a once in 50,000 year thing). I can’t even find a good thing to compare that distance too that isn’t too large to really follow, radio transmissions (speed of light) would take 3 minutes to cover that distance? Still too abstract to grasp, and it’s just over 1/3 the distance from earth to the sun. Now compare to the distance between the sun to the earth: 1 au, then the sun to pluto: 40.1 au (on average or 3.7 billion miles). Forget the galaxy or the universe, our own solar system is incomprehensibly large. Man I am glad I added the link to this before I got started this one got away from me and I’m not sure I could remember what got me started. The ibuprofen may have taken enough of an edge off the pain to go to bed, so I’d better skedaddle.

Halloween 2011

The proton pack would likely have not been completed without the encouragement of my awesome wife, I became discouraged several times and she kept me moving

Colorado 2011

During July of 2011 we went to a family reunion of sorts in colorado, camping, exploring and general tomfoolery abounded. I may post more details as time allows, for now this is a stub for the gallery :)

Trebuchet 1

Our first trebuchet, we spent our first valentine’s day after the wedding buying the lumber. We made some mistakes (ok, I made some mistakes on lengths), so instead of flinging small things far, it’s ended up tuned to fire heavier things than it should be able to, far shorter distances. I doubt it will be our only one and who knows, maybe we can make a new throwing arm for the existing frame at some point that’s closer to a normal adjustment! Also, I’d like to mention, this entire apparatus fits in our honda civic (which was one place I didn’t make mistakes on lengths thankfully)