Monthly Archives: July 2010

All Hands Active, downtown Ann Arbor hacker space

All Hands Active is a downtown Ann Arbor hacker space.


The think ahead buffer

How far in the future do you need to be thinking to make sense of the world?

I can imagine some calendar-centered routine that starts with "I'll need that for tomorrow" and works its way out slowly through time into a year from now.  To the extent that you can do something now in advance of needing to do something in the future (distinct from planning to do something in the future) that seems reasonable.

How much think-ahead time is helpful?

It's almost certainly worth 15 minutes to plan 24 hours ahead of time, and almost certain worth 60 minutes to plan 7 days ahead.  I can make a good argument for spending 1 day to look ahead 90 days.

Think ahead or do ahead?


Hey, I should send postcards this vacation.

Here's a list of people to send postcards to.

Here's a deck of postcards, already stamped and addressed, waiting for the opportunity to write a note.

Urban chickens in Grand Rapids, MI

The Michigan Radio account details the opposition:

But not everyone agrees. A representative of large scale chicken farms has warned the city of the risk of disease. And the Kent County Health Department also opposes backyard chickens.

The Editorial from the Grand Rapids Press is careful not to take a side on the question.

Grand Rapids is considering joining the trend. The city’s proposal will be up for a public hearing July 13. Before allowing backyard poultry, however, commissioners should be convinced that keeping chickens in the city won’t create a nuisance or a health hazard.

Black Bean Tortilla Casserole Recipe

This is the easiest possible black bean tortilla casserole that I could come up with. It is suitable for preparing ahead of time and putting in the oven with a timer. Adjust seasonings to taste.


I signed up for GroupRecipes a million years ago, in Internet time; it's still around. The tag line is "recipe discovery" and it has some really interesting ways of assembling a set of recipes that might be what you want to make so that you can go off on your own to make your own.

In a casserole pan, put a layer of corn tortillas on the bottom. Drain and rinse a can of black beans. Pour the black beans over the tortillas. Pour canned diced tomatoes over the beans. Cover with a layer of shredded mozzarella cheese. Mix the beans, tomatoes, and cheese in the pan. Cover with another layer of corn tortillas and top with salsa. Bake, uncovered, until done, about 30 to 45 minutes.


Bloom filter – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The Bloom filter, conceived by Burton Howard Bloom in 1970,[1] is a space-efficient probabilistic data structure that is used to test whether an element is a member of a set. False positives are possible, but false negatives are not. Elements can be added to the set, but not removed (though this can be addressed with a counting filter). The more elements that are added to the set, the larger the probability of false positives.


I’ve never understood how this works, only that it exists. I’ve also never understood how you might construct something that behaves this way that isn’t built with a computer.

Note: broken links fixed Oct 5 2010

Domesticated Crickets and the Cone Macro Flash Concentrator | The Backyard Arthropod Project

The basic idea of a non-imaging light concentrator is that if you just want bright light in a particular spot and don’t care about making the light form an optical image, you can just generally reflect random light into the desired place. The concentrated light then illuminates any subject in that spot from all sides, making a very bright yet diffuse light. This idea has already been used for concentrating sunlight for solar power applications, but as far as I can see nobody has applied it to photography. So, how about if I design one that will catch most of the light from my on-camera flash, and direct the bulk of it into the relatively small volume that I actually want to illuminate?


Innovations in lighting for macro photography, driven by the need to do well-lit photos of bugs. From the Backyard Arthropod, "A Field Guide to the North Side of Old Mill Hill, Atlantic Mine, MI".