Book reviews for February 2019

Updated on Saturday, March 2, 2019
IQ84 by Mike Dickenson

IQ84 by Mike Dickenson

3/5

Fairly droll but did not make me snort once.

 

Shadow Captain (Revenger, #2) by Alastair Reynolds

Shadow Captain (Revenger, #2) by Alastair Reynolds

5/5

Excellent sequel to 2016's Revenger. If you tried to sell this series to me - runaway sisters become fearsome space pirates while trying to figure out various mysteries about the rise and fall of a far future civilization and some truly funky currency - I'd put them someone pretty far down my to do list. But in Alastair Reynolds' hands it's a space opera masterpiece. Can't wait for the next installment.

 

ITHCWY Newsletter for February 2019

Google Fit Daily Step Export

If the atmosphere was the population of the United States...

A Tarsier.

Thomas Friedman in the New York Times today: "Could we have our first four-party election in 2020 — with candidates from the Donald Trump far right, the old G.O.P. center right, the Joe Biden center left and the Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez far left all squaring off, as the deepening divides within our two big parties simply can’t be papered over any longer?". Here's my daisyworld analogy from 2010, and a write-up of an Intelligence Squared debate on the same topic from 2011.

The scoop on Material Design 3.

Previously:

Material Design 3

Updated on Friday, May 22, 2020

Material Design 3

Material Design brought bland consistency to the Android ecosystem. Every app had some sort of bold header and a floating action button. There is some value in consistency and at least some personality was retained. It's red, it's probably Gmail. Yellow, I must be in Keep. Boring but tolerable.

Material Design 2 solves mainly for the problem of knowing which app you're looking at. Colors have gone. Every Google app is now an oppressive black list with some oppressive black icons. To add to the misery the icons have a shade of stock-library amateurism and are just a little too heavy. Unless I look really closely or the what-icon-did-I-just-click region of my brain is on top form there is no longer any way to tell the difference between Google apps.

I'm pretty sure Material Design 3 is just going to be a command prompt. What Android customers really want is telnet or wget and some raw JSON.

San Pedro Valley Park Waterfall Loop

San Pedro Valley Park Waterfall Loop

Waterfall at San Pedro Valley Park

San Pedro Valley Park Waterfall Loop

A short but steep 2.2 mile loop in San Pedro Valley Park. From the parking lot go behind the toilet block and turn right to find the start of Montara Mountain Trail. After 1.2 miles winding slowly up you reach the junction with Brooks Creek Trail at a bench with views to the Pacific. Take Brooks Creek Trail down 1 mile to the parking lot, passing another bench with a view of the waterfall on the way down.

Hike starts at: 37.578046, -122.475395. View in Google Earth.

3D Printing a 72-58mm step down Camera Filter Adapter

Updated on Saturday, May 9, 2020

Thingiverse render of 72-58mm adapter

3D printed 72-58mm adapter in action on Sony RX10 IV

I have a 58mm ND5 filter that I bought to photograph the 2017 solar eclipse. It worked pretty well for that with my Sony RX100 V, but now I want to use it with an RX10 IV (which has the advantage of a 600mm equivalent zoom). The RX10 accepts 72mm filters and I want to try and photograph an ISS transit which is happening sooner than I can get hold of an adapter.

I figured someone must have done this before, but I can't find a file anywhere. It's a reasonably straightforward part - as the filter is smaller than the thread on the camera I just need a small cylinder which has a 72mm thread on the outside and 58mm on the inside. A step up adapter would be slightly more complicated to accommodate the larger filter size.

To build this I used OpenSCAD and this thread module. Open the thread module file in OpenSCAD and then you just need to subtract the inner thread from the outer thread like this:

This makes a simple 10mm tall adapter and you would just need to change the thread sizes to make it work for pretty much any combination of camera and filter (most filter sizes use a 0.75mm pitch as shown above). The vignetting is pretty extreme with the smaller filter and the size of the adapter. For this application I don't care, I'm only using the center of the image. If it's a problem for your application then it might be worth reducing the height of the adapter, at the expense of making it harder to detach from the camera.

Here is the adapter STL file on thingiverse.

After all that, I missed the transit by a couple of seconds. I thought the clock on my phone would be accurate enough but turns out it's 5 seconds off. So memo to self for next time - shoot over a longer window, or just take a video.

Philippine Tarsier

Updated on Sunday, May 3, 2020

Tarsier on Bohol

Comparing the Atmosphere to the Population of the United States

Updated on Sunday, December 15, 2019

Composition of Earth's Atmosphere

If the atmosphere was the United States here's how it would break down:

Thor, Iowa is Hydrogen. Thor is the birthplace of John K. Hanson, founder of Winnebago. 179 people.

Florence, South Dakota is Krypton. 371 people.

Butterfield, Minnesota (home of the Butterfield Steam and Gas Engine Show) is Methane, 586 people.

Lewisport, Kentucky is Helium. Abraham Lincoln was unsuccessfully tried for operating a ferry without a license here in 1827. 1,706 people.

Maquoketa, Iowa is Neon. As of the time of writing Maquoketa Caves State Park is closed for bat hibernation. 5,921 people.

Gainesville, Florida is Carbon Dioxide. It's ranked by the National Coalition for the Homeless as the 5th meanest city. 132,567 people.

ChicagoCorpus Christi and Kimball, West Virginia make up Argon. 3,042,217 people total.

All that adds up to around 1% of the atmosphere, mostly Argon.

Oxygen is about 20%, that's California, New York, Oregon, Louisiana, Lake Station, Indiana and Cedar, Kansas. 68,225,139 people.

If you're not listed then you are Nitrogen. Close to 80% at 254,334,562 people.

(Population figures from the US Census 2017 estimates. Atmosphere composition from Wikipedia. Water vapor not included.)

Book reviews for January 2019

Insurrecto by Gina Apostol

Insurrecto by Gina Apostol

3/5

 

ITHCWY Newsletter for January 2019

A Project Fi display ad on an article about Google's insane targeting prowess

The Echo Clock has one job, and it's not great at it.

I made an animation of maximum temperature anomalies by decade from the 1850s to the 2010s.

Is 2019 the year that Trump gets impeached? I wrote to my representative. Why not do the same?

Some surfing dolphins.

Farhad Manjoo calls for open borders in the New York Times for many of the same reasons I had back in 2015, before this was less unpopular ;)

Previously:

China Camp State Park

View from China Camp State Park

China Camp State Park

New Year's resolution: hike more again.

This is a combined hike of Back Ranch Meadows and Turtleback Point loop at China Camp State Park (around 2.7 miles total). Have never been to China Camp before, it's a beautiful park forty minutes north of San Francisco with plenty of interesting looking trails so will be back again soon.

(Hikes was my first blog, now folded into ITHCWY. Here's an old post about the blog. Since the last update I've ditched My Tracks because it got terrible and switched to Gaia GPS. I also moved from BlogEngine.net to my own custom blogging platform which is mostly better but hasn't worked well for my hike posts. I had to manually upload any KML files and also manually scrape out the coordinates for the start of the hike. Today I've automated this for my post by email system - I just need to attach a KML file to the email and it gets automatically uploaded to the blog and the start point is used to link to Google Maps, geocode the post and include an embedded map. Pretty cool. Hopefully this will inspire me to hike more and post more hikes as well.)

Hike starts at: 38.00733, -122.490322. View in Google Earth.