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About this blog

Musings, science news, and miscellaneous cruft by Dr. Gravitas

Entries in this blog

Hey Cousin! You Want To Go Bowling?

Ok, I'll be honest: I'm never going to get around to uploading those vacation photos and writing out the rest of it. Moving on! The young cousin we met last year on vacation is coming to America to visit! The plan is right around the same time last year. My father is quite excited and has found a festival to go to with him and then were going to show him around the Midwest. The catch is, the tail-end of the visit overlaps with my plans to attend Anthrocon. While it's becoming increasin

DrGravitas

DrGravitas

Day 2: False Start and Latvian History

Geeze, I need to work on my Photoshop composition skills :\ After the first day's dinner, we had a day all to ourselves. Unfortunately, a combination of happenings led to it not being all that productive. We were up by 8:25, eating croissants and juice at a little shop a few doors down and out of the place around 11pm to do some sight seeing. Unfortunately, we were back in the apartment by 2:00 and promises and miscommunications on the possible arrival of our luggage led us to spending the

DrGravitas

DrGravitas

Day 1: The Trilingual Dinner

Oh where to being? With almost two and a half weeks of vacation, blogging about it to share pics seems like quite the task! But, I'll try not to drone on like I have in my other posts, but instead hit the highlights. A minor point: I tend to be rather private in certain ways, so don't expect names (I'll tend to stick to titles or some kind of nickname) or photos of the family (though I might show up in some from time to time.) I'll probably keep details on those bits light altogether, I'm not su

DrGravitas

DrGravitas

Riga Architecture

...Is stunning! Riga, Latvia is known as the Art Nouveau capitol of the world for its numerous fine examples of the architectural style. Old town, near where we stayed for the first stretch of the vacation, contains a number of examples but the finest examples are further into the newer sections of the city near the National Art Museum and the Art Nouveau museum. I still haven't decided how I want to do these blog posts, but I had a few images prepared already so I figured I'd post them up.

DrGravitas

DrGravitas

Vacation Photo Preview and Stats

A little preview of the photos of my vacation I'll be putting up at some point! (resized to fit posting directly to the forum) It'll be a while before I do write ups and photo dumps on my Latvia/France trip, though. As was the case with the Grand Canyon photos, nearly every one of the .jpg files saved by the camera tend to be more than 10 MB in size. Most of them will barely fit on a forum post because the software tends to choke on 6012x4000 res images (I think the thumbnail generator take

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DrGravitas

It Is A Good Day To Fly

Flight's actually tomorrow, but I'm packed and already over at my parents so I figure "why not start the blog travelogue?" As before, I don't know if I will be able to keep it up but let's see! If not, I'll switch to note-taking and update post-fact. The trip is to Latvia (and a little of France.) The flight over is in three parts: one small 'n short one first, then a 4-hour layover in Detroit (*snap* KEVLAR! I knew I forgot to pack something!), and then it's off to Amsterdam on an 8 hour f

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DrGravitas

Getting Hyped!

It's almost time for my vacation! Two and a half weeks away from work; a break I sorely need. I'll be going on a trip to Latvia with my parents and siblings. We're going to see the old country! My father's parents emigrated from there just before the WWII came to the country (in fact, my grandmother's apartment was apparently shelled not long after). Going to see some sights and try to reconnect with the past and some long-lost relatives. That will be the majority of the trip, though the tail en

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DrGravitas

WOLF PUPPIESSSS!!!

Such a cute science news story! A discussion of socalizing and play in wolf pups. Interesting, though not unexpected results. But PUPPEHZ!

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DrGravitas

Annual Compensation Adjustment

At The Company we are evaluated each half-year on our performance and assigned a value up to a max of 5. We also recieve an annual compensation adjustment (raise) and bonus, based on our assigned performance band for the year. This year, for the first time in the ~6 years I've been with them, I've managed a > 4.00 for both half-year performance assessments! Sadly, this actually has no impact on our performance band assignment. So this means that, for the 3rd year in a row, I have recieve

DrGravitas

DrGravitas

Live Blogging Corporate Harrassment Prevention Training

This guy's a showman, oh boy. 400+ participants and so many of them cant follow the naming rules necessary to get credit. Turns out it's general Harassment Prevention not just Sexual. Key takeaways right off the bat: pervasive and severe. All about the perception of the victim, regardless of the intent of the person doing it! Gee, who knew ? :V ______________________________________________________________ 14min in: No fewer than 4 Q&A pauses. Shared the path to

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DrGravitas

I Have New Books! Foxes Are Involved!

It's a modern translation of a 17th Century collection of Chinese short stories called "Strange Tales from Liaozhai". I think I'm going to enjoy it, Given what I've read in the preface, which summarizes some of the stories in discussing the author and his time period. Check out this excerpt summary: "... as [the short-story] 'The Fox Duo' (hu lian) demonstrates when a pair of female foxes attempt to seduce a scholar by tricking him into competing in a poetry contest that will end up with th

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DrGravitas

How Sweet It Is!

This article is a fun look into the incredible amounts of effort that goes into maximizing so many aspects of modern life. The quest is to take the sweetest natural sweetener and make it sweeter. Something as simple as taste and yet the article illuminates some impressive lengths taken in its analysis. X-Ray chemical analysis to determine which parts of the protein make it sweet. A background compendium of knowledge that tells us how the tongue senses sweetness. And finally, of course, experimen

DrGravitas

DrGravitas

American TV In China

An interesting article on phys.org today. It examines the way Chinese urban youth relate to American TV and muses on why it may be so popular.

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DrGravitas

AWW~! They Noticed

Look what showed up in my Christmas presents! My dad noticed me looking at it a bunch on our Grand Canyon trip and picked it up after I got on the plane to head back! ^w^      

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DrGravitas

Problem Solved

If you love mice, I suggest you skip this entry.   So, I caught my little guest. The one that had been leaving little droppings in my kitchen. He was a clever one, more so than I thought. Turns out he was too big to fit in the small trap, so that's why he didn't fall for that. He wasn't too small for the big metal no-kill trap, though. Instead, somehow he was able to steal the bait off the plate without triggering the trap. That thing was licked clean! I don't know how he managed it; I

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DrGravitas

Mice?!

Mice! In my kitchen! They left droppings on my sink! XC Time to disinfect it again! Augh! I knew I had some of the little pests. There was a brief presence when the first cold spell of winter hit. I put out my usual no kill trap, baited with my tried-and-true choice: butter and peanut butter. This has been successful in the past, but this time they didn't fall for it. Shorty after that, all signs of them disappeared. I left the trap out just in case, but it caught nothing. But they're back.

DrGravitas

DrGravitas

Caffeine Aquired; Coke Zero Replaced

I have found a successful caffeine replacement for my Coke Zero: V8 VFusion + Energy! Honestly, I thought it would taste like crap, but it was the only caffeinated drink that wasn't a soda or an energy drink loaded with way too much energy/caffeine. Much to my surprise it tastes pretty good, even for awful sounding combinations like pomegranate blueberry. As far as caffeine, it has more than most diet sodas, but still less than an average cup of coffee, so I can have it with dinner (as I did wit

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DrGravitas

Dambuster

Making a purchase is kind of like putting a hole in a dam. The bigger the hole, the more likely it is to expand in an flood of expenditures. That 'souvenir' I bought in Sedona was something of a dambuster. I need a place to put it. I have very little in the way of furniture or decorations in my place. So, I had to buy something to put it on/in. Since I was home for the Thanksgiving, I thought it'd take my mom out shopping for furniture; a nice way to spend some time with her. Plus, she's great a

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DrGravitas

I Need Caffeine!

This week, I decided to kick off a cola cutback initiative. That is to say, I forgot to buy more and decided to give going cola-free a chance for a week. While I like the idea, the absence of my dinner time caffeine seems to be hampering my after-hours productivity. Then again, I've also been stuck with after-hours work from my job, so maybe that has more to do with it. I think I'll keep the cola off and see how long I can go without it (I've got one can saved for Friday) but I really need anoth

DrGravitas

DrGravitas

Oh Boy! It's Nearly Here!

My shipment just got a tracking number! Soon I'll have the "little souvenir" I purchased in Sedona, Arizona. I already posted a picture of it in The Consumerism Thread, when I initially bought it. It was much too big and heavy to take on the plane, not that I'd want to risk damaging it by doing so anyways. (The airport had this lovely little wall of art, too: http://imgur.com/a/oSmZz ) There were tons of neat little gifts and souvenirs at the Grand Canyon. Sedona also has a ton of shops and art

DrGravitas

DrGravitas

The Mother Lode

Finally! Do you have any idea how long it takes to upload pictures this size to Imgur? Boy do I ever! These are a selection of the better images I pulled from my camera: http://imgur.com/a/bt6bN I also grabbed a few with my phone, including a handful of panorama photos! Not quite as good quality or as big, but there's still some nice ones. A couple filler images that were originally intended to be included with the travelogue Odyssey, LOLITS, Day 1, Campground, and Day 2 posts are present as wel

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DrGravitas

Day 2: And Then It Rained

Continuing with the second day of the hike, I figured I'd just give a quick run down of the highlights rather than a detailed story-like entry. I had the foresight to make notes at various points on the trail, so most of the important details are have not been forgotten, even though I didn't get as many pictures on the second day. The imgur pictures will be up either later today or tomorrow.   7:00 am - Up and at 'em! Still majorly sore from the day before, but it shakes of quickly and I'm left

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DrGravitas

Are You Ready (To See Some) ROCK(s)?!

Well the last entry had no votes and 1 like (thanks Vae!) so I'm going to post more I guess. Both images are from the second day of hiking. In the bottom image, you can see on of the long straight stretches that make up the majority of the middle and very start of the Bright Angle Trail. I'm working on Imgur galleries so I can post full size images with way more than 2 in a single post.

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DrGravitas

Holy High-Res Imagery!

6016x4000 That is what the camera takes these images at... but the image uploader chokes on that and they're nearly all over 10 MB in size, so here are some down-sized versions! Still 3008x2000, though! I took over 500 images on my trip but I expect a number of them won't have turned out well, as I am the most amateur of photographers. If there's any interest in this pair, I'll upload more! Maybe at a lower res, so I can fit more than 2 in a post...

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DrGravitas

At The Campground

As we shamble forward, dead on our feet, the lifeless rocky terrain of the South Kaibab trail gives way to a verdant oasis: the Bright Angel campground. A rich canyon floor dotted with colorful domes and colorful people. The hikers who periodically passed us on the trail were polite and friendly and the people of the campground are no different. Words of sympathy and encouragement wash over us as the canopy above dapples and diffuses the harsh sun into pleasant light. We find an open campsite, n

DrGravitas

DrGravitas

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