Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Full of Hot Air

This Sunday I volunteered at the Quick Check Balloon Festival. The reason I was able to volunteer is that a friends brother is very well known in the ballooning world and asked for some college student volunteers. So I was there all day Sunday and my parents came in the morning and where able to help.

This is a nice shot from Sproulville (where we where based). An interesting thing about the "Funnies" is that on the inside they are shaped just like all the other balloons and then there is additional material and cables to give it the shape. This can be seen in the flag balloon where you can see the outline of the internal balloon.

These are the Pirate Barrel and Barn balloons (note the Pirate Barrel as it will come up again latter).

This is the really cool Vader balloon. The people who made it asked Lucas for permission and he gave it under the condition that it was done exactly like Vader (It weighs in at 640 pounds with an internal volume of 106000 cubic feet).

The Giant Panda balloon. My friends, parents and I helped deflate and pack up this balloon, the people who owned it where incredibly nice and even gave us all pins of the panda balloon next to another balloon (The balloon weighs in at 611 pound and has a 112000 cubic foot volume).

I just really like this shot (The little girl with the camera was with the balloon, and my mother is in the background).

Here is Jimmy, my mother, pasha and myself helping with the deflating of the Giant Panda, me and my mother are holding open a Velcro vent designed to help get the air out faster when packing it up.

Part of Sproulville was this 100 ft extending entenna that we where tacking down here. The Sprouls normaly use it for Ham radio but this this case they had it up 25 ft (normaly they would do 50 ft) and had a wind sock and weather station at the top (the sock is off but the weather station is to the left of the antenna).

The festival was on an airfield hence the airplanes, the clouds on the other hand where part of a crazy storm that hit around 5:00 in the afternoon and lasted about 5 to 10 minutes. There was some incredible lightning and a tornado touched down about 10 miles from where we where. The clouds could be seen twisting around and spinning, it was very cool. Then the wind hit and hit it did. There was 80 mile an hour winds that caused 8 injures at the fair (although I dont know how serious they where).

Another photo of the clouds, they really where writhing about.

This is how a baloon is inflated. After the ballon is layed out and all the vents are shut a fan is used to cold inflate the balloon. My friend Max is manning the fan, and jim is helping hold the throat open.

Then of course comes the addition of flame. I was told that the burners where running at 25 million BTU.

This is a shot of the inside of the Pirate Barrel ballon while the burner is on. You may wonder how I got this shot, well just look a little farther down.

Yep I was in the balloon, although we didn't fly far. We only went up a couple feet as can be seen here, so that the ballon could be moved to a better place to deflate it. Just as a note, the ballon is controled with the burner and with a large vent at the top. The vent is a large circle cut out of the top, that is secured at a number of point on the crown of the balloon. A rope connects this to the basket, where pulling on it opens the vent, the more you pull the more open it gets.

Balloon in mid deflate. You can see me and other keeping the balloon off the wet grass, we where attempting to pack it dry and I believe we succeeded. However, there where times when the ballon had be completly covered, it was over my head and on both sides. It took some time for me relize that I was only about 8 feet from my friend jimmy.

Finally the ballon has all the air still left forced out, it then gets folded into the center as can be seen in the left of this picture. After the balloon is completly deflated and looks like a long snake everyone grabs it at about 5 foot increments and then feed the balloon into its bag.

At this point I would like to point out that I believe this is the post now has the record for the most photos in a Lansey Brothers Blog post.

Sunday, July 26, 2009


Some of you may remember a harmonograph I constructed a very long time ago. A few months ago it was noticed by someone from Barnes & Noble who was involved in the soon-to-be book The Art and Science of Spirals. Below is the picture that I expect to be in the book when it comes out in August.

In fact, they even wanted to pay me for this, and asked for an invoice. I then created my first invoice ever, No 001 and sent it to them. Its copied below.


Jonathan C. Lansey
[address removed]
Right to Publish Image Sold to:
Barnes & Noble, Inc.

[address removed]

New York, NY 10011

Invoice NoDateDate Uploaded to Ftp Server
1Rights to use image drawn by my Harmonograph in the book The Art and Science of Spirals.$100.00
and a free copy of the book when it is published
Invoice Total in US Dollars$100.00

And to my near disbelief, they actually sent a check a bit later!

So expect another blog post when I get mailed my free copy of the book - hopefully soon! (they say "August").

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Fat Pedestrian on Cellphone Crossing

Check out this sign from City College:
I'm not completely sure what the CUNY Public Safety Department is trying to insinuate about CCNY students, but, whatever it is, it sure ain't pretty.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Open letter to Scott McLaughlin, PhD

Dear Professor McLaughlin,
My class in language development is using your text, Introduction to Language Development (second edition, Thomson) and I have run across something which I would like to ask you about.
On page 86, Chapter 3, the section on Physical Contact, second paragraph (last one on the page) I quote:
"Physical contact between infants and caregivers is as necessary as breathing. In the most basic sense, infants would not survive without it."
First, by what metric do you define "as necessary as," or in what measure of necessity are they equal.
Second, what references do you have to back up this claim. I could not find any myself and so I suspected you may have accidentally written the statement in language implying it were true.
Thanks very much for your help in this,

When I brought this up in class the other students and professor were actually defending it. But it turns out that saying "they have done studies" when you can't name a single one, is just like saying "I made it up."

Update, Professor McLaughlin responded extremely politely with a good answer to my question. The statement was metaphorical. You may also notice that he is a talented author as this email is very well written

Hi Jonathan,
First, I want to thank your for taking the time and showing the interest to inquire about my book. I'm always gratified that someone has chosen to use my book. When I decided to write it, I never planned on getting rich (and I have not), but I was enriched by the thought that maybe my approach to the subject matter would be helpful to someone - an instructor or a student. I hope you have found it to be a "student friendly" text.
With regard to my statement about physical contact being as necessary as breathing, on one level I would say that it is metaphorical - the way someone might say, "I would just die if I couldn't watch baseball every night." On the other hand, in a more real way, there were a number of studies that occurred in the U.S. during the 40s and 50s investigating the effects of "psychosocial deprivation" in orphanages. They found that even though orphaned babies were provided with sufficient nutrition, the ratio of infants to caregivers in the institutions was so high that infants were fed regularly but rarely cuddled. As a result, they had stunted physical and neurological development - failure to thrive - even to the point that some died without any apparent physical cause.
Because mine is a "normal development" text, I didn't think to go into that kind of background information to substantiate my metaphor, but you may be correct in the suggestion that it should be substantiated and maybe even backed up with citations. At the very least, I might include a "text box" that relates the anecdotal evidence from the orphanage studies I mentioned in the next edition.
I always appreciate any suggestions or questions that serve to improve the book so thank you for taking the time and interest to pose your question. Good luck in your studies - ours is a very complex, exciting, and challenging field so continue to give it your all!
Scott F. McLaughlin

Thursday, July 16, 2009

We Choose the Moon

Today is the 40th birthday of the launching of Apollo 11. You can watch a simulated "real-time" reconstruction of it at the website We Choose the Moon, complete with recorded sounds and everything. Or you can follow Houston Control, Apollo 11 Spacecraft and the Eagle Lander on Twitter. Nature News is also Twittering it.
T -11 minutes.
Also, check out Aryeh's post from two years ago regarding the Rutgers Lunar Symposium where he met one of the few lucky men to walk on the moon.
Finally, be sure to see NASA's restored moonwalk videos.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

No Bike

A week ago I brought my bike to Rutgers. In the evening I would bike while some friends ran, this was a good way for us all to get exercise and stay in shape. Additionally, due to the number of us we had momentum so that we would all encourage each other to keep going and not miss a night. Well this Sunday someone stole my bike, I left it at 8:22 PM and came back at 9:35 to go for a ride. It was not there, the friend I was with told me that he had gotten in at 8:40 and had not seen it. I of course reported it to the police that evening, and this afternoon I spoke with them and they said that the camera on the door near where I had locked my bike (to a brick wall) had picked up activity around that area at 8:30 I know the times because I friends with the person who controls the cameras in the engineering building and had him look to see the exact times, in fact the reason i had been at my bike at that time was so that he could show me counter steering. Also, when I told him about the theft he called the Rutgers people who monitor the cameras and told them what camera and what time, which is why I figure the Rutgers police department got the footage so quickly. so we shall see what happens.

You where a great bike I hope I get you back.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Fun with Matlab, why

Lately I've been running a few Matlab programs that take about 5 minutes to finish. Naturally I continue to use my computer - but then I don't know when its finished. To solve this problem I add a bit of code to the end of all my programs which will play a sound - like the beep of a microwave, or the ding of a toaster to let me know that my numbers are fully crunched.

If you would also like to have this for your own programs just slip the following into the end.

%% To play a sound
T=419*2; T2=419*4; st=[1:.3:T]; t2=[1:.3:T2];
sound([S S],8192); sound(S2,8192);

Another great thing to do in Matlab: type "why" into the command line (without quotes) and see what it answers. Just the word 'why'. Now I would love to show you an example (they are quite funny) but the computer I'm using doesn't have Matalb. The person who posts a comment with the longest answer that matlab gives to that question wins.

Thursday, July 09, 2009

An Exploratorium Book

I recently purchased a secondhand copy of the second edition J.D. Jackson's Classical Electrodynamics.  (I actually own the latest edition, but the 2nd has Gaussian units as opposed to the annoying MKSA in the 3rd.)

It's always interesting to get secondhand books and see where they came from.  Well, I now own a piece of the Exploratorium.
I wonder why they got rid of this book.

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Machinists Vice

I am currently machining a machinists vice. It is part of a pseudo machine shop class.

This is a 3-axis end mill, this is the machine we are using most.

From right to left is the progress of the main part. From a large piece of stock, we then cut out the center, from there we flip it over and make a groove. More as I complete my vice.