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Miscellaneous madness.

Odds & Ends

A catch-all category for things which don't fit well into any of the other sections.  Yeah, I know, the decision where to archive things is fairly arbitrary already, but you'll see what I mean as time goes on.

Nanotech Paint

Here's a wild idea I'm going to have to use for one of my novels:  nanotech paint.  The first application I thought of was for interior housepaint, but a number of other applications spring to mind as well.  The basic tech would be applying a liquid paint (of whatever color) to a wall, the paint containing nanotech machines which could function as pixels in response to an activating stylus.  The stylus would broadcast instructions to a pre-determined (and adjustable) width of pixels, telling them what color to become, so it could be used as a pen or a brush of different sizes.  It could also be pre-loaded with complex images, and transferred to a given area of wall.  That way, any wall becomes a full-color slate in the hand of the artist or writer, for advertising, individual paintings, murals, et cetera.  Hmmm...

OK, space science fans . . .

Here's a portion of my novel Communion of Dreams, which has a description of the surface conditions on Titan.  With the Huygens probe scheduled to descend to that moon today (14 January '05), I thought you might like to see how good a job I did compared to initial reports from the probe.  [Actually, my description is all based on the work of Carl Sagan, and credit for accuracy belongs to him.]

Interesting . . .

What do you belive but cannot prove?



You know the trick where you can determine whether a large number is divisible by 3, right?  Sure you do.  Just add the digits in the number, and if the sum is divisible by three, the whole number is.  Example:  4+3+1+3+2+2=15, so 431,322 is divisible by 3.  This trick works for all powers of 3.

I learned a similar trick for 7 back in the dark ages of High School (or maybe Jr. High), but it has since left me.  However, I did a little research recently, and came up with this one:  double and subtract the last digit in a number from the other numbers, and if the result is divisible by 7, then the whole number is.  Example:  728.  Double 8, subtract from 72, result is 56.  56 is divisible by 7.

You can find other such tricks at http://www2.sunysuffolk.edu/wrightj/MA22/Num/DivRule.htm


For St. Cybi's Well, which is set just 7 or 8 years in the future, I came up with the idea for a palm-sized device which is a combination iPod, satellite-radio, wireless laptop and cell phone.  This isn't really much of an innovation, because these electronic devices are converging already, so if someone wants to steal the idea they're welcome to it.

I do, however, have an idea for a radical redesign of another popular electronic device which would revolutionize a multi-billion dollar industry.  Unfortunately, you effectively can't sell just an idea to any of the large manufacturers of this device (I've tried).  You need a patent.  And to get a patent these days, you need about $30k.  If there's anyone out there who wants to finance a patent for a share of the licensing fees, let me know.

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all work © James T. Downey, 1993-2006
photos © Martha K. John, 1994-2006
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