Saturday, April 24, 2010

Family Came, Family Left

This is another blog not about my bike trip so I will try to keep it short (given there are many pictures). My family visited for two weeks and I showed them around the East Coast. We organized the trip so well that I didn't miss any research group meeting. I did miss one class but it was after the final project presentations. Hopefully it didn't affect the students too much. (Sorry students...)

My family arrived at the JFK Airport. We first took a train to Washington D.C. and spent a weekend there. Here are two pictures of the Washington Monument and Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall.
The left picture was taken with my 10.5mm fisheye lens. The right picture was taken with my 18-200mm kit lens (at 200mm). The reflective surface of the memorial wall was designed to overlay the engraved names and the visitor, which "symbolically brings the past and present together". Why (still) war?

I needed to go back to Boston early for the class but my parents and sister stay in D.C. until Tuesday night. My sister took this amazing picture:
It was heavily photoshopped (using Apple Aperture, actually) to add more color. Nevertheless, you should focus at the beautiful Kelvin-Helmholtz pattern. I won't go into the details of the physics but I may do it some other time.

We walked around the Harvard University Campus. Within the Harvard Yard, of course, we got a picture of the John Harvard statue (or the statue of three lies)
We also went to couple other places including the telescope on the top of the science center. In downtown Boston, my sister took this nice picture, which embeds the old state house into a modern background.
And here are two pictures in the New England Aquarium showing a sleeping turtle and showering penguins (both are very cute).

We spent a Sunday driving through the Cape Cod and went all the way to Provincetown. It was raining in Boston but we were lucky enough that the sky cleared up in the South. And we got couple impressive pictures.
We went dinner in the No Name Restaurant back in Boston. The review of this restaurant is controversial but my family like it. After dinner, we stopped by the CfA. I showed them some 3D stereo visualizations in my office. It's funny to see myself wearing the polarized 3D glasses.
Unfortunately the image in the picture is not my own simulation. I should write an other blog on my 3D stereo setup and show my turbulence simulations there.

On Apr 19th, my parents and sister went to take pictures of the Boston Marathon while I was busy meeting some of my students. I actually have couple friends running in the Marathon. However, my sister never met them so she couldn't take them pictures.
In the late afternoon I joined them again and walked near MIT.

Because of group meetings and talks, I had to stay in Cambridge for a couple more days. My parents and sister went to New York City Tuesday morning. I met them Wednesday night. We simply visited the very standard tourism places. I guess we are not big city fans (although/because we are all from Hong Kong).

It was two very nice weeks. Now I need to catch up my research. The Sila project is finally approved by the the Savannah team (yeah!!!) so I need to spend time setting up the website. I should also prepare my presentation in the coming group meeting (on Wednesday). Anyway, if you are interested, you can find more pictures in this Facebook Album.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Science Magazine

The Science Magazine has a few articles by John Bohannon this week on the Galileoscope project. News of the Week summarizes the current status of the project and its impact on astronomy education. The Gonzo Scientist tells Katrien Kolenberg's amazing story in Senegal. You just have to read them! And guess what, this blog is mentioned there!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Greenway Connecting Canton and Hong Kong

This is not really about my trip but I saw a very exciting news. The Canton Province (in China) and Hong Kong governments agree to build a "Greenway", which will be a bike route connecting different country parks in Canton and Hong Kong!

For the people who can read Chinese, here is a map from the Hong Kong based newspaper Ming Pao:

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Bike Re-engineering

Last night I had one of my most insane (but fun) experiences. I joined the Subversive Choppers Urban Legion (SCUL, see also wikipedia) and rode with them in the Cambridge area.

Long story short, I was building a circuit to charge my cell phone and computer with my bike. I needed some advices on choosing rechargeable batteries. So on Saturday, I showed up in SCUL's mission and tried to introduce myself (as well as my bike trip). I didn't have change to say much, but the people there were so nice that I ended up riding with them.

The ride was totally unexpected so I didn't take my camera. Here are few pictures that I took with my cell phone:
Look at these totally insane bikes! You can tell how impressive these people are (oh... and I'm part of them)! Alright alright, I didn't take myself a picture. In order to prove I was actually there, take a look at the SCUL photo gallery...

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Bicycle Touring Maps

I was so busy earlier this week. I applied a Savannah account to host my research code Sila (hence I need to worry about software licensing). Then I helped some postdocs and grad students to prepare their 3D stereo data visualization. Myself had a demonstration in Prof. Goodman's visualization class. And of course, there are few research papers that I suppose to finish...

Anyway, because my trip is going to start in three months, I better "be prepared". At the beginning of this week I ordered a set of totally 12 bicycle touring maps for the TransAmerica Trail from Adventure Cycling Association. The total for non-member is US$165.00. They are not cheap. But when I received the maps I was pretty happy about their quality.
The maps are not printed on normal papers. The feeling is the same as National Geographics' Trails Illustrated Maps, which are tear and water resistant. In terms of the content, I can find detailed direction of the TransAmerica Trail as well as campsite and post office! Post offices indeed play a key role in supporting my trip: I will need a couple of friends to ship gears to me.

There are more campsites along the trail than I expected. I'm hoping to do tent camping for most of the time. That will save more money for buying the Galileoscopes. Oh... by the way, I finally ordered one for myself so I can take it across America!