Plant Progress

A little over a year ago, I saved the seeds from some fruit we had eaten and tried planting them. We planted lemons, clementines, and an avocado. These plants are now about 15 months old, and I wanted to post an update on their status. One of the lemon trees and one of the clementines are in the left-hand photo, and the avocado is in the right-hand photo. As you can see, they are all doing pretty good. There are another half-dozen or so lemon trees that aren't in this photo, and all of them are doing about the same. They are *just* starting to develop actual bark on trunks, so that's pretty good! They say that it usually takes about three years to go from seed to the plant producing fruit, so it'll still be a while. But it's kind of fun to know that I started these trees from seeds.

Feathered Ice

I came outside one morning to leave for work, and there was this really amazing, feathery ice pattern all across the roof of my car. The picture doesn't really due it justice - it was incredibly intricate and delicate.

10 Years – 1000th Post!

Today we celebrate the 10 year anniversary of the blog - and (not exactly coincidentally) our 1000th post! Thanks everyone! Here's to another 10 years!

42 Words of Wisdom: #18

Got this in a fortune cookie the other night - and immediately thought of Douglas Adams and the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy:

"In many of the more relaxed civilizations on the Outer Eastern Rim of the Galaxy, the Hitchhiker's Guide has already supplanted the great Encyclopaedia Galactica as the standard repository of all knowledge and wisdom, for though it has many omissions and contains much that is apocryphal, or at least wildly inaccurate, it scores over the older, more pedestrian work in two important respects. First, it is slightly cheaper; and secondly it has the words DON'T PANIC inscribed in large friendly letters on its cover."

Caught In the Act!

The other night I opened the downstairs medicine cabinet to look for something, and saw this odd arrangement of the kids' toothbrushes. Does it look like they caught it the act of ... ahem ... making sweet toothbrushy love?

42 Words of Wisdom: #17

    "I've come up with a set of rules that describe our reactions to technologies:

  1. Anything that is in the world when you're born is normal and ordinary and is just a natural part of the way the world works.
  2. Anything that's invented between when you're fifteen and thirty-five is new and exciting and revolutionary and you can probably get a career in it.
  3. Anything invented after you're thirty-five is against the natural order of things."

- Douglas Adams

I think I've hit stage 3. While I find a lot of new technology interesting, I don't find it quite interesting enough to actually take part in it. This is probably why I can't muster up any enthusiasm for facebook, twitter, smartphones, tablets (like the ipad), or any of that sort of stuff. Gosh dernit, you kids! Get off my lawn!

Kepler Discovery

There has been some buzz in astronomical news lately about Kepler, which was a program I worked on at SwRI (my last job). Kepler is a space-based telescope whose mission was to search one area of the sky over a long period for rocky, Earth-like planets. I've been very anxious to hear how its mission was going, and today I say this article - which totally made my day. Here's an excerpt that did it for me:

"...the results so far of the Kepler mission heralded a Corpernican revolution. Just as Corpernicus revolutionized astronomy by publishing data that the solar system rotated around the sun, rather than the earth, so too the data from the Kepler mission would lead to another scientific revolution. Rather than planets like earth being unique or an uncommon occurrence in the galaxy, they in fact are plentiful."

42 Words of Wisdom: #16

"Let us think the unthinkable, let us do the undoable. Let us prepare to grapple with the ineffable itself, and see if we may not eff it after all."

- Douglas Adams

I just now fixed a bug in our software at work that has been on my to-do list for a long time. I've dipped into debugging it a few times in the past, and each time I had to leave it unfixed to struggle my way back out of that code while I still could, before I could fall hopelessly behind schedule. But today, I defeated the beast. :)

42 Words of Wisdom: #15

"Today must be a Thursday. I could never get the hang of Thursdays."

- Douglas Adams

Nothing incredibly deep or insightful in this one - just a bit of mid-week silliness. How is your Thursday going?

42 Words of Wisdom: #14

"You live and learn. At any rate, you live."

- Douglas Adams

I read an article this morning about new research showing that you have to make mistakes in order to learn. Seriously? This is considered "new research"? This is what I have always believed, and is one of the fundamental principles of the way I raise my kids. To quote the article: "For years, many educators have championed 'errorless learning,' advising teachers (and students) to create study conditions that do not permit errors." To me that doesn't sound like learning, but rather memorization. And how long does memorization usually last? Just long enough to pass the test - that's how long. Being afraid of making mistakes just means that you will never really learn anything.