Sunday, March 29, 2015

March 17


Late in the afternoon of the 16th, I learned that one of my former co-workers had died.  It was shocking news -- I had not known she was ill.  There had not been much time between diagnosis and the 16th.  She was barely 40, and is survived by her husband and three young children.

She was a very nice person, who always had a smile for everyone.  She is sadly missed.

Another of my co-workers kindly offered me a ride to the funeral home.

The sky was amazing.

Remember to hug the people you love.  Time may be shorter than you think.

(I didn't want to take the camera with me.  These were taken with the phone.  It was mid-morning; the results show the ground as way darker than it was.  I've since been told I want to have the phone's camera set for HDR, which gives better results when the value contrast is high.

But I'm thinking that these images, with the dark ground and the amazing sky are probably entirely appropriate for the day.)


Saturday, March 28, 2015

March 16


The 16th was very warm.  Mid 60s (F).

It was the first day we've had the house open since last year.

Some of the neighbors were out enjoying the day.  See?  Upper right quadrant?  On an oak tree branch?  (We are looking through a screen door, which makes everything a bit hazy.....)

A closer crop, with the contrast raised.  Fox squirrel.

Later.  Interesting clouds over the grocery-store parking lot.

Remember we looked at the snow, right here, yesterday?  When it was still over a foot deep (in the shadow of the old maple)?


Friday, March 27, 2015

the Jim twins....


Here is part of a BBC video about twins who were raised apart, and meet as adults.

"The Jim twins" were the spark that started the Minnesota Study of Twins Raised Apart.........


quotes from Human Behavioral Genetics


This week in Human Behavioral Genetics (taught by Matt McGue) we are learning about twin studies.  We have been told that the evidence is clear and convincing that monozygotic ("identical" ) twins are more alike, as adults, than are dizygotic ("fraternal") twins.  Regardless of whether the twins were raised together by the same parents, or separately by different sets of parents.

This is true for physical characteristics, like height and weight, and it is also true for personality characteristics like how likely twins are to both be religious, or both be politically liberal or conservative.  Pretty much across the spectrum of human traits, monozygotic twins are more like each other than dizygotic twins are like each other.  Regardless of who raises them.

The quotes below are from "Sources of Human Psychological Differences:  The Minnesota Study of Twins Reared Apart" -- Thomas J. Bouchard, Jr.,  David T. Lykken, Matthew McGue, Nancy L. Segal, Auke Tellegen.

"Psychologists have been surprised by the evidence that being reared by the same parents in the same physical environment does not make siblings more alike as adults than they would have been if reared separately in adoptive homes."

"The genes sing a prehistoric song that today should sometimes be resisted but which it would be foolish to ignore."

Interestingly, IQ (only about 70% accounted for by genetics) is one of the traits that is most influenced by "nurture"........  We're going to have a whole week on IQ, later in the course.


March 15


Tulip-tree seeds, in the morning sun.

Closer crop of the above.  Seeds, remembering the shape of the flower that was.

Still some snow, where the sun don't shine (as much as other places).

This pile at the end of our driveway is over a foot deep.

A trip to IKEA.  We looked at lots of things.  Including these cute little roll-y cabinets.

Which come in a variety of colors, including orange!

The place where you pick up your furniture, when you are done shopping at IKEA, reminds me of the end of Raiders of the Lost Ark........  This pic doesn't how how many levels up there are.  Four or five, I think.....

Back home.

Hey, look!

I told you my daughter had taken up wood-working.  Look at the latest creation!  This is the first furniture to result from her efforts.

Isn't it cool?  With a drawer, and everything!?!

It is waiting for consistently warm weather to get its finish, but otherwise, it is complete.

It is excellent, to make things, and excellent to learn new stuff.  How cool, to get a result that is ... pleasing to the eye, pleasing to the touch, and functional!

Hooray!!!  :-)


Thursday, March 26, 2015

March 14 -- in fond remembrance of Pi Day 3.14.15


Gotta have pie on Pi Day, yes?

Pi Day, at Zingerman's Next Door.  Would you like rustic apple?

Lemon chess (at right)?  Jumbleberry (at left)?

I was asked if cupcakes count as pie.  No.  No, they do not.

Tarts, like these fine lemon meringue and grapefruit examples, yes.  Cupcakes, no.  I love cheesecake (at left), but that's not pie, either.

Mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm.  Pecan. 

I know this one is chocolate, and I think it's chocolate chess.

You know what I picked.................  Mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm...........

It was another in a long string of unseasonably warm days.  There were plants for sale at the farmers' market!

Aren't these planters of mixed grasses nice?  What a good idea! 

Another look, with a different exposure....  Lots of variety in those pots.  Excellent...........

Wow!  I haven't seen this much color outside since last October!  Yay!  These can grow inside, now, but can't be outside in winter temperatures.  I think they are kalanchoe.

Last fall's apples, with spring's new pussy willows.

I think apple-saving technology must be improving.  We are finding that the Braeburn apples from Kapnicks are still lovely, even now.  I haven't tried these apples, which are from a different vendor.

I don't suppose I'm going to be motivated to take pics of grocery-store flowers for much longer..........

They are nice, though, aren't they?  Busch's has a nice selection of bouquets.


Wednesday, March 25, 2015

promising new solar-energy technology


Here's an article about promising new solar-energy technology.


Michael Graves


Michael Graves designed everyday things with us in mind.

I wish more designers shared his mind-set.


March 13


Another Tree Town sunrise.

Walking.  It was very warm, for mid-March, day and night.  The snow was quickly disappearing.

Not long ago, this curb cut was nearly blocked by snow/ice dumped here by the snow plows.

Remember?  This pic was taken March 2......


Tuesday, March 24, 2015

monozygotic twins....


Here's a quote from my behavioral genetics class:

"We don't really know why monozygotic twinning comes about.  It does occur in other species, for example, in cats and other mammals.  But it really, as far as we know, only occurs regularly in two species.  Our species, humans, and one other species, armadillos."

Ok, that really struck me as funny.  We have so much in common with armadillos......................


March 11


Incipient daffodils in front of the yoga studio.  With snow.  This is the north side of the street.  There's still some snow here, despite the southern exposure.

Walking home after yoga (and after daylight-savings clicked in).  I haven't walked home from yoga in daylight for months..........

We are on the north side of the street.  Notice that we can't see any snow on this side of the street, but the other side (which does not have the benefit of that southerly sun) is pretty much covered in snow.


Monday, March 23, 2015

When your body becomes your password.......


I for one, am seriously looking forward to a time when I don't have to keep track of passwords for dozens and dozens of sites!

Here's an article which mentions several possibilities for biometric identification.

Bring it, I say.  Figure it out, get it right, and let's GO already.



March 10


The weather continued to be unseasonably warm.  No ice crust, as we noticed yesterday, and look at the grass!  We are looking east.  The sun is in the south, mostly, so the north edge of the sidewalk is a pretty warm place, relatively speaking.........


Sunday, March 22, 2015

in honor of the Iditarod -- corgi sled dogs



March 9


Remember how shiny and shink-wrapped-looking the snow was?  Just a few days before March 9?

After a couple of warm days (over 40F), the snow has lost its ice crust.  On the 9th it was so warm outside that I only wore a windbreaker when I walked.  I took it off half-way through my mile loop.  Here I am, wearing just a tshirt, with my windbreaker tied around my waist.

Pretty darn weird, to be out in just a tshirt, just days after there was ice on all the grassy places and frost on the early-morning windows!

Not to mention that it's weird to be comfortable in a tshirt when there's all this snow on the ground!


Saturday, March 21, 2015

March 8


Sunrise, on a partly-cloudy day in Tree Town.

Walking in the afternoon.

Remember all those gorgeous amaryllis(es?) we saw at the botanical gardens?  Here's mine.

I bought this years ago.  It lived on my office windowsill for many years, faithfully blooming every winter.  After a few too many years of the same old soil, it quit blooming, but it still put out new leaves from time to time. 

Last year I finally put it in a new pot with new soil, and look! It's going to bloom again!  Hooray!


Friday, March 20, 2015

snare complex.....



I've been saying that the chemistry and machinery that sustain life are so complicated it's mind-boggling to contemplate (let alone to try to understand).

This image shows one small corner of what it takes for one neuron to talk to another.  You (and I, and all of us) engage all of this (and so much more) every time one of your neurons contributes to your ability to see, hear, feel a touch, form a thought, move a muscle, etc., etc., etc.....................


Wow, eh?

It occurred to me that I wondered how many times a day we engage all of this, so I went looking.

"To ruthlessly simplify, treating all 86 billion neurons in the human brain as copies of that a single 'typical' neuron, ignoring all of the glorious cellular specificity that characterizes the brain, we’re left with a range of 86 billion to 17.2 trillion action potentials per second.

PER SECOND, not per day! And that's just the brain.....

While most of our neurons are in our brains, a lot are not...........

I don't use this word unless I mean it -- awesome......... !!!


Seriously depressed? You might want to try sky-diving......


Here's a post from my "Understanding the Brain" teacher, Peggy Mason.

People who are seriously depressed may be helped by sky-diving.


March 7


Broken ice crust on the driveway.

It's frustrating, trying to take a pic of white on white......  I've upped the contrast, but these pieces still don't show up as well as I wish they did.

Closer yet.

A place where the shrink-wrapped-looking snow/ice has been broken.

Someone built a construction out of pieces of ice crust.

And in some places, it's thinking about melting............

I was in the mood for something savory.  This is a roasted red pepper and farm cheese sandwich.  It's good.

Something about the light, and where I was sitting, meant that the signage (on the wall behind the people sitting across the table from me) was heavily reflected on the table.  I like the shadow of the plate and the sandwich and wrapper, above, and I like what happened with the bottom of a water glass, below.

Another look at the water glass, this time with a lot of its reflection.

Grocery-store flowers at Busch's.