Mon Aug 01 2005 12:37 (Riana) Geeks, Fire, and Dangerous Things:
Seth and I were at Defcon in Las Vegas this weekend. Seth got our friend Praveen to bring Seth's giant Fresnel lens to the con when Praveen drove out on Saturday. The Fresnel lens is roughly 1 meter in diameter. On Sunday afternoon, as the con was winding down, we took the lens (wrapped in a black sheet for safety) out to a quiet back lot behind the convention hotel and, though the sky was overcast with a thin cloud layer so that we could not focus direct sunlight through the lens, we set some stuff on fire.
Seth brought four pairs of welding goggles and two pairs of sunglasses for the group, plus safety gloves for whoever held the lens. It was about 102 degrees out, scorching hot even with the clouds, but before the heat drove me back indoors, I watched Seth and David Weekly burn a brown spot into the side of an aluminum can; turn a piece of wood to charcoal; set aflame and burn through a handful of dry grass; and light an onlooker's cigarette (placed on the ground, not in his mouth!). They also tried unsuccessfully to melt a penny and a quarter. I guess it's not as easy as I thought to burn through your money in Las Vegas.
(13) Tue Aug 02 2005 23:06 (Sumana) The Right To Bear Fardels:
During a recent summit The Poor Man made some nonsensical remark denying that there's any humor in C.S. Lewis or Shakespeare. One of those half-drunk "contrarian = sophisticated" bits of bollocks.
In refutation, I've found my favorite (so far) joke in the Bard: Act III, Scene 2 of Hamlet, the bit about Guildenstern, Hamlet, and the pipe. Gertrude has sent Tweedlecrantz and Guildendee to check on why Hamlet Jr. is acting so crazay. Our goth protagonist asks Guildenstern to try playing a recorder.
In the four-hour Kenneth Branagh version this little rant is especially breathtaking.
I know no touch of it, my lord.
It is as easy as lying. Govern these ventages with your
fingers and thumbs, give it breath with your mouth, and it will
discourse most eloquent music. Look you, these are the stops.
But these cannot I command to any utt'rance of harmony. I
have not the skill.
Why, look you now, how unworthy a thing you make of me! You
would play upon me; you would seem to know my stops; you would
pluck out the heart of my mystery; you would sound me from my
lowest note to the top of my compass; and there is much music,
excellent voice, in this little organ, yet cannot you make it
speak. 'Sblood, do you think I am easier to be play'd upon than a
pipe? Call me what instrument you will, though you can fret me,
you cannot play upon me.
(1) Fri Aug 05 2005 08:40 (Pete) The Eagle Has Landed:
We made it. I'm writing this now via some neighbor's wireless.