M and I off on the BART for a late-night jaunt to see the Mythbusters Live at the Orpheum Theater in SF. On the way he was harassed by a real live drunk for the first time, encountered a woman lamenting how racist cab drivers sometimes wouldn’t pick her up (forcing her to walk 8 miles on arthritic knees), and a man with 4 strings left on his guitar belting out Bee Gees tunes inside the train car, accompanied by his son playing overturned bucket and kazoo. Whole lot of crazy Bay Area Reality for a kid to take in at once.
Oh yeah – the Mythbusters show was pretty good too. Not great – more an entertainment revue than the science-y retrospective I had hoped for. But interesting and enjoyable. Unfortunately we had to leave at intermission – he was falling asleep on my shoulder in the theater after a long day in the sun.
Growing up, I watched as my grandmother struggled to keep her insulin levels under control. As an adult, I watched as my father-in-law did the same. Ultimately, diabetes was a contributing factor in both of their deaths. It runs in the family.
Next weekend, our family will ride 25 miles in theÂ American Diabetes Association’s Tour de CureÂ to help raise money for diabetes research (I wanted to ride 75 miles but it was more important to be able to stay with Miles on his longest ride yet). We are riding because it is an opportunity to change the future and to make a positive impact in the lives of those who are affected by diabetes.
I just signed up to ride in the American Diabetes Association’s Tour de Cure. I’d like to invite you to support me in my efforts to Stop Diabetes!
Tour de Cure is an opportunity to change the future and make a positive impact in the lives of all those affected by diabetes. And it’s a great ride!
Chances are, you also know someone who has been affected by diabetes and you already know how important it is to stop this disease. My goal is to raise . Will you join me by visiting my personal page and making a donation?
By supporting me, you will help the American Diabetes Association provide community-based education programs, protect the rights of people with diabetes and fund critical research for a cure.
The power we have together far outweighs what I can do alone. Please join me by donating to this great cause – it would mean so much to me!
Update: The ride was fantastic, and all of us completed 25 miles, no sweat. Together, we ended up raising more than $700, strengthened our bodies, and had a great time. Some pics from the day in this Flickr Set.
22-mile solo training ride around and through Wildcat Canyon today, gearing up for Tour de Cure! New personal best – averaged 13.78 mph, taking into account uphill, downhill, photo breaks and stop signs.
Wonderful watching and hearing the fourth and fifth graders explain their audio science projects this morning – such a broad topic, and every kid had a completely different take. Recorded some random audio samples this morning while meandering from theremin to echolocation demo to analog amplifiers to oscilloscope to homemade stethoscope to foley demo… the variety was fantastic.
For a taste, start the audio, then start the slideshow and choose the Full Screen option.
Quite good article at exchristian.net, which kicks off by making an important distinction that most people unfamiliar with atheism overlook. In a nutshell: Contrary to popular belief, very few atheists are certain (in the mathematical sense) that God does not exist; rather, we believe that the very notion of there being a God is implausible. Since it is unsustainable to hold implausible beliefs, we are atheists. It really is that simple.
Most of the time people have this impression that atheists are absolutely certain about the non-existence of God since they claim to know that God does not exist, however this impression is misleading. While there are atheists who claim to be absolutely certain that God does not exist, not all atheists are like this. Most atheists are not committed to the view that the non-existence of God is some kind of axiomatic or self-evident truth… What most atheists would agree is that the belief in the existence of God is implausible, hence unreasonable belief. Most atheists do not feel compelled to produce and reproduce absolute proof that God does not exist; it would be self-defeating and futile to even try. This is because most things in life cannot be shown to be true by absolute proof, especially in science.
Note left on my bike by an anonymous admirer (OK, “Nick”) this evening. Apparently Facebook idioms have suffused our lives so thoroughly that we now need to get creative with post-its when Real Life is absent a “Like” button.
My introduction to distance biking happened Sunday on the 31st annual Chico Wildflower Ride, though I actually did the 65-mile “Mildflower” loop rather than the full 100-mile Wildflower. But given that my previous longest ride had been 40 miles around Wildcat Canyon, it was vigorous enough for starters (though not as intense as I had imagined it would be). I had blown it up in my head, thinking it would be one of the most physically challenging experiences of my life – but once you get into a rhythm, the miles fly by quickly.
Attempt to find a 25-mile route all the way around Wildcat Canyon pretty much failed. Turned from San Pablo Dam Road onto 24 West, then signs said I had to exit the freeway. No where to go, totally stuck. So ventured onto EBMUD land and ended up hiking with the bike three miles up a muddy path, pushing the bike. Road bike brakes got totally clogged with mud, had to take the wheel off and clean them out by hand at home. Has anyone done this? How the heck are you supposed to complete the circuit cleanly?
I spent a couple of hours with my son’s fourth/fifth grade classroom today, teaching them to build LED flashlights in Altoids tins. This project was both simpler and more complicated than last year’s Bristlebots project – fewer parts to manage, but we went deeper into electrical and electronics concepts. The students learned about voltage, insulators, conductors, circuit load, diodes, polarity, and various types of switches. And had a great time! Every single kid finished with a working flashlight. Some even enjoyed the process so much they stayed after school to build a second one.
I started with this recipe from Instructables.com, but modified it a bit (we used a single LED and battery to reduce wiring and to eliminate the need for resistors, though we did talk about resistance).
One of the biggest challenges for me was figuring out how to drill clean holes in aluminum – every attempt with a punch or standard drill bit resulted in sharp, ragged, non-round holes. Finally figured out that what I needed was a “graduated” drill bit. Happily, I found one from the 1940s in a toolchest that I had inherited from my grandfather. So not only was the bit we used ~70 years old, but I later learned that my grandfather made all his own bits! He would have been proud to see us using his tools this way.
Sorry I didn’t get more photos of the process – no shots here of drilling or soldering, or of the kids playing with their finished flashlights in a dimmed room, Â but was bit busy…
On January 1 2011, I made a commitment to take at least one photograph every day of that year. Now, 365 days later, I can proudly say that I’ve actually accomplished a New Year’s resolution for once. And despite my trepidation at the start of the year, it wasn’t a chore at all, Â never grew tiresome. In fact, the process became an obsession. As the year progressed, I found my habits changing. Rather than photographs “leaping out at me,” realized I was learning to scan the environment subconsciously, always on the lookout for “that moment.” And I developed a Pavlovian response to that little time window after getting the kid into bed – time to study the day’s images, delete the duds, and upload the pick.
Yeah, there were days when the busy-ness or the same-ness of everyday life made it hard, and yes, some shots are weaker than others. But seldom felt like I had to cop out and just shoot for the sake of the project – there’s always something out there waiting to be found. Other days, had the opposite problem, where selecting just one out of many possibles was the real challenge. Definitely feel like the first 100 images are so are weaker than the later ones – felt my eye improving as the year progressed.
Only regret is that I was using Instragram heavily in the first few months, and Instagram leaves you with low-rez originals (or at least it used to). Over time realized Â I was almost always better off shooting with the phone’s native camera app, and filtering/processing later with Analog, FX Studio, or Photoshop if I thought the image needed a little goose.
Check out the Flickr set to see the images with captions, or click the grid below for the slideshow (go full-screen!).
Many thanks to Richard Koci-Hernandez for the inspiration – I wouldn’t have gone for it if not for him and his bottomless inspiration. Enjoyed the process so much that I’m planning to do it again in 2012.