31 October 2007

Happy Halloween!

Halloween has been an fun and busy time of year for me since I was a child. This year was no exception. I do not have many pictures yet because I forgot to take a roll in for developing this morning. More will be posted. Thanks to Sara for taking the photographs I use in this entry.

On Friday, Oct. 26, CGSA went to the home of one of our staff members for soup and a pumpkin carving party.

Before we began carving, we enjoyed several delicious soups prepared by our hostess.

No, this is not my costume, and no one has ever called me photogenic. This photograph shows me in the process of making a pumpkin pie using one of the pumpkins I brought to the party. Our hostess (Peggy) provided the remainder of the ingredients. The knife is for cutting up the cooked pumpkin in preparation for mashing. Though it did not look like a pumpkin pie made using canned pumpkin, I thought it was quite tasty and so did several other members of the party.

After we finished the soup, we began gutting our pumpkins, the first step in the process of turning them into Jack-O-Lanterns.

From left to right above, you can see "Boo," a "stylized harp," and pumpkins carved into a pumpkin. The latter one the prize for "most literal" pumpkin carving.

Here is a more traditional carving.

Some people were quite ambitions in their carving projects, using stencils to create intricate patterns, such as this cat in a window.

Pictures of the Jack-O-Lanterns that my roommates and I carved shall appear in a future entry.

On Monday, two physics graduate students hosted a Halloween party at their house. It boasted a wide array of costumes, including Wonder Woman, a hippie, Osama Bin Laden, Abraham Lincoln, Harry Potter, the Phantom of the Opera, a saloon girl, and a garden gnome. These photographs will be posted as soon as I get them developed.

Currently, I am sitting in my costume, waiting for trick-or-treaters to knock on the house door. So far, four have come, including one child who was so scared that his mother had to come to the door for him!

I may wear my costume one more time at a Halloween party my church student group is hosting on Friday, Nov. 2.

30 October 2007


James, a friend and colleague of mine introduced me to a program called Autostitch. As the name suggests, it automatically blends several overlapping photographs into one seamless panorama. Many times, I have tried to manually arrange digital pictures into such a panorama, but I did not have the technology to properly blend them. Now I do. Below are a few examples of panoramas I made manually followed by the equivalent from Autostitch.

Vietnam Veterans Memorial

Alum Creek Reservoir


The view of San Francisco bay from Marin Park.
The fourth and fifth photographs from the left in the manual version did not have enough overlap for Autostitch to generate one panorama.

Autostich, part 1.
Autostitch, part 2.

Thomas Jefferson Building of the Library of Congress
Manual, part 1.

Manual, part 2.


Sentinel Dome at Yosemite National Park


23 October 2007

Candidate Fora

The Franklin County Consortium for Good Government and the League of Women Voters are hosting a series of candidate fora for the upcoming local election.

I plan to attend the Monday evening forum (Oct. 29, 6:30 pm), which will feature the candidates for Mayor, Columbus School Board, and various Municipal Court positions. It will be held at 1421 Morse Road. Would any of your like to join me? If so, would any of you be willing to give me a ride?

19 October 2007

COSI Festival of Physics!

Tomorrow, I will be one of many volunteers at the COSI Festival of Physics. I will be demonstrating methods of sorting recyclable materials (12:00 pm), Electricity & Magnetism (2:00 pm), and a Tesla Coil (3:00 pm). It will be a fun way to end a busy and productive week.

17 October 2007

Columbia Talk by Dr. Doug Osheroff at the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory

Fermilab has a very good presentation about the destruction of the Space Shuttle Columbia on its website. It is given by Dr. Doug Osheroff, who was a member of the Columbia Accident Investigation Board. For me, it raises several questions about human space exploration.

  • Why has NASA let three preventable failures claim the lives of 17 of its astronauts?
  • Does placing humans in space offer scientific benefits that are worth the cost in money and the risk to lives?
  • How much weight and creedence should be given to non-scientific arguments for putting humans in space?

15 October 2007

Blog Action Day

The awarding of the Nobel Peace Prize to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (and Al Gore) provides a nice backdrop for this Blog Action Day. However, any excitement is tempered by my realization that this prize shall change the opinion of no one.

Since this is supposed to be a day of action, I have decided to use this entry to list the actions my roommates and I have taken to better care for the Creation.

  • We installed a clothesline in our backyard to reduce our use of electricity for drying clothes.
  • None of us owns a car.
  • We replaced almost all of our incandescent light bulbs with compact fluorescent bulbs.
  • We do not have air conditioning.
  • We keep our thermostat at 60o F during the winter; even the dog wears a sweater.
  • We recycle our cans, bottles, plastic bags, and paper products.
This list is not intended to be boastful. It is intended as a defense against accusations of hypocrisy and a list of small steps at the beginning of our journey towards a fruitful stewardship of our home planet.

11 October 2007

Apple Picking

This past weekend, a group of us from CGSA went on a trip to Lynd Farm on what is becoming an annual apple picking trip.
Though the apple crops had been "greatly reduced" by late frosts in the early spring, many trees still had a crop worth picking.We took our bags from the attendant at the entrance to this section of the orchard and paid for them on the way out. We paid by the bag, so we put as many apples in our bags as we could, and we put many in our stomachs along the way. "So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate,"

"and she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate" (Genesis 3:6).

I realize that the identification of the forbidden fruit as an apple has no basis in scripture, history, or archaeology, but the joke was too good to not to try. I also realize that Adam and Eve were not wearing clothes when they ate the forbidden fruit, but that level of authenticity would have been dangerous for multiple reasons.

The weather was quite hot that day, so we were eager to finish our picking so we could climb back into our air-conditioned cars. When we did finish picking and joking, we had several bags crammed full of apples, but the day was far from over.

We stopped at the concessions area of the farm, where kettle corn, apple cider and hay rides were available. Then, we went to the house Mark and Erin (who graciously posed for the Adam and Eve joke above) to turn many of these apples into homemade apple pies.

The cider was $0.50 for all you can drink.

Chris contemplated why several of his fellow Christian graduate students decided to play on a hill intended to be a children's playground. I also thank him for letting me borrow his camera for these photographs.

Since the sign was informing me that I was under surveillance, I thought turnabout was fair play

Once at the home of Mark and Erin, we formed an assembly line with different people responsible for washing, peeling, and slicing the apples. I was one of the peelers.

After they were peeled and sliced, Erin added cinnamon and sugar to the apples to make them proper pie filling.

She also made the crust from scratch!

Lest anyone form and false impressions of Erin, I should inform you that she is a woman of many diverse talents. She has a Ph.D. in immunology, a black belt in Taekwondo, a husband, and a cat. She is currently pursing an MD. In addition to all of this, she makes excellent pie.

This is one of those pies shortly before it was placed in the oven.

While the pies were in the oven, we played Guitar Hero and Dance, Dance Revolution (DDR).

For those of you who do not know, DDR is a game played with your feet. One, two, or more pads are placed on the floor; they contain sensors to detect when you step on them. The game tests your ability to step on one of four sensors when instructed by the display on the screen. Different patterns of steps are assigned for different songs. Guitar Hero is played similarly, exec pt one uses fingers on a plastic fake guitar rather than feet on pads.

Guitar Hero does not actually teach you how to play the guitar, and DDR does not teach you how to dance, but both are still useful for building an appetite for fresh pie. I do not remember what song caused Arwen (at left) to start headbanging during guitar hero.

As you can see below, she refused to give autographs, or maybe she was trying to stop me from taking the photograph. The man standing next to her is her husband Paul.

Jona was amused.

We all enjoyed the pie with ice cream and whipped cream while watching Ohio State vs. Purdue in football.

Leigh received several compliments on her colorful and cute toe socks.

The cat, Riki, received much attention, as usual.

This photograph is from the end of our time in the orchard. The sign is pointing to the section containing the Jonathan variety of apples, which we picked. The man standing next to the sign is also named Jonathan. If you click for the full-sized image, you will see that his shirt contains a geeky pun.

08 October 2007

Star Trek Remastered, next daytime airings

TitanTV.com Programming Details

From: lsky2061@hotmail.com

WSYX (Channel 6) - 1:00 PM 10/14/2007 (Eastern)

Star Trek (What Are Little Girls Made Of?)
Kirk finds the long-missing Dr. Corby still alive on a frigid planet, where Kirk becomes a guinea pig in Corby's mad experiment to create a civilization of obedient androids. Corby: Michael Strong. Ruk: Ted Cassidy. Dr. Brown: Harry Basch. Matthews: Vince Dedrick. Rayburn: Budd Albright. Andrea: Sherry Jackson. Nurse Chapel: Majel Barrett. Kirk: William Shatner. Spock: Leonard Nimoy. Written by Robert Bloch.

For more information about this and other programs on WSYX, click here.

TitanTV.com Programming Details

From: lsky2061@hotmail.com

WSYX (Channel 6) - 1:00 PM 10/20/2007 (Eastern)

Star Trek (Dagger of the Mind)
The inspection of the Tantalus Penal Colony results in the discovery of dangerous experiments on the inmates and staff, being performed by the colony's director. Adams: James Gregory. Helen: Mariana Hill. Van Gelder: Morgan Woodward. Kirk: William Shatner. Spock: Leonard Nimoy. McCoy: DeForest Kelley. Uhura: Nichelle Nichols.

For more information about this and other programs on WSYX, click here.

Could You Pass the new U.S. Citizenship Test?

MSN has excerpted questions from the quiz so you can see for yourself.

05 October 2007

Interesting Realization

As I grow more experienced in philosophical, religious, and political discussion, I realize that many of the arguments and positions with which I disagree are not actually wrong; they are simply vacuous.

01 October 2007

Upcoming Columbus Mayoral Debate

Those of you who live in Columbus should be interested in the forthcoming local elections. On Wednesday, Oct. 3, the two mayoral candidates will met for their only debate. If you want to attend in person, you can buy tickets from the Columbus Metropolitan Club. I plan to listen via the websites of either the Columbus Dispatch or WOSU AM.

For more information about this and other races, see the League of Women Votes of Metropolitan Columbus.