Mario Theme Played on Stepper Motors

posted by Stal on 2009.09.30, under Stal

Song information comes from a MIDI file, and an Arduino board supplies the commands to spin the motors at the necessary frequencies.

[ HT: MW ]

RIAA Lawsuit Math

posted by Stal on 2009.09.29, under Stal

Graph of the day:

It is cheaper to ignore the lawsuit and not show up, compared to hiring lawyers and going through a multi-year trial. If you ignore the charges, the case results in an automatic loss, and judges often pick the minimum penalty in such cases.

[ Ignoring RIAA lawsuits cheaper than going to trial / Ars Technica ]

Matryoshka Eggs

posted by Stal on 2009.09.29, under Stal

Yo dawg, I herd you liek eggs, so…

I thought this was a sophisticated prank at first, but it’s actually scientifically possible:

And in humans:

Olympics 2016 Bid

posted by Stal on 2009.09.26, under Stal

I don’t generally delve into politics here, but as a Chicagoan, I am personally overwhelmed with pride to support the Olympics…in Rio de Janeiro.

It would be exciting to host the Olympics here in Chicago. But you know what would be even better? Rio de Janeiro. Just let Rio host the 2016 Olympics. We don’t mind. Honest.

The site is also chock full of historical facts and enlightening observations such as, “Head to head: signature events? Rio: Naked people dancing. Chicago: Chubby people eating.”

If you are serious about protesting Chicago’s Olympic bid, do show up on Tuesday, Sept 29 at City Hall (121 N. Lasalle) at 5:30 pm.

NYC Oasis Map

posted by Stal on 2009.09.25, under Stal

Your data pr0n of the day, a map of NYC layered with all sorts of landmarks, land use and demographic data:

Here is a map of Lower Manhattan with linguistic isolation overlaid in purple:

NYC linguistic

More effective PSA

posted by Diomedes on 2009.09.25, under Diomedes

I would have listened to this kind of poster as a kid.

Spotted on BoingBoing.

Infrasound and Brown Notes

posted by Stal on 2009.09.24, under Stal

Claims were previously made that there exist low-frequency sound wave weapons capable of causing people to involuntarily have bowel movements. After poking around the internet for a bit, it appears that there is no scientific evidence that this so-called “brown note” exists.

The brown note was tested on the television show MythBusters using twelve Meyer Sound 700-HP subwoofers—a model and quantity that has been employed for major rock concerts…The experimenters on the show tried a series of frequencies between 5 and 10 Hz at a level of 120–153 decibels of sound pressure, but they were unsuccessful in producing the rumored effects. The test subjects all reported some physical anxiety and shortness of breath, even a small amount of nausea, but this was dismissed by the participants, noting that sound at that frequency and intensity moves air rapidly in and out of one’s lungs.

However, infrasound (sound waves below 20 Hz) does cause a sense of fear, disorientation and anxiety in humans. Since the sound waves are below the human threshold for hearing perception but are subconsciously detected, they can make people feel that supernatural events are taking place. One such case:

Research by Vic Tandy, a lecturer at Coventry University, suggested that the frequency 19 Hz was responsible for many ghost sightings. He was working late one night alone in a supposedly haunted laboratory at Warwick, when he felt very anxious and could detect a grey blob out of the corner of his eye. When he turned to face it, there was nothing.

The following day, he was working on his fencing foil, with the handle held in a vice. Although there was nothing touching it, the blade started to vibrate wildly. Further investigation led him to discover that the extraction fan was emitting a frequency of 18.98 Hz, very close to the resonant frequency of the eye (given as 18 Hz in NASA Technical Report 19770013810). This was why he saw a ghostly figure — it was an optical illusion caused by his eyeballs resonating. The room was exactly half a wavelength in length, and the desk was in the centre, thus causing a standing wave which was detected by the foil.

Free yogen früz

posted by Philomela on 2009.09.23, under Philomela

yogen früz grand opening

It’s another healthy frozen yogurt freebie.  Yogen früz is celebrating their grand opening on the downtown DePaul campus.  The event runs from 11am until 3pm at their 333 State Street location.  They will be giving away a small frozen yogurt and smoothie.  Not only can you get some great topping like mochi balls, coconut, and blackberries but Yogen früz will blend the fruit into your yogurt while you watch.  Also if you love getting free frozen yogurt, they have a buy 5 get 1 free punch card.

How Well Do You Eyeball Things?

posted by Stal on 2009.09.22, under Stal

Can you find the center of the circle? An entertaining 5 minutes; I get about a 3.2.

Facebook be in other landlubber tongues

posted by Philomela on 2009.09.14, under Philomela

Pirate Flag

Me matey taught me a pretty slick trick t’ turn Facebook into Pirate Speak. T’ celebrate “International Talk like a Pirate Day” I be goin’ t’ set me Facebook tongue to “English (Pirate).”

(Settings – Language – “English (Pirate)” 3/4 down the list)