Welcome to BlogDogIt Tuesday, April 24 2018 @ 04:32 PM EDT

Stencil Noob - Fabric Painting

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Soon after deciding to attend Fandom Fest (Lousville Comic Con) I started to ponder what I might wear to such an event. The "geekiest" shirt I own is my TauDay T-shirt which I considered, but did not much relish getting drawn into a lengthy debate with some mathematician eager to instruct me on the error of my ways. (This of course assumes that a Comic Con would attract those of superior mathematical prowess.) My son suggested that I dress up as Green Lantern and while the very thought may seem apealing at first, the reality is that I would not subject the general public to such a creation.

After announcing on BlogDogIt that I would be making a "personal appearance", I got it into my head that I should use the event as a vehicle to promote my blog. I had enough badge making supplies to produce a handful of BlogDogIt "tags" to use as some sort of geeky bartering currency - this was a good start. I decided however, that I must have a BlogDogIt shirt to wear and set about plotting how to bring this idea to fruition.

By some stroke of dumb luck I located my original PhotoShop file for the design of the BlogDogIt logo so I was able to enlarge and incorporate this into my design. I saved the graphic as a 150dpi TIFF (to size) and found myself at a crossroads; how do I get from "camera ready" to the runway (so to fashion-speak?)

I had thought about taking this to a custom shirt printer (I imagine they must exist) but to produce a one-off product would surely be outside of my (virtually non existent) budget for this project. I have connections to a vinyl cutter and considered reproducing the graphic as a cut vinyl stick-on but thought it would end up just looking goofy and desperate. I know there are iron-on solutions that use the vinyl cutter but I did not have ready access to the appropriate media. It was a short hop to start thinking of the cut vinyl in terms of a stencil and my internet-based research took a turn down fabric paint alley.

There was a lot of discussion about fabric spray paints and in fact we have several colors available in our crafts arsenal already but I wanted to do white lettering on black fabric so I needed to pick up some "white  something" to do the job. I looked into Stencil Fabric Spray Paint which looked promising. It goes on thick and opaque but seemed a bit too "clunky" to apply (based on the few videos I spied.) I did not want to risk messing this up; since it was down to the wire I had to get it right on the first try. I settled therefor on hand-painting the stenciled fabric with Liquitex Titanium White Opaque Acrylic. My neighborhood JoAnns did not have the Jacquard brand paint - which seemed to be a favorite among many stencil painters - so I went with the closest competing product from their shelf stock rather than turn this into a wild goose chase for the sake of a particular brand name.

My Wife and Daughter volunteered for the hazardous duty of buying the shirt for me - they actually enjoy shopping... me? not so much. They brought back a really cool black-on-black Hawaiian print, silk, button-down that fit all the supplied criteria. Being unsure how it was going to turn out, I was anxious to get this show on the road and wasted little time setting the stage.

 [ Please Continue Reading This Fascinating Tale... ]

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Dave Schmarder's - Make A Radio

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Crystal Radio

BlogDogIt Note: Before I was bitten by the computer bug I had quite the facination with radios - particularly crystal radios. I discovered Dave Schmarder several years ago as I searched the internet for sites relating to my all-but-forgotton hobby. Dave's website is a treasure trove of information and entertainment - a true labor of love. This article goes up as my way of thanking Dave for sharing his art with the world. Please visit his extensive website. ~ masodo

Crystal Radios

Crystal Radio

Remember that crystal set you made with your dad or grandpa? I remember my experiences to this day. In early 2002 the crystal set bit me again. This time I really got excited and started building one set right after another. I was going to stop when I built a couple of radios that would display well. But there was no way I was going to quit. So here I am at 78 radios and counting! I hope you find one that you would like to build. See what I have made to show you.


Tube Radios

Tube Radio

Soon after I started building crystal sets, the lousy summer band conditions convinced me that I should expand my activities in to active devices. Encouraged by my web visitors, I built a bunch of tube radios to experiment with. I didn't build regenerative radios when I was a kid, so this was new territory for me. I am pleased with the outcome and I hope you are too. So, I proudly present my tube radio main page.


Solid State Radios

Solid State Radio

Transistors? Bah humbug. But I've heard that they have become popular and more and more people have switched from tubes to transistors. So far there is only one radio, but I hope to add more. So please accept my meager attempt for now

Audio Amplifier

Tube Audio Amplifier

I love tube amplifiers. But as my solid state section, my amplifier section has only one example to show you. It is a nice small, low powered audio amp. Several others have built this design and are quite happy. So check out my amplifier section and encourage me to make more!

Loop Antennas

Loop Antennas

Loop antennas have been in my family since I was a little guy. I still have the big red loop that my dad built and that started my interest in these magical devices. I built some smaller loop antennas to connect to my old time radios to improve my reception. My loops are beautiful!


 Dave Schmarders Crystal Radio Sets

 Dave' s Own Crystal Radio Collection


On the verge of mental stability.

 Source: Dave's Homemade Crystal and Tube Radios at makearadio.com.

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Thimble Full of Cosmology

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A Thimble Can Hold More Than You Might Realize.What I don't know about Cosmology could fill an entire Universe(s) - all but perhaps a timble full.

If you are just starting out, then you might even want to know the meaning of the word. According to The Free Dictionary - [By Farflex]...

cos·mol·o·gy  (kz-ml-j)

n. pl. cos·mol·o·gies
1. The study of the physical universe considered as a totality of phenomena in time and space.
a. The astrophysical study of the history, structure, and constituent dynamics of the universe.
b. A specific theory or model of this structure and these dynamics.

meh?... it'll do.

For me Cosmology is, on the one hand,  a study generally relegated to Mathematicians, Theoretical Physicists, Astrophysicists and such; on the other hand, enough mystery exists to elicit work by Artist, Philosophers, Theologians and abstract thinkers in general.  

Calabi Yau SpaceThanks in no small part to the patient works of Carl Sagan (Cosmos) and Brian Greene (Fabric of the Cosmos) I have been lured out onto the ledge of Cosmological understanding and have learned enough to know I should likely climb back inside my comfort zone, but the view from here is awesome. 

It makes my head hurt to even attempt to grasp the theories and concepts with which today's scientists grapple. Ah, but no pain no gain. Why bother? Well, when a person with the intellect of Einstein goes to his grave longing for a "Grand Unification Theory" I say, it must be important. We should probably see what we can do about that. By we of course I mean humanity.

Just when I start to almost (maybe, at some level) get a handle on String Theory and Super String M Theory, I get hit splat upside the head with Brane World theory. [See the The Official String Theory Web Site.] It is not the purpose of this article to educate anyone on these concepts. I only hope to convey that I do have a genuine interest in these subjects and would encourage anyone to exercise their mind by investigating the science of reality. There is no shortage of information available for anyone looking to understand such complex research.

I was not actively seeking enlightenment when I happened upon The Trenches of Discovery website. I was impressed with the site enough to shine the BlogDogIt Spotlight on their efforts. You see, the thing about the BlogDogIt Spotlight is, these are blogs that I am genuinely taken with and am actively following. When I am so moved I will comment and participate with these folks in a constructive manner in an effort to show my support for their labors. That for me is the essence and appeal of blogging.

Shaun Hotchkiss of The Trenches of Discovery was providing on-the-scene coverage of "The universe as seen by Planck" (conference) in Helsinki, Finland. It was in the course of this coverage that I offered up a very disjointed question regarding the implications to Brane Theory and its associated "Big Splat Theory" by way of the much improved CMB (Cosmic Microwave Background) data provided by the Planck Satellite Mission. I asked the question simply because I favor "Big Splat." The reason I support the theory is that as complex as the concept is, I comprehend it even better than "Inflation Theory"; it just feels right to me. (I realize this is on a par with saying I root for the Green Bay Packers because I like their uniforms - it is what it is.) I genuinely wanted to know if the experts had found any supporting evidence for my pet extra-dimensional thought exercise.

Not only was my question taken seriously but the evidence seems to indicate that Shaun took "virtual me" along with him to the conference. I was honored that he not only took the time to answer the question I put forth but introduced me to a couple of folks of like mind to myself (albeit of greater intellect.) I have my resarch cut out for me now. [I appreciate that Shaun.] Please read the following excerpt and be sure to frequent The Trenches of Discovery - they really are on the front-lines of discovery!

Excerpted from: Cosmological perturbations post-Planck - wrap up - By Shaun Hotchkiss

"The big splat"

A commenter (masodo) asked me a question during the conference about something called "the big splat". Now I have to admit that I'd never heard of "the big splat" before he or she asked this question, but google tells me that it is another name for the "ekpyrotic/cyclic" universe, which I definitely have heard of (I think the "big splat" name is before my time).

Masodo wished to know what the implications were from Planck for the big splat and whether it was discussed at the conference.

Firstly, the ekpyrotic universe is a replacement for inflation, but not the big bang. In the ekpyrotic scenario the fluctuations in the universe's density, etc are created during a contraction phase, but then the ordinary big bang still happens after that. Nobody in cosmology doesn't believe in the big bang any more (sorry for the double negative). Nobody. Even the people who used to work on steady-state models now work on oscillating models that are "steady-state" (i.e. periodic) in the long, long, long term. The temperature and polarisation of the CMB has within it evidence of sound waves that were rippling through the universe 14 billion years ago when the universe was ~1000 times hotter than it is now and they look exactly like the big bang predicted they would decades ago. We will definitely gain new understanding into how the big bang happened, what started it, what came before it, etc, etc, but it did happen!

Regarding the "big splat" it wasn't discussed during the conference in a scientific context. Not too many people work on it. If one of those people had been at the conference I'm sure it would have been discussed, but none were. It was discussed a little bit at the coffee breaks but only because Hiranya Peiris (one of the conference guests) was having a public debate with Paul Steinhardt (one of the creators of the ekpyrotic model) over skype and she was canvassing people's thoughts.

The people who work on the ekpyrotic universe (e.g. Steinhardt) have claimed that Planck shows evidence that favours this scenario over inflation. This is not the consensus.

Moreover, both paradigms have issues. Inflation has a problem with initial conditions; that is, the universe has to be in a specific state in order for inflation to begin. It's hard to quantify what a "generic initial universe" should look like so most cosmologists don't worry about this problem. Once that problem is ignored there do exist complete models of inflation that can take us from an inflating universe all the way to today. The ekpyrotic universe is less well developed, but its major problem is that it requires the universe to go from a contracting phase to an expanding phase. I haven't studied the model in detail and the creators of the model have speculative ways for how this could happen, but it does make the paradigm less compelling. Note that there is a qualitative difference in that, once inflation has started, it does work, but this change from contracting to expanding has to happen after the fluctuations in the universe have been generated, so it is a more pertinent problem for the ekpyrotic universe than the initial condition problem is for inflation.

Given this, until evidence does arrive that favours the ekpyrotic universe over inflation the "most probable" paradigm is inflation (at least according to my priors). However, until evidence arrives that overwhelmingly favours inflation, research into alternative paradigms is definitely still worthwhile. No matter how compelling we find it, inflation might just turn out not to be true.

Thanks masodo for the great question!

Fire away if you have any more!!


 Thimble image by Llangefni

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Spotlight[Living]: Unhappy Dan

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BlogDogIt Note: I have been running into Unhappy Dan for several years now in my travels across the interwebs. I was very glad to run across him again on Technorati, in my search for another stellar blog to shine the BlogDogIt Spotlight upon. Unhappy Dan is primarily a vlogger (video blogger) whose YouTube channel known as SearchForHappy is chocked-full-o-goodness. He has also recently started a new channel called Geeky Inside. Pay a visit to poor ol' Unhappy Dan and he'll take you along for the ride as he travels through life, living the dream...
There is an update to this story
please see the comments below!

People say I am mean, cruel, stubborn, etc. I say I am just Unhappy. This blog chronicles my being Unhappy and everything that comes with it. It includes to a Video blog of me and my family, useful links, and unique posts reviewing my daily experiences and point of view.


Today we go shopping for hobby supplies. We went looking for airbrush cleaner and some inks but we end up finding some nifty things along the way. We tried out Michaels and a Ben Franklin craft store and end up being pretty dissatisfied on their pricing for airbrush stuffs compared to DickBlic Online. Both stores had some pretty neat deals on other items but they don’t seem to be the place to go for your airbrush needs.

Source: UnhappyDan.com


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IP Range Blocking

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Evil Hacker Dood

We are fast approaching our One Millionth Hit To The System here on BlogDogIt.com so I thought it would be appropriate to discuss our efforts to reduce spam and hacking traffic. These measures have been taken in order to better legitimize the hit-counter so that we might get a feel for the actual human visitors to this site (as opposed to the robotic invaders from outer space.)

I have been using GUS (Geeklog Usage Stats) and Geeklog Ban plugins here since a little before taking our one-half-millionth hit. This system, along with its integral connection to http://whois.domaintools.com/, has allowed the analysis of web traffic and has lead to the identification of cyber-attack sources to this innocent little website. Any particularly persistent brutalizers have been blocked by their specific IP address. As time passes and the list of "bad guys" grows it becomes obvious that an inordinate amount of attacks emanate from within a particular range of IP addresses. When such trends have been discovered, measures have been taken that prevent huge blocks of IP addresses from infiltration.

Are you trying to hack me?

Ever since instituting the CAPTCHA system on posts and comments the amount of spam making it into the data has all but vanished. There are still some human powered spam submitters but by having all post held for review those are easy enough to find and destroy.

Thanks in no small way to these efforts, I will take pride in knowing that when the hit counter strikes 1,000,000 a very high percentage of those request were made by real live human beings visiting BlogDogIt.com on the off-chance they might find what they were looking for. With any luck they will also discover what they were not necessarily looking for, to wit: This labor of love made available to the masses. That is unless their IP address happens to belong to one of the following blocked ranges of IPs:



The percent sign (%) in the above denotes any matching string.

Get a complete CSV file of every IP Address blocked by BlogDogIt.com (as of 6/6/13.)

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Seamless Realities

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It has been a lot of fun (if not a bit like work) over on the Belgium Cyberspace-Archeological Dig Site. I am nearly through the websites beginning with the letter "A" and already feel as though I am getting familier with the Dutch internet scene of a decade ago (or there abouts.) I have been bookmarking as I go and intend to make those links available here on BlogDogIt. That should give the casual Cyberspace-Archeologist a taste of the sorts of artifacts that are to be discovered by the hard-core web-hound. It is a very time consuming project but I have been making a point to post links to highlight some of the goodies so as to show the dig is producing results. (Be sure to check the growing list of those links in the comments section of that story.)

Proving once again that masodo is Scouring the Globe to bring the BlogDogIt followers "Quality Content From A Bit Off The Beaten Path"®, I wanted to share a slide-show of the unique and curious works of the Canadian born artist Rob Gonsalves. I was treated to a very nice collection of his works when I visited Webcome to Achille's pages (in the site's section intitled "SEAMLESS PICS.") A further investigation of Gonsalves brought me to the Huckleberry Fine Art Gallery, Dealers in Limited Edition Giclées featuring the works of this very talented artist.

I am bringing you 21 images that caught my eye. (You may have seen some of these before.)


The Artwork of Rob Gonslaves

 Click On Image To Enlarge


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Cyberspace-Archeology - "The Dig"

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Mijn Telenet

While poking around the outskirts of McKenna's All Weather Haulage I came across a treasure trove in the form of a list of links for user websites from the Belgian ISP, telenet. I have begun a preliminary excavation of the site and so far have been finding many valuable artifacts. The following BlogDogIt posts represent some of the earliest prizes:

While there are certainly many dead links, there is enough active content to keep a cyber explorer such as myself amused and optimistic for discovery. So most of the sites are Dutch language and many are relating to defunct enterprises of one form or another. There are several sites that represent what can only be described as amateur dabbling in the html black arts.

There is no telling what you might find so use your mouse as your shovel and join the dig! I am including the page http://users.telenet.be/ in an iFrame below. If you find something good post the lucky link in the comment section at the end of this article.

Can You Dig It?

Dig-in but be cautious! Random web-surfing is not for the faint of heart. Be sure your Anti-Virus and Anti-Malware are actively working to protecting you from those hazards of the internet. Do not forget your babelfish or other preferred Rosetta Stone - you just might need it.

Watch your step!

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August Gillé - Remembered

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“Geld betekent niets. Ik moet de dauw aan mijn tenen voelen”. (A. Gillé)
"Money means nothing. I need to feel the dew on my toes."

August Gillé (1892-1989)               August Gillé (1892-1989)

A brief introduction to the great work of the 'forgotten' Belgian artist
August Gillé (1892-1989).
Painter, sculptor, poet, writer.

Edition : Rudolf Dierckx Content : Dominik Lybaert
Music : Tchaikovsky Symphony no.6 "Pathetique

Source: http://users.telenet.be/A.-GILLE/gille.htm

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Resetting The BlogDogIt Clock

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For the record: I've updated the web site clock to log Eastern Standard Time instead of Mountain Standard Time (as it has been ever since the beginning of this site.)

Your System Time


For interested GeekLoggers:
I added the following code to my siteconfig.php file (after the "$_CONF['default_charset']" LINE:

$_CONF['timezone'] = 'US/Eastern';

Time displayed above using the Javascript shown below:
(which I assume is showing your system's time.)

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