Archive for July, 2009

Will a cactus absorb radiation from your computer?

July 23, 2009 By: erik Category: Fighting Stupidity, Science, Skepticism

Radioactive CactusYesterday I was watching La Ruleta de la Suerte, Spain’s version of Wheel of Fortune. Sometimes they have puzzles in a category called “Did you know that…?” where the answer is some interesting factoid. Unfortunately, their research into these factoids is pretty lax. In this category yesterday the clue was “Anti-radiation” and the answer was “Place a cactus next to your computer”. The host later went on to explain that scientists have shown that placing a cactus next to your computer will absorb, and protect you from, the harmful radiation that your computer gives off. Intuitively this sounded to me to be what the ever-eloquent British call “a load of bollocks.”

A Closer Look At Nora

July 22, 2009 By: erik Category: Experiments, Offspring, Photography, Photos

Nora Right EyeNo doubt my regular readers have been expecting a macro photography baby post, given my recent interest in the field of close-up photography, and my favorite photographic subject of late. Recently, she was sitting on the sofa looking adorable, so I started taking pictures of her. After the first two shots of her feet, I decided to pull out the magnifying lenses and make it really personal. Below are some very close photographs of my daughter.

Blog Redesign 2009

July 21, 2009 By: erik Category: News

For over a year now, I’ve been wanting to redesign my blog. Two months ago, I began the process of reorganizing and redesigning.

After three years, I think I got my money’s worth out of the Yaletown theme, and it’s time to move on. What really pushed me over the edge was the new threaded comments feature of WordPress, and the extreme difficulty – given my nonexistent PHP abilities – of backward fitting the Yaletown theme to be compatible.

The other thing that was annoying me about my blog design was that all my photos had to be sized down to 475 pixels wide to fit. Flickr, my image host, defaults their medium images to 500 pixels wide. This meant having a plugin called iMax Width that, whenever I saved a blog post, would go download all the images in the post, check their height and width, and then set the img tag’s width and height proportionally so that no image was wider than 475 pixels. This meant that it took forever to save any little change to my blog posts. Ugh. Plus, it didn’t always work. So I made sure my new layout allows room for 500 pixel images.

I got edited out of Golf Digest

July 19, 2009 By: erik Category: Complaining, Golf, Media, News

Ailsa Pub in Golf Digest (crop)Last April, I was contacted, via this blog, by the Art Director of Golf Digest, the most respected magazine related to golf. They were doing a story about a pub, The Ailsa Pub, that my friends and I had been to in Myrtle Beach, and wanted a copy of a photo of us gathered around a table. I was happy to provide such a photo for a chance to be published in such a prestigious periodical. Recently I have learned, from one of my very surprised friends, that my photo has, indeed, been used in the August 2009 edition of Golf Digest. My face, however, has been “selectively removed” by the artist.

Babies Are Mirrors

July 19, 2009 By: erik Category: Musings, Offspring

One interesting phenomenon I’m noticing as a consequence of spending a large part of each day with a baby is that, because babies are unable to communicate their discomforts and desires, we adults project upon them how we feel. For example, there are some people that are always cold, and some people that are always hot. Well, not always, but they are the first to complain when the mercury goes up or down. My wife, for instance, is the first to complain of the cold. She can lie happily under the duvet while I am out on top sweating like a pig. What can you do? Some people are exothermic. Her mother and sister are like this. Her father and I, on the other hand, are the first to start sweating and complain about the heat. So what happens around my infant daughter? The cold folks are the first to suggest that she needs a blanket, and the hot folks are the first to suggest that it be removed because she must be uncomfortable in this heat!

Laughing With Nora – 3.5 Months

July 17, 2009 By: erik Category: Funny, Offspring, Photos, Videos

Laughing With NoraYesterday after our walk, Nora was being particularly cute and smiley, so I grabbed my camera and took a few photos. She refuses to smile when I’m hiding behind the camera (she needs eye contact), so I had to grin at her from just above the camera. Hopefully this slideshow will brighten your Friday. It does mine.

Nora Fashion – July 2009

July 16, 2009 By: erik Category: Offspring, Photos

A little freaked out right now!We’ve got three new outfits to debut on the internet. The only think keeping this kid off the catwalk is the whole walking prerequisite. Behold: Wild Flower Nora, Summer Safari Nora, and Country Club Nora.

Connecticut Yankees in King Erik's Court

July 16, 2009 By: erik Category: Colindres, Spain

Today on my morning walk with Nora, I heard an American voice behind me. I slowed to eavesdrop, as anyone would, and heard a woman properly evaluate the filthiest bar in town as inappropriate for her business. I watched as they chose another establishment, and circled back around to enter the place myself and order a drink. I chatted with the waitress for a few minutes while I sipped my icy beverage. This waitress is one of Nora’s biggest fans, and she’ll drop whatever she’s doing to come see Nora when we enter. Once the Americans had finished their tapas, and I my drink, I walked over and said, “Excuse me, but I couldn’t help but notice that you’re American. What on earth are you doing in Colindres?”

Open Letter to the Webmaster at NASA

July 15, 2009 By: erik Category: Complaining, Geeky, Internet

Dear NASA Webmaster,

Your organization has been using the internet for at least 20 years, way back before there existed a World Wide Web or even a Hypertext Transfer Protocol. Even I remember the days when Gopher was the most user friendly internet service. In the intervening years, however, you may have noticed that a few unwritten standards have cropped up.

Fly On The Wall

July 15, 2009 By: erik Category: Damn, Nature!, Experiments, Geeky, Photography, Photos

Fly on the WallThe term “fly on the wall” refers to an unseen observer of events. Today we’ll invert that definition and observe a fly on the wall very closely. This common housefly remained calmly at eye level on my office wall for the duration of my photo shoot (and several hours afterwards), even as my camera lens got to within a few centimeters of him. Because of the extreme magnification, the depth of field in macro photography is minuscule. As you can see, when his body is in focus, his legs are not, and when his front legs are in focus, his hind legs are not. None of these photos are taken with a flash, because I thought a flash my frighten him away.