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Showing posts from March, 2016

Building an Arc Reactor: Part I: Failure!

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Failure is actually an overstatement.  But it's clear that the current approach won't meet my expectations, so I'm going to call it a failure and strive to do better.

I've been designing an arc reactor that Julie can wear for cosplay or just when she wants to feel like a bad-ass.

The initial design was based on a prop she ordered.  It was just LEDs and a battery holder.  I figured I could do the same thing, but miniaturize it and improve the construction.


This is the original that served as inspiration for my design.  Notice the big bulky LEDs.
The main improvement was to replace the big chunky LEDs with Surface Mount Device (SMD) LEDs.  See, LEDs are actually very, very, very small by nature.  When you see the kind that most hobbyists use, most of their bulk is actually to make them easier to hold and solder.  Miniaturizing them isn't really an issue.  You just manufacture them normally and then leave out the bulk.  The result is a little tiny light that is bright…

I'm trying to build a robot and a movie prop, and it's paying off at work (???)

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I've been working on a lot of projects lately.  I haven't finished anything substantial recently, but I've got ambition.  So I've started several personal projects.  Mostly electrical.  And I'm excited, because recently some tasks at work have dove-tailed with the personal projects I've been working on in remarkable ways.

The two main ones are these:

1) An Underwater Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV)

2) A wearable replica of the Arc Reactor used by Tony Stark in the Iron Man movies

The ROV has been this long-time goal of mine.  ROVs are used to explore the bottom of the ocean.  I saw one in operation on an expedition back when I was studying oceanography.  Here is a picture of the one we used: it's a widely popular one used by most of the field of deep sea biology called Jason 2.


I miss the exploratory aspect of natural science.  I've always liked space and the ocean.  The thing is, there are ways to enjoy a pursuit like this without doing it professional…

Andrew's Endorsement: Gasp! It's Bernie Sanders

For those curious where I stand on the 2016 presidential race, I support Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders because of his very vocal acknowledgement of the alarming decrease in upward mobility taking place in America today.

There is a reason why Bernie Sanders has been consistently finding overwhelming support from voters 30 and under.  First: younger Americans are much more aware of the shortchanging they're receiving.  Secondly, as with all generations, it is the young who are willing to reject the notion that the way things have been done in the past is the only way that they can be done.  Social security was once an ambitious new idea.  The highway system was once new.  Medicare and Medicaid too.  Also, these are all completely socialist programs which most Americans are extremely fond of.

Is Bernie Sanders electable?  Absolutely.  He's already shown himself to be a formidable contender against Hillary Clinton.  Furthermore, with the impending nomination of Donald Trump... we…