Today I made a bow from a board. I started with a 1x3 piece of red oak, and ended up with the bow seen in silhouette in the photo on the right. It’s an American flatbow, similar to what many Native American tribes (including some Inuit) used. In mine, the upper and lower limbs don’t have quite the same shape and it has a lower draw weight than I had planned on, but I think it was a good first attempt at bow-making.
The hardest part is finding a board that has straight grain lines running all the way down the face of the board. You cut and smooth the sides first (it’s about 1½” wide at the handle and gently tapers to ½” at the tips) then begin tapering the limbs (full thickness at the handle, gently tapering to ½” at the tips). After each thinning the bow is drawn slightly further up a tillering board (a piece of wood with notches cut into it to hold the string) and the shape is evaluated to make sure it’s bending the way you want. My mistake was in thinning the wrong limb too much without making similar changes to the other half of the bow. Once I realized this, I had to remove a bunch of material off the now-thicker limb and wound up with a bow that is easier to draw than intended. Since I haven’t actually shot an arrow from a bow since high school, a light drawing bow is probably a good idea until I’m ready for something more powerful. This one is reasonably easy for me to pull, and shoots sticks very smoothly.
Tools used: I used a rip saw to cut the board to rough dimension, smoothed the saw cuts with a wooden jack plane, made the initial taper with a drawknife, and did the majority of the remaining adjustments with a coffin smoother, an adjustable mouth block plane and a handled cabinet scraper. Probably should have used the scraper more and the hand planes less. Volumes 1 and 4 of The Traditional Bowyer’s Bible were invaluable, and I think I could have used the other two volumes too, if I’d had them. There’s a ton of information in those books for both the beginner, and advanced bowyer. In addition to volumes 2 and 3, I need some real arrows, a target, and more wood for more bows!
We’ve been wanting to let the kittens into the rest of the house for several weeks now, but when we got close to letting them downstairs we realized they could get into all sorts of trouble in the utility area in the bathroom where the water heater, pump, and washing machine are. Worse, if they got in there, they could climb around behind the shower and tub surround and we’d have no way of getting them out.
So I built the doors you can see in the photo. They’re made from clear pine. I’d originally planned on using “pocket-screw technology,” on the doors, but when driving the pocket screws from the back of the rails into the styles, they cracked the styles. I wound up using glue and dowels instead, and they seem solid. I was a little worried because the doors were so large, but they’re flat and slide easily in the tracks I made.
The image looks a little warped because it's a series of photos that are joined together using the AutoStitch iPhone app. It's a pretty good alternative when you don't have a wide angle lens.
Today was the first day the kittens came downstairs (except once when Jenson escaped), and things seemed to go well. Nika and Piper have been spending nights with all of us, so they’re used to the kittens. Buddy and Deuce mostly seemed afraid. Koidern and Kiva were both very interested, and spent the whole time cautiously following the kittens around. After an hour or so we put the kittens back upstairs to let everyone relax. I opened up the gates again this afternoon and captured this video of Kiva’s interaction with Tallys (and a little of Jenson). Tallys is the one rolling around on the floor in front of the heater, seemingly trying to play with Kiva’s feet.
The music (which was playing on the stereo as I recorded the video on my iPhone) is from Four Tet's latest record.
I recently saw a pair of blog posts showing how to make heatmaps with straight R and with ggplot2. Basketball doesn’t really interest me, so I figured I’d attempt to do the same thing for the 2010 Oakland Athletics 40-man roster. Results are at the bottom of the post.
First, I needed to get the 40-man roster:
Then trim it down so it’s just a listing of the player’s names.
Next, get the baseball data bank (BDB) database from http://baseball-databank.org/, convert and insert it into a PostgreSQL database using mysql2pgsql.perl.
A Python script reads the names from the roster, and dumps a CSV file of the batting and pitching data for the past two seasons for the players passed in.
The batting data looks like this:
I’ve used the counting stats in the BDB to calculate batting average (ba), on-base percentage (obp), slugging percentage (slg), OPS (on-base percentage + slugging percentage), runs created (rc), home run rate (hrr), strikeout rate (kr) and walks rate (bbr).
And the pitching data:
Here I’ve calculated innings pitched (ip), winning percentage (wp), losing percentage (lp), win frequency (wf), earned run average (era), strikeouts per nine innings (k9), walks per nine (bb9), and home runs given up per nine innings (hr9). All these stats are for the last two Major League seasons.
Finally, generate the heat maps in R. For batting statistics:
Pitching statistics are the same, except the third line (where I order the data frame) is:
You have to keep the number of games (or innings pitched for pitchers) in mind when you look at these charts. I don’t even know who some of those guys are, probably because they’ve only barely played in the majors. It might make some sense to split the pitching plot into plots for starters and relievers, but I’d need a good way to determine a pitcher’s status (innings pitched divided by games beyond some threshold, perhaps?).
As for the A’s, I like their pitching, but have serious doubts about their offense. I sure hope some of the younger guys on this chart start reaching their power potential because having Jack Cust as your only offensive weapon doesn’t bode well for the team scoring runs.
We finally agreed on some names for our kittens: Tallys is the small black kitten, Jenson is gray and white and Caslon is the larger of the two black boys. They’re all serif fonts, as Andrea says, “because they’ve got tails!” We struggled for a long time with different naming schemes, but both of us really liked Tallys and Jenson as names, and once we’d gotten those two it was just a question of finding a third font that was appropriate. Caslon is one of my favorite fonts (it’s the typeface used for the body text in The New Yorker), and I think it fits well with the other two.
The kittens are still living in the bedroom but this weekend I fenced in the area at the top of the stairs and came up with a setup that should allow us to leave the bedroom door open and give them a little more room. This way we can slowly expand their range upstairs by opening the doors to the other rooms before letting them downstairs. There’s always a chance they will figure a way around my cat-catchers, or that they’ll jump off the balcony railing, but so far we’re only letting them out when we’re home so we can keep an eye out. The biggest problem with this plan is that the dogs can see the kittens at the top of the stairs and as a result, they’re staring and whining at them. Hopefully this behavior will stop in the near future.
In the last day or two the kittens have gotten more snuggly in between bursts of activity. Last night all three slept with us; one up next to Andrea and the other two between us on the bed. Then, after this morning’s playtime I laid down on the bed to watch This Old House and all three kittens came up and crashed all over me. Gray-white and Black-black were zonked but little Gray-black was still playful and kept jumping between snoozing kittens trying to entice a battle. Eventually all three (Java, Python, and C?) dropped to sleep and I managed to get the photo on the right.
Monitoring dog-kitten interactions at night is still keeping us from getting a good night’s sleep, but I think we’re making gradual progress. Nika has made her peace with the situation and just tries to stay out of the way. Piper is very playful and interested in as much interaction as they’ll let her, but she still moves too fast and they’re not letting her get very close. I think it will take time for the kittens to relax and realize that Piper is just curious.
The video was shot a couple days ago, and it’s nothing more than a trio of kittens warping all over the bedroom for almost four minutes. My main intent was to capture my favorite ninja kitten move: when two charge straight at each other, and just before colliding they jump straight up in the air and start battling as they fall back to the ground. I think I got at least one airborne wresting match in this video (at around 1:28).