Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Screen printing

Screen printing is one of those fields where instructions are woefully incomplete. You need to screw up a few things to figure out what you're not being told.

Here's the project.

I'd done some screen printing in college, but it turns out there were a few things the teacher did for us that I didn't know about. Which is a problem when you're learning so you can teach others.

Here's a quick summary of how screen printing works. You've got a screen. And you print through it.

More detail? The screen is held taut in a frame. You apply a light sensitive material over the screen and leave it in the dark to dry. You take the design you want on your shirt and print it on a transparency. You know, what your teacher used to use on the overhead projector. Then you put the transparency on the screen and place it all under a bright UV light. The light makes anything not shaded by the ink on the transparency harden. Then you wash off anything that was under the ink. After the screen dries you put in on a shirt where you want it, put colored ink on the screen and put it over the opening with a squeegee. Remove the screen and repeat with as many shirts as you want. Let them dry and use an iron to fix the ink better.

The first thing I didn't know was that the bottle of photosensitive goop isn't automatically photosensitive. You have to add a second bottle and shake it all up. The only thing the instructions said was a single mention of both bottles.

The second thing involved cleaning the screens. Instructions said treat the hardened goop with a chemical and spray it with hot water while scrubbing with a brush. They don't say that the water should be sprayed with a pressure washer.

The third thing was how long to expose the screen to the light. There is a chart that depends on the bulb, the reflector, and a variety of other factors. Exposure can run from only 5 minutes to 45 minutes. 5-8 minutes kinda did the job, but the goop still washed away a bit and pulled away from the screen in places. 45 minutes did the job, but made the girl at the art store look at me in horror. So... 15 minutes next time?
Also, the light says it only lasts 3 hours. So, 1 down. I might need a dark room timer.

Still, I think I've about got one color shirts. Now to try 2 and 3 color shirts.

p.s. - I showed the group 5 colors of shirts. The 4 shown above and one in bright, neon, electric lime. Guess which one they picked.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Baltimore riots

I'm OK! Despite the chaos here in Baltimore over the last few days it hasn't touched me.

You may have heard about the guy whose back was broken by Baltimore police. He was enough of a troublemaker that the police knew him. He saw the police and ran. The police gave chase based solely on the fact that he was known, in a bad neighborhood, and was running. They searched him and found an illegal switchblade. They put him in irons and threw him in a police van. Between the time when he went in the van and when he came out his spine was severed. He died a few days later.

Some think that his back was broken when cops stepped on his back, but cellphone footage showed him getting into the van under his own power.

Saturday the protests started up the street from me at Camden Yards, home of the Orioles and only a mile and a half (2.4 km) from me. The peaceful protests turned violent, but didn't get out of control. There was more on Sunday. Monday was the funeral for the man who was injured in police custody. His family asked for people to stop protesting for the day and pick it up again on Tuesday. Instead a message went out on social media calling for congregation after school at Mondawmin Mall, a known rough area, and then moving toward downtown in a "purge". This is thought to be a reference to the movie "The Purge" where everything is legal for one day.

A neighbor was sent home around 3:00 from her job at a university near Mondawmin. Her and all the students and workers. When I flipped on the news I saw live footage of a line of riot cops facing a loose crowd of high school students who kept milling about and throwing stuff at the cops. Suddenly, the cops surged forward as one and cleared the street. The wall moved up the street driving the crowd and being fed by more cops coming from around the state. Cops were hit and sent to the hospital. People were arrested. Then cars started getting destroyed and set on fire. A 7-11 was swarmed and looted. Then a CVS. But they mostly stayed away from homes. Partially because the police seemed to be more concerned with protecting residences than businesses. Then cops arrested some people watching from their own yards just watching the chaos go past.

As the wall of cops passed, you saw one woman come out and start sweeping up the rocks and debris from the road.

There were three major points of violent action at the beginning. They migrated, split, moved. I watched a group of about 18 walk across a baseball field looking like something from a zombie flick. They tried to break into a RiteAid, but the glass wouldn't break. They continued on down a street that would have eventually taken them to Camden Yard. But the news turned back to the big mob. The CVS was eventually set on fire as the wall of cops finally reached there. People were hanging around down near the waterfront waiting for the mob to arrive so they could join in the looting. I don't think the mob ever got there.

People were playing basketball in the street in front of my house.

Many universities shut down. The mall and surrounding businesses did the same. Most of the businesses along the downtown waterfront area did, too. But the Orioles game that night wasn't cancelled until 30 minutes before game time. Some people were already in their seats when they were told to go home. Knowing that this was going to be a target for the rioters, they should have shut down earlier than they did. The police were already there using the stadium as a staging area and launching point because they knew that place was going to be a target.

With all the police pushing out, Mondawmin Mall still got looted.

I talked to one of the neighbor kids. He said his cousin was part of the group that looted the 7-11. She (the cousin) said all she got was a package of Reese's Peanut Butter Cups. Which tells you something about the motivations. Some people were angry about their life and lack of chances in life. This bit of police brutality was just the straw that broke the camel's back. For some it was an excuse to break things and steal stuff. Probably more of this than the first group. Then there were the people who just wanted to be involved. They wanted to be able to say they were there, in the middle of it. Years from now they'll tell their kids they were part of the 2015 Baltimore Riots. It was fun. They were part of something.

After dark, after the National Guard showed up, we lost track of crowd movements. Many people went home. The ones out for fun went to get supper. But fires continued breaking out all over town. The closest they got to me (that I heard about) was 2.5 miles (4 km) away at Lexington Market (George Washington and Thomas Jefferson shopped here). The Bloods and Crips came out saying that the story that they were plotting to kill cops was totally untrue and that they were out trying to stop the looting.

So, yeah! Exciting! But I was in the clear.

Friday, April 24, 2015

Friday Links: April 24

Game: Interlocked - disconnect the oddly shaped blocks from each other. [link]

First look at this picture. [picture]
Now watch the picture while listening to any of these songs. [song 1] [song 2] [song 3]
And, of course, Yakkity Sax.

This comic story about a clockwork chess player is done and available online. [link]

The elevator in the new World Trade Center shows a time lapse video of the development of New York City's skyline as it goes up. [link]

Fun with sentences. [link]

Gluten: the facts. [link]

Mom livetweets her son's abstinence sex-ed class. [link]

That's not how Arthur C Clarke saw things. [link]

Dubai's Mall of the World plans. [link]

Body of missing man shows up. The thing is, his family confessed to cutting him up and feeding him to the dogs. [link]

Bank of America is dicks. [story 1] [story 2]

Netflix's market value exceeds CBS. [link]

Johnny Cash Machines. [link]

Footage from a new camera outside the ISS. [link]

China's nail houses. [link]

The troubled history of the Ant Man movie. [link]
I'll see it, but I already wish Edgar hadn't left. He's what gave me faith that it wouldn't be a waste of time.

Photos to show how vast space is. [link]

Cheese was invented due to an environmental crisis. [link]

Astronomers against automatic lawnmowers. [link]

Victorian Swiss Army gadget for women. [link]

How Facebook's free internet is actually a really bad thing. [link]

DaVinci's resume. [link]

This explains why there's so much police outreach in Baltimore. They're compensating. [link]

The prevalence of Eenie Meenie Miney Moe. [link]

Kermit found in Costa Rica. [link]

Friday, April 17, 2015

Friday Links: April 17

Options for opting out. You can opt out of getting phone books! [link]

The concrete in Hoover Dam is still curing. [link]

A baboon that worked at as railroad signalman. [link]

AT&T asks why a town would want 1Gbps internet when they already provide perfectly good 6Mbps. [link]
AT&T isn't very bright.

America gives up on abstinence programs in Africa. [link]

Man becomes a Chinese celebrity by having his phone stolen. [link]

Dancing droplets. I don't understand, but I like it.

There's now a "dot sucks" domain. It may be just a way to extort money from companies. [link]

Free Range Parenting - same parents as before, second time the kids were taken. [link]

Veterinary services for the pets of homeless people. [link]

Yea and nay have actual meaning separate from yes and no. [link]

What happens to your phone if Apple or Google goes out of business? And what if your phone is what makes your arm work? [link]

I heard about the ISSpresso machine on the radio. I accurately guessed what it looks like. [link]

Loch Ness soup ladle. [link]

Blackwater guards sentenced for killing of unarmed Iraqi citizens. [link]

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Book Review: Galileo's Dream

I'm a fan of author Kim Stanley Robinson, but I'm also the first to admit that he can be verbose. He can spend a ridiculous amount of space writing in accurate detail about something of almost no interest to anyone. But that just means that his subject is incredibly well researched and that he's extremely knowledgable about the subject at hand. And I say all this to let you know that I found almost none of "Galileo's Dream" uninteresting. Long, yes. But not dull.

If you've read or listened to "Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter" (not watched. The movie is a different beast entirely) then you know that it is essentially a Lincoln biography with vampires used to explain events in his life and actions he's taken. "Galileo's Dream" is a similar take on the life of Galileo Galilei. Only, instead of vampires our hero gets periodically transported to the moons of Jupiter around 3500 AD, give or take. So, most of the book is straight biography. But around far flung Jupiter conflicting factions feud about whether to explore the oceans under the ice of Europa. Galileo is brought forward in time to help advise them on the proper course of action, but mostly acts as an observer. Inevitably, he learns of his own fate and endeavors to avoid being burned at the stake.

As so often happens in Robinson's books, the action picks up 100 pages from the end. That's when Galileo's trial finally starts. And somehow he manages to succeed in saving himself. Then he learns of multiple timelines. While he may not have burned, another Galileo did. And how would history have been different if that Pope had been free to embrace Galileo's writings instead of hamstrung by politics? If the Catholic church hadn't martyred Galileo or even took science into itself?

It was a good book and I'm glad I read it, but you must be prepared to read a book that is mostly an unchanged biography of Galileo with a bit of self reflection thrown in for good measure.

Monday, April 13, 2015


On Friday Netflix released season 1 of Daredevil. For those of you who don't know the character, Daredevil is a blind superhero whose day job is defense attorney Matt Murdock. So you have two major openings for story telling: bad guy ass kicker and courtroom drama.

Being the first episode, they have to catch the audience's attention and cram a lot into an hour to do so. So it opens with a quick origin story before the opening credits. He loses his vision in the same chemical spill that spawn the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (not mentioned in the show). The question remaining whether the chemicals gave him super hearing or if we're still going with just learning to use hearing better because he's blind. The next scene explains tangentially that he learned to fight because his father's a boxer. Not that he uses many boxing moves. Then we need an action sequence to grab the audience's attention. So our masked hero busts up a kidnapping for a sex slave ring. Then we see Matt and his friend Foggy getting the offices for their brand new law firm. They're getting a place cheap, because the neighborhood is rebuilding from the damage done in The Avengers. Rather than have a few episodes setting up the formula for the show their first case walks them into organized crime. But the show does focus primarily on the legal aspect of his life. For the little we see Daredevil he's not scanning the room from a single ping like Ben Affleck. And while he is a great fighter, he's still human. He does take out 4 thugs early on, but the professional hit man proves to be a struggle that he clearly takes it's toll. This makes Daredevil less like Batman and more like the strictly human detective/vigilantes that dominated the comic books before super powers became the norm.

The show ends with a montage showing first all the people Murdock was unable to save for the one cute girl that he managed to rescue and then the extent of the empire that he has to face.

All in all, I think we have a winner here. Daredevil is a more effective TV series than movie franchise. I don't think it'll reach the level of appreciation I have for Gotham or The Flash, but I think I'll like it.

Episode 2 is starting now with Daredevil starting off unconscious in a dumpster. I'm really liking him as merely a human with fighting skills.

Marvel has to get Spiderman back. Spidey is a total crossover whore and this show takes place in his primary stomping grounds.

Note: Marvel Studios got the rights Daredevil back after whichever studio had them let the rights lapse when they couldn't summon the support to make another bad movie.

Friday, April 10, 2015

Friday Links: April 10

Comcast's lies force a guy to sell his house. [link]

Trial by combat may still be legal. [link]

UPS repairs your Toshiba crap. [link]

Plants can "hear" running water. [link]

Short story about a woman who runs a battlemech. [link]

Richard Thompson and Bill Watterson have a chat. [link 1] [link 2]

Great. Now I will never turn on the lights in my rental place. [link]

Milled out ice cubes. [link]

Space sounds [link]

The US Department of Agriculture Forest Service's guide to mixing drinks. [link]
Yeah, I dunno either.

Hadron collider powers back on. [link]

More Star Wars legacy vs BluRay comparison. [link]

A plane passing through a cloud.

So little inspiration to read the rest of these articles.

Thursday, April 02, 2015

Friday Links: April 3

An amazingly detailed papercraft Millenium Falcon. [link]
No plans available. Sorry.

How Moonquakes differ from Earthquakes. [link]

The history of the MGM lion. [link]

Christian pulls the Black Like Me trick but "turns gay" for a year in a Christian community. [link]
And then has to leave the area for lying to both his church community and the gay community.

Online April Fools joke list. [link]

How did they miss's annual product punking? [link]

Half Life 2 set to Cotton Eyed Joe.

Was one of the guys with a head crab dancing?

Game: GoogleFeud - Family Feud with Google results. [link]

Movie cliches. [link]

Thomas Edison's list of questions shows that he wouldn't hire you. [link]

A realistic super villain plot. [link]

Pornographic cyrillic alphabet book to fight Soviet illiteracy. [link]
Really? You needed me to say "NSFW"? I already said "pornographic".

Tortoise chases off camera men who interrupt it's mating.

Apparently American politicians blow cold air, not hot, and it makes a difference. [link]

What happens if a nuke goes off over New York City? [link]