Category Archives: Life

Aw, Nuts!

Silly as it sounds to recall nuts for undeclared nuts, not all nuts are the same.

If you’re allergic to cashews but not pecans, you want to know whether the pecans you might eat have come in contact with cashews.

In this case, a process breakdown at a roaster opened up everything to cross-contamination by every other kind of nut they sell. They’re recalling affected lots while they fix the problem.

The Lesser Evil of Selfie Sticks

I’ve known about portrait distance for a while, and often thought that was a downside of using fixed-lens phone cameras for portraits. To frame someone’s face in a phone you have to either zoom (losing detail) or hold it close enough that the viewing angles distort the face. I prefer using my phone for long shots and using a camera with an optical zoom for portraits.

Unexpected consequence: Selfies are now a major source of young people’s self-image…which is distorted, leading them to feel worse about themselves and even seek out plastic surgery.

The researchers looked specifically at selfies taken from 12 inches away — a common distance for someone snapping a selfie without the assistance of a selfie stick. In a selfie taken from that distance, men’s noses appear 30 percent wider and women’s noses appear 29 percent wider than they actually are.

I think we can all agree that selfie sticks are a lesser evil than unnecessary cosmetic surgery!

Update: From the Facebook comments, here’s a link to a series of portraits taken at distances ranging from 2 meters down to 20 cm, demonstrating how different your face looks at each distance.

Venus and Mercury Spotted!

Venus and Mercury close together after last night’s sunset.

I lucked out in that…

  • I remembered they were going to be visible when I got to the store on the way home.
  • The parking lot was both wide and slightly uphill from the western side of the street, giving me a clear view.
  • The sky had just darkened enough to see both.
  • The clouds were just wispy enough not to block them.

As it is, I still had to crop out a street light and its lens flare to get this photo, or I would have framed it better.

But hey, it’s not often you get to see Mercury from a city at all, never mind right next to another planet!

Late Start

From yesterday: the first significant snow in the mountains above Los Angeles this winter, courtesy of last week’s storm.

Unfortunately, it’s almost spring. The weather has already warmed up again. Last week I was wearing sweaters and a medium jacket. Today I’m back to short sleeves, and I had to put the jacket away on my lunchtime walk.

And there’s not much of that snow left today.

KQED has some great photos of snow in the Sierra Nevadas after the same storm. That’s more important, as California depends more on the Sierra snowpack for water during the summer.

They’re expecting another storm to come through next weekend. I guess we’ll see how much snow we get. And how long it sticks around.