Starship Size Comparisons
Here is a neat video that I ran across recently showing 3D renderings of various starships and space stations (mostly fictional, of course) presented in order of size. The Space Shuttle and ISS are thrown in for reference, as is New York City in the background. In all, 107 objects are shown, plus the Earth and the Sun. This video was published less than a month ago and is the second version, the first being about five years old now and only showing 45 objects in roughly a quarter of the time. Looking at the MetaBallStudios YouTube page, they have a variety of similar videos, including this one showing the relative sizes of objects, characters, vehicles, and even planets in the Star Wars universe. Being a rather old-school sci-fi fan, I would really love to see them add the Gunstar One (Last Starfighter), the USS Cygnus (The Black Hole), Deep Space 9 (Star Trek), and the TMA-1 monolith (2001: A Space Odyssey) to the next edition.
Growing Bismuth Crystals (The Hard Way)
Bismuth is a chemical element used as pigment in cosmetics and paint, and serves as a replacement for lead in alloys. It is also the active ingredient in Pepto-Bismol. One uber-geeky YouTuber posted a video, Making metal crystals from Pepto-Bismol. He does note in the video that this was mainly for fun, and is not a cost-effective way to produce the pretty iridescent metal crystals often used for art sculpture. Instructions on How to Grow Bismuth Crystals using bismuth without having to extract it from costly medicine can readily be found online.
Best Linux Webcams
In this COVID world of remote education and WFH, webcams are in demand. Luckily, their prices don’t seem to have inflated too badly. As with anything hardware, Linux users have to pay a little more attention to what they are buying. Personally, I have rarely run across a webcam that doesn’t work on Linux, but considering my luck with flatbed scanners, I will not easily dismiss the notion that some webcams are just not compatible. Also, some cams rely on software to obtain the promised resolution and, of course, that is usually only available for commercial operating systems. If you are in the market, I suggest you take a look at this page: 10 Best Webcams for Ubuntu in 2020. The front-runner on the list is the “Pro Stream Webcam”, selling for $50 on Amazon, though at the time of this writing, that link now shows an “upgraded” model with the “Sherry” brand name and selling for only $40. I can personally vouch for the Mural Wall Art PC Webcam, selling on eBay for less than $15. It works well on my Ubuntu MATE 2016 machine, registering in Cheese as “HiCamera” with a max photo and video resolution of 1920×1080. (It does not work on my older Ubuntu 2014 installation, but then, I haven’t looked for drivers for it either.) I also tried it on Windows 10 with good results. Just be aware, it does have a 110° wide-angle view, so be mindful of your background!