Monthly Archives: June 2004

Berliner’s Gramaphone

This new Japanese product allows you to make your own cds records [embarassing typo fixed] out of scrap material such as old CDs. Link courtesy of Boing Boing. Translated text from the product site is below.







Record/Playback sound on thing like a CD-ROM or lid from a container of instant ramen using a needle and a cup.
Berliner-style turntable gramophone

In the 20th century this round record spread throughout the world as media that could both record and play back sound. The turntable gramophone that was invented by Emile Berliner, Edison’s greatest rival in the field of gramophones, is the ancestor of this product. Recording and playing with a paper cup and a cotton needle, anyone can easily make original records.

Characteristics
Recording and playing with a paper cup and a cotton needle, anyone can easily make original records. Recording, playback – a useless CD-ROM or an instant ramen lid are OK!

Setup takes about one hour. No special tools are needed; anyone can construct it with ease.

Experiment Highlights
Even if you construct it in perfect accordance with the instruction book, the sound quality will still vary for some people. This is because if during the course of making a record even a mere 0.5mm of shake occurs, then there will be an effect on the state of the recording. Whether or not the operations of making a hole in the exact center of the cup or setting the angle of the needle are perfectly performed will appear as differences in the sound.

Due to the setting of the mount when recording, differences in those setting may make gaps between the grooves will be large and repair will be difficult. It can be said that proceeding carefully with construction from the beginning is the most important point for picking up clear sound.

Experimenting With Different Materials for Discs
Smooth surfaced materials such as a CD-ROM pick up better sound. Also, things like Ramen lids or soft files (what is that?) have a different textured material on the back. Compare the recording sound quality of both sides and the fact that smooth surfaces make for better sound will probably be confirmed. Also magazine covers-you might worry about the papers texture, but the hard coating picks up sound clearly.

Materials such as thin aluminum foil bags can be used if you insert something like thick paper or a CD-ROM underneath as a mat. The material of the mat will also affect the sound so all sorts of good experiments are possible.

Also, glossy photographs or postcards can also be used. Two people who both own one of these gramophones could exchange audio messages though the mail by recording on postcards and sending them back and forth.

Contents
Series name: Adult Science Series
Product Name: Berliner-style turntable gramophone
Material: Plastic
Product Construction: Parts for assembly, Disc, CD-ROM
Target Age: Middle school students and up
Weight: 670 grams
Box Size (in mm): 212d×160w×123h
Assembled Size(in mm): 185d×150w×180h
Construction time: 1.5 hours
Battery: Type 2 (they use numbers instead of letters in Japan. I can’t recall what size this is in the American battery labeling system)
Items needed in construction: Cellophane tape, Phillips-head screwdriver, Scissors
Produced in: China
Instruction manual: Included

Beijing Duck


Beijing Duck
March 5 2004

Was it my inability to understand the warnings? Or simply reckless abandon? In any case, I wasn’t about to visit Beijing without trying their most famous cuisine.

I ate at Quanjude with Hyunju when I met her in Beijing, and then when I met Ashle and the two Chad K’s took them there. The three of them seemed sqeamish about eating the duck’s actual head, but those jaw muscles do make some good meat.

Click the link for detailed information on both Beijing duck and this restaurant, which is perhaps the most famous of all serving the dish.

Bird Flu in Beijing





Beijing West Station
April 4 2004

After I took the train from Shenzhen to Beijing (a dreadfully boring 24 hour ride) I found these wonderfully informative signs in the lobby. Take special note of the crying bird in the lower-right section of the second photograph. I can read quite a lot of the words in this sign, but I don’t know nearly enough about the actual grammar of Chinese to do more than a dodgy and innacurate translation, so I won’t even try, aside to say the obvious, that it warns against birds that have not been disinfected and explains the nature of bird flu.


Snacks


Treats in a Beijing market.
March 6 2004

I’ve done a closeup as well so you can clearly see the seahorses. There was another stall later on that had actual whole starfish on a stick as a snack food, one of the most horrifying things I have ever seen. When I tried to take a picture the stall owner blocked my shot, so I just went on.

Interestingly there are two different kinds of similar food stalls on this street in the market. One is like this, with a variety of meats and … things that you could charitably call meat. The other is stalls run by Uyghur, the Muslim minority of the Western Xinjiang province of China. As muslims they would never eat or sell something as un-halal as a seahorse. I can’t say I blame them.