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Bee Mine

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A lady from church knew another woman whose house was infested with bees.  A neighbor, my son, and I went to extract them.  It went well.

Removing a panel in the ceiling of a crawl space exposed a big, beautiful wild nest:
Pretty neat to see the natural fins they create:
 Some parts were abandoned and empty, other areas (like toward the bottom of this picture) were quite populous:


 We broke/chiseled the comb out of the cavity, and I brought it home:
 And melted it down.  I tried a double boiler:
 But it took so long that i stuck it all in the grill over indirect heat.  Unfortunately part of it caught on fire and it was a big/long fire.

Cool experience.

Bees

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I keep bees now!

Pics:



Bridge Construction

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We had a bridge going over a small stream in the back yard.  HAD.  Two years ago:

Following some rain and flooding, it washed about 70 feet downstream and lodged against the fence:

Because it was heavy (it's about 16x8, made of treated wood, with some steel and 12x12 timbers on the underside -- i have no idea how it floated), nothing i had could drag it back, certainly no without destroying it.

I paid my kids to disassemble it - they spent probably 12 hours each with crowbars and a sledge hammer.  They stacked the wood and put the steel in the barn.  Awesome.
I used some of that wood to build forms for a new concrete footer on each side -- there were some concrete blocks it had been resting on, but this time wanted more. As usual the hardest part is measuring and leveling stuff.  At least the stream was low, but schlepping stuff back and forth is hard.
I got a harbor freight cement mixer, since i was going to be doing probably 1500lbs of concrete and mixing by hand (e.g. with a h…

Trailer Couple

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Somehow we banged up the trailer couple so it wouldn't latch nicely. Unfortunately, it was welded rather than bolted to the trailer tongue.  So I cut it off with a cut-off wheel on my angle grinder (being careful to remove more material from the couple than the tongue).
It was rusty underneath, so i cleaned it up with a wire wheel   and painted it.
The hardest part was drilling 0.5" holes for bolts.  Somehow a cheap bit from a Harbor Freight set of 30 bits worked better than a $17 bit specifically for hard steel.  I think the whole HF set cost less than that one bit.  I kept it pretty oily while drilling for both.

I bolted it on with grade 8 (good stuff) bolts and lock nuts.

Now we can trailer again!

school work

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I'll have a few manly project posts soon (working on a bridge and repairing a trailer), but much of my time is spent on school lately.  I can't post the code (since it could be used by other students and would constitute an honor code violation), but I can show some of the output.

A brief summary of the output of our AI assignments (for GaTech's OMSCS CS6601):

Assignment 5 On k-means clustering and expectation-maximization.  Required us to do k-means clustering implementation and use it to find ideal "average colors" and the groups of pixels that were closest to those averages.  It is an iterative routine which progressively changes which colors it chooses, and (consequently) which pixels are nearest in color to them.

Starting from this image:



This is what it looks like with 2 means (2 colors, and the pixels closest to them), then 3 means, 4, 5, and 6.


There were some other much trickier pieces, but they were much less visually pleasing.

Assignment 4 Is hard to v…

The way it goes

I wanted to install a ceiling fan where there was only a ceiling light.  No problem!  I've done this many times before - maybe 30-45 minutes is plenty.

HAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHHAA!

As so often happens in projects, this one snowballed and wound up taking over 3 hours.  Follow along with these easy-to-repeat steps and see if you can tell where the problem lies:
Step 1 - Remove the old light fixturefinger screws for the glass bowl -- easy peasy.a screw or two holding the light housing to the junction box -- boy, this box is pretty wiggly.the wirenuts and ground wire connecting the light to the supply -- hot wire is off; all is well.Pro tip: It's a good idea to turn off the breaker, but chances are good your breakers are labeled incomprehensibly or are outright lies.  What I do is turn off the room switch and then quickly tap the hot wire with a finger to see if i get zapped.  I didn't this time!
Surprise! A pleasant surprise!  The power supply run to the light is actually 4 wire ro…

forgery

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Ronny and Matt from Church invited some youth to try simple forging.  Ronny brought an anvil and some know-how.  Matt brought a little propane forge.
Starting from some simple rod stock, a couple guys each got to pound on the red hot metal: to make a stylish little letter-opener:  I got to hammer too, and made a wee "garlic cleaver":
I didn't do much of the metal - i just supplied some dumb hammering while Ronny moved the work - but I was proud of the handle:
I cut off 5" of an oak branch that had fallen during the recent storm, shaped it with a rasp, then burned it with a blowtorch to get the color.  I sealed it with a quick clear coat spray.  The handle only took about 90 minutes (mostly the rasp), and I was pleased with the comfort and color.
I mounted it on the blade by drilling a hole in the wood (slightly undersized for the tang), heating up the metal to really hot, and shoving them together.  The hot metal burned its shape into the wood and it's holding…