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Thread: Pyramid Power

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    Lifetime Member Enzo's Avatar
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    Pyramid Power

    Didn't know where to stick this.

    Link is to the 2001 September issue of Poptronics, formerly Popular Electronics.

    The cover story is some serious hogwash. There are dumb stories, and then there is complete bullshit. This is the latter, but pretty amusing anyway. Scroll down to the cover story. Page 25 of the magazine, page 27 of the file.

    http://www.americanradiohistory.com/...PP-2001-09.pdf

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    It should have been in the April edition.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Enzo View Post
    The cover story is some serious hogwash.
    Gee, sounds like serious science to me.
    "It is no mystery that only a tiny dab of electricity will run a crystal set...."
    "Just a sliver of voltage is necessary to energize stone with radio waves..."


    -rb

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    Old Timer J M Fahey's Avatar
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    It says diodes are made out of "rocks" and tiny wires so next issue will explain how to make a microprocessor out of a bucketful of sand and metal shavings.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Enzo View Post
    Link is to the 2001 September issue of Poptronics, formerly Popular Electronics.
    I was wondering how long Radio Electronics kept its name, and found that Poptronics was the love child of PE & RE.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Radio-Electronics
    Radio-Electronics was an American electronics magazine that was published under various titles from 1929 to 2003. Hugo Gernsback, sometimes called by Americans as The Father of Science Fiction, started it as Radio-Craft in July 1929. The title was changed to Radio-Electronics in October 1948 and again to Electronics Now in July 1992. In January 2000 it was merged with Gernsback's Popular Electronics to become Poptronics. Gernsback Publications ceased operations in December 2002 and the January 2003 issue was the last.

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    Lifetime Member Enzo's Avatar
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    I used to read Electronics World at the library. It was a cut above Popular Electronics. PE was aimed at the basement hobbyist. EW was more engineering oriented. A bit more complex, more math, more advanced projects.

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    Well, there's my problem. There was only supposed to be a sliver of voltage, but I found a whole dollop in there!

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    The voices in my head are idiots!

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    I checked out the cover article, as suggested, and browsed some other things. WTF happened to Popular Electronics?!? The whole rag reads like an episode of "Histories Mysteries" or Ancient Aliens". I guess that's just what moves media now? Anyone watch the Smithsonian channel or Nat Geo lately? It's shameful. These use to be respected sources of public information.

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    Lifetime Member Enzo's Avatar
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    Popular Electronics used to be the fine old magazine for electronics hobby. It faded into Computers and Electronics. The Poptronics era was from the Gernsback lineage, they bought the Popular Electronics name.

    But all along they had been legitimate publications. Then a new crew took over the magazine just a very few months before the pyramid issue. That was the last straw.

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    Digital killed everything!

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    Quote Originally Posted by g1 View Post
    Well, there's my problem. There was only supposed to be a sliver of voltage, but I found a whole dollop in there!
    Be careful. A dollop of voltage can slop around and get all over everything. Makes an awful mess.

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    #1
    Quote Originally Posted by olddawg View Post
    Digital killed everything!
    How so? I had fun playing with 7400 & 4000 series logic in the '70s. Designed and built an octave doubler around a CMOS JK flipflop. (It had triggering problems, but that was mainly because I didn't know enough about analog.) And bucket brigade time delays are kinda sorta digital- I guess you'd call them "quantized analog" or something like that....



    #2
    Quote Originally Posted by olddawg View Post
    Digital killed everything!
    No, Surface Mount killed everything.



    EDIT: #3 (Hardcore)
    Quote Originally Posted by olddawg View Post
    Digital killed everything!
    No, Transistors killed everything.

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    Last edited by rjb; 10-27-2017 at 06:14 PM.
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    So what about that pyramid power anyway? What little I remember - if you stored your razor in the center of a pyramid it would remain sharp. Seems an awful lot of trouble to go to especially when blades cost a dime or so. Maybe it's more worth it if you get those fancy-dan quintuple blades that run more like two bucks. Pyramids are supposed to have other preservative and life-sustaining properties.

    One of my friends went to the trouble of making a pyramid about the size of a medium dog house out of copper sheet. He had apparently read up on Wilhelm Reich and his theories on weather control. The copper pyramid somehow figured into a method of influencing clouds to emit rain - or not - a technique referred to as "cloudbusting." He never reported any success with that, and the pyramid remained in a barn near my house for a couple years until he moved it somewhere else. A couple years later another of Reich's fans wrote a peculiar, haunting song about the subject. Kate Bush, always a treat to hear her. Meanwhile any number of conspiracy theorists tell us the government has a hand in this, CIA controls the weather via these means, whatever blah blah blah. Yeh I can just imagine a squad of CIA spooks with their battery of copper pyramids, brewing up storms and/or causing droughts. True they do manage to concoct some very weird stuff, but weather control as far as I'm concerned belongs in a category right next to hypnotizing goats.

    Just in time for Halloween! Good thread you started here Enzo.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Leo_Gnardo View Post
    So what about that pyramid power anyway? What little I remember - if you stored your razor in the center of a pyramid it would remain sharp.
    I think Alan Parsons also recommended pyramids on your pajamas

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    After such a glaring error as "limestone is an igneous rock" (after which having read that assertion, I even doubted myself and went to do my own research), I struggled to read the article for more than entertainment value...I know it's not "Geologist Monthly," but I learned in fourth grade that limestone is sedimentary. I would think editors of scientific publications, and especially of those who carry at least some measure of respect (which I would think popular Electronics does), would catch such things... doesn't mean I give up on the magazine, but the author certainly lost some credit with me...

    Justin

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    Last edited by Justin Thomas; 10-27-2017 at 05:46 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Leo_Gnardo View Post
    ...if you stored your razor in the center of a pyramid it would remain sharp. Seems an awful lot of trouble to go to especially when blades cost a dime or so.
    Maybe the target market was folks behind the Iron Curtain queuing for hours outside the hard-currency store hoping to buy a single razor blade, but being met with the bitter disappointment that the only they had sold more than two hours ago.

    We have pyramid tea-bags over here. Not the same as a tea-bagging off an Egyptian. That's something entirely different.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Leo_Gnardo View Post
    So what about that pyramid power anyway? What little I remember - if you stored your razor in the center of a pyramid it would remain sharp. Seems an awful lot of trouble to go to especially when blades cost a dime or so. Maybe it's more worth it if you get those fancy-dan quintuple blades that run more like two bucks. Pyramids are supposed to have other preservative and life-sustaining properties.

    One of my friends went to the trouble of making a pyramid about the size of a medium dog house out of copper sheet. He had apparently read up on Wilhelm Reich and his theories on weather control. The copper pyramid somehow figured into a method of influencing clouds to emit rain - or not - a technique referred to as "cloudbusting." He never reported any success with that, and the pyramid remained in a barn near my house for a couple years until he moved it somewhere else. A couple years later another of Reich's fans wrote a peculiar, haunting song about the subject. Kate Bush, always a treat to hear her. Meanwhile any number of conspiracy theorists tell us the government has a hand in this, CIA controls the weather via these means, whatever blah blah blah. Yeh I can just imagine a squad of CIA spooks with their battery of copper pyramids, brewing up storms and/or causing droughts. True they do manage to concoct some very weird stuff, but weather control as far as I'm concerned belongs in a category right next to hypnotizing goats.

    Just in time for Halloween! Good thread you started here Enzo.
    I think "Cloudbusting" is based on Wilhelm Reich's son's autobiography. Great song in any case. Reich's "orgone accumulators" were quite the big deal for a while; a 20th century aether wind if you will. Even Einstein got snowed - Reich convinced him to build an orgone accumulator and measure the temperatures inside and outside of the box. Mysteriously the temperature inside the box was slightly higher - free energy!!!!! Einstein was thrilled until his assistant pointed out that the thermometer inside the accumulator and the one outside it were at different elevations in the room and the difference in temperature was just a natural gradient that exists without a silly wooden & metal box.

    Reich's treatment by the gov't was horrible. Not only did he die in prison (coincidentally; not that he was locked up for decades) but they made his family destroy his equipment and notes. Sure, the guy was a loon, but it's still one of the worst cases of censorship in this country. I think there's still an amateur journal out there about people doing orgone research, but then every once in a while someone rigs up a giant array of lasers and mirrors to look for aether drift too...

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    Old Timer J M Fahey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mick Bailey View Post
    Maybe the target market was folks behind the Iron Curtain queuing for hours outside the hard-currency store hoping to buy a single razor blade, but being met with the bitter disappointment that the only they had sold more than two hours ago.
    Nice Govīt propaganda to make sheeple happier with their own life.
    Thinking "others are doing worse than me" brings some comfort ..... sort of
    FWIW:
    When did food rationing stop?

    Fourteen years
    of food rationing in Britain ended at midnight on 4 July 1954, when restrictions on the sale and purchase of meat and bacon were lifted. This happened nine years after the end of the war.
    Am I quoting "The Red Banner" or "Workers United" or some other Red rag?

    Not exactly, this comes straight from: Rationing in Britain during World War 2

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    Lifetime Member Enzo's Avatar
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    Wow, I was just thinking of rationing, and ration tickets, while standing in the shower a few moments ago.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mick Bailey View Post
    Maybe the target market was folks behind the Iron Curtain queuing for hours outside the hard-currency store hoping to buy a single razor blade, but being met with the bitter disappointment that the only they had sold more than two hours ago.
    How long would one of our Soviet neighbors have to stand in line to get a pyramid? Geeze after queing up all day, one line to get a little loaf of black bread, another line for a sawdust sausage, line up again for a little bottle of vodka, yet another line for a shaving razor, who's got time?

    Potatofarmer, one of my cousins has a hobby of trying to chase down sources of free energy. Whenever I see him he gives me the lecture, how it's s'posed to work etc etc. Last year he told me how he's putting up antennas (antennae?) to try and pull free electricity from the air. Of course he's limited to how high he can go with these, buying a couple second-hand ham radio towers and putting them up in his back yard. I told him, call me if you get enough juice to light up an LED. So far no dice... guess he doesn't have his design right just yet. But he still gives me a hard time for not believing in his favorite theories. He'd be better off sinking thermocouples into the ocean, that works. Sinking generators run by turbines into the river? Yeh that works too. Casimir effect? Yup, that's for real too but you can't really get any useful energy out of it. But you can run a watch off a battery made by sticking one iron nail and one copper nail into a potato. Not "glorious" enough for our free energy folks.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Justin Thomas View Post
    I would think editors of scientific publications, and especially of those who carry at least some measure of respect (which I would think popular Electronics does), would catch such things...
    It appears it got crazy when Now Electronics (formerly Radio Electronics) and Popular Electronics merged into Poptronics under new management. Like when Frets magazine was taken over by Guitar Player- and the cover art started featuring Sharon Isbin in black fetish leather and Alison Krauss (who was, like, thirteen at the time) dressed as a wild west saloon girl.

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    Quote Originally Posted by rjb View Post
    Sharon Isbin... and Alison Krauss...
    Who? No, don't answer that...

    Justin

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    Quote Originally Posted by Justin Thomas View Post
    Who? No, don't answer that...
    Dude, seriously?

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sharon_Isbin
    Sharon Isbin is an American Grammy Award-winning classical guitarist and the founding director of the Guitar Department at Juilliard....

    As for Alison Krauss- she's just some fiddle player who sings a bit. You may not be familiar with her early bluegrass work, but maybe you've heard her sing with that Led Zeppelin guy - Bob Shrub, is it?
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alison_Krauss
    Alison Maria Krauss... is an American bluegrass-country singer and musician.
    She entered the music industry at an early age... recording for the first time at fourteen....
    As of 2016, she has won 27 Grammy Awards from 42 nominations, tying her with Quincy Jones as the most awarded living recipient...


    -rb

    PS - Maybe I should mention that while Frets had cover girls in corsets and garter belts, Guitar Player had cover boys in eyeliner and Spandex.

    PPS - IIRC, Guitar Player/Frets new art director had been hired away from Easy Rider....

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    Last edited by rjb; 10-28-2017 at 12:07 AM.
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    I didn't mean any disrespect to Ms. Isbin, I just don't follow EVERY guitar player out there. Actually I did google them. I was surprised that Sharon would do that, cuz I noticed she was born in 1956, which made me just think, "OMG, imagine my Mom on the cover of a guitar magazine wearing 'black fetish leather' - EEEWWWW!!!" But no, I don't really follow the classical guitarists.

    Didn't Alison Krauss do something with Bobert Plant?

    Justin

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    Quote Originally Posted by Justin Thomas View Post
    ...she was born in 1956, which made me just think,...EEEWWWW!!!"
    Well, this would have been somewhere around 1987 to '89... so maybe not quite so EEEWWWW-inducing.
    And perhaps I'm mis-remembering or exaggerating about the fetish leather.
    But there definitely was some bondage imagery going on there.
    I recall thinking it was "inappropriate" for the cover of an acoustic music magazine.

    Quote Originally Posted by Justin Thomas View Post
    Didn't Alison Krauss do something with Bobert Plant?
    Yea, sounds right. Bush, Shrub, Plant, something like that. I just don't follow EVERY vocalist out there.

    -rb

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    Last edited by rjb; 10-28-2017 at 02:02 AM.
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    Lifetime Member Enzo's Avatar
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    I had to look up Isbin, having not heard of her before. The last classical guitarist I saw perform was Carlos Montoya back around 1967. he was terrific, but I don;t follow that genre. Allison Krauss I knew. Including the hit song with Plant. I haven't/don't read the guitar magazines. But you probably don;t read EDN.

    Oddly enough, my brother in law is a professional classical guitarist, he has a degree in classical guitar. I appreciate his skill and talent, but I can't play the stuff. he gets fascinated watching me play basic rock and roll stuff. Of course on his guitar... well you just can't bend a note to save your life.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Enzo View Post
    I haven't/don't read the guitar magazines. But you probably don;t read EDN.
    Not lately, but I did back when I was reading Frets. I have Bob Pease's entire "Troubleshooting Analog Circuits" series in a manila folder, um, somewhere. I was a Dilbert fan before he sold out and went mainstream.

    Btw, despite its name, "Frets" covered all stringed acoustic instruments (whether fretted or not), and sometimes harmonica. Squeezeboxes, not so much.

    -rb

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    Last edited by rjb; 10-28-2017 at 06:09 AM. Reason: added "went mainstream"
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    Lifetime Member Enzo's Avatar
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    I have the Bob Pease book in my left hand. I have read it SOOO many times. I sent the guy a brief note once, he sent me a brief thanks. Guy's my hero. Or was.

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    Buying a book is cheating! It takes real perseverance to razor blade all those pages out of all those magazine issues, staple them by chapter, and file them in order. Dogbert is my hero. Or was.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Leo_Gnardo View Post
    So what about that pyramid power anyway? What little I remember - if you stored your razor in the center of a pyramid it would remain sharp. Seems an awful lot of trouble to go to especially when blades cost a dime or so. Maybe it's more worth it if you get those fancy-dan quintuple blades that run more like two bucks. Pyramids are supposed to have other preservative and life-sustaining properties.

    One of my friends went to the trouble of making a pyramid about the size of a medium dog house out of copper sheet. He had apparently read up on Wilhelm Reich and his theories on weather control. The copper pyramid somehow figured into a method of influencing clouds to emit rain - or not - a technique referred to as "cloudbusting." He never reported any success with that, and the pyramid remained in a barn near my house for a couple years until he moved it somewhere else. A couple years later another of Reich's fans wrote a peculiar, haunting song about the subject. Kate Bush, always a treat to hear her. Meanwhile any number of conspiracy theorists tell us the government has a hand in this, CIA controls the weather via these means, whatever blah blah blah. Yeh I can just imagine a squad of CIA spooks with their battery of copper pyramids, brewing up storms and/or causing droughts. True they do manage to concoct some very weird stuff, but weather control as far as I'm concerned belongs in a category right next to hypnotizing goats.

    Just in time for Halloween! Good thread you started here Enzo.
    It seems like lately everyone is trying to stick round pegs into pyramid holes. There's a lot of holistic types here on the island and I've seen copper pyramids made from sheet metal, plumbing pipe, etc. Even my sister in law has a 1' copper pyramid on her dining room side table. She says that if you put fruit within that it won't spoil for a long time.?. It's a trend. People need to believe in something. Mostly because it's so much harder to understand them. And besides, men (oh hell, lest's be politically correct and include women and the LGBT community) have historically been shoving things into the wrong hole for years

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    Lifetime Member Enzo's Avatar
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    Beauty is in the hole of the behinder??

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  32. #32
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    A really serious magazine was 'New Scientist', but this was aimed at the scientific community and not comprehensible by the man-in-the street. There were few pictures - just small print and a few graphs and equations. Then in the UK along came 'Focus' magazine which started out really good. It was more readable across a broad range of topics and had good, informative and interesting articles that were well-illustrated. I then noticed a shift towards that style with New Scientist and then a gradual dumbing-down of Focus to the point where it became unreadable for an adult. Almost as though they had to compete with kids buying My Little Pony magazine.

    Probably the best electronics mag available in the UK was Elektor. But then they shifted to a more commercial model where to build the projects you needed to buy their PCB. Maybe they did this just to survive in a diminishing hobby magazine market.

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  33. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mick Bailey View Post
    Probably the best electronics mag available in the UK was Elektor.
    Do you remember Wireless World? I used to have a subscription but most of it was over my head back then.

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  34. #34
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    Ah, yes. I bought a few copies when I saw it around, but it was a little too challenging for me at the time. I had a subscription right through the 70s to Practical Wireless. I don't know why I didn't cancel, because there were far better mags around. Maplins also had a magazine in the 70s which had lots of excellent music-based circuits and they sold cheap PCBs. I used their standalone springline guitar reverb for about 10 years. They had some pretty large-scale modular synths, too. The nearest Maplins was in Manchester, so a train journey for me. By the time they'd opened nearby in Stoke they were getting rid of all the decent components to concentrate on RC cars and computer stuff. I did get some really nice UK tube power and output transformers, though. Now they just sell crap.

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  35. #35
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    I remember Practical Wireless. It had a light hearted column called "Practically Wireless by Henry" he used to write about things like designing an electronic shoehorn. It was to be a bootstrap circuit of course, groan.

    Maplin's in Manchester is in Oxford road. It's only 20 miles north of here. I used to drive to it and park next to what was Central Station until I had my car stolen from there.

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