Thursday, 16 July 2015

basking in the sun (as seen from different planets)

This image below was published by a fellow called Burton MacKenzie. He made this image and posted it onto his page in 2009 ( however that server seems gone now, so only references are found today. So in a nod to his work I thought I'd publish it here.

So assuming that you know the size of the sun looking out the window, then it'll look bigger on Venus, huge on Mercury and by the time its out to Neptune it's but a bright star.

The New Horizons page reports:
The latest spectra from New Horizons Ralph instrument reveal an abundance of methane ice, but with striking differences from place to place across the frozen surface of Pluto. "We just learned that in the north polar cap, methane ice is diluted in a thick, transparent slab of nitrogen ice resulting in strong absorption of infrared light, said New Horizons co-investigator Will Grundy, Lowell Observatory, Flagstaff, Arizona. In one of the visually dark equatorial patches, the methane ice has shallower infrared absorptions indicative of a very different texture. "The spectrum appears as if the ice is less diluted in nitrogen," Grundy speculated or that it has a different texture in that area."

As Nitrogen melts at about -210°C it means that the surface there will be bloody cold.

So the sun which heats our world nicely (thank you very much) is shedding so little heat out there that as its size suggests, its not giving much more radiation than a star. Who knows, maybe Jupiter gives is something too...

Saturday, 11 July 2015

reading into things

Sometimes in life little things happen to make one wonder if some sort of message is being sent. One of the things that Atheists like to point out is that the human mind is designed to see patterns where there may be none.

Of course there may be a pattern and what is dismissed by one is observed by another.

When I was in Alberta some years ago I was struck by the way people love to stack rocks on the shore. As it happens I never saw anyone stacking the rocks, but noone had to tell me that this was done by a person

It was obvious to me that this was not a natural formation. Yet to many animals who walked amid it I would doubt that they'd give it a second thought.

People have in the past recognized enough patterns to take us from whacking things with rocks to being able to deftly control electrons and make entirely new molecules.

Recently other creations of ours (machine learning) have begun to see patterns which have been ignored or missed by humans (in this case pathologists) for some time. These new observers (the AI machines) have seen things we missed or dismissed. This TED talk is an excellent example of this.

In this pathology case, the computer system actually discovered that the cells around the cancer are as important as the cancer cells themselves in making a diagnosis. This is the opposite of what pathologists had been taught for decades.

So when you feel something may be a message to you from your loved ones who are not in this universe anymore, perhaps it is something from them. Perhaps they did not alter the environment, perhaps tfhey are only able to touch at your mind to get you to observe something differently and see something in a new way. Perhaps they are more impartial but who knows?

The computers saw the same histology slides as people and recognised some new patterns, yet we don't call them crazy.

Perhaps there is no way to externally validate the feelings I've had and the small things which have come to my attention.

Perhaps they are just errant observations ... but if seeing them helps me to adjust to life with out Anita by my side then its only a good thing ...

I hope some good comes in your world too

Tuesday, 16 June 2015

reflecting on boundaries (of change)

Can we ever "see" into nothing?

As anyone who has a grounding in physics (or experience with photography) knows that when you cross a boundary (like the surface between water and air) that you get a reflection as well as transmission of light.

This image below is an example, its looking into a pond (turn your head upside down and its obvious) at the mountains in the distance (as if we were looking directly at them)

We don't see the dark depths of the water, but it is no less illuminated by the light that penetrates the surface.
I turned the image upside down to show two things:
  • the pond surface so smooth, it was just like a mirror
  • perspectives can alter what you think you see

If it can be said that we are living in a world where there is always something, then the idea of 'nothing' really doesn't exist. Even in deep space there is something (waves, gravity, subatomic particles, atoms of hydrogen...) and we really don't have anywhere where there is nothing.

In our minds we try to imagine nothing, but its hard to imagine something which is beyond our experience, perhaps outside our experience.  When I attempt to see into that "nothing" (by meditation or contemplation) there must be a boundary between the existence of my thoughts (something) and the nothing. Does such a boundary create a reflection? Is what I see in that meditation just a reflection from the boundary into nothing?

Like looking out a window at night, we see the room reflected back at us. If there is not enough light outside we see nothing. If there was nothing (no light coming back from the moon or the stars) would we see something which we think is outside, but is actually inside the room?

So I struggle with the idea of death. Is Anita nothing now? Personally I just can't imagine this, but yet it may be true. Its easier for me to imagine that she has moved to somewhere (that fits within the scope of my experiences).

Are our thoughts about death just reflections from this boundary?

When I die do I just cease? Is there nothing? I myself no longer care ... because what bothers me most is that she is not here. Nothingness for me would just be a salve for my present pain.

If I knew there was nothing I would embrace it.

As usual I feel only discontent at this ... an urge (which I repress) to destroy things and walk away.

But I know there is no away while I remain here.

Sunday, 24 May 2015

GWC-1 - adding a filter thread

one of the criticisms of the Panasonic GWC-1 0.79x wide angle adapter is that it does not have a filter thread. On a recent discussion a fellow mentioned that he had mounted a thread on the inside of his by starting with a 55mm filter and sanding down the outside to press it into the GWC-1.

Fan-fukken-tastic idea if you aske me ... So I thought I'd give it a whack.

As you can see below, the front of the lens inner surface is smooth ... no filter thread ...

While the procedure is not for those with 10 thumbs, it certainly does not require a Master tradesman.

Please excuse the lack of process shots as while I intended to document the process, I got carried away with it and ... well soon enough it was finished and done.


You start with a 55mm filter,  of any kind and any cheapie on ebay will do.

Step 1:
with your dremel or small grinding wheel, you carefully work around the outside of the filter wearing it down evenly and periodically testing for fit. Basically you want it to be very snug so that it will hold itself in by fit alone (no cement or glue needed). Do not remove the glass of the filter yet, it will add support so you don't distort or bend your filter (soon to be just a metal thread). Be neat.

Step 2:
when this is accomplished you can now remove the glass from the filter (I used a small hammer with the filter on a bit of wood and tapped it lightly to smash it gently). Wearing leather gloves and using a pair of pliers carefully remove the glass shards. The retaining ring which held the glass in now, simply unscrews.

Step 3:
It will be obvious now that there is a thread at the back of the filter which is designed to screw into a 55mm threaded surface ... we don't need that, so again with your dremel tool (and again wearing gloves) carefully cut off the thread with the 'metal grinding cutting disc' ... be patient and just work your way around. When this comes off you can then just sand the back with some 240 grit paper on a flat surface (I use a large book).

Last step:
The filter is now ready to mount, so using the 67mm stepup ring screwed onto the front (as a holder so you don't bend it) carefully twist it onto the front of your GWC-1 as far as it will go by hand. This should be most of the way. Now remove the stepup ring so you can access the front edge of the filter, which will be almost flush with the front. Then using a bit of hard wood (such as say the handle of your hammer) holding the lens in one hand and the hammer handle in the other tap it in working your way round so that its then snuggled in tightly against the edge of the inside of the GWC-1

It will look like this:

You can see that next to none of the ex-filter(now thread) protrudes ... we want exactly this.

So now you can screw on the step-up up ring normally and then screw on the 67mm filter.

looks perfectly suited ... while you will need to remove the filter and stepup ring to replace your GWC-1 lens cap, and yes, the lens cap just goes on as it did before because you have not actually altered your GWC-1 in any way.

So here is the entire kit (man my house is dusty)...


Now, I'd picked the 67mm because previous testing showed me that (with a step up ring) that was the smallest size which did not cause obstruction of the image (you know, vignetting).

There is a weee teeny bit but it is only visible if you shoot RAW and convert without any correction for distortion.

but when you shoot JPG you never see that as the reshaping applied to correct lens distortions streches them out of visible range.


Voilla ...

So with a small amount of elbow grease, you can have a GWC-1 with a filter thread