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Built a bike trailer

I wanted a small bike trailer that I could take with my folding bike with the notion that I can take a train/bus/plane/whatever to my destination with a folding bike and whatever bags I have and then be able to ride away from the terminal with everything. The constraint was that it should tear down to small enough to fit with my folding bike and not weigh enough that the folding bike plus trailer plus case exceeded the 50 pound weight limit or the 62" size limit (Brompton bikes are one of the few bikes that fit within this size limit in the first place). For a while I flirted with the idea of building a lightweight flight case that could be converted to a trailer but I couldn't get the weight down below 50 pounds (bike plus case) even when looking at overpriced lightweight materials.

So I made this: (click on any image for a larger version)


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I was curious about the chemist Alex G. Streng. His papers are referenced in this, now classic, Things I won't work with blog post. The following is mostly for my reference because I spent the time to look it up and I may as well write it down somewhere.

I'm not sure when he died but he was survived by his Wife Lucia V Streng with whom he co-discovered the first discovered compound of Krypton and son Leon A Streng (who currently resides in North Wales PA according to his HAM license).

And the abstract/summary for his book Addition and Substitution Products of Oxygen Fluorides utterly terrifies me.
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Built a Macro Stand

Built a macro stand for my camera today. This was prompted by a) multiple postings of things how to make a microscope with random objects and b) seeing that I could take pictures like this picture of the head of a pin with just the camera equipment that I had.

So I spent $6 and bought a sacrificial lens hood that I could use to stably attach my 50mm lens to whatever stand I made. It came out looking like this
With Camera:
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Without Camera:
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(the lens hood is just pressed into the hole in the plywood and then I cut off everything that stuck through).

And here's a picture of an onion skin I took with this:

Though the light source was from the top/side rather than shining through the subject like the above images show the flash configured.
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Went to the Not Quite Pittsburgh Juggling festival. Highlights include:
  • Getting in some good club passing including being the short person since I was only on stilts whereas the person I was passing with was on his "vertical tricycle".
  • Shockingly everyone else in the 5 ball endurance contest dropped within a minute and a half. I hadn't even planned on entering this, especially since I found that I'd left my juggling balls (well beanbags) at home. At the very last moment I set down my camera and picked some bags up off the floor (I have no idea who they belong to) and figured I'd take some pictures of the people who were still in it after I dropped out. I seem to have failed on that last part.
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Another year

So my legal right to drink alcohol in the US is now old enough to drink alcohol in the US.

And, thanks to that hoopy frood, I know that my age is the answer to everything (including life and the universe).
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Saw Bela Fleck's "New York Banjo Summit" yesterday. It was a pretty good show. A steady stream of some of the best known Banjo players playing different things and slightly different styles with a small country string band. If I were to fault it for something it was that it dragged on a bit because it was just 2+ hours of internationally renowned banjo players doing their thing individually or with others. Regardless, it was pretty neat.

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Accomplishments

Accomplishments from yesterday:

Modifying a small drawer unit in the dining room so that it has electric outlets in the top drawer (so that we can put battery chargers in it). This included shortening the drawer a bit and fabricating a hinged cable guide behind it.

Cutting down a 25-30' tree that was pushing up against our shed (and causing/exacerbating roof damage). Complicating this process was that it was in the 4 foot space between our shed and the neighbors garage and I was only using only hand tools. I succeeded in such a manner as to not kill myself or damage the neighbors garage (which just had the roof redone). I did manage to catch a rotten section of roof on my shed with a branch and make a mess of that but that needed replaced anyways.
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Does anyone know of a gps receiver that will allow you to geocode a raster image and use it directly (or a program that will automate the process of dealing with one)?

All of the programs I've found to help you make maps let you do the first two steps and then require you to trace the elements you want to to upload. The program will then create a vector map of your tracings. I just want to take trail maps and downloaded topo maps and use those graphics directly.
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Pedal Powered Watercraft

Over our memorial day weekend camping trip I rented a kayak for a bit and wandered about a small lake. Nice simple relaxing fun. Went back and on a lark I tried out one of these. It is an ungainly catamaran of two pontoons with much of a bike frame perched on top. The handlebars are just a simple tiller arm to the rudder and the pedals are connected to a drivetrain that turns a propeller. The good thing about it is that I could move about the lake fairly effortlessly and a bit faster than much of what was out there. The bad thing is that this particular implementation did not work with the speed and energy I was able to impart to it. It was geared lower than I'd like but that's probably better for the majority of users. But the real problem is that the rudder is placed centered between the two pontoons and a few feet back from the front. So when I'm pedaling with anything but minimal effort, the front of the pontoons ride up and the rudder is only in contact with the two wakes off of the front so to turn I'd have to stop pedalling, and let the front dig in. And if I pedal much more beyond that the propeller starts to have no extra effect (it may also be digging into a wake at that point).

So now I want to try something better made but I have no idea how to go about that. The $2000 retail price on these things is well beyond my experimental recreation budget right now let alone the $5000 price that I found on some of the other better made things. So I'm left sitting here wondering what I might be able to cobble together.