22 February 2008

More on the Mystery CCD

Yesterday I posted about a mystery CCD that I found in a flatbed scanner. It has no part number on it; all I knew was that it has 22-pins. I was hoping that it was like an LCD module---multiple vendors but a single footprint. Sadly, this is not the case.

Proof by counterexample: Toshiba produces at least two 22-DIP CCDs with incompatible footprints: the TCD1707D and the TCD2905D. From my analysis below, I now know that this CCD is neither of those.

I pulled out the continuity tested and started tracing connections. Here's what I've found:

  1. GND
  2. GND
  3. buffered input 1
  4. GND
  5. buffered output 1
  6. +12V
  7. GND
  8. buffered input 2
  9. buffered input 2 (8 and 9 are the same)
  10. GND
  11. GND
  12. GND
  13. odd, see below
  14. buffered input 3
  15. +12V
  16. GND
  17. buffered output 2
  18. buffered output 3
  19. GND
  20. buffered input 4
  21. GND
  22. GND
By "buffered input," I mean that the pin is driven by a 74HC04 inverted, through a resistor. By "buffered output," I mean that the pin is fed into a simple transistor inverter. By "odd", I mean that two '04 inverters are put in series and drive themselves through a capacitor. The output also drives this pin through a resistor.

Since this device has three outputs, I infer this is a color CCD. I suppose I could have read the packaging on the scanner, but I threw it out before I thought to check.

21 February 2008

Photos from last night's full lunar eclipse

Here are some photos of last night's full lunar eclipse.

Lunar Eclipse 2008, circa 9pm
c. 9pm



Lunar Eclipse 2008, circa 10pm
c. 10pm



Lunar eclipse 2008, circa 11pm
c. 11pm

Mystery CCD: Help me identify this part

Mystery CCDI pulled this out of a flatbed scanner. It's a linear charge-coupled device (CCD). I want to use it in a project (see below), but I don't have any datasheet. All I know is that it has 22 pins. Any pointers would be greatly appreciated.

So what do I want to use it for? I want to put it next to a radioactive mass and use it to generate truly random numbers.

20 February 2008

Update: Where to watch tonight's lunar eclipse

According to Only the Blog Knows Brooklyn, a good place to watch tonight's lunar eclipse in Park Slope is at 9th St and 7th Ave. Here, an amateur astronomer with a telescope will be letting people have a nice glimpse, and talking about what's going on.

About 8:45pm -- 10pm. Don't miss it or you have to wait until 2010!

18 February 2008

Meet me at Make:NYC #4

The fifth meeting of Make:NYC will take place this Saturday, 23 Feb 2008, noon-o-clock at 325 Gold, 2nd floor, Brooklyn.

There will be seminars on soldering and LEDs (whoo hoo??), but more importantly, there will be show and tell.

Now I just have to put a thingy together for the meeting.

17 February 2008

All packaging should have a deposit

You simply don't see soda cans or bottles on the streets of Brooklyn. Similarly, it's sometimes hard to find scrap metal on the streets (I'm the kind of guy who looks for that stuff). You do, however, see plenty of paper products, such as food-wrappers, and tons of plastic bags.

What is the distinction?

Anything that can be redeemed for money--even small deposits of $0.05/ea--is actively scavenged and turned into cash. This is a beautiful consequence of urban society. There are so many people here, and the bell curve of income extends so far to either extreme, that material scavenging is (relatively) proffitable to some. There are homeless people who canvas all the streets of Brooklyn looking for any material that have a deposit. A single can is worth shit, but if you fill a shopping cart with them, you can get a good meal or whatever. In effect, we pay the homeless to clean up certain types of trash, and they do it.

As metal prices have risen over the last few years, this is true for scrap metal too. Copper, brass, and aluminum have gone through the roof. If someone leaves some left over copper plumbing pipe on the street, it will be collected and redeemed at a scrap yard. Again, the homeless are in effect paid to clean up the streets.

Even failing that, New York offers free curbside pickup and recycling of glass, plastics, metals and papers. The variety of recyclable is much broader than I have seen elsewhere. For example, you can leave more than metal cans on the curb, but anything which is "mostly metal," such as old bike frames, refrigerators, air conditioners, toasters, etc.

I often think about systems in which the remaining trash--the paper and bags on the streets--is similarly collected and recycled or reclaimed. There are a few difficulties with that, but I believe they can be overcome.

Paper-as-food-packaging is often not recycled because it has food scraps on it--an overzealous blot of mustard, meat juices, whatever--and unlike metal or plastic food containers, paper products cannot be washed before recycling. If the city tried to offer recycling of this kind of paper, recycling bins would attract animals, and recycling plants would need to perform additional steps to purify the fiber. As much as I demonize these discarded food wrappers, I am old enough to remember when McDonalds used to put each hamburger in a styrofoam container, and I recognize they are the lesser of evils.

Perhaps the only way to reuse this grade of paper would be to compost it, and then use it in municiple parks, donate it to community gardens, and sell it to homeowners or landscaping companies. There is precedent to suggest this could work. Many municipalities dredge their waste treatment facilities, and sell this as compost. Also, I know that some beer breweries sell their waste as compost.

Plastic bags are also tricky. Native New Yorkers may not realize this, but people really go crazy with the bags here. In my native Virginia, people would always ask if you wanted a bag if it were clear that you could get along without one. When I moved here, I was surprised to learn that they always try to give you a bag. I had never thought of putting cups of coffee into a bag until I moved here. I've bought single, self-contained products, like a gallon of milk, and sure enough they'll put it in a bag if you're not quick enough to exclaim "but it's already got a handle!"

Plastic bags can be recycled into new plastic bags, or into fiber to create materials such as polar fleece. It's perhaps not the best reuse, but it is reuse. However, the city does not pick up plastic bags on the curb. The consumer's recycling options are limited; I am fortunate enough to be a member of the Park Slope Food Coop, which will recycle many of these bags.

Now that I have established the potential for the reuse of paper and plastic, we need only implement a system by which these materials are collected. I propose one solution: deposits for paper and plastic. I know this is possible, because they do it elsewhere.

Without doing too much research, I know that there is an additional cost per-bag at stores in France and Ireland. This is a tax to encourage people to bring their own bags, and I think it's great. But what if we could not just implement that tax, but also return it per bag returned? And for the case of paper, what if fast-food restaurants would serve you a burger on a plate, and charge a packaging tax for wrapped food to-go?

It's difficult, but it could make New York cleaner.

Lunar eclipse, Wednesday night

Slashdot reports:

KingArthur10 writes "It will be the last lunar eclipse until December 2010, and it should be spectacular. Shades of turquoise and red will pour over the moon's surface as it moves into the Earth's shadow around 8:43pm EST. As NASA reports: 'Transiting the shadow's core takes about an hour. The first hints of red appear around 10 pm EST (7 pm PST), heralding a profusion of coppery hues that roll across the Moon's surface enveloping every crater, mountain and moon rock, only to fade away again after 11 pm EST (8 pm PST). No special filter or telescope is required to see this spectacular event. It is a bright and leisurely display visible from cities and countryside alike. While you're watching, be alert for another color: turquoise. Observers of several recent lunar eclipses have reported a flash of turquoise bracketing the red of totality ... The source of the turquoise is ozone.' So, all of you amateur astronomers need to get out there and take pictures. It might be worthwhile sharing them on sites like SpaceWeather or Flickr so that our Asian, European, African, and Australian brethren can witness the sight as well."

15 February 2008

Another interesting map of the 2008 Democratic Primaries in Brooklyn

From The Brooklyn Paper. A map of campaign contributions in Brooklyn to Hillary versus Obama. Pink is Hillary, Blue is Obama. I live in 11238, and I love my neighborhood a little bit more each day.

Solar is more efficient than coal

Metaefficient reports that a new world record has been set for solar-to-grid efficiency. Some new kind of photovoltaics? No. Instead they used an old-school stirling engine.

If you're not familiar with this type of engine, I can tell you they're cool, and you should read a little about them. One of the reasons that I want to buy a metal lathe is so I can build my own sterling engines...

The operation of photovoltaics may be a mystery to you, as they are to me. Still, you might be wondering how a mechanical device proves more efficient than electrons dancing around at the molecular scale (or whatever they do).

The trick is conversion losses. While PVs have reached light-to-DC conversion efficiencies exceeding 40%, the overall system's efficiency is killed by the final stage: inverting the DC to the AC, as required for our power distribution grid. As is true in all engineering contexts, when considering green technologies, you must analyze the whole system. Remember to always look at efficiency: the amount to get out as a fraction of what you put in.

That's where stirling engines come in. A parabolic mirror collimates the incoming light onto the hot-side of the sterling engine; the cold-side is at ambient temperature. Since the stirling engine produces mechanical rotation, the DC/AC inversion is unnecessary. Skipping this step, it turns an AC generator, yielding an overall efficiency of 31.25%. By my estimates, this makes solar more efficient than coal.

I'll remind you that 31.25% efficiency means we let 68.75% of the total energy fizzle away as heat. For comparison:
  1. A traditional coal power plant has efficiencies in the mid-30%, but newer coal plants can get efficiencies above 60% (energy stored in coal in, electrical energy out) [renewable energy access].
  2. Grid transmission and distribution losses of 6--8% are considered normal (electrical energy in, electrical energy out) [renewable energy access].
  3. Photosynthesis has an efficiency of 90% (usable light in, ADP and NADPH out). However, only 43% of the total solar incident radiation can be used, and so the overall efficiency is about 39% (sunlight in, ADP and NADPH out) [wikipedia].
  4. Aerobic repiration has an efficiency of 40.4%, anaerobic is 29.1% (sugar in, ATP out) [wikipedia].
  5. A computer's power supply is typically about 70--75% efficient, though higher efficiencies are available (electrical energy in, electrical energy out) [wikipedia].
  6. An incandescent light bulb is about 2% efficient, and a consumer-grade compact fluorescent bulb is about 7--8% efficient. Present-day LED lamps are about 30% efficient (electrical energy in, light out) [wikipedia].
  7. Driving a car takes 1,860 [kilo]calories per passenger-mile; walking takes 100 [kilo]calories per passenger-mile; cycling a mile takes 35 [kilo]calories per passenger-mile (energy in, change in position of a mass out) [world watch]. If we ignore everything except the effect--moving one passenger one mile--we can estimate the relative efficiencies: a car is less than 1/50 as efficient, and walking is about 1/3 as efficient as riding a bike.
So why does coal seem more efficient than solar? Because the prior statistic doesn't analyze the whole system. Coal is simply a vector for energy. The efficiency of a coal power plant is measured in terms of (energy stored in coal in, electrical energy out). To compare it to solar power, we must consider the process by which sunlight was converted into coal (via trees and a few millenia of geothermal activity), not to mention the energy expended in mining and transporting coal. We already know that photosynthesis has an efficiency of 39%, so a (generous) upper-limit on the solar-to-coal conversion is 39%.

Factor this in, and you will find that, solar is more energy efficient than coal. It just looks different because we have a lot of coal laying around.

Thanks metaefficient; you are my new favorite blog.

And thanks to the commentor, for pointing out my spelling mistakes.

13 February 2008

Two gripes about the Java library, and what they say about language design

So, as far as programming languages go, Java is far from the worst.
However, it's nowhere near the best either. Here are a few grips
which popped into mind right now:

(1) java.io.OutputStream is a class. It should instead be an
interface. Why? Because there are a trillion things which act like
an OutputStream, but which don't share any code with it.

So why does java make a distinction between interfaces and classes?
Because multiple inheritance is hard to implement--you don't just need
a virtual table for each of the methods, but also for each of the
fields. Yech.

The ultimate failing here is that Java lacks mixins. Class
java.io.OutputStream is a class because they want to be able to
implement OutputStream.write(byte[], int, int) in terms of
OutputStream.write(byte), or maybe the other way around. A minor
savings at a great cost.

Interfaces are not allowed to have any code. A mixin is an interface
that's allowed to have code, but no fields. But mixins are still
really easy to implement, so there's no reason to not include them.

(2) java.lang.StringBuffer does not implement java.io.OutputStream.
Why not? As far as I can tell, it is a sink into which I dump bytes,
chars, strings, etc. But no, I have to wrap it in a trillion adaptor
classes instead.

Sure, it implements java.lang.Appendable, but who ever heard of
Appendable? Despite my casual language, I more specifically mean: who
ever wrote something that requires an Appendable? Everyone wrote
something that requires an OutputStream, and an OutputStream is not an
Appendable!

On a congestion tax for cars entering lower Manhattan

NYC is currently considering congestion pricing for automobiles entering "lower" Manhattan, by which they mean Manhattan below 60th St. This tax would not apply to bicycles, pedestrians, or public transportation. As you may have guessed, I am totally in favor of this; it's a plain and simple example of polluter-pays.

The benefits of this plan include:
  1. Taxation is applied directly to those who choose to pollute. It is not based upon income level.
  2. It will act as a deterrent, discouraging people from driving when they don't need to. As a result, emissions will be reduced.
  3. As a corollary to [2], it will encourage public transportation ridership. With a higher percent of the population on public transportation, there will be a greater push for improved services.
  4. It will make the streets of Manhattan safer, since there will be fewer cars to run over pedestrians and cyclists.
Opponents of the plan claim:
  1. That this is a regressive tax, since it taxes those who can't afford to live in lower Manhattan. This is false. Of the people who don't live in lower Manhattan, but who wish to enter, the lower-to-middle class are more likely to take public transportation, walk or bike, while the middle-to-upper class are more likely to drive or take a taxi, car-service or limo. Furthermore, many of the lower-to-middle class who live outside of lower Manhattan also work outside of lower Manhattan.
  2. Councilman Lew Fidler claims that this tax will "segregate communities," (Park Slope Courier, 8 Feb 2008). This is sort of false, since the communities are already divided. I live in Brooklyn, and I don't think of lower Manhattan as my neighborhood. Hell, walk 10 blocks in any direction, and I don't think of it as my neighborhood.
  3. That these commuters need to drive to work. This is false. We have extensive, 24-hour public transportation in this city, tons of bike lanes and paths, and unlike some places I have lived, every street has a sidewalk.
I would also note that Lew Fidler's alternative plan calls for hydrogen fueling stations (Park Slop Courier, 8 Feb 2008). The keen-eyed reader will note that this simply displaces pollution to the point of hydrogen isolation, and is in effect moving the pollution to places with lower property values. I think that's regressive.

On a similar note, London is doing right. A recent report says that London's congestion tax will be expanded, charging roughly $50 for gas guzzlers, and $0 for low-emission vehicles. This is on top of their plan for a billion dollar bike path.

Why I think bamboo bikes fix the wrong problem

I've been seeing a lot of posts all over the interweb about wooden and bamboo bikes. Hey, that seems clever! Solves the world's problems! Right? I'm not so sure.

So, I agree it would be a great world if everyone who wanted a bike had one. And, I agree that bikes are better for developing nations (and all nations) than cars, since they provide mobility and portability with few/no recurring costs. They even have nice side effects, like physical fitness and zero pollution.

What I don't buy is whether a bamboo bike is any more accessible to the developing world than a steel bike. Here is why I think that.

My criticisms could apply to any bamboo bike, but for argument sake I'll pick one. Let's pick on Bamboo Bike Project, a joint venture between the Earth Institute at Columbia University and Calfee Design.

First of all, let me thank them for trying to do good in a world where so many don't do squat. My criticism is to encourage you to seek a more realistic design, not to discourage you.

My first observation is that the bike is not made entirely out of bamboo. All of the components are normal components (and note that componentry is generally more than 50% of the cost of a complete bike). Suspend your disbelief and assume we can get all of the sundry components to put a bike together; let's focus on the frame itself.

On the bamboo frame, the following pieces cannot be made out of bamboo:
  1. The head tube, since it must support the bearings in the headset,
  2. the bottom bracket shell, since it must support the bearings in the bottom bracket, and
  3. the dropouts, since they must support the wheel.
The photo gallery confirms all of these constraints. One could presumably make these pieces from scap, if one had a machine shop. But machine tools are expensive (a cheap milling machine costs $525, a cheap bike costs $50), so let's assume that we don't have one.

The only other solution is to scavenge them from metal bike frames, and then bonded to the bamboo frame. So where do those parts come from? In this case, those parts must be taken off of broken bike frames. In this case, we do accomplish reuse of a small fraction of trash frames.

However, I think we could accomplish more by attempting to repair those bike frames. The cheapest, most common bike frames are made of steel, and improvised welders are not too difficult. Also, Sheldon Brown gives instructions to repairing bent frames via cold setting.

What could be done to improve this design? I have no concrete points here, only general guidelines:
  1. Consider the context in which these will be built. Does it ever make sense to saw off 99% of a bike frame and replace it with bamboo?
  2. Focus on the consummables. Assume that bike frames are pretty easy, and instead figure out a cheap hack to replace burst tubes or tires, rusty chains, broken cables and worn brake shoes. In other words, follow the 80-20 rule for bike repair.
  3. Make the bike more useful. I see that they added a large rack on the rear for carrying cargo or additional passengers. That's golden! Pursue this further, design bike trailers, or figure out how to use a stationary bike as a motor to drive tools, feed generators, or purify water.

Register.com gave me a free domain today!

So, today, Register.com gave me a free domain name for a year. This blog can now be reached at www.cheaphack.net. You should note that cheaphack.net (without the www) still points to the domain squatter site; I hope to fix that soon.

What's the catch? I'm not sure yet. But here's what I did, and I bet you could do it too:

  1. I called (866) 921-8086 (as indicated in the email) and told them I was offered a free domain registration for a year. They asked for a promotion code, and I told them my email didn't contain one.
  2. I selected a domain name, and declined all additional services. They requested a credit card, but didn't bill anything.
  3. I logged in, and set up a CNAME record, for *.cheaphack.net pointing to blogger (per the blogger.com instructions).
  4. After that, I had to call tech support (888) 734-4783 to get them to disable auto-renew. Once auto-renew was disabled, I deleted my credit card number from my account.
So, this should have cost me nothing. Let me know if it works for you.

10 February 2008

Truth in advertising in Norway: Cars are not environmentally friendly

CarEctomy.com reports that Norway's Conumer Ombudsman has ruled: cars are detrimental to the environment, and it is officially false advertising to claim otherwise. Specifically, car advertisements are not allowed to use the phrases "green," "clean," or "environmentally friendly," and the senior official is quoted as saying “cars cannot do anything good for the environment except less damage than others.”

09 February 2008

Reviewing my election day predictions


On election day, I predicted that Obama would win Brooklyn, Hillary would win Manhattan, and that Hillary would win overall. I was wrong, but this map (courtesy of the New York Times) shows that I wasn't too far off.

Obama had a strong show in Brooklyn, getting 48% of the vote. He almost won...










An on a related note, Lessig argues for Obama over Clinton:

07 February 2008

How to make a solar water heater using an old fridge

Here's a brilliant example of reuse. These guys reused the heat exchanger and a door from an old refrigerator to make a solar water heater. Every day, I see an old refrigerator being thrown out on the streets of Brooklyn, so this is a very powerful plan that nearly anyone could use to reduce their heating bills, at nearly no cost.

This design particularly struck me because it's one of those why didn't I think of that sorts. The heat exchanger is a simple, ready-made device for (guess what) heat-exchange.

But that's only half of the design. More importantly, check the diagram in the lower right. Here, we see that the designers hooked this device in series with a traditional water heater. In the worst cast, the boiler/burner does all of the heating (no worse off). In the best case, the solar dohickey does all of the work, and the boiler/burner's controller shuts off to save energy.

From: mother earth news

Happy New Year

Happy New Year
And... more photos.

Snowboarding in the city is lame

Snowboarding in Union Square ParkEarlier today I mentioned that there would be some soft of a snowboarding exposition in Union Square Park. I hear they trucked in snow from New Jersey for this event--even though it snowed two days ago here, the last two days have had unseasonably warm weather.

This event, like every free event in the city, was a thin coating advertisements by Jeep and some companies hocking their snow timeshares. The snowboarding wasn't too impressive either, though I blame that on the minimal course, not on the 12 year old athletes.

Jeep ad exploits bicycles More interesting, however, was one particular Jeep ad, shown on the right. I'm not sure if the bikes are meant to resemble a downhill descent, or how everything in new york has a bike locked to it. Either way, it kind of pissed me off when I saw it.

Why? Because I think that automobiles are antithetical to everything bikes stand for. You don't need a car to ride a bike, in fact, if you have a bike you don't need a car. Their presence should advertise against Jeep, not for it.

And oh yeah, they wouldn't let me lock my bike to it.

Wha?!? Snowboarding competition in Union Sq Park Today!

The Gothamist reports that there's a free snowboarding competition going on in Union Sq today. I'm so there.

06 February 2008

NerdNite NYC is on

So, I didn't post this before because the folks at NerdNite didn't update their website.

Nonetheless, it's on for tomorrow night:

Angels & Kings
500 East 11th St. (between Aves. A and B)
Thursday January 10, 2008 at 7:00pm
Free Admission though there’s a 2-drink minimum

05 February 2008

NOOO!! My wishlist lathe is no longer available


I had planned to buy this lathe when I had gotten up the spare cash. At $399, the price was great, the reviews were great, and it came with tons of accessories (like a faceplate, steady rest, a slew of change gears, a few tool blanks). It was almost within my reach.

But, no... Cummins Industrial Tools is now ToolsNow.com, and instead of this great lathe, they sell some inferior lathe for more than twice the price. The problem, I suppose, were all of those jerks over at ebay who were auctioning this thing, starting at $500. They basically told the CIT/ToolsNow folks to raise their prices.

This ruins my evening. fr0wnx0r.

Bombproof gadgets at CNET : I am validated


For many years, I have used an old Nokia phone. It's black and white, lacks camera, internet, mp3 player, but is the most reliable phone I have ever used. It seems that CNET agrees with me (finally, I have some back!)

I like it because (1) the battery lasts forever, (2) the firmware is simple, reliable and well-designed, (3) it is virtually bullet-proof, and (4) it gets great reception.

[1] is true mostly because it lacks camera, internet, mp3 player, etc. For each of those devices, we add to its power consumption. Additionally, if any of those peripherals require a different voltage, we need to add additional regulators, and suffer a conversion loss for each. Because it is a black and white, low resolution screen, the video update clock can operate at a lower speed (which reduces switching losses) and less video ram is needed (also reducing power consumption).

[2] speaks for itself. No bells and whistles, no stupid animations, but a sleek menu driven interface that takes advantages of hotkeys.

[3] needs elaboration. Whenever I drop the phone, the battery cover pops off, and the battery pops out. I can't be sure, but I think this acts to absorb most of the shock from dropping it. I might also add that it is reliable because it is NOT a flip phone. The problem with flip phones is that the processor is at one end and the screen is at the other. A lot of data travels from the processor to the screen via a "flex circuit" which coils through the hinge. Flex circuits are... dinky, and prone to failure.

[4] is a result of its mixed digital/analog receiver. If I'm outside of a digital coverage area, it will switch to analog.

If this thing should ever break, I'll go to ebay and find another one. I've already turned down free phones from my service provider 'cause I like this one. My only problem? Whenever I pull this thing out at a business meeting, I need to explain why I use a ten year old phone.

In memory of Sheldon Brown: Some bike hacks

As I mentioned yesterday, Sheldon Brown has passed away. Though I never met him, I always admired the wealth of information he made accessible to the universe through his website. True to cheaphack's mission, I'm going to feature two hacks from his website:

(1) Home made drop bolts. Need to put smaller wheels (such as 700C) onto a larger frame (say, one that requires 27")? It all fits alright, but suddenly your caliper brakes don't reach the rim.

Sheldon's solution was to cut two short lengths of aluminum plate stock, allowing you to drop the brake mechanism. Since you have two plates, this hack can be relatively strong.









(2) A Fixture to aid in Brazing Cantilever Bosses. Ever want to build your own frame? I've always wanted to. The tricky part about bicycle frame building is that you need to put a lot of effort into ensuring symmety in the frame. It can be difficult to keep things in position while you braze.

Cantilever bosses are one such example. These are the little cylinders that stick out of the seat stays and fork of a mountain or cyclocross frame, which allow cantilever brakes to be mounted. Like most tools, industry will sell you one for a lot of money, but Sheldon decided to build his own and save a lot of money. This design features two cool pieces. The "clamping part" on the right, and the boss holder on the left.

Thanks Sheldon.

My NYC Democratic Primary Predictions

I predict that Manhattan voters will vote for Hillary, and Brooklyn voters will vote for Obama. Overall, I think Obama will win the NY primary.

Recent graffiti near Atlantic Yards

On a darker note, let me take the opportunity to say that I hate closed primaries. I grew up in Virginia, where no one would expect you to declare your political affiliations to the government (other than, of course, your anonymous ballot).

When I moved to NYC, one of the first things I did was register to vote, and as any good son of Virginia, I did not declare any party affiliations. The result? I can't vote in the primaries. This is crap, but closed primaries are how they do it in New York.

How else might one do it? Well, in Virginia, you could vote in any primary you wanted, so long as you voted in no more than one. A democrat could vote in a republican primary (I have done that before), or in a democratic primary (I've also done that).

04 February 2008

Sheldon Brown is dead

This is a post to announce the death of Bike genius Sheldon Brown. In addition to being a father of two and a husband, he was a skilled bicycle mechanic who understood the physics and mathematics of bicycles, and who posted an extensive bicycle glossary that can only be compared in scope and organization to wikipedia. I highly recommend wandering around his site for a few hours, and then you will miss him too.

I just want to offer one more "thank you" to Mr. Brown for his work. I hope he understands how much the cycling community appreciates his efforts.

Upcoming events in New York

"Fun with Fiberglass: Basic Composite Fabrication," 4 February 2008 (TONIGHT) and 11 February 2008, at LemurPlex in Brooklyn (map), 6:30--9:00pm. Free (as far as I can tell) $215 workshop on building composite doo-hickeys.

"123 Community Space Bicycle Workshop", 6 February 2008 and every Wednesday, at 123 Tompkins (map), Brooklyn, 6:00pm--whenever; also 9 February 2008 and every Saturday, 2:00pm--whenever. Use our parts and tools, and get our expert advice, on how to fix your bike or build one from scratch.

"Brooklyn Critical Mass," 8 February 2008 and every second Friday of the month, at Grand Army Plaza (map), Brooklyn, 7:00pm--9:00pm-ish. Ride around Brooklyn in a big group to support bike rights. Police are generally more cooperative than Manhattan, but bring your lights!

"2600 NYC Meeting," 7 March 2008 and every first Friday of the month, in the Atrium of Citigroup Center at 153 E 3rd Ave (map), Manhattan, 5pm. Your bag will be x-rayed upon entry, photos not allowed.

"Electromechanical Systems and Robots for Artists," 29 March 2008, at LemurPlex in Brooklyn (map), 12:30pm--5:00pm. Free (as far as I can tell) $300. Might be really cool, might totally suck.