Thursday, December 31, 2009

A useless tool

Some time ago I came across this ridiculous vernier caliper knockoff that was so preposterous I needed to buy it:

As any of you who've used one of these things knows, a true vernier caliper is a precision measuring tool which has perfectly machined grooves which line up just right, to allow measuring fractions of a millimeter to great accuracy, see this Wikipedia page for some details.  But since these measurements depend on precisely machined and assembled stuff, they can be expensive.

Check out the close-up of the measurement reading window:

You'd get far better accuracy using a traditional ruler!  Well, for those interested, this baby is available at the bargain price of $3.95 at  But for the life of me I can't figure out those positive ratings - this thing is really, truly, a magnificent piece of garbage.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Strange Kitchen Untensil

My grandma has recently given me a number of things including this very strange kitchen implement.
Click to see the larger version. Please help me find out what it is. I'd like to throw it out/ give it away but I'm afraid that its some incredibly useful thing, for all I know it makes chocolate when you know how to use it. Those little wheel things spin around smoothly.

Also, apparently can openers have not changed by the slightest amount in many years. The white one is recent, the khaki one is probably ten years old.

In other news, I found an ugly shower curtain in my apt so I'm giving it away on craigslist. I can't figure out why nobody wants it. See the ad here.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Elevator out of service

Half of the six elevators in the Marshak Science Building at CCNY have been out of service for a while.  For most of the summer the unusable elevators had this sign on their doors:

This sign is still on one of the elevators.

At some point, I guess someone got hopeful and put up this sign:

This sign is on another elevator.

Now, either someone has a great sense of humor, or the sign-making people are clueless, but I think this sign, currently on the third out-of-service elevator, is brilliant:

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Parking Lot After Winter

It looks like a beach from all the sand - but its actually the parking lot out back my apartment after a winters worth of sand spilling.

We haven't had much snow yet this winter -

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Chanuka Science Show

Last Sunday, at the annual Chanuka party at our aunt and uncle's house (great party, as usual!), there was an "Open Mic." So, there were guitars and singing.  But people thought we were joking when we said that we'd brought a science experiment...
I think my chemistry might have been a bit off (please, someone correct me if that's the case), but, with the help of my lovely assistant (thanks, Stacy!), I hope I put on a good show.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Who would win in a fight, bricks or mortar?

Many of you have seen the mysterious case of the worn out bricks on that road, 95 which goes out of NY. I can't find the exact place I took this photo, but here is the general area on street view.
Here is my theory.
The mortar is stronger than the bricks, the bricks gets washed away by wind, sand and water. The mortar sticks around longer because it is stronger.

Any other ideas or reasons why this could be happening?

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Taller Children

A month or so ago I was walking to the Graduate Center from Cardozo Law School and saw these guys (Nick Fitzhugh, with crew Juanma Diaz and Sridhar Gouni), taking videos or people in front of the Flatiron building.  When I asked what they were filming for, they said they were filming people smiling for a project at the NY Film Academy.  So I figured I'd help them out.  Unfortunately, I wasn't quick enough on my feet to make a funny face or anything but I show up at around 24 seconds in:

I'm not "arty" enough to "get" this video, but it's still pretty cool.

Monday, December 07, 2009

Wikipedia Donation

I donated $20 to Wikipedia today - it went through as anonymous, you can see my donation here. It was in honor of Dror, who is one of the founders of the Hebrew wikipedia. His picture (copied below, he's on the bottom right, wearing a red shirt, behind the guy taking a picture) is on the main donate site. See his picture and donate here.

Dror has been previously mentioned on this blog from wikimania.

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Think green

I don't know about you, but I hate it when, at the bottom of their emails, people include trite little things like:
Consider the environment before printing this email
Save a tree and don't print this email
Don't print this email and we'll save a whale/rhino/unicorn -- Won't someone please think of the children?!
In any case, I usually try ignore such things, but I got an email yesterday ending with the stupid line
Think green before you print this email
Now, really I had no reason whatsoever to print the email.  But I felt this was a special occasion, so I actively "thought green" and printed the sucker out: