Thursday, June 30, 2011

Ten Years

There was a snarky, anonymous (of course) comment on my post last week, alleging that the Masmid used my high school yearbook photo for my faculty portrait in this year's YU yearbook. To assuage any doubts, here is my yearbook photo from ten years ago, compared with the yearbook photo from this year:

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

The Making Of a Photo: The Unplanned Part Two

Well after my post about my new Facebook photo it was made clear to me by my brothers that I needed to post other rejected Facbook photos.  So, brothers here some are.

Arch wooo!
Epic Pose!
Check out those striations
Outside some random corporate building.
I really wanted that pot, but its heavier than it looks.
Hello my name is Frank William Abignale.
Say hello to Mr. Peacock.
This is 15 minutes outside of Malibu, totally ridiculous.
You call that a tree, now this is a tree!

Saturday, June 25, 2011

A bit of Boston Culture

While visiting the artisan asylum I had the privilege of riding a tall bike ... but at the I didn't know it because I was told that "this type of ship is called a harve" or H.A.R.V which stands for High Altitude Reconnaissance Vehicle.
"Ship?" I asked ... "yes they are called ships, this one's name is Skylab."
A little research shows that I was speaking to a member of SCUL, an awesome "bicycle nerd gang [1]" which roams around Boston on "missions" collecting high fives from bystanders.
Don't believe that this crazy bike is really called a High Altitude Reconnaissance Vehicle, check out the helpful glossary they have on their website ... this website has a wax seal at the bottom - pretty classy.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Thanks, The Masmid

My brother's friend, who, coincidentally, is my friend's brother, alerted me to the fact that this year's YU Masmid yearbook has granted me a doctorate:
While I appreciate the thought, I'm not about to add it to my CV.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Aryeh Cooks: Summer 2011 Part 1

The purpose of this post is to leave you salivating.  I am not going to give instructions on how to make any of these things here.  However, if there is something that you all want to know how to make I may do a regular Aryeh Cooks post for it.

I am on summer break and as a result I now have time to cook and bake.  Needless to say I have been doing so.  My parents get to enjoy what I make and the rest of my immediate family gets to drool when I send them pictures.  Now it is your turn to drool.  These are what I have made so far (baguettes excluded, because you already know about those).

Foccacia a pizza like thick bread.
 Ciabatta an Italian white bread.
 Tortellini a small Italian stuffed pasta (vidalia onion, ricotta and spinach) .
 Sesame seed crusted, soy sauce based marinated salmon with a rissoto like treatment of brown rice and Israeli couscous, all topped with a sauce based on the marinade.
 Blintz, stuffed with a potato, onion filling and also with the same vidalia, ricotta and spinach filling I used for the tortellini (I made these for Shavuot).  And of course I did make my own crêpes.
 Palak Paneer with onion and cumin seed naan.  I also made the paneer for the dish.
 Dessert.  Lets start with the Cinnamon Buns.
 Chocolate Cinnamon Babka, with a streusel topping.
Finishing up with the biggest chocolate layer cake I have ever made, six layers of cake and six layers of pastry cream (so 12 layers).

If you are drooling all over your keyboard then my job here is done.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Marketing 102

Last week's Teaneck Suburbanite had an "Adopt a pet" ad, starring this friendly, entirely sane, well tempered, photogenic, and definitely not possessed doggy:
You tell me, does this profile match this face:
There are absolutely no negative words to describe this precious young lady ... Not only is her personality irresistible, but ... who can resist that face?
Believe it or not, she's still up for adoption. I wonder what happened to demon cat...

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

The Making Of a Photo

Well time to take a trip back to California.  During the trip I kept wanting to get a good picture to replace my old Facebook photo.  So on a number of occasions I did something silly in front of something incredible.  Here is the string of photos from which I chose my new photo from.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Egg Geology

Many of us have seen old lava flows and volcanoes - but did you know that you can make a yolk volcano? I didn't until I discovered it by accident (... and despite my best efforts I have not been able to replicate it).

How to find it
You will know one of your hard boiled eggs harbors a yolk volcano if you find the following yolk strings in the water:

The source of the flow
Follow the strings until you find the source, you guessed it, a hole in the side of the egg where the shell broke and the yolk slowly oozed out, boiling along the way.

Peeling away the outer layers shows the structure of the volcano where the yolk (magma) broke to the surface of the white (crust).

Splitting open the yolk you can see the stress fractures in the direction of maximal ooz.

But what pushed it out?
The little air pocket in the egg expanded as the water boiled leaving a nice airy room (which filled with water once the egg cooled.

Sunday, June 05, 2011

Turks Head from a Plane

It is always nice when you recognize places you have been from a plane. On the way back from California I took this picture of Turks Head in Canyonlands Utah.
Below is a picture of my brothers and I inside that canyon in front of Turks Head (we conoed down that river).

Here is the zoomed out version of the airplane photo.

I've tried to recreate the scene with google earth here

But in case you don't have that plugin then you can see a poor-man's version of the view from bing maps here.

Thursday, June 02, 2011

The Flag

I decided to participate in Playing with Mathematica's "make a US flag using Mathematica" contest. Making the stripes and blue section is fairly trivial to do in Mathematica, so I won't go into that. But, I like my method for making the stars. There's a little bit of math here, so feel free to skip down to the pictures at the bottom.

First, note that a five-sided star, like that on the US flag, can be constructed as follows:

If you take a regular pentagon (thick black lines) and connect all the vertices (numbered blue dots), you sketch a star. Alternatively, if you start with one vertex, and, traveling in a counter-clockwise direction, skip a vertex and connect the two, and repeat you get the same thing (i.e. line from 1 to 3, then 3 to 5, then 5 to 2, then 2 to 4, then 4 to 1).

However, to sketch the perimeter of the star, you also need to include the lettered vertices of the smaller, red, pentagon which is formed by the inscribed star. To get the resulting star shape, you need to connect the vertices in order:

The way I did this in Mathematica was using complex notation. The corners of the pentagons in the Complex Plane are given by
where n is an integer from 0 to 4 and A is the length from the origin to a corner (I rotated them by pi/10 to straighten the thing out). If A for the outer pentagon is 1, then the inner one is
Then, to get the vertices in order, you just need to sort them in order of Argument. All this is pretty easy to do in Mathematica:
starVert = (#1[[Ordering[Arg[#1]]]] & )[Join[E^(I*(Pi/10))*Exp[2*2*Range[6]*Pi*(I/5)], (1/2)*(3 - Sqrt[5])*E^(I*(Pi + Pi/10))*Exp[2*Range[6]*Pi*(I/5)]]]

Then I just mapped Re[coords] to x and Im[coords] to y, tiled the stars on the flag, and:

But, I wanted to make the flag wave. To do that, I summed 7 time-dependent sin curves in 2D with (bounded) random wavevector and frequencies. A resulting surface looks like this, for example:
Then, I used Mathematica's Texture functionality to use the flag Graphics I created on the surface:
And then, I animated it (click through for the subtle effect):

This was the one I submitted for the contest. Since then, I've seen Eric Brodeur's amazing Mathematica flag:
which is far better than the one I submitted. I'm not sure why I decided to do a top-down view, rather than the side view (also, I'm not sure how he got rid of framing boxes around the surface). Anyway, it's been fun.