diy pinhole camera

pinhole camera

pinhole camera | barnes & noble diy kit

also called “camera obscura,” the pinhole camera is a lens-less camera / images are formed simply by the beam of light that passes through a small hole of a container & these images can be captured in film \ the sharpness or softness of the image is determined by the size of the pinhole / the exposure is determined by the available light & the size of the pinhole \ <200 asa color film was what i had handy> / to open the pinhole, i lift the viewfinder \ so far, i have used it to take pictures outside in bright light / i needed to keep the pinhole open for 1.5 seconds as the user guide suggested / indoors with low light, i would need to keep it open for 3.5 minutes to take a picture \ can’t wait to see how the pictures turn out

best guide to pinhole photography i came across:–photo-1078

a book about disruptive technology

about disruptive technology

the innovator’s dilemma:  when new technologies cause great firms to fail (1997) by clayton m. christensen contains case studies about how companies successfully or unsuccessfully dealt with disruptive technologies \ primarily about the disruption in the disk drive industry, it also illustrated disruptions in diverse areas such as mechanical excavators <hydraulic technology>, retailing <discount stores>, steel industry <electric arc furnace which utilized steel scrap>, motorcycles <honda’s offroad bike>, and pharma <novo’s insulin pen> \ an excellent must read for marketers, business leaders & innovators / it’s like the what-to-expect series – “what to expect when you are faced with potentially disruptive technology (& how to recognize one)” 

python weekends


motivated by erg & art challenges, i kicked off “python weekends” yesterday / this is for me to spend a few hours every saturday & sunday learning python \ it seems easier to use than r & has friendly sounding modules like panda, numpy & bokeh / doru, my work colleague & our team’s python instructor, is actually on our case to make progress on our projects so python weekends will serve that purpose too 🙂

about a newly discovered nickel-eating plant

metal eating plant1

a new species of nickel hyperaccumulating plant, rinorea niccolifera, was recently discovered in the philippines <specifically in zambales province in luzon>\ by a team of scientists led by dr. edwino s. fernando of the university of the philippines in los banos / the new species can consume, without poisoning itself, 100 to 1000 times more metal than other plants \ nickel hyperaccumulation is a rare phenomenon / discoveries such as this offer exciting possibilities of practical applications: hyperaccumulator plants as green technology \ such as phytoremediation which is the use of hyperaccumulator plants to remove heavy metals in contaminated soil and phytomining which is growing & harvesting hyperaccumulator plants for the purpose of gathering commercially valuable metals

my work colleagues and i were recently pondering what the next advances in technology will be as we discussed the’s recent article on google’s driverless car \ my favorite analyst feels that it would be in transportation <love his example of “car drops me off at the airport, i tell it to go home & pick me up later,  i won’t have to pay for parking!” | then we got to thinking, hey car can take us to & from work!  we won’t have to pay for parking!> / i agree that it would be in this realm & also that we will increasingly have mobile-enabled houses & appliances that are also economically viable

and there will always be the promise of new possibilities, cures  & innovations as a result of the global scientific community’s continuing exploration, study & research of the natural world such as discovering nickel-eating plants


a pdf of the journal article is here:

a book about the pencil

the pencil petroski

“all made objects owe their very existence to some kind of engineering…” from the preface of “the pencil: a history of design and circumstance” (1989) by henry petroski \  a very engaging history of the invention of this common & ordinary object / petroski highlights the evolution of engineering from its roots in the trades practiced by master craftsmen & builders

i have fond childhood memories of pencils / the school year in the philippines begins in june <which also marks the start of the rainy season> \ weeks before school starts, my mother would come home with school supplies including boxes of mongol pencils <pictured above> / in the late 40s, the philippines, hong kong & india were the primary markets for american products, including pencils \ “mongol” as a brand name & yellow as the desired finish were used to associate with the orient | in the late 1800s, graphite from siberia were considered to be the finest

the earliest illustration of a pencil was from the german-swiss physician & naturalist konrad gesner’s book of fossils published in 1565 <pictured above, the one with latin words | he died of the plague in the same year> he writes “The stylus shown below is made for writing, from a sort of lead (which I have heard some call English antimony), shaved to a point and inserted in a wooden handle.”  \ gesner’s illustration was reprinted in a 1648 book but aldrovandi, another naturalist, called the pencil’s lead “lapis plumbarius” or lead stone instead of “stimmi anglicanum” \ keswick & cumberland <borrowdale> in england were the only sources of this main ingredient and was known by many other names:  plumbago, black lead, kellow/killow, wad/wadt, black-cowke, kish, crayon noir / its name settled to “graphite” <from the greek graphein, to write>

a turning point in the history of the pencil was the process of mixing graphite <after being removed of impurities> with clay & firing at high temperatures & then encasing the lead in wood \ this process was developed & patented by nicolas-jacques conte in 1795 / and was a matter of necessity | high quality graphite from borrowdale was unavailable in france \ conte’s knowledge of plumbago for making crucibles in which to melt metal was also instrumental in this innovation <knowledge of materials science> / the alternative method of the germans <mixing graphite dust with sulphur & glue> made inferior but serviceable pencils

skipping to another interesting point in the pencil’s history sees the involvement of henry david thoreau better known as the american philosopher, transcendentalist* & poet, author of walden and resistance to civil government \ his family business, using the conte process <of which thoreau was instrumental in researching & implementing> successfully produced & marketed pencils but they later abandoned this to the more profitable business of selling graphite powder <to be used for the recently invented process of electrotyping>

the book is quite comprehensive in covering pencil production from its origins to its continual improvement as new materials & new processes were developed | innovations in the product itself, its design & marketing | domestic pricing as well as the global trade & market for pencils | and even its known use among famous writers such as steinbeck & hemingway \ i also especially like the section where the author describes the skill of drawing various perspectives <orthographic projection> that the modern engineer needs to learn  <i fondly remember my engineering friends & roommates in college and their ES11, i think it was called 🙂 >  this is a very interesting, informative & highly engaging book, worth a read

i found this book while looking for one about fountain pens / but i like wood-encased pencils too so this was a nice find \ *potentially interesting book to read would be about american transcendentalism