Sunday, August 23, 2009

As Sorted

  • There's hardly any food that doesn't benefit from being eaten with tortilla chips. Strange that one doesn't find these along with other chips in vending machines.
  • My parents never knew the answers to my science questions.
  • Chad is looking for camera advice and has lots of comments about it. I've posted before about cameras, and I don't find the case for DSLRs very compelling, despite having used a film SLR for decades. And of course that I'm terrified of dust on the sensor (something we didn't have to worry about w/ film) doesn't help at all. But, I also wanted to mention that I would look very carefully, were I buying a camera, at the Olympus E-P1. In particular, I'm excited about this camera starting a trend towards full control, excellent quality, good low-light performance, and compact cameras. You might also take a look at Canon's two latest offerings in the G11 and S90.
  • I'm finding the "have a beer before company comes over" solution is more and more appropriate and useful. Should I be apprehensive?
  • Simple physics demonstrations to "lure" kids to science? I can't vouch for these via Slashdot.
  • Every hotel room should have an alarm clock. What's with European hotels (nice ones at that) lacking an alarm clock necessitating my wearing a watch while in the room?
  • Thinking about blogging anonymously (or rather with a pseudonym)? Remaining so can take some effort and constrain what you can say and you don't get any acclaim for it. Plus, you might still get found out.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009


  • If you're organizing a conference:

    • make badges double sided so if that when worn on a necklace and they flap around, the name is always visible. Make the name/institution as big as practical (n small fonts).
    • Don't rely on an online program alone. Printed material should at least specify speaker name, institution, and *title*.

  • Someone needs to change the NSF's Fastlane. Ever since they replaced the use of SSN's with some arbitrary ID number, I can't use my password manager since there are effectively two passwords. A major pain.
  • A long while ago I asked for software that aids in making a grocery shopping list. I didn't get much help, nor did has anyone since let me know about this which I need to try out.
  • If you find yourself related to an academic physicist, here are some tips

    • Remember at least one simple fact about the person's status (e.g. grad student, postdoc, untenured prof, tenured prof). Forgetting this is tantamount to forgetting that someone made partner if a lawyer, or if someone is an attending if a real doctor.
    • Mentioning vaguely some science story you read in the popular press doesn't help conversation. The physicist has to then come up with something vague as well such as, "Oh yeah, there are lots of articles on ...(e.g. slowing/stopping light, finding a black hole, etc)..." If you have some question, then by all means go ahead, but trying to impress with your general knowledge with only vague details doesn't get it done.
    • If you want extra brownie points, you could go for the advanced round with questions such as "How's your funding situation looking?" or "What was your latest paper about?"
    • For the love of all that is holy, do not say something like "So what are you doing while you're off for the summer?"

Bonus Link:
Nice video about the Hubble Deep Field photos via Gizmodo.