Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Uranium glass

This form of glass, popular in the early 20th century and now a collector's item, contains uranium for color, is mildly radioactive (not enough to be harmful), and glows lurid green under ultraviolet light. Image from Wikipedia; more can be found here and here.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Friday, September 24, 2010

Dante Illustrations and Notes

Once I found a small, fragile-looking volume on the shelves of my college library which consisted of intricately detailed charts (with some details and text almost too small to read) depicting the cosmology and action of Dante's Divine Comedy. Turns out it's entirely available online in a somewhat larger and less fragile form.Below are a few screenshots; click for larger version.
More after the jump:

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

The 2007-2012 World Outlook for Computer-Generated Books Costing $400 or More

  • The 2007-2012 Outlook for Tufted Washable Scatter Rugs, Bathmats and Sets That Measure 6-Feet by 9-Feet or Smaller in India
  • The 2007-2012 Outlook for Lemon-Flavored Bottled Water in Japan
  • The 2007-2012 World Outlook for Agricultural Field and Row Crop Power Sprayers over 4 G.p.m. Excluding Tractor Mounted, Piston Pump, and Non-Piston Pump Type Sprayers
  • The 2007-2012 World Outlook for Sailboats More Than 9.0 M (29.53 Ft) and Less Than 12.0 M (39.03 Ft) in Length with Auxiliary Motor Excluding Military and Commercial Sailboats
  • The 2007-2012 World Outlook for Domestic Shipments of White Flour Shipped to Blenders or Other Processors for Use in Food Products Made in Flour Mills
  •  The 2007 Report on Pork Rind Pellets and Pork Cracklings Made in Slaughtering Plants: World Market Segmentation by City
  • The 2007 Report on Wood Poles, Piles, and Posts More Than 15 Feet in Length Owned and Treated with Pentachlorophenol by the Same Establishment: World Market Segmentation by City
Those are all the titles of books by one Philip M. Parker. If they don't sound interesting, he has thousands of other titles to peruse, including medical sourcebooks, dictionaries, and multilingual crossword puzzle books, as well as market reports like those listed above. All were created with a computer program that searches for the appropriate information and fills in templates, and most (especially the financial reports) are extremely expensive. There must be people willing to pay for these books somewhere. There are certainly people willing to write amusing reviews of them.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Baby pigeon


I saw this ugly-cute critter at a local park. It was about six inches long, did not seem to be able to fly, and showed no apparent fear of me as I approached.

Sunday, September 19, 2010


A wonderful three-dimensional fractal that looks like elaborate architecture:

See here for more information and some great still images.