Posts Tagged ‘communication’

A Rainbow in White Rock

In Excerpts on June 10, 2011 at 11:48 am

“There’s a rock at the main intersection of White Rock, New Mexico that’s often repainted, sometimes two or three times a day. My pal Mouser and a couple friends of his took a core sample of the rock to determine the paint thickness…turns out there was five and a half inches of paint on that rock.” 

That’s Jason Kottke. Here’s his friend Mouser:

Robb and I took a 1.5cm core sample of the rock, right through the front face that gets painted most frequently. We were expecting maybe an inch of paint or so.

After pulling the core, we patched the hole and painted over the patch. Then Robb put the core into a test tube and filled the interstitial space with epoxy. The test tube was spun in a centrifuge while the epoxy cured. Next, we took the tube to Dave Mann at High Mesa Petrographics, who cut it in half for us using an ultra-thin diamond saw.

The resulting half test tubes were a bit flimsy and fragile, so we embedded them in epoxy bricks, then returned one to Dave and he polished it down to a flat, matte finish.

From there, I took the core to Dan’s place, where we used his fancy microscope to take a series of photomicrographs (37 in all) along the length, which I then stitched together in software.

In the time it took to prepare the sample, take the photographs, and process them, the rock has been painted eight more times.

Here’s the sample in its beautiful entirety. Screenshots of particularly interesting layers below.


In Thoughts on March 11, 2011 at 4:40 pm

After a long radio silence—in which the only communication between our office buildings, via the System, was (Sean) “TOO BUSY” and (Reply) “DITTO”—we have activity.

Sean: “TgIF!!!”

We finally know why our anonymous communicator used a lower-case ‘g’ for her “ARgH.” Capital ‘g’s with post-its are impossible.


In Excerpts on February 7, 2011 at 10:37 am

Transmission intercepted!

In Thoughts on February 4, 2011 at 3:47 pm

W/r/t the Transoffice Communications System, I didn’t think about the fact that Sean was in essence broadcasting his messages (Tuesday’s: “SNOW?”) into the airy ether. Rather than a direct, secure line to Erin’s 7th-floor law-library window, his message could be received by anyone distractedly glancing out the window.

Today over lunch, Geoff—a very gentlemanly, very well-read cohort of mine—looked up from his Kashi lunch (it never changes) and said, “Oh, someone’s writing back.”

That someone was not Erin of the 7th floor, but unnamed portly woman of the 9th. Carefully arranging her similarly colored post-its, she spelled out “ARgH!” Why the lower-case ‘g’ I don’t know.

With any luck, we’ll soon have responses from every window on every visible floor of the facing building. Pedestrians below will hurry on, oblivious to the dialogue happening stories above them.