drorzel https://scienceblogs.com/ en Go On Till You Come to the End; Then Stop https://scienceblogs.com/principles/2017/10/31/go-on-till-you-come-to-the-end-then-stop <span>Go On Till You Come to the End; Then Stop</span> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><p>ScienceBlogs is coming to an end. I don't know that there was ever a really official announcement of this, but the bloggers got email a while back letting us know that the site will be closing down. I've been absolutely getting crushed between work and the book-in-progress and getting Charlie the pupper, but I did manage to export and re-import the content to an <a href="http://chadorzel.steelypips.org/principles/">archive site back on steelypips.org</a>. (The theme there is an awful default WordPress one, but I'm too slammed with work to make it look better; the point is just to have an online archive for the temporary redirects to work with.)</p> <p>I'm one of a handful who were there from the very beginning to the bitter end-- I got asked to join up in late 2005, and the <a href="http://scienceblogs.com/principles/2006/01/11/begin-at-the-beginning-1/">first new post here</a> was on January 11,2016 (I copied over some older content before it went live, so it wasn't just a blank page with a "Welcome to my new blog!" post). It seems fitting to have the last post be on the site's last day of operation.</p> <p>The history of ScienceBlogs and my place in it was... complicated. There were some early efforts to build a real community among the bloggers, but we turned out to be an irascible lot, and after a while that kind of fell apart. The site was originally associated with Seed magazine, which folded, then it was a stand-alone thing for a bit, then partnered with National Geoographic, and the last few years it's been an independent entity again. I've been mostly blogging at Forbes since mid-2015, so I've been pretty removed from the network-- I'm honestly not even sure what blogs have been active in the past few years. I'll continue to blog at Forbes, and may or may not re-launch more personal blogging at the archive site. A lot of that content is now posted to </p> <p>What led to the slow demise of ScienceBlogs? Like most people who've been associated with it over the years, I have Thoughts on the subject, but I don't really feel like airing them at this point. (If somebody else wants to write an epic oral history of SB, email me, and we can talk...) I don't think it was ever going to be a high-margin business, and there were a number of mis-steps over the years that undercut the money-making potential even more. I probably burned or at least charred some bridges by staying with the site as long as I did, but whatever. And it's not like anybody else is getting fabulously wealthy from running blog networks that pay reasonable rates.</p> <p>ScienceBlogs unquestionably gave an enormous boost to my career. I've gotten any number of cool opportunities as a direct result of blogging here, most importantly my career as a writer of pop-physics books. There were some things along the way that didn't pan out as I'd hoped, but this site launched me to what fame I have, and I'll always be grateful for that.</p> <p>So, ave atque vale, ScienceBlogs. It was a noble experiment, and the good days were very good indeed.</p> </div> <span><a title="View user profile." href="/author/drorzel" lang="" about="/author/drorzel" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">drorzel</a></span> <span>Tue, 10/31/2017 - 03:04</span> Tue, 31 Oct 2017 07:04:54 +0000 drorzel 49131 at https://scienceblogs.com Meet Charlie https://scienceblogs.com/principles/2017/10/30/meet-charlie <span>Meet Charlie</span> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><p>It's been a couple of years since we lost the Queen of Niskayuna, and we've held off getting a dog until now because we were planning a big home renovation-- adding on to the mud room, creating a new bedroom on the second floor, and gutting and replacing the kitchen. This was quite the undertaking, and we would not have wanted to put a dog through that. It was bad enough putting <em>us</em> through that...</p> <p>Withe the renovation complete, we started looking for a dog a month or so back, and eventually ended up working with a local rescue group with the brilliantly unsubtle name <a href="http://www.helporphanpuppies.org/">Help Orphan Puppies</a>. This weekend, we officially adopted this cutie:</p> <div style="width: 610px;display:block;margin:0 auto;"><a href="/files/principles/files/2017/10/sm_charlie_sideeye.jpg"><img src="/files/principles/files/2017/10/sm_charlie_sideeye.jpg" alt="" width="600" height="400" class="size-full wp-image-11024" /></a> Charlie, the new pupper at Chateau Steelypips, showing off his one pointy ear. </div> <p>He was listed on the website as "Prince," but his foster family had been calling him "Charlie," and the kids liked that name a lot, so we're keeping it. He's a Plott Hound mix (the "mix" being evident in the one ear that sticks up while the other flops down), one of six puppies found with his mother back in May in a ravine in I think they said South Carolina. He's the last of the litter to find a permanent home. The name change is appropriate, as Emmy was listed as "Princess" before we adopted her and changed her name.</p> <p>Charlie's a sweet and energetic boy, who's basically housebroken, and sorta-kinda crate trained, which is about the same as Emmy when we got her. He knows how to sit, and is learning other commands. He's very sweet with people, and we haven't really met any other dogs yet, but he was fostered in a home with two other dogs, so we hope he'll do well. And he's super good at jumping-- he cleared a 28" child safety gate we were attempting to use to keep him in the mud room-- and does a zoom with the best of them:</p> <div style="width: 610px;display:block;margin:0 auto;"><a href="/files/principles/files/2017/10/sm_charlie_zoom.jpg"><img src="/files/principles/files/2017/10/sm_charlie_zoom.jpg" alt="" width="600" height="400" class="size-full wp-image-11023" /></a> Charlie does a zoom. </div> <p>The kids are absolutely over the moon about having a dog again, as you can see from their paparazzi turn:</p> <div style="width: 610px;display:block;margin:0 auto;"><a href="/files/principles/files/2017/10/sm_charlie_paparazzi.jpg"><img src="/files/principles/files/2017/10/sm_charlie_paparazzi.jpg" alt="" width="600" height="400" class="size-full wp-image-11022" /></a> Charlie poses for the paparazzi. </div> <p>He's a very good boy, all in all, and we're very pleased to have him. I can't really describe how good it felt on Saturday afternoon to once again settle down on the couch with a football game on tv, and drop my hand down to pet a dog lying on the floor next to me. I still miss some things about Emmy, but Charlie's already filling a huge void.</p> </div> <span><a title="View user profile." href="/author/drorzel" lang="" about="/author/drorzel" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">drorzel</a></span> <span>Mon, 10/30/2017 - 14:15</span> Mon, 30 Oct 2017 18:15:57 +0000 drorzel 49130 at https://scienceblogs.com Physics Blogging Round-Up: August https://scienceblogs.com/principles/2017/09/01/physics-blogging-round-up-august <span>Physics Blogging Round-Up: August</span> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><p>Another month, another set of blog posts. This one includes the highest traffic I think I've ever seen for a post, including the one that started me on the path to a book deal:</p> <p>-- <a href="https://www.forbes.com/sites/chadorzel/2017/08/07/the-alpha-experiment-records-another-first-in-measuring-antihydrogen/">The ALPHA Experiment Records Another First In Measuring Antihydrogen</a>: The good folks trapping antimatter at CERN have now measured the hyperfine spectrum of hydrogen, which is a good excuse to explain what that is and why it matters.</p> <p>-- <a href="https://www.forbes.com/sites/chadorzel/2017/08/11/seven-suggestions-for-succeeding-in-science-in-college/">7 Suggestions For Succeeding In Science In College</a>: It's the time of year when lots of people give unsolicited advice to the college-bound, and who am I to buck that trend?</p> <p>-- <a href="https://www.forbes.com/sites/chadorzel/2017/08/20/how-to-look-at-the-sun-without-buying-eclipse-glasses/">How To Look At The Sun Without Buying Eclipse Glasses</a>: How to make a pinhole camera, and the optics of how it works.</p> <p>-- <a href="https://www.forbes.com/sites/chadorzel/2017/08/27/quantum-physics-isnt-magic-but-thermodynamics-seems-that-way/">Quantum Physics Isn't Magic But Thermodynamics Seems That Way</a>: Looking at the microscopic physics of boiling water is pretty incredible.</p> <p>-- <a href="https://www.forbes.com/sites/chadorzel/2017/08/31/why-do-basketball-shooters-put-spin-on-the-ball/">Why Do Basketball Shooters Put Spin On The Ball</a>: A look at the physics of why basketball coaches teach kids to "follow through" in order to put back spin on a jump shot.</p> <p>The eclipse thing, as you can tell from the date stamp, was knocked together very quickly on the weekend before the Monday total eclipse. Later that evening, I went to look at how many people had read it, and was completely shocked-- I guess Google picked it up really quickly, or something, but it got over a quarter-million views in the course of an afternoon. I was hoping it'd hit half a million, but even Mick Jagger can't always get what he wants, so who am I to complain?</p> <p>I was also very surprised at how well the thermodynamics post did, which I thought might've been a little too noodle-y, but it got a lot of pleased responses. Maybe there's more of an audience than I thought out there hoping for someone to write at length about thermal physics...</p> <p>Anyway, that's August's crop of posts. I'm not going to officially call a halt, but with the new academic year starting next Wednesday, posting is likely to slow wayyyy down. But then again, a lot of other things in the world suck at the moment, so blogging about physics might turn out to be a pleasant break...</p> </div> <span><a title="View user profile." href="/author/drorzel" lang="" about="/author/drorzel" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">drorzel</a></span> <span>Fri, 09/01/2017 - 03:23</span> Fri, 01 Sep 2017 07:23:15 +0000 drorzel 49129 at https://scienceblogs.com The Age Math Game https://scienceblogs.com/principles/2017/08/22/the-age-math-game <span>The Age Math Game</span> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><p>I keep falling down on my duty to provide cute-kid content, here; I also keep forgetting to post something about a nerdy bit of our morning routine. So, let's maximize the bird-to-stone ratio, and do them at the same time.</p> <p>The Pip can be a Morning Dude at times, but SteelyKid is never very happy to get up. So on weekday mornings, we've developed a routine to ease the two of them into the day: SteelyKid has a radio alarm, and then I go in and gently shake her out of bed. I usually carry her downstairs to the couch, where she burrows into the cushions a bit; The Pip mostly comes downstairs under his own power, though occasionally he needs a lot of badgering to get him out of bed.</p> <p>Once on the couch, we play one level of Candy Crush on my phone, often while SteelyKid has a small snack. At the end of this, if we beat the level, we get a leaderboard showing our place among my Facebook friends who play, and also Kate's ranking (she's something like a hundred levels ahead of us, so she always has a ranking...).</p> <p>Once we get those two numbers, we play a math game with them: The kids have to figure out how to combine those two numbers to get their ages (currently five and nine). Allowed operations are all ordinary arithmetic (addition, subtraction, multiplication, division), and also operations between the digits of two-digit numbers. Extra pairs of the starting numbers can be brought in as needed</p> <p>So, for example, if we're in eighth place and Kate's one spot ahead, the process of getting to 5 would be something like:</p> <blockquote><p> "Seven plus eight is fifteen, and one times five is five, then you're done." </p></blockquote> <p>And to get to nine would be:</p> <blockquote><p> "Eight minus seven is one, then add that to another eight, and you get nine." </p></blockquote> <p>SteelyKid learned about square roots at some point, and she's now a big fan of taking the square root of nine to get a three-- so if we end up in second and Kate was seventh, she'll go for:</p> <blockquote><p> "Two plus seven is nine, and the square root of nine is three, then three plus another two is five." </p></blockquote> <p>I have no recollection of how I started doing this with SteelyKid (it used to be just her, but The Pip decided a few months back that he wanted in on the game), but this works amazingly well to get them to wake up a bit. It's a nice introduction to math-as-a-game, too, which I hope will serve them well down the line.</p> <p>And there's your cute-and-nerdy kid content. Also here's a bonus photo of the two of them wearing eclipse glasses in preparation for yesterday's solar spectacle:</p> <div style="width: 956px;display:block;margin:0 auto;"><a href="/files/principles/files/2017/08/eclipse_glasses.png"><img src="/files/principles/files/2017/08/eclipse_glasses.png" alt="" width="946" height="962" class="size-full wp-image-11019" /></a> Sillyheads modeling eclipse glasses. Photo by Kate Nepveu. </div> <p>(They were duly impressed by the Sun looking like a crescent moon, up here in 60-odd-percent country. They saw it at day camp; I was waiting for an eye doctor appointment at a local mall, and shared around a set of eclipse glasses with random shoppers and retail workers.)</p> </div> <span><a title="View user profile." href="/author/drorzel" lang="" about="/author/drorzel" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">drorzel</a></span> <span>Tue, 08/22/2017 - 02:24</span> Tue, 22 Aug 2017 06:24:52 +0000 drorzel 49128 at https://scienceblogs.com Kid Art Update https://scienceblogs.com/principles/2017/08/13/kid-art-update <span>Kid Art Update</span> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><p>Our big home renovation has added a level of chaos to everything that's gotten in the way of my doing more regular cute-kid updates. And even more routine tasks, like photographing the giant pile of kid art that we had to move out of the dining room. Clearing stuff up for the next big stage of the renovation-- cabinets arrive tomorrow-- led me to this stuff, though, so I finally took pictures of a whole bunch of good stuff. (On the spiffy new tile floor in the kitchen, because the light was good there...)</p> <p>The kids's school sends home portfolios of what they've done in art class for the year, and I collected those photos together into a <a href="https://goo.gl/photos/xxFACV5BakFafryD8">Google Photos album</a> for easy sharing, because they're pretty cool. My favorite piece of the lot is this polar bear by SteelyKid:</p> <div style="width: 610px;display:block;margin:0 auto;"><a href="/files/principles/files/2017/08/sm_steelykid_chalk_bear.jpg"><img src="/files/principles/files/2017/08/sm_steelykid_chalk_bear.jpg" alt="" width="600" height="600" class="size-full wp-image-11016" /></a> Polar bear by SteelyKid. </div> <p>That's in pastel chalk on construction paper; you can see some preliminary sketches of the bear in the album. She drew the scene in pencil, colored it in chalk, then traced important lines with a marker. It's very cool.</p> <p>The Pip has some neat stuff in his portfolio, too-- I especially like that they had the kids making Mondrians out of strips of construction paper-- but my favorite of his was a non-art-class drawing that was in the pile:</p> <div style="width: 610px;display:block;margin:0 auto;"><a href="/files/principles/files/2017/08/sm_pip_pigeon_drawing.jpg"><img src="/files/principles/files/2017/08/sm_pip_pigeon_drawing.jpg" alt="" width="600" height="381" class="size-full wp-image-11015" /></a> The Pigeon, by The Pip. </div> <p>That's a very credible rendering of Mo Willems's Pigeon for a kindergartener...</p> <p>Anyway, other than that, life continues in the usual whirl. I'm getting <em>really</em> tired of living out of a mini-fridge in the living room and a temporary sink in the kitchen that's at about knee level to me (when I have to wash dishes, I pull up a chair and sit down, which takes the stress on my back from "agonizing" down to "annoying"). But, cabinets this week, so we can see the oncoming train at the end of this tunnel...</p> </div> <span><a title="View user profile." href="/author/drorzel" lang="" about="/author/drorzel" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">drorzel</a></span> <span>Sun, 08/13/2017 - 03:08</span> Sun, 13 Aug 2017 07:08:18 +0000 drorzel 49127 at https://scienceblogs.com Physics Blogging Round-Up: July https://scienceblogs.com/principles/2017/08/08/physics-blogging-round-up-july <span>Physics Blogging Round-Up: July</span> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><p>Another month, another collection of blog posts for Forbes:</p> <p>-- <a href="https://www.forbes.com/sites/chadorzel/2017/07/03/the-physics-of-century-old-mirror-selfies/">The Physics Of Century-Old Mirror Selfies</a>: Back in the early 1900's there was a brief vogue for trick pictures showing the same person from five different angles; this post explains how to do that with mirrors.</p> <p>-- <a href="https://www.forbes.com/sites/chadorzel/2017/07/12/why-research-by-undergraduates-is-important-for-science-and-students/">Why Research By Undergraduates Is Important For Science And Students</a>: A reply to an essay talking up the products of undergraduate research projects, arguing that the most valuable part of research is the effect on students.</p> <p>-- <a href="https://www.forbes.com/sites/chadorzel/2017/07/20/what-does-it-mean-to-share-raw-data/">What Does It Mean To Share 'Raw Data'?</a>: Some thoughts on the uselessness of much "raw data" in my field to anyone outside the lab where it was produced.</p> <p>-- <a href="https://www.forbes.com/sites/chadorzel/2017/07/24/breaking-stuff-is-an-essential-part-of-science/">Breaking Stuff Is An Essential Part Of The Scientific Process</a>: Thoughts on how the most important year of my grad school career was the frustrating one in which I broke and then repaired everything in the lab.</p> <p>-- <a href="https://www.forbes.com/sites/chadorzel/2017/07/30/measuring-the-speed-of-quantum-tunneling/">Measuring The Speed Of Quantum Tunneling</a>: A couple of recent experiments use a clever trick to look at whether there's a time delay as electrons tunnel out of an atom in a strong electric field. Unfortunately, they get very different results...</p> <p>I was a little disappointed that the photo-multigraph thing didn't get more traction, but it was fun to do, so that's okay. The quantum tunneling post did surprisingly well-- I thought it was likely to be a little too technical to really take off, but it did. Always nice when that happens.</p> <p>The other three are closely related to a development at work, namely that on July 1 I officially added "Director of Undergraduate Research" to the many hats I wear. I'm in charge of supervising the research program at Union, disbursing summer fellowships and small grants for research projects and conference travel, and arranging a number of research-oriented events on campus. This involves a certain amount of administrative hassle, but then again, it's hassle in the service of helping students do awesome stuff, so I'm happy to do it.</p> <p>Anyway, that's where things are. Blogging will very likely tail off dramatically for the fall, possibly as soon as this month (though I already have one post up), as I have a book on contract due Dec. 1, and a review article due to a journal a month later. And, you know, classes to teach and research to direct...</p> </div> <span><a title="View user profile." href="/author/drorzel" lang="" about="/author/drorzel" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">drorzel</a></span> <span>Tue, 08/08/2017 - 00:18</span> Tue, 08 Aug 2017 04:18:04 +0000 drorzel 49126 at https://scienceblogs.com Vacation Update https://scienceblogs.com/principles/2017/07/08/vacation-update <span>Vacation Update</span> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><p>So, when last I posted an update on kid stuff, we were about to embark for a week in Mexico with family. As you would expect, I have a huge pile of pictures from this, but most of the cute-kid shots feature the kids with their cousins from Illinois, and I try to avoid posting photos of other people's children.</p> <p>We had a good time, for the most part. The highlight for the kids was probably a "Swim with Dolphins" excursion. SteelyKid did one of these on last year's Disney cruise, but now The Pip is both old enough, and enjoys swimming. Technically, he wasn't tall enough (by maybe an inch) to do the parts where the dolphin pulls or pushes you through the water, but the trainers were super nice, and one of them swam out with him to get him set up, so he got to go. And it was totally worth it for the grin when his boogie board ride started:</p> <div style="width: 610px;display:block;margin:0 auto;"><a href="/files/principles/files/2017/07/sm_2017_dolphin_composite.jpg"><img src="/files/principles/files/2017/07/sm_2017_dolphin_composite.jpg" alt="" width="600" height="400" class="size-full wp-image-11007" /></a> The sillyheads swimming with dolphins. </div> <p>(Photos by the photographer at the <a href="http://www.dolphindiscovery.com/riviera-maya/">Dolphin Discovery</a> facility, purchased at somewhat exorbitant rates because there was nowhere to use our own camera from...)</p> <p>We did get one adults-only trip in, an excursion to the Mayan ruins at Tulum, source of the artsy iguana photo in the "featured image" at the top, and also these more conventional pictures:</p> <div style="width: 610px;display:block;margin:0 auto;"><a href="/files/principles/files/2017/07/sm_tulum_tour_group.jpg"><img src="/files/principles/files/2017/07/sm_tulum_tour_group.jpg" alt="" width="600" height="400" class="size-full wp-image-11008" /></a> Our tour group at Tulum. </div> <div style="width: 610px;display:block;margin:0 auto;"><a href="/files/principles/files/2017/07/sm_tulum_cliff.jpg"><img src="/files/principles/files/2017/07/sm_tulum_cliff.jpg" alt="" width="600" height="400" class="size-full wp-image-11009" /></a> The big temple and beach at Tulum. </div> <p>Tulum was pretty neat, though much less decorated than Chichen Itza (which I saw twenty-mumble years ago, on a different family vacation), reflecting its status as a trading port rather than a ceremonial center. The ruins are fascinating, if really hot, and the beach is spectacular. The excursion also included a bit of snorkeling in a cave, and in <a href="https://www.cancun.com/Editorial/Yal-ku/">the Yal-Ku lagoon</a>, neither of which I have photos of, because they weren't in places I could use my camera.</p> <p>Unfortunately, as good as that excursion was, it also led to the absolute worst part of the trip. The excursion included a (not terribly impressive) buffet lunch at <a href="https://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g499455-d1235275-Reviews-La_Playa_Xpu_Ha_Restaurant_Beach_Club-Xpu_Ha_Yucatan_Peninsula.html">Xpu-Ha</a>, where we were seated on an outdoor deck. At the end of lunch, Kate scooted her chair back to re-apply bug spray to her legs, and the chair went over backwards, past the totally inadequate rope "railing," taking her down to the beach below.</p> <p>The drop was maybe a couple of meters, and when I got down to the beach a few seconds later, she was awake and moving around, so we helped her to a lounge chair and got her some water and a bag of ice for the lump on the back of her head.</p> <p>"What happened?" she asked. I explained that she'd gone backwards off the edge of the deck, onto the beach. "That's so embarrassing," she said. About this time, the tour guide came by and asked if we needed to see a doctor.</p> <p>"Give us a minute," I said. And then Kate said "What happened?" I explained again that the chair had gone over backwards, and then asked "Do you remember me telling you this sixty seconds ago?" </p> <p>"No," she said. "What happened?" And I said "Yo! Tour guy! We'd like a doctor, please!"</p> <p>So, Kate and I spent the rest of that day in the <a href="http://costamed.com.mx/welcome/our-facilities/playa-del-carmen-facility/">COSTAMED hospital in Playa del Carmen</a>, which was not exactly an ideal vacation experience. They did a CT scan and some other tests, and confirmed there was no really serious damage, but it was probably three or four hours before Kate started reliably remembering anything about that day.</p> <p>From a detached after-the-fact perspective, it was kind of fascinating to watch lights come back on-- right after the fall, she just kept asking "What happened?," then slowly added other questions ("Was it my fault?" first, then "Did the kids see?" then "Why weren't the kids with us?" then "Would you tell me even if it was my fault?" ("Honey, after answering this 57 times, yes, I would."), then "How many times have I asked you this?" ("Three hundred and twelve. And counting.") and a few more...). In the moment, it was absolutely h*ckin terrifying. Head injuries have very little to recommend them. </p> <p>In the end, she's okay. they discharged us that night, after scheduling a follow-up with a neurologist the next day. That guy did a neck x-ray, and recommended a foam cervical collar for a few weeks, plus an appointment with an orthopedist back here in the US. By the next morning, Kate remembered everything about the day up to getting to the restaurant, but nothing between that and the last half-hour or so in the hospital. Which were the only worthwhile parts of that day, anyway, so it's all good...</p> <p>The staff at the hospital were very professional, calm, and kind in dealing with a couple of scared Americans who spoke basically no Spanish. And the tour company, <a href="https://www.cancun-adventure.com/">Cancun Adventures</a>, was also great about the whole deal-- some of their people sat around the waiting room for several hours until we were discharged, then drove us back to the hotel, and they sent a car and driver the next morning for the follow-up appointment. The driver of that was invaluable in dealing with the hospital bureaucracy, and I believe they paid for everything. At least, I wasn't asked to give anybody any money (though I happily would've...).</p> <p>(As I said on Twitter and Facebook when I mentioned this the next day, any attempt to use this as a jumping-off point to discuss the politics of US health care will get you blocked so hard that it'll crack the glass on your monitor. Don't even think about it.)</p> <p>So, that cast a bit of a pall over the rest of the vacation. Not too much, though-- in fact, the dolphin swim was the day after the follow-up appointment, and on the last day in Mexico, we went to the <a href="http://www.xelha.com/">Xel-Ha</a> theme park for some snorkeling and other stuff. I was pleasantly surprised at how good the snorkeling was there, though a lot of that was timing-- it got super crowded later in the day. No pictures, though, because we were in the water for most of it.</p> <p>Anyway, that's what we've been up to recently. And I'll leave you with this photo of Kate and SteelyKid showing off the stylish accessories they picked up on our trip. And also expressing their opinion of me taking this picture...</p> <div style="width: 610px;display:block;margin:0 auto;"><a href="/files/principles/files/2017/07/sm_mexican_accessories.jpg"><img src="/files/principles/files/2017/07/sm_mexican_accessories.jpg" alt="" width="600" height="400" class="size-full wp-image-11011" /></a> Kate and SteelyKid modeling stylish accessories from our Mexican vacation. </div> </div> <span><a title="View user profile." href="/author/drorzel" lang="" about="/author/drorzel" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">drorzel</a></span> <span>Sat, 07/08/2017 - 03:01</span> Sat, 08 Jul 2017 07:01:07 +0000 drorzel 49125 at https://scienceblogs.com Physics Blogging Round-Up: June https://scienceblogs.com/principles/2017/07/02/physics-blogging-round-up-june <span>Physics Blogging Round-Up: June</span> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><p>To make up for last month's long delay in posting, I'll knock out this month's recap of Forbes blog posts really quickly. Also, I still have Vacation Brain, so writing anything really new isn't in the cards...</p> <p>-- <a href="https://www.forbes.com/sites/chadorzel/2017/06/09/what-should-non-scientists-learn-from-physics/">What Should Non-Scientists Learn From Physics?</a>: You probably won't be surprised to hear that, in my opinion, it's not a specific set of facts, but an attitude toward the world.</p> <p>-- <a href="https://www.forbes.com/sites/chadorzel/2017/06/15/softball-physics-how-far-can-you-run-while-the-ball-is-in-the-air/">Softball Physics: How Far Can You Run While The Ball Is In The Air?</a>: In which SteelyKid learning softball's "tag up" rule the hard way leads to an interesting problem in physics.</p> <p>-- <a href="https://www.forbes.com/sites/chadorzel/2017/06/18/how-long-would-a-fidget-spinner-spin-in-space/">How Long Would A Fidget Spinner Spin In Space?</a>: If we're going to have a bunch of the things in the house, I might as well get a blog post out of it...</p> <p>-- <a href="https://www.forbes.com/sites/chadorzel/2017/06/23/the-long-legacy-of-laser-cooling/">How Laser Cooling Continues To Open Up New Possibilities For Physics</a>: A delayed reaction to some talks at DAMOP about new research areas that are rooted in the development of laser cooling back in the 1980's. Written while in Mexico on vacation.</p> <p>-- <a href="https://www.forbes.com/sites/chadorzel/2017/06/28/the-physics-of-vacation-its-all-about-phase-transitions/">The Physics Of Vacation: It's All About Phase Transitions</a>: Another post written in Mexico while on vacation, this one <em>about</em> being on vacation, specifically the way phase transitions of water have a huge impact on the experience.</p> <p>Predictably enough, the post capitalizing on a recent fad is the runaway winner, traffic-wise. I was disappointed that the softball one didn't get more traction, because I thought it was cute. Probably should've put "Baseball" in the title rather than "Softball," since I mention both, and some baseball fans are louts. The two written on vacation went basically nowhere, traffic-wise; this is probably partly because I was on vacation and not able to actively social-media bomb them, partly a summer melt thing (traffic always dips in the summer) and partly a matter of topic selection. But those are the things I felt like writing about, and that's the whole point, here...</p> </div> <span><a title="View user profile." href="/author/drorzel" lang="" about="/author/drorzel" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">drorzel</a></span> <span>Sun, 07/02/2017 - 02:32</span> Sun, 02 Jul 2017 06:32:01 +0000 drorzel 49124 at https://scienceblogs.com Physics Blogging Round-Up: May https://scienceblogs.com/principles/2017/06/20/physics-blogging-round-up-may <span>Physics Blogging Round-Up: May</span> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><p>Much delayed, but this works out well because it'll give you something to read while we're away in Mexico on a family vacation. Here's what I wrote for Forbes in the merry month of May:</p> <p>-- <a href="https://www.forbes.com/sites/chadorzel/2017/05/03/in-science-probability-is-more-certain-than-you-think/">In Science, Probability Is More Certain Than You Think</a>: Some thoughts on the common mistake people make in saying that science only predicts probabilities of future outcomes.</p> <p>-- <a href="https://www.forbes.com/sites/chadorzel/2017/05/12/a-cosmic-controversy-is-mostly-a-distraction/">A "Cosmic Controversy" Is Mostly A Distraction</a>: A lament about the neglect of science we know to be true versus more speculative stuff.</p> <p>-- <a href="https://www.forbes.com/sites/chadorzel/2017/05/18/why-do-we-invent-historical-roots-for-modern-science/">Why Do We Invent Historical Roots For Modern Science?</a>: Claims of ancient origins for current ideas in science often have more to do with modern concerns than historical reality.</p> <p>-- <a href="https://www.forbes.com/sites/chadorzel/2017/05/22/what-things-should-every-physics-major-know/">What Things Should Every Physics Major Know?</a>: A look at the very broad topics that are truly essential for an undergraduate physics degree.</p> <p>-- <a href="https://www.forbes.com/sites/chadorzel/2017/05/31/science-communication-is-a-two-way-street/">Science Communication Is A Two-Way Street</a>: The calmer version of a Twitter rant about how failures in science communication can't be blamed <em>only</em> on scientists; the non-scientists who actively push us away also bear some responsibility.</p> <p>Kind of a lot of noodle-y stuff in this month, largely because of my day job. I was team-teaching our Integrated Math and Physics class with a colleague from Math, and the class met for a couple of hours a day four days a week. It also used a book that I'd never used before, which means that even though the subject matter (introductory E&amp;M) was familiar, it was essentially a new prep because all my notes needed to be converted to match the notation and language of the new book. That didn't leave an enormous amount of mental energy for blogging.</p> <p>Traffic-wise, the physics major post was a big hit, and most of the feedback I got was positive. Many of the others were a little too inside-baseball to get read all that widely, which is a Thing.</p> <p>Anyway, that's what I was blogging about not all that long ago. </p> </div> <span><a title="View user profile." href="/author/drorzel" lang="" about="/author/drorzel" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">drorzel</a></span> <span>Tue, 06/20/2017 - 05:29</span> Tue, 20 Jun 2017 09:29:04 +0000 drorzel 49123 at https://scienceblogs.com Kids Update, Programming Note https://scienceblogs.com/principles/2017/06/19/kids-update-programming-note <span>Kids Update, Programming Note</span> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><p>I've skipped a few weeks of cute-kid updates, largely because I was at DAMOP for a week, and then catching on stuff I missed while I was at DAMOP for a week. The principal activity during this stretch has been SteelyKid's softball, with a mad flurry of games at the end of the season to make up for all the rained-out games. This has been sort of stressful, but it also led to <a href="https://goo.gl/photos/PLhJU6uN45ETk41i8">the greatest Google Photos animation ever</a>, so...</p> <p>Anyway, softball was fun, providing the opportunity for me to take <a href="https://goo.gl/photos/bRZ2gKcWyZUwFAyZ9">no end of photos with my telephoto lens</a>, some of which are pretty good. SteelyKid was way into running the bases, which ended up <a href="https://www.forbes.com/sites/chadorzel/2017/06/15/softball-physics-how-far-can-you-run-while-the-ball-is-in-the-air/">providing material for a blog post</a>, so everybody wins. And I got a lot of photos like this one:</p> <div style="width: 610px;display:block;margin:0 auto;"><a href="/files/principles/files/2017/06/sm_steelykid_baserunning.jpg"><img src="/files/principles/files/2017/06/sm_steelykid_baserunning.jpg" alt="" width="600" height="400" class="size-full wp-image-10997" /></a> SteelyKid is pretty intense when she runs the bases. </div> <p>Of course, while the intense running and dark helmet make her look a little intimidating in that, she's still a cheerful eight-year-old, which means there's really not a lot of killer instinct going on. For example, while she was playing first base, she high-fived every player on the other team who reached base safely:</p> <div style="width: 610px;display:block;margin:0 auto;"><a href="/files/principles/files/2017/06/sm_steelykid_allstate_high_five.jpg"><img src="/files/principles/files/2017/06/sm_steelykid_allstate_high_five.jpg" alt="" width="600" height="400" class="size-full wp-image-10998" /></a> Sportsmanlike! </div> <p>Softball's kind of a slow game, so boredom is always a danger when you have an eight-year-old's attention span. She finds ways to pass the slower moments, though:</p> <div style="width: 410px;display:block;margin:0 auto;"><a href="/files/principles/files/2017/06/sm_steelykid_dugout_chinup.jpg"><img src="/files/principles/files/2017/06/sm_steelykid_dugout_chinup.jpg" alt="" width="400" height="600" class="size-full wp-image-11002" /></a> SteelyKid working on her fitness while her teammates bat. </div> <p>(That's not the greatest photo because the sun is setting more or less directly behind that dugout, but GIMP makes it tolerably clear...)</p> <p>Speaking of short attention spans, The Pip has also come to a lot of the games, though he mostly just runs around and pays no attention to softball. Here he is stalking Kate, who's watching SteelyKid play:</p> <div style="width: 610px;display:block;margin:0 auto;"><a href="/files/principles/files/2017/06/sm_pip_sneaking.jpg"><img src="/files/principles/files/2017/06/sm_pip_sneaking.jpg" alt="" width="600" height="400" class="size-full wp-image-11001" /></a> Stealthy Pip. </div> <p>He's like a ninja. In safety orange.</p> <p>Much of the time, though, he's pretty effective at keeping one or both of us from watching the game, frequently roping us into games of hide and seek or tag:</p> <div style="width: 610px;display:block;margin:0 auto;"><a href="/files/principles/files/2017/06/sm_pip_tagging_kate.jpg"><img src="/files/principles/files/2017/06/sm_pip_tagging_kate.jpg" alt="" width="600" height="400" class="size-full wp-image-10999" /></a> The Pip was It. Now Kate is. </div> <p>(I also let him chase me around, but I'm the one who knows how to work the good camera. And more importantly, I'm the one who has editorial control over what pictures get posted here...)</p> <p>And when all else fails, he can plop down on the ground and play in the grass:</p> <div style="width: 410px;display:block;margin:0 auto;"><a href="/files/principles/files/2017/06/sm_pip_grass_hair.jpg"><img src="/files/principles/files/2017/06/sm_pip_grass_hair.jpg" alt="" width="400" height="600" class="size-full wp-image-11000" /></a> "Dad, do I have grass in my hair?" </div> <p>On the "programming note" side of things, I'm also aware that I haven't posted the Forbes blog recap from May. I'm planning to type that up and post it probably Wednesday morning. Wednesday afternoon, we're leaving on vacation for a while, going to Mexico with family, so you can expect a lot of photos of the kids doing tropical things in a few weeks...</p> </div> <span><a title="View user profile." href="/author/drorzel" lang="" about="/author/drorzel" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">drorzel</a></span> <span>Mon, 06/19/2017 - 00:19</span> Mon, 19 Jun 2017 04:19:26 +0000 drorzel 49122 at https://scienceblogs.com