Wednesday, September 30, 2009

What I do for work: inside a pinhole camera

This is an image of some of my students with an image of the ASU parking lot on the back wall of the classroom; my students and I created the image by blacking out the windows with cardboard and then cutting a 2 inch circular hole in the middle to let in light. The image is inverted, so I have rotated this photo to show the parking lot right side up. (Check out the light poles to orient yourself.) Here's a drawing Margot did to help explain how this works and why the image is inverted:
More information is available on my Penland Science in the Studios Page.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Big fleas and giant rocks

If you need big fleas, you can get them next to Freds.

If, on the other hand, you need giant rocks, they are right near East Yancey Middle School.

What College Students Eat

A student in my first-year seminar class posted this image on his Facebook page -- a batch of bacon cheeseburgers . He was later arrested by a squadron of cardiologists in full surgical scrubs. (They released him to his own recognizance when they saw that he was actually quite fit and thin -- a wrestler and soccer player. Ah to be able to eat like that again.)

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Goldenrod in the evening sun

We may need to mark 2009 as the year of the goldenrod.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Tal passes the red/white blindfold test

Tal Galton displaying his ability to distinguish red wine from white wine while blindfolded with my hat.

Yeah, I know it sounds stupid, but several of us remembered reading in the New Yorker and/or the the New York Times about a red vs white blind taste test in which expert wine tasters couldn't always make this basic distinction. I found the New Yorker article, but couldn't find anything in the Times. The New Yorker piece is by Calvin Trillin and documents his attempt to corroborate that such a test was ever done with wine experts. That part is inconclusive, but he gets involved in some impromptu testing of his own and decides that "experienced wine drinkers can tell red from white by taste about seventy per cent of the time, as long as the test is being administered by someone who isn’t interested in trying to fool them." It's a pretty amusing story.

Our group of not-particularly-experienced wine drinkers were five for five with the red and white wines that happened to be in Jody and Jennifer's kitchen.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

I thought this day would never come

If I hadn't been forwarned, I might not have believed that this means what it means. Yes, it's what you think. The Burnsville square now works the same way as every other traffic circle in the world: all incoming traffic yields; once you are in the circle (or the square in this case) you have the right of way--meaning you don't have to remember to yield at every other intersection. After thirty years, I still had to think about this whenever I was drove around the square. Be sure to look for some crazy letters of protest in next week's paper.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Ever wonder?

Ever wonder what would happen if you drove over a bottle of calamine lotion?
Actually, I hadn't either, but then I came upon the answer.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Portrait of a ToastChee

I could start a whole other blog for pictures of student work from Penland, but I'm not likely to do that, so please indulge me in a little non-Celo content here. I was sorting pictures and came across this. It made me happy when I saw this in one of the studios and it made me happy again just now when I found this picture. I especially love the symmetry of the pins. I don't know who made it.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Sophia waves, 7:52 AM, September 8, 2009

Highway 19E, heading west near Spruce Pine;
James is at the wheel, with Maya and Sophia co-pilots.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Close encounter

Michael Fishbach sent over some pictures he took of this juvenile great horned owl. It spent a lot of time this week near Fisbach's house and also at Gaelen and Nicole's farm.

Gaelen and Nicole determined that it wasn't doing too well, so they caught it, with no resistance, and took it to the raptor center in Boone for rehabilitation.

Friday, September 4, 2009

one congratulation is better than none

Labor Day holiday this year is in honor of Margot!

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Taking the long way home

The residents of Lower Brown's Creek Road and Grindstaff Road are being a bit inconvenienced by the repair of this bridge. However, when it's done, we will be glad we don't have to keep dodging the giant pothole that's been there for the last six months.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

this fellow stung me today

Saddleback Caterpillar Moth larva: Sibine stimulea

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

More fungi

I found this critter in the grass a couple weeks ago.

This beauties are everywhere at Penland this time of year. They are especially nice this year. Too bad I didn't have anyone who could lie down next to these for scale--they are the size of dinner plates.