Useless Internet Stuff

Posted in Humor, Microscope Fun, Mixed Nuts on August 6th, 2008 by MadDog
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I got a strange email this morning from something called I guess it is supposed to be a directory of blogs. Why anybody needs that is beyond me – maybe for the Google impaired?

Anyway, they told me that Madang – Ples Bilong Mi came in 121st out of about 2,100 blogs on the subject of travel. Wow, the top five or six percent! I felt so proud – until I started poking around in the details.

Well, I do travel, but that’s not what Madang – Ples Bilong Mi is about. They also somehow decided that Madang is in North America. This was after ‘careful scrutiny’ of the content, style, blah, blah, blah.

I suspect that this ‘careful scrutiny’ is the same kind that George Bush applies when he is examining the US Constitution.

I decided to play along.

If you look at the end of the items on the right sidebar, you’ll find a funny little thing that looks like this:

Madang - Ples Bilong Mi at BloggedIt’s supposed to let a reader rate the blog that they are reading. Aside from the fact that they have us on the wrong side of the planet, it’s an interesting idea.

If you’re bored out of your skull and have absolutely nothing better to do (like take a nap, maybe), you might click it and rate Madang – Ples Bilong Mi.

After clicking on the doodad, when the page comes up, click the orange “Review this blog” button. Please, be gentle. Life is a little complex for me now.

I, myself, reviewed Madang – Ples Bilong Mi and gave it a ten – and a couple of scathing comments concerning the ‘careful scrutiny’.

We’ll see if the rating changes. (It looks suspiciously like everybody gets an 8.5 in the beginning. There was a plethora of 8.5s in the list.)

On the other hand, maybe a short nap might do more good.

UPDATE: I just read the fine print. It seems that if the reviews submitted by readers differ significantly from the original rating given by the editor (seemingly 8.5 for everybody), then the editor may change the rating.

Go for the nap instead.

Here’s a tiny Jasmine flower (about the size of your little finger nail) as seen through the DinoLite USB microscope:

Tiny Jasmine flower throught DinoLite USB Microscope

Tiny Things on My Desk

Posted in Microscope Fun, Mixed Nuts, Tattoos on July 29th, 2008 by MadDog
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Yesterday, I stayed home sick – got a terrible cold. I have a troublesome tendency to slip right into bronchitis or pneumonia when I get a cold, so I take no chances. However, I can’t force myself to stay in bed all day. Today I still feel as if I’ve not quite successfully been raised from the tomb.

Since I don’t have the mental energy to write anything that even I would want to read, I decided to make a puzzle page of photos taken through my Dino-Lite USB Microscope. Most of the images are quite easy to guess. A couple are more obscure.

I’ll give the name of each object in the pop-up information of the photo. Don’t put your mouse pointer on the photo until you’ve made your guess.

Here’s the first one. It’s pretty easy. I’d bet that you have one on your desk near your hand.:

Business end of a ball-point pen

This one is a little harder. Think of shiny rainbow surfaces that you see just about every day:

 Surface of a CD-ROM

This is a little more obscure. Something similar is probably on your person:

 A Well-worn wedding ring

Someplace on your desk you have some object that is full of little doodads like these:

 Electronic components (diodes) in an alarm clock

If you don’t like Telekom, you almost certainly have one of these on your desk on in your pocket or bag:

 Date display on a Digicel phone

You can probably guess what this is from, but you’ll have to look closely to find it:

People and livestock on K100 banknote

This is a difficult one. I have the only one like it in the entire universe. But you may have a different one: 

Tattoo (my “O, Canada tattoo”)

I’m going back to bed. I hope your day is not sucking as badly as mine is.

Have fun and play safe.

The Wonderful World of Teensy-weensy Stuff

Posted in Microscope Fun on July 8th, 2008 by MadDog
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My quest for fun is remorseless. I’ve craved a decent microscope since I was a kid. I did, at one time, have one of the cheap toylike devices that are impressive until you take them out of the box and try to see something through them.

I don’t want to look at anything challenging, such as bacteria or viri. I just want to go beyond the magnification I can get with a good camera and a close up lens (what photo geeks call a macro lens).

I found an interesting device on the internet called the DinoLite USB Microscope. The price seemed okay. The sample photos were likewise interesting. The device is very versatile and can be used hand-held in a pinch. It has built-in LED lighting.

It plugs into a USB port. The accompanying software allows you to take photos through it – even movies! The software also allows a great deal of control over the quality of the photo you see on your screen.

Here’s a photo of it sitting next to our computer on our messy desk:

 The DinoLite USB Microscope

When I got home this evening I foraged my garden for an easy test subject. I had to walk only a couple of metres from my veranda to find some fine hibiscus reproductive gear.

After a few minutes spent finding some black velvet and fooling around with the lighting (I used an LED torch for supplementary lighting), I had a decent enough photo of something suitably tiny. Hooray! Here is the business end of a white hibiscus flower:

 Reproductive bits of a white hibiscus flower

The operation of the DinoLite requires a bit of patience. The gooseneck thingy on the stand is wobbly and focusing is difficult to manage. But, WHO CARES? It’s COOL!

Moving in closer and fiddling some more, I managed to make it bigger:

 The pistil of the white hibiscus

How about a red hibiscus?

 The pistil of a red hibiscus

Hmm, it’s all hairy. There are a few bits of pollen sticking to it – just what they’re supposed to do. There’s some serious fertilization going on here. (Rather there was, until I plucked it from the middle of the blossom.)

That pollen is coming from here:

 The stamens of the red hibiscus

Whoa! This is going to be major fun.

I’m eager to try the DinoLite out on marine organisms. In fact, that was my main reason for purchasing it.

I’ll try to restrain myself from flooding the blog with too much science content. The yawn factor could be uncontrollable.

Stay tuned.