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February 20, 2006

Woot! Golden Hockey

Filed under: Hockey,Olympics — Bob @ 6:53 pm

The Canadian women’s hockey team won the gold medal today in Turino.

There was talk today that this win isn’t as exciting as when (or if, given recent problems) the men’s team might win a medal. I completely disagree; these women might not be million dollar NHL players but that is exactly why their win is so fantastic.

I expect the men’s team to win a medal although it looks a bit dodgy right now. That team is comprised of hockey players who’ve honed their skills based on world-class competition in the NHL all year.

Three cheers for Canada’s finest Olympic hockey athletes!

February 18, 2006

Lenticular Printing on a Stamp

Filed under: Olympics,Work — Bob @ 11:31 am

The Netherlands has released really cool new animated stamps. Yes, these are regular postage stamps that can be attached to letters and sent through the post.

They use a technology called Lenticular Printing to achieve this affect, and you’ve probably seen it before. It uses small slices of different pictures printed next to each other, with a plastic lens cover that only reveals one set of slices (all from the same image) at any particular angle. As you tilt the picture you see a different image. Do this tilting rapidly enough and you’ll see animation that mimics live video.

Creo Kodak has several customers involved in this type of printing because our device’s ability to image 10 micron features onto a printing plate. Given good enough press conditions, these 10 micron features will show up on paper. Small accurate feature placement and printing means you can do things like lenticular printing on a large scale. I have no idea if these stamps are done with Creo’s imaging technology or not, but its likely.

This is probably the start of a new trend in producing stamps. Even better that the topic is related to the Olympics.

February 15, 2006

Zero Point Six Makes All The Difference

Filed under: Olympics — Bob @ 9:24 pm

On Tuesday Beckie Scott and Sara Renner of the Canadian Olympic team won a silver medal in the Cross Country Team Pursuit event. This was the first time the event was held. The event involves two skiers on a closed loop track. Each skier completes a loop then tags up with their partner, who then proceeds to ski the same loop. Repeat three times. Not quite as exciting as hockey or even the ski jumping events, but still interesting from the athletic perspective.

The gold medal winners (from Sweden) completed the course in 16 minutes, 36.9 seconds. Beckie and Sara completed the same course (at the same time) in 16 minutes 37.5 seconds, or a 0.6 second difference.

For reference, the average human blink lasts for about 0.3 second. Two blinks difference over sixteen minutes.

For me this is probably the most amazing thing about Olympic-level competitive sports. These people come from all over the world to participate in these events after four years of practice, they race side-by-side for many minutes, and the difference between first and second place is the same as two blinks. And for sure its not just cross country skiing, or even just the Winter Olympics. The Summer Olympic events often see close races, especially in the swim events where first and second place might be separated by a hundredth of a second.

Eleven more days of Olympic events. Go Canada go!

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