Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for December, 2008

Wifi Allergies

 

Science, it works.

Science, it works.

Last week walking around Nevada City I viewed a sign for an Alphabioticist. My parents asked me if I knew what that was. I thought about it. I quickly concluded based on my education that I knew of no such title or field and that it sounded fabricated. Of course I am willing to admit I am wrong so I looked it up online. In this case I was right and it is a blending of new age healing and religion (based on my source of Google).

This reminded me of something that I hate: Wifi Allergies.

Some people claim to have a heightened sensitivity to Wifi signals and that implementing programs like city or school wide wifi is detrimental to their health. I know that locally these claims prevented the city wide roll out of free wifi in Sebastopol

It is simply ridiculous. As a student of physics I find the ignorance of such claims appalling. Wifi radiation is the same radiation emitted by the sun, the earth, radios and even people. Wifi is between radio and infrared radiation, we are constantly exposed to radio emissions and are our bodies constantly produce infrared radiation. 

If someone was sensitive to electromagnetic radiation then they would suffer greatly from everything around them, sunlight and radios. Instead they are sensitive to just a particular band of radiation that of 2.4GHz or 5.0 GHz (depending on the wifi settings). I am assuming that they cannot be allergic to 2.4GHz as then they would also feel the same affects from cordless phones which operate at 2.4GHz.

Near the 2.4GHz band is the frequency used by microwave ovens: 2.45GHz. This may worry some but if we were directly exposed to this radiation we would just warm up like food in a microwave oven. The oven operates by thermally exciting water molecules so they vibrate and produce heat. So wifi at 2.4GHz is not effecting people.

This leaves the 5.0GHz band. Energy of high enough energy can hurt people, UV radiation and above causes skin cancer by altering the DNA in skin cells. But 5.0GHz is 100,000 times lower in energy then radiation produced by the body. It could excite a molecule similar to the way water is excited at 2.45GHz however this is vibrational energy and would just warm up the molecule. It does not have enough energy to break chemical bonds (which is roughly 1eV or visible light).

Claiming to be allergic to wifi without also being sensitive to the myriad other sources of electromagnetic radiation is unfounded and should not be taken into account when discussing development of large scale wifi plans.

Advertisements

Read Full Post »

Just waiting around

Just waiting around

Last week I finally received in my physics GRE scores. During my practice tests I scored low at first (500ish) and by the last two I scored 680 and 700. I was satisfied with this as a few people said that their scores went up when they actually took the GRE.

Not so for me.

My final score was 690, right between the practice scores of the most recent practice tests. Goes to show that they can be accurate in assessing ability consistently.

I would like to point out that my graduate schools received the GRE scores a full week before I received mine. I mean is is good that they sent them to schools first but I was also interested in knowing how I did.

With that last piece of required testing in as well as my fall grades I have been finishing everything up. For three of my universities I am done with submitting material. For two more I need to assemble packets of letters of recommendation and transcripts and some pieces of paperwork (like teaching experience and GPA calculations).

For the most part what remains is ensuring that all of my transcripts and letters of recommendation arrive at the schools. There has been some issues with my official UCSB transcripts counting for my official Edinburgh University transcripts but an e-mail to the schools easily clears this up without a problem. I just want to make sure that none of my applications are thrown out because of the application system registers something as incomplete.

And of course since one of professors air mailed my letters of recommendation they are likely buried in heaping piles of paper in some office somewhere, slowly being sorted by an underpaid undergraduate.

It is almost to the point of just waiting.

Read Full Post »

 

A Lensbaby view of a closed door.

A Lensbaby view of a closed door.

I spent the weekend at my grandmother’s house in Nevada City.

Nevada City is an interested town for me to visit, it sits in the middle of the Gold Country in California Sierra Nevadas (it is not in Nevada) about an hour from Lake Tahoe. It is very much a tourist destination with a very quaint main street lined with stores and architecture. There are a lot of things for a tourist to see and do there.

Since I grew up there (at least spent summers) I never viewed it as a tourist destination or looked at it as a traveler. This time around I tried to see it through new eyes and a new lens. I took my Lensbaby through the main street and up around looking at houses. 

I find that walking around taking travel-esque photos with my Lensbaby to be somewhat difficult. With the Lensbaby I need to keep in mind most things that are automated with other lenses, this in turn made me take more time to consider a photo before taking it, I had a lot fewer random photos and more thoughtful ones. 

Nevada City had a lot of natural beauty in its forests, streams and mountains. I never considered this as they formed the backdrop to my childhood, it is only in comparison to other regions that I realize how heavily forested it is. For one of my photos this provided a good bokah backdrop to the foreground. As most of the trees are evergreen the background persists even if one is visiting in late December.

Next time I will be there will be in the summer and I hope to finally do some long exposure water photography.

Read Full Post »

Holiday Ingredients

 

It is mostly sugar.

It is mostly sugar.

I have gathered that there are several main ingredients that make up the holidays: sugar, meat and alcohol. 

Personally I am a big fan of the first and a solid fan of the last. It is a sad day when the Christmas candy and holiday cookies run out. They are such an effective means of dealing with the dark days of winter.

Read Full Post »

 

Diesel not so thrilled with his new hat.

Diesel not so thrilled with his new hat.

For Christmas I received a Nikon SB-400 flash for my camera, which is good because it is what I asked for. I wanted the flash unit because I never use the flash on my camera, I always utilize ambient light. With the seperate flash I will be inclined to actually use it as it will not directly drain the batteries of my camera.

Of course I now need to learn how to use a flash. The operation of the unit is fairly simple: place on camera, lock, turn on and tilt. I have not delved into the usage of the flash my camera, I have just used it on the default P setting (regulated the shutter speed to 1/60″).

I used it today at my grandmothers to take photos of our dog Diesel (seen above). I couldn’t use ambient light as I do not have a lens fast enough for the light of the room, I also needed to catch him in motion as he attempted to thrust his festive hats off of his head. 

I found that the angle of bounce for the flash is fairly easy to ascertain given the room and the subject. I did not use much of the direct on flash but opted for either 30 or 45 degrees. Straight up was not too useful so far but I bet that it will be useful. Except for the part where the closer to straight up the flash goes the more you blind yourself with the flash, always fun.

One thing I want to investigate with the flash if if I can trigger it manually either on the camera itself or separately. I want to try out high speed photography where you have something in a dark room, use a long shutter and use the flash to capture the motion. The SB-400 might not do this as it is just a basic flash unit.

Read Full Post »

Packing Heavy

 

A curious pelican.

A curious pelican.

For the first time my immediate family was broken apart for Christmas. It was not from a divorce, rather it was my brother going to Colorado with his girlfriend (her family) for Christmas. What shocked me about this revelation was the packing.

My brother grew up in the same household as I so he knows how to pack light and all of that good travel stuff. However his girlfriend has not traveled that much and so she was never taught how to pack light or the benefits therein. 

She could fit inside of her suitcase and zip it up.

My family and I were shocked at the size of the luggage and the shear amount of stuff. I realize that Colorado is a particularly cold place this time of year but I was nonetheless amazed. They were weighing their bags for the flight. Not their carry-on bags but their checked luggage. The maximum allowance was checked, several jackets were worn on. It was a lot of stuff.

They were only going for nine days.

We were worried about the trip since my brother does not have a current passport. It had to be pointed out to us that a passport is not needed to go to Colorado. We are not used to flying domestic.

One week or one month I pack the same carry-on amount of stuff (except going to Edinburgh to live for a year). So seeing the ginormous bags for the week startled me. I see now why there are websites dedicated to packing light.

Read Full Post »

Merry Christmas

 

Taken with my new circular polarizer.

Taken with my new circular polarizer.

I want to with everyone a Merry Christmas.

And I mean that in a completely non-religious way. I take the Christmas approach of the Japanese, all of the decadence and commercialism with none of the religious aspect. I feel that it is a good cultural holiday with good traditions (trees, presents and cookies) and just always happens to coincide nicely with winter breaks.

Enjoy the holiday or at least enjoy the slow lengthening of the days now that the solstice is past.

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »