Tuesday, December 29, 2015

It's a girl!

Last Tuesday evening, Stacy gave birth to a 8lb, 4oz baby girl. Stacy and Baby are both home and doing well.
I'll blog about her name at a later point

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

my Magic Eye pictures, used as album art

I was just investigating a strange bump in the number of hits to my personal website and I discovered something. Almost all of these new hits were from Google image searches landing on a page I made talking about Magic Eye stereograms.

I've always had a surprisingly large number of hits for this page and I always though it was for my most awesome magic eye... this one below which is a 3D topographical map of Antarctica and it is drawn out of penguins. It has been shared numerous places (all without my permission and most credit).

But no, by far the more popular image on the page is the one below. The base for it was drawn crudely by hand and is just a crooked spelling of my last name with some random circle blobs at the top right. Based on a few of the albums it has been shared in, it seems that the look of the picture brings back memories of all those poor quality graphics that were everywhere in the 90's. So people share it, amazingly right alongside some really well done stereograms of cool stuff!

The most hilarious location has got to be - the zooboks safari album art. Their whole site looks kind of like a magic eye and they topped it off by choosing my image for their album art.

Check it out and listen to the music here:

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Google's Food Detection Algorithm is Not Bad

I was scrolling through Google photos when I noticed they had auto-categorized some of my pictures. Overall I have to say their algorithm was not too bad. It was able to recognize (from left to right) a watermelon, a microscope picture of a strawberry and a microscope picture of homemade bread. Taken with my smartphone microscope of course.

It trips up a bit when it gets to what the majority of my photos contain ... bike horns. These particular images show me digitally marking up an early 3D printed horn prototype to communicate design changes to Chris, the industrial designer for Loud Bicycle.

While we are on the topic, please check out the Kickstarter for the new bike horn that will be even better than the last horn. As of this posting we have not yet reached the goal, so please support it!

And for that I present what I think is the very first animated GIF in LanseyBrothers Blog history.

Seriously though, have we ever had an animate gif before?

Friday, November 13, 2015

national grid has no idea who we are

National Grid has absolutely no idea who we are, so they addressed the envelope to "Or Current Resident"

Sunday, November 08, 2015

New Loud Bicycle Kickstarter

Thanks to everyone in my family who helped! I couldn't have done it without you!

To back the project and get a Loud Mini pop over to this link: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/lansey/loud-mini-bicycle-horn

Thursday, November 05, 2015

A new paper

I just had a paper, "Measurement of Photon Sorting at Microwave Frequencies in a Cavity Array Metasurface" (based on some of my dissertation work, believe it or not) published in IEEE Transactions on Antennas and Propagation. It was a ridiculous review process and I owe many thanks to Isroel Mandel for his efforts getting this darn thing published. This is not an open-access paper, so let me know if you want a copy.

The basic idea in this paper is an experimental extension of previous results. In the previous paper, we demonstrated in simulation how electromagnetic fields are spectrally and spatially split into different regions of a metamaterial structure. In this paper we report how we measured this field splitting:
We also demonstrated how this method might be expanded to include three different, distinct absorption frequencies.

For the rest of the info, read the paper!

Lansey, E., et al., "Measurement of Photon Sorting at Microwave Frequencies in a Cavity Array Metasurface," in Antennas and Propagation, IEEE Transactions on, vol.63, no.10, pp.4521-4524, Oct. 2015

Tuesday, November 03, 2015

Monday, October 26, 2015

Don't believe everything you read on the internet

We finally have the real Abraham Lincoln that is credited with that famous quote
Don't believe everything you read on the internet just because there's a picture with a quote next to it. –Abraham Lincoln  
Thanks https://favordelivery.com for the glasses.

Sunday, October 04, 2015

file exchange pick of the week

After five years up on MatlabCentral, my little script to plot histograms has been selected as a "pick of the week" by Mathworks. Pretty cool - I'm even getting a free T-Shirt. The best part is that I finally have something to show Eli that Matlab appreciates me as much as Mathematica appreciates him. Next time I hope they take a look at my beautiful line colors submission to matlabcentral so they can choose something besides this random green color :P

Thanks Matlab!!

Thursday, October 01, 2015

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Another pedantic letter to the editor

Last week this article was published in the Teaneck Suburbanite, with the following lines (emphasis added):
Trains carrying Bakken crude oil from North Dakota travel through Teaneck and other Bergen County towns regularly before arriving at a refinery in Philadelphia. Their numbers have increased exponentially in the past few years, and several derailments have occurred in Canada and across the United States.
Well, I felt the need to respond, and this week they printed my letter to the editor:
To the editor,
A recent article about the freight trains carrying Bakken crude oil running through Teaneck ("Resolution for trains to stop idling passes", Sept. 17, 2015) claimed that "[t]heir numbers have increased exponentially in the past few years..." This is not correct. "Exponentially" is not a more dramatic way of saying "rapidly" -- it means "at a rate proportional to the current value".
According to data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration (http://eia.gov/dnav/pet/pet_move_railna_a_epc0_rail_mbbl_m.htm), crude oil traveling by rail from the midwest (i.e. North Dakota) to the northeast (i.e. Teaneck) has increased roughly linearly since 2012, at a rate around 4.3 million barrels per year (see: http://imgur.com/B9HmRfC), which corresponds to approximately 6,000 extra tanker cars per year.
While the (linear) rate of increasing oil traffic may still be very concerning to residents, like myself, who live within the "danger zone" of the tracks, we should, at the very least, be accurate in our descriptions of the situation.
Eli Lansey, Ph.D.
Here's the plot I link to:

Sunday, September 06, 2015

handle fell off of vistaexplorer tripod fix

TL;DR; find the square nut; look on the back side of the tripod and pop the bolt back in.

I've been using the VistaExplorer tripod from Amazon for a while now. It essentially does the trick. Basically it has all the features you might come to expect from a real tripod - but built in a kind of cheap and slightly rickety way. I personally would much prefer a cheap sturdy tripod with fewer bells and whistles, but as far as I know this is the best cheap tripod out there.

There is a somewhat common problem of this handle popping off, and the little square nut popping out of its slot. This post from 2013 explains the issue well with this little knolling image.

Here is my little cell phone image where you can see the correct location of the nut after I popped it back in. Happy fixing!

Saturday, August 29, 2015

The guide to napping at work

Ever since you read my definitive guide to curing stress you have been wondering about the best way to nap. Your questions have been answered with my official non-scientific guide to napping at work.

Nap gear:

Your fleece/sweatshirt is your friend here. Roll it up and use it as a pillow. Bubble wrap envelopes work really well for supporting your butt, or yoga mats if you have some on hand. Don't get too comfortable though or you might not wake up on time.

Nap location:

If you have your own office, its easy, just close the door and lay on the floor. I work with an open floor plan nowadays though - but if your company is cool enough to have an open floor plan then they probably also have little phone-booths with chairs you can kick back in. The key to napping upright in a chair is the lean your head back on something (your sweatshirt). Your neck won't support your head once you fall asleep so if it isn't supported you'll wake as soon as you nod off.
Don't nap on your desk. It is best to separate your exact nap location from your exact work location or you might think about napping too much.

Nap length/time:

I usually set my alarm for 20 minutes, but find myself waking regularly after about 15 minutes. I wouldn't recommend napping for longer than 20 minutes, but if that works for you then okay!
For me the best time to nap is sometime after lunch, anytime between 1 and 5. I know its naptime when I feel like I can't keep my eyes open and can't stand on my feet. This is easier to feel if you have a standing desk; and if you don't have a standing desk then go and make a standing desk.

Falling asleep / waking up:

Don't think about napping or about trying to fall asleep, I usually think about something technical like trying to find a solution for something at work. The key is to keep muscles relaxed, don't move. The truth is it doesn't matter if you actually fall asleep - having a uber relaxing moment is still great!
When you have that moment that you realize you were just asleep - that is when you get up. Don't wait for your alarm, don't lament that it was "only five minutes." Congrats you napped!

Feel free to comment if you have questions!

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Turn your phone into a T-Pass

This is kind of an old project - but I don't think it has been blogged yet. The "T" passes for the subway in Boston are great - but they are an extra card that you need to carry around. They work with RFID so the essential parts are an antenna and a small chip.

If you soak the card in some turpentine you can with-care separate the plastic bits from the antenna and chip. I slapped mine on to the back of my phone. The first time I gave it an extra loop so it could fit underneath a round Loud Bicycle sticker. The next time I just put it underneath some clear packing tape which made it function a little better.

If you are trying this for the first time - please make sure to use a Charlie Card which doesn't have much cash on it just in case you toast it.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

LoudBicycle Horn on CitiBike

I use CitiBike as part of my commute, and I wanted to use it with a Loud Bicycle horn. I needed a quick and easy method to attach and release the horn, so I bought an inexpensive spring clamp. An arm of the clamp fit perfectly in the channel for a bike tube:

All that was left was to mount it on the bike. It simply clips to the front of the basket. I found it helpful to stabilize it by running the elastic band as seen in the picture below. First attach the band to the top two posts (as if you were restraining a bag or something), then clamp the horn (clamp between band and basket), and then just detach the band from the posts and hook it around the front of the clamp.

All that was left was to strap the button next to the bell

 And ride on!

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Fun craigslists posts

As usual - having fun posting some things on craigslist.

My old microwave
Where I linked some great microwave recipes from my old online cookbook.

But the foosball post is golden:

Also let me know if you live in Boston and want a rusty grill+propane tank or a most-inefficient air conditioner  which sucks hot air in from outside while it cools.

Thursday, July 09, 2015

Office pigeon

Here is a pigeon that hangs out on a ledge outside my office window:

Wednesday, July 08, 2015

Growing supermarket sweet potatoes

Six months ago I planted a bit that was growing off the end of a sweet potato inside of an orange juice bottle. The other day I had to repot it and ... Wow! Some baby sweet potatoes were almost randomly scattered around the roots. I'm going to eat two tiny ones but most I repotted to see if they grow bigger.
Note: the bolt cutters were needed to get the Orange juice bottle open.

Friday, July 03, 2015

Pizza credit card with a bite

After many rejected custom credit card images and a few successes painting my own credit card design with a marker – I found that the marker paint would wear off too fast. Inspired by my previous pacman design, I was finally able to slip a card design past the capitalone censors, and have some fun with it too.

The pizza card arrived yesterday and I haven't had a chance to use it yet. If asked "did it come that way" as people always ask about the pacman card – my plan is to say "no, it came as a full pizza pie but this one time I was really hungry ..."

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Appropriate tissue use

 I noticed this on the bottom of a box of tissues in a doctor's office:
Check out those extreme "Directions for Use":
It is a violation of Federal law to use this product in a manner inconsistent with its labeling. Use only as a facial tissue.
I am not the first person to notice this bizarre warning. Someone even wrote a hilarious song based on it:

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Norfolk Botanical Gardens

The week before I left Norfolk (I may even tell you where I am now while I am still here), I visited the Norfolk Botanical Gardens.  I visited after the cherry blossoms had mostly fallen, but the azaleas were fantastic.

 This flower had both pink and white petals in it.

 I don't believe these are azaleas, but they are still pretty.
 Crape myrtle is the city tree of Norfolk and here are a whole bunch of them.
The Norfolk airport is right next to the gardens.  In fact this picture was taken from the gardens airport overlook spot.  The airport and gardens were actually opened the same year.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

First, Last, Middle

Our shul has two small sets of the Talmud on the shelves. The other week, I noticed something strange:
Check out the volume on the right. For those who can't read this, on the spine of the book it lists the tractates contained within. However, translating the first three:
    1. First Gate
    2. Last Gate
    3. Middle Gate
The book on the left has the correct order, First - Middle - Last; the inside of the book on the right is in the correct order. Apparently, the person typesetting the cover messed up. C'mon, you had one job!

Friday, May 29, 2015

Mailing labels

This post isn't about labels you use for mailing ... it is about actually mailing a label. These days I'm in the business of shipping bright orange 2.5lb boxes around the world and sometimes funny things happen.

This postage stamp, connected with two packing slips, escaped free of the little customs baggie on the box, aaaaaaand traveled all the way to the customer in Norway. Actual box with the bike horn was nowhere to be found, they literately received exactly what you see here in this picture and nothing more.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

My letter to the editor

On May 14th, Jesse Pistachio wrote a Letter to the Editor of the Teaneck Suburbanite. This elicited a response last week by Steven Mather (second letter). Well, I felt the need to respond, and this week they printed my letter to the editor:
To the editor,
I am writing in response to the "Perhaps try slowing down" letter from May 21.
I wholeheartedly agree with much of what Mr. Mather writes regarding the correct response to a "road bully". I, personally, am happy to drive with cruise control set to 25, with an aggressive driver riding my tail.
However, I must point out an inaccuracy in Mr. Mather's letter. He states "Getting someplace five minutes FASTER [emphasis mine] is not worth the life of the person you might hit while driving so fast in these neighborhoods." The entire stretch of Sussex/Garrison -- the road under discussion -- is just 1.9 miles long. Driving at 25 mph, nonstop, takes 4.6 minutes. There is no speed one could drive which would get you across town five minutes quicker; traveling infinitely fast will only save you 4.6 minutes. Even if you consider the worst-case-scenario of waiting at a full red light cycle of the traffic light, you would need to drive at approximately 1,900 mph to save five minutes, thus exceeding the current land speed record by a factor of 2.5!
So, for the record, driving at 30mph saves you 45 seconds, 35mph saves you 1.3min, and 45mph saves you a whopping two minutes.
Eli Lansey, Ph.D.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Self-contradictory highway sign

We occasionally pass this sign on the way to work:
I'd like to point out a few things:
  1. This picture was taken from the passenger side of the car. Be safe when driving!
  2. The splotches are an artifact of a refresh rate, moving car, and cellphone camera. In real life, it looks solid.
  3. I am incredibly annoyed by the different fonts and sizes of the two different 13s. It's a digital sign with digital fonts, not sure how this screwup happened.
  4. Finally, the left part of the sign says "13 MILES  l3 MIN" And yet, the speed limit sign says 55mph. Which is it, folks? At 55mph, it should take 14.1 mins to travel 13 miles, so rounding to nearest integer, it should say "13 miles 14 minutes". On the other hand, if you're travelling at 55mph for 13 mins, you travel a distance of 11.9 miles, so rounding to nearest integer it should say "12 miles 13 minutes". In fact, using rounding (nearest integer, ceiling or floor) there is no way to get (rounded to 13) miles in (rounded to 13) minutes. So, I think it's safe to drive at 60mph there, and rely on physics in when you get a ticket.

Monday, April 27, 2015

Yoni goes to Korea

And as usual does not get into any trouble...

Note that my Hebrew and Chinese/Asian name is Yoni, 由你.