How big is the Earth’s shadow on the Moon?

December 16, 2011 By: erik Category: Geeky, Math, Musings, Photos, Science 2,000 views

Earth's UmbraWhen I saw yesterday’s Astronomy Picture of the Day, I was fascinated by just how big the Earth’s shadow is on the Moon. When I made a comment to this effect on Facebook, my friend, Josh Grady, said, “It’d depend on the distance between the two, no?” Of course the size of a shadow depends on the distance to the object its cast upon, but I hadn’t considered that the distance from the Earth to the Moon varies, due to its slightly elliptical orbit around the Earth-Moon barycenter, by 42,840 km, causing it to appear 12% smaller at its apogee than at its perigee. This raised the question: What are the minimum and maximum sizes of the Earth’s shadow on the Moon?

To the geometrymobile!
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Nora’s First Video

December 14, 2011 By: erik Category: Complaining, Offspring, Videos 131 views

Nora's First Video (thumbnail)You know how annoying it is when you take your modern digital point-and-shoot camera or mobile phone to take a photograph and the darn thing is in “video” mode? If you’re like me, you’ve taken countless one or two second videos when you thought you were taking a photograph. Well, it turns out that it’s also annoying when you are a two year old with your father’s mobile phone and you want to take a photograph of your father, the dinner he is preparing, and yourself.

I found the following video on my phone recently. I had no idea that she had shot it.
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Pickin’ and Trimmin’ – A Barbershop Documentary

December 13, 2011 By: erik Category: Music, Reviews, USA, Videos 633 views

Pickin' and Trimmin'In 2007, Matt Morris, an award-winning documentary filmmaker, directed a short film about a barber shop near where I grew up. One of the owners of the shop, David Shirley, the well spoken gentleman with the full head of white hair in the movie, is the father of one of my best friends and guitar mentor, Phil Shirley. The movie does an excellent job of capturing a dying southern American small town bluegrass culture.
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We’re Getting Wet!

December 08, 2011 By: erik Category: Extremadura, Family, Offspring, Spanish, Videos 146 views

Que nos mojamos (thumbnail)I was going through some old photos and videos and discovered this gem that my mother-in-law recorded last Easter when she and my wife took Nora down to Extremadura and left me de Rodriguez. It was a great example of her Spanish language skills at 25 months old. Now, however, after the death of her great-grandfather, it’s a poignant video of them playing together in at his house in Extremadura. They had a really great time playing together that week.
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Putting Up The Christmas Tree – 2011

December 08, 2011 By: erik Category: Family, Offspring, Parenting, Partying, Spain, USA 953 views

Christmas Tree 2011In the United States, the existence of the Thanksgiving holiday does a pretty good job of preventing the Christmas celebration and capitalism from encroaching too far into November like it can do in other countries. Of course, like any pent up desire, when it’s released, it’s extreme, resulting in the consumerism orgy that is Black Friday. Aside from shopping, the weekend after Thanksgiving is when many Americans put up their Christmas tree and other yuletide decor. Since my parents were visiting, I decided to partake in this tradition as well and put up our tree on Black Friday.
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Town Church

December 06, 2011 By: erik Category: Colindres, Photos, Religion 249 views

Angels on Colindres ChurchThe church in Colindres is really not very attractive on the outside. It’s a simple red brick structure that, if you didn’t notice the iron cross at the top of the bell tower or the big banner of El Papa hanging on the front, you wouldn’t know it was a church. In fact, just the other day, as I was walking by it, a car pulled up to the curb and the driver said, “¿Dónde está la iglesia?” Giving possibly the best driving instructions ever, I reached out and touched the building to identify its location.
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Suspension Bridge Week

December 05, 2011 By: erik Category: Spain 374 views

The Golden Gate BridgeIn Spain, when a holiday falls on either Tuesday or Thursday, it’s a regular custom to take the Monday or Friday off to create a four day weekend. This is called a puente or bridge, since one is crossing over the fiery lava pit that is a day of honest labor to escape safely to the weekend. Of course any employee can take that as a vacation day, but the some corporations and government offices often will just shut down that day. The best equivalent in the United States is how most government, and some corporate, employees don’t work on the day after Thanksgiving.
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Thanksgiving 2011 in Spain

December 04, 2011 By: erik Category: Colindres, Photos, Travel 515 views

The following is a document written by my father, Paul Rasmussen, about his trip to visit us in Spain for Thanksgiving 2011.

Nora and her GrandparentsGetting There

As booked months in advance through Orbitz, we would fly from Charlotte to Philadelphia on Friday afternoon and from Philly to Brussels Friday night. We would arrive in Brussels at 8:00 am their time, and, after a 3 hour lay-over in the airport, we would continue on to Bilbao, Spain, where our son would meet us. Two weeks before our trip, however, Orbitz notified me that Brussels Airline had cancelled the flight that would be completing our long day of travel. We were, they said, now booked on a flight leaving the following day. Our 3-hour layover in Brussels had turned into a 27-hour layover.
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Ramón Hidalgo Caballero, 1920 – 2011

December 02, 2011 By: erik Category: Family, News, Photos 215 views

Abuelo with SparklerMy third and final living grandfather passed away today. He wasn’t my grandfather by blood, but by marriage and an immense amount of mutual respect and love.
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One Laptop Per Nora

December 02, 2011 By: erik Category: Geeky, Offspring, Photos 104 views

Nora works in her pajamas just like her old manFour years ago, probably as a result of Nicholas Negroponte’s TED Talk, I became fascinated by the One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) program. I loved the idea of providing very cheap, easily networkable computers to third world children, since I know from personal experience how computers are so good for childhood learning. Before starting the project, they wanted to make a “one hundred dollar laptop”, built entirely on open source software. Unfortunately, they could only get the price down to $199, which is still pretty impressive once you learn all the features of the device.
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