March 17, 2020

How to Mess With Kids on St. Patrick’s Day

(Aside from watching the Leprechaun horror movies)

On St. Patrick’s Eve: “FYI, kids, remember they update the St. Patrick’s Day rules this year. Yeah, you remember from school: the Church of St. Patrick sets the rules, and they change every [10, 15, etc.] years. Usually they switch between easy and hard rules. So that old ‘wear green or you get pinched’—that’s obviously an easy one. I mean, we all have something kinda green, right? But this year—and I know you know this already—it’s wear something FOREST green or get your arms chopped off. Yeah, all that research and preparing we all did last month to get clothes with the exact right shade of forest green—that will really pay off. I’m glad you pay such close attention in school and heard about this from your teachers weeks ago. Oh yeah, don’t forget the day officially starts at midnight! Yay, it’s almost time.”

January 12, 2020

3D TUTORIAL: Aligning and Cropping Stereopairs

This is a ‘pure’ geeky (and unfunny) post for my stereophotography friends. If you’re unfamiliar with it, briefly: stereophotography is the art of taking 3D pictures, usually via a stereopair: two pictures—each representing the view of one eye—which, when fused, recreate the 3D scene. See a ton of examples I have made here:

Taking a Stereopair

Though there are specialized dual-lens stereocameras, you can take a stereopair with any camera in a sequential fashion: take one photo, then while keeping the camera pointed straight ahead, move to the left or right, exactly perpendicular to the camera view, 2-3 inches or 4-5 cm, and take another. You want:

  • the magnification/zoom to be constant (don’t move closer/farther to/from the subject) 
  • the top and bottom edges of the scene to be constant (don’t move or point up/down)
When you move sideways, things at the opposite edge of your view will get cut off slightly, of course; this is OK. Do NOT pivot the camera to compensate (this creates trapezoidal so-called keystone distortion).

July 4, 2019

Why You Should Buy Skysploders™ 💥

Features of Our New & Improved Modern Fireworks

  • no longer explode early!
  • less radiation
  • flaming pieces will surely stop burning before they hit the ground
  • rocket launcher now points up instead of down
  • no longer blind viewers within 50 mile radius
  • glow-in-the-dark
  • less spontaneous combustion above 85º F
  • bluetooth
  • now almost legal in 3 states!

Early Civilization Terms For Fireworks
  • oh god the sky is exploding
  • giant sky death flowers
  • demon summoners
  • the sins of our forefathers rendered in the script of hellfire
  • ancestors’ fury

August 3, 2018

What the Hell is a Scutoid??—a REAL Explanation

from Gómez-Gálvez et. al
If you’ve seen the recent headlines of “Scientists Discover NEW SHAPE!,” then you’ve been touched by bad science reporting.

If you skimmed an article or two and came away thinking, so what the f*ck is a SCUTOID, or, why the f*ck is a scutoid, it’s also not really your fault. Though the new-not-new scutoid is a fairly simple 3D shape, explaining why it exists and what it does involves referencing cellular biology, tiling, geometric projection, and Voronoi diagrams; in passing, entomology; and optionally, Steiner trees.

Here we go.