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154/366: Parking Lot Sunset

Early in this photo-a-day thing I tried to get in the habit of bringing the camera with me when I ran errands, to get pictures of random interesting stuff outside of the immediate neighborhood of our house. I fell out of that, though, when it was actually cold, because I didn’t like leaving the camera…

153/366: Old School

Here in the US, we’re slowly transitioning to the European system of chip-based credit cards (I got email at work saying that my new card there will actually be chip-and-PIN, wonder of wonders). This is not uniformly distributed yet, though, so about half of the retailers I deal with regularly want the chip, the other…

Over in Twitter-land, somebody linked to this piece promoting open-access publishing, excerpting this bit: One suggestion: Ban the CV from the grant review process. Rank the projects based on the ideas and ability to carry out the research rather than whether someone has published in Nature, Cell or Science. This could in turn remove the…

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…

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…

142-150/366: On-Deadline Catchup

I’ve been neglecting the photo-a-day thing for the last week-and-a-bit, but for a good reason: I had a deadline of, well, today, to finish a chapter I was asked to contribute to an academic book. And while I fully realize that actually hitting that deadline is not typical academic behavior, I have A Thing about…

One of the things about being a physicist that makes it tough to have any sensible work-life balance is that I’m constantly seeing little things and thinking “Oooh! Physics!” then getting distracted from what I’m actually supposed to be doing. Take, for example, our bathroom sink. I have noticed, from time to time, a weird…

Quantum Short Fiction, Voting Open Now

The Center for Quantum Technologies is running a “Quantum Shorts” contest, where they solicited short stories exploring some aspect of quantum physics. They cut their large number of applicants down to two short-lists of ten, one for the “Open” category, and one for the “Youth” category. They’ll be giving out a “People’s Choice Award” based…

Advice to the Past

Over at Scientific American, Amanda Baker has a story about what scientists say they would tell their younger selves. I reached out to eight of my colleagues who are currently in STEM fields and asked them a series of questions about their childhood interests in science, school experiences, and roadblocks that they faced on their…

141/366: Holes

As mentioned last week, SteelyKid is doing Odyssey of the Mind this year, and her team has elected to build a balsa wood structure. The goal for these is to support the maximum possible weight, and the first step of the testing is to put a “crusher board” on top. This is a couple of…