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desmond tutuArchbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu, affectionately called The Arch, and his wife Leah celebrated their sixtieth anniversary today. I’ve long admired his jovial, opinionated intervention in South African politics — both before apartheid ended and beyond.

The Arch is patron of Braai Day, what’s not to like and admire about that?  Read More »

grove of titans - redwood by drainhook (cc)

Caption: Drainhook’s photo of a magnificent redwood in the Pacific Northwest, reproduced under Creative Commons.

In my quest to find and see some giant redwoods I planned a drive down the dusty Howland Hill Road in Jedadiah Smith Redwood State Park: You can take a virtual trip down this dirt road in Google Maps using street view — six miles of a rough, narrow, winding road. In doing my map research a tantalizing nugget of information came into view, Grove of Titans, what was that? More research reveals it to be the site of some record breaking redwoods, exactly what I’d like to find and experience. These titans, as giant redwoods are called, have names: Aldebaran, Aragorn, Eärendil and Elwing (maybe also known as the Fused Titan or Chesty Puller), El Viejo Del Norte,  Del Norte, Lost Monarch, Screaming Titans and Stalagmight.  Read More »

chicken sous vide - lemon pepper chicken

This post asks the question: How best to brown fish and chicken after poaching them sous vide? Then follows an experiment with chicken.  Read More »

While many of my foodie friends gravitated to Yelp* I stuck with Urbanspoon — but the site, especially on mobile, became a mess after Zomato took it over. Now that Zomato have replaced the old app with a new one of their own branding, its looks have improved — although the functionality is still a bit off.  Read More »

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Researchers at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology recently proved that smart key fobs which allow a driver to unlock doors and start a vehicle without touching the fob are vulnerable to a simple hack — by extending the distance the fob and vehicle can communicate with one another.  Read More »

atmospheric pressure 2Caption: ALPs students at East Woods experience the “weight” of the atmosphere …

Good friend, photographer and videographer, Michael Fairchild invited me to assist him recently in making a video of the ALPs program students at East Woods learning about atmospheric pressure. In addition to using an up cycled fridge compressor to do basic experiments in a vacuum chamber we opened with a simple demonstration using a large garbage bag and a domestic canister vacuum cleaner — the aim being to let the student crouched inside the bag feel the full weight of atmospheric pressure, something we do not ordinarily experience. Read More »

scam screen1 - Unknown

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Today I bumped into a tenacious little scam, an image file I linked to from search results (can’t remember which unfortunately) yielded the screen above — and then an impossible to dismiss popup floated over it urging me to call “Apple”, the page’s header name, since my Mac had supposedly been compromised. It’s obviously a scam, so I dug around. Read More »

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Caption: This video walks you through the steps described below — it’s mostly silent until the audio output is restored to the speaker for testing/playback …

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One of my perennially popular blog posts is a movie review — Symbolism in “The Ninth Gate”  with over 100K views to date — which could benefit from a few video clips lifted from the movie. I recently wanted to record a few clips from a movie streaming on Netflix for another review — only to find that Mac’s QuickTime Player and Safari conspire to prevent me from screen recording. So I futzed around until I got it to work. Today a friend asked how it could be done, so having to write it up for her, I thought to share the process in this post … Read More »

logitech c920 camera Even though Macs are not listed amongst the system this webcam will run on and in spite of Amazon reviews suggesting it works with Mac, I found that it didn’t work for me on my Mac, not without some additional software — I have an 11″ MacBook Air under OS X 10.10 Yosemite. So why buy it? For the purportedly awesome HD quality and H.264 audio compression. I’ll speak to those claims when I have more experience with the camera. For now I want to quickly help you get the camera working on Mac. Read More »

2014 was an adventurous year interrupted with some back surgery — which conspired to keep me away from my blog for a while. I built myself a laptop stand that worked in conjunction with a zero gravity garden chair and hacked an Ikea standing lamp into an iPad stand to use bedside during my recovery when mobility was painful and limited. The laptop stand has since found its way into storage but the iPad stand is a firm favorite of mine, waiting to serve me in the dark of night …

laptop stand and chair 2 laptop stand and chair 1

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bm - staches copy

Bo-Ashley having recently graduated with a B.Sc. in Architecture and myself in recovery from back surgery: We stuck with a plan long in the making — a father-daughter road trip to Burning Man. Crazy, but fun and unforgettable. Regrettably all too short, so we’re planning a return run in 2016.  Read More »

diversity - ukranian easter

Being active in the diversity and inclusion movement within the newspaper I work for, we’re out doing the essential research for hosting a Ukrainian Easter event. The Cultural Festivals team and our cafeteria’s Executive Chef head on down to the East Village of New York to visit a butchery, a restaurant, a museum and a Ukrainian Orthodox Cathedral.

Caption: The team and our hosts at the Ukrainian Museum in New York City …  Read More »

device music and videoMany of us, since upgrading to iOS 7 have been unable to properly sync up our Video and/or Music. The sync cancels before completing; music turns up listed in grey on iPhone or iPad — the so called “ghost” songs; video cover art may show but have zero byte length and won’t play; songs may appear in device playlists but either won’t play, seem to need downloading from the cloud or show with an incomplete download circle; sometimes trying to play the list will simply have it scroll through all the listed songs in quick succession without making a sound. Any of this sound familiar?

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sous vide yoghurt temperatures

These jars of milk, left to right, were heated to 45, 55, 65, 75 and 85°C respectively, prior to being cultured at 45°C for 8 hours. Then a teaspoon of each placed on an incline plane tilted to about 30° for a few seconds to see how far each would run.

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red hook blocks

Today we Jeeped our bikes over to Red Hook in Brooklyn, New York to explore a shabby neighborhood showing signs of gentrification — with an intriguing range of sights, restaurants and shops. It was an interesting adventure!

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