The topics on this page don't fall within my other subject areas, or are just one-of-a-kind curiosities, or simply defy categorisation...
Tesla coils are mesmerising contraptions, seeing and hearing one up close is to witness truly awesome electrical energy. One day, if I've got the time and patience, I'll build myself a modest Tesla coil for home entertainment! Until then I'll content myself with just browsing the following sites...
- Extreme Electronics - Tesla coil Pages
- Tesla coil builder's work with some excellent photos. In case you weren't sure, there's a warning about building and using them being potentially fatal.
- Tesla Coil Builders Of the UK
- List of UK Teslathons and related events, including some great videos of Tesla coils and other high voltage gear in action.
- Tesla Downunder
- Australian high-voltage enthusiast's web site - 10 things you probably shouldn't do in your garage unless your neighbours are particularly tolerant.
- Richie's Tesla Coil Web Page
- Techie web site with plenty of theory pages for anyone wanting to build their own Tesla coil.
You just couldn't make it up, could you? I came upon this site by accident while I was trying to find out whether eating too many carrots can turn you orange, or whether it was just an urban myth. It isn't, but you need to eat an awful lot of carrots!
On a related search I found a useful piece of survival advice should you ever find yourself stranded and starving in the Arctic and resort to hunting polar bears - if you do catch one, whatever you do, don't eat its liver!
- The World Carrot Museum - all about carrots
- This slightly nutty site is maintained by John Stolarczyk, a North Yorkshireman. Before I found it, I thought all carrots were orange. Check out the use of Queen Anne's Lace (wild carrot) as a contraceptive, or if you want a laugh, the carrot toys and collectibles.
Haidinger's Brush is a visual phenomenon caused by polarised light, first described by the Austrian mineralogist Wilhelm Karl Ritter von Haidinger around 1845. My interest in it arose because I'm one of the minority who can see it all too clearly - I find it irritatingly visible on most flat-panel displays because of the anti-glare polariser used.
What I see when looking at polarised light is similar to the the elusive after-image you get from staring at the image alongside for a few seconds then shifting your gaze onto a white background - the effect is inside your eye so you can't focus on it.
The same effect is also visible in the blue sky at about 90° from the sun, the point of strongest polarisation, and is most noticeable at dawn or twilight. If you ever notice blue-purple polarisation patterns on a car windscreen, try looking for Haidinger's Brush in the part of the sky that is reflected in it.
- Haidinger's brush - the unknown sense
- This site describes a number of polarisation phenomena, and creatures with polarisation sensitive vision, like the bee and the octopus (but unfortunately not humans).
- Optical Illusions & Visual Phenomena
- While I'm thinking about visual phenomena, Michael Bach's web site contains some examples quite different from the usual clutch of optical illusions.
When I'm at my least energetic, and trying not to feel guilty about the tasks I still haven't done, it's comforting to know that there is one creature that has perfected the art of doing as little as possible. I don't know why I like them so much, perhaps I secretly envy the whole sloth lifestyle and their apparent lack of concern about EVERYTHING.
- Everything you wanted to know about Sloths with some great photos. Now you'll be able to tell the difference between our two-toed and three-toed friends.
The links below are mostly one-of-a-kind sites that I really can't put anywhere else. They are arbitrarily presented in alphabetical order of title:
- Beyond Veg - Raw, Vegan, Fruitarian, Paleo Diets
- Thought provoking site about dietary alternatives, I was particularly intrigued by the article concerning the instincto diet.
- If you are paranoid about viruses on your computer, don't read this site which describes itself as "...the culmination of over a decade of research on novel cryptographic Trojan horses, viruses, and worms".
- Pylon of the Month
- If you've ever been struck by the beauty of a troop of pylons striding across the landscape towards the setting sun, or walked beneath a pylon and marvelled at its engineering, this is the site for you.
- Nuclear planes, ships and other follies of the 1950's onwards. The highlight of the site for me is the tragic story of Legg, Byrnes and McKinley inside the SL-1 Reactor.
- The Spudgun Technology Center
- This is another one of those toys-for-boys sites, but I still wish I'd had one of these when I was a kid!