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Archive for April, 2015

Z is for…

Z is for Zombie

I know, zombies are everywhere these days.  They are the cool supernatural creature, giving serious competition to vampires in the pop culture world.

I’m talking about Romero zombies here, which I think are technically ghouls.  ‘Classical’ zombies are people enslaved by a combination of drugs and psychological conditioning.  Romero style zombies are brain eating undead creatures.

There have been lots of models for making zombies science fiction creatures rather than beings of supernatural horror.  There are often analogues cited in the animal world, viral, parasitic and fungal  infections which can have strange effects, causing the infected to behave in programmed, bizarre, and gory ways.  All of these make for wonderful horror fiction fodder.

I must admit, to some extent I have been infected.

I’m not too much of a fan of the primary media sources.  I’ve only seen Night of the Living Dead and Dawn of the Dead once each.  I don’t particularly avoid zombie flicks, but I don’t seek them out either.  I’ve never actually watched Walking Dead.  I do, however, watch iZombie, the series about a zombie intern medical examiner and the the rookie homicide cop (they fight crime!)  It’s light and silly and I really enjoy it.

Bohemia ZombieThat’s it, of course.  It’s the ‘lighter’ zombie fare which gets me.  It started out with Plants vs Zombies.  What could be better than planting flowers to protect your vulnerable skull?  There are a number of other silly zombie games out there, including a remake of Lemmings with a zombie theme.

As I mentioned in my previous post, Bohemia Fibers puts out a line of yarn where each skein has a unique color scheme characterized by “blood spatter”.   It comes complete with toe- tag.  A brief search on Ravelry gives over 200 zombie patterns.

Don’t be surprised if some of them pass through this blog some day…

 

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Y is for Yarn (no surprises here)

Yup.  I love the stuff, and I’m going to briefly hit on the highlights of my stash.

Limon CakesI’m currently knitting with Premier Yarns Serenity Sockweight Solids, and Regia 4-ply for the TARDIS socks.  Not at all a yarn snob choice, but good, workable inexpensive yarn.  They are going on my feet after all.

The Belle Greene shawl, which I’ve mentioned every third post or so, uses Bohemia Fibers flowerBohemian Sock superwash in the Atomic Limon colorway.  This is the UV reactive yarn.  It’s gorgeous, but not particularly smooshy or soft.

My third and final WIP is the Cthulhu dice bag.  It uses Fiber Optic Merino Sport in the Milkweed colorway, and KnitPicks Diadem in Argent.  The diadem is super soft and smooshy, while the Merino is spun so tight it’s almost hard in comparison.

OUD Yarnther favorites are the organic Swans Island fingering in Tiger Lilly, which will probably become a Tesla shawl from Very Busy Monkey.  The DK weight buffalo yarn from Cottage Craft Angora, two skeins of unknown but (presumably) single breed sheep from the University of Delaware’s agriculture program, in school colors,  Bohemia ZombieBohemia Fibers Bohemian Laceweight Yarn in the Potluck Zombie colorway (mine is Bethany Richards who died from skin poisoning by makeup “less really is more”), and, of course, a whole lot of recycled sari silk.

Of course, I’ll be going to the Sheep and Wool festival this weekend, and I do plan to look for single breed and/or locally produced wool there.  Plus some more fingering weight of undefined composition.

I guess these are the most ‘interesting’ yarns I’ve got.  Truth to tell, I love it all.

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X is for…

X is for Xenophilia

When I was very young, and people asked what I wanted to be when I grew up, I always said I wanted to be a cat. When I finally admitted to myself that wouldn’t be an option, I declared that I wanted to be an Astrobiologist.  I figured that by the time I graduated from college traveling to the stars and studying alien life forms would be a real possibility.

Which is a long winded way of saying that I’ve always been a xenophile.  I’ve always felt some sort of connection to, and love for, the new, the alien, the unknown.

No, not that kind of love.  Not necessarily.  Sometimes…

Sometimes, different is good.

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W is for…

W is for Wire Blocking

Last week I got the call from my LYS  that my blocking wires have come in.  I picked them up on Saturday.  So if I were to finish the Belle Greene  shawl by this weekend I might be able to get it blocked in time for the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival  next weekend.   It’s still a long shot, though.

I’ve done a little bit of research on how to use them at least, so once I’ve got the shawl done there will be nothing holding me back.

Blog Contests and Yarn Giveaways

I entered a giveaway for Louisa Harding Merletta yarn from This Knitted Life (unknown). For Fino yarn and a pattern to go with from While They Play Designs (9 May) and  a Purl Alpaca Designs pattern from Plutonium Muffins (6 May),.

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V is for…

V is for Vexillology

This is a follow-up to the M is for Maryland post, but it should be clear enough even if you don’t read that one first.

Vexillology is the study of flags.  My husband is an amateur vexillologist*.  He is a member of NAVA (the North American Vexillological Association) and a former list master of the FoTW (Flags of the World) mailing list.  As of this writing he ranks third in the QuizUp “flag” category in Maryland.

One thing I’ve learned, living with a vexillologist, is that it’s always worth while to look up.  This is not only a good habit to get into for spotting flags, it’s also a good life lesson in general.

Vexing Socks

Yes, I did start the test knit for the Maryland Flag socks.  I have four wonderful knitters working on it, and now that we’re a week into it I’ve had to make two revisions.  Both involving mistaken numbers.  I’m glad it’s underway at last.

*In case you are wondering, there are professional vexillologists.  At least two currently living, and one deceased.

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U is for…

U is for Unblocked

I’ve heard many times that lace looks unattractive before it’s blocked, but I don’t agree with that.

Belle Greene UnblockedHere’s the Belle Greene shawl with the border half way done.  To me it looks lush and welcoming.  Yes, I do plan to block it when it’s done, but I do enjoy the look of it in its current state.

It’s not specific to this lace pattern either.

unblocked reverieReverie beret

Here is a “Reverie” beret.  The blocked hat on the bottom is beautiful, but the unblocked version is also interesting.  Although I’m not planning to go around wearing unblocked lace, I do enjoy it in every stage of its creation.

Blog Contests and Giveaways

I didn’t win the Mooglyblog Ficstitches giveaway, the John Arbon giveaway from Plutonium Muffins, the $50 KnitPicks gift card from Fiber Flux or the Trion Design pattern collection.  No new giveaways this time.

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T is for…

T is for Timey-Wimey

I’ve always loved the ‘timey-wimey’ stuff, both in fiction and in science.  It’s something so basic, part of the structure of reality, yet the more closely you examine it, the stranger time becomes.  This is kind of a long winded blog post, and it has a lot of equations in it, which some people find scary, but if you bear with me you’ll find the brain-‘splodey cool bits.  Full disclosure – it’s not my field of expertise, which means there are undoubtedly parts where I’ve run off with the ‘shiny’ and ignored the actual point.  Just doing the best I can with what I have…

Science

Relativity

The first, most well known, source of scientific temporal weirdness is Special Relativity.  Everyone knows (or at least recognizes) the basic equation:

MC2

We’ve all heard that this leads to ‘time dilation’.  The formula for time dilation is:

time dilation If v (the speed the object is moving) reaches c (the speed of light in a vacuum) then you have a divide by zero error, infinite energy, basically that doesn’t happen.

If v is less than c then your denominator is less than 1, and the two ts don’t match.  Your two ‘observers’ experience different amounts of time between the two observed events (whatever they happen to be).

FTL (Faster Than Light)

Now SF fans will often tell you that if v is greater than c the two observers will perceive time as going in opposite directions.  You can’t blame the SF fans for that, it comes from a vast simplification that scientists often give about why they don’t pay attention to those values.  If you actually look at the numbers, though, you’ll see that when v exceeds c (so your observer travels faster than the speed of light).  This isn’t a negative number, it’s an imaginary number.

imaginary

Now, imaginary time evokes a lot of really fascinating imagery, but what it refers to here is a mathematical term –  a temporal axis which is at a 90 degree angle to regular, everyday time.  It’s a lot simpler to see why physicists shake their head at FTL (Faster Than Light) now, because while going backwards in time has an obvious, physical meaning, going sidewise in time doesn’t.

STL (Slower Than Light)

There is a way that physicists do think relativistic time dilation can produce time travel.  It involves combining high speed travel and Wormholes.  Wormholes are a quantum phenomenon which link two points together without traveling through the intervening space.  Scaling the quantum wormhole up to a usable size would involve the use of materials which have properties never yet observed, yet entirely consistent with known physical laws.  The details are left as an exercise for the student, but if such a thing could be found or created, and if one end could be put on a space craft and accelerated up to relativistic velocity then returned to earth, going through the wormhole would give you time travel. One limitation would be that the earliest you could travel to would be the point where the timehole was established.  Still pretty cool.

Quantum

Time travel on the quantum scale is pretty much trivial, because if you’re observing on the quantum scale there’s no way to tell which way time normally flows anyway.  As far as I know, every quantum reaction is completely reversible.  In other words, if you were able to film quantum events, and play the film backwards, it wouldn’t look any weirder than playing it forwards.  Personally, I think this is the least weird thing I’ve ever heard about quantum physics, but it does lead us to an interesting question…

Classical

The second law of thermodynamics states that in a closed system entropy will increase over time.  This basically gives us “time’s arrow” – time moves towards greater entropy.  This just seems to be natural, but given that it’s not observed on the quantum level it could be a ‘local condition’ thing.  In the past entropy was so remarkably, blindingly low that it just had to increase from there, but in the future, when the base level of entropy will be higher, maybe that won’t hold true.  What will time look like then?  What will the world look like then?

String Theory

Not surprisingly, this gets even weirder.  First of all, string theory isn’t really a theory.  It’s more of a model kit which looks really promising to build a hypothesis which might conceivably connect the classical, relativistic and quantum equations which describe the world.  In other words, it might become the “Unified Theory” Einstein never found, or GUT (Grand Unified Theory) as it’s more often called these days.

In string theory space-time is made up of the vibrations of really tiny (Planck scale) loop like particles.   Let me repeat that – the vibrations make up space time.  So what are they vibrating in if it’s neither space or time?  String theory also consists of ten (or eleven) dimensions.  Four of which are big (three space, one time) and the others loop around themselves.  It’s possible that space and time loop around themselves as well, but if they do it’s a really big loop.

So there are a lot of people playing around with string theory.  I seem to recall, years ago, a paper hit PlosOne which proposed a version of string theory with two temporal axis.  I can’t seem to find that link any more, so maybe it’s been lost in the sea of peer review.  Which would be a shame, because not only is is super cool, but it puts FTL back on the map, as it were…

Fiction

I love time travel stories as well.  I’ve talked about Doctor Who here before, but there are so many great fictional universes which play around with time travel in one way or another.  Some are super cheesy, some are tragic, some hilarious, and all of them wonderfully weird.

Definitely a rabbit hole worth falling down…

 

 

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