An Ill-Engineered Alarm Clock Feature

My alarm clock, just several years old, has a seemingly nifty feature that actually backfires.

This feature is essentially a projector of the time against a ceiling, to be used typically at night.  Imagine, time on your ceiling!

But, not so fast.  The projected time, by our perception it becomes blurred when viewed in the very milieu that it was made for:  a nighttime room!

So, what’s the secret?  Central vision works best in sufficiently bright light, due to its domination of cones.  On the other hand, vision in the dark is run by rod cells, which dwell outside that central region of the retina. So the point of the projected image your eyes are focused on is actually fuzzy.  Moreover, since only cones can process light info that contains color, they are disadvantaged in a dark room as such.  Of course, the alarm clock proper does not bear this difference, for this display, by its nature is its own light source.  And now that I have advised you of this sly feature, I hope you can get a better understanding of this.  (They probably should have consulted a neuroscientist, neurologist or ophthalmologist for better insight.  LOL)

And for the stargazers among you, this is true for dim stars, which can only be seen at a  directly adjacent point.

Alarm Projector
While there is apparently no difference in visibility in a camera, when your eyes actually this very image, you may have to “zig-zag” your gaze to get the time, or just use the commonsense method, look at the clock itself!

As a man blessed as a articulate writer and knowledge liaison, again and again you can count on me for making the arcane, technical world of science (and other topics) yours, especially after further schooling (and perhaps personal study of these secular topics).  And this may be a good time to focus my blog as I follow my Lord and Savior Jesus.

I must mention a key Scripture passage: the Parable of the Talents in Matthew 25, that whatever you’ve been given, you should appreciate, and indeed build upon that.  The word “talent” in that time, which was a very large monetary unit, has been adopted into English as what it means now:  a natural skill, honed by practice!  So don’t take your talents lightly.  The parable, as usual, is what Jesus spoke to the disciples.

So be a wise consumer.  Pray for what you need.  And remember, even the finest things earth has to offer is not even near perfect.


Putting Technology Where it (Could) Belong

Tonight, I moved the computer to a strategically better place, which happens to be the, yes, dinette set in my apartment!

Bedroom Desk
My bedroom desk, that has now become low-tech.


Computer On the DInette
The computer’s home now, where it has been previously placed.


Let’s do a “SWOT” analysis:

Strengths:  The computer is now nearby my 1981 print Britannica set (as well as a useful supplement to the modern Britannica internet service) and many other great books.  It also serves as further discipline for the lust issues (sparing the gory details, of course!) which has been, thanks to faith in God, plummeting.  And of course, many other great websites.  My room without the computer allows for quality study without the cares of the internet or other computer applications (the king of them, in my opinion, is most likely Facebook).

Weaknesses:  Many other books are in my own room, so both sites can mutually could be “lending libraries.”  In other words, not only does a book taken from the bedroom need to be returned, but a material taken to the bedroom must also be returned.

Opportunities:  Move as many books as possible from my room to this “information station,” as well as obtaining more bookcases as appropriate.  This allows one library per my apartment.  When I want to get down and dirty with such a reading or study, I shall take it to my room until I’m finished, and thus return them to the (single) home library.Threats:  While there is no loan period (after all, it’s not a true lending library, it’s hyperbole), they should be put back when I am done using them.   The key enemy here is laziness, an trait that makes the autism spectrum a liability.  Also, I put so much debt (not in money, but progress) toward books when the earlier portions are attacked by others.  Therefore, willpower aided by God and His Word will get me success.

Interestingly enough, this SWOT analysis was done after the move.  I must be a good strategic planner already!  Yet, a SWOT analysis is a very helpful tool!


Globetrotting with Google Maps

On a tight budget?  Afraid of planes?  No worries, you can see the world with Google Maps!

I’ve looked at some European lands already, including the Nordic lands of Denmark and Sweden.  Due to a dream about traveling through what was (supposed to be) Mexico, I went to Google Maps, and I pulled up the state of Chihuahua (and there were no dogs running around!  LOL)

Chihuahua, MX
A desert road in the Mexican state of Chihuahua.

Since I was traveling through the desert in the dream, I thought it was more appropriate to showcase such in this blog post today rather than an urban scene.  From what I remember from the dream (remember, dream details, as usual, tend to fade quickly), the desert had commerce in certain pockets, with one chain restaurant, I picked a random rural road, and got as close to the dream as you can get.

Any other ideas for a virtual trip, be it foreign or domestic?  Just type it in Google Maps.

I must advise you, however, that this method is no substitute for going there.  You’ll see the region, but won’t experience it.  No social interaction, no cuisine, no folk dances, etc.  Overall, no cultural encounter.  And not only are some roads and streets not represented, some entire lands, particularly North Korea, are off-limits.  (I wonder if Cuba is, now that we’re getting more friendly with them.)

A perfect analogy, being a college student as well as an overall lifelong learner:  taking a college course on a subject give more “meat” to it than simply reading a textbook on such, sans the instructor (one thing I struggled with for quite a few years, until I figured it out and came to terms with its imperfection).  A textbook will present the facts, and perhaps explain them quite well (depending on the title, as well as the existing knowledge base and intelligence of the person reading them).  But you will not have a lecture or homework, and in the case of science subjects, a lab.  Moreover, without the professor, you may not get the exact information that the text is trying to convey, and of course, none of his/her additional factoids.  But, sometimes a text alone is enough when you want to read it “just for fun” rather than by assignment, despite the inevitable trade-off.  (By the way, now that I have settled down on Biology as a major, most of my other textbook pleasure readings, at least for now, deal with other subjects outside the curriculum.  But after graduation, there may be other texts, read for fun, that may lie in the domain of biology (namely, subjects not offered or taken), as well as outside.

The trade-off is the same with Google Maps.  Of course, in keeping with that analogy, for business travel, Google Maps is not an option.  But, for pleasure, it’s up to you if you want a more superficial “travel” through Google Maps or a real trip to the actual destination.  And if you can’t do it, so be it, just like my own academic dabblings outside my intended major of Biology.  Since in either case, I’m “dabbling,” I’m content.

Don’t be a stranger!

Reading and Learning 21st Century Style

These may not last very long.
These may not last very long.

(Disclaimer:  This is not an endorsement for any organization, including eSword, Phoenix, Britannica, Amazon, etc.)

First papyrus, then Gutenberg’s printing press.  And now, there’s the internet, which has many sites (alas, of varying trustworthiness) to view.

For example, the e-Sword computer program, provides commentaries and other great resources for Bible study.

While my time at Phoenix U (the popular online school) was short, I still get to enjoy the textbooks (and other library resources) they have.  I am one of those few who would read a textbook for fun, and enjoy it.  Some are directly viewable on the Phoenix portal, others must be downloaded.  Still, it is invaluable, both for first-time reading and review.  If I feel disposed to do so, I’d be more than happy to blog about updates in fields of such.

And of course, you got the Amazon Kindle, and Barnes & Noble’s rival (the Nook).  This will make all valid books (which is only a fraction of all books out there) available on either format, and may lead to their print demise.

While I probably prefer physical books over an e-book, life goes on and print books are on their slow decline.  The beloved Encyclopedia Britannica, for example, is only available online; print and CD/DVD versions have been discontinued.  The online Britannica, by the way, is also available via Phoenix as well as the Community College of Philadelphia library.

And of course, there’s the pesky Wikipedia.  (Need I say more?)

So whether you prefer the old-school (pardon the pun) physical book format, online reading, or a little of both, all learning and other reading won’t change.