Friday, November 30, 2007

Camila has moved to the Lunds

Camila moved to her next host family, the Lunds in Waterville, on Nov. 25.

Camila, we greatly enjoyed having you stay with us! We hope we will continue to see you often during the rest of your year in Vermont, and we look forward to meeting your family when they visit.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Rubens' Tube

Brian made a Rubens' Tube at Colby and brought it home for Thanksgiving. He set it up in the garage:

Laura made a video of it dancing to the tune of "In the Hall of the Mountain King":

If this video doesn't work for you, try the one at Brian's web site:

In any event, please see Brian's web site at the above link for discussion of the construction and physics of the tube.

Friday, November 23, 2007


We celebrated Thanksgiving at home. Brian, Emily and Laura were all home, and we also had Camila and two of Emily's friends from Middlebury: Chalene from Singapore and Congcong from China. We had a traditional Thanksgiving dinner on Thursday and an "International Thanksgiving" dinner on Friday, with dishes prepared by Camila, Chalene and Congcong (with help from Emily and Laura). We also did this last year with Marion, Chalene and Ayumi--Emily's roommate last year from Japan.

Camila, Chalene and Emily cooking in the kitchen:

Chalene, Camila and Congcong with their handiwork:

Dishes starting to the left of the rice and moving clockwise around it: potatoes, dumplings, empanadas, seafood noodles:

Dishes starting at 8 o'clock relative to the lower rice bowl and moving clockwise around it: Coca-Cola chicken, omelette with shrimp, tofu and beef (spicy):

Dinner was delicious!

Thursday, November 22, 2007

San Francisco

Nancy and I traveled to San Francisco Nov. 14-18. I had a 2-day business meeting and we stayed for a couple of extra days. My meeting was in Half Moon Bay. This is a sunset from outside our room, looking over the ocean:

While I was in meetings, Nancy did some sightseeing. This is the famous Mavericks surfing beach, a short drive north of our hotel:

After my meeting we toured San Francisco together. This is the Dragon Gate entrance to Chinatown:

And this is the famous Lombard Street:

A week earlier, on Nov. 7, an oil tanker hit the Bay Bridge and spilled 58,000 gallons of oil into the San Francisco Bay. (Click here for details.) Many beaches were closed, and cleanup efforts were underway. This is the beach adjacent to the San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park:

However, the sea lions at nearby Pier 39 did not seem to be stressed:

We had dinner within sight of the sea lions, in Neptune's Palace on Pier 39.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Laura's 17th Birthday

Somehow I forgot to post an entry about Laura's birthday. Since corrected. See below or click here.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Comet Holmes #2

Here's a picture, taken a few minutes ago. The first picture is straight from the camera. Comet Holmes is the fuzzy ball a little above center:

The following picture is the same as above except that I used PowerPoint to add a couple of arrows. The upper arrow points to Comet Holmes. The lower arrow points to the Pleiades.

Click on the pictures to enlarge them. The first picture is higher quality, and both Comet Holmes and the Pleiades are easily visible once you know where to look for them (after you click on the picture to enlarge it). The second picture shows you where to look, but the objects themselves are harder to see because the picture is lower quality.

Camera settings for my Canon A520: Put the lens on wide angle. (This is to obtain the maximum aperture. If you use the telephoto, it reduces the maximum aperture available.) Put the camera on manual, and set it for the maximum aperture (F2.6) and slowest shutter speed (15 seconds). Set the camera for the highest ISO speed available (ISO 400). Turn off the flash. And, of course, use a tripod.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Comet Holmes

Obviously I haven't been posting much here recently. But I've been posting a lot over at my work blog about my trip to China Oct. 9-20. Feel free to check it out.

If you can see the constellation Perseus in your night sky, be sure to look for Comet Holmes. It is easily visible with the naked eye. I tried to take a photo to put on the blog, but it just comes out black. I don't yet have a digital camera (or maybe the skills) capable of taking astro photos as good as the ones I used to take with my 35mm camera.

Comet Holmes is a known comet with a period of 6.9 years that is not normally visible to the naked eye. But in late October it unexpectedly became about a million times brighter than usual. You can easily see it with the naked eye, even with considerable light pollution, if you know where to look.

Comet Holmes doesn't have a tail at present. It's just a fuzzy blob. Obviously not a star. Here are some links to online information with pictures and charts to help you find it in the night sky, regardless of where you are in the world.

Sky and Telescope magazine article #1
Sky and Telescope magazine article #2
Wikipedia entry

It's cool! Be sure to check it out.