Pinhole Camera Pt. 2

I was looking forward to seeing last night’s partial eclipse of the sun, but lacking a welder’s mask I knew it would be melted eyeball time if I actually tried to watch. So when the day started with rain, and continued with rain, I was only mildly disappointed that clouds would hide our solar peek-a-boo.

But when the skies cleared in the late afternoon, I knew I had to find a west-facing wall with a nearby tree and a clear view of the horizon so I could see if the tree-leaves-as-pinhole-camera phenomenon worked.

Luckily, Columbia Heights High School had all the required components.

And there you see all the little curvy sun-cresecents, just as Aristotle predicted. Impressive! What better place to have a scientific principle demonstrated than the wall of the local high school.

And there happened to be a guy there with a welder’s mask, so I got a direct look too!

When have you been astonished to discover what you were told is true?

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53 thoughts on “Pinhole Camera Pt. 2”

    1. Rise and Shine Baboons!
      Ditto–other than, ” A college education is important” (my mother)
      “You gotta watch them boys. They only want one thing” (my grandmother)

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  1. Good morning. Dale, I’m sure you were astonished when you were able to see those images just as Aristotle predicted. When I get lost I sometimes have a hard time believing the help I get at finding my way. I can’t believe that I am so far off the mark and that what I have been told is really correct. These are cases where I have completely lost my sense of direction. When I am told the direction I need to go, I don’t believe it could be true and I am very surprised when it turns out it is true.

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  2. Mom said I should learn how to touch type – that it would be very useful in college and beyond. Only class she insisted I take in high school. So dutifully I went off to the windowless room on the first floor that was Miss Karakesh’s domain and picked one of her fleet of IBM Selectrics. A-A-A, S-S-S, D-D-D, F-F-F (all with a slight Indian/Pakistani accent – hard to tell which for sure). And I did learn to touch type. And it has been useful. Dang it.

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    1. I had the same experience, Anna, which had a special twist because typing was taught by the dumbest teacher in the Midwest, or maybe the world. One day she backed into a tall metal wastebasket and fell back, jamming her bony butt deep in the basket where it fit so tightly that she couldn’t get out. She whooped and kicked her legs (which were up around her ears), all the while giving us quite a show of flailing skinny legs and petticoats and panties. “Why doesn’t somebody help me out of here?” she shrieked. Well, none of us liked her, and she was presenting the most wonderful show we had ever seen. And then, amazingly, the typing lessons proved terribly important in my life.

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      1. Oh, man, that would’ve been hilarious! Stuff like that never happened to my teachers while I was around. Well, Sister Laura did get her habit stuck in the door one morning, and in trying to extricate herself her wig came off, but that was about it. Stuck in the wastebasket is waaaaay better.

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  3. i used to enjoy watching mr wizard on tv when i was a kid. he had cool science stuff that always resulted in miraculous results he knew would knock our socks off. the kids had a science teacher that would do science shows at the teachers talent shows. count on science to have true stuff happen just like they knew it would

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    1. This reminds me of the many episodes of Bill Nye the Science Guy that I was asked to show as a substitute teacher. Bill also had astonishing tricks similar to Mr. Wizard.

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      1. Bill Nye rules! Such a smart guy, and the way he manages to make scientific concepts fun and relatable to kids is very cool.

        I remember being kinda surprised when he first became this big deal in the world of children’s education, since I remember watching him as part of a comedy sketch show called Almost Live that used to air on Comedy Central on the 90s. He did some “science guy” stuff on that show as well, but it was mostly aimed at entertaining the adult audience and not necessarily at educating them.

        This video has clips of him in his comedy roles before he started doing his own show:

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    2. My daughter took a science class in fourth grade taught by some poor woman who didn’t know anything about science and who was terrified by it. Each day she would open some boxed science experiment, read the instructions and then perform the science stunt for the day. Not always, but OFTEN these experiments would blow up in her face. The kids couldn’t wait each day to see their teacher nearly blow herself up in some new way. To picture this, imagine a Gary Larson cartoon with a little woman in front of a class, her faced covered in soot with her hair and eyelashes mostly burned away.

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      1. I’m enjoying that image Steve.
        When I was a snot nosed jr. high kid, we had a fresh teacher take over a science class. I’d be surprised if we didn’t drive that poor man out of the teaching profession by the time that semester was over. An unfortunate combination of new teacher, lack of control, science products at hand, and teenage boys.
        To that man, whoever you were, I’m sorry.

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  4. Here is another situation where I was surprised that something I was told was actually true. The information I was given about the customs of Bulgarians included the fact that they bob their heads up and down to indicate no and from side to side to indicate yes. I wondered if that could really be true. It is true. The Bulgarians that I visited made a lot of head motions when they talked and there heads went for up and down to indicate no and the other way for yes. It wasn’t too hard to understand what they were indicating, but they were definitely doing it exactly opposite to the way we do it.

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    1. which by way of a tangent reminds me how sad I was to learn that no, water does not swirl down the drain in the opposite direction in Australia from the way it does in Minnesota.

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      1. come to think of it, there has been a lot more I was led to believe was true that turned out to be false than the other way ’round. sigh.

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      2. When I visited Kenya I saw a VERY convincing display of this. The kid had a bucket w/ a hole in the bottom and he did the demonstration three times. Once on one side of the equator line, once on the other side and once, right on the line. I’m still not sure how he did it, but he did manage to get the water to swirl in opposite directions on either side of the line and then trickle straight down w/ no eddy at all when the bucket sat right on the equator. I gave him a couple of bucks even though I was pretty sure he was scamming us – small enough price for an entertaining few moments!

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  5. My adoptive mom (who was 50 years older than me) used to tell me that the older you got the faster time went. She was absolutely right. A summer that went on forever when I was 11 is gone in just a few weeks now. Remember how adults used to say that high school (or whatever seemed unbearable as a teenager) would be over in “just a year or so” and you thought that was an eternity and you’d never live through it? Now I find myself thinking in terms of a decade or so. How can it be that everything seems so urgent when you’re at the beginning of your life, and the shorter your expectancy gets the longer your view gets? Maybe the mysterious thing they call “the wisdom of age” is just perspective.

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    1. Teenager and I just had this conversation this morning, particularly as it relates to how fast the weekend goes.

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  6. When I became a teacher, I was told by one of my former college professors that it was more effective to speak quietly than to raise my voice when dealing with a roomful of chatty students. I couldn’t see how that made a lot of sense, but sure enough, that turned out to be the case. I found that using a measured tone would cause the kids to quiet down, since they realized I was going to keep talking whether they listened or not, and if they didn’t zip it and start paying attention they would miss the information they needed. Not entirely sure if that would work with every class in every school, but it got me through my educational career without the need to strain my vocal cords.

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    1. an old sales trick too. just quiet down and get the buyer to strain to listen to what you are saying. it is fun to watch them almost crawl over the desk to get their ear closer to your words.

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  7. Morning-
    I’m not coming up with any examples at the moment, but I know there’s been times in my life where I said ‘Huh! How about that; it really does work!’
    Probably something my Dad told me as there were several years where I had a hard time believing anything he told me.

    Missed the eclipse last night. Thought about it at sunset but being down in the valley ‘Sunset’ for us was about 7:00… I did finally finish planting corn. (I’m not bragging about that; the neighbors have been done with corn for two weeks or more…)
    Need a few more days to get soybeans planted.

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  8. All my life people have told me that, sooner or later, I would get old. They said being old was limiting and often painful. For maybe fifty years I didn’t pay any attention. Then I went through fifteen years of denial, thinking that getting old was “optional” if you lived well enough. Well, dammit, we do get old (unless we die first, an unattractive alternative). Worse, I have learned that even the relatively virtuous can be afflicted with maladies of age. And those maladies are limiting and painful, dammit. Now, in frustration and irritation, I find I want to cry out, “Why didn’t somebody tell me it would be like this?”

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  9. I am sometimes amazed when alternative therapies or products work. My hairdresser recommended shampoo containing tea tree oil for dandruff, and voila! no more dandruff. My chiropractor also said to use it for a wart on my foot, and again, it worked! T’ai Chi seems to help my aching joints, if I would do it regularly, and yoga also relieves some aches and pains to a point. Whaddya know?!

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  10. Clyde, if you are out there, I hope you have recovered okay from the medical problems you were dealing with when we last heard from you.

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  11. I’ve been amazed that when I eat more calories than I expend, I gain weight. It’s along the same lines of time going by faster as you get older – and that you will get older! I thought it would never happen to me, but it has.

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      1. Nobody ever told you that, huh?

        And I hate to tell you this – the spread at the book club yesterday with FOUR rhubarb desserts, (but who’s counting?) – probably had a lot more calories than any of us expended going back and forth to the food table.

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  12. When I was one-and-twenty
    I heard a wise man say,
    ‘Give crowns and pounds and guineas
    But not your heart away;
    Give pearls away and rubies
    But keep your fancy free.’
    But I was one-and-twenty,
    No use to talk to me.
    When I was one-and-twenty
    I heard him say again,
    ‘The heart out of the bosom
    Was never given in vain;
    ‘Tis paid with sorrow plenty
    And sold for endless rue.’
    Now I am two-and-twenty,
    And oh, ’tis true, ’tis true.

    A. E. Housman

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