Magnetic implants: Implantation video

It has been a year and a month since I had a tiny magnet implanted into the middle and ring fingers of my left hand as a central part of my MEng research project in which I was exploring a novel man-machine interface based on these subdermal magnetic implants. The magnets are still in there, safe and sound and still allowing me to "feel" magnetic fields everywhere around me - like around wires, washing machines, microwaves, ATMs, supermarket checkouts, power supplies, hard disks, fans etc. The research is still continuing as we now have another student at the University of Reading Cybernetics department who has gotten the same implants and are providing a second set of data on the properties of the interface.

Anyway, I wanted to share the video of the implantation procedure (blood-filled as it maybe) just posted on YouTube by Mac McCarthy who had performed the procedure on me. The doctors at the university medical practice had refused to do the procedure due to safety and insurance concerns so I had had to find an alternative means of getting the magnets implanted. It took a fair bit digging and looking around before I found Mac's Punctured Body Modification shop. I was slightly nervous at the start since it was the first time that Mac was attempting to perform a procedure of the kind but luckily everything went quite smoothly. It was an interesting experience; sitting in a chair, watching keenly as my fingers were cut, probed, magnet shoved in and incision stitched while blood oozed out...

Yes, that is my hand!

How to safely view the solar eclipse on 15th January

A couple of days ago I made two how-to videos, narrated in Dhivehi, on how to make a pinhole projector to safely view the upcoming annular solar eclipse on the 15th of January which is to be visible in the Maldives. The videos are now live on the Maldives Science Society's YouTube channel.

Viewing an annular solar eclipse with the naked eye is detrimental to the health of the eye and can even lead to serious complications including retinal blindness. Sunglasses (whatever the type, quality or price!), exposed X-ray paper and developed color photographic films are all ineffective when it comes to viewing the sun directly and hence should not be used. Welder's goggles, aluminized mylar and dedicated solar filters are safe to use but can be hard to get hold of for the average person in Maldives. Perhaps the easiest and most accessible method in the Maldives for safely viewing a solar eclipse is to build and use a pinhole projector. A pinhole projector can be built in under 5 minutes using items easily available at home and/or bought cheaply from shops selling household items.

I've published an article on the subject of viewing the solar eclipse safely at Muraasil (ޖެނުއަރީ 15ގައި ހިފާ އިރުކޭތަ ރައްކާތެރިކަމާއި އެކު ބަލާނެގޮތް) for those who prefer their information written in Dhivehi.

Do feel free to share the article or the videos with your Maldivian friends to ensure they view the eclipse safely and enjoy it.

Note: Thanks goes to Mohamed for being the cameraman for the how-to videos, Razeem for suggesting "thinoasvalhu projector" as an appropriate Dhivehi name for pinhole projector and Jaheen for proofing the Dhivehi in the video.

Snow today

Snow! I like snow. For me, it is a welcome break from the usual rainy and dreary winter gloom. And this winter seems to be bringing more snow than any of the past 4 years I've spent in the UK. :-D

Snow begins, around 6pm
Snow begins, around 6pm.

And six hours later, about 7 inches of snow.
And six hours later, about 7 inches of snow.

Simulation of the annular solar eclipse of 15 January

Mark January 15 on your calendar now because the longest annular solar eclipse we'd see for the next thousand years is set to take place on that day! Some islands of the Maldives, including Male', lie within its central track and will experience the eclipse for a lengthy 10 minutes and 45 seconds.

Here is a video of a simulation of the eclipse showing how exactly the eclipse is going to look in the Maldives. The simulation was rendered by the free and open-source planetarium software Stellarium using a custom script I wrote for Stellarium for the event. The script is up for download and can be added to your Stellarium installation by following the instructions on the Stellarium wiki.

More info:
- Eclipse information at NASA
- Article about the eclipse by the Maldives Science Society