Aug. 1st, 2010

geminianeyes: Smexy Naoya from SMT Devil Survivor (Naoya Glasses)
[personal profile] geminianeyes
Item is a cube item about sejunkal in height and width (create a fist with your thumb and pinky sticking out, that's the height we are talking about), with irregularly-sized movable parts. Looks something like this but is made of bamboo and many more tiny parts.

The assistants and me have discovered that while you can take apart the cube and assemble the many pieces into different items (tissue dispenser, the Twin Towers, and kampung scupltures just to name a few) if you want to reassemble it into a cube there is only one way to do so.

The reason for this seems to be the hollow centre of the cube. When we first discovered the box, there were a small packet of sago seeds within. While playing around testing the various assemblies of the cube, it was discovered that you could, assemble a gun (incidentally this was the only other shape of the cube that required us to use ALL parts of it besides its original cube shape). Insert the sago seeds into the hole and voila! Instant gun.

However, we soon discovered that the gun would not fire on its own. There was nothing to propel the seeds out of the gun. It turns out that there's an extra component that came with the cube that we originally neglected; the Mayan Empire's rubber band holding the sago seed bullets closed were the missing piece.

Considering the size of the gun and its relative power (and the bruises it left on my assistants, heh), we suspect that the cube's original intention was to be a portable and quick-assembly weapon, used mainly to fire at hyperactive kids and stray mewling cats. Theoretically, it COULD be used as a more lethal weapon in close range, but no one volunteered we were unable to test that theory out.
jhameia: GIF animation of a lemongrass bush, followed by frames saying "Jha is like lemongrass" (Lemongrass)
[personal profile] jhameia
Item is a bag containing other items - 6 segments (or culms, if you want to get technical) of bamboo which contain dried preserved food.

The bag itself is an incurious brown linen slingbag, with no covering flap. It is enough to contain all 6 segments of bamboo

Each segment is 30cm long, 6cm in diameter, with one natural node on one end and the other end plugged with a screw-on wooden cap. The caps don't appear to all be the same wood.

When x-rays couldn't conclusively show us what was inside (the results look like meandering abstract paintings), so we opened one of these bamboo segments for closer inspection. It contained dried vegetables and fruits, as well as half-cooked rice and dried noodles. We've sent a few pieces to the labs for dating.

In the interest of science(!), we stood the segment on its end, poured in some hot water, screwed back in the cap, and waited a minute or so before pouring out the contents into a separate bowl. The result was a soup that smelled and tasted like it had pepper, a hint of chili, ginger, and what might have been beef, or might have been chicken stock. I won't lie, this Mee In My Bamboo thing is pretty nommy.

This raises some interesting questions: Why would instant soup be developed like this that it can be easily transported for long periods of time? Who would carry such a bag? The bag only contains six; perhaps the owner had one meal a day over a six-day period? Or did this bag belong to a worker, this food item being a form of cheap sustenance?
nyarlathotep: (Default)
[personal profile] nyarlathotep

Item appears to be bronzed coconut tempurung half, measuring 8 centimeters in diameter. I say “appears”, because the item seems to be made completely out of bronze, but with the thickness of a real coconut shell. No other decoration or design anywhere else, apart from what you normally expect from a real coconut shell.

UPDATE: Microscopic analysis results have come back: turns out that the coconut shell resembles a coconut shell, even down to the microscopic level — we’re seeing remnants of cell wall formation on at least part of the coconut shell, which either means that the bronzing process goes down to the cellular level, or there’s a species of bronze-based life form out there. Alloy composition is around 88% copper and just under 12% tin, with less than %1 being a material that should be tin, but doesn’t seem to give the same kind of spectral readings.

An interesting effect occurs when you place the coconut shell, rim-side down on any flat surface — within 20 seconds, the sound of a frog croaking can be heard. Our resident creepy-crawly nerd identifies the call as belonging to a Polypedates leucomystax, or a Malaysian common tree frog.

Removing the coconut shell reveals… well, nothing. No frog. Frog calls immediately terminate upon removal of shell from the flat surface. Even tipping the shell to take a peek reveals no frog, and terminates the sounds.

UPDATE: We’ve finally managed to take a good luck at the frog itself by the simple expedient of placing the shell on a glass table. Well, it’s a common tree frog, all right.

That’s it. Well, that was exciting.

nyarlathotep: (Default)
[personal profile] nyarlathotep

Item is a pack of 78 cards, measuring 10.5 cm x 18 cm. Thickness of each card is no thicker than the kind of paper stock that normal playing cards come from. Each card seems to be made out of some kind of photonic crystal that constantly shifts and changes color, while the edges are normal paper card-stock. We can’t seem to separate the paper surface from the photonic crystal without tearing — the paper seems bonded to the crystal through some undetermined process.

Design-wise, the cards are, for all intents and purposes, classical Tarot de Marseille cards, with 22 Trumps and 56 Suit cards. The Trumps are numbered from 1 to 21, with the Le Mat card un-numbered, as per the usual, and card XIII (the D-Card) unnamed.

The most interesting feature of these cards are that they seem to shift and change with no apparent power source. The card design primarily stays constant — changing tones and mood to suit the image itself — but the card images seem to shift based on who touches it. Some of the guinea pigs junior researchers report seeing significant figures in their history appear as the players in the trump cards, while the suite cards seem to illustrate life events and realistic representations of the subject’s life situation with a rather eerie realism.

The cards don’t have a visible power source, like I said, but leaving them in a light-proof room with no visible illumination causes the cards to revert to a blank state — power conservation mode, perhaps? However, when touching those cards, or even looking at them and concentrating, the cards begin to shift and change — weakly at first, but then with increasing movement and vividness.

When we press-ganged persuaded Junior Researcher L, who scored unusually high in Ganzfeld and Zener tests, the cards began to emit light in the dark, as if the card surfaces were additive light displays (brightness levels similar to modern AMOLED displays). Running the same tests in fully-lit environments with JR L showed no difference from JRs who scored low in both Ganzfeld and Zener. Effect doesn't seem to work with any other researcher, junior or not.

UPDATE: I’d like to strongly advise that we terminate the employment of Junior Researcher K, based on the design that appeared once K touched the 5 de Épées. The other figures depicted in the cards, JR N and I, aren’t talking.

UPDATE: Also, we advise caution to researchers who touch trump card XIII, XV, XVI and XX, and suit card 3 and 10 de Épées. Some of the images are… disturbing, to say the least.

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