Phenomenal new advance in X-ray technology

There is news out about researchers who are working on an ultra-portable X-ray source that may be as small as a mobile phone. While the device would use 100,000 volts to create the X-rays, it needs only a 10 volt source which is nothing short of phenomenal.

Now imagine if you or someone you know is injured and a broken bone is suspected. Imagine being able to have a small device that you can pull out of your pocket to scan whatever part of the body and instantly see the bone(s) in question.

$1 trillion coin?

In the news lately has been discussion that in order to enable the US federal government to exceed its debt limit, due to the fact that there is opposition to increasing the limit, that the Secretary of the Treasury order the US Mint to issue a $1 trillion coin.

I am appalled that this discussion, even where it appears to be only facetious, is even getting any attention. You cannot run a country on gimmicks.

The fact that there is discussion swelling around in the media is indicative of how far out of touch with reality many Americans truly are.

Please sign petition to make the metric system standard in the US

Please sign the Whitehouse.gov petition to make the metric system standard for the US.

When one thinks about it, if humans cannot even manage something as basic as agreeing to use the same measurement system globally, how the hell can they manage to do more complex things?

Imagine Having a Digital Sphere in Your Room

There was an article at nytimes.com yesterday about digital globes. I decided to check and found some very cool videos. The above globe is created by a private company and is apparently very popular in schools in China right now. The one below by the NOAA.

One cheap version of this could be a standard projection onto a dome. There are now projection technologies which can compensate and adjust for varying surface shapes. The spinning effects could easily be simulated with computer graphics. In other words you could at least mount a half-dome somewhere on a wall and use a projector to get something that would be very close but far less expensive and complex than an actual sphere.

While this is something that would be neat to stare at at night in a dark room, I question its use for education. There’s something to be said about being able to go to a reference section in a library and open a book with statistical information and actually be able to comprehend it. Its important that new technology doesn’t just make people stupid.

Also, what are (or are not) the philosophical implications of such a device? Even if there were one in every house in the world and everyone could see the environmental destruction humans are causing – “This is what you are doing dumbasses!” – would it make any difference? Or perhaps the existence of such technology itself posits environmental devastation, like some creature chasing its tail?

Discontinuous Spectra Output of Inferior Light Sources

LED_Comp_Sprectrum

Often when considering lighting for various purposes there is a focus on color temperature. There are fancy new LED light systems which can adjust between very warm to very cool temperatures. On the surface that sounds great. But there are other characteristics of light which are important.

All non-color light is emitted in a spectrum. It is a combination of many frequencies. Ideally the output of different frequencies across the spectrum from red to blue is equal. If the output is not equal then there can be spikes or valleys in the output, meaning a particular frequency is either too intense or else is lacking.

Light illuminates whatever subject by essentially interacting with whatever causes the color at the extremely small-scale level of the surface of the object. For example skin has pigments and these pigments along with other physical aspects of skin interact with photons of incident light to either absorb or reflect them. The result is the visual presentation of the skin to the eye.

Clearly, if the source of photons interacting with the object are not balanced, it can affect the appearance of the object. If a person’s skin has a certain type of pinkish hue, but the incident light lacks photons at that frequency, or has an overabundance of photons at other frequencies, the appearance will be distorted. This is highly undesirable.

It is not easy to find light which is well balanced. It is even more difficult to attempt to photographically reproduce an object based on the actual characteristics of the object’s visual characteristics, without introducing distortion.

Most people take lighting for granted, yet it is a real problem to create lighting which is truly suitable for most purposes. Human technology regarding lighting is still essentially quite primitive in terms of where it could be.

I have heard recently that new advances with OLED light technology is considered as revolutionary as the development of the tungsten bulb. I look forward to seeing what developments will emerge with light technology.

Its sad, because people easily settle for very low standards with respect to replication of both audial and visual sources. In terms of both audial and visual technology, there are definitely those with advanced tastes, the “philes”, yet most people are not discontent to settle for extremely distorted rendering technologies.

A spectral power distribution of a lamp indicates how much energy is present in each part of the spectrum. As you can see above, Tungsten lamps have a continuous spectrum. Given how they produce white light, even high CRI Phosphor White LEDS have a discontinuous spectral quality that is unlike that of Tungsten lights. In the case of the 3200K Phosphor White LEDs above, the phosphors added shape the spectral distribution by enhancing certain colors in the spectrum to simulate the spectral distribution of incandescent light. As a result, the spectral distribution of Phosphor White LEDs resembles a series of peaks and valleys. There is a big spike at about 465nm (the blue LED) and a broader bump between 500 and 700nm produced by the phosphors. Even though the spectral power distribution has these peaks and valleys, the human eye perceives the light as white light.

While the discontinuous spectral distribution of high CRI Phosphor White LEDS may appear white to the eye, and the color of objects illuminated by it appear natural to the eye, to film emulsions and digital imaging systems designed to reproduce accurate color under continuous spectrum light sources (like daylight or incandescent lamps), the color of the same objects will appear unnatural on screen. That is, the hue of an object being illuminated by this “white light” can be drastically different than expected when it appears on the screen.

source: http://www.cinematography.com/index.php?showtopic=52551

The problem with fluorescent lighting isn’t the color temperature, exactly. You can generally adjust white balance to account for that. If there’s a green tint, that can usually be compensated for with manual white balance. But the poor color rendering is harder.

The problem is that by their nature fluorescent tubes only produce light in narrow ranges of wavelengths (depending on the composition of the gasses and phosphors used). Since colors in objects are in a sense only actually there if the matching wavelength of light can be reflected back into your eyes or camera, this means fluorescent lighting flattens color in weird ways.

source: http://photo.stackexchange.com/questions/10385/best-fluorescent-bulb-color-temperature-for-shooting-people-and-interviews

LIP: Large Igneous Province

This is something that came up more than once recently while reading about geology. In a few places on Earth there are these areas where millions of years ago massive amounts of igneous rock plumed up from the Earth’s magma. They are called large igneous provinces or LIPs. This is very different than regular land on Earth which is comprised of continental crust. Such crust subducts or abducts at plate boundaries and forms into continents. Regions where it gets contorted due to plate pressures, forming into mountainous formations, are called orogenous (from Greek oro, “mountian” + genous).

Many of the LIPs which exist on Earth have been split apart due to plate tectonics. One of the most well-known ones, the Central Atlantic Magmatic Province (CAMP), formed from one massive magmal plume that welled up on Pangaea but now is split between West Africa, Brazil, and North America.

Flood Basalt Map

This file is an identification of large igneous provinces overlaid on a map produced by United States National Oceanic and Atmosphere Administration’s National Geophysical Data Center. Intended for use in the Large igneous province page.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Flood_Basalt_Map.jpg

Another interesting thing to consider is that it is not well understood how or when these huge plumes occur. When they occur, they are capable of causing very dramatic changes to Earth, some are possibly related to previous mass extinctions.

Interesting mini “stick” computers

 

The above computer is a quad-core system that can run Android or Ubuntu. It has built-in wireless and bluetooth, USB port, HDMI video port, and micro SD card slot. Wow. The cost is around $100.

Also mentioned in news articles recently:

Less powerful CPU than above model but still nice and only $36.

Japanese writing desk

Japanese writing desk from Tenchijin ep 39, 22:25

Japanese writing desk from Tenchijin ep 39, 22:25

Saw this very fine black laquered writing desk. Unfortunately the scene does not show more detail such as the legs.

Is China more legitimate than the West?

A really interesting article at bbc.co.uk contrasts the recent selection of top leaders in the United States vs. China, and asks whether in fact China is more together.

Think about this: In China the choice for the top leaders happened in a very civilized kind of way. In comparison, in the United States, the process of choosing the president could hardly be more disgusting. The entire election was like a farce. The candidate Romney is not even like a real leader with a real platform. He’s just a shill for powerful elites who want to control the country and revert most of the progress made along social and other lines.

The group that Romney represented basically would like to be free to exploit and pillage America without regard to the welfare of its citizens, the environment, nor the rest of the world. They would write laws to allow them to do what they want and use the goverment to promote and provide cover for their endeavors.

There was not one serious debate about anything at any point in the “campaign”. Not one. At no point were serious philosophical, political, or policy questions earnestly asked. That is not what the election was really about, because America is not really a democracy. It is a farce and a repugnant one at that.

America is one step away from where Germany was with the National Socialists. Only small shifts would put very sick people in power with the potential to cause vast destruction. Oh wait, that already happened!

This is in stark contrast with China. Despite what gets filtered and pumped at the US public through its highly controlled media, the article goes on to state how the Chinese national goverment enjoys vast popular support.

Perhaps America does have democracy. I think it has vestiges of it. But its electoral system was created in the era of the horse-and-buggy and we are in the age of supersonic jets and interplanetary probes. There is no serious discussion going on at large about how utterly broken government is and how dire the need to drastically reform it is.

RG12635137 The People of The State of CA v. Walgreen Co.

I’m reading now a complaint filed for unlimited civil, case # RG12635137 on 06/18/12 in Alameda County, California by district attorneys from multiple counties detailing severe and flagrant violations of environmental and privacy laws.  Walgreens is not the only company to have done this either.  There have been similar cases brought and won against Target, CVS, and possibly others as well.

The facts are shocking.  These companies are not separating their waste.  They are not properly disposing of toxic items like batteries and toxic chemicals.  Instead they have been just throwing stuff in dumpsters. 

The complaint also states that they’ve been dumping patient records.  These are more than likely related to prescriptions that their pharmacies process. 

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