Things You Think About at 2:30 AM

Filed under: Insomnia, Musings — olivander February 22, 2011 @ 5:24 am

There’s a story out of the French Revolution of a fellow whose guillotined head continued to scream for several minutes after being divorced from its body. Good story, but when you think about it, utterly impossible. Even if the executioner had botched the job so closely to the shoulders that he included the larynx with the head, the diaphragm would still be necessary to push air past the vocal cords.

I suppose it’s possible that a severed head could retain consciousness for 30 or 60 seconds. Possibly it could even work the jaw muscles, albeit silently. It’s completely possible that the eyes and ears would continue to process information until the brain became starved of oxygen. That would occur fairly rapidly. Vision is the first higher brain function to break down, so who knows?

But a screaming head? Not very likely.

Things you think about at 2am

Filed under: Insomnia, Musings — olivander February 15, 2011 @ 12:51 am

What if Lady Gaga is really Marilyn Manson playing an elaborate practical joke on everyone?

What if all wormholes are an express train to a singularity–the terminus of time and space, the Big Bang–and everything ejected in the Big Bang is the material being sucked in by black holes throughout the universe, and the universe’s existence is a product of its own demise?

*****

I should have had a proper typecast, especially since I hauled home four standards over the weekend, but between insomnia and a hellion child, I’m just drained.

Stereo Meta Stereo Meta

Filed under: AV Club, Finds, photography — olivander February 6, 2011 @ 3:43 pm

The above picture is a stereogram of a 1948 Stereo Realist camera, found in a local knick-knack store. So see it in simulated 3D, gently cross your eyes until the left and right images merge. Click the picture for a larger, more crosseye-friendly version.

A survey equipment company, the David White Company introduced the Stereo Realist to the market in 1947. It quickly became the company’s most popular product, despite a price of well over $1,000 in today’s dollars. Probably its most prolific and famous user was former silent-film star Harold Lloyd, who shot around a quarter million stereo images with one.

The David White Company is still around and still selling surveying equipment, but in 1971 they sold all of their Stereo Realist assets to former company design engineer Ron Zakowski.

The Stereo Realist shown above is a fairly early example, having a serial number in the low 7000s. It’s in nearly perfect condition, except the shutter is a bit sticky on very low speeds. With a little luck, I’ll be turning out real (not imitation) stereo photographs soon!