Sunday, November 28, 2010

All My Style Went Into the Sweater (Tutti i Miei Moda per il Maglione)

So I went clothes shopping not too long ago. I'm the kind who goes into the store, gets what I need and am out again with the surgical precision of a special forces commando. I don't go often, but when I do I like to buy everything that is necessary for at least half of a year.

In Italy, I was very impressed with their clothes shops. Of course without a discount, some of the clothing in the window can be quite expensive. I've always admired Italians and their love of clothes and fashion, from people walking on a Saturday afternoon in Salerno to strolling the wide avenues of Pompeii in 79 AD. Sometimes I wish that there was no need in the US for websites like this.

All that being said, I've recently found a blog which combines two great things, style and ancient mosaics. To take some style cues from Maggie at Mosaicology, I have painstakingly handcrafted a sweater with guilloche.

Are my color choices great, or do I need to go back to the mall?

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

It's Cold Outside (Il Suo Freddo)

Global warming and rising ocean levels were a problem the ancient Romans might have dealt with to a degree. They were a few shades closer to the last ice age and didn't build as frequently as the 'strip malls' which go up here in the modern US every day. I worry about water levels in Venice destroying great architecture and history whenever I go to Italy.

Modern handwringing about the loss of ice caps and glaciers prompted me to think about the situation.

People say 'global warming' but really the only observable phenomenon I see are less ice and some upper atmospheric changes. Since my 'junk science' thinking can't come up with anything at the moment for the upper atmosphere, indulge me my ramblings about ice today...

When fresh water is floating around in salt water, what is the actual mechanism for melting scientifically speaking? Well if you are like most people and said a rise in temperature, then you are partially correct, on the surface. But consider that the ice is floating in near freezing cold salt water, which is actually colder than freshwater ice (back in ancient times, they say the Romans made ice cream with salt water to make things even colder).

And, there is no shortage of volume of that colder-than-ice salt water compared to the thin ice crust. Even large glaciers are not nearly as tall as the depths of the Arctic Ocean, right?

So I understand the melting of freshwater ice in salt water to be related to the edges (of the ice that is). The salt particles contaminate the freshwater ice and lower its freezing point, which if the temperature is just under freshwater freezing, the freshwater ice melts away. The ice on the caps is replenished with weather systems (dropping fresh water rain, aka 'snow'), but maybe that's not enough? What if there are other particles (air delivered chemicals or residue) which lower the freezing point of the polar ice like salt does?

My half-baked solution to all this would be create enormous desalinization / filtration plants at the poles to remove contaminants; a kind of 'Santa's Workshop' of fresh water. The fresh water would then be pumped onto remaining polar ice where it could refreeze because it is still colder than freezing in those places.

To do this on such a large scale to affect ocean levels would require enormous power, and nuclear fission springs to mind. Of course, that generates large amounts of heat which could be counter productive unless it was used really really efficiently. Does anyone have a cheap limitless power source that operates at low temperatures to be used in this project? Will you give that to me for free?

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

The First Pitch Service (il Primo Tiro)

I would like to take this opportunity to announce the availability of my official 'First Baseball Pitch' service which will be available to any major league baseball game held in a stadium with projected attendees of 35,000 or more.
Sure, you could go with a President of the US, a former hall of fame athelete, or some other celebrity, but why do that when Bored Neoclassical Guy could bring a stunning 57.5 mph fastball high and away?

For an extra $5000, I'll even ride out to the pitcher's mound on a two horse chariot.

Way to go this season, Texas Rangers! And, SF Giants, not bad either!