Wednesday, March 23, 2005


Janet Savage is a Certified Hand Analyst. I suppose I've become less skeptical as I age, since I see more and more that this is a world of illusion. Why shouldn't our Life Purpose imprint on our hands before birth? What if I, as a pre-birth spirit person, wanted to somehow send my physical self a message? My own hands and fingerprints look like a pretty good way to do that!

Janet interprets these messages, so you can understand better what you are here for. As we work on a design together, the story about bridging two opposites, and the discovery that boundaries are self-imposed, comes up again and again. So naturally, I just had to take the fingerprints entirely off the fingers, to suggest that Individual Expression precedes and informs the cells of our bodies ("Oh!" you say. "Those are fingerprints? They look like something different to me." Well, you are very observant. They are intentionally ambiguous, to recollect other aspects of hand analysis).

The rest is a balancing act of execution. Should the colors be brighter and more playful? What if they are more serious, grounded, earthy? I found a point at which they were too dark and mysterious, too séance-invoking, too spirally hypnotic. I backed off from that, to get the earthy tones of the card on the right. Is the card on the left more or less attractive? Remember, I have to balance fun with serious on this!

Final thoughts: what if the colors are softer? How does that make the card feel? What if the colors are bold (like Janet!), but there is less contrast between field/ground?

Monday, March 21, 2005

Fastest Velocity Build Ever

Click here to get the plans for the fastest building Velocity you'll ever assemble! If you want one that carries people, then click here.

1) Gather your materials. You'll need the plans, a 1/16" balsa sheet, just a mere scrap 4"x12" to 15" will do. An X-acto, some glue (I love Elmer's), and a straight edge of some sort. Oh-- and a surface you can cut on.

2) Cut out all the parts. Don't worry about making the curves beautiful. I just hold the template in place with my free hand; some people like to tape or pin it in place.

3) I use the first fuselage half as a template for the second half.

4) Glue the two fuselage halves together.

5) As the glue sets up, align the fuselage template to the fuselage, and using the straightedge and the knife, cut the slots for the wings. Note that we're doing this AFTER you glued the fuselage together, while the glue was still soft.

6) You want to hold the knife just as straight up as you possibly can. 90 degrees is perfect. Cut the slots slightly small, and they'll hold on to the wings really tightly. You can always open them up wider with a bit of sandpaper.

7) Use the back of the blade to clean out the slot.

8) You don't have to try to cut those crazy small ends, of the slots. The back of the knife will clean them out just fine.

9) Insert the main wing.

10) Slight beads of glue are all that's required to attach the vertical stabilizers. As you line one up on the wing, you'll see there are corners to help you get it into the right position.

11) Checking vertical, sighting along the back. Looks like I held the knife pretty straight!

12) Insert the canard, and you are done! I built this one in 20 minutes, and was flying in under an hour. Elmer's glue sets real fast on balsa.

As you fly it, you'll discover that canards are very forgiving about their center of gravity. This particular model required absolutely no weight in order to fly beautifully. If you are used to flying models with the wing in front, you'll be surprised at how far back you have to put ballast in order to achieve level flight.

That's it! I hope you have fun, and if you build your own, please send me a picture!

Monday, March 14, 2005

Back to Business.

I've broken out the Sustainability Blog so the Pixel Rangers blog will be able to stay on task as an exploration of my business practices.

Saturday, March 05, 2005

Further fish experiments

When did this blog change from a business tool to a journal of random thoughts and discoveries? I'll redefine the boundary later. Right now:

More fish perception experimenting!

Following up on my idea to test whether it was familiarity with their habituated "wet space" or if they were following what their eyes informed them, I wanted to test if an external water level would change the fish's behavior. I decide to start very small, rather than go buy a larger tank to set the smaller tank in (Using a larger tank, I could create a surrounding volume, fill it halfway with water, and create a false "top" boundary for the fish to see).

Using a one-gallon pickle jar, I filled it to half as high as the real tank's water level, and set it next to the fish tank. As you can see in the picture, that was enough to convince the fish to swim in the lower half of the tank. Their behavior was quite interesting. They would swim in the entire column of water unitl they got within about 3 body lengths of the outside jar; then they would startle, and swim beneath the level of the water in the jar.

The startle reflex suggests that they could become habituated to swimming "above water." It also makes me wonder about why a fish would even know what that boundary looks like "from above," and why it makes them swim below it.