Tuesday, March 20, 2007


Update below

Jim here,

Terry was kind enough to leave me a key to the place while he is off for a well-deserved break with Mrs. Nitpicker. He also was kind enough to protect my anonymity, which I had asked of him some time ago when I originally sent him the photo in the preceding post.

Since then -- without mentioning it to Terry -- I've outed myself to the blogosphere as Dr. Jim Bales, an Instructor at MIT who teaches the subject Strobe Project Lab and the Assistant Director of MIT's Edgerton Center. So, thank you Terry for your consideration of my earlier request for anonymity!

Why be anonymous? I read and comment almost exclusively on political blogs, and my abortive attempt at a blog was political. However, the subject I teach is quite apolitical. I believe that it is important that any students in my subject feel that I keep my political views separate from the content -- and grading -- of the class.

Sadly, I can't post more now, as duty calls me. There may not be more content until later tonight. However, here, for your amusement, is another bullet photo.

Update: Answers to some questions that have arisen:
Is that a grape
Yes it is, or, was.

What is the blue stuff holding it up
A piece of modeling clay I had on hand.

What was the firearm?
A .22 caliber target rifle, borrowed from MIT's rifle team.

Did you use a special camera?
It was a Nikon D200 digital camera, but much simpler cameras can work.

Did you use a special flash unit?
Yes. It was taken with "Spot," a flash unit made by Prism Science Works. The strobe turns on and then off again in less than 1/2,000,00 sec.

Yes, one two-millionth of a second.

As such devices go, it is quite inexpensive (within the reach of a professional photographer or a sufficiently dedicated amateur.)



Blogger Sadly, No! said...

Hi Jim! :)

2:39 PM  
Anonymous the dryyyyyyy cracker said...

Friend of Terry's = friend of ours. See those nits over there? Get pickin'!

(Should you find yourself struggling for a topic during your tenure, here's a tip: the Bush administration has made a number of missteps on the foreign-policy front. You're welcome.)

5:31 PM  
Blogger Jim said...

Ah, yes. I believe that the "W." is short for "foreign policy missteps."

I'm not certain what I have to say on the matter that others have not said at least as well. As a placeholder, let me say ...


While unoriginal, it is heartfelt.

10:57 AM  
Blogger J. said...

Hey Jim, did you fire the shot (with a qiuck draw and blowing the smoking barrel)?

11:01 PM  
Blogger Jim said...

Of course!

Well, I fired the shot. Since the rifle is secured in a frame, the quick draw wasn't an option.

We set up the card and line up the rifle (by bore sighting) so that the bullet will hit the card. Then we turn out the lights, open the shutter of the camera, and fire. (Since the room is dark the film/imager is not exposed.)

As the bullet is cutting the card, the strobe fires, lighting the target for a half microsecond, after which the room is dark again.

We close the shutter and turn on the room lights to set up for the next shot.

3:21 AM  

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