Monday, January 31, 2011

lessons from australia #1

always walk behind someone who is slightly taller than you (especially in the morning)...

comic from the oatmeal

Saturday, January 29, 2011


too bad adenocarcinoma is a cancer, because this photo of it splitting into two cells is gorgeous.

via fresh photons

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Internet Stars: The Secret Life of Sixty Symbols

for anyone who happens to be near nottingham, UK thursday evening, the creator of sixty symbols and other interesting video projects at the university of nottingham, brady haran, will be giving a public lecture. i've been advised (warned?) that i should be "worried" about the potentially embarrassing out-takes he will be showing. oh dear. so if you go, please do let me know how silly i come across! thank you.

Internet Stars: The Secret Life of Sixty Symbols

Brady Haran

Thursday 27th January 2011

ABSTRACT: A small band of scientists from Nottingham have become minor celebrities on YouTube. But how did it happen? And were there problems along the way? Film-maker Brady Haran is the man behind Sixty Symbols (physics and astronomy) and the Periodic Table of Videos (chemistry). In this lecture he will take you behind the scenes on both projects. He'll discuss how the films are made and share some embarrassing 'out- takes' that prove scientists are only human!

6-7 pm
Maths & Physics Building (B1)
University of Nottingham
University Park Campus

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

australia day 2011

there are so many events happening today around sydney in honor of australia day that i just cant keep up. i managed to walk to the harbour to watch the ferrython. there were a lot of boats of all sizes racing under the harbour bridge! this photo is a hint of the event before the real chaos began, but i like it...

then i returned home to eat lunch and decided that its too bad its not a holiday in the rest of the world, because i keep getting "urgent" work emails! hmph.

anyway, happy australia day!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Sunday, January 23, 2011

green eggs and cous cous

for my birthday last year, a very good friend gave me the flavour thesaurus by niki segnit as a gift. i have grown to really enjoy this random not-quite-a-cookbook! not only is it a lovely libro...

but it's fun to explore. there are 16 categories (mustardy, green & grassy, meaty, etc...) and 99 flavours that the book pairs together giving recipe ideas, anecdotes, historical information, and other unique bits about the chosen ingredients. if i have a craving for a particular food item, i look in the book to see possible pairings and generally find some obvious suggestions and some out of the ordinary and fun ideas too!

for instance, i had an abundance of basil that i needed to use, so i looked up basil in the book and found myself completely charmed after reading the entire entry under the heading Basil & Egg:

When in the mood to make eggs green
(To clarify just what I mean,
Not 'eco' green, like Prius cars
But coloured green, like men from Mars),
In your mental pan you should
Consider only what tastes good.
Rule out at once the croquet lawn,
The waistcoat of a leprechaun.
Green ink will only make you ill,
As would a mashed-up dollar bill.
Avocado'd be a waste:
In scrambled eggs it's hard to taste.
Green tea - a very current fad -
Would be presposterously bad.
Leeks and lettuces lack the might:
When cooked they'll be less green, more white.
Peas and peppers taste persuasive,
But their colour's not pervasive.
Broccoli all but makes the mark,
Except its green's a trifle dark;
Celery, okra, courgettes, kale
In hue and flavour mostly fail.
Of the green things that we tested
Basil simply can't be bested.
To scramble eggs you add pesto,
Stir it well, and then, hey presto -
Green eggs. Season. Serve with ham.
(Do not prepare for folk named Sam.)

i immediately made pesto! the green eggs on toast were not quite as green as i imagined while reading the poem, but i mixed the remaining pesto in with some cous cous and vegetables and the flavours all came together beautifully.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

stay down champion, stay down

"stay down champion, stay down" is a colorful installation by molly hunker and greg corso of los angeles-based studio sports. neat.

via design boom

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

kids try "old" technology

it's amazing to think about how quickly technologies are advancing. i played my parents records a kid. i made mix tapes from the two deck radio and cassette recorder. i carried around a walkman. i had to make detailed plans about where to meet friends and at what time, because there were no cell phones to keep constantly abreast of changing circumstances.

when i started at university i stored files on floppy disks, but they didnt hold enough information (264 kilobyte (kB)), so i used a zip drive for about a year before it very quickly fell out of favor. i used these technologies only 10-12 years ago, and yet they are completely obsolete. now i have an external hard drive for my work that stores a terabyte (1 TB = 1,000,000,000 kB) of data!

just a few generations ago people used pretty much the same tools throughout their entire lives. but my grandparents went from radio to color television to men landing on the moon to cell phones, etc... no wonder they get confused and frustrated when we ask them details about their wireless internet and wonder why they cant just look up the answers to things online, or intuitively figure out how technology works. most people that age do not have the same technological intuition as that of a 4 year old i watched recently navigate her way through her mother's iPhone. what will be "normal" for that 4 year old girl when she is my age?

in the video below, young kids are given old technologies to look at and asked to guess what the are. my favorite part is when they interpret the old 45. not many people play records anymore, but i still love their crackling sound and the childhood memories of laying on the floor in our basement listening to the beatle's abbey road.

anyway, enjoy as you laugh and cringe...

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

dancing in the streets

the web page for a gallery of photos called "dancers among us" says "BE passionate joyful sad euphoric angry intense desperate ecstatic intimate present ALIVE." makes me want to be a dancer, or at least have better balance and more strength...

Monday, January 17, 2011

almost planet sounio

today's APOD features a pretty incredible 24 hour mosaic taken by chris kotsiopoulos in sounio, greece. click to see full-sized image...

"Images taken at night compose the top half of the picture, with star trails lasting as long as 11 hours visible. Contrastingly, images taken during the day compose the bottom of the image, with the Sun being captured once every 15 minutes. The image center shows a Little Prince wide angle projection centered on the ground but including gravel, grass, trees, Saint John's church, clouds, crepuscular rays, and even a signature icon of the photographer -- the Temple of Poseidon. Meticulous planning as well as several transition shots and expert digital processing eventually culminated in this image documenting half of the final two days of last year. "

go to the APOD site and scroll over the image for more details of the image!

Saturday, January 15, 2011

a plastic bag

this drawing by aron wiesenfeld feels old, but then there's the plastic bag glaring out as a modern beacon.

Friday, January 14, 2011


i remember playing this wooden labyrinth at my grandparents house as a kid. it was soooo frustrating!! i honestly didnt think it was possible to conquer it, but here it is... with two balls!! a.m.a.z.i.n.g!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

flowing cars in queensland, australia

this is incredible. the footage after 5:15 shows the aftermath of the flash floods...

via tywkiwdbu

if you want to donate to flood relief: click here

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

understanding the space shuttles

as the remaining shuttles will be retiring soon, its interesting to take some time and really appreciate all that they are capable of and have accomplished. this 45 min video shows stunning photography as a shuttle engineer describes all the details of take off and beyond. really interesting information....

spotted by The MKX®

Sunday, January 9, 2011

sunday at shelly beach

the forecast called for rain, and how wonderfully wrong they were.

the morning looked a bit cloudy in my neighborhood, but i decided to grab a ferry for the coast anyway.

there was a volleyball tournament on the beach!

after a tasty brazilian feijoada for lunch, we decided to walk to that little beach off in the distance.

we spotted a big lizard along the way...

almost at shelly beach!


one thing i like about australia is that matters are not complicated by subtlety or suggestion. no, they are presented in an upfront and honest manner. for instance, when i first heard of shelly beach, my passing thought was that maybe it was named after a historic person named shelly who lived in the area and achieved something special.

and then i visited the beach today. as i walked into the water, i realized my feet were becoming quite sensitive because the sand went from very small granules to increasingly larger chunks of broken shells. i thought to myself "wow, there are a lot of shells here! oh right, shelly beach is... shelly!"

(shells photo credit: amanda gilligan)

when i lived in england, i felt like there was always some deeper, hidden, clever meaning to everything and i was constantly on the look out so as not to miss the subtle joke. the british take great pride in their humour, even moreso when people "dont get it." actually, i just found this quote about the english and their use of understatement from the "Humour Rules" chapter of Watching The English, by Kate Fox, which explains it all very well.

anyway, in australia, understatement is not commonplace. they call it like it is. shelly beach has a lot of shells. es ist wie es ist.

i like not feeling as though i'm always missing something!

Saturday, January 8, 2011

we're searching for ET, but it's really hard to see

some clever folks recently made a parody of Ke$ha's hit song, "We R Who We R." i've never heard that song or seen the video, but i don't really feel that i need to after this. its almost a little embarrassing to watch, because of the ridiculousness of modern pop style, but the lyrics are actually really good and the background images are gorgeous!

those of you following the continuing debate about the potential for life to survive on arsenic, might take offense to the song's notion that the discovery expands the possible types of lifeforms that can exist.

i will leave you with some of the reasonable response from the makers of the movie:

We’d like to defend our honor just a little bit in regards to the arsenic debate. Certainly, we know it is a very contentious subject, but we felt we couldn’t really do the whole controversy justice in the context of this parody, so we went with the brief mention. Are we trying to say this is a comprehensive look at everything about astrobiology? Of course not, and we understand you weren’t implying that it was supposed to be. But if we can pique the scientific curiosity of even a few young people, and get them interested in pursuing this field, that’s a win for us.

Friday, January 7, 2011

partially eclipsed sun rising

the partial solar eclipse that occurred on 4th january 2011 was not visible from my part of the world, unfortunately. but many people achieved some fantastic photos of the event, including this shot featured on APOD today taken in austria by robert pölzl.

lucky for us earthlings, there will be another 3 partial solar eclipses and 2 total lunar eclipses in 2011! most of them are visible from rather remote places on the globe, but i'm sure some folks will venture to take photos for the rest of us!

the next total solar eclipse takes place on 13th november 2012 and will be visible from the very north of australia! i'll absolutely, positively be there! anyone else?

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

let's dance

i was hoping to find a live version of M. Ward performing his version of david bowie's let's dance, but alas, i could not. at least you can listen. this version has a much different feel than the original tune... it's an entirely different dance.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

big bada boom - welcome 2011

sydney put on a pretty good show to welcome in the new year.

jupiter got in on the action.

so did the boats in the harbour.

happy 2011 all!

Sunday, January 2, 2011


here's an excellent cartoon by jeff stahler, the editorial cartoonist for the columbus dispatch.

reminds me i need to figure out where the nearest library is...