New York in time-lapse — a teaser

March 14, 2013

Another time-lapse film by Samuel Orr, this one on a city, “New York Day.”

I said it is a teaser.  Orr wants to do a longer film, but needs some financial backing to get it done.

Details here:

Please go to the Kickstarter project page and help support a longer version of this short film

I shot this film over 4 trips to NYC 2011-2012. The time-lapse sequences you see here were made (mostly) from hundreds of thousands of still images. A Canon 7D and T3i were the main cameras, with backup from a couple of older Nikon Coolpix 5000 point and shooters. A few clips are sped-up video.

Many thanks to the generosity of the musician/composer who allowed his great celtic track “Sawjig” to be used;
Ben Rusch aka Jasmine Brunch

For more info on this and other projects;


March 14: π Day! A π roundup, mostly pie

March 14, 2013

Of course you remembered that today is pi Day, right?

Pi Day Pie from

Happy π Day! Pi Day Pie –

Oh, or maybe better, π Day.

We’ll start with the brief post from a few months ago, and then build on it with some activities and posts from around the WordPress-o-sphere.

The good people at suggest a few ways you can celebrate:

Make (and Eat) a Pie – These pie recipes for Pi Day from NPR’s McCallister look incredibly tasty. But, there’s no shame in putting a frozen store-bought pie in the oven, or picking up a pie from your local bakery. Any kind of pie is great on Pi Day! If you’re making your own, get inspired by these beautifully designed Pi Day Pies. Tell us on Facebook: What’s your favorite kind of pie for Pi Day?

Hope your π Day is complete as a circle, and well-rounded!

How are others celebrating?  A look around WordPress:

At SocialMediaPhobe, a musical interpretation of pifeaturing the music of Michael Blake:

So Long Freedom:

pidaypieToday is March 14th, also known as “Pi Day” for us math geeks out there because March 14th (3/14) is the first 3 digits of π (3.14159…).  To celebrate “Pi Day” I highly recommend doing something mathematical while having some pie at 1:59 pm.  I recommend Yumology‘s S’mores Pie as it has 3 main ingredients (chocolate, marshmallow, and graham cracker) and about 0.14159 other ingredients like sugar, butter, and stuff.  If you are not a math geek, its okay…you can still eat pie and count things like how many stop signs you pass on your way back to work from lunch.  Or you could go to the library and take out a book on something fun like binary code.  As we like to say, “There are only 10 types of people in the world:  Those that understand binary and those that don’t.”  Seriously, binary is as easy as 01000001, 01000010, 01000011.

Miles Free at PMPA Speaking of Precision:

Today 3-14 at 1:59  I will be celebrqting Pi Day. 3.14159 is the value of pi to 5 decimals...

So besides being  the cause of much techie “irrational” exuberance, Pi Day  is a great way to get some engagement with students.

Marymount High School has several activities, last year they had a design competition incorporating pi; the students then made and sold buttons of each design, proceeds going to the Red Cross.

Hmm- math subject matter, design, production, sales, accounting.

Sounds like what we do in manufacturing.
Maybe celebrating Pi Day is not so irrational as first thought.

Free said his pie is peach.

Steve Doyle at CraveDFW:

On March 12, 2009 your lawmakers  passed a non-binding resolution (HRES 224) recognizing March 14, 2009 as National Pi Day. It is one of the more legit holidays we discuss here, and it is actually an homage to geeks everywhere who see the date as a reason to celebrate due to its mathematical implications. We say any reason to celebrate anything is just fine by us.

Since we are predominately about food we will suggest a few places to actually enjoy a pie.


If you followed us at all this week you may have seen the pie at Bowl and Barrel pop up on our pages. This is the uber delicious Butterscotch Pie served as the solo dessert at the bowling alley and restaurant.  Go eat one of these.

He’s got more pi pie, if you click over there.

Gareth Branwyn at MakeZine offers more pie and a mnemonic:

How to Remember Pi to 15 Digits


By way of sci-fi author and mathenaut Rudy Rucker’s Facebook wall comes this:

One way to remember the first few digits of pi is to count the letters in the words of this phrase:

“How I need a drink, alcoholic of course, after the heavy lectures involving quantum mechanics.”

[Image via FreakingNews]

Another song, on YouTube, at Awsomesauce: offers this clock image (is this clock for sale somewhere?):

A clock for pi day

TED Blog offers two videos:

Chirag Singh explains his “passion for pi.”

Daniel Tammet, “Different Ways of Knowing:

Geeks are really out in force today, flaunting pi for all they’ve got.


Happy birthday, Albert Einstein!

March 14, 2013

How many ways can we say happy birthday to a great scientist born on Pi Day?  So, an encore post.

E=mcc - logo from AIP

E=energy; m=mass; c=speed of light

Happy Einstein Day! to us.  Albert’s been dead since 1955 — sadly for us.  Our celebrations now are more for our own satisfaction and curiosity, and to honor the great man — he’s beyond caring.

Almost fitting that he was born on π Day, no? I mean, is there an E=mc² Day?

Albert Einstein was born on March 14, 1879, in Ulm, Germany, to Hermann and Pauline Einstein. 26 years later, three days after his birthday, he sent off the paper on the photo-electric effect; that paper would win him the Nobel Prize in Physics in another five years, in 1921. In that same year of 1905, he published three other papers, solving the mystery of Brownian motion, describing what became known as the Special Theory of Relativity and solving the mystery of why measurements of the light did not show any effects of motion as Maxwell had predicted, and a final paper that noted a particle emitting light energy loses mass. This final paper amused Einstein because it seemed so ludicrous in its logical extension that energy and matter are really the same stuff at some fundamental point, as expressed in the equation demonstrating an enormous amount of energy stored in atoms, E=mc².

Albert Einstein as a younger man - Nobel Foundation image

Albert Einstein as a younger man – Nobel Foundation image

Any one of the papers would have been a career-capper for any physicist. Einstein dashed them off in just a few months, forever changing the fields of physics. And, you noticed: Einstein did not win a Nobel for the Special Theory of Relativity, nor for E=mc². He won it for the photo electric effect. Irony in history.

106 years later Einstein’s work affects us every day. Relativity theory at some level I don’t understand makes possible the use Global Positioning Systems (GPS), which revolutionized navigation and mundane things like land surveying and microwave dish placement. Development of nuclear power both gives us hope for an energy-rich future, and gives us fear of nuclear war. Sometimes, even the hope of the energy rich future gives us fear, as we watch and hope nuclear engineers can control the piles in nuclear power plants damaged by earthquakes and tsunami in Japan.

English: Albert Einstein on a 1966 US stamp

Albert Einstein on a 1966 US stamp (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

If Albert Einstein was a genius at physics, he was more dedicated to pacifism. He resigned his German citizenship to avoid military conscription. His pacifism made the German Nazis nervous; Einstein fled Germany in the 1930s, eventually settling in the United States. In the U.S., he was persuaded by Leo Szilard to write to President Franklin Roosevelt to suggest the U.S. start a program to develop an atomic weapon, because Germany most certainly was doing exactly that. But while urging FDR to keep up with the Germans, Einstein refused to participate in the program himself, sticking to his pacifist views. Others could, and would, design and build atomic bombs. (Maybe it’s a virus among nuclear physicists — several of those working on the Manhattan Project were pacifists, and had great difficulty reconciling the idea that the weapon they worked on to beat Germany, was deployed on Japan, which did not have a nuclear weapons program.)

English: USSR stamp dedicated to Albert Einste...

Everybody wanted to claim, and honor Einstein; USSR issued this stamp dedicated to Albert Einstein Русский: Почтовая марка СССР, посвящённая Альберту Эйнштейну (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Einstein was a not-great father, and probably not a terribly faithful husband at first — though he did think to give his first wife, in the divorce settlement, a share of a Nobel Prize should he win it. Einstein was a good violinist, a competent sailor, an incompetent dresser, and a great character. His sister suffered a paralyzing stroke. For many months Albert spent hours a day reading to her the newspapers and books of the day, convinced that though mute and appearing unconscious, she would benefit from hearing the words. He said he did not hold to orthodox religions, but could there be a greater show of faith in human spirit?

Einstein in 1950, five years before his death

Einstein in 1950, five years before his death

When people hear clever sayings, but forget to whom the bon mots should be attributed, Einstein is one of about five candidates to whom all sorts of things are attributed, though he never said them. (Others include Lincoln, Jefferson, Mark Twain and Will Rogers). Einstein is the only scientist in that group. So, for example, we can be quite sure Einstein never claimed that compound interest was the best idea of the 20th century. This phenomenon is symbolic of the high regard people have for the man, even though so few understand what his work was, or meant.

A most interesting man. A most important body of work. He deserves more study and regard than he gets.

More, Resources:

Waiting for Comet Godot

March 14, 2013

Comet Pan-STARRS?

I just can’t see it.

The past two evenings, when it was supposed to be visible, we couldn’t find it.  Maddeningly, others have great photos of the thing.

Here’s a photo of where it was supposed to be the evening of March 12.  Nice sliver of a Moon.

A view to the west over south Grand Prairie, Texas, showing the sliver of the new Moon, but a no-show Comet Pan-STARRS, March 12, 2013.  Photo by Ed, Kathryn and Peanut.

A view to the west over south Grand Prairie, Texas, showing the sliver of the new Moon, but a no-show Comet Pan-STARRS, March 12, 2013. Photo by Ed, Kathryn and Peanut.

We watched for over an hour, from just after the Sun’s winking out in a blaze of orange (Texas dust and DFW smog).  We were shooting without a tripod, and so it was difficult to capture just how thin was the line of the Moon for a long time.  It was not a clear crescent, with mountains of the Moon providing jagged lines that glistened like a crystal glass necklace.  Longer exposures revealed the comet to other observers in other places, but not to us.  Perched as we were right on the edge of the Austin Chalk Escarpment, we were joined by a dozen or so others who hoped to see the comet, or who were just putting their BMX bikes away.

A more detailed, and grainy, shot of the Moon (with no comet):

New Moon over Grand Prairie Texas, looking for Comet Pan-STARRS, photo by Ed Darrell

Eventually the Moon stated its presence, but still no Comet Pan-STARRS, on March 12, 2013. Looking west over Grand Prairie, Texas.  (Yeah, probably would have been a much better photo if not handheld.)

Here’s a photo of where it was supposed to be last night, the evening of March 13.

Moon over Grand Prairie, no comet, 3-13-2013

On March 13, Comet Pan -STARRS rode directly underneath the Moon; it’s invisible in this longer exposure, though you can see the streaking lights of a jetliner flying out of DFW International Airport under the Moon.

It’s like waiting for Godot.  Waiting for Comet Godot.

Quoting from
People are bloody ignorant apes.  He rises painfully, goes limping to extreme left, halts, gazes into distance off with his hand screening his eyes, turns, goes to extreme right, gazes into distance. Vladimir watches him, then goes and picks up the boot, peers into it, drops it hastily.
VLADIMIR:  Pah!He spits. Estragon moves to center, halts with his back to auditorium.
ESTRAGON:  Charming spot. (He turns, advances to front, halts facing auditorium.)
Inspiring prospects. (He turns to Vladimir.)
Let’s go.
VLADIMIR:  We can’t.
ESTRAGON:  Why not?
VLADIMIR:  We’re waiting for Godot.
ESTRAGON:  (despairingly). Ah! (Pause.) You’re sure it was here?
ESTRAGON:  That we were to wait.
VLADIMIR:  He said by the tree. (They look at the tree.) Do you see any others?
ESTRAGON:  What is it?
VLADIMIR:  I don’t know. A willow.
ESTRAGON:  Where are the leaves?

It must be dead.



Brian Klimowski's photo of Comet Pan-STARRS, March 12, 2013

Other photographers found Comet Pan-STARRS. This photo comes via ” Brian Klimowski sends this picture from the countryside near Flagstaff, Arizona . . . ‘Beautiful show this evening!’ says Klimowski. ‘I took the photo from an altitude of about 9500 feet in the San Francisco Peaks near Flagstaff. A 1-second exposure with my Canon digital camera easily revealed the comet.'” Photo details: Canon 7D, 125 mm, 1s @ F/5.6. ISO 1250


Brilliant film: A Forest Year, from Motionkicker

March 14, 2013

Cousin Amanda Holland called my attention to this on Facebook.  Time lapse photography and a forest — heavenly to me.

More details from Motionkicker,  Samuel Orr:

help support my new time-lapse project at kickstarter!

A Forest Year was made from 40,000 still images taken from my front window over 15 months, and were blended into the film.

Find out more about how it was made at

Special thanks to Johnny_RIpper for letting me use his music.

Tip of the old scrub brush to Amanda Holland and the National Forest Foundation.


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