lorekai: Happy Halloween!

The future.

Human contact.

Electrocution.

Sonic the Hedgehog drowning music.

Electric dinosaurs.

 

Slender man.

Clowns.

Ants.

Religious fanatics.

Exodontia, the thought of it anyway.

 

Mind Dice, or really any of the dice enemies in Persona 4.

Especially ants.

 

Not all in the same way and some decidedly more than others. Either way thanks for reading and I hope you have a great Halloween or at the very least a pleasant one.

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wildfillysama: Nanowrimo

My name is wildfillysama, and I have a problem with overcommitment.

Last year, I completed Nanowrimo, the writing competition where you try to write a 50 000 word novel in one month, and I intend to do the same thing again this year.The problem? I have a Ph.D. thesis to complete, equestrian exams to study for/sit, a conference to present at, a magazine to run, and Pokémon to level up.

So, this year’s Nanowrimo will be particularly interesting.

I would also like to write something completely different to my usual genre (fantasy). I’m trying to come up with a way that makes poetry, humour and slice-of-life work together. Some horror wouldn’t go astray either. I’ve been reading a lot of Halloween/haunted house threads recently…

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In case I get stuck for ideas, or suspect that I’m going down a familiar/boring path, I’m going to try to include 10 “words of the day” from http://www.dictionary.reference.com as main images/themes/things I have to mention somehow. These are:

1. phrenology

2. somnambulism

3. kelpie

4. bequeath

5. whirligig

6. promulgate

7. loblolly

8. solipsism

9. shoal

10. falderal

 

I have no idea what most of some of those words even mean. This is going to be fun! Will give an update next Monday on how the novel-to-be is going and how much cider has been consumed as a result.

 

 

 

marsy: Animal Crossing

Animal Crossing is one of those games that I didn’t really think I would like, so for a few months I avoided it. After some pressuring from lorekai and a random shop assistant who was very excited by the pokeballs painted on my nails, I decided to give it a try. Greatest decision I ever made (probably). This game is so cute and fun – I was instantly won over by the adorable voice that reads out all the letters you input for your name and such. Also love that my character can roll over on the bed. Now, when I started I had a very unfortunate hairstyle (speaking of which, my hair today was held in place by 44 pins and an elastic band!) but lorekai was kind enough to let me use her hairdresser, and then kind enough to lend me a wig when it came out worse than it was. We also had a fun time hitting each other with bug-catching nets for longer than should have been enjoyable. Good times! I like to think of myself now as the benevolent mayor of Glitter, sorting the problems of my townsfolk and watering my flowers every day, but there are times when my thoughts are darker – the constant pressure to buy random junk from my villagers may cause me to snap one day, I’m sure of it. Until then though, I will continue my glorious reign – my next step is to upgrade my house to a castle! Maybe I should socialise with real people a bit more?

 

My favourite thing this week is the cleaning cloth for my glasses, because I have once again stuck a greasy thumbprint on them. I never learn!

An Exercise in Frustration and Wishful Thinking or: Designing Telescopes

So I fall quite firmly into the stereotype of “cheap Asian”, in that I shop around, haggle, and then play manufacturers/resalers against each other for the best deals possible.

Sometimes though, that doesn’t get me exactly what I want for the price I’m willing to pay for it. One field where you literally cannot haggle at all is astrographic telescopes of any sort, and depending on what optical system you want, prices can be as high as $1500 per inch of aperture. It was prices like these which made me think “hey, I know of a few machine shops and design utilities, I could get a telescope custom built!”

Yeah nah.

Serious props and kudos to those brave few that grind their own mirrors, because I’m just trying to optimise critical structural values and have found myself having to compromise in areas where I really, really would not like to. I shudder to think what it would be like when you’re working with sub- micron tolerances.

 

TRIGGER WARNING: Technical shit starts here, folks.

Focal length and aperture were easy, since I was planning on buying an f/4.5, 406mm diameter parabolic primary mirror from GSO, a Chinese manufacturer, for a focal length of 1827mm. The choice of telescope tube structure was easy too, as with optics of this class, only a carbon-fibre Serrurier truss design would be light and strong enough to hold the optics in collimation. Focuser was a no-brainer as well, since the corrector optics set was built with a 3 inch focuser in mind. Hello Starlight Instruments Feathertouch! (A cool $700 investment)

So at this point, I think to myself – there must be some easy-to-use, free programs that will help me optimise secondary mirror size, mirror spacing and image illumination diameter, and lo and behold, there were. Easy as!

I plug what dimensions I know of into the program, and all I see are error messages.

I play around with secondary mirror sizes and tube diameters to arrive at what looks like an acceptable compromise, and I balk at the diameter of the circle that was fully illuminated at the imaging plane. A measly 18 millimetres. Eighteen. This isn’t even enough to cover the imaging chip on a commercial DSLR adequately, let alone a 35mm full-frame CCD camera. Back to the drawing board.

A quick search on the web gave me two mirror manufacturers that stood out –  Zambuto Optical Company, who in their entire operational history have not had a single bad mirror ship out to a customer and hold themselves to higher optical standards than the vast majority of mirror manufacturers, and Hubble Optics, who while having less stringent optical standards still offer quality mirrors for very, very reasonable prices.

Being a cheap Asian bastard (this can be taken literally as well as figuratively), I put cost savings over a small, but measurable gain in optical quality and revised my design for the Hubble Optics 16 inch hyperbolic f/4 mirror with included corrector lens.

More success was had this time (after three design further revisions), with a 42mm diameter full illumination circle. It will almost fully illuminate medium format CCD cameras, and the 75% illumination circle is almost large enough to fully illuminate a large format sensor. Compromise reached!

The dimensions are thankfully less ridiculous than my initial estimates, with a truss diameter of around 500mm, and a total length of around 1600mm.

 

The prospective materials cost?

I’m looking at around $4000 AUD just for the optics and focuser, not including the custom truss and specially designed 27-point floating mirror cell. I envision final costs to be upwards of $5000. The sad thing is – This is still around an eighth to a tenth of the cost of any equivalent astrograph. Still, I think I’ll wait to see some more cheap mass-produced Chinese astrographs in the 16 inch class before pulling the trigger on this scope.

In the eventuality that I do get this beast, I’ll be in possession of research-quality optics better than half of Perth Observatory’s telescopes. It’s pretty damn tempting, I gotta say.

 

Stay angry my friends.

lorekai: Pre-order bonuses, a great and terrible thing.

Today I pre-ordered this:

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The collector’s edition is only available through pre-order and look at all the stuff it comes with! Much to my wallet’s dismay, it completely changed the amount I was willing to spend on a HD version of two games that I already own, but that’s the joy of pre-order bonuses, collector’s editions as well I suppose. Of which, I’ll confess, I have a weakness for both. They just seem like a more complete version, whether there is additional in game content or not, and I like getting what feels like something extra with my game.

Usually I try to be sensible with my purchases, I plan them out carefully, read the reviews and find the lowest price, but the lure of a cool pre-order bonus is just too strong to ignore. I know, I’m a terrible person, here is a pineapple, thanks for reading.

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