Archive for September, 2002

Friday, September 27, 2002

Friday, September 27th, 2002

Optical Illusions

I’ve seen many optical illusions that make lines of the same length look long and short and so on, but I haven’t seen any colour illusions before.Grey and grey can be the same, yet look differently. More illusions here, but the Flash plugin is required for them. These are just amazing!

Links via Eleph.antville. Also seen at MetaFilter.

moifa: Around the World

New York Times: 36 hours in Santa Fe (free registration required). Of the mentioned places and sights, André and I visited the Plaza, the Museum of International Folk Art, Harry’s Roadhouse (great food, as Hal can also attest), Canyon Road (briefly), Pasqual’s, and the Bear Wallow/Borrego Trail. But we stayed in Santa Fe for almost a week instead of just a day and a half and of course visited more sights, for example the Georgia O’Keefe Museum. Besides, it’s a good place to get marriedfacehappy:

Link via Garret, of course.

Around Europe

Bad Münstereifel, the town where my school is, is twinned with Ashford, Kent in Great Britain, and our school has a partnership with two schools in Ashford. This year’s exchange between the schools will be accompagnied by three English teachers and yours truly. Even though I don’t teach English I have been asked if I wanted to come along, and of course I said yes. We will spend a week in Ashford and are leaving from Bad Münstereifel on the day after tomorrow. I’ll be back home late on Sunday next week.

Our schedule is packed with day trips: We are going to visit Bodiam Castle, Tate Modern Art Gallery, St. Paul’s Cathedral, the Science Museum, Dover Castle, the London Eye, the Tower of London, Canterbury Cathedral, and some other places I couldn’t find links for.

After we return from England, there will be one more week of school (which is going to be very busy for me), and then we have two weeks of autumn break.

Tuesday, September 24, 2002

Tuesday, September 24th, 2002

prism: Physics

New York Times (free registration required): Here They Are, Science’s 10 Most Beautiful Experiments. And on PhysicsWeb: The most beautiful experiment.

Links via MetaFilter.

My favourite experiment would be Newton’s decomposition of sunlight with a prism because I love optics and the beautiful rainbow colours. Foucault’s Pendulum is pretty amazing as well. But the most amazing experiment I did myself was building a laser during a lab course at the university. Of course I didn’t build it from scratch; the ingredients – mirrors, He-Ne-filled tube etc. – were already there, but it’s still amazing that you can get a laser started by adjusting those tiny mirrors micromillimeter by micromillimeter. It takes a lot of patience and you can de-adjust the thing by sneezing, but I was all the more impressed I got it running in the first place.

Speaking of physics… I’ve been teaching physics to 30 sixth-graders for almost a month now, and I had no idea how much fun it would be. During the first six months of my traineeship I taught 8th to 11th graders and found it easiest to understand and help solve the problems of the older students. Sixth grade is the first time students have physics lessons in German schools, so they don’t have any previous knowledge from earlier courses. I thought that it would be difficult to choose topics and experiments that would be interesting for them but not too complex and still easy enough to explain.

However, almost all of the students seem to be very interested in the topic I chose first – light – and eager to learn. They’re curious, open-minded and not afraid of explaining their views and opinions to their classmates even if they are not sure whether they’re right. They also sometimes surprise me by what they already know about phyics. The speed of light, anyone? And the time it takes light to reach the earth from the sun? (Yes, one of the six-graders knew the answers.)

And they ask interesting questions, sometimes even about things I never questioned or even thought about. The other day, we were talking about light that is not visible to the human eye, namely infrared and ultraviolet light. I explained that some animals see differently than we do. Bees can see in the ultraviolet range (but are blind to red), and I said that some flowers that are plain white to us are very colourful to bees. One girl then asked: “And what colour does the flower really have, white or ultraviolet?”

Teaching is fun, and it’s always good if the teacher learns something new as well.

Community

And by the way, Garret posted another gorgeous sunset photo yesterday.

Printer

I’m still looking for suggestions on what printer to buy

Monday, September 23, 2002

Monday, September 23rd, 2002

New Printer

I need to buy a color inkjet printer. Since André has a pretty good black-and-white laser printer and I’m not going to need the color printer all that often, I’m looking for one that is cheap but still prints okay. It should be less than US$ 100, if possible. And of course I have to be able to connect it to my Macintosh’s USB port. Any suggestions? (via comments or email)Thanks!

Does anyone happen to know the Canon S 200 or HP Deskjet 3420?

Neuer Drucker

Ich brauche für die Schule einen Farbdrucker. Da André einen recht guten Schwarzweiß-Laserdrucker hat und ich den Drucker nicht so häufig brauchen werde, suche ich nach einem Farbtintenstrahldrucker, der billig ist und trotzdem einigermaßen vernünftig druckt. Wenn möglich, sollte er unter € 100 kosten, und natürlich muß ich ihn via USB an meinen Mac anschließen können. Vorschläge sind herzlich willkommen! (via Kommentar oder Email) Danke!

Kennt jemand zufällig den Canon S 200 oder den HP Deskjet 4320?

Sunday, September 22, 2002

Sunday, September 22nd, 2002

Bundestagswahl

Update: BBC: German rivals neck and neck. “Exit polls from the German general election suggest the tightest race in the country’s post-war history. They give a razor-thin advantage to the governing Red-Green coalition, but conservative leader Edmund Stoiber is claiming victory.” Es bleibt spannend…

BBC News: Germans vote in closest post-war poll. Also see Questions and Answers: Germany’s election.

star:

Diese Woche in der Zeit

Forschung: Andere Rasse, andere Pille. “Mediziner und Genforscher beleben die Rassendiskussion neu: Sie fordern, Medikamente je nach Hautfarbe zu verordnen. Damit wollen sie genetischen Unterschieden gerecht werden.” Von Hubertus Breuer.

Stimmt’s? Stimmt’s tatsächlich, dass sich Sonnenblumen nach der Sonne drehen? Frage von Christoph Biemann, Köln.

Studentenbude: Die Quadratur des Wohnens. “Münchner Studenten können künftig in Würfeln leben. Das “I-Home” soll auf Platz sparende Weise die Wohnungsnot lindern.” Von Ivo Marusczyk.

Musik: Musik mit Affen. “Peter Gabriel ist längst vom Sänger zum Guru eines Multimediareichs geworden. Jetzt erscheint sein neues Werk ‘Up’.” Von Daniel Bax.

Leben: Meine Wahl. “Alle Macht geht von einzelnen Wählern aus. Was denken die sich eigentlich dabei? Sieben persönliche Wahlerlebnisse.” Siehe auch In vier Minuten, Streng geheim, Die verlorene Briefwahl, Helmut Schmidt und der getoastete Hirsch, Eine Stimme entscheidet und Der begeisterte Nichtwähler.

Reisen

Der Reiseteil dreht sich diesmal nur um Berge…

Bergwelt – Weltberge: Meine acht Tausender. “Es muss nicht immer der Nanga Parbat sein. Auch kleine Berge haben große Geschichten.” Von Stefan Schomann.

Bergsport: Hoch gestapelt. “Es ist der härteste Marathon Europas – und der schönste der Welt. Im Angesicht von Eiger, Mönch und Jungfrau windet sich eine Endlosschlange dem Schweizer Himmel entgegen. Erlebnisse eines Mitläufers.” Von Urs Willmann.

Bergbauern: Passt scho, oder? “Sie mähen, melken, schuften. Damit das Große Walsertal in Vorarlberg so schön bleibt, wie es ist. Kurt und Ernst sind Bauern. Mit Leib und Seele.” Von Monika Putschögl.

Pro: Geliebte Gipfel. “Weg vom Alltag. Hinauf in die andere, die wildere Welt. Es war das Paradies.” Von Renate Just.

Contra: Blöde Berge. “Nie an die Nordsee. Dafür dauernd nur kraxeln. Es war die Hölle.” Von Burkhard Strassmann.

Tuesday, September 10, 2002

Tuesday, September 10th, 2002

Photos from our trip

We got the slides from our trip yesterday. André started sorting them into the slide holders and finished today. I guess we’ll spend a couple of hours with this four-digit number of photos now. I sure am glad we decided not to frame the slides ourselves this time. And yes, some of the photos are going to make it to this website – once I’ve got time to select them, digitize them and put the pages together.

We’ve got tortilla chips and salsa to munch on, but they’re not as good as those you get in Mexican or Southwestern restaurants in Arizona and New Mexico.

Community

Congratulations, Tina and John, and welcome James Anthony!

Diese Woche in der Zeit

Noch ein Nachtrag zu gestern:

Reisen: New York: Abgewiesen! “Newark wird von Reisenden geschätzt, weil sie von diesem Flughafen aus schnell in Manhattan sind. An den Beamten der Einwanderungsbehörde führt aber auch hier kein Weg vorbei.”