Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Massively Unparalyzed

  • I think I'm out of the summer diet doldrums. I suddenly realized that if I stayed focused, I could meet my original goal by Christmas. I have to lose 1 lb every 10 days, which seems pretty reasonable. That's just ~350 calories/day. This is the same rate my overall history has been up til now, so as long as I keep, or *cough* get back on, that average I should be good. (I say "original goal" because after I meet that goal I think I'm going to go an additional 10 lbs. But I'll have to see how things stand when I get there.)

  • I needed to sense sunlight vs shadow and I'd read somewhere you can do that using an LED somehow. I got that working but they aren't made for that and so it didn't meet even the low standards of this application. Some photoresistors, even at RadioShack's redonk prices, were only $3 and work so much better.

  • Also needed, or at least wanted to evaluate, pulleys. McMaster-Carr's site is so awesome, why can't my local hardware store (or even Lowe's) have a website like that? Or McMaster-Carr have an outlet near me.

    That said, my local hardware store fits an amazing depth and breadth of stuff into their store. I don't think there's been a single thing I couldn't find there that I was able to find at Lowe's, in the fields the LHS covers. (i.e. they don't sell appliances at all, so obviously they have a smaller selection of dishwashers.) And the reverse is not true--I've found things at the LHS that Lowe's didn't have. And they manage to fit all this stuff into an area that's probably literally no larger than the area devoted to just cash registers at Lowe's. Like, how is it possible that my LHS has a 9 ft2 caribiners + pulleys display right next to the pumps I need (though are still more than I want to pay)?

    Oh and the staff actually know where things are and how to use them, unlike at Lowe's.

    I guess what I'm saying is, local hardware store:Lowe's::small European country:US. It may be a little more expensive, but the service and selection are great.

  • How can I completely waterproof a wooden structure? How about sunproofing? Like, is it going to get baked and shrunken on one side? Probably somebody already knows all this stuff. No wonder people just build with metal. Oh wait, how about PVC? Does that degrade in the sun? Oh and it's hollow, so you can put wires in there....HMMMMM

  • I was going to have an entry in here talking about all the things I suddenly (as of this morning!) have to do, but I can't even spend time enumerating them!


  1. Good question on the wooden structure. I have been toying with the idea of building a little bike locker for the back deck of my new apartment. My girlfriend and I have different ideas regarding where bicycles like to live, and whether they make a living space look a) ugly or b) awesome. And I decided that I'd be okay keeping them outdoors as long as they are protected from moisture and UV.

  2. My f-i-l knows all about this stuff, so I'll have to ask him.

    Presumably decking material (whether chemically treated wood or some kind of plastic composite) would work. But what profiteth it a man to ride a bike and then use that stuff?

  3. Did you ever work out how far you could squash the mirror acrylic before it would break? The 3mm stuff seems quite sturdy and if you're not heating it, it must break eventually.

  4. I've never bent any to destruction, but it doesn't have to shatter to be useless to me. For instance, drilling a hole deforms the area around the hole in a way that is invisible unless you are specifically looking at the reflection. Also, I drilled some holes and put some screws through and the area around the screws is now all...crackly is the best word. I don't know if that's acrylic flaws or the mirror backing tearing.

    That said, 95% of the area of the mirror is perfectly fine and shows no distortion or likelihood of cracking. But I'm not sure what radius of curvature I have going on. The focal length is about 1'. I plan on making it shorter and don't anticipate the acrylic being a problem. I am able to push the mirror down onto the parabolic ribs using one hand with light-to-moderate pressure, so it isn't like the thing is on a hair-trigger of explosion.

    I should really document the final state, I guess.