Friday, September 13, 2013

Two-fers on the Interweb!

Today was a good day!  Well, good for being at work, anyway!  I love my job, working on some of the most interesting telescope projects in the world!  We use a net work and the Internet often, both for communications between coworkers, searching for items to buy, and believe it or not, when watching big mirrors go roundy-round for hours, it helps to pay attention to go interwebbing for a bit now and again.  What I really like is finding a site that scratches two itches at once - you know, discovering something that interests two of your interests at once.  I found a couple of those today that I'll share with you...

First up is an amazing website/blog by Brandon Stanton, who writes "Humans of New York".  Now I've blogged about him before - he is a street photographer of some renown in NYC, posting typically a half dozen portraits a day of people and snippets of their lives.  It is an engrossing site, and it is easy to spend a lot more time than you intend to, looking at his images and learning a little about the subjects.  One of today's images is shown at left - a shot as part of a commemoration of "Fashion Week" in New York City.  As a stereo nut, what I love about it is not the item or colors or pattern, but the "accidental" 3D image caused by the pair of reflections from the glasses!  When you "parallel view" the two images, you get a very nice 3D image of the woman holding the purse!  As opposed to my normal "cross-eyed" method of viewing stereo pairs, on this one, you look "through" the image - the goal is to look at the right image w/your right eye and left image w/left eye.  Try it, you will be amazed!  And don't forget to go to go to Brandon's site for more portraits.  Near the top of the page is a link to his trip to Iran earlier in the year - just amazing stuff!  Photo by Brendon Stanton.

The other discovery I made today was an essay on the New York Times online "Opinionator" page of comments.  I was looking for the latest Dick Cavett column - he writes about once per month about show business, his TV show from the  '70s (I was a big fan - an Iowa farm boy watching big city showbiz!), and stories from his amazing life. Nothing new from him on this visit, but up at the top of the posts was a very nice essay by former astronomer Pippa Goldschmidt.  Now how often do you see astronomers having their say on the NYT - almost never!  Her essay conveyed a lot of what I expect many professional astronomers feel - a closeness to the stars by deciphering their hard-won secrets even though these days they are working from well-lit warm offices to do their observing that might as well be in their living room, not on a mountain observatory...  Her essay leads her to a not-too-distant prison that used to house opponents to the then-just ended Pinochet regime in Chile where she did a lot of her observing.  She concludes as an astronomer that it was easier to discover what makes a distant quasar tick than understand people and why they treat others the way they do.  It is interesting reading, and as you would expect from the Times readership, the comments are generally enlightened and interesting as well - make sure you check those out underneath the essay.   I might have to track down Pippa's book that has just come out.  Artwork at left by Brendan Monroe for the New York Times.

So you see, it was nice to make a couple discoveries that covered several interests at once!   The fun is in the searching AND discovering!


Anonymous said...

there is no clearly defined "relationship" between quasars, stars, heavenly objects and their observers; save observation and acquisition of data. by their nature "they" interact very little with anyone. (yes, some could argue this)

all human relationships are, by far, seriously more complex. " when at times the mob is swayed, to carry praise or blame too far, we may choose 'something like a star' to stay our minds on, and be staid"

Choose Something Like a Star

O Star (the fairest one in sight),
We grant your loftiness the right
To some obscurity of cloud --
It will not do to say of night,
Since dark is what brings out your light.
Some mystery becomes the proud.
But to be wholly taciturn
In your reserve is not allowed.

Say something to us we can learn
By heart and when alone repeat.
Say something! And it says "I burn."
But say with what degree of heat.
Talk Fahrenheit, talk Centigrade.
Use language we can comprehend.
Tell us what elements you blend.

It gives us strangely little aid,
But does tell something in the end.
And steadfast as Keats' Eremite,
Not even stooping from its sphere,
It asks a little of us here.
It asks of us a certain height,
So when at times the mob is swayed
To carry praise or blame too far,
We may choose something like a star
To stay our minds on and be staid.

Robert Frost - 1947

now, returning back to earth, where's your buzz cut dean?

Anonymous said...

you are correct, the iran photographs are very interesting

buzz cut? :-)

Melinda said...

No need for Dean to have a buzz cut. One of us needs to have hair! He shows his love and support of me in greater ways. :)

Anonymous said...

ok, if you say so... however, i believe "hair" is overrated. I've had my own buzz cut in recent years, if you get my drift. in some ways i eventually found it to be very liberating.

blessings to all : )