A multi-aperture pinhole camera using a biscuit [study]

July 1st, 2019

Dr Patrick Cabe who is a member of the emeritus faculty at the University of North Carolina at Pembroke Department of Psychology, is the first to describe how to make a fully functional multi-aperture pinhole camera using a biscuit [‘cracker’ US].

Dr Cabe engaged in a practical demonstration of his camera to (indirectly) view the 2017 solar eclipse.

“To make a viewer for the 2017 eclipse, I cut a hole (approximately 3cm square) in the end of a box (roughly, 60cm long x 38cm x 38cm; dimensions are not critical to effective operation). Over the hole, I taped a snack biscuit (U.S.: cracker), which had a series of holes punched in it. Holes measured approximately 0.8mm in diameter, arranged in a grid with approximately 1cm spacing.”

See: Multi-Image Pinhole Viewer Using a Biscuit in the journal Perception, Volume: 47 issue: 1, 2018, page(s): 112-114.

Note: The brand of biscuit used was left unspecified in the article.

Research research Martin Gardiner


Innovative Scientists Talk About Their Childhood (6): Olga Shishkov’s Maggots

June 28th, 2019

Here’s Olga Shishkov talking about some maggots, and some numbers that, when she was a child, excited Olga in a way that led to her eventual unusual career. Olga studies how maggots manage to do some of the surprising, impressive things they do.

ABOUT THIS LITTLE VIDEO SERIES—This is part of a series of sessions we (David Hu and I, and a film crew) recorded at Georgia Tech. We assembled a little group of scientists (including David) who are renowned for looking at questions others might overlook, and doing research in inventive, clever ways.

The question we asked them: “What happened when you were a kid that somehow led—much later—to your doing unusual science?

The scientists: David Hu, Suzana Herculano-Houzel, Frans de Waal, Nicole Sharp, Diego Golombek, and Olga Shishkov. Follow the links on their names to begin exploring some of their work!

A FURTHER NOTE ABOUT THIS SERIES: These little videos are not quite as good as they ought to have been, due to curious decisions made by the video editor. The most obvious of those strange decisions was to dose everything with goopy, slightly distracting music. The editor also objected to some of the content of the videos, deeming them somehow too offensive to record. The lesson we learned: choose our video editor more carefully.

Authors: can boozing alleviate writer’s cramp? [study]

June 27th, 2019

“Have you tried taking a stiff drink or two?” might not be a question that a professional writer would expect from their doctor. Unless, that is, they suffered from writer’s cramp, and their doctor had come across a 2012 case report in the journal Internal MedicineAlcohol-Responsive Writer’s Cramp – in which Sung-Chul Lim, Joong-Seok Kim, Jae-Young An, and Sa Yoon Kang at the Department of Neurology, College of Medicine, of The Catholic University of Korea, South Korea, relate their discovery that (in one case they examined) 400ml of beer could effectively relieve the symptoms of writer’s cramp in just ten minutes. There is, as yet, no generally accepted psycho/biophysical explanation.

“Although the exact mechanism is unknown, alcohol might reverse the pathophysiologic changes in the entire basal ganglia circuit in patients with writer’s cramp.”


[1] Some (late) authors who suffered from writer’s cramp :

● Robert Louis Stevenson

● Henry James

● J.M. Barrie [pictured]

● Louisa May Alcott

[2] Some (late) authors who battled alcoholism :

● Raymond Chandler

● Dorothy Parker

● O. Henry

● Tennessee Williams

BONUS [joke]

“The cure for writer’s cramp is writer’s block” [unattrib.]

Research research Martin Gardiner

Improving Weather and Climate Predictions by Training of Supermodels

June 25th, 2019

The authors of this weather-and-climate study did not resist the allure of shiny words:

Improving Weather and Climate Predictions by Training of Supermodels,” Francine Schevenhoven, Frank Selten, Alberto Carrassi, and Noel Keenlyside, Earth System Dynamics, epub 2019. (Thanks to Tom Gill for bringing this to our attention.) The authors, at the University of Bergen, Norway, Bjerknes Centre for Climate Research, Bergen, Norway, Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute, and Nansen Environmental and Remote Sensing Center, Bergen, Norway, report:

“Recent studies demonstrate that weather and climate predictions potentially improve by dynamically combining different models into a so called “supermodel”. Here we focus on the weighted supermodel – the supermodel’s time derivative is a weighted superposition of the time-derivatives of the imperfect models, referred to as weighted supermodeling….  Here we apply two different training methods to a supermodel of up to four different versions of the global atmosphere-ocean-land model SPEEDO.”

Derridian deconstruction of the Futterwacken Dance [new study]

June 24th, 2019

Itsnaini Lailiyah Ananda of Airlangga University, Surabaya, East Java, presents (what is believed to be) the first Deconstruction of scene of Futterwacken Dance in Alice in Wonderland movie by Tim Burton in the latest issue of the university’s arts journal Terob, Vol XI, Apr. 2019.

Derridian structure of thinking explain the latent meaning behind non-empty texts and starting from a text as a network of diversity of rapid forces and unclear references (Derrida, 1982: 230). Coming from that statement, deconstruction is an effort to emancipate text and interpretation that exist and reject the absolute presence.”

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