7 Quick Takes (Mad Science Edition)

— 1 —

Sorry for a delay in posting and responding to comments.  Halloween fast approaches, and I’ve been spending pretty much all my spare time with my sewing machine, trying to finish a costume in time.  It’s cyberpunk themed, and I’ll tell you I got two of the patterns I’m using from here and here.

It turns out I’m not even the only one of my friends doing a neo-victorian take on cyberpunk, since one friend of mine is going as the protagonist from Neal Stephenson’s The Diamond Age: Or, a Young Lady’s Illustrated Primer, which is definitely my favorite Stephenson.  As I continue to hem, it seemed like a good week for mad science links.

— 2 —

And I have to kick it off with this clarifying comic from Cowbirds in Love:

— 3 —

If you want your children to grow up like that fine gentlemen, start them out right.  Buy them crayons that are labelled with the chemicals that colored them instead of Crayola’s names.

P.S. I have never encountered the label ‘burnt sienna’ anywhere but a crayon box.

— 4 —

A mad scientist needs powerful tools to take over the world.  Few turn their creative insanity back on those tools, to make them bizarre, innovative spectacles in their own right.  So I’m going to give a lot of credit to folks at Sawstop who invented a table saw that stops moving the microsecond it detects a finger in its path.  Watch the video and be prepared to flinch.

— 5 —

But the heart of mad science isn’t safety, it’s explosions.  If you care to get in the seasonal mood, check out the instructable for a pumpkin that is also a flamethrower.

— 6 —

Once you really let yourself get infected with mad science, you’ll find it starts seeping into every aspect of your life.  I’m always reminded of Lane Smith’s book Math Curse in which a student hears his teacher say, “You know, you can thing of anything as a math problem” and then the protagonist starts seeing math applications everywhere.

For the real enthusiasts, a love for science doesn’t just insinuate itself into all your interests in the present.  It goes back and changes  your perceptions of the past.  And with that ready segue, I’m going to post a trailer for a steampunk documentary.


— 7 —

I’ve left this one for last, so you can avoid it if you want.  A close up video of an eyeball moving in slow motion is either amazingly beautiful or the creepiest thing you’ll see in or out of a haunted house.  You know your own mind best.

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  • http://scrutinies.net Dorian Speed


  • Quid est veritas

    The corset pattern looks really cool. I can’t wait to see the finished product.
    Out of curiosity, why do you like this particular pattern better than the ones from Butterick or McCalls? I’ve been thinking of buying one.

  • http://moralmindfield.wordpress.com Brian Green

    The crayons with chemical labels are the coolest thing ever. I am getting some for my kids.

  • http://jennifer-controlledchaos.blogspot.com/ Jennifer

    This is a great post! We LOVE sciene. I’m definately going to share this one with the kids and find those crayons!

  • http://penguinmusing.blogspot.com Sarah

    This eye video is awesome!

    I just finished learning about the human eye and how it works. There are six muscles that move the eye, two that adjust the pupil size, one that controls the stretch of the lens for focusing, and several that control the eyelid. The superior oblique muscle actually runs through a little ligament pulley before attaching to the eyeball to move it.

    If you shine a light only in one eye, both pupils will dilate! This is a complex interaction between the optic nerves, which see the light, and the oculomotor nerve, which allows pupil dilation.

    The surface of the eyeball is covered in liquid constantly, but it’s not just salt water. Three different structures make three different liquids. The first is a mucous layer that breaks surface tension of the second layer on top of that, which is water-based. The third (outer) layer is actually fat-based, which prevents evaporation of the water.

    This is just part of how cool the eye is. I know this is off-topic, but I guess I get excited easily. 😀