Monday, August 30, 2010

Mosaic of stars at the Chicago Stained Glass Museum

While on vacation we visited the Smith Museum of Stained Glass Windows on Navy Pier on Chicago. They also had an exhibit of mosaics. This mosaic, "When the Star Line Up For You", by Yulia Hanensen of Baltimore, Maryland in 2009 is made of smalti, coal, glass and gold. It was very beautiful in person and the straight on picture captures some of it, but the stars were three dimensional and bulged out of the mosaic. The picture below from the side captures some of the effect.

I would love this for my home.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Cell Phone Camera Photo Essay: Tunnels From Pittsburgh to Harrisburg

I happened to take a picture of each of the tunnels we traveled through yesterday from the Pittsburgh Airport Marriott where we stayed east to Harrisburg where we got off of the Pennsylvania turnpike to begin the southeastern slog to Delaware. As a bonus we took I376 through Pittsburgh so we got two extra tunnels to make up for the fact that we didn't drive hundreds of miles out of our way to go through the Lehigh tunnel, which is on the Northeastern Extension (I476), and definitely not on the way home to Delaware.

Fort Pitt Tunnel.

Fort Pitt Bridge, and Pittsburgh.

More Fort Pitt Bridge, and Pittsburgh.

Some cool wind turbines near Somerset, PA.

Some cool and huge electrical equipment on a truck.

Approaching Kittatinny Mountain.
Kittatinny Mountain.

Kittatinny Mountain and Blue Mountain are the double tunnels on the turnpike west of Harrisburg. You leave one and immediately enter the next.

After these tunnels we traveled over the Susquehanna river bridge which is not visually interesting, though the river below and the view of Three Mile Island is. However the best photography would come from stopping and taking a picture which would be too dangerous.

If you have a favorite tunnel from this photo essay, please comment.

Lifesaving sign for the alphabet road game

We play the alphabet game when travelling sometimes. You must find a word on a sign or somewhere on the road that begins with each letter of the alphabet. Vehicles and buildings and generally anything but what is in our own car are allowed. We allow a one letter pass, but still you always risk getting stuck at Q or Z. That's why this sign would come in handy.

The post doesn't say where this is. Technically we would need to see words starting with these letters and at the correct time in the sequence, so I would need four of these signs. Daury Queen can help with the q, as can a Quit Smoking billboard. We allow the Nissan Xterra for X, and that car brand also supplies the very helpful Nissan Quest. I have never seen a xylophone sale on a billboard so X is usually my pass letter.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Fayette Panorama

I took pictures of the harbor at Fayette on Fayette Day and stitched them together using Hugin. This is the resulting panorama.

It was a beautiful day for it.

Here are some more pictures of Fayette.

The Schooner Madeline.

Inside the beehive coker.

The beehive coker.

The smelters.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

The harbor at Fayette

The schooner Madeline was docked in the harbor at Fayette for Fayette Day to add even more historicity to the site. Though constructed in 1985, the schooner is a faithful reproduction of schooners that sailed Lake Michigan in the 1840's.

Beehiver Coker at Fayette

This is the outside of the beehiver coker at Fayette. Yes it looks like a beehive.

Looking up through the beehiver cokers at Fayette

Fayette had the ability to burn wood to make charcoal for iron smelting and they did it in large behive cokers. This is the artistic shot from inside looking up at the chimney in the roof. It was about 30ft tall.

The iconic smelters at Fayette on the UP

Fayette is former iron smelting site partially recreated to the way it was in the 1880's. The tall brick remnants of the two smelters stand over the sheltered harbor. He is one shot from across the harrbor and one shot looking up between them.

Escanaba Community Band at Fayette Day

We went to Fayette Day on the Garden Peninsula on the Upper Peninsula between Marquette and rapid river. A community band from Escanaba played in one of the former smelting halls and the acoustics were awesome.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Lake Michigan shoreline

Far out in the distance you can see some slight chop on Lake Michigan from the wind today. What we really need is slightly more breeze and temperatures lower than 85F. It's too hot on the Upper Peninsula right now. It's expected to moderate by Monday, I hope I can make it that long.

Flags flying at Ebb Tide in Escanaba

Three flags are flying at down at the beach at the cabin, Ebb Tide, on Lake Michigan near Escanaba. The US flag, the flag of Michigan and a flag that is the creation of my fathe-in-law of the sun rising ove the marsh and dunes.

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Cool insects on the Joe Pye Weed

The Joe-Pye weed (Eutrochium purpureum) is tall and flowering and was attracting butterflies, bees and spiders the other day (click photos for larger).

The butterfly is an Eastern tiger swallowtail (Papilio glaucus), though I didn't get him to pose to show the swallowtail better. It is the state butterfly of Delaware.

The bee.

And a very interesting, but shy and hard to photograph bright yellow spider.

If you know what kind of spider this is please post in the comments.

ZEIGHT license in Delaware

I spotted this Delaware license, ZEIGHT, in my travels. I had been racking my brain to think what the German word zeight could mean until I realized it was on a BMW Z series. Z 8 not zeight! For someone that takes as many personalized license plate pictures as I do I can be a little slow in their interpretation.

Zeit means time in German, and zeitgeist means the spirit of the times. Zeightgeist is misspelled.

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Fun with impossible captchas

CAPTCHAs are designed to make you prove you are a human and to stop a computer program from contributing to comment spam or other bad behaviors. Neatorama has a link to some extremely difficult captchas that make you prove you are super human.

One of my favorites is:

Firstly, I assume they want the solution to the equation in the box, my Russian is non-existent. The equation isn't too difficult once you parse it. I think that the limit is ln(2), because arctan(x) goes to 0 while sin(1/x) can only bounce back and forth wildly between -1 and 1 as x grows. You can see that in the graph below (click for larger).

However, the square root won't like the parts of the function when sin(1/x) is negative, but if complex numbers using i are allowed and we make this a complex function you would still get to ln(2) eventually. The graph shows these blank areas on every oscillation as x gets smaller and smaller as you move left on the plot.

Probably we should expand the functions into Taylor series and then do the limit (maybe using L'Hopital's rule also) to get a more rigorous result. Coincidentally, it also goes to ln(2) when x goes to infinity, this time because sin(1/x) goes to zero, while the arctan of x is bounded between -pi and +pi.

Monday, August 02, 2010

The Honest Hypocrite in Pencil

BoingBoing points to the painstaking miniature graphite sculptures of Dalton Ghetti. The letters above (click for larger) are from his alphabet sculpted from the graphite in pencil leads. I copied and pasted the letters from the whole set below.