Tuesday, August 31, 2010

WIP: 42 Day Swag, part II

I baked the guys I mentioned in my first 42 Day Swag post. The brilliant idea of acrylic paint and stamping didn't turn out so hot; the next round I think I'm going to bake the shapes first and then stamp the text directly on them.

This means I need to go out and invest, in addition to the alpha-numeric rubber stamps and glaze I bought, ink pads in assorted colors. But I need to start small (I'm not made of money! Though I do have a 40% off coupon for Jo-Ann's.) so I'm going to do what I always do when a decision has to be made: ask someone else.

What colors would you like to see in 42 Day swag?

Friday, August 27, 2010

WIP: 42 Day Swag

October 10th marks 42 Day, the only date for the next hundred years or so that can be written as 10/10/10. 101010 happens to be 42 in binary.

(Unaware of the significance of 42? Here's the answer to your question about the answer.) I'm prepping by shifting my focus away from math and chemistry and on to Douglas Adams.

Unfortunately, I am pretty bad at clay-sculpting. (Either that or I need better tools. I can't tell.) Before I make another attempt at a Babelfish, I want something a bit low-key. So I present the first step of my DNA Polymer Bits v 2.0:

The wavy orange parallelogram at the top is a towel before the screw-eyes, terrycloth stamping, and stripes painted on. Everything else will eventually have text that either reads 42 or Don't Panic. I could go a couple different directions with those:

  1. Paint on the text.
  2. Write on the text in Sharpie.
  3. Stamp in the text.
What do you think?

There's also the question of if I should, sand, glaze or just let them be. This tutorial about faux ceramic effects in polymer clay seems simple enough, and the results are really cool. Shiny, matte, or faux-ceramic?

What are you doing for 42 day?

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Save the Bats! Giveaway

Bats all over the northeast of America are dying from a devastating disease called White Nose Syndrome. Not much is known about it, except that it disturbs bats' natural hibernation patterns and sends them flying around in the winter when they should be resting. As a result, they use up all of their fat reserves (in a time of year when there is no ready food supply to replenish them), get fatigued, and die.

White Nose Syndrome is serious business. It has a mortality rate that hovers around 90%. Bats of all species—especially the little brown bat, or myotis lucifugus—are at tremendous risk. And without bats, mosquito and other pest populations will skyrocket, meaning nastier, buggier summers and more money spent on pesticides for crops.

Bats are near and dear to me personally, too. It comes from working in a cave. I'd like to able to go to work in ten, fifteen years and still have the possibility of seeing a visitor bat. :)

How the giveaway works!

  1. Find a bat item you really like on Etsy for $20 or less. I got you started with a super-cute Save the Bats! treasury, but any appropriately-priced bat item will do.
  2. Leave a link to the item here in the comments, along with an email address. To protect against spamming, I suggest disguising it along the lines of "[jane.doe] at gmail.com without the brackets" or something similar.
  3. On September 8th I will pick a random blog comment (via random number generator). The winner gets that item from me!
  4. I will also donate (and post photographic proof of me doing so ;]) the cost of the Etsy item to the National Speleological Society's WNS Rapid Response Fund. The NSS's fund goes directly towards purchasing field equipment and other necessities for field work; the more we learn about the disease, the faster we can find a cure.
  5. You get a cute little bat souvenir to help spread awareness!
  6. You may only enter with one Etsy link, but I will accept up to two bonus "entries" with comments that have a link to a Tweet, blogpost, forum comment, etc, linking back to this one. If posting in someone else's blog, forum, or other community, though, please do try to make it relevant. No spamming for the bats. ;)
  7. In the event that someone else buys what you originally wanted, the winner will get to pick another bat item at $20 or less (cost is before shipping).
  8. Winner will be announced on the blog, and contacted by email for shipping address

Look at what you could win!

amigurumi bat
Amigurumi Bat by lapage

A WonkyBat Named Quentin
A WonkyBat Named Quentin Tote Bag by WonkyRocket

bats pendant
Flying Bats Pendant by MayoMayhem

So what are you waiting for? Start shopping!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Geo-Shopping!: Golden Rhodonite

My coworkers at the bead shop are like those little cartoon consciences that show up on your shoulders...only they're always the kind with horns and pitchforks! After a lot of persuasion and convincing, I picked up the last strand we had of Golden Rhodonite.

Golden Rhodonite

I'm not sure if Golden Rhodonite is an IMA-approved name, but that's the name on the tag and it yields hits elsewhere.

Like agates, rhodonite is a silicate, meaning it's comprised primarily of silicon dioxide. It's not as abundant or as all-encompassing as the various agates, however; rhodonite wasn't even discovered until 1819, while agates are so old that they were named by the ancient Greek Theophrastus in 300 - 400 C.E.! And while you can have many different varieties of agates, rhodonite is one (and only one) specific mineral.


Rhodonite is formed when hot fluids rich in other minerals are injected into pre-existing porous rocks. The name derives from the Greek word "rhodos," meaning rosy, in reference to the stone's distinctive pink color (which comes from the manganese content of the mineral). The dark gray and black inclusions occur as a result of partial replacement from other elements (iron, magnesium).

In some occasions—most notably in Argentinian mines—sulfur mixes in with the iron replacement, creating iron pyrite in some of the iron inclusions. These samples are what are referred to as Golden Rhodonite.

Very rarely, rhodonite crystallizes, maintaining its distinctive rosy-pink coloration. This is fairly unusual, however; a sample less than 2 inches across will easily fetch a price with three digits.

Rhodonite crystals

Rhodonite quickly gained a certain level of prestige. The distinctive opaque pink of rhodonite is often used in jewelry, and it also used in gemstone carving. Both Massachusetts and the former Soviet Union, having naturally-occurring rhodonite deposits, adopted rhodonite as their official gemstones. And while the T in Boston is rather unattractive, Moscow's world-renowned metro stations are covered in beautiful rhodonite tiles.

Mayakovskaya station on the Moscow Metro

Rhodonite is a fun stone to work with. Its unique color helps fill weird gaps in gemstone color palettes and makes for exquisite, feminine jewelry. The warm flashes in Golden Rhodonite are singular and eye-catching. The whole rock goes particularly well with hematite:

rhodonite euler's number
Euler's Number: Golden Rhodonite

I'm making a limited number of pieces with these guys—the source on these, my boss tells me, was something she'll be unable to get again—but I am definitely keeping one for myself. It would make a great accent bead in a viking knit bracelet.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

42 Treasury!

My Douglas Adams "42" earrings were featured in a great treasury called "The Answer" by JenSanCandles. Awesome! And loads of neat stuff in there, too. My favorite is this photo collage:

42 the answer
The Answer is All Around Us by momerath

Thursday, August 12, 2010

An Ode to 24

Twenty-four is my favorite number. I'm not entirely sure why that is, except that maybe it's a remnant of playing too much "24" in middle school.

If you missed out on this math game phenomenon, it's quite simple: use all of the numbers on the card once and only once to get to 24. You had a whole deck, with Easy, Medium, and Hard difficulties, and you played against others (up to four players at a go). First person to get the right answer wins the card, whoever wins the most cards wins.

There are at least three different ways of getting to 24 with this pictured card. How many can you find? Read to the end to see my answer(s)!

24 Facts
  • 24 is the only number that is the product of all the numbers less than its square root.
  • 24 divides the difference between any two prime squares greater than three.
  • Subtracting one from each of its divisors (except 1 and 2, but including itself) yields a prime number - 24 is the largest number with this property.
  • 24 is the smallest abundant factorial.
  • 24 is factorial. (4!)
  • 24 = 23 x 3.
  • 24 has a unique representation as a sum of three squares: 24 = 22 + 22 + 42.
  • 24 is the smallest number with three representations as a sum of two distinct primes: 24 = 5 + 19 = 7 + 17 = 11 + 13.
  • 24 is the largest number divisible by all numbers less than its square root.
  • 24 is 44 in base 5.

(from Number a Day and NumberGossip)

Peacock Table Numbers

What I Like About 24
  • It's divisible by both 2 and 3 (and therefore 6).
  • Also, the digits add up to 6.
  • It's a multiple of 12. (I really like number that are multiples of 12, perhaps for their utility in measurements, counting time, etc)
  • The digits are multiples/factors/square roots of each other.
  • It's a multiple of both of its digits.

Twenty-Four Elephants Cross-Stitch Chart

24 game solutions:

  1. 4(2 + 3) + 4 = 24
  2. (4/2)(3)(4) = 24
  3. (4 * 4 * 3) / 2 = 24
  4. ...

What's your favorite number?

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Etsy Treasury: Luke + Alison's Wedding

To celebrate two good college friends' upcoming wedding, I put together an Etsy treasury centered around their interests, tastes, and hobbies. Alison was a math major and currently teaches math at a private school, so some of the items included were of a nice, geeky bent:

octo-pi shirt
Octo-pi Mathematics by binarywinter

fibonacci art pendant
Fibonacci Squares Pendant by banonART

hyperbolic topology plane crochet
A Hyperbolic Plane to Cal Your Own by newverse

Only twenty days to go until the wedding!