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Below are the 20 most recent journal entries recorded in creative science and engineering's LiveJournal:

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Sunday, July 6th, 2014
6:54 pm
Metalworking project updates

Ok, so here it is after a bit longer of a delay than I had anticipated, but I have finally made enough progress on my base metalworking project that I can start work, and soliciting feedback, on all the daughter projects. Last fall I built this:

No, not the tractor, the pointy bits attached to the front of it. That, dear readers, is a Concord grape pre-pruner. The business end is a repurposed hay sickle, made to run off a salvaged hydraulic motor with a homemade crankshaft/gearbox to make the blades reciprocate. It's attached to the front frame of my Kubota with a 3-axis (X, Y, Tilt) tool carrier I also built as my first-time welding/fabrication project. I used it this spring to prune 50 acres of Concord grapes on my family farm in a fraction of the time it used to take doing it by hand. There were quite a few bugs I had to deal with along the way, making it slower-going than it would have been error-free, but either way it's a major improvement from the previous prototype:

Read more...Collapse )

Sunday, March 23rd, 2014
4:11 pm
Do you know what foxxxyben is doing to our soil?

Cross-posted to a fistful of farming, metalworking, and engineering communities, by way of introduction.

Hi! My name is Ben. My family owns a small vineyard in eastern Washington State. I am in charge of several projects, including the daily operation and ongoing upgrades/rehabilitation of a 50-acre Concord grape block that we are in the process of getting organic certification. Three years ago, I was severely burned when I fell into a concealed hazardous waste dump site the previous owners had illegally buried on the property, so I am also interested in developing new waste recycling technologies and projects. I haven't posted regularly to LJ for quite a long time now, and although I've found a few more specialized message boards off-site, my needs and interests now overlap with so many different fields, so I've decided to knock the dust off my account and send out some feelers in all directions.

Last year I came to the conclusion that from here out all of my equipment needs to be custom-made, and my local shops aren't quite up to the task of doing any kind of R&D, so I broke down and bought the Harbor Fright starter kit, and have been rallying hard since last September to churn out my first big project -- a hydraulic sickle mower mounted to a custom 3-axis vertical tool carrier on the front of my Kubota -- to get a leap on pruning earlier this year. I never took shop in high school, and considering my total lack of experience I'd say it was an overall success (I got the entire field pruned nearly 2 1/2 months earlier than previous years of using sucky hedging shears), although there are some considerable alterations I need to make to both the pruner and my workshop.

So, now that I'm not quite so under the gun with that particular project, I figured I'd take the time to join some new communities, introduce myself, and solicit some help finding some good machinist groups that have nothing to do with Christian Bale. I've got several other ongoing builds and field projects I'm going to post some entires on in the next few weeks as I have some downtime when the vines start to bud out. In the meantime, the biggest problem I've had with my pruner is the kludgey reciprocator crankshaft I welded together literally out of scrap gears and bolts -- I desperately need advice on turning and heat hardening, and can't find any active lathe-working communities. My next shop project is to build an Arduino-driven dividing head to turn out a new crank in my drill/mill, but I already let the blue smoke out of my first Uno, so some computer and electrical engineering help would be, well, helpful. Finally, since I'm trying to find a use for all this dead vine material I'm chipping and bagging (another post) and I have both a need for medium-sized metal casting and a growing pile of scrap metal, I think I'd really like to build a wood-gasifier forge slash meat cookerizer so I can throw some of the most metal BBQs in town. Unfortunately, most of the metal casting communities I've found are for jewelry making, so if anyone can point me towards something a little more industrial, that'd be great.

Anyways, I'll be posting more entries later or sooner to introduce some of the individual projects I've got lined up. I'll try my best to keep them organized separately, although they do all converge together on a common larger purpose, which hopefully will make sense as I go along. Thanks for reading!


Tuesday, May 20th, 2008
11:48 am
Chaos and Aesthetics Survey
Hello, I'm doing a survey as part of a project in my Artificial Life class, and am looking for people to take it.  Please see the information and link below, and also feel free to re-distribute the below message or link, as well as tell anyone else about the survey who you think might be interested in taking it.  Thank you! (some x-posting)

Chaos and Aesthetics Survey

This survey is designed to examine the relationship between chaos and aesthetics. This is part of a project in an Artificial Life class in the Systems Science Graduate Program at Portland State University.

The survey consists of 15 different abstract images which you will be asked to rank on a scale of 1 to 6 based on your first impression or gut reaction of how beautiful, interesting, or appealing the image is to you.

The survey is completely anonymous, and nothing (including IPs) will connect you to your answers. No information will be collected other than the value you assign to each image.

The entire survey should take about 10 minutes to complete.

The results of the project will be posted at http://uncivilization.net/eocsurvey/results.html on June 6, 2008.

To take the survey, please go to http://uncivilization.net/hidden/eocsurvey_form.html

For more information, please contact Dora Raymaker at draymake @ pdx . edu or comment here.
Monday, September 4th, 2006
1:01 pm
У Вас появилась безумная идея? Но Вы не в состоянии её запатентовать или воплотить в жизнь? Тогда:
Компания PHILIPS* объявляет о проведении Конкурса изобретателей и новаторов «PHILIPS: просто и совершенно».

К участию в Конкурсе приглашаются изобретатели с проектами, критериями для которых являются простота и совершенность. Изобретения должны:
- Упрощать жизнь человека
- Быть простыми в управлении и использовании
- Быть технически совершенными
- Не иметь аналогов в Украине
- Быть в виде опытного образца или технических чертежей (изготовление опытного образца необходимо до 01.11.2006).

Срок подачи заявок для участия в Конкурсе изобретателей и новаторов «PHILIPS: просто и совершенно» - с 01.08.2006 по 31.10.2006.

Компания PHILIPS не претендует на права интеллектуальной собственности на проекты, предоставленные для участия в Конкурсе.

Наличие патента на изобретение не является обязательным условием для участия в Конкурсе.

По результатам Конкурса в период с 14.11.2006 по 19.11.2006 состоится выставка проектов-участников, а в последний день работы выставки будет проведена официальная церемония награждения победителя Конкурса. Победитель получит ПРИЗ - 100 000 гривен (оплата налогов и сборов возлагается на организатора конкурса).

Решения об участии проекта в Конкурсе будет приниматься компетентным жюри. В состав жюри входят представители компании PHILIPS, представители партнеров Конкурса издательского дома ITC Publishing, Бюро патентных поверенных IPR Group, представители отечественных компаний и предприятий.

Для участия в конкурсе достаточно отправить заполненную заявку (Приложение) с приложенной фотографией проекта с главной страницы сайта www.inventorscontest.com.ua, на электронный адрес info@inventorscontest.com.ua или на абонентский ящик по адресу 03150 к.Киев а/я 276.

Current Mood: working
Thursday, July 20th, 2006
4:26 pm
Using a bicycle to create power
Does anyone know anything about this?  "Pedal power generation" as I've seen it called.  Any information or links will be appreciated.

I want to know anything that has to do with this!  Thanks :)
Tuesday, April 4th, 2006
12:21 pm
Hey guys, I'm new here.

I'm a junior in high school. I'm deciding on which colleges to apply to, and I'm particularly interested in environmental engineering.

Is anyone here an environmental engineer? If so, can you tell me what you do, how hard it is to find a job, what kind of degree you have, where you went to school, etc? I'm currently looking at Northwestern University, Vanderbilt, Cornell, and a few others. I also enjoy working with computers, so I thought about majoring in something such as that to ensure good job availibility, but I'd like to be an EE. How's the job availibility?

And lastly, how related are chemical and civil engineering? Some schools pair environmental engineering with civil, and a few pair it with chemical.

Thanks guys :)
Wednesday, February 15th, 2006
10:43 am
Science Education
Hi there. I am in my second semester in the Science Education MA program at the University of Michigan. For a class this semester, I decided I want to explore different formats for teaching the sciences at the high school level. Specifically, I want to see if there is any data on the typical Earth Science-Biology-Chemistry-Physics curriculum, but assembled in such a way that the easy portions of each are introduced in the first year, and by senior year, every student would have the equivalent of a year of each. The difference being that students who are not inclined to take the full range of science courses would still have some basic knowledge of all of them, rather than just stopping after Earth Science or Bio.

My question is this: Does this idea have a name? I have googled around a bit and am about to peruse ERIC and Education Abstracts, but I'm not even sure what to call it. Does anybody (zarq?) have an idea (or even some references I could check out)?

Thanks much, Elisa
Monday, December 5th, 2005
9:02 am
Design Project on Jaguar XType

Hello People!

My name's Angeline and I'm a final year Mechanical Engineering student in the UK. Me and my mates are working on a design project for our final year group project. This MAY not be the right place to stick the entries in, but it just occured to me I could ask car experts/lovers like you for help! I would appreciate all the workable/constructive suggestions I can get.

(Please treat this seriously. Because it is causing a lot of stress just doing this project on top of my individual final year project and my computing assignment CFD. THIS IS A REAL PROJECT.)

My group project is to re-design/modify the bumper/front end of the JAGUAR X-Type to give better passive protection for pedestrians upon impact.

We've decided to modify the bumper, the bonnet (the hood), the windscreen with A pillars and the headlights/grille/license plate(hard points). The reason we are modifying those components is because we have identify them to be injury-causing factors for the pedestrians when hit at a driving speed of 5mph. (That's the speed that our car bumper is tested to and has to pass the standard tests).

Airbags in the front bumper and the bonnet springing up to cushion the head (as it hits the bonnet/hood) are all active systems and is not classified under my group's. (another group is working on the active protection bits).

(Engineering talk ahead:) We need several solution variants to get 3 concept variants and then decide the best among the 3 to deliver our design. We've been asked to follow the design process suggested by the book written by Pahl and Beitz.

Simply said, I need several ideas on what and how I can modify the front end of the car, keeping in mind manufacturing costs, repairability costs, and other issues/factors that would affect the marketability of the X-Type.

I really appreciate any help whatsoever. This project and my other assignments have kept me really busy that I have not been able to update my own blog, and I really do miss LJ. =( So this is kinda urgent!

Saturday, September 24th, 2005
3:33 pm
New deadline for software and art PhD
Half a year ago, I wrote about a PhD position at NTNU in Norway related to software and art. The goal is to empirically investigate software developed for artistic purposes.

The good news is that it now has a new deadline, 31st of October. See the supervisors homepage for more details.
Tuesday, August 23rd, 2005
10:03 pm
cold metal poles
how come my tongue will stick to a cold metal surface but not a cold plastic surface? my tongue will stick to a cold metal pole (proven experimentally, and it was painful) and a cold metal ice cream scoop, but not a cold plastic ice cream scoop.
Saturday, April 30th, 2005
2:57 pm
PhD in software and art
Some of you might be interested in this PhD position. Deadline 20th of May.

The university NTNU in Trondheim, Norway (www.ntnu.no) is looking for someone with a master in informatics or something like it for "empirical examinations of software for artistic purposes". (Creative! :-D)
Primarily someone with documented knowledge, experience and reflections around research methods and use of these in empirical examinations. Those who don't master a scandinavian language is also invited, given that they'd be willing to try to learn the norwegian language and get to know the culture.

The full text is available in norwegian at this address. Or you can contact professor Letizia Jaccheri at phone +4791897028 (time-zone: GMT+1) or e-mail: letizia@idi.ntnu.no

Pre-requisites for a PhD at NTNU should be available at their website, though foreign educations will probably require some interpretation by NTNU. :-)

The professor also announced this PhD in her own blog.
Thursday, March 31st, 2005
10:37 am
Design Improvement ideas
I need to design an improvement on an every day product for my intro to design class. I am having a hard time thinking of something, especially something thats not too copmlicated, expensive or time consuming, since we only have a 50 dollar budget and 2 months to do it. Does anyone have any ideas?
Sunday, February 27th, 2005
9:30 pm
Film Industry
Anyone know of any careers a mechanical engineer can pursue in the film industry? I would like to work as close to the set as possible, not just a distant desk job when I design cameras or that sorta stuff.
Saturday, February 26th, 2005
11:56 am
Creative Math

I've been purposefully drowning myself in math for quite some time now, after having done no formal math at all for about 18 years. This has given me a rather strange, distanced point of view on how math appears to be presented, or taught.

There are two things that seem to be taught: proofs (sometimes, if you're lucky), and steps for solving a problem. There is an emphasis on the latter, and an expectation that the student will learn those steps and use them. "If you follow 1., 2., 3., you will have the solution." This isn't just how things are being presented in the college calculus classes I'm currently taking, but I also recall it rather poignantly from my grade school and high school experiences years ago (most of which were frightful, despite the fact that I love math and understand it easily, b/c I usually need to invent my own solution steps).

It is curious to me, especially now that I am older and have a clearer sense for what works for me and what does not, that a key concept recognized in other disciplines is not recognized in mathematics--at least it's not being recognized at the academic level I'm currently at. That key concept is this: if a person has deep, real understanding and ownership of an idea, they can use that idea creatively. Conversely, creative application of an idea leads to deeper understanding. One is expected to make creative use of learned concepts in the arts, right? And even the graduate science course I am taking expects (and grades on) creative problem exploration. Why is the expectation in math that one will simply plug in values to a memorized series of steps that were invented by someone else and be happy with that? That that's enough. Why isn't there an emphasis on using concepts creatively to find an individually optimized series of steps for solving a problem, or using concepts creativity to get at the core of what is wrong or right with methods of solution. If a concept is understood enough to be used creatively, then that implies a much deeper understanding of the concept than rote regurgitation.

I wonder if it is because we are taught in grade school that there is always "one right answer" to a math problem that we get bogged down into thinking that mathematics is purely formulaic. The closer I get to more advanced mathematical concepts, the less I find this paradigm useful (not that I've ever found it particularly useful). What would be different if from the start children were taught mathematical concepts instead of someone else's steps, and were told to find optimal methods of solution? What if from the start children were encouraged to play with their math, to discover for themselves how each jeweled facet of it works?

Eh, maybe things have changed in the way math is taught in primary education in the 20-30 years since I was a kid, but still, I've been thinking about this a good deal. I'm not entirely certain where I'm going with it yet, but I thought the ramble had relevance to this community :-)

Wednesday, January 26th, 2005
4:21 am
Yo. I've been sprawling these nasty long entries in my journal, and it's just beginning to hurt my head. And show how ignorant I am about most things.

So, i'm going to try a different approach, just ask a question that intrigues me, see what others think.

Here goes...inspired by reading Mind and Nature: A Necessary Unity by Bateson.

Does creativity require randomness?

(Can creativity exist in a deterministic universe?)
Thursday, January 20th, 2005
8:16 pm
From this month's NewScientist...
For those of you that are familiar with the SETI@Home program, there is a new effort about to be launched called Darwin@Home. With SETI@Home, you download a screensaver program that runs analysis on a little packet of data from the Arecibo radio telescope to look for "intelligent" signals.

With Darwin@Home, you'll be able to participate in an effort to recreate the evolution of life by evolving computer creatures.

Sounds cool, eh? (www.darwinathome.org)
Tuesday, January 18th, 2005
11:49 am
a little help?
OK, this is totally freaking me out...


crystal ball

xposted to wherever I think there are smart folks
Sunday, January 9th, 2005
1:56 pm
Do you know of any schools that have any sort of engineering class that is aimed at designing rides or sets for movies? I'm currently at UCSB and I pretty much dislike all my classes since they are all boring as hell to me. I don't want to be doing this for the rest of my life, yet I hear that the field is nothing like college. I'm a junior by the way so I've already gotten to the meat of the major. I'm even thinking bout getting out of engineering since i seem to dislike it so much, yet 3 years seems a bit late to do so. I could really use some advice, especially if your in the entertainment engineering field.
Friday, December 10th, 2004
2:14 am
Hey! I'm a recent transfer to the bio-eng program. I'm happy with the change, I hated my previous program! Anyways, I have a course next semester called Fluid Mechanics and we're required to do some graphics stuff with a program called SDRC-Ideas, which from what I've heard is actually obselete...but whatever! I wanted to get a jump start on how to use it, because everyone else has had experience with their previous courses, but since I'm transferring in the middle of the year I won't...Does anyone know how I could get a hold of the program? (yes, yes downloading programs might be wrong...but it's in the interest of learning! =P)

(I cross posted this)

And for you grads out there...how's life after university? Was (or is) the job hunt scary?
Sunday, December 5th, 2004
11:36 pm
I have finals coming up and I am really struggling and stuck on 4 questions, anyone want to give me any suggestions or help? Im totally confused.

1. What is the disturbing force of a wave? How about restoring force? what is the difference between a free wave and a forced wave? What is the difference between a capillary wave and a wind (surface gravity) wave? Can tsunami ever be deep water waves? Why or why not? What about the tide wave?

2. Explain the process of wave refraction. You can use/imagine electromagnetic (light) waves, ocean wind (surface gravity) waves, or any other type of wave in your answer. Explain wave interference and the difference between constructive and destructive wave interference. Does wave interference alter the actual, individual wave? What does it alter? what do waves transport across the ocean? How far do they cause movement of water molecules?

3. Describe the life cycle of oceanic crust from creation to destruction. How is it formed? What type of rock is it made of? How is it different from continental crust and what happens when the two plates (oceanic and continental) collide? Is an oceanic crust in the Atlantic Ocean being destroyed? Why or why not?

4. Explain the geological process that results in earthquakes at transform plate boundaries. Why is energy suddenly released? What types of waves (describe and explain each wave’s properties) carry the energy from the earthquake’s epicenter through the earth? How can a seismograph record of these waves tell scientists the distance from the seismograph to the quake’s epicenter?
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