Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Welcome to New Jersey

As most of you should know, New Jersey was hit severely by Hurricane Sandy Monday evening.  My house just got power back about two hours ago.  The coast line was badly damaged, pictures of what is left of the boardwalks are all over the news.  I will show you what I did during the storm and what my area looked like in a walk around yesterday afternoon.
Playing Rummikub, by flash light, listening to classical music and drinking wine is not a bad way to weather storm.

 This tree ripped the road up.
 This was the worst damage I saw on my walk and based upon the way it came up it was self inflicted.
 You can see the new driveway right next to where the tree came up.  Based upon the fact that it is not ripped up we think that when it was installed they cut the trees roots.  This weakened it for the wind and when it came down it hit their house hard.
 In the top left you can see the top of the telephone pole is snapped and hanging down.  This tree snapped 4 poles.  This is the first.
 This is the next and it full exploded apart.
 The last one was at a corner and here it is sitting on the ground.  The one next over was very bent over.
 This is a tether cable from one of the poles that came down.  It is made up of seven 1/8th inch steel cables.  They are all snapped at a 45 degree angle as expected due to failure theory.  Metals under tension fail due to shear load.  Based upon the fact that there is minimal necking at the fracture site the cable probably failed under impulse load.  Say the pole it was connected to slamming to the ground.
 This pole appeared rotted.  We think that the bending and twisting moment on the street light caused it to fail.
If you ever wondered what was inside a street light.  It appears to just be a transformer and a high pressure sodium lamp.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

A cloudless view of earth from space

I recently bought a used book over at the Davis flea.
Notice that there are no clouds... very odd ... but look when it was published:
1960! Yeah that is right before people went to space; it was before the Apollo program and photos of earth seen from the moon being distributed worldwide. Since then, artists do not made the mistake of drawing earth from space without clouds.

This picture from the Galileo spacecraft is a good example of what the view would really have looked like.

This blog post is based on another blog post I came across sometime ago, which actually had a picture of the book too. I would love to link them but I haven't been able to find it.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Mathematica StackExchange Swag

I've been a member of the Mathematica Q&A site since it started (I'm user #9). The site recently "graduated" from beta, and they gave away some "swag" to top users. Although I haven't been that active recently, I was early on, which placed me in the top 14% of all-time users, and qualified me for some swag.

So, a few days ago, I got a box from StackExchange:
How awesome is it that StackExchange's address is on Exchange Plaza?!?

Anyway, inside was a T-Shirt:
and some assorted stickers and writing implements:
Forget any academic credentials -- this is some exciting nerd cred!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012


My parents recently had our two old and falling apart sheds torn down. Now my parents back yard has a distinct lack of sheds.

A new shed is clearly required and my parents started shopping for one.  Its turns out that store bought sheds are expensive and crappy. It was suggested that I design and build a shed.  So I have designed a shed.
It is a wee bit over-designed and I haven't framed out the door yet. However, I now know how to frame out at one story building.  You will probably be hearing more about this in the future.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Pictures from a 4 year old

I saw this great instructables about kid-proofing a camera, and I decided to do this for our older son after he broke our camera. This is his camera:
And here's a self-portrait of the photographer:
He's taken some good pictures of his younger brother:
And some great pictures of him, too:
Here are some still-life shots:
The whole, semi-curated album, updated occasionally, can be seen here:

Thursday, October 11, 2012

A new paper

I just had a paper, "Light localization, photon sorting, and enhanced absorption in subwavelength cavity arrays" (based on some of my dissertation work) accepted for publication in Optics Express. It's now listed on their Issues in Progress page, and the journal is open access, which means the full-text PDF version is available for free.

The basic idea is that the structure we designed and made:

can spectrally and spatially split incoming radiation into different holes in the metal, where it is almost entirely absorbed. This is pseudo-color plot (from a simulation) of where the absorption happens inside a single unit cell of the structure:
For the rest of the info, read the paper!

E. Lansey, et al., "Light localization, photon sorting, and enhanced absorption in subwavelength cavityarrays," Opt. Express  20, 24226-24236 (2012).

Sunday, October 07, 2012

Loud Bicycle

Hey everyone, check out a new project I'm working on with famed blogger Aryeh/Andrew
Loud Bicycle

Also if you have a moment, please fill out this survey,

Thanks so much!