||[Aug. 25th, 2008|03:43 pm]
1) I've just figured out: Three-section staff and whip chain and other soft weapons are stacked at the high end of the Shaolin training regimens because self-injury of practitioners, especially during combat, is injurious not only to their bodily integrity, but their schools' reputations. They keep these weapons because competent users do help said reputations.
2) Web-garnered knowledge has an annoying property. On the one hand, I can learn enough to make predictions about how things work and feel all scientific when they are borne out. On the other hand, often the only reason I find said properties discussed in accessible format-- instead of being tied up in wiltingly expensive journals or patents that spent most of their verbiage claiming absurdly general things-- is that I've discovered a message board where pseudonymous folks are discussing how best to make some nicknamed substance or other without alarming their neighbors or choking or exploding or such. That, or it's on Wikipedia. The line appears to be blurry sometimes.
*sigh* Someday, I _will_ assemble a strong ampoule or such which can be placed in hot or cold baths and allow the opalescence of a critical consolute transition to be observed within. I bet it can be done without such glassworking, and I'm almost certain it can be coaxed out of ordinary isopropyl alcohol in brine, but the relevant pseudoternary phase charts are nowhere to be found!
3) I've finally found an explanation for a family of sundials that relies on pictures to explain the relevant geometry instead of trigonometric functions. Great sanity check to see if you've misremembered, and more extensible too. Within that family I've discovered the Foster-Lambert dial too, which offers many opportunities not normally afforded by sundials in its circular, evenly-marked shape. Setting and adjustment. Scope of starting materials. Even... steampunk possibilities.
4) Faraday rotators. There has to be a way to exploit them in nonimaging optics, and I mostly mean jewelry.