Archive for November, 2012

Atomic Robo birthday cake

Check it out, my wife made this Atomic Robo cake for my birthday:

Atomic Robo cake

ToXmlString extension method

This is an extension method that serializes any object to xml. Note that it is “null resistant” in that if the target is null, the extension does not throw an object-not-set-to-an-instance exception, but instead simply returns null.

public static string ToXmlString(this T item) where T : class
            if (item == null)
                return null;
            string xml;
            using (var stream = new MemoryStream())
            using (var writer = XmlWriter.Create(stream))
                new XmlSerializer(item.GetType()).Serialize(writer, item);
                xml = Encoding.UTF8.GetString(stream.ToArray());
            return xml;

3D printed rocket parts

NASA is now using 3D printers to create rocket parts for their new heavy-lift rockets — not model rockets or prototypes, but real rockets that launch massive satellites into orbit and rovers to Mars.   Using lasers to melt alloy powder, NASA engineers manufacture intricate metal parts in an additive process called selective laser melting (SLM).

There are important benefits to using 3D printers:

  • Significantly reduces the manufacturing time required to produce parts from months to days.
  • Build pieces impossible to build any other way.
  • Replaces welding, so the parts are structurally stronger and more reliable, and thus safer.
  • Saves millions in manufacturing costs.

You had me at “building rockets with lasers”

Catastrophic misunderstanding leads to discovery of Splenda

Foreign research student misunderstands professor’s instruction to “test” a concoction of sucrose and chlorine, thinking he said “taste” it.  Slavishly following the instructions the student pops the chlorinated powder into his mouth and discovers it’s not deadly, but actually sweet and calorie free.

Eurekas and Euphorias: The Oxford Book of Scientific Anecdotes

UPDATE:  I’ve created a solution script so you can run this with a single command


If you want to quickly delete all the bin and obj folders in a solution:

  1. Make sure you have Microsoft’s Productivity Power Tools 2012 installed in your Visual Studio’s Extensions and Updates.
  2. Right-click on the solution in Solution Explorer
  3. Open Command Prompt
  4. Run powershell
  5. Paste and run this:  Get-ChildItem -include bin,obj -recu -Force | remove-item -force -recurse
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