~e; microscoping electromagnetism

From human being <human@electronetwork.org>
Date Sun, 15 Dec 2002 21:41:46 -0600

  i had the good fortune of hearing about a decent digital
  tool recently and so decided to experiment with it. it is
  a children's toy microscope that offers 10x/60x/200x digital
  magnification with the ability to capture movies. it was a
  discontinued product from Intel, and has been rebranded under
  the name 'digital blue', which took over Intel's toy division.
  it is a serious microscope and apparently professionals have
  used them in the workplace, as have hobbyists such as myself.

  creating a gallery of electromagnetic art, i recently took some
  photos of amber using camera filters, to try and convey some of
  the more magical aspects of such objects. a microscope can also
  help in this, helping turn the mundane into the extraordinary.
  in any case, the plan was to see if this device, _not a toy_,
  could show the 'pits' on an ordinary data Compact Disk. i tried
  that but the surface is a mirror, basically, and having yet to
  apply sandpaper to it, i could not focus on the surface. nor
  with the plastic used inside a corrupted Zip Disk (which is
  identical to what is inside a floppy disk, by the way, just
  a piece of circular plastic to read/write on). things were not
  happening and so i took another route...

  i opened up an old magnetic cassette tape's plastic ribbon,
  and magnified that, as follows:

Magnetic Cassette Tape (magnified 60x) 19k

Magnetic Cassette Tape (magnified 200x) 28k

  i was always searching for something to see, to visualize the
  electromagnetic happenings, but i think all this captures is a
  few scratches on plastic tape, and not data itself, which is
  either occurring at another level (of magnification, where one
  may find a pattern) or it may not be visible. so i kept trying.

  i went into my cache of phone cords from years of connecting
  computer modems, at various lengths across rooms, to the phone
  jacks in a dwelling's walls. i got an RJ11 plug and cut the wires
  and worked on magnifying that for awhile. the first photo is what
  one of these looks like, should anyone not associate the name with
  the familiar device most are using to dial-up their modems with...

RJ11 telephone/modem plug with wiring cut-off (10x magnification) 23k

  then, carefully moving the small little sculptural piece around,
  i was able to try and define the plastic areas from the metal, and
  to attempt to show the device in its transparency and opaqueness,
  quite simple and yet most have probably not see it on such a scale...

RJ11 telephone/modem plug with connector wires (60x) 27k

another RJ11 plug (60x magnification) 25k

  in any case, having become an organized person over the years, most
  useful electronics junk one would need in a situation like this is
  absent, so i decided to take the microscope off of its stand and to
  put it through another test, more uniquely electromagnetic research...

  there is a movie function and i recorded about one gigabyte in doing
  this, but here are two screenshots from taking the microscope up close
  to the LCD computer screen on my computer, and a TV screen. what is
  unique is that this microscope can see this, actual pixels in their RGB
  format, prior to their representation as information (one of the three
  colors turning on to represent a pixel) versus graphic representations
  of 'pixels' which are actually a second-order representation. i do not
  know the words for this, but sometime i will try to share microscopic
  photos of a computer screen, and how the folders on a desktop and their
  words can be seen as red-green-blue slits, making up the image, and not
  a square box of data.

LCD Screen (probably magnified 200x, without additional lighting) 20k

  the color LCD uses RGB (red/green/blue) to represent all color  
  and yet a television screen (older style) uses an 'electron gun' in a
  cathode-ray tube, an earlier invention, and shoots a jittery ray of
  these at a metal grid behind the screen, which then lights up one of
  three colored phosphors, a red one, green one, or blue one. the image
  below does not show this but one was close to and i would need to spend
  more time to present this idea further. in any case, these phosphors  
  up and create a moving television image using electrons/electricity in  
  vacuum tube going at the speed of light. and the globs/orbs here are  
  scale of getting closer to this in image-form...

TV Screen (magnified around 60x) 27k

  finally, was able to locate a disused old LCD watch once found on in]
  a parking lot, and zoomed in at 10x, 60x, and 200x on a Liquid Crystal
  Display, only to find that at each level it was a smooth surface, it
  may indeed be liquid!!! i'm not quite sure, and have not microphoto'd
  any of this exploration as it would be nice to explore it more, and
  eventually take apart the watch face and look at its circuitry at 200x
  magnification, to see what is visible there. so it is more of a  
  and yet, this whole experience has helped to visualize everyday objects
  that are electromagnetic that having learning aspects to them, and i
  had never imagined putting a microscope up to a television screen or
  computer monitor/screen, or even using a microscope. and yet a digital
  microscope allows this type of experimentation to happen and can open
  new interpretations with basic tools. and possibly help learn more
  about the core technologies we use everyday, and learn new things
  about them, too. so these images are shared with that in mind.


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