recreating the Aurora Borealis

Have you ever seen the Aurora Borealis (also known as the northern lights)? I haven’t, because where I live seems to be not compatible with that visual effect. I’ve been up north (in the United States), but not at the right time. I’ve seen pictures of it, which is neat, but that’s not quite the same. (But here’s a picture anyway.) 🙂

Now you may be wondering why I would write about the Aurora Borealis when I’ve never seen it. Well, I’d like to see it. I have a friend who has a great saying for when someone is at the proverbial fork in the road with a situation that needs a solution: “What are you going to do about it?”

Maybe I should make my own! Of course some people might say I should just travel up north to go see it, but that seems like too much trouble. I’d rather bring it here. (That sounds so much like Heinz Doofenschmirtz from Phineas & Ferb, where he planned to take (steal) Big Ben from London and put it next to his skyscraper apartment window, because it was getting harder to read the numbers on his watch. He just wanted a bigger clock, and that was the solution he chose. Honestly, I did not take his idea and modify it — I actually came up with this crazy solution on my own, though you might could argue I’ve watched too many cartoons. You might lose that argument, but I digress…)

Okay, where was I? Creating the Aurora Borealis effect where it doesn’t naturally exist. That shouldn’t be too complicated… it’s just some color smeared around in the sky. 🙂 But there’s probably some complicated science equations to work out, and maybe I should’ve paid more attention in college… but what am I talking about? The goal of education is not memorizing facts but in knowing where to look and how to find the answers you need. I learned about Google, so let’s start there:

Particles discharged from the sun travel 93 million miles (around 150 million km) toward Earth before they are drawn irresistibly toward the magnetic north and south poles. As the particles pass through the Earth’s magnetic shield, they mingle with atoms and molecules of oxygen, nitrogen and other elements that result in the dazzling display of lights in the sky. … Typically, when the particles collide with oxygen, yellow and green are produced. Interactions with nitrogen produce red, violet, and occasionally blue colors. The type of collision also makes a difference to the colors that appear in the sky: atomic nitrogen causes blue displays, while molecular nitrogen results in purple. The colors are also affected by altitude. The green lights typically in areas appear up to 150 miles (241 km) high, red above 150 miles; blue usually appears at up to 60 miles (96.5 km); and purple and violet above 60 miles. These lights may manifest as a static band of light, or, when the solar flares are particularly strong, as a dancing curtain of ever-changing color.

That’s a good start. Combining that with Wikipedia, we basically need to create something similar to solar winds and the resulting geomagnetic disturbance. Obviously we don’t want to cause interference or destruction with electronics, so that has to be accounted for. And it’ll need to be simpler. The solar winds are basically a flow of magnetized hot plasma from the two million degrees outer layer of the sun (the corona), and they arrive at Earth with a velocity around 400 km/s. Recreating that would be considerably costly and dangerous… and a lot of work…

So this project sounds really difficult, if not impossible. But consider this saying: “Progress is made by lazy men looking for easier ways to do things.” What if there is a simpler way to make it happen? Also, what if no one has really tried before? And it doesn’t have to be at that scale… What about making it happen over a smaller area, like over your house? Or in your living room?

So I searched some more, and scientists have recreated the northern lights inside a container, which is neat, but it’s not in the open air, so someone should take this to the next level. Not only would it be awesome, but you could sell this technology (although I must stipulate that the licensing needs to specify no ads are allowed in the sky; we see enough ads).

Do you have any ideas on how to do it? What you would do with a device that could make the air glow?

To answer my own question, I’d like to make lightning appear in different colors. The science might be relatable. Lightning is sometimes as hot as the surface of the sun, and it already moves really fast. (And an interesting side note is that the resulting thunder is because of the air being ionized… or in layman’s terms, torn apart. This will become its own post soon… I’ve rambled enough here.) 🙂

Optimus Prime that transforms on its own

Someone has created an Optimus Prime action figure / toy / collectible that transforms on its own. It even responds to voice commands and you can drive it around via an app. If this interests you in the least, here’s a video showing it off:

I have to admit, that is really cool. It’s great that they used the original transforming sound effect and that they got Peter Cullen to voice the dialogue. So props to the maker of this for doing it right.

It contains over 5000 components, 60 microchips, and 27 servo motors, with more details at the official site. As you might expect, technology this awesome is not cheap. $700 is out of my budget for such things, so I won’t be able to provide a hands-on review. Hopefully in the future it’ll get a lot cheaper, because it would be a great addition to my desk.

The reviewer in the video declares this the coolest toy ever. Of course that’s debatable, but I’m not going to argue with that. It is indeed awesome. Do you know of a toy or toy-like collectible that is more awesome?

modern art with Trump’s legal team and four seasons total landscaping

A few years ago I went to a “modern art” museum, and so much of it is really abstract where I don’t know what to make of it or some of it seems to be controversial to get attention. (I don’t mean just morally bad, but sometimes artistically bad to get attention, like flinging paint randomly at a mural or covering a bed in ham.) And in everyday life, it may seem like the arts don’t get as much attention as they used to. But there is art all around us, especially on the Internet, where countless people create art and share it solely for enjoyment (meaning not for money).

I recently came across a mock Lego set of the political debacle at Four Seasons Total Landscaping where President Donald Trump’s legal team including Rudy Giuliani made a “speech” (read: rant with baseless accusations) about voter fraud. (If you don’t know about this “big” press conference at the back of a landscaping business in a not-so-glamorous part of town, read about it here so the rest of this post will make sense. It’s one of those news events that was surreal, like “did that actually just happen?” At first I thought it was a parody, but it really happened.)

That was way too much intro for this, but let’s keep going anyway. Here’s the art that is parodying the event.

Here’s more info about it.

Something you might not have noticed is that all but one of the Trump 2020 stickers/posters behind the podium are the same. One of them says Trump / Pence. So the Vice President on the ticket gets one mention. That’s actually surprising, given that Donald Trump is the most narcissistic person ever.

There’s now a sub-reddit dedicated to this event. If you want to see some more humor about it but are scared to explore, here’s a few more:
here, here, and here.

Someone suggested Trump go back to Celebrity Apprentice, then when he fires someone, they sue and refuse to leave. 🙂 Do you think Trump would appreciate the irony?

Have you heard or made up any jokes about the situation? Here’s a couple:

Why did the Trump campaign book Four Seasons Total Landscaping? Because he ran his presidency into the ground. 🙂 You could also say he was intent on restoring lawn and order. 🙂 Okay, I’ll see myself out now…

funny pictures, political edition, 2020

Today there is a need for some humor, with it being election day in the U.S. This is a scary election, with millions of people voting for which presidential candidate seems least likely to destroy democracy. (I still can’t get over the fact that out of all the great people here, Joe Biden and Donald Trump are the ones we get to choose from. But I digress…) Anyway, here’s some politics-related pictures that hopefully you might find funny or humorous.

I have to agree… how in the world can we end up with two candidates that most people don’t want to vote for?
This would get out of control quickly, because neither Madea nor Trump would back down, but it would be more entertaining than the recent dumpster fire debates.
Don’t get mad — it’s a joke. Neither presidential candidate is “right”, IMO.
How often do people change their mind? And what methods might be successful? Healthy debates are great, but a lot of online arguing where people just repeat their standard talking points could be time spent doing something more productive. And people might be happier too.
Actually, I don’t want to know what people are having for dinner, either… is there a good reason to get on Facebook these days? 🙂 And don’t get me started on the professional trolls who are creating division on purpose…
Please don’t judge people by who they vote for. They might have one primary reason to vote for a party and thus vote for a turrible-in-most-other-ways candidate.

(To see more funny pictures, click on the “Funny Pictures” category in the sidebar.)