Generating Maps

This is cool stuff: (Via Atlas Obscura) dynamically creating fantastical maps of places that never existed. I remember creating maps when I was doing D&D worlds; it’s harder than you’d expect, if you’re trying to make something that looks semi-realistic.

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The idea that you can tell things about a person from their appearance underlies the entire point of dressing up, wearing make-up, and being concerned with our appearance. There are probably some things you might be able to assume from a person’s looks, but it’s still going to be pretty unreliable: you can’t tell someone’s a terrorist because they “look muslim” because “looking muslim” is a vague concept to begin with.

What about people who look like criminals?

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Oh, It’s Weed Day?

Weed never did much for me. The first time I smoked it, I was watching Cosby, Himself and laughed so hard I think I separated a rib. Subsequent times, I just immediately head for the couch and go to sleep. If I need to sleep, I’ll just read a book on ethics.

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More on Braiding Machines

When I was in high school I got an old singer sewing machine at the goodwill, managed to adjust it until it worked correctly again, and used it for light leather-work. Sewing machines and rope-making machines have a similar problem: you want to get the thread around the bobbin without moving it – which is a really complicated trick since (for the bobbin to be stable) there has to be some kind of supporting thing that holds the bobbin.

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A Knife Mounting

I’ve always loved knives and swords – since as long as I can remember. When I was a kid I wanted to forge samurai swords. It wasn’t until much, much later that I learned that some things are outside of your scope, unless you grow up in the right time and place (in which case, being a sword-smith is probably “meh” to you…)

The availability of modern tools and a better understanding of metallurgy has made it much easier to do laminated blades – though contrary to the legend of Bill Moran figuring out how to do “damascus” all over again – the process was never lost. (And there are multiple processes that go under the same name.) Anyhow, nowadays there are some really great, affordable, pieces made using powdered steels and CNC cutters – it’s possible to get what would be a legendary blade for under $100.

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Mecha Kumihimo

The other day I mentioned a steam-powered rope-braiding machine. And I got a lovely email from one of The Commentariat, with a link to a very cool Japanese rope-braiding artist who does amazing work. I immediately shared that link with all my rope-kinky friends, who are now all variously happy and envious.

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