brainwagon "There is much pleasure in useless knowledge." — Bertrand Russell


A Paper on Small RC Vehicles

I'm always interested in bizarre remote control applications, so I was pleased to find this informative paper on the development of the Black Widow Micro Air Vehicle, an RC vehicle with a 6" wingspan, a range of 1.8 kilometers and a live video transmitter. Nifty and informative.

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Spiral Fresnel Reflectors

Spiral Fresnel ReflectorA recent Slashdot article was a rather dull one about fun things you could do with a large Fresnel lenses. I had seen stuff like this before, but in scanning over the responses as I often do, I found a reference to a patent for a spiral Fresnel reflector. You can review this the patent here. It's rather clever. Basically you can plot a spiral onto a flat sheet of reflective material, and then wind it around according to a particular formula (equation 2 in the patent) which causes the slats to tilt at the appropriate angle to bring light to the desired focus.

I thought it was a cool idea, I'll have to work up a program to plot the design for these, and then use it to make an immense solar hot dog cooker. Or something.

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Shrek 2

Shrek 2It's rare that a sequel film surpasses a good original film, but I must say: Shrek 2 must be judged as one of those rare films. It builds on everything that was good about the original: the look, the story, and the vocal talent and delivers a new movie which is familar but not predictable and which looks great.

You can review how it compares against Finding Nemo on, but I suspect it's going to do very well. Congratulations to everyone at Dreamworks and PDI. I suspect you've hit one out of the park.

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Software Update

I've upgraded this blog to use the latest release of WordPress. It's unfortunate that the software mingles functionality and appearance in the way that it does, it makes upgrading more painful than it should be. In particular I had to make some changes to the index.php to rearrange the appearance of the menu portion to the right.

I feel a rant coming on, but I think I'm going to hold it in until I can demonstrate a solution to this kind of problem. Stay tuned.

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