Lihapiirakka - Karelian Fast Food

Here's what fast food meant in South East Finland before the invasion of hamburgers. The quintessential place to buy something like this is the Lappeenranta market square.


Ethics of Big Bad Thoughts

If I imagine kicking a dog, is it ethical? What if I had a really big brain?

Let's go through some scenarios:


How to Draw Circles in Perspective like a Geometer

There are a lot of tutorials and guides in the net on the subject of drawing ellipses, but they — invariably to my knowledge — follow the same formula: project a square in perspective, then sketch an ellipse inside it with guides.

The ghost of Euclid cries in agony every time someone draws an ellipse like that. This guide will tell you how to do it precisely using the classic tools: a ruler, a compass, and additionally a piece of string and two pins, to render the ellipse itself.


Heliocentric Helical Hoop World

How about putting a hoopworld around a sun? And another, while we're at it. Having read about megastructures I haven't yet come by anything like this, which probably means a) I haven't looked deep enough, or b) it's so ridiculous that nobody has bothered putting it down, or c) neither. Assuming c) and waiting anyone to submit evidence for a) or b), here are some properties and problems of this kind of a world based on a limited grasp on physics.


Wax Tablets

From antiquity up to the 19th century wax tablets were the way to take notes quick. Infinitely reusable and easier to use than ink on papyrus or parchment. Here are two versions I made.


Betascript Mathematical Notation

Betascript got a mathematical notation. I tried to shed off traditional math notation as well as I could from a lifetime of indoctrination. Things that specifically got to go were fractional notation, representing equations as, well, equations, zero, and all the shenanigans with logarithms. The latter was heavily inspired by the Triangle of Power, a very useful notation that helps (YMMV) unify exponentiation, taking roots, and logarithms. So here goes.


Delta-V Map of the Solar System

Delta-V, the capability of a spaceship to change its velocity, not distance between the destinations, is the convenient measure of travel cost in a solar system. This map is drawn based on deadfrog42's and Winchell Chung's data. I'm not an expert of space travel, so mistakes are expected and requested to be reported.

Read more about it and see other maps at Atomic Rockets .

↓ Map here ↓


Taprobana is Borneo

Ptolemy's mysterious island Taprobana is Borneo and it's quite obvious. But since the current consensus written in stone is that Taprobana was Sri Lanka, I'll spell it out with pictures.

(There is an in-depth essay on this by Dhani Irwanto (Taprobana is not Sri Lanka nor Sumatera, but Kalimantan) that I found after drawing these maps, making this quite redundant. But well.)


Accordion Book with Jacob's Ladder Binding

A simple proof of concept. I've seen other accordion books, but not any with a binding that keeps the covers together while opening both ways. (There are plenty that bind the whole book as Jacob's Ladder, ie. each page is separate.)


Heat Index in Celsius

Usually someone has created and put on the net everything you might possibly want, but there doesn't seem to be a formula for heat index in Celsius yet. So here it is:

-0.000003582 * RH² * T²
0.0022117 * RH * T²
-0.0123 * T²
0.0007254 * RH² * T
-0.14611 * RH * T
1.611 * T
-0.01643 * RH²
2.34 * RH

where RH is relative humidity in percents, and T is temperature in Celsius. Notice that the formula stops working below ~26 °C and ~40 %.

The above is slightly prettified from the original formula, but is accurate to 0.03 °C, which should be accurate enough, considering the formula is based on subjective impressions of heat.



Prez wants the codes,
because he can.
"Are you certain?"
"Yes I am."
Out comes gun – BANG!
— — —
"My job is done"
says the code case man.


Improve the World by Complaining

I've bought recently lots of cheap trinkets from mainly Chinese eBay sellers. In about 1-3 cases out of 10 there is something objectively wrong with the item or it doesn't fit the description, so I send a reclamation and typically get my money back.

"Well, what do you expect?" I expect to get what I pay for. What it says on the tin. "Why waste your time?" Firstly, I have time, and secondly, I enjoy it. The small act of calling bullshit and taking a few dollars worth of stuff from a seller who wants to spread the gospel of "bullshitting is fine, caveat emptor" makes the world a tiny bit better place. If I'm scammed, it's not only my right but my responsibility to all who might follow me to do something about it.

[edit: The rest of the post details the process of buying specifically a fake 64GB thumb drive. This is a waste of time: although the drives have 16GB of working memory, it stops working after a while. If you want to do it anyway to waste the time and money of the sellers, hats of to you of course.]

If you don't want to buy anything specific and still want to better the world by complaining, here's my tip: USB thumb drives . A small step by step guide:


Latin Declension and Pronouns

The meat of the chart is the topmost table with an overview of the different declensions and their genders. In English and Finnish. As with the conjugations, I've tried to make it clear and concise enough to be printed in BW on an A4 paper.


Latin Conjugation

I went recently to a Latin course, and made myself a concise reference of Latin conjugation. Doesn't include imperatives, infinitives, participles, or gerunds. Available in English, Latin, and Finnish. I've added highlighting on some of the points that might be easy to forget. Please report if you find any mistakes.


Vanhassa suomessa vara parempi

[Alternative ways of writing Finnish.]

Suomen salonkikelpoistaminen oli kaiken kaikkiaan oikein onnistunut projekti, kiitos vaan kaikillle fennomaaneille haudoissaan. Joitakin pikku yksityiskohtia kuitenkin korjaisin, jos voisin.


Managing Expectations

If you send a reclamation about subpar stuff from China, you'll likely get back generic copypasta. These guys have taken it a step further, and printed it on the packaging. I guess you can reconstruct the most typical complaint from this, being something like "the picture quality is shit, you're a bunch of amateurs"..? Or maybe it's just Chinglish. Maybe.

Now, the camera met my expectations quite well, even exceeded them (it worked out of the box, after all, and cost $7), so I have no "overexpectation in my mind", which makes the statement on the box a damned lie. Where's my overexpectation?! You just can't win, I guess.


Faking Font Faces in XeTeX

I wanted to use Linux Biolinum, specifically a bold italic face, in XeTeX. Unfortunately it only has faces for bold and italic, not both. So this is how you fake it:



A rechargeable lamp, built from 4 USB components. A lamp, a switch, a 2-cell power bank (with salvaged cells), a wall plug , 2 cables, 2 hairbands.  Pretty inconvenient, but I like the modularity and color scheme.

(Interesting how USB became the standard for delivering DC power. Good riddance, proprietary power plugs. I fear the day they implement DRM in USB power delivery, and you can't charge your phone without special Company X iElectricity® ($99.99).)

Nuggets of Finnish

"Buffalo buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo buffalo"? "James while John had had had had had had had had had had had a better effect on the teacher"? Finnish won't be left second on the noble fields of grammatical ambiguity and trickery. Here are a few examples with interlinear glosses for those who want to know what's going on. Obviously not for people who think that overanalyzing sucks the fun out of anything... Quite the contrary, right?!



A while ago I ordered a bunch of laser cut stuff from Ponoko (see previous post for one), among them 1:24 scale miniature furniture. I finally finished assembling the most complicated one, a mirror chiffonier. Here's a short writeup.


Edge-Lit Display

I had some clear acrylic laser-cut into 10 number plates, stuck some LEDs to them, taped with copper tape, and voilà.



I watched a bunch of videos about bookbinding and decided to make a book. It's a bit time consuming but quite simple, you only require paper, cardboard, string, and cloth.



 Having scribbled different types of rotational artificial gravity configurations and having started watching Voyager, an inspiration to model spacecraft hit me.


Comic Textures in Blender

I've played a bit with faking comic rasters/hatching and line art in Blender. There are numerous ways to implement this, and here's one.