Diary of a Demented Store Owner

Sunday, 31 August 2008

Glass Related Article from Discover Mag

Created: A Glass That Bends
Chinese researchers announced in March that they had created glass that can be bent into right angles without shattering. But this isn’t glass as we know it: The new glass is opaque, twice as strong as window glass, and made of metal.
As solids, metals have an orderly atomic structure; in liquid metals, the arrangement becomes random, as in glass. To create metallic glass, scientists supercool liquid metals, effectively “freezing” the random array in place. These bulk metallic glasses, or BMG, are two to three times stronger than the crystalline form of the metals.
Superstrong BMG has already been used in the manufacture of high-tech golf clubs and tennis rackets; in 2001, the collector on NASA’s Genesis spacecraft, which caught particles from the solar wind, was made of BMG.
But since the 1980s, when scientists began making BMG, the materials have exhibited a fatal flaw. Paradoxically, the
stronger they are, the more vulnerable they are to cracks, says Wei Hua Wang, a physicist who helped develop the new glass at the Chinese Academy of Sciences. A tiny fracture in the original type of BMG spreads quickly and becomes catastrophic.
To create a glass that is both strong and flexible, Wang and his colleagues altered an existing BMG recipe, combining zirconium, copper, nickel, and aluminum. Realizing that small changes in the metal mixture would lead to large variations in brittleness, they sought a combination that would keep cracks from spreading. “The plasticity of the glass is very sensitive to the composition,” Wang explains.
After two years, the sci­entists produced bendable BMG. It contains hard areas of high density surrounded by soft regions of low density. The result: When a crack be­gins in one place, it dissipates quickly in the surrounding regions, leaving the whole flexible. Stephen Ornes

Tuesday, 26 August 2008

Member of Parliament Has Vendetta Against Conrad Black

Ontario member of Parliament, Gary Braun is renewing his call for Canada's Governor-General to remove Conrad Black (BU0100) from the Order of Canada.
Black lost an appeal of his obstruction of justice and fraud convictions last month, meaning he must now serve out the remaining six and a half years of his sentence. While that might be reason enough, it is actually the fact that Black has been doing stained glass for several months now and is still incapable of cutting a deep inside curve on a simple Desag GNA- a glass known for its ease of cutability, that calls for his resignation have been made.
Socialist Party member, Rt Hon. Gary Braun says, while the decision of the Chicago Seventh Circuit Court of Appeal might have some merit, it is actually humble storeowner Mikey from Fantasy In Glass who's opinion holds more weight.
"I have never seen a more bloated, self-centred and vile human being as Gary Br..., oops, I mean Conrad Black. His inability to cut a simple inside curve to represent the soft gentle curvature of the underbelly of Winnie the Pooh in the nite lite he was attempting to make is reason enough for me. The Queen and the Commonwealth deserve better representation. It's high time for Black to lose the honour"

Thursday, 21 August 2008

Help For Fusers

Fusers, not sure about firing specs on your glass and it's a Saturday night when all the stores are closed and there's no more decent porn to look for? Go here and find all the glass firing data sheets in one place from Spectrum, Bullseye, Uroboros and Wasser!

Sunday, 17 August 2008

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Thursday, 14 August 2008

Course Dates Posted

Want to take another Beginner Course like Florian (see here)? Oops, never mind, she finally graduated after 25 years! How about a friend? How about an Intermediate Course? We've posted all dates for all our courses to end of 2009 here...

Friday, 8 August 2008

A Small Note About This Blog's Comment Option

Any comments that you wish (and are encouraged) to post to this blog while Mikey's back is turned- they won't get posted until first week of September. While he has always had final approval for comment postings, they have never (and will never be) edited for content, only to prevent obscenity- Mikey prefers to save that for himself ...

We're closed from August 9, reopening Tuesday Sept. 2, 2008

Tomorrow is the start of a three week sabbatical for our humble Mikey, the wit and wisdom provider of this ongoing blog (since 2001 in one form or another- not counting the shreds of soggy cocktail napkins occassionally slipped under the door to the Ivory Tower (Mikey's office).
He might wax poetic while sipping a Weissbier from high atop the Austrian Alps surrounded by Bavarian beauties with lily white skin, or then again he might just scratch his armpit, while drinking a Bud, wearing his favourite Nascar t-shirt and pondering the length of his mullet down at the local legion. With Mikey you never quite know what to expect. So maybe, possibly he might drop a pearl of wisdom here over the next three weeks, but then he may not. Depends on those beauties or how cold the beer is.

Tuesday, 5 August 2008

A Day In the Life of a Demented Store Owner

We’re an Aanraku distributor, which given the poor supply situation here in Canada, has been a blessing for many of our customers as we usually have stock when others don't.  Aanraku are the people that have the Twofer line of grinder heads- a line that has been unbelievably successful for us (as well as the competition I’m sure). They are of great quality and of amazing price. 
Other offerings include their jewelry findings (bails in silver and gold plate in particular) as well as pendant plates, belt buckles, letter openers and even wine bottle stoppers (kind of useless, no? Who stops half way through a bottle?).  
Oh yeah, and their line of Aanraku books now numbering 468 titles (three new ones alone just as I’m writing this entry!) Here's a true, real life email exchange that happened when we made our first order a long time ago;

Your credit card had been declined. This happens occasionally for international charges. Please advise your credit card agency to allow the charge.
Thank you

My oldest daughter (the bad one) was in Switzerland until Friday with my Visa (reminds me, my valium prescription needs refilling), then there was a Florida DTI charge on the same day, and now a charge from you, so VISA assumed the card might have actually been stolen (not at all thinking that I might actually be some sort of world traveler- yes, I too prefer them shaken, not stirred). In any case, this a.m. as I was trying to buy the Racing Forum, some Pop-Tarts and a box of Twinkies for the family’s breakfast, my card was refused and hence I feared that now my new found friends at Aanraku might also doubt my worldliness. In a panic, hopping into my AMC Pacer, I rush home to a house of screaming and hungry children now with no breakfast. I frantically call Visa ready to berate them for not believing I was capable of such worldly travel only to learn that they were only locking out the card for my own protection. It seems that I was not doubted but you were. Ah, the irony!
In any case, the security lock is now off, the card is free to be used. Hope all is well in the world...
Fantasy In Glass Glassworks Inc

The security block was well worth the literary reading on your current life. (-: I don’t know how some people manage to keep their sanity with offspring in the picture. Congratulations on not having stuffed them into a burlap bag and dropping them into the frozen Spring river to see if they sink or float. (-:
The order has processed, and is packed and ready to go Monday morning.
We will have a few new products coming out in the next couple of months. We’ll keep you updated and on the samples list,
Best regards,
JeffreyPartner/Owner Aanraku Glass Studios

Our latest shipment of grinder heads and jewelry bails has just arrived...

Anthropology of Stained Glass Doubted By Expert!

Mikey's ground breaking and absolutely irrefutable study on how Neanderthal man may not have been so primitive, given the discovery of evidence he was involved in the craft of stained glass, came under serious attack today by a leading expert in the field of Anthropology- Dr. J. Padiak of McMaster University.
Of course Mikey intends to contest this challenge vehemently and will return to the Neander Valley after closing the store next week to obtain further proof.

Mikey's original paper (an absolute masterpiece!) is reprinted below, with the rebuttal by Dr. P following:

The most significant discovery in Mikey's career was entirely serendipitous. Last April, the stained glass store owner was hiking in Germany's Neander Valley when he tripped over something on a trail. Some quick digging exposed the obstacle as the tip of a mastodon tusk. But it wasn't until a few weeks later when the entire tusk was unearthed and dated that Mikey realized the magnitude of his find. The tusk, he believes, is actually a Neanderthal glass cutter. Mikey calls it a Neanderthal "toyofigus." Like the grozing pliers discovered in Slovenia last year, the fact that the 50,000-year-old toyofigus predates the presence of glass makes it even more perplexing.A carefully aligned hole starts at the top of the cutter and runs its entire length. "I think a Neanderthal master craftsman must have used a stone awl to hollow out the toyofigus," says Mikey. This cutter, he says, proves that while primitive man made and used tools, more importantly it suggests that Neanderthals used a cutter lubricant proving they were concerned with cutter wheel longevity.While digging out the tool, Mikey uncovered the entrance to a cave and another major find: the first example of Neanderthal cave stained glass cutlines. Fittingly, the cutlines show lamp and suncatcher designs alongside proposed formulas for actually manufacturing glass once fire is discovered. "Maybe what we have here is the birth of a new hobby and artform."Mikey theorizes that the Neanderthals' fondness for stained glass may explain why they vanished some 30,000 years ago. "Maybe their frustration at not actually having any glass to cut scared away all the game. They would have produced an awful racket all over the place complaining and arguing over whether Bullseye artglass would continue to be as popular as it is yet to be."

Professor Padiak's rebuttal of Mikey's Paper:

Your hypothesis regarding the disappearance of the Neanderthals is intriguing and I hope that I may contribute to its development. It is known that early groups of Homo sapiens inhabited the same area as the Neanderthals at that time, although the relationship of the two species is unknown. It may very well have been adversarial and arguments among the Neanderthals may have alerted the early groups of Homo sapiens to their whereabouts – leading to warfare and the Neanderthals’ demise. Perhaps their arguments were over their glass work, supported by the presence of the toyofigus. However, i doubt the presence of manufactured glass. Might I suggest that they were using the tool to shape obsidian? Now, obsidian is not found in the Neander valley area, although it is found in Slovenia and Greece (hence the grozing pliers
inthat area). That it was found in Germany means that Neanderthals must have carried it over long distances, making it very prized and desirable, and possibly leading to arguments over its use. I would also suggest that concentration of the Neanderthals on glass cutting may have made them oblivious to the approach of the Homo sapiens groups, thus the H sapiens hunting parties had the element of surprise.

One other interesting point is the evidence of the suncatcher designs. I suggest that it was not the invention of a new hobby, as it is likely that just surviving in Palaeolithic times was challenging enough. Perhaps the suncatchers had a practical application and they were used
to reflect light, blinding large prey necessary for the Neanderthals' survival. Alternately, the evidence of the suncatchers may be the very important missing link for the presence of cultural behaviour among Neanderthal peoples. The cutlines may indicate some sort of ritual or
religious significance, perhaps appealing to a diety of some sort. Do you find any evidence of staining of the glass? Particularly cobalt blue?

I would also check your source on the formulae. To date, there has been no evidence for written or mathematical skills among Neanderthals. Is it possible that there has been a misinterpretation of the scratches? Perhaps it was just the incisions from honing the blades?

Janet Padiak
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