Sunday, October 31, 2010

Do not Consume the Tap Water

In continuing with the Blogversary celebrations this weeks theme will be lessons on signage.

A little while ago there was quite a large water main break in Weston MA. This had very serious effects in Boston where the water was being supplied to. Soon after we were told to boil water before drinking. Immediately after that announcement numerous hypochondriacs went to emergency rooms with stomach issues. There were no actual sicknesses caused by the water.

Someone hung the following sign in the building where I worked.
You may notice that this sign is actually thumbtacked to the wall in my room- leaving you to wonder how the good citizens of Boston remained safe even after I stole the sign?

With Dave's help (a post-doc in my old lab), we hung an even better sign!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

5 years of blogging stats

It's time for everyone's favorite thing: Statistics!!!

Two years ago, on Yoni's Funny Church post, our dad commented that he thought it was the first time there "were two consecutive postings by Yoni/Jonathan without either other brother posting in between."  At that time, I quickly cobbled together a poorly-written Mathematica program to check that, and discovered that it was the third time it happened.  In honor of the 5 year blogoversary, however I've got a bit over the top.

Firstly, there were 627 posts over the course of the five years, giving an average of 125.4 per year, or 2.4 per week.  This is how they break down by day of the week:
And by time of day:
It's weird that over the 5 years we've been blogging, we've never posted during the 4AM (Eastern) time slot.  Also, since we officially post on Sundays, Tuesdays and Thursdays, that first chart is not surprising. The posts on the off-days are probably late or early posts and guest posts.

You'll notice, though, that the Thursday bar is significantly higher than the others.  This is why:
So it seems Yoni posts early almost as often as he posts late, whereas Aryeh generally just posts late, and less often. And I was surprised to see that Stacy posted 13 times -- I would have guessed.

But, back to that original question: What about consecutive posts? Well, here's 4 charts, one per blogger (click to embiggen). Each one shows the number of posts by other people between two consecutive posts by each blogger.
You'll see that I posted consecutively 37 times, Jonathan/Yoni 8 times, Aryeh 2 times.  You also see that we generally follow the scheduled "2 posts between consecutive posts" pattern.

A lot of our posts have pictures in them:
The winner, by far, with 29 pictures, is Jonathan/Yoni's post: Bauhaus, International Style in Tel Aviv
Tied for second place, with 16 pictures, is my Give me a lever and a place to stand and Yoni's Tons of Egypt Pictures, Cairo Alexandria
In a close third, with 15 pictures, is Aryeh's post: Full of Hot Air
It's interesting that we have more posts with one picture than with no pictures.

We also get comments:
The post with the most comments, at 16, is my post: Where's the one?!?
Tied for second place, with 14 comments are two of my posts: The sad state of science education and Don't ask
Finally, in third place, with 13 comments is Aryeh's Puzzling Puzzles
Yoni and Stacy tie for fourth place with 12 comments each: Fun with Matlab, why (Yoni) and The first Lansey Brothers' Blog contest! (Stacy)

Finally, here's a video of the "time of day we post" histogram, developing over five years of blogging.
Let's do this again in 5 years...
Also, if there are any other statistics you want me to check, let me know in the comments. If I can run 'em, I'll post 'em.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

How Things Change

Five years!!! When we started this blog I was a freshman engineering student. Yoni and Eli were also both still undergraduates. Now I have a Bachelors degree in mechanical and aerospace engineering and am now in graduate school for mechanical and aerospace engineering.  Yoni not only completed his math degree but went on to get a Masters in cognitive and neural systems and is now gainfully employed.  Eli has his Bachelors and Masters degrees in Physics and is now a Ph.D. candidate in that field.
I am going to try and show a photo journey of the three (with an addition of two as time passed) of us. Although our blog began in 2005 no photos of us found their way into a post until early 2006, here is us in 2006.

This is of course from our centennial post.
 The roasting of the egg for Pesach, complete with safety goggles and safety glasses.

Happy 80th Birthday to Eli and Stacy.
How thing already begin to change!  Not only had one year passed in our journey, but this year marks the addition of Stacy to both our family and our blog.  Now we enter 2007 -- an action packed year.

Yoni took Europe by storm.

Eli the very proud recipient of a degree in physics.
Following his European jaunt, Yoni decided that coming home was not yet an option, so he went to California.

I meanwhile decided to meet an Apollo Astronaut, a man who walked on the surface of the moon!!!

And once again we see ourselves with one more year passing.  What will happen next year on the Lansey Brothers' Blog?  Well if you can't remember let me show you. 2008 here we come.

My metamorphosis has begun.  At the beginning of my Junior year in college I decided to stop shaving and getting my hair cut, this is me in an early stage of growth.  Plus airplanes are cool

Yoni the resident explorer spent the summer in Israel and decided to take a quick jaunt into Egypt.

Eli and Stacy moved from the city, and my hair grew longer.

Welcome to the family Moshe.

So ends 2008 with the addition of a little Lansey.  My doesn't time fly -- before you know it 2009 will be upon us.

Here is Eli with some stubble and his safety glasses.  Stay safe.

Moshe at one year.

This is, of course, me, right before I cut my hair after two years of not cutting it.

Believe it or not, I could not find one picture of Yoni (who moved to Boston) on the blog from 2009 or 2010.  However, I have a picture never before seen on the blog with him in it saved for the climax.  Well goodbye 2009 and hello 2010.

Graduation WOOOO!!!! After around one month of being clean shaven I decided to grow my beard back, I just keep it trimmed this time.

Eli only wears this now and he does so all the time.  Too many dirty diapers I guess.

So ends our journey so far of the Lansey Brothers on this blog, but as I promised an up to date photo of all of us.  These photos are from the Moot and they was taken the last time all of us were together (+ extra cousins!).

Thank you to all our readers be it from the beginning or from today, enjoy and here is to another 5 years.  And because it wouldn't be a Lansey Brothers' blog post without a silly ending...

Sunday, October 24, 2010

A Blast from the Past

I'm going to start with a great early post from Aryeh, one of the very first posts on the blog. In his distinctive early style the title of his post is
After a short explanation of the title he discussed some hilarious graphitti in his physics class, and in the bathroom. That makes this the very first of our prolific Restrooms label, (although awarded the restroom tag post-post, when the tag was created).

The restroom saga formally began with Aryeh's Great Urinal Hunt with such quotes as:

... walked around the Rutgers campus with a hidden camera ... Now we shall embark on the great urban safari, soon we shall see some urinals in their native habitats.
Creepily ... these words got us a huge large number of hits from people searching for "urinal camera"
Then in Eli's followup post:

...urinalas scaphium, which can be found in the Yeshiva University's Pollack Library

One of my favorite posts from the past has to be Eli's timely modeling of the number of cars burnt in France over time, back in 2005. Turns out its a nice exponential decay! I wonder what the burning car functions look like today?

Also funny is Eli's antics back when he lived in the YU dorm.

Unrelated to anything, is the great but underpopulated tag, "photos with celebrities". It holds exactly what you would expect us to have on the blog: scientists, astronauts .... and our own celebrity Eli, as he appeared on google

I will now mention my own obsessive cataloging of no-hot ashes warnings on Garbage cans across the world from France, Germany, Switzerland, Spain, Israel and of course the US. I have also made a few other worldwide samplings, the fanciness of garbage cans in 2007 for example.

And my first summer of adventure blogging - in California. Where I started doing things with the blog in mind thinking "wow this will make a great blog post." Every blogger has thought this as some point leading to the existential question - why are we really doing it?

There is a wonderful xkcd on this topic which I share below:
(Thanks Eli for finding it).

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Happy 5th Blogoversary

Today marks 5 years since the first blog post here on the Lansey Brothers’ Blog.  We've been celebrating it, unannounced, with the unusually organized "What's inside a ___ project?"-themed week last week. To continue the celebrations, this coming week will be another themed week, followed by yet another theme week. (The theme of this week is, apparently, the all-too-common "I forgot to post" theme).

Tune in Sunday, when Jonathan/Yoni recalls three of his favorite posts and comments that qualify as “A Blast From the Past.”  Then, on Tuesday, Aryeh will show how much has changed over the past five years.  Finally, on Thursday, Eli will present some fun statistics (because nothing can wrap up The Lansey Brothers’ Blogoversary Celebration Week like a blog post containing “fun” and “statistics”) from the last 5 years of blogging.

How about you readers? Do you have any favorite posts, or favorite “labels” from the last 5 years?

Some of you have been readers from the start, some have only started reading recently (and some of you just come for the fluffy bunnies), but thanks to all of you for reading! And especially thanks to those who comment.

Here’s to another 5 years!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

What's Inside a Fiber Optic Cable? Project

When we moved to Teaneck two years ago (this post has been a long time coming) we had FiOS installed. One of the many things that went wrong that day was them bringing too short of a fiber optic cable, requiring them to cut off the one they started to install. I snagged a piece of the removed and discarded cable and this naturally led to the:

What's inside a Fiber Optic Cable Project!
A fiber optic cable consists of a few parts. Let's work our way from outside-in.

The outside of the cable consists of this stiff, hard and smooth black plastic (polyethylene) casing:
As you can see, this fiber is made by Corning. I actually found what I think is the product page here, along with a spec sheet [pdf]. The outer casing provides a strong outer protective layer.  This is what the cable looks like in cross-section (fingers add some scale):
The straight white segments you see in the first picture and in this cross-section are called "Dielectric Strength Members" in the spec sheet. That basically means "Strong Non-conducting Things."  In this case, they are Kevlar cables.  This stiffens the cable and, by sandwiching the actual fiber in between the two Kevlar things, decreases the likelihood of something damaging the optical fiber.

The next thing in is a soft opaque tube filled with a gooey gel type stuff. This is called a "buffer" and serves as an additional layer of protection for the optical fiber inside.
Here you can see the Kevlar cables and the (thicker white) buffer tube surrounding the the optical fiber.

Well, sort of. First you have the "cladding" -- the blue line in the picture.
Here's what it looks like under a microscope.  The cladding serves both as an additional protective layer, and, since it has a lower index of refraction than the "core" optical fiber, helps the light reflect back into the fiber.  Finally, then, after the plastic, the Kevlar, the buffer, the cladding [the frog, the lights, the armor], we get what's all the way inside the fiber optic cable: The optical fiber itself:
Unfortunately, I don't have a functioning micrometer (or SEM) at home, so I'm not sure how thick the fiber (or fiber+cladding) actually is, but I'd estimate on the order of 100μm [about a hair's thickness].  I could probably compare from the scale of an easier-to-measure thing, but I'm too lazy. Readers: feel free. Anyway, from the spec sheet, that seems about right, too.

And, for the record (lest you think my lack of micrometer at home lowers my scientist "cred"), the microscope images were taken on my dining room table:

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

What's Inside an Ancient Television

Some time ago my Grandmother moved out of her old house and her old TV fell into my hands. This TV was the source of many memories sitting downstairs with my brothers watching something while the adults upstairs talked endlessly. My grandparents had bought this TV around 35 years ago. If you know your history this was withing a couple of years of color TV becoming the standard which means this is one of the oldest models. In comparison to modern TVs this one had terrible image quality and was just plain old. So before we got rid of it I decided to take the back off of my childhood memories... which naturally led to the:

Whats inside an old television project!

With the exception of the cathode ray tube a some resistors and capacitors I really have no idea what most of this components do.

To change the channels on this TV there was a knob (no remote) and it would go clunk. The power button also went clunk.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Whats Inside a Microwave Project

So I burnt a potato in the microwave once - - - when I say burnt I mean it actually caught fire and filled the microwave with smoke so thick it darkened the inside so much I thought it was off (even though the light was on inside!) The microwave was so roasted and toasted inside that it was time to get a new one . . . which naturally led to the:

Whats inside a microwave project!

Most parts of the microwave are pretty boring, like the fan motor here and capacitor (kind of big actually).

This is the part where the electricity comes into the heart of the microwave, sometimes called the "Magnetron." That is where the microwaves are generated. Here is a great website about how magnetrons work, from which I have stole this diagram below,

and this is the thing itself!

The magnets are quite awesome, now gracing my fridge. Not really sure what the gold looking foil is about...

Magnetron sans magnets.

and lastly a look inside the most inside you can get in a microwave.

Thursday, October 07, 2010

Personalized credit card backgrounds

I recently got a new Capital One credit card where I can personalize the image on the credit card.  So, I went with a cool microscope image of a cracked sol-gel taken by another person in my lab:
It's hard to see, but directly to the left of the "VISA" logo is a small yellow scale bar of 20μm.  Not sure what I'm going to go with for my next one. I have some really nice SEM images, but I'm not sure that DARPA really wants me putting 'em on my credit card. But, I could always submit a "public release" form for those images, I suppose.

Sunday, October 03, 2010

Phone Labels Art

I recently started working at a great company, Aptima. The guy who used to live in my new office was really funny and ridiculous, having only been at Aptima a year. I was told by my team lead that they are expecting me to start being ridiculous right away!

Below is my phone, notice that there are no labels to describe what those little symbols on the buttons mean.

Below is my white-board and filing cabinet - - - which I have never opened.

Below is the sticker that kept falling off my phone and now graces my wall. Can anyone think of a good name for him/her/it?