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“[T]he coin of life has meaning and value no matter what side it lands on. It’s each individual’s choice whether to bet on the outcome or not, but ultimately your coin of life will be spent somehow.” -Virgil Kalyana Mittata Iordache Coin flips are traditionally the way to settle disputes with two choices and equal…

Occupational Health News Roundup

Federal laws fail to protect workers left out of state workers’ comp systems; electronics recycling workers and their families face dangerous lead poisoning risks; California farmworkers join forces with low-wage food service workers for better pay; and a worker who died during preparations for the Super Bowl is remembered.

“I like cappuccino, actually. But even a bad cup of coffee is better than no coffee at all.” -David Lynch Particularly in the dead of winter, most of us enjoy a hot drink, whether it’s coffee, tea, hot chocolate or soup. But if that drink is too hot, your options for cooling it down are…

152/366: Fun With Motion Blur

This one was a whole bunch of work for one smallish shot… So, in past rounds of “science-y things with my fancy camera,” I looked at the effect of ISO settings and apertures. This time out, I wanted to look at something moving, and the way that it blurs with increasing exposure time. My initial…

Hagbard’s Scaffold

Sweden’s bedrock has been entirely abraded by the inland ice. It sanded down the country like a big wood planer, leaving smooth lovely outcrops known as hällar all over the place. This is the main natural prerequisite of Sweden’s rich rock art tradition. Most of it dates from the Bronze Age, 1700–500 BC. Denmark hardly…

February 2016 Open thread

Update on Our Lives

Since Zion’s arrival as a newborn in 2013, this blog has been quite quiet. First I wanted to give Zion the same time and resources that my other babies had. Then just as we started to get back on our feet, the flood of adding four kids to our home, including three under three (plus…

Lessons from the Iowa Caucus

Increasingly, I feel the need to declare my position on the candidates before commenting on the process, because, increasingly, the conversation has become one of comparative litmus tests. So, here’s the deal on that: I like Clinton and Sanders both, and I like each of them for both overlapping and different reasons. As a life…

POTW 2!

The second Problem Of The Week has now been posted, along with an official solution to the first problem. Enjoy!

Economists have suggested that people with traditional insurance coverage over-consume healthcare because each doctor visit or lab test requires a relatively low co-payment. If we paid more for each service – had “skin in the game” – the thinking goes, we’d be more judicious about the healthcare we consume and shop around for the best value. But evidence is mounting that asking people to pay more for care doesn’t turn them into smarter shoppers.

151/366: Half an Oak

When Kate and I were looking for a house back in late 2002, one of the things that sold us on this place was the back yard. The lot is very deep, unusually so for this part of Niskayuna, so there’s a lot of space in the back yard, and it was pleasantly shaded by…

Drafts

Brian said I’d guess 100 or so draft posts sitting around, forlornly. I have precisely 89 draft posts, and I thought it might be fun to look back at them. * 2016/01/30: On getting out more, part 2 (you know who you are) * 2016/01/25: A leading climate sceptic businessman has protested that he was…

Copy.com (Barracuda) is shutting down

Suddenly my computer tells me that copy.com is shutting down as a cloud storage service. That sucks, since I had a few terabytes of free storage with them. I will now have to seek an alternative. What are your experiences with cloud storage, free or otherwise?

Peter Doherty explains the likely outcomes of the Zika virus pandemic. What we are seeing in the Americas is a classic “virgin soil” epidemic. Enormous numbers of people and mosquitoes are being infected, the virus is transmitting at a very high level, and there may be as many as 4×106 cases. Apart from affected neonates,…

How to catch a speeding star (Synopsis)

“Most people don’t know what’s happening around them because they’re just speeding through life. And before they know it, they’re just old. So I just try to slow it down.” -Tracy Morgan Travel fast enough through the air, and you’ll exceed the speed of sound. The compressed air in front of you builds up, denser…