Wednesday, August 31, 2011

TCT - Printing in 3D

I had heard of 3D printing before. However, I had assumed it involved printing creative cut-out patterns for complex objects to create 3D shapes by hand, the way we used to make cubes out of paper in elementary school.

Turns out I was completely wrong, and 3D printing is actually pretty friggin amazing! 3D printers *literally* create objects in 3 dimensions by solidifying layers of powder in specific patterns. The 2D patterns for each layer are obtained by using a computer to 'slice' the object into virtual layers - typically 10 layers to a millimeter. The platform that the powder rests on moves downward so that the layers are solidified exactly one on top of the other, thereby re-creating the original 3D object.

Here's a clip from Nat Geo Amazing that explains and demonstrates the process beautifully -

Oh, the possibilities!

Sunday, August 28, 2011

SS - Black Hole

I spent the last 16 days in a black hole.  I'd been minding my own business, frolicking about in space, when alluva sudden I tripped and fell into a black hole.  Yup.  That's clumsy li'l me.

Well, more accurately, I was out visiting relatives and I didn't trip at all - though I did bang my shin  while climbing onto the top bunk on the train (ouch!) - but that's hardly an interesting story, right?

I knew our good friend Google would assist me with the visuals of the story behind my absence, so I googled 'fantasy black hole images' and ended up finding this gem of a wallpaper:

It's from, which, in their words "is a site dedicated to showcasing the best and most inspirational digital art from around the web — be it science fiction, fantasy, retro, 3D, illustrations, vector art, and virtually everything else."

They have amazing stuff, which you should definitely check out.  Here's the link to the black hole wallpaper.

Friday, August 12, 2011

FF - How Rhinos See the World

Ever wonder what it would be like to look at the world through a rhino's eyes?  Well here's one way to do it without the risk of getting slaughtered as you try to crawl into its brain:

Click here to see how Google would appear to a rhino.


Visit or directly add a website's address to the end of it to view the website through the eyes of a rhino.


Thursday, August 11, 2011

Authors I Admire

A dear writer friend of mine and I were talking about celebrity role models, and we both concluded that we prefer saving our energies of admiration for authors and people in our own fields to most actors/actresses and social celebrities. I'd be a LOT more star-struck meeting Stephen Hawking than, say, Tom Cruise. Put me in a room with a great author or someone with significant contribution to the world of soft computing and McGonagall would call me a babbling bumbling baboon.

Though I'd probably be a *tiny* bit star-stuck if I were to suddenly come face to face with Julie Andrews or Natalie Portman or Aamir Khan...

Anyway, I thought I'd actually compile a list of some of the authors that I really admire, and why I look up to them. This is by no means a complete list; I'm sure I'll think of 10 more the moment I hit submit.

JK Rowling in the café where she first began writing the Harry Potter books

- J.K. Rowling for being able to write something that is so simple and yet so complex, something that touches people of all ages, and not giving up despite being rejected by many, many publishers.  She started out struggling financially and writing at a cafe, and ended up adding words to our everyday speech in a few years.  The terms 'muggle' and 'Hogwarts' are known all over the world; The only other non-Indian books I've seen able to do that in India are the Enid Blyton books, and those are for children. Her characters are believable, her hero is flawed and lovable, and the wizarding world is so intricate and nicely entwined with our own that we think to ourselves "Oh MAN! If only!!"

- G.R.R.M. for the way he writes, though he's not one of my absolute favourite authors.  He apparently just writes.  Just keeps going no matter where it takes him. Well, of course, there's always a bit of note-taking and planning, here and there, but I've heard that he prefers to just write.  His work tends to get chaotic, yes, and I'd rather my own work be less chaotic, but the more I've learned about novel planning, and character tools over the past couple of months the more I've realized that I'd like to just be able to WRITE.  I love planning in real life.  Planning TOO much in my writing world suffocates me.  It's just not my thing.

- Margaret George for the amazing way she researches her work, and how believable she makes her historical fiction novels. She writes about her adventures in research on her site.  I haven't visited her site in ages, but from what I remember, it was awesome. I have only read one of her books: Helen of Troy.  However, it was so amazing, that I exchanged emails with her a few years ago. Her replies were very motivational.  I haven't been able to find her books in any stores here, but now that I have a Kindle, I'll look for e-books.

- Brandon Sanderson & Robert Jordan for their fantasy.  I want to write fantasy like they do, full of realistic, intricate characters and scenarios.  I would also like to be able to write an epic series, but I doubt that will happen... :P

- Oscar Wilde for his humour and satire, and his ability to articulate in interesting ways how society works

- Philip Pullman for the way he wrote His Dark Materials, which talked about god and the church without sounding preachy. It was a very well spun sci-fi fantasy tale.

- H.G.Wells  for The Time Machine, a piece of sci-fi that is ageless.

Which authors or celebrities do you look up to?

Picture from:

Sunday, August 7, 2011

SS - Little Monk at Play

When my husband and I were exploring Gangtok, I spotted this little monk-to-be playing with a ball on a string. He was so engrossed in his play that he didn't even notice me, and I couldn't resist capturing it.

Here are the rest of the pictures we took.