Dancing at Trinity Hall

Sunday afternoon was a fun one.

Club Rince Ghaelaigh went out to Trinity Hall to practice for the upcoming O’Flaherty retreat and to play a bit and spent several hours dancing the afternoon away.

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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."

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New blue-violet laser

Researchers at UCSB led by Shuji Nakamura, winner of the 2006 Millennium Technology Prize have developed a new way to produce laser diodes that put out blue-violet light.

in fact, these are the world first nonpolar gallium nitride blue-violet laser diodes.

The nonpolar blue-violet laser diodes have numerous commercial applications, including high-density optical data storage for high definition displays and video, optical sensing, and medical applications. Because of the shorter wavelength of emission in these devices, they can accommodate higher densities of optical storage than conventional red-laser based systems.

Said Nakamura: "Our initial results of the first violet nonpolar laser diodes with a low threshold current density demonstrate a high possibility that current c-plane violet laser diodes used for HD-DVD and Blue Ray DVD could soon be replaced with nonpolar violet laser diodes, which require lower operating power and have longer lifetimes.

NTIF 2007

The North Texas Irish Festival 2007 was a blast. Preparing for and performing during the St. Patrick’s season has kept me busy so I haven’t been blogging much but things are slowing down so look for the updates to increase.

For Susan and I NTIF started out with a workshop held by Claire Zucker on clogging. It was very Sean Nos-like and quite a fun workshop.

From there we performed with the Emerald School (lots of video taken there), ran a dance workshop where we taught several figures from the Kilfenora Plain Set and followed up by calling the three-hour ceili to close out the festival day.

On Sunday we performed again with the Emerald School and then followed up by wandering around listening to music and shopping.

One new group (to us anyway) that we look forward to hearing more from is Sliabh Notes.  They definitely play music that makes our feet want to start moving around.

More pictures and video are available in our gallery.

How to make a hologram

This is a pretty cool video of how basic holograms are made. The only part I don’t like (other than the music) is when the person making the hologram puts his unprotected hand in the developer. Don’t do that!

Lotus leaves for a cleaner world

The leaves themselves aren’t going to be working to keep the world clean and it remains to be seen how the process will be used in real products but researches at the University of Twente in the Netherlands have developed a laser process that can be used to duplicate the surface properties of the lotus leaf which can then be duplicated using current injection molding technologies.

The material used for the mold source is first blasted by a femtosecond laser to produce pits and then another pass is made to product very fine lines.

The combination of the two patterns produces a surface the is highly water resistant.

In ordinary hydrophylic surfaces a drop of water will wet the surface, which means that its contact area grows until an equilibrium is reached. On very hydrophobic surfaces however, the water will form a droplet, making as little contact as possible. This makes drops very mobile, just a slight inclination is enough to let the droplet roll away.

Another advantage to such surfaces is that in addition to staying relatively dry, they are self-cleaning. At the water falls away it will tend to take contaminants with it.

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Happy 2007!

Because I’ll be WAY too busy at midnight, here’s a celebratory laser show video for your new year pleasure!

Laser Video Tuesday!

Ok, so I didn’t post a video link last Friday. Here’s a video of lasers and Magic! I used to be really into magic so this is a perfect combination to me.

The magician is Jason Latimer and was apparently performing at the Magic Castle

Laser video Friday!

I’d never heard of the band Flaming Lips before (I must remember to get out of the lab more often) but ran across this video from one of their concerts.

They apparently gave everone in the audience a laser pointer and then tossed a ball into their midst and encouraged the audience members to lase away.


Video the Vote 2006

What are you doing this election day? If you’ve already voted and you’ve got some time and a video camera how about joining Video the Vote and documenting what’s happening at your local polling stations.

I started out this morning with camera and tripod in the trunk and geek badge around my neck and went to two of the polling places on the way to work.

Here in Plano, TX things started out very quietly near my house (where I would have voted if I hadn’t already done so last Friday) and at the location I voted last week.

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