Thursday, December 29, 2016

Why are phone-books still a thing?

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Clever Google driving directions

Oh Google ... nice job there avoiding that super-long traffic light there.

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Where is Jonathan/Yoni update

I'm back in Boston and the skies look so unbelievably blue to me; and at noon it looks like sunset.

Since I just got back from Thailand.

And back from China.

And Singapore ...

And Japan too... yes Japan

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Putting things on top of other things

I love it when people stack things up, and nobody does it better than the people in China.

Even the locals were taking pictures of this it was so incredible.

and an unrelated bonus picture of this truck stacked with cardboard.

Tuesday, September 06, 2016

Aryeh Cooks: Smoked Chuck

This weekend I decided to smoke some chuck.

I started with about 4.5 pounds (two kilograms) of chuck rubbed with a mixture of fresh course ground black pepper and kosher salt.

Then into the Sous Vide bath at 155 degrees Fahrenheit for 36 hours.

After 36 hours I pulled the meat out, patted it dry, and then gave it another rub of fresh course ground black pepper and kosher salt.

Onto a 300 degree Fahrenheit indirect heat grill.  I have a pan of water under the meat to act as thermal ballast and to try and prevent additional moisture loss (the meat lost half its weight from beginning to end, but now I have a pot full of meat drippings).  On the other side of the grill above the flames I have an aluminum foil boat loaded with apple wood chips.  I added some chips ever 30 minutes for a 3 hour smoke.

Off the heat with a bit of smoke penetration to form a bit of a bark.

Sliced across the grain.

On some homemade baguette with lettuce and tomato.  It is as delicious as it looks and the backyard smelled amazing for the 3 hours I was smoking it.

Thursday, September 01, 2016

Do not innovate unnecessarily

For fans of The Tick animated series, who also work in labs, I felt the need to recreate a rather hilarious sign in the background in a scene from The Tick vs. Dinosaur Neil:

My re-creation can be found in printable form here.

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Chinese GPS Enabled Bike Share Mobike is the best

Over the past few months, at least ten thousand public bikes have appeared all over Shanghai. The bikes are orange and you can see them all over the sidewalks, including these two bikes here.

Each bike has its own GPS and cellular data connection so when you want a bike you just pick one from the map. The map below is an actual screenshot, it is crazy how many there are. You can reserve the bikes for 15 minutes so nobody else grabs it as you meander over.

When you get to the bike you scan the QR code with the same app and it automatically unlocks... and you are off! Down one of the many dedicated bike lanes or streets with generally slow moving traffic.

When you arrive at your destination, park the bike on the sidewalk in a designated bicycle parking area (just a regular spot designated for any bicycle) and slide the lock closed.

The price is crazy cheap, you pay a reasonable deposit of something like $60 and then every hour is 20 cents! Yes I'm not kidding. Essentially free. If you were crazy and rented it for 24 hours nonstop it would cost you less than 5 dollars.

The design of the bike is all about keeping the production cost and maintenance cost low. The wheels are cast metal in one piece, probably iron. The fenders are small, plastic, and identical for the front and back wheels, except the addition of a reflective sticker on the back fender. The gears and brakes are internal and the wheels appear to be made of solid rubber so they won't ever go flat. The seat height is non-adjustable. That is the absolute worst part and sadly precludes me using these for any long rides - so I'll say that again: the seat in not adjustable and is super-short.

Since these bikes are so new, it is not uncommon to see people checking them out for the first time.

If you have any questions let me know in the comments!

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Back in Shanghai

Also, if you can get to it, the Facebook earth notification icon switches!

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

5 steps to make your backyard a parking lot

Here are instructions for how you can turn your entire backyard into a huge parking lot in just 5 easy steps. Steps 1-4 are absolutely required, step 5 depends on what neighborhood you live in.
  1. Don't think of the children
  2. Don't care about urban runoff pushing pollution into the rivers, lowering the water table and enhancing droughts
  3. Don't care about the heat island effect that will roast you in the summer
  4. Pour cement into your yard and keep on pouring until every square inch of grass is covered
  5. Look like a complete jerk compared to your urban gardening neighbors

Sunday, June 05, 2016

Alternate resume updates

The website I used to call my "Alternate Resume" just got three projects added to it that I'm really proud of.

The first is a way to see heart rates visually in real time using a laser and assorted junk. To learn more follow this link to the DIY Ballistocardiogram Bed. This was done with friends Brian and Sima.

Photo of the key setup

This is what the heart rate looks like on the wall

This is what the signal looks like (using open CV)

The second is a neat way of seeing and photographing stresses in plastic containers. The images are really cool, follow this link to see more birefringence effects in plastic.

The third is just one new story in a lifetime of playing in the snow. There is a video and a bunch of GIFs and you can read about how it came to be over here

As always, feel free to share what you like and feel free to comment and question if you have any!

Monday, May 16, 2016

Racial Bias in 911 Operator

I recently had a few experiences calling 911 which I would like to share, though I won't name any of the cities involved (it wasn't Denver).

One caveat here is that apparently 911 centers are not as well funded as they should really be.

The most recent was when I saw an unattended backpack. First I called the non-emergency number, but they just transferred me to 911. I'm going to paraphrase here:

911: "911, what is your emergency?"
me: "I have found a suspicious backpack"
911: "Where is it located?"
me: [give the exact location]
911: "what does it look like"
me: "A black Jansport backpack"
me: "it looks exactly like the backpack on the 'if you see something say something' posters"
[It really was a splitting image of the backpack on the poster barely 200 ft. away.]
911: "do you know whats inside of it?"
me: "I don't know, I didn't touch it"

911: "are there any wires coming out of it or anything"

me: "I don't see anything coming out of it, just a backpack"
911: "Okay, an unattended  backpack, with no wires coming out ... so what is suspicious about it?"

The tone of voice made it sound like they weren't going to do anything about it.

I once noticed a shop-lift occur, and chased the getaway vehicle on my bike, taking photos. I called 911 right away, and part of my conversation included:

911: "do you know what race the person was"
me: "I can't be sure what race they were, I only saw them from the back, and on a dark street"

911: "were they black or Hispanic?"

STOP RIGHT THERE, the moment they ask the question this way, it introduces a huge bias in the data collected. Despite my conscious attention to think independently, at that moment I couldn't help but imagine the thief as black or Hispanic.

I read the license plate out to the operator and described the car, but surprisingly the operator said they had no capacity for me to actually send them the photos. Thanks John Oliver and the last week tonight team for raising these issues. Hoping we can get more public support for 911 centers!

Sunday, May 08, 2016

Awesome construction photos

Construction in Boston is booming right now. Here is a collection of photos I've taken over the past few months.

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Don't flush your hopes and dreams down this toilet

I've been in back in England for about a week now, and I've discovered a major problem facing modern British society. The issue is that the sewage systems in British buildings are not sufficiently robust to provide for the extensive sewige-based disposal needs of the British public. See for yourself in these toilet signs below:

Saturday, March 26, 2016

IBQ Exclusive Cancer Insurance for Ladies

While I'm on a middle eastern theme (talking about SA import commodity restrictions), I recently discovered that:
Not really sure what else to say so I'll just include some screenshots including this very popular – stock photo:

And here are the benefits including that sweet free cancer insurance. Just what women want from their banking institution.

And the link with handy custom url 'ladiesbanking'

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Truth in advertising

After searching far and wide in Home Depot, asking multiple salespeople for help, and finally finding them at the bottom of a shelf in a random aisle, I agree completely with the descriptive label on these drawers:

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Saudi Arabian Import commodity restrictions

As part of my ongoing adventures with Loud Bicycle I'm learning a lot about shipping. Last time it was that a strip of a mailing label and connected packing slip can be shipped across an ocean and arrive at the destination with no evidence of the actual box. Now some customers in Saudi Arabia have raised concerns about their shipping regulations.

Just to call out a few of these here,

  • Car horns are OK but annoying car horns are not allowed. You know what I can't blame them really since they are probably talking about these car alarms.
  • No Christmas Trees, with a capital T. Sounds like a real War on Christmas.
  • Frogs mean, seems oddly specific, what about newt meat?
  • Musical greeting cards ... interesting, but seems kind of petty to ban these.
  • Massage equipment indecently packaged, I think we know what this is really about, but funny to imagine they had a big problem with massage equipment arriving in boxes like this:

    (could not find original source for this image, maybe here

I am not making this up, these are the real regulations, here is the document with all the information: