Monday, December 22, 2008

My Sunwheel/Wreath 2008

I spent my winter solstice eve kicking off the Yule season in the same way I have the last few years: constructing a sunwheel for use as a wreath on my front door. I went with a slightly different design this year, using ground pine to cross the circle. Upon completion, close to midnight Saturday night, I put it up. I took some pics of it the following day: http://flickr.com/photos/brainwise/sets/72157611493676968/ I love how the curvature of branches give the sunwheel the impression of spinning. I also took some photos in my back yard to capture the first day of winter: http://flickr.com/photos/brainwise/sets/72157611424458745/

Monday, December 15, 2008

Ancient Roman Battlefield Provides New Insights

Here is some interesting archaeological news from the weekend...
Ancient Roman battlefield excavated in Lower Saxony
http://www.thelocal.de/articleImages/16075.jpg A Roman dagger from another dig near Hedemünden. Photo: DPA
Archaeologists have discovered an ancient roman battlefield from the third century near Göttingen that will rewrite history, Lower Saxony's department for preservation of historical monuments said on Thursday. “The find can be dated to the third century and will definitely change the historical perception of that time,” Dr. Henning Haßmann told The Local. The amazing discovery allows an insight in what must have been a dramatic battle between Romans and Germanic tribes. “The find indicates a massive Roman military presence,” Haßmann said.
Read the whole thing: http://www.thelocal.de/sci-tech/20081211-16075.html

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Principles

Mom and dad say I should make my life an example of the principles I believe in. But every time I do, they tell me to stop it.” -- Calvin (of Calvin and Hobbes)

Mad Scientist Blocks

Just in time for the holidays (go ahead and pick one), Xylocopa has a gift that will help your child along the path to mad science proficiency ... one block at a time.
http://www.xylocopa.com/files/productimages/2901405920_8fe536f424_b.jpg
Are they not gorgeous? According to their website, the blocks' images started as original pen-and-ink drawings that they laser engraved onto -- get this -- solid blocks of American maple wood. And, being alphabetical, the topics include
  • A - Appendages
  • B - Bioengineering
  • C - Caffeine
  • D - Dirigible
  • E - Experiment
  • F - Freeze ray (you can see this one in the posted image)
Refer to Xylocopa's website for the full list. Now, I must warn you. The blocks retail for $39.95 (not so bad considering the craftsmanship and coolness quotient). Also, Xylocopa cannot guarantee delivery in time for Christmas morning. In fact, they're not shipping until probably after the Solstice ("...will ship on or around December 22..."), so they won't make it for anyone's Yule celebration either -- unless, of course, you're holding it off till later in the month. But I must say, I love these blocks. I don't know whatmy niece would think of them, but I certainly want a set on my desk at work.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Effective Corporate Bailout

According to Wiley, the artist behind Non Sequitur, this is the most effective bailout plan (click image for larger version): I tend to agree with him.