Late for Thursday

I was so busy working on finishing off a new article for 100 Proofs that the Earth is a Globe last night that I neglected to update here, so this is another “next morning” post. Not that there’s much to report – working on that article is basically all I did yesterday, apart from the usual daily life stuff like eating and taking Scully for a walk.

I’ve read that writing 1000 words a day is a good pace for a professional writer. I write up to 2000 words in a day for these 100 Proofs articles, plus the research and often creating diagrams as well. So that’s a pretty hectic work pace and doesn’t really leave time for much else.

New content today:

Moon proof

This morning I took a bit of a walk, to North Sydney and back. It’s a very hilly walk – like virtually every walk around this area of Sydney. It passes a number of stately old houses, and a few old sandstone churches. This one is St Thomas’s Anglican in North Sydney.

St Thomas' Anglican Church, North Sydney

Sydney is built on sandstone, and it’s the building material that characterises the city, with a lovely warm honey-coloured glow to new stone, that ages into a distinguished grey over time. It’s probably my favourite type of stone.

Back home, I worked on another Proof that the Earth is a Globe. I managed to dash that off relatively quickly, as it wasn’t a particularly complex one to write about. And I spent a bit of time doing some housecleaning and maintenance stuff, tidying up some odd jobs that have been lingering for a while.

And tonight my wife and I finished watching Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2, rounding up our complete rewatch of the movie series.

New content today:

Mail and sundials

My first job this morning was to go to the post office and mail off my Reddit Rematch Secret Santa stuff. I found a box at the post office that was almost the perfect size, which was good! Then I bought some groceries on the way home.

When I got home I realised my wife hadn’t removed some of the grocery items from our shared list (in OneNote) after she’d recently bought some, so we now have a lot of tortillas and beans…. I guess we have some enchiladas in our near future.

I spent almost all the rest of the day writing up that next Proof the Earth is a Globe that I started yesterday, finishing around 8pm. My brain is fried from research and writing… But it’s posted!

New content today:

Proofing Sunday

Much of today I spent finishing the Proof that the Earth is a Globe that I started yesterday. I ran into problems making diagrams, with my installation of Inkscape on my iMac, which was running as slow as a dog, with extreme lag in the interface. After struggling with this for some time I searched for any possible help and discovered that a new beta version of Inkscape was released just a few days ago. I downloaded it, and lo, it run much faster and was much more usable.

This morning Scully went for a pre-Christmas wash and groom at the dog groomer. While she was away, my wife and I took the opportunity to go to a cafe together and sit inside and have a decadent Sunday breakfast. We split a huge plate of roasted cauliflower, broccolini, chick peas, quinoa, and some other stuff, served with poached eggs on toast. It was meant to be a single breakfast, but we were both full after having just half each.

The weather was much cooler today, almost chilly, which is very unusual for around Christmas. The forecast for Christmas Day is only 27°C, which is relatively cool. Thankfully – I’ve had enough 40°C Christmas Days to last a lifetime.

New content today:

And exhale…

Saturday dawned ominously here in Sydney, with catastrophic fire conditions officially declared, temperatures forecast as high as 47°C, and fires approaching population centres on the outskirts of the city. I spent much of the day monitoring news, in between starting work on a new Proof that the Earth is a Globe (not ready to post yet). Fortunately, things didn’t go nearly as badly as feared. Temperatures barely broke 40°C across Sydney (possibly because heavy smoke kept some sun out). A few homes were destroyed in the town of Lithgow, and as I type this one man is missing – hopefully he’ll be found alive. The three highways west and south of Sydney were all closed due to fire today – at one point there were only two viable routes to travel out of or into Sydney – but these have been reopened this evening. Things could easily have been so much worse.

The weather forecast for the next few days is a lot cooler, slowly building up to hot again after Christmas. Hopefully the firefighters can take advantage and limit any further danger to populated areas.

New content today:

Beating the heat

I spent most of today working on the next 100 Proofs that the Earth is a Globe, which I posted a while ago. It’s about heat.

It wasn’t actually a very hot day today – today’s post title was really about completing that article. Still, I stayed inside mostly, because there was a hint of smoke in the air still from the bushfires. The weather bureau reckons this will hang around Sydney for weeks.

Early this morning I did make a trek to the supermarket to get some groceries. My wife drinks coffee – I don’t. She had coffee on the shopping list. I know the type she likes is “Medium roast, Strength 5”.
Looking at the shelves, I saw that a jar of that was $9. But right next it was the same brand, “Dark roast, Strength 8”, on sale for $6 for the same sized jar. There was no sale sticker on the Medium roast.

So I thought: if I get the Strength 8 stuff, and water it down an extra 37.5%, that’d be the same as Strength 5, right? And because it’s more watered down, I’d be using 37.5% less of it, so we’d be saving that as well. Which makes the effective price only $3.75 for the same size jar as the $9 medium roast. And if I buy a dozen jars of the Dark roast, we save a whopping $63 !

I’m sure that all the coffee drinkers out there would find this eminently satisfactory, yes?

However, I bought the $9 jar of Medium roast, because I know my wife. I told her the story, and she said she wouldn’t have minded if I got the Dark roast! 🙄

New content today:

Science assembly presentation

Today was the presentation by my Science Club kids at their school assembly, in front of the whole school. (I wrote about the preparation for this here.) Since it was at 2 o’clock, I decided to head out and get some lunch somewhere nearby, and then head to the school after that.

I went to a Spanish tapas place at Dee Why, a beach suburb. Here’s the view from my lunch table:

Lunch view

The meal was pretty good! I’ll have to come back some time with my wife and Scully. After eating, I went for a brief walk along the beach:

Dee Why Beach

And then back to the ocean pool at the southern end of the beach:

Dee Why Baths

There were a lot of people out for a Thursday lunchtime, enjoying the warm but not-too-hot late spring day. There’s still a bit of bushfire smoke in the air, which you can see in the photos, but it didn’t smell particularly bad today. Far out to see I saw a giant yacht on the horizon (a racing yacht, not a motor yacht). It must be out there with the crew practising for the Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race, which begins on Boxing Day.

The extra wide lens on my new phone camera is pretty cool:

November day at Dee Why

I drove over to the school and checked in with the science coordinator. She said that the preparation I’d done, writing a script for the kids to read along with the slides, couldn’t be found because the girl I’d written it with had been away for a week and hadn’t told anyone where she saved the file! So the other kids had had to write their own script from scratch!

At the school hall, there were a couple of rows of seats in the back for parents, although there were only a handful there. A woman came up to me and introduced herself as Belle’s mother, Belle being one of the girls in the Science Club. She thanked me for volunteering my time at the school and helping out with the kids’ science education, and said Belle was really keen on science. I said I enjoyed doing it, and especially showing the kids that if they like science then it’s possible to have a career doing it. We chatted for a bit before the kids filed into the hall.

There was some preliminary with kids getting weekly merit awards, and then the Science Club kids gave their presentation using the slides I’d prepared. Their script was a little bit wrong in places, but I don’t think it mattered much. It was great to see the kids on stage talking about all the experiments we’ve done this year.

Afterwards I chatted some more with Belle’s parents, until the bell rang and classes were dismissed, and Belle arrived. Her mother took a photo of me with Belle! Although I didn’t really do much at the school today, it was good seeing the presentation, and meeting Belle’s parents.

Then I had to drive home… On the drive out there, I’d seen just how much devastation there was from the storm on Tuesday. One road I drove along had trees down every hundred metres or so, in some cases with power lines still down and safety tape around the site. Some of these had power company workers busy clearing the trees and restoring the power lines, but others were completely unattended. Clearly they don’t have enough workers to get to all of the downed lines at once. I heard on the radio news while driving that the job is so large that they expect up to 20,000 homes to remain without power over the weekend. It was incredible seeing so many destroyed trees.

At home I’ve been working on a new 100 Proofs that the Earth is a Globe post, but it won’t be ready today – hopefully tomorrow.

New content today:

Proof 33/100 – almost a third done!

I finished off the next Proof that the Earth is a Globe, and have just posted it. It’s one of the more basic ones in my list, but it took a long time to write and make the diagrams for. And there’s a surprising corollary at the end of it. I completed it several hours ago, but wanted to wait until after dinner to post it.

My wife and I went out for pizza tonight at our favourite pizza place, a 15 minute walk or so from where we live. It’s a little suburban place run by a guy and his wife from Lipari, in the Aeolian Islands of Italy. He always greets us in Italian as we arrive, and she has a chat with us in between serving tables. They have checked tablecloths, and photos of Italy on the walls, and a giant poster of Sophia Loren eating a bowl of spaghetti on one wall. We’ve been going here for years, and always go back because the food is good and the atmosphere is casual and friendly – it feels like visiting relatives, not a restaurant.

Anyway, when you see the post, you’ll understand why I wanted to wait until after dinner to post it.

New content today:

Ballet Friday

I’m queuing this post up early for automatic publication because I’ll be out late tonight. For our wedding anniversary I got my wife tickets to the Australian Ballet’s production of Sylvia, which is on at the Sydney Opera House. So that’s where we’re going tonight. This is one of the more obscure and rarely performed ballets, so it should be interesting.

It’s a 12 minute train trip and 15 minute walk away from where I live, which is easier and more convenient than battling traffic by driving. Normally we’d eat dinner out somewhere near the Opera House, but our neighbours are minding Scully and they don’t get home from work until late-ish, so we can’t leave early enough to squeeze in dinner.

Otherwise, today I’ve been working on writing a new proof for 100 Proofs that the Earth is a Globe. Unfortunately it’s not finished yet, so it’ll have to wait until tomorrow. Oh, and processing some more photos from May’s trip to Portugal.

New content today:

Science Saturday

Besides the usual bathroom cleaning, I dedicated much of today to Science! I finished writing that 100 Proofs article I’ve been mentioning.

And I planned out what I’ll be doing with the school children on my next STEM Professionals in Schools visit on Monday. I wanted to do a Q&A session with all the classes, because it’s minimal preparation for me, but my contact said the kindergarten and Year 1 teachers requested me to do a presentation, because their kids are too young to be able to come up with sensible and meaningful questions. [It’s true – last time they got fixated on asking me “how many X are there?”, for X=(cats, animals, fish, bones, trees, etc).] SO I went through my old slides and found one I did on dinosaurs 5 years ago – so none of the younger kids will have seen that one. I refreshed myself on what was in the slides so I can talk about it on Monday.

And for Science Club I planned a new experiment. We’re going to make pH indicator using red cabbage, and then test various household chemicals. The usual suspects like lemon juice, vinegar, baking soda, etc. Which meant I had to draw up a shopping list. I’ll have to go shopping tomorrow for everything I need.

Oh, and I spent a bunch of time making tomorrow night’s Darths & Droids strip, following the writing session yesterday.

And now, it’s late… time for bed!

New content today: