Loch Ness Monster!

According to this article on cnn.com, someone has captured the best footage ever of the Loch Ness Monster. Apparently the footage isn’t yet online but hopefully it will turn up on youtube soon.

Nifty Technology Demo

There’s a nifty site here that showcases a new gizmo from Microsoft. Essentially it’s a 30″ flat-panel display with multi-touch capability built into a table. The assertion that it has already changed our world is rather grandiose but it is a pretty neat welcome-to-the-future sort of thing.

It would never work for me, though. Any flat surface within reach soon disappears under books, CDs, laptop computers, tea cups, origami paper, etc. Maybe a vertical orientation would be better since it would prevent me from putting stuff on it. read more

Engineering’s In My Blood

Yes, it’s true. Both of my grandfathers were engineers; my father’s father was an electrical engineer and my mother’s father was a mechanical engineer. (It’s an interesting point that there was more overlap between those fields during their careers than there is now. My grandfather Schabtach did a lot of work on power-generating turbines, work which seems much more mechanical than electrical by today’s micro-miniature topics of electrical engineering.) My mother just ran across this page which has photos of a glamorous estate once owned by a more distant engineering relative, Oliver Crosby. Oliver Crosby was my father’s great-grandfather, born 1-29-1856, died 12-8-1922. Oliver designed some of the earth-moving equipment used to dig the Panama Canal and founded a company called American Hoist & Derrick (later called AmHoist, I think) along the way. Oliver did fairly well with his work as the photos of his estate will attest. My family knows him mostly as the inventor of the Crosby Clip, a little gizmo used to fasten steel cables together. You’ve probably seen one if you happen to have looked at something like the bracing cables on a telephone pole; there’s a picture of them on this page. read more

Health Care: It’s Cheaper and Better Overseas

As I mentioned previously, Tracie and I were amazed by both the quality and the low cost of the health care that she received while we were traveling in Japan. There’s an article here at the New York Times website about a growing phenomenon: Americans traveling abroad specifically for medical treatment. Here’s a brief excerpt:

Already, more than 150,000 people travel abroad each year for health care.

According to “Patients Without Borders: Everybody’s Guide to Affordable, World-Class Medical Tourism,” a new book by Josef Woodman, overseas care can trim 60 to 80 percent, or more, off the price of major surgeries. Its comparison, for example, shows that a heart bypass in India costs one-thirteenth the price in America, and many foreign hospitals also offer postoperative care that includes a high degree of attention from hospital staff members. read more

I’m Famous in Cheboygan

I suppose this is part of my 15 minutes of fame. The Cheboygan Area Public Library, located in Cheboygan, Michigan currently has a display of some of my origami. There’s a photo of the display here.

Obviously there’s a story behind this. The story is that Paper Jade has a particularly enthusiastic and talented customer named Virginia White. Virginia has been folding for about 30 years and Paper Jade is now fortunate to be one of her sources of paper. She sent me some examples of her work which you can see here in Paper Jade’s new Customer Photo Gallery. read more


I’ll freely admit that my greying hair has caused me transitory moments of dismay. Aging isn’t all bad but there have been occasions on which I’ve looked in the mirror and noticed how much of my hair is no longer the color it used to be. However, I’ve never given serious thought to dyeing my hair; I’m not that vain and my occupations don’t require me to look like anything other than what I naturally am. I certainly haven’t given much concern to the greying of the hair on me that the vast majority of people will never see. read more

Furniture Abuse

WARNING: this post contains material of an adult nature, including discussion of sexual activity.

Actually it’s hard to call what follows “adult” and it’s sexual only in a rather odd sense, but consider yourself warned.

Weebl’s Stuff is my favorite humorous website, and if you’re not already familiar with their cartoons you might enjoy spending several minutes (or hours) perusing their archives. Their latest entry, however, has left Tracie and me quite perplexed–not so much the entry itself, but the youtube video that inspired the entry. read more

Spring Flowers

I’ve been meaning to post a brief rant about how Apple has a lot of cheek to go on about worry-free upgrades in their current advertising, given my recent and not-so-recent experiences with Apple’s botched upgrades. However, there are numerous other things vying for my time and attention so that rant will have to wait for another day. So instead here’s a photo of the iris that are currently blooming in our back yard.

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The world probably needs photos of iris more than it needs rants about computers anyway. read more

Ten Pounds of Gingery Goodness

Most of our family and friends know that Tracie and I are big fans of The Ginger People products. Recently Tracie was putting in an order for various ginger-laden products and asked whether my supply of Ginger Chews and Gin-Gins needed replenishing. I’m down to about one can’s worth of each, so I told her that yes, I would indeed appreciate a restocking of these essentials. We couldn’t remember exactly how much she ordered last time (they’re sold by weight in bulk) and I guessed, based on my memory of the size of the bags, that we had ordered five-pound bags of each, so she placed the order for that quantity. read more