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⊙ AntiQuark

Truth, Beauty, Charm, Strange


Ninotech Path Copy

Ninotech Path Copy is a shell extension for Windows 95, 98, NT4, 2000, and XP that enables to copy the path of a file or directory to the Clipboard. You can then paste the path in to your document, e-mail, etc.


Stop Cassini; Amateur Costumes

The out-of-date campaign to prevent the launch of the Cassini probe. So, what these guys do when someone starts telling them about recent Saturn discoveries... Do they put their hands over their ears and say "I CAN'T HEAR YOU LA LA LA"?

The Room of Doom

Funny gallery of amateur Star Wars costumes.


Square Earth; Perpetual Motion

The shape of the Earth can be determined solely from biblical passages:
Why the Earth must be square
We know that God is perfect. God would, therefore, have created the Earth in the most perfect shape possible. As I've already proven, we know from Rev 7:1, Isaiah 11:12, and Job that the Earth must be a rhombus of some sort. It makes good Biblical sense that God would have created Earth to be the most perfect kind of rhombus possible. The most perfect kind of rhombus is the square. Its rectilinear corners perfectly match the rectitude of God. Therefore, the Earth must be square.

Perpetual Motion Pioneers (The Movers and Shakers.)
Well-illustrated page on the origins of basic perpetual motion ideas. Leonardo Da Vinci was one of the earliest debunkers:
Leonardo's famous comment comparing perpetual motion seekers to alchemists is often quoted. "Oh, ye seekers after perpetual motion, how many vain chimeras have you pursued? Go and take your place with the alchemists." The last reference is to "seekers after gold", which at least one translator has misinterpreted as "gold-diggers".
There are doodles in his notebooks of such devices, but
We often can't determine whether a particular device included in his notebooks was of his own design, or of someone else, and we can't always know whether Leonardo considered it workable or practical.

A google image search returns many results for leonardo perpetual motion or davinci perpetual motion. Mostly scans of the scripts, and some photographs of "working" models.


Inverse Kinematics - New Methods

How to control the joints of a robotic arm so the endpoint (or hand) goes where you want it to go. This page also talks about fine tuning the control algorithms to avoid obstacles or awkward joint positions.
When you reach out with your arm and touch something, there are an infinite number of ways you could do it. Importantly, you could have your elbow pointing down, up, sideways, or anywhere inbetween. You could have your fingers straight or bent. The inverse kinematics we have seen so far could come up with any of these solutions, because it has no reason to choose one over the others, as long as the target is reached.

All we need to do, to make things look comfortable, is to impose a small 'penalty' for uncomfortable or unnatural positions. It depends how you define these things, but for something like a human arm, natural suggests lazy. I don't want to lift my arm any higher than I have to. Therefore, we can add to our error function, a cost for the centre of gravity of the arm.


Javascript Regular Expressions

This VisiBone Javascript regular expression reference isn't very easy to follow... but in a purely artistic sense, it looks great!

The people at VisiBone have also provided freely available HTML, hex color and decimal color popups. Good work, er, VisiBoners!


Bruce Lee

"Bruce may be gone - but he still kicks ass! Pictures only on this page. I've visited dozens of Bruce sites and the following pictures are not on any of them yet."

The Feats of Bruce Lee
"Bruce had this trademark "One Inch Punch", he could send individuals (Some of whom outweighed him by over 100lbs) flying through the air where they'd crash to the ground 15 feet away."
"Bruce's waist measurement certainly benefited from all of the attention he paid to his ab program. At it's largest, his waist was 28 inches. At it's smallest, his waist measured under 26 inches".
"Bruce could thrust his fingers through unopened cans of Coca-Cola. (This was when soft drinks cans were made of steel much thicker than today's aluminium cans)"


Nuclear Slide Rules; Radium Suppositories

Nuclear Slide Rules
...This calculator is used to estimate the yield, in kilotons, of a nuclear weapon. It permits various measured parameters of the explosion to be used: the time in seconds from the flash to the bang and the observed width of the cloud; the distance to ground zero and the observed width of the cloud; the fireball illumination time, and; the flash to band time and the elevation angle.
(via The Oughtred Society)

And looking further on the site, I rediscovered a page that I blogged a looong time ago, but that appears to have been updated somewhat...

Radioactive Quack Cures
Here are few of the new items (at least, items I don't remember seeing before): Radium Bath Salts, Radium Bread, Radioactive Toothpaste and, last but not least, Radium Suppositories.

Early Image

Early Image: A Collection of Illustrations From
Popular Sources Published Prior to 1923
The copyrights on these images have recently expired, so now they're freely available for public use. The page is divided into before KT and after KT sections. (The KT Event was the global catastrophe that wiped out the dinosaurs and allowed mammals to take over. )

Now I can put pictures of dinosaurs,

prehistoric mammals,

and lovely scenes from the depths of time,

on my webpage without breaking any laws. Hooray for non-perpetual copyrights!

It looks like there won't be another batch of expired copyrights anytime soon. From the Project Gutenberg page:
1. Works first published before January 1, 1923 with proper copyright notice entered the public domain no later than 75 years from the date copyright was first secured. Hence, all works whose copyrights were secured before 1923 are now in the public domain.

Works published from 1923-1977 retain copyright for 95 years. No such works will enter the public domain until 2019.
2019??? Jesus.


Bookmarklet Roundup

Here are the five fundamental bookmarklets of eBaying. Simply drag the links below to your Links bar (or to a folder on your Links bar), or right-click on the bookmarklet and manually add it to your Favorites. (Note: these work for Mozilla-based browsers only.)

eBay Edit Note

This bookmarklet lets you immediately add or edit a text note to an eBay item you're viewing. This is an improvement on the first version, which can be found here. It optionally lets you copy-and-paste an eBay item number from somewhere else. I also renamed it to more accurately describe its behavior. After installation, you may have to change the to (or whatever country you're in) and EBAY_USER_ID to whatever your eBay ID is. Nevertheless, it seems to work if you don't make those changes.

eBay Goto Item

This lets you jump directly to an eBay item by copying-and-pasting the item number from somewhere else. You may have to change in the URL, depending on your country.

eBay Neg Feedback Filter

This will filter out all the positive feedbacks for a user, showing only the negative and neutral ones. (via

Image Zoom In

Image Zoom Out

These will increase or decrease the sizes of all the images in a page, so you don't have to crane your neck to get a better look at a small picture. (both via


Steroids, Sellers, Filters and Flowcharts

Some backlog clearing...

The Olympian's from 1965 - 2003
Gallery of top bodybuilders from '65 to '03. The guy from '77 is a little on the skinny side... relatively speaking.

Best/Worst eBay sellers
I looked up a few of the worst at eBay. They've long been suspended, but I was amazed by how many people kept buying and buying from these sellers even after their rating reached the sub-zero level.

Negative/Neutral eBay Filter
Now this is a useful little bookmarklet. It lets you filter through all the feedback comments and extracts only the negative or neutral ones (which really are the ones that matter.)

IBM Flowcharting Techniques
A 40 page manual (PDF format) from 1970 explaining how to properly draw a flowchart. Why this page was in my backlog I do not know. I probably bookmarked it while I was trance-surfing at 3 AM one night.


EBay "Add Note" Bookmarklet

EBay lets you add short text notes to items you're watching, which is useful, but the interface is very inconvenient to use. If you're looking at an item and want to add a note, you have to first Watch This Item, then go to the My Ebay page, display All Items I'm Watching, then either visually scan the page for the item, or do a Find for the item number (which is likely if you're watching more than 10 items). Once you've done all that, then you can add a note.

This little Javascript-enabled bookmark (or bookmarklet) lets you bypass that tedious process. Once it's installed on your Links bar, all you have to do is first Watch This Item for an item you're looking at, then click on the Add Note bookmarklet. A new window will open and you can add your note.

Installation Instructions
  • Drag the Add Note link (below) to your Links toolbar.

    Add Note

    If dragging doesn't work, right-click on it and Add to Favorites into the Links folder.

  • Once it's there, right-click on it and select "Properties"
  • In the URL or Location, find the part "" near the beginning, and replace it with the proper domain for your country, such as "" or "".
  • Find the word EBAY_USER_ID and replace it with your eBay userid.

Your Add Note bookmarklet is now installed. Now you may click it whenever you're looking at an eBay item and a new page will open to let you add a note.

  • In Mozilla, the new window always opens in the background. I'm not sure how to get around this. Works fine in IE though.
  • I tested this only for and
  • If you Add Note on an item you are not yet watching, the item still won't appear in your watch list. Strangely enough, it seems that if you watch the item after that, your note is still there.
  • The regular expression used to extract the eBay item number is very simplistic. All it does is scan the page for the first ten-digit number. Thus, if the description of the item has a big number in it, the bookmarklet will think that's the item number.
  • If eBay changes the parameters to their CGI scripts, I'm positive this bookmarklet will stop working.


Boost Logo Contest

The Boost C++ Library project is having a logo contest. Boost is a massive, well-written library that makes full use of every advanced feature of C++. Here's the original announcement.

One of the requirements seems a little onerous:
- Any logo submission that is blatantly racist, sexist, obscene, or otherwise discriminatory will be rejected.
Well that eliminates 90% of my ideas.

If you win, you get a T-shirt with your logo on it, as well as a book on C++ Template Metaprogramming.

With the help of an artistically gifted cow-orker, I designed my very own logo submission:

If I were an artsy fartsy type I would say, "the logo evokes parallel themes - boosting energy - positivity - fundamental components - energy and attraction - OO, object oriented - incremental advances - separation yet unity." (Did you hear the one about the Zen Buddhist who went to Subway? He walks up to the counter and says "make me one with everything.")

Afterwards, I did some google searching and found a preliminary not-really-public Boost logo page (which doesn't seem available at the moment):Preliminary Logos. Wow, my logo looks a lot like some of their logos. I guess you can only go so far with the word "boost", the letter "C" and "+" symbols.


Slide Rule Tricks

X-treme Slide-rulering circa 1976

If you thought Zippo lighter tricks were pointless, then you've never seen slide rule tricks.

The main purpose of slide rules is to do multiplication. Slide rules were never designed for addition... OR WERE THEY? If you ignore the fact that addition is trivial with a pencil and paper, and is possible to do mentally without being a superhuman, you might find the addition tricks useful (assuming you still use a slide rule.)

Another trick is that you can multiply with a slide rule. Yeah I know, slide rules were designed for multiplying. But the cool thing is, you can multiply WITH THE WRONG SCALES!

So, next time someone at a party starts with the lighter tricks, just whip out your slipstick and wow the crowd with the following maneuvers...

Adding with the C and D scales.

The C and D scales are logarithmic scales designed for multiplication. Since we want the result of x + y, we need to find a multiplier (let's call it m) such that x * m = x + y. Solving for m:

x * m = x + y
m = x/x + x/y
m = x/y + 1

Following the steps below will multiply x by x/y+1, resulting in x + y.

Example: calculate 2.3 + 4.5

- Move the leftmost '1' of the C scale to 2.3 on the D scale.
- Move the cursor to 4.5 on the D scale.
- Notice that the cursor is at 1.956 on the C scale.
- Mentally add 1 to 1.956 to get 2.956. Move the cursor to 2.956 on the
C scale.
- The cursor will now be at the sum of 2.3 + 4.5 on the D scale, or 6.8.

Adding with the L scale

There isn't really anything special about this trick. L (or Log) scales
on a slide rule are unusual in that they are evenly spaced like a
regular measuring scale. As a result, simple addition of the distances
on the L scale is equivalent to numeric addition. Any ruler with an L scale won't do though; the L scale has to be on the slider for this trick to work. It seems that this layout was more common on Picketts than on any other brand.

Example: calculate 0.23 + 0.45

- "Reset" the rule so that all the scales are lined up.
- Move the cursor to 0.23 on the L scale.
- Move the leftmost 0 on the L scale to the hairline.
- Move the cursor to 0.45 on the L scale.
- Reset the rule again so that all the scales are lined up.
- The cursor should now be at 0.68 on the L scale, which is the sum of
0.23 + 0.45.

Multiplying with Log-Log scales

The LL (or Log Log) scales are for exponentiation, or calculating xp. To do multiplication on these scales, we have to find a power p such that xp is equal to x * y.
Solving for p:

xp = x * y
p log(x) = log(x * y)
p = log(x)/log(x) + log(y)/log(x)
p = log(y)/log(x) + 1

Notice the similarity to the addition trick above. The steps below will calculate xlog(y)/log(x) + 1 which is equal to x * y.

Example: calculate 4.5 * 6.7 on the LL3 scale.

- Move the cursor to 4.5 on the LL3 scale.
- Move the leftmost 1 (the index) of the C scale to the cursor.
- Move the cursor to 6.7 on the LL3 scale.
- Notice that the cursor is at 1.264 on the C scale.
- Mentally add 1 to 1.264 to get 2.264. Move the cursor to 2.264 on the
C scale.
- The cursor should now be at 30.15 on the LL3 scale, which is the
product of 4.5 x 6.7

Dividing with Log-Log scales

Similarly to the multiplication trick above, we want to find a power that produces the same result as a division.

xp = x / y
p log(x) = log(x / y)
p = log(x)/log(x) - log(y)/log(x)
p = 1 - log(y)/log(x)

The mental calculation here, 1-N, is a little more difficult than 1+N. I find it's easier if you don't try any mental calculations, and instead measure ticks symmetrically around 0.5.

Example: calculate 95 / 20.

- Move the cursor to 95 on the LL3 scale.
- Move the rightmost 1 on the C scale to the cursor.
- Move the cursor to 20.
- Notice that the cursor is at 6.57 on the C scale. (Actually it's at 0.657, but this explanation is infinitesmally easier if I say it's at 6.57.)
- Mentally calculate 5 - 6.57. It's easy if you think of reflecting the
value 6.67 to the other side of 5. Instead of a point 1.57 to the right
of 5, go 1.57 to the left of 5. Move the cursor to 3.43.
- The cursor should now be at 4.75 on LL3, which is the result of 95/20.


Erowid Experience Vaults

Damn I'm old. Until I saw this page, I did not know that nutmeg is a hallucinogen.

Continuously Variable Transmissions

Notes on Continuously Variable Transmissions
Page talks about frictional, electrical, hydraulic, and other types of CVTs.

Lego CVT
As usual, someone has taken another advanced concept and implemented it in Lego. Don't miss the guy's other Lego creations, including a pneumatic V4 engine. I tried to build a pneumatic Lego engine when I was a kid, but when I applied the compressed air source, i.e. my mouth, it just whistled.


Top Comic Artists

"THE TOP 100 ARTISTS OF AMERICAN COMIC BOOKS." Not surprisingly, Jack Kirby is number one.
Not only a great artist and cartoonist, but a breathtaking visual stylist who created a large portion of the storytelling language every comic artist uses today. He is the unquestioned king of invention; not just characters, but devices, stories, races, worlds, genres, and even companies flowed from his fingers.

'Nuf said!

Mars Junk

Several pictures of the discarded heat shield from the Opportunity Rover. Nasa's also taking some microscopic pictures of the shield (raw images), probably to determine how well it handled the entry into the martian atmosphere. (via