Jennifer wrote a post addressing the death of my paternal grandfather this last weekend. As she said, he wasn’t supposed to make it past thirty, and he managed to more than triple that expectancy. He followed his heart and followed God through life and passed away in peace. He should be remembered as an inspiration to us all. Thanks to all of you who have already offered your condolences, and thank you for your continued thoughts and prayers.
In this post, I explained how the light spectrum that is detectable to our eyes runs from around 400 to 700 nanometers. The sensor in your typical digital camera can detect light waves from around 200 to 1,000, but it has a hot mirror filter to block out the light waves at the extreme ends of the range. Then, in this post, I showed what happens when you remove that filter from a point-and shoot. I also told you that I ordered some ultraviolet and infrared LEDs. On my last post, Mark comments that perhaps I could use a cellphone board camera or a I2C camera, as these seem to register the infrared light in a remote control. Let’s explore that a bit.
The ultraviolet LEDs I ordered are claimed to be 395 to 400 nanometers in wavelength. Lights in this wavelength should produce very little visible light if any at all. I think the manufacturer fudged the wavelength specs just a bit, as these shine quite purple to the naked eye. I have no doubt that they are producing quite a bit of UV light though. Without the proper tools to accurately measure wavelength output, I’d guess that the range on these is more like 395nm to 405nm. When I take a test shot of a UV LED shining on my wall with my unaltered AW100, you can see a blue hot spot but the rest of the frame reflects visible light.
The same shot with the full-spectrum Olympus comes out in a neon purple bath:
I have a little glass horse that sits at my workbench. This is a reproduction of a design that Jennifer’s family came up with generations back. This one was cast in vaseline glass, which is a bright green, uranium filled glass that emits a bright luminescent glow under an UV light. Here’s how it looks with the visible light camera with the UV LED on it:
And again, through the unfiltered eye of the Olympus:
The visible light green glow is rather shocking against all of that UV light! As Matt mentioned, a digital camera can ‘see’ the light emitted from the IR LED in a remote control, but it can’t see much of it. Check out this side by side between the modified and unmodified cameras:
The infrared LEDs arrived today, and here is one shining on my wall through my stock Nikon:
Clearly, there’s not much going on there. Near the center at the bottom of the frame, note the faint red glow of the LED itself. These are even less visible to the naked eye. Through the UV-seeing Olympus though:
We get quite the wash of fuchsia. Just for giggles, what effect, if any will the IR light have on the vaseline glass horse? Here it is through my Nikon:
It wasn’t completely dark, but it was dark enough in the room that the camera didn’t want to focus. But through the Olympus:
Here is a picture of the view screens of both cameras, pointed at the horse, with the IR LED trained on it:
Microcosm Overlord and I are going to build a dual IR/UV light array that I can tote around for some further testing instead of being stuck at the bench. I fully expect to have some fun results to share. With any luck at all, perhaps I can have the array usable in time for Phlegmfest!
Many of you probably know that we here at the Evyl Robot Empyre are fans of bacon. Probably the greatest bacon fan of the three of us is Teen Bot, who loves to receive bacon products and bacon themed products as gifts, even for major landmarks and holidays. Recently, he convinced his grandparents to pick up a jar of Baconnaise when he went to the grocery store with them.
At their house, I had the opportunity to try some of this on a sandwich. It has a very odd, vaguely bacon flavor which probably leans a little to hard on the salt and smoke flavors. Something that struck me as odd was this mark on the back label:
Wait. *head scratch* If I’m not mistaken, bacon is a pork product. And although I’m not Jewish, I do believe that pork is not included in a Kosher diet. Sooooooo, what’s in this crap?
Sorry about the focus. The above ingredients label reads: soybean oil, water, egg yolk, gluconic acid, salt, autolyzed yeast extract, cellulose gel, modified food starch (from corn), maltodextrin, cultured dextrose, sugar, dehydrated garlic, paprika, dehydrated onion, spice, xanthan gum, guar gum, gum accia, natural smoke flavor, natural flavors (contain milk), tocopherols (vitamin-E to protect flavor), calcium disodium EDTA (to protect flavor).
AND NO BACON!!! And, what is ‘cultured dextrose’? Can it speak more than one language and understand fine arts? I believe I’ll stick to regular mayonnaise and add bacon strips to my sandwich if I see fit. If you want really good mayo, you could even make your own at home. I’ve used a variation on Alton Brown’s recipe, which can be found here. That’s right, a few ingredients worth less than a buck can be converted into nine ounces of home made mayonnaise in about ten minutes. And, it’s fun! Make a little more than that, and it will keep for a few days in a jar in your refrigerator. Try it with your kids. I will admit that I use store-bought mayo, but it’s only because of the convenience. An unopened jar will store at room temperature for long beyond its printed expiration date, and when I want to use it, I have to wash the knife I spread it with without the addition of whatever I whipped it up with and in. Leave the Baconnaise to Jewish people who want to know what bacon vaguely tastes like without violating their faith.
There are standard items that I keep in the back of whatever car I have. Among these items you will find bottled water, a knife of some kind, first aid kit, emergency blankets, and some basic tools. Many of my normal friends think I’m weird because in the trunk of the Tactical Assault Compact Sedan resides one of these:
“Why in the world do you keep a shovel in your trunk?” they ask me, in much the same way they ask, “Why on earth do you always have a knife in your pocket?” when they need something cut or “Why do you carry a flashlight with you?” when the power goes out. These seem like rhetorical questions to me. “Why” indeed…
I’m not the only one who sees these as essential gear. When we got everyone together for COGS 2013, it was cold and drizzly. On Saturday, some of our guests asked if they could start a fire behind the firing line. Not only did I endorse such actions, I pulled my trencher out of the trunk and put it to use. And, another one was produced from another trunk. With two people running these bad boys, you can have a nice sized fire pit in no time flat. When Jennifer and I go camping, we’ll often forget some piece of gear. We have left behind our air mattress or pillows, or had to run to town to grab a case of bottled water. But, the folding shovel is always in the car. There’s far more that you can do with these things than dig fire pits though. It is pretty well accepted that the U.S. G.I. E-tool makes a great weapon in hand-to-hand combat.
Indeed, with two sharpened edges on one side and two serrated edges on the other, not only will they handily cut through soil and hack through branches, they would be better than harsh words in a self-defense situation. Granted, if I was rushed by a dangerous animal in the woods, I’d rather drop the shovel and draw my .45, but failing that, I’d be glad for the shovel! A friend described to me how to use one of these as a stool to sit over a hole to poop in the woods. I couldn’t find a good diagram on how to work this, so I drew this crude* comic for an illustration:
These things are compact. They will fit in the spare tire well with your spare, or in your jack storage. In a standard cab pickup, they take up virtually no space behind or under the seat. Currently, we only have the one car, but when we add a second and then a third when Teen Bot starts driving, they’ll get their own e-tools shortly after acquisition. Now, when anyone raises an eyebrow as to why I should have one of these in the trunk, my standard response is to ask them why they don’t have one in their car!
*Pun totally intended. I used to get in trouble for drawing stuff like this in school. Please pardon my crappy artwork. I know it kind of stinks.
On Friday, I shared my musings about setting up a homebrew, full-spectrum game camera. Years ago, when we had a couple of 35mm cameras and a Polaroid in the house, we did happen through a couple of extremely cheapo digital cameras. At some point in time, Jennifer decided that she’d like something nicer. We wound up ordering an Olympus Stylus 600 for her.
This camera hasn’t been used in years, despite our best intentions. We cleared the XD card several weeks ago and found pictures from our last trip to Galveston, before it got blown away by the hurricane, just to give a little perspective. I’ve been wanting to try out a camera with no hot mirror filter, so I decided to hack into the Stylus (with Jennifer’s permission, of course). When I was a child, I was a creative yet hamfisted lad, and wound up ruining quite a few pieces of electronics in my attempts to mod them. Every time I tweak on my gear as an adult, I fear similar results. Even so, I pulled the sensor out of the Olympus:
And, I popped the filter off the sensor. From left to right, there’s the naked sensor, the hot mirror filter on its gasket, a bracket pad, and metal frame:
I got the camera all reassembled and confirmed that it functioned still, and took a couple of test pics:
Alright, so the color is a little off and the cat’s eyes are glowing quite brightly. This is hardly any unusual feat of photography. Hrm. I then did some test pictures in my bedroom with a black light. For reference, here’s my bedroom wall through my Nikon, lit only with the black light:
And then, here’s a similar frame through the modded camera:
It certainly sees more ultraviolet light than the other camera does! It’s safe to say that it’s picking up extra-human light ranges at this point. Full-spectrum camera plus black light and UV responsive materials equals psychedelic pictures:
As you certainly know, we’ve been having a stormy few weeks in Oklahoma, so I decided to see how the modded camera perceived our storm clouds in comparison to my Nikon. Here’s the skyline from the unmodded camera:
And in full spectrum:
The world goes from gray:
To a stunning display of pink, purple, and blue:
The real shock though, came when I took pictures of trees and other green plants.
Are those cotton candy trees? What looks like this in visible light:
Transforms to this when you allow for infrared capture:
As it turns out, chlorophyll reflects a lot of infrared.
So much so in fact, pretty much everything under the canopy is washed in its pink glow.
Here’s one of the roses in our garden:
And jalapeño blossoms:
When there isn’t much visible light available,
There’s still plenty of non-visible light to catch with the CCD sensor.
So, will this make for a great trail camera? It looks promising. Sadly, as cool as the little Stylus 600 was when new, it’s about a $10 ebay camera now. Even the homebrew camera people don’t support this one. It seems that it was always a little finicky about focusing, and never took the best pictures. When Jennifer upgraded to her Nikon P80, it was really because the Stylus took terrible product photos. As an experiment in full spectrum photography, I’m calling this a win so far.
I have ordered a used Nikon L14 which will be the basis on my new, full spectrum game camera. I have also ordered 100 ultraviolet LEDs and 1,000 infrared LEDs. My brother and I are going to put together some light arrays. I plan on doing the hot mirror hack to the L14 when it comes in and continue my experiment using artificial UV and IR lighting in conjunction with the full-spectrum Nikon as well as the Stylus. This whole project has been so much fun and has produced such fascinating images that I’m seriously considering picking up a used DSLR, hacking it with the full spectrum mod, and getting a handful of various lens filters for different effects. I’m not in a position to buy just yet, but I have tentatively shopped a few models. Anyone out there have an old D40 or D200 with a 18-55mm lens that you’d be willing to donate to the cause? If not, I will likely start saving my pennies for one.
Somewhere on the order of a decade ago, I began to feel some discomfort in my ears. It was a progressive condition that became painful and I woke up one morning feeling like I had a foam ear plug in one of my ears and a nasty earache. So, I made an appointment with the family doctor. He asked me a few questions and then used his ear scope thingy to peer into the recesses of my head.
“Yup,” he commented, “I’m surprised this only just now started to bother you. Let’s see the other one.”
“Well, I’m only experiencing it on the one side,” I protested, as I am wont to do with the doctor.
He smiled at me, “just humor me.”
When he looked into the other ear he commented again, “this one is almost as bad. I’m surprised you can hear from it.”
He then pulled out this frightening device that I have since learned is not so nearly exotic as it seemed at the time. What can I say? I’d never seen an ear syringe before. He placed a towel over my shoulder and handed me a bed pan, instructing me to hold it on my shoulder under my ear. He then placed a tube from one end of the syringe in a cup of water and placed the nozzle in my ear canal. He then furiously pumped the plunger until I heard a POP and a WHOOSH! The world was suddenly so loud! On this page, scroll down to the picture entitled “Ear Syringing”. The look on that little girl’s face says it all.
“There we go,” he said. In the catch pan, was a clump of blackish material that was approximately 1.5-inch long and at least 3/4-inch in diameter.
“Holy cow!” I exclaimed, “that came out of my ear? No wonder it hurt so badly!”
“Yup,” he said, “now, let’s do the other side.”
To my surprise, that much buildup flushed out of my other ear as well. I asked whether there was something that I should be doing different hygienically to avoid such a situation again. He explained that some people have physiology such that they will get earwax buildup no matter what they do, and I’d likely need to have my ears flushed out every few years.
Every time I get my ears blown out, they feel sensitive. As one would imagine, I can hear a lot of sounds that I don’t otherwise. breezes feel uncomfortable, as if they are blowing straight into my head and brushing my bare eardrums. The definition of the sound I hear is a lot more crisp right after this procedure. After a few weeks, they stop feeling so vulnerable, and after a few years, I have to have it done again.
True to his advice, I went to see him on two subsequent occasions to have my ears blown out. Then, he retired. I don’t know why I doubted that every GP had his very own ear syringe, but the last time my ears felt plugged up, I sought an at-home remedy. At one of the local stores, I purchased a Debrox Earwax Removal Kit.
At home, Jennifer helped me administer the solution and the rubber bulb syringe handily emptied my ears of their offending wax buildup with a little warm water. So, I didn’t have to make an appointment, sit in a waiting room, reading an expired magazine, and get probed in a cold office. The kit is a much gentler treatment than an industrial ear syringe, so it’s a more comfortable experience. All this, and the removal kit is about half of my insurance copay!
Over the last few days, my ears have been feeling a little yucky. Many times, they’ll clear themselves up. But this morning, I woke up with my left ear completely plugged. So, I dragged out the kit and attempted to blow out both ears. Lots of material came out of my right ear, and it feels quite clean now. Much material came out of my left ear, but it still felt plugged. The kit says that it can be used twice a day for four days, so I tried it again around lunch time. Again, lots of junk came out, but my ear still feels plugged. Granted, the little rubber bulb syringe doesn’t have the oomph of the pro version, and it may take a few attempts to get it right. Which sucks now, but there are people in the world with bigger problems, so you won’t catch me whining too loudly about it.
UPDATE – Last night, I was able to clear out my left ear and now I can tell how limited my hearing is in my right ear. I thought that I was working with only one ear when it turns out that I was working with half an ear!
This morning I attempted to pop open a can of Pepsi Throwback, but apparently the top of the can was not scored deeply enough for the opening tab to function properly, and I wound up with an unopened can and the separated pull tab in my hand. Not to be discouraged, I used the can opener in my Leatherman to open the can, and enjoy my Pepsi. this brought back memories of my childhood. When I was around seven years old, I liked to use my finger to push the flap of can top flat against the underside of the lid for some reason. I honestly have no idea why that held such appeal to me. When my dad saw me doing this on several occasions, he mistakenly thought that I was dropping the pull tab into the can, and he’d take the drink away from me, citing that I could accidentally swallow the pull tab and injure myself. He never understood my explanation when I tried to clarify that in reality, there was no loose metal in the can. I would often drink diet sodas, because the aspartame would give me such a buzz. In fact, I’d often eat artificial sweetener tabs like mints for the same head rush. At the time I never made the connection that the subsequent skull-throbbing headache was a direct result of the aspartame. I always had headaches when I was younger. When I started avoiding that crap, the headaches disappeared. As I have matured, artificial sweeteners stopped giving me any kind of buzz, but the headaches are still guaranteed, often accompanied by nausea. Sometimes I wish that everything was so simple as misunderstandings over soft drink cans and avoiding the wrong food additives.
EDMOND, Okla. (AP) — A 2-acre grass fire in Edmond has been extinguished and fire crews said a squirrel may have been behind the blaze.
Seriously, guys? I’ve got an eye on you. Squirrel season starts in six days and I’ve got a new bow sling to review.
S&W 686+ Performance Center. This is a 7-shot .357 Magnum in stainless steel with a 5-inch barrel, significantly tuned action, and the cylinder is cut for moon clips. This would make a sweet hunting gun, and I already have 19 moon clips that will fit it!
At the risk of severely alienating some of my readers, I’m going to take a swing at this horribly controversial issue. A rough head count shows that about forty of my FaceBook friends have changed their profile picture to show their support for equal marriage rights. I’ve seen a lot of these:
…as well as the gun/freedom bent varieties:
…cullinary variations, of course:
…and for the ultimate in head-scratching hilarity, the kittens flying over The Grand Canyon variation:
About half of those have switched to something else at this point. One of my friends even shared this video in which the young man speaking makes a very excellent argument for gay marriage as viewed through biblical scripture:
Of roughly 1,400* friends, this represents less than a 3% showing in the first place which has tapered off to just under 1.5%. I do not for one instant believe that support for gay marriage rights is this abysmally low. As much of a stupid cliche as it is, I have friends that are gay. I’m not going to call them out as examples, as I feel that would be rude. I do feel that they have as much right to pursue happiness as the straight among us. I am of the opinion that the government has no place in my bedroom, and therefore it has no place in yours. I am not wholly convinced that a homosexual lifestyle is morally acceptable**, but I don’t believe that it should be legislated out, nor do I think that my moral convictions or leanings should come into account in a consensual act between adults when I’m not included. I have told as much to some of my gay friends at one time or another, and they’ve taken it quite well.
I also have some friends who despite feeling homosexual attractions, practice relationships with people of the opposite sex. Through conversation, I have learned that this can be due to them having moral convictions concerning their lifestyle choices. I don’t know whether this is true for all of them, but it is for at least some.
You can’t help who you are attracted to, but you can choose what to do with that.
I’ve heard critics of this stance point out that these people are merely denying their own nature and pushing down the desires of their heart and body, but I don’t see it that way. If I did everything my body told me to without concern for my personal convictions as to what is right and wrong, my wife would have left me by now! Many people stifle dark desires that would land them in jail or get them killed. We are creatures of choice and free will. I will not say that this is the right lifestyle choice for everyone who has an alternative attraction going on, but I do believe that it is a valid choice for some, whose convictions dictate it. In being sensitive to the lifestyle choices of others, let’s be careful not to step on the toes of those who have made even more difficult lifestyle choices.
The older I get, I’m becoming more and more fiscally conservative and libertarian, which manifests in the form of social liberalism at times. I do not believe that my marriage certificate grants justification to my committed relationship to Jennifer, but I will admit that it does make taxes and a will easier, and I understand why homosexuals want the same benefits. So, despite my uncertainty, I do believe that they should have that as a choice. I do not believe that a church should be required to grant a wedding between members of the same sex if that goes against their beliefs. There are plenty of churches that would gladly opt in though, so I don’t anticipate that would be a problem. I don’t know what has or has not happened in the courts this week, because I haven’t been following that closely. But, I do hope that they’ll make the right choice.
*The actual number is 1,398. It was higher last week. I must have pissed someone off. LOL!
**And, that may have more to do with the fact that I personally find two dudes kissing to be gross, but then again, I’ve seen a lot of straight couples that I would not want to watch making out either.