Ahh, a September Ceili

It’s finally cooling off, the clouds saw fit to mizzle on us most of the day and the temperature was finally in the range where it was pleasant to go for a walk in the middle of the day.

Naturally we all piled into the pub Trinity Hall to jump around and get hot to good music played by the Trinity Hall Session Players

The dances done were:

Haymakers jig,
Siege of Ennis
Kilfenora Set
High Cauled Cap
Ballyvourney jig
Rakes of Mallow

Hopefully next month I’ll be able to spend more time dancing and calling than this time.  Thanks to everyone how came out to dance and to Trinity Hall and the session players for the venue and wonderful music!

Click on the picture for the full gallery.

You’ve done it to yourselves, you know.

For some time Susan and I have wanted to move to the UK or Ireland. Mostly because of the dancing and also because we really like the people and country over there.

Over the last several years I’ve lost some of my desire to move to the UK as the number of ways the citizens are monitored have grown since 9/11.

CCTVs everywhere. Cars tagged and tracked on the major roads around London. More and more people behaving paranoid whenever someone pulls out a camera.

Hell, even science geeks are getting paranoid. He’s lucky he didn’t get shot by some overly paranoid and zealous rent-a-cop.

The terrorists are winning. They can stop their planning now because our governments and news agencies will take care of bottling us up for our own “safety.”

Need a job? My “day job” employer is hiring

Presagis is looking for Program Engineers (what I do) in the Richardson office. If you don’t have all the requisite skills you might still want to apply as some job training is to be expected.

We won’t be teaching you C/C++ though and graphics experience is a major plus. Being good at figuring things out and curious about how to get the job done more efficiently are definitely traits we’re looking for.

Using holograms to diagnose astigmatism

image This is pretty cool and something that even hobbyist holographers could make.

Laser Focus World is reporting that researchers at New South Wales University have developed a holographic astigmatism test that’s faster to use than the lens-flipping "how does the chart look now?" test we’ve all endured when having our eyes checked.

The current method of looking at a distant object through a number of lenses to prescribe corrective glasses is at best cumbersome. In an alternate approach, the researchers recorded the wavefront emanating from various sunburst patterns located at different distances from the eye in a hologram. When a subject views through this hologram (illuminated by a plane wave), he or she will see the images of various sunburst patterns located at different distances from the eye.

Unfortunately there’s no additional information at the university site.  Perhaps they’ll put something up soon.

Optics.org has a bit more information and a few extra photos available.

My own flying death machine

I don’t have one of these babies yet but you can bet they’ll be on my Christmas list.

Laser tag is sweet. R/C helicopters are sweet. When you combine the two only good things can happen. That’s why I’m pretty amped about the news that a Chinese toy maker has armed its new R/C chopper with an IR transmitter and sensor, allowing for two to have laser dogfights in midair. If one gets hit, its power gets cut, sending it crashing to the ground. Cold blooded!

UK military targets civilians

Oops.

IT was not quite a Star Wars death ray, but air force Top Guns accidentally focused high-powered lasers on to a civilian car in May this year – potentially endangering the eyesight of peaceful earthlings.
RAAF F/A-18 fighters from the Williamtown base north of Newcastle were conducting exercises near the NSW mid-north coast town of Forster when the incident happened.

The pilots thought their laser targeting system was turned off for the training flight.

Unfortunately it wasn’t and the powerful light beams, known as class four lasers, were shone twice on to a road intersection for a total of 43 seconds.

Guys, remember to put your equipment into O.F.F mode first.

Graffiti by laser

I’d seen mention of this group before but never a description of how their laser tagging actually works.  Until I read the article in the NYT that is.

As Mr. Powderly neared the museum’s entrance, he jumped off the cycle and pointed it toward a bare stretch on a garage door across the street. Mr. Roth pulled a laser pointer from his pocket, and as he moved the laser’s green dot across the wall, a line of what looked like thick, drippy paint lit up its surface, roughly following the motion of his hand.

This actually sounds pretty darn cool.

Joining the crowd of cyclists, Mr. Powderly followed them as they moved through the honking streets of Brooklyn. In search of a spot to project their graffiti, they settled on the handball courts of McCarren Park in Greenpoint.

Mr. Powderly positioned the cycle to face the court’s gray concrete wall. Within a few minutes, someone had drawn a detailed sketch of a bicycle, and another person had traced an outline of an American flag.

Dance for me, little atom!

Do they wear dancing costumes?

Reuters reports that NIST has developed what may someday become a building block for quantum computing.

Suspended in laser light, thousands of atoms pair up and dance, each moving in perfect counterpoint to its partner. Porto’s team isolated pairs of atoms in a lattice of light formed by six laser beams all fixed on one point, suspending the atoms in a uniform pattern. "There is no container. It is levitated by the laser beams."

Continue reading “Dance for me, little atom!”

More Teleportation?

It won’t be coming any sooner than the last time I mentioned researchers teleporting atoms but researchers in Australia have proposed a way to teleport atoms from one location to another.

The full paper is available here as well as an animated description here.

What differentiates our scheme from what is usually termed quantum teleportation is that our scheme does not require the sender and receiver to share entangled states, as there is no measurement step involved in sending the information.

In this scheme the sender and receiver require a reservoir of extremely cold atoms, known as a Bose-Einstein condensate (BEC).

BEC is a state of matter that occurs when atoms become very cold, (about 100 billionths of a degree about absolute zero).

Due to a phenomenon known as Bose-Enhancement, all the atoms like to act the same way. This causes the atoms to act as one macroscopic matterwave, rather than a collection of individual atoms.

Laser fusion

image The proposed European High Power Laser Energy Research (Hiper) facility — a device intended to demonstrate the feasibility of laser-driven fusion as an energy source — is entering the preparation phase after completion of a two-year study by an international team of scientists.

As reported by Photonics.com

Fusion energy is an attractive, environmentally clean power source using sea water as its principal source of fuel. No greenhouse gases and long-lived radioactive waste are produced. Demonstration of the scientific proof of principle is expected between 2010 and 2012 as part of an ongoing international program. What is now needed is to move from the scientific proof of principle stage to a commercial reactor. HiPER provides the critical next step along this route.