Gas station without pumps

2017 January 8

Applying for Mini Maker Faire 2017

Filed under: Uncategorized — gasstationwithoutpumps @ 17:41
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I’m submitting an application for the Santa Cruz Mini Maker Faire 2017 (2017 April 29), since last year’s Mini-Maker Faire went well (see Santa Cruz Mini Maker Faire went well).  This year I’m getting my application in early, rather than dithering about it for months as I did last year.  I have less free time to prepare the display this year, but I have a better notion what I want to do, so it should not take long to get ready.

Last year's banner, which I can reuse this year. I might also make a shorter one that will fit on the front of the table.

Last year’s banner, which I can reuse this year. I might also make a shorter one that will fit on the front of the table.

The “non-public” description of my display is straightforward:

I’ll bring a tabletop full of electronics projects, as last year (see https://gasstationwithoutpumps.wordpress.com/2016/04/16/santa-cruz-mini-maker-faire-went-well/ ).

Laptops demonstrating free software to turn cheap microprocessor boards into data-acquisition systems suitable for home labs and science-fair projects.
Homemade LED desk lamp and stroboscope.

Several of the projects will be interactive (an optical pulse-rate monitor, oscillators that can be adjusted to change Lissajous figures on an oscilloscope, …).

A few changes from last year: a more reliable pulse-monitor design and a new USB oscilloscope.

The public blurb is similar to last year’s:

See your pulse on a home-made optical pulse monitor!
Record air pressure waveforms using free PteroDAQ data acquisition software!
Play with a bright custom-design LED stroboscope!
Control fancy Lissajous patterns on an oscilloscope!

I removed mention of an EKG, because I decided that it was too much trouble to tether myself with EKG leads all day.

My “Maker bio” is a bit boring, :

Kevin Karplus has been an engineering faculty member at UCSC since 1986, but has done hobbyist electronics on-and-off since the 1960s. For the past few years he has been working on a low-cost textbook to make hands-on analog electronics accessible to a wider range of students.  Several of the projects on display are from the textbook.

2016 December 31

Twentieth weight progress report

Filed under: Uncategorized — gasstationwithoutpumps @ 09:52
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This post is yet another weight progress report, continuing the previous one, this being the 20th since I started in January 2015.  This has not been a good year for maintaining my weight:

My weight has trended up by over 5 lbs this year, and it is currently 5 lbs above the top of my self-imposed "ideal" range.

My weight has trended up by over 5 lbs this year, and it is currently 5 lbs above the top of my self-imposed “ideal” range.

My weight only stayed in my desired range for about 6 months at the end of my diet.

My weight only stayed in my desired range for about 6 months at the end of my diet.

Because of the problems with my bicycle seat plus a week-long trip to Boulder to visit my Dad, I don’t have good records of exercise for the past few months—I think it was less than normal, because fall quarter I only went to campus 3 days a week.  I’ll be back to daily commuting for the next few months, though. I’ll have to find some more reliable form of exercise during summer and fall of 2017, as the beginning of summer seems to have been when my weight jumped the most.

My goal for this quarter is to get my weight back down to 158, an 8-pound loss that will take me most of the quarter to achieve, assuming I can stick to the strict diet as I did two years ago.

2016 December 25

Banana slug Christmas

Filed under: Uncategorized — gasstationwithoutpumps @ 16:50
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When my wife was decorating our Christmas tree last night (a Christmas Eve tradition for us), she was regretting that we did not have a good tree topper.  She did not want to repeat last year’s Christmas tree topper.

Today, we received from her sister a banana slug mask, which immediately became this year’s topper:

The mask as tree topper.

The mask as tree topper.

The whole tree—I think this is the 4th year we've used this live tree, getting it up the front steps using the hand truck visible in the background.  Note also the tiny Festivus pole in front of the tree.

The whole tree—I think this is the 4th year we’ve used this live tree, getting it up the front steps using the hand truck visible in the background. Note also the tiny Festivus pole in front of the tree.

2016 December 24

Impossible gelt label

Filed under: Uncategorized — gasstationwithoutpumps @ 20:19
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Tonight was the first night of Chanukah, so my wife gave our son some Chanukah gelt (foil-covered chocolate coins) for playing dreidel.  He noticed an anomaly on the label:

Can you spot the problem on this label?

Can you spot the problem on this label?

 

 

 

 

 

 

He noticed that though the serving size was only 15g, there were 8g of fat and 9g of carbohydrates.  Because fats and carbohydrates are disjoint sets, this means that there 17g of fats and carbohydrates. I then noticed that of the 8g of fat, 20g were saturated! This chocolate must really pack a strong punch, with 20g of saturated fats and 9g of carbohydrates in only 15g!

Based on the normal fat and sugar content of milk chocolate, I believe that the label should have 5g of fat, 3g of which are saturated, but it is hard to be sure, as low-quality milk chocolate varies so much in composition.

Incidentally, our family celebrates both Chanukah and Christmas, though we are neither Jewish nor Christian—we also put up a small Festivus pole and celebrate the Winter Solstice with solstice cookies—we just feel a need for a lot of holidays mid-winter (even though winter here is like spring in most of the USA).

2016 November 25

Heart risk

Filed under: Uncategorized — gasstationwithoutpumps @ 18:11
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My 90-year-old father recently needed several stents installed, because his coronary arteries were 85–95% blocked. This came as a bit of a shock to the family, as we had thought his heart was in good shape (aside from needing a pacemaker). So I’ve been thinking a bit about my own risk of coronary vascular disease (CVD), especially since I have hereditary high cholesterol (from my Mom’s side of the family).

Like any modern academic, I turned to the web for more information. There are many calculators on the web for computing one’s risk of CVD, almost all claiming to be based on the Framingham study of heart health. Unfortunately, they disagree enormously (by  a factor of 2) on what my risk is.

I used the following statistics for all site: age 62, male, cholesterol 161 mg/dL=4.16mmol/L, HDL 43 mg/dL=1.11mmol/L, triglycerides 90 mg/dL=1.016 mmol/L, BP134/83mmHg, height 5’11” (180cm), weight 163 lbs(74 kg), race white, no treatment for blood pressure, non-smoker, and no diabetes, though these numbers are not all from the same day, and I’m doubtful of the blood-pressure reading, as it was done with a cheap home cuff that I don’t believe handles my low heart rate well.  (When I’ve had oscillometric and auditory measurements made at nearly the same time, the oscillometric ones have been substantially higher.)

I got the following risks of CVD in the next 10 years:

Site Risk
 http://www.mdcalc.com/framingham-coronary-heart-disease-risk-score/  9.7%
 https://www.uptodate.com/contents/calculator-cardiovascular-risk-assessment-10-year-men-patient-education  10%
 https://www.framinghamheartstudy.org/risk-functions/cardiovascular-disease/10-year-risk.php#  10% (using lipids), 17.9% (using BMI)
 http://www.cvriskcalculator.com/  10.1% (heart attack or stroke)
 http://tools.acc.org/ASCVD-Risk-Estimator/  10.1%
 http://reference.medscape.com/calculator/aac-aha-cardiovascular-risk-ascvd  10.1%
 http://medcalc3000.com/ACCAHA2013.htm  10.1%
 http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/heart-disease/in-depth/heart-disease-risk/itt-20084942 10.1%
 https://qrisk.org/2016/index.php  11.4%
 http://chd.bestsciencemedicine.com/calc2.html  15.4% (Framingham), 11.6% (Qrisk2), 10.3% (ACC/AHA ASCVD)
 http://patient.info/doctor/cardiovascular-risk-calculator  12% (CHD), 5% (MI), 3% (CHD death), 3% (stroke), 18% (**CVD),  4% (**CVD death), 14% (JBS CVS Risk)
 http://www.medcalc.com/heartrisk.html  13%
http://reference.medscape.com/calculator/framingham-cardiovascular-disease-risk  15.0%
 https://www.cvdriskchecksecure.com/FraminghamRiskScoreResults.aspx  18.4%

I’ll have to ask my doctor whether it is worth getting a high-sensitivity C-Reactive Protein (hsCRP) test for inflammation to use one of the risk calculators that takes inflammation into account.

The risks are about normal for my age, but I’d like to reduce them if I can.  I’m already on statins (and have been for 25 years) and 81mg aspirin (self-prescribed), I already get about 150 minutes a week of moderate exercise, and I’ve been controlling my weight (though I’ve put on 4 lbs in the past year that I’d like to get rid of).  I’m not sure how much more I can reduce the risk.

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