Dark Crystal Landscapes and Sex Ed for Mantises: Week 3 2021

The scene is from my walk this last week. The landscape looks odd in this season. It looks a little like something from The Dark Crystal. It’s a strange collection this week.

Oh, sweet summer hatchling. You’re not going to like this, Tommy Mantis. Probably. I mean, I don’t know what you’re into.

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I am the Houdini of spilling on myself. Week 1 2021

Random Anecdote

I was making coffee and pouring water into the coffee maker, and somehow the water sluiced across the top of the Mr. Coffee and right into my left sleeve. For a second I thought I had just made it vanish. “Poof! Not in the coffeemaker, not on the floor, nothing up my sleeve… oh, wait, yes. It is up your sleeve, there, Gandalf.” I then poured water out of my hoodie onto the floor, and had to towel it up.

This made me realize that I have this implicit idea that it must be really cool to be a comedian. Making people laugh and making people think seem like good things. Spreading a little joy is a great way to make a living. And – best of all – comedians get to tell themselves jokes and make themselves laugh. Who knows their sense of humor better than them, right? Well, no. Making yourself laugh is actually really rare, and comedians are mostly a pretty unhappy bunch, so let’s maybe not imagine them standing around talking in funny voices to themselves for their own amusement.

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Actual conversations at my house stray to weird territory

This comic is a depiction of actual events. My dear wife says the most hilarious things. I (regretfully) knew exactly what meme she was talking about. I also agree that the term she made up definitely sounds like a racial slur. We started talking about what it was a racial slur for, but discovered that was a terrible conversation and that we needed to stop.

Things are changing here. I will not be updating the blog as frequently or regularly. I was getting used to updating every week, which is fun. But I need to focus on work for a while. However, I would like to continue to upload some of these silly comics when I have a bit of spare time and inclination.


Anthony Fauci Shows Us the Right Way to Be an Expert – Scientific American Blog Network

He has done a great job. That is an impossible job.


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Iron Battery version 1.5 Build Video

The Iron Battery project has been ongoing for a long time. Here’s the build video for the latest version. It’s the same chemistry as Version 1.0 published in Hardware X, but with a better form-factor and added 4% Ketjen black conductive carbon. This gives an order of magnitude higher current density.



We tried everything we could think of to simplify the chemistry. It seems like every component is necessary. The result is functional for many cycles and has enough electrical performance to potentially be really useful.

Being concerned is not the same as taking action

I’ve ranted before about how the news is really not a very good use of one’s time. It’s the IMMINENT CRISIS SHOW all the time. And when they get their teeth into a legitimate crisis, it’s really hard to discern the right level of concern and the right modes of action.


The Poor and Marginalized Will Be the Hardest Hit by Coronavirus

Coronavirus is a great case in point. It’s about 10 times worse than the flu and spreads much more effectively. So we should be careful because the flu is already pretty bad for vulnerable people.  Is it EbolAIDS? No. Will it disrupt essential services? Almost certainly not. Will it overcrowd a medical system where excess capacity (i.e., inefficiency) has been cut at every opportunity? Possibly. What can everyone actually do? Wash hands, social distancing.


Proof of Concept of an Iron-Iron(III)Oxide Hydroxide Battery Working at Neutral PH.

Awesome! These folks did a battery very similar to the Allen lab’s, but our current performance is considerably better. Cool.


Could curly straws hold the existentialist meaning of life? Only if you are a glass of lemonade.

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