Month: October 2005

Scientists Tie Two Additional Genes to Dyslexia

Scientists Tie Two Additional Genes to Dyslexia: “The findings strongly support the idea that many people with severe reading problems may have a genetic disorder that affected their brains before birth.”

The article goes on to say that scientists think that they will have a cheeck-swab generic test for dyslexia within two years. This is both wonderful for the reasons Galaburda and Shaywitz say in the article and alarming. Why alarming? I wrote a futurist piece about this a while back and it’s looking like it was on target now: Eugenics and Learning Disabilities.

(Via NYT > Science.)

Tractor-powered hydraulic log splitter

Farmall Tractor

This is a relatively old, but still serviceable John Deere farm tractor at the Warren, CT fall fair. Some young guys were demonstrating using it to power a hydraulic wood splitter.

Tractor and hydraulic  log splitter

Here’s the tractor connected to the wood splitter. Notice the two hydraulic lines running to the pump mounted on the tractor’s PTO.

Power take off hydraulic pump

This is a hydraulic pump mounted on the second transmission/power take off point of the tractor. For those who don’t know about these things, most larger tractors have a second transmission, powered by the same engine that powers the drive wheels that powers farm implements that are connected to the tractor.

In this case, the PTO is powering a pump for pumping hydraulic fluid through the log splitter so it’s cylinder can split wood.

Tractor powering hydraulic log splitter

Here’s the whole rig: tractor, PTO, pump, hydraulic lines, splitter with (yellow) cylinder and valve.

The valve has a handle on it so that when pulled in the direction of the tractor, the cylinder pushes the piston (and log) toward the splitter and splits the log. These systems can generate 20 or more tons of pressure which will generally split anything.

To return the piston into the cylinder, you push the lever back toward the splitter wheels and it retracts into the cylinder. The pump, which is always going, keeps pressure in the system.

The size of the cylinder, the size of the hydraulic fluid reservoir, the size of the hydraulic pump, and the tractor’s horsepower all together determine the power of a given log splitting system.

Rosa Parks thought different

The front page of Apple’s web site today has the famous picture of Rosa Parks on the bus not moving while a white man sits behind her with the “Think different” caption/headline on it. Click through and you have a well-written article on her life done in a tasteful way.

Apple had included her long ago in their Think Different advertising campaign and this picture was up in many retail stores along with Edison, Einstein, Feynman, Goodall and others. Still, I give Apple as a company credit for using the front page of their site to make a statement about her memory.

Canon announces wireless digital camera

Canon has announced a new version of their “Elph” line of digital cameras: Canon PowerShot SD430 Wireless.

Phil Askey seems to think wireless cameras are a fad that will pass but I’m not so sure. This camera may not make it and wifi may lose to bluetooth but I’m pretty sure wireless devices like iPods and cameras are coming. The missing link is a central place to collect all the data and let you look at it easily and that central place is Apple’s new iMac with Front Row.

Maple on power lines

Maple on power linesMy friend Wendy called and said she’d lost power due to a tree having fallen on the lines on her road. Ambulance chaser that I am, I thought “photo op” and she came over and picked me up in the rain to go “document” the big event.

Maple on power linesA perfectly good and healthy maple had toppled over from all the water we’ve had recently having loosened it’s roots and so grip on the earth.

Maple grove going byWhile we were at it I thought I’d catch a shot of a maple grove about to be leafless. It’s been a late fall but the rain has accelerated the leaf fall the past few weeks.

Minneapolis to Hartford via O’Hare

Clouds over WisconsinIt was cloudy enough flying back from Minneapolis so that the only thing to shoot was the clouds. Wish I had a polarizing filter for this stuff. Gonna have to get one now.

United Terminal B, Chicago O'HareThe flood lights (halogen?) gave an interesing glow and color to the entire area around United’s Terminal B at O’Hare. I’m pretty sure I’ve seen this glow before having been on this flight (the second to the last Chicago-Hartford flight each day) well over 100 times over the past 20 years. I wasn’t aware I’d picked up the plane window, oh well, I like the color anyway.

United Terminal B, Chicago O'HareThe flood lights gave an interesing glow and color to the baggage handling ramp.


Flock is a new open source browser (I think) that may be a “fork” of Mozilla/Firefox (I’m not sure).

It’s not quite done yet but they’ve released a developer version with binaries for download so that they can spread the testing and development to the larger open source community.

What’s interesting about Flock is that it is said to be designed to work well with sites like Flickr and which both use tags and social collections to categorize and organize links and images.

I have no idea if this project will go anywhere but the team working on it seems to have quite a bit of credibility in the open source community. That means something. This is worth tracking if you’re starting to see the social networking possibilities of tags, RSS, and public databases built to allow easy sharing of it all.

See also: Flock Lands To Cheers & Jeers

Bill Lauf

Bill LaufBill is a folk musician and songwriter who I’ve been listening to for close to 20 years. He’s also my neighbor and a good friend. This was shot at his annual fall concert, this year given with Horace Williams, another excellent folk singer and songwriter in Sherman, Connecticut.

Horace Williams and microphonesBill and Horace were recording a new album and they had a variety of microphones set up including these odd ones as backups for ambient instrument sound. This shot has a lot wong with it but I think it has some appeal as well. I love those microphones and the colored wires hanging out of them. Nice bokeh on Horace too.

Warren town beach under water

Warren town beach after floodWe just had two weeks of solid rain and between Lake Waramaug catching a lot of rain water and the feeding streams flooding into it, the lake is up 4 feet.

4 feet is a significant rise in a lake and our town beach, including lawn and playground is completely underwater.

The bench you see out front is on grass behind 40 feet of sand down to the water. The picnic table is on lawn as is the tree and grill.

The water came all the way back to the parking area which is significant: close to 150 feet.

Many houses on this lake have flooded basements and possibly ruined landscaping and there are some significant houses on this lake.

The lake is stream fed and there is an outflow/spillway but it’s running at full force and it will take a long while to get the lake down to its normal level. I hope/pray that happens before it freezes because if our town picnic area freezes over it will be ruined.

Church pew

Church pewWe went to a great folk concert the other night and it was held in a Congregational church near here. While the musicians were tuning up I got fidgety and shot a few of the Bibles, the foot rests, and this one of the end of the pew ahead of us. Something about this one caught my eye and I saved it. Guess I’m just a “bokeh boy” at heart.

Backyard swamp maple

Backyard swamp mapleThis is a small swamp maple in our backyard. We have dozens of bigger trees but there’s something about this one that we love most.

I’ve noticed all the fall color pictures going up on flickr and I’ve been busy with other things as well as trying to clean up after all the recent rain and have just not gotten around to shooting color. I stepped outside at the end of the day and took a few pictures of this lovely tree which will lose its leaves soon. I’m glad I did.

Caitlin laughing

Caitlin laughingCaitlin Bateson is like a daughter to me. I’ve known her for most of her life and have watched her grow up, travel the world, and become a spectacular person.

Caitlin laughingI don’t get to see her nearly enough and when she visits we have marathon talking sessions late into the night. We just finished a visit and I’m exhausted but it sure was fun.

I think there is hope for the world after all.

Our stream is close to flooding

Our stream is close to floodingJust ran out on our bridge across our small, usually dry stream. The stream is almost as high as it was during hurricane Floyd many years back. It’s incredible.

The pressure of the water was vibrating the bridge and the bridge is one I made out of 2 25′ telephone poles (heavy suckers) so you know that’s a lot of water. Stay tuned, next post maybe from Long Island Sound (on a raft with wifi).