Thursday, April 29, 2010

What's Inside a Box-spring? Project

Since we moved to our house two summers ago, we've had a queen-size box-spring (which didn't fit up the stairs to our bedroom) living in the guest room:
(Everyone say hi to Widget!)
Aside from the fact that this thing didn't really add to the decor, the kitties used it as their own personal (auxiliary) scratching post:

So, a few weeks ago it was time for it to go.  It would be a waste to just throw it out (and believe me, we tried giving it away a number of times), so, instead, Aryeh and I decided to dissect it.  And thus,
What's Inside a Box-spring? Project:
First we laid the subject upside down and peeled off the soft underbelly.

 This exposed the cool underlying structure:
As you can see, there's a wooden framework of ribs which the springs are attached to, as well as a metal backbone for support.

We then skinned the beast:
As you can see, there are two layers of skin.  A tough external skin layer with a soft mushy tissue layer underneath.  This lower layer of tissue is actually pretty cool.  It's made of a network of fibers:

After skinning, and short rest
we broke off the metal backbone and side ribs.  This left a strong, and flexible (in one direction only) contraption:

We then studied the springs.  Here's a close-up of one of 'em:
We then broke one spring off (saved for posterity, of course), and decided it would be too much work to break them all off, so we brought the remains of the box-spring out to the street for garbage collection:

Oh, and this was there the whole time, watching...
So you know what that means... Time Lapse!

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Google Maps

Google maps now has a feature that suggests places when you start typing them, like they have for normal searches. Its not always the most relevant results though, when looking for my apartment it suggested a place in Japan - so I tried it out.

Thats right, the "swim the atlantic" feature is gone from google maps but we have instead a "kayak the pacific ocean" option. I think its great that they suggest you take one stop on your way over the pond, in Hawaii. link

I would also like to point out another feature of google maps that most people don't know about. The real estate feature is very functional with tons of places, even in other countries.

Google Maps.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

How to water the garden

We have a little herb garden in front of our house, but it's really a pain to keep it watered.  On an unrelated note, NJ is pretty humid in the summer.  The previous owners left a dehumidifier which we turned on the summer that we moved, but the tank fills up quickly, and it's really a pain to keep emptying it.  On another unrelated note, during the major storm last month our sump pump was working overtime, pumping water out of the basement ... and into the garden.  This got me thinking...
[cue A-Team music]

First I drilled a hole in the dehumidifier tank:

Then, I stuck a spigot into it:

This is what it looked like inside:

To seal the hole, I hot glued the inside and outside around the base of the spigot

Then, I attached a vinyl pipe to the newly tapped tank

And ran the other end of the pipe into the sump pit:
Now we never need to empty the dehumidifier and don't need to water the garden!  Rube Goldberg, eat your heart out!

I love it when a plan comes together!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Old vs New

For the first time in a while (close to two years!) I did ``hands-on'' work in a lab today.  I also learned a new lab skill: How to cleave silicon wafers!  It's actually really simple, and I won't bore you with the details, but, here's the result:

Anyway, we needed to coat the little chiplets in gold, so we used a sputterer. The room in CCNY which has the sputterers has two of them, an old and a new.  See if you can guess which is which:

Sunday, April 04, 2010

Overly specific quebec signs 2/2

Last week I posted about a few overly specific road signs in north Quebec. Now I continue with a few animal crossing signs.

Unfortunately I didn't do such a great job photographing all the signs so I'm going to borrow some photos from this guy.

Lets start with the charging moose sign. I suppose this is supposed to intimidate drivers into slowing down.

Every few miles the signs would change to, for example deer territory:

Now in case you were not willing to slow down for Moose or Deer perhaps you really love reindeer (caribou) and so are willing to slow down in their territory. Notice that the antlers are very rounded compared with the deer's antlers (for those of you who think this sign means deer crossing).

Now the dirt roads were so dusty that they needed to have a truck shower, unfortunately it was not open when we drove by, the car could have used a shower.

Also here one more crossing sign. That thing in the middle implies a snomobile crossing. Those were scattered all over the roads in north Quebec.

Thursday, April 01, 2010

Important Blog Update

Upon extensive discussions with all the brothers, we've decided that we don't post often enough.  Even though we nominally have 3 posts a week, we've realized that it's nothing compared to the massive blogs out there in the blogosphere.  So, in order to stay competitive in this market we've decided that we're going to post a minimum of once every two hours, with a ideal goal of twice an hour.

We realize this will be a major change from our existing model, where we sometimes post, if we remember, or can cobble together something that might be slightly interesting to each other, perhaps our parents, and only rarely anyone else.  From here on, the majority of our posts will consist of material shamelessly ripped off from other blogs, random spam posts about SEO, the occasional report of a celebrity or political scandal, and sometimes even pseudoscience taken seriously.

Additionally, we'll be stopping our full RSS feeds in order to maximize page views, and thereby ad revenue.  We know that this might annoy a few of our long-time readers, but we feel it's worth it to make a few bucks.  To that end, we'll be plastering our site with annoying advertisements and we'll be sure to include a few posts a week which are actually paid advertisements disguised as normal blog posts.

We hope we don't alienate too many of our loyal readers, but given the state of the economy, and the requirements of union labor, we are forced to make difficult decisions regarding this blog.  We hope you'll understand.

 - The Lansey Brothers