Posts Tagged ‘What is it?’

Post update: What is it?

June 17, 2022

I was surprised no one commented on my last blog post. I guess the mystery object was too easy to identify. I will try to make the next installment of “What is it?” more challenging.

The photos show two views of a bullet from the Civil War that was discovered (using a metal detector) by my nephew Tim Roberts near his boyhood home in Warrenton, Virginia USA.

Notice there are two rings around the base of the bullet. That indicates the bullet was made for the Confederate Army.

Copyright © 2022 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved.

What is it?

June 14, 2022

Ladies and gentlemen, children of all ages. It’s time for another exciting episode of “What is it?”

If you think you know what is shown in these photos, then please leave a comment. The answer will be revealed in a post update.

Copyright © 2022 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved.

Video settings: Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ300

February 4, 2022

I’m not sure, but I think the short movie featured in my last two blog posts is the first time I’ve used my Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ300 superzoom bridge camera to record video.

Before beginning my project, I consulted Graham Houghton for expert advice regarding recommended video settings for the FZ300.

In “The Panasonic Lumix FZ300/330 Beginner’s Guide to Creating Video,” by Graham Houghton (28:51), Graham talks about “red button recording” versus “creative video mode.”

Red Button Recording

I chose “red button recording” for the simple video I wanted to create using Apple iMovie. The following settings were selected on the camera, synthesized from Graham’s recommendations in the preceding video.

  • Press Menu/Set button, Motion Picture (video camera icon), p. 1/6 Rec Format → change to MP4
  • Menu/Set, Motion Picture (video camera icon), p. 1/6 Rec Quality → change to FHD 28M 60p
  • Menu/Set, Custom (wrench-C icon), p. 7/9 Rec Area → switch from camera icon to video icon (Note: camera format = 4×3; video format = 16×9.)

Press the red button on top of the camera body to start recording in 16:9 format; press the red button again to stop recording. It’s that simple.

Well, not quite so simple. Although the camera was mounted on a tripod, I had to use Apple iMovie to delete a couple of seconds of video at the beginning and end of the clip because of camera shake when I pressed the button to start/stop recording. I intended to use the “Panasonic Image App” for remote control of the camera but simply forgot.

Creative Video Mode

At the ~10:20 mark in the video, Graham transitions to talking about “creative video mode.” I encourage you to continue watching the video for tips related to more advanced video recording.

Related Resource

Demonstrating the Panasonic Image App on an IOS device, by Graham Houghton (23:05).

See also “Demonstrating the Panasonic Image App on an Android device,” by Graham Houghton (19:38).

Copyright © 2022 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved.

 

Post update: What is it?

February 1, 2022

The mystery item featured in my last blog post is a Christmas tree ornament hanging above a battery-powered flashlight with a low-power incandescent bulb.

Perhaps the bigger mystery is what makes the gold propeller inside the ornament spin around when the flashlight is powered-on.

Christmas tree ornament hanging above a flashlight.

Energy Transformations

When I taught 8th grade Physical Science classes, “energy transformations” was an overarching theme in one of the lab manuals for the course.

The Rayovac No. H22 Industrial Flashlight (shown above) uses two 1.5 V D-cell batteries to power a 2.4 V incandescent bulb. When the flashlight was powered-on and placed below the Christmas tree ornament, the following energy transformations occured.

potential energy → chemical energy → electrical energy →
radiant energy → thermal energy → kinetic energy

Knowing that kinetic energy can be thought of as energy of motion, the question remains: What gives the spinning propeller its kinetic energy?

Heat Rises

How many times have you heard this common misconception? “Heat,” more correctly referred to as “thermal energy,” flows from higher to lower concentration of thermal energy, regardless of directions such as up or down. So what causes the propeller to spin?

Thermal energy from the incandescent flashlight bulb causes the temperature of the air around the flashlight bulb to increase. The warm air around the bulb is less dense than the surrounding air so it rises; the rising air current causes the gold propeller inside the Christmas tree ornament to spin. It’s worth noting I removed the plastic “lens” from the face of the flashlight head so it wouldn’t block airflow from the light bulb to Christmas tree ornament.

The Backstory

The Christmas tree ornament shown above is a treasured memento from my early childhood. My parents bought two similar ornaments: one is blue with a gold propeller; the other is green with a red propeller (not shown).

One of the ornaments was a gift for my sister; the other was for me. I can’t remember which one was given to me. In my defense, that was a long time ago — I might have been as young as three or four years old when we got the ornaments. That said, I remember clearly how fascinated I was with the spinning propeller inside the ornament!

At that time, Christmas tree lights were relatively large colored incandescent bulbs that got uncomfortably warm-to-hot when powered-on. When my Christmas tree ornament was hung above one of those lights, the propeller spun much faster than it did when hanging above the smaller flashlight bulb used for my demonstration.

Related Resource: Candle Powered Carousel (1:01). My family had one of these too.

Copyright © 2022 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved.

What is it?

January 28, 2022

You like it, you love it, you can’t get enough of it. That’s right, it’s time for another exciting episode of “What is it?”

If you think you know what is shown in the preceding video (0:28), then please leave a comment. The answer will be revealed in a post update.

Tech Tip: Click on the icon for Full screen (f), located in the lower-right corner of the video frame.

Copyright © 2022 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved.

Post update: What is it?

January 18, 2022

The mystery item featured in my last blog post is a Beetle Spin® 1/8 oz fishing lure.

Beetle Spin® 1/8 oz fishing lure.

Perhaps the bigger mystery is how the fishing lure ended up where I found it, stuck in the bark of a tree (about head height) quite a distance from a small stream that might be fish-less. There was no fishing line attached to the lure. Anyway, there it was.

Beetle Spin® is one of the classic all-purpose fishing lures that is a nice addition to my tackle box.

Copyright © 2022 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved.

What is it?

January 14, 2022

Ladies and gentlemen, children of all ages. It’s time for another exciting episode of “What is it?”

If you think you know what is shown in the preceding photo, then please leave a comment. The answer will be revealed in a post update.

Copyright © 2022 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved.

Post update: What is it — emerald or skimmer?

November 5, 2021

An exuvia from a Stygian Shadowdragon dragonfly (Neurocordulia yamaskanensis) was collected by Freda van den Broek on 10 June 2019 along the St. Croix River in Interstate Park, Polk County, Wisconsin USA.

The presence of a ventromedial groove in the prementum suggests this specimen is a member of Family Corduliidae (Emeralds) and in fact it is.

Congratulations to Douglas Mills, who correctly identified the family of this specimen.

Going with corduliidae for the groove. It’s got impressive crenulations — I had to double check they weren’t jagged and this was a trick question 🙂 Source Credit: Douglas Mills.

Douglas successfully avoided the trap that was set when I chose to use a specimen that features deeply-scalloped crenulations along the margins of the palpal lobes. According to Kevin Hemeon, member of the “Odonate Larvae and Exuviae” Facebook group, crenulations like these are a characteristic field mark for Genus Neurocordulia (Shadowdragons) in the Family Corduliidae (Emeralds).

Related Resources

Copyright © 2021 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved.

What is it — emerald or skimmer?

November 2, 2021

Ladies and gentlemen, children of all ages. It’s time for another exciting episode of “What is it?

I wrote about the “ventromedial groove” in a recent blog post. Based upon what you learned, is the following odonate exuvia a member of Family Corduliidae (Emeralds) or Family Libellulidae (Skimmers)?

Odonata (Suborder Anisoptera) | exuvia (face-head)

If you think you know the family, then please leave a comment. The answer will be revealed in a post update.

Copyright © 2021 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved.

What is it?

September 3, 2021

Ladies and gentlemen, children of all ages. It’s time for another exciting episode of “What is it?”

If you think you know what is shown in the preceding photo, then please leave a comment. The answer will be revealed in a post update.

Editor’s Note: OK, OK — I realize this one is beyond challenging and might turn out to be impossible to identify correctly. But hey, take a guess anyway — you might be right!

Copyright © 2021 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved.


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