Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Gorgeous minimalist webdesign

In Jeet Kune Do, one does not accumulate, but eliminate.

It is not daily increase, but daily decrease.

The height of cultivation always tends to simplicity.

—Bruce Lee

Sunday, May 1, 2011


Solidworks is seriously cool stuff. It's a general-purpose CAD program--pretty much anything you can machine, you can design in Solidworks. We use it a lot the solar car team.

I'd been wanting to learn how it works for a while. So tonight, I finally decided to sit down and build something. I pulled out a pair of calipers and some longboard parts. Progress was pretty slow at first. With me, the ME force is not strong. Also, there are some random things in Solidworks where "Undo" doesn't work. Eventually, I got a wheel:

The carbon-fiber deck doesn't exist yet, so I had to improvise. I made a sketch with a bunch of lines and angles on it. It said "OVERCONSTRAINED" in big red letters. Our electrical ninja, Greg Hall, told me this was nothing to fear and showed me how to fix it by pretending that my carbon fiber was sheetmetal. Worked beautifully.

Two beers and five hours later, with a little more help from solar car teammates Forest and Greg, I had my assembly. Birds were now chirping outside, which usually means you have to stop OCDing and finish. Four wheels, two trucks, two rubber risers, and a deck.

Then I clicked "render". Solidworks' black magic voodoo code figured out how to set up the lightsources and everything else, did a little raytracing, and came up with this. Nice.

Stay tuned for the real thing, once I get around to building that!

Friday, April 29, 2011

Welcome back, ROTC

“The state that separates its scholars from its warriors will have its thinking done by cowards, and its fighting done by fools”


Thursday, April 28, 2011


Just rediscovered the website of Friedrich Lohmüller, raytrace artist extraordinaire. He made a couple of the pictures on the excellent POV-RAY Hall of Fame. (Back in high school, by the way, that gallery inspired me to write a simple raytracer. It was pretty much my first real programming project.)

At first glance, his prints seem to have the simplified geometry, flat planes of color, and "plastic" look characteristic of low-budget CG.

For other artists, those qualities are usually tacky (eg most of the 3D stuff on DeviantArt). Even their "good" renderings often come across as a tech demo, not as art (eg the countless renderings of beams of light hitting a glass ball).

But Lohmüller's prints transcend the kitsch. He uses those same rendering limitations to great effect, conveying order and perfection--utopia, even.

I think he captures the German engineer ethos very nicely... or, at least, my interpretation of it. The detail in the machines, the geometry, the emphasis on solitude, the perfect infinite expanse, it's all there.

That one reminds me of a picture I took of the salt flats in Utah.

One of my favorites, apparently made a very long time ago:

Having linked to some of his pictures, I will also link to Mr. Lohmüller's gallery, where he sells a bunch of gorgeous poster prints.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Solar Car Strategy

The Solar Car Project has been recruiting really successfully. We now have an absurd 10% of the new Class of 2014 on our mailing list, and more than a hundred people who have showed up at the shop for over the past week.

The strategy team has lots of cool projects Sam and I have been working on. Going from one- or two-person projects to full teams with a wide range of math and coding experience is going to be both difficult and awesome. The list will keep growing.

array power simulation


Sunday, September 19, 2010

Another day, a new year

I just got back to Stanford. California is still glorious.

The summer was cool. I interned at a proprietary trading company that deals in equity options, in Chicago. Learned a ton. Didn't blog much because everything I worked on was, well, proprietary.

So today, I have two signs of the impending apocalypse.

#1. The flying robots from Half-Life have become reality
Yes, like this one
#2. The Solar Car Team's neighbors in VAIL are building a robotic rally car.
And when they say their fully autonomous car is going to climb Pike's Peak at "near race speed", it means quite a lot: