Saturday, December 25, 2010

Kalashnikitty

The Kalashnikitty is a .22 caliber AK-47 lookalike that my brother and I painted with a Hello Kitty motif. It was a Christmas present for my mom who, needless to say, loved it.

The rifle is an Armscor AK-22, a strictly semi-automatic rifle that fires high-velocity .22 LR rounds. Even after the painting, it's still a fully-functional firearm.

The painting itself was done with Lauer Custom Weaponry's DuraCoat, with two layers of white covered, in places, with four more layers of pink. The flowers and kitties are stickers glued to the stock and magazine.

We got the idea from both an AR-15 painted in a similar style and an actual AK-47 painted a la Hello Kitty but in a much different style.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Final N900 Project

For whatever reason, my web space on the UVA directory is being finnicky, so I'm posting the stuff for my final project for Computational Photography here.

Text:
These images were taken with a program written for the Nokia N900 smartphone. The program is designed to distort the color and intensity of the image while still leaving its general shape and contours intact. It does this by taking the value for each pixel and multiplying it by 3, then, if it's outside the acceptable range for a pixel (0-255), it reduces it modulo 256. If after the multiplication it isn't out of range, though, the program simply divides it by 3 to return it
to its original value. In addition to creating a visually unique image, this leaves the subject matter of the image recognizable, albeit in a distorted form. The artist is left with a stunning, colorful image that also challenges the viewer's normal perception of the world around them by presenting it through a filter they've probably never before seen.

Photos:




Monday, November 29, 2010

Adulthood...

...is sneaking up way too fast. Boo. I just applied for graduation from UVA and that really drove home the realization that I enter the real world, or at least something vaguely resembling it, next year, and I don't feel prepared at all.

Anyway, I realized today that I hadn't blogged in a while, so here's a quick overview of recent moderately-noteworthy events in my life, in no particular order:
1. I will have a job next year.
2. I will graduate in the spring, unless I fail a combined five classes this semester and next.
3. I took the CS GRE a few weeks ago, even though I'm not going to grad school right now. No word yet on how I did.
4. Next semester I'll be taking Widely Applied Physics 2 instead of Computational Physics 2. I'll also be taking Advanced SCUBA and I'll be TAing a CS class.

I haven't been doing as much photography this semester as I'd like, but here are a couple pictures that I took and slightly edited for my Computational Photography class:









Monday, November 8, 2010

Boo Cavalier Computers, and other stuff

I probably would've blogged before now, but my usual computer has been in the shop for the past week.  Most of the time it's refusing to turn on, so I took it into the University's computer service center.  Currently they're telling me that it's a software problem, which is incorrect, as it can't be a software issue when it never even gets to the step where it accesses the hard drive.  The closest it might be is a processor firmware issue, which definitely isn't from anything I did (and I seriously doubt it's even that, given that I'm not sure it even gets the processor running when it refuses to start).  Unfortunately it's an intermittent problem and they say that the hardware diagnostics all were fine and that they haven't been able to replicate the problem, so they haven't been able to fix it, and assuming the problem doesn't manifest itself while they're playing around with it, they might not even be able to be convinced that there's something wrong.  Boo.

Anyway, I'm currently writing here because I'm sitting in Computer Architecture and we're reviewing a test that we haven't gotten back yet, because I hate reviewing tests I haven't received.  I can never remember what I answered for each question and consequently worry that I got everything wrong.  I didn't do great on this test, for sure, but I still hate thinking about my grade after I've taken the test and before I actually get it back.

I'll probably be posting some photographs this afternoon after I do my Computational Photography homework for tomorrow.  We need to dodge/burn and sharpen a black and white photograph.  I've done one but I'm going to try to do a second in the hopes that it'll turn out a little bit better, and once I've done that I'll post them here.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Next spring's tentative schedule

So, I haven't yet signed up for classes, but as I've got one of the first registration spots out of the whole student body, I'm fairly confident I'll get the classes I want. Those classes are:

Math 3340 - Complex Variables with Applications - Not necessarily the most fun course, but the only undergraduate math class here I haven't taken, so I figured I'd give it a shot.

Physics 5640 - Computational Physics 2 - Again, not necessarily the most fun course, but I need one more physics class for the major, and I feel like being a masochist and taking another graduate level class after being thoroughly destroyed by the one I'm currently doing.

CS 4630 - Defense Against the Dark Arts - Sadly this is in the Computer Science department and not the Hogwarts department, but it should still be fun to learn how to prevent people from messing with my computer.

CS 4710 - Artificial Intelligence - Sounds fun.

Architecture 1020 - Lessons in Making - My fun creative class for the semester. An introductory class in design, something I'm interested in.

Photo editing

A random edited photo I did in Computational Photography today. You'll notice that it's slightly brighter and slightly less realistic than the edit of this photo I posted here.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

OBC, day 11


Today's prompt: “Write your NaNoWriMo protagonist doing something he or she would never do.” I don't yet have a NaNo protagonist chosen, as I may very well not do NaNo this year, but here's one guy I've been tossing around as a possibility having a meeting he swore he'd never have.


“You see, Arthur, there isn't anything wrong with this,” Jonathan said. He held out his hand for the old man, old but not frail, and Arthur refused it. He placed one foot, gingerly, on the dock, his other still firmly on his boat's deck.
Arthur locked eyes with the businessman before him. He didn't trust him. He knew they wanted him to quit fishing, to leave the waters and let them move in, and he knew he wouldn't. It went against everything he believed to even just talk to them, but his father had always told him “Know thine enemy,” and he figured he should at least give it a shot. There wasn't an offer they could put on the table to make him come ashore for good; he just wanted to know how much he was worth to them.
“It just doesn't feel right,” Arthur muttered as he lifted his foot from the boat and set it unsteadily on the dock. It was the first time in years that he had been on anything resembling solid land.
“Give it a minute and it'll be fine.” Jonathan checked his watch. “The car's right this way.”
“No,” Arthur said.
“I was under the impression we were going to talk, and don't you want a place a bit more comfortable than this dock?”
“There,” Arthur said. He pointed to a restaurant, built as an offshoot of the pier. There was a walkway to the shore, but its bulk sat above the water.
“Are you sure I can't convince you to come back to our offices?”
“It's either there or I sail away right now.”
“Let me make a quick call,” Jonathan said. He pulled out his phone and began to dial.
Arthur stepped back onto his boat and began uncleating the mooring lines.
“Okay, we can meet there,” Jonathan agreed, lowering his phone without making a call. “It'll take my people a little while to get here, though.”
“I'm fine with that.” Arthur recleated the lines and sat down, his legs dangling over the edge of the boat's deck. He watched as Jonathan typed a message on his phone, wondering exactly what it said. Crazy kook refuses to go on dry land, so we'll need to meet here on the dock. Or maybe something simpler, such as, Meeting moved to dock. Arthur really wasn't sure what level of formality to expect from the annoyed correspondences of a business executive.
Twenty minutes later, a black sedan pulled noiselessly into the parking lot at the shore end of the restaurant's walkway. Arthur laughed as he stood up and stepped back to the dock. “Still going with the black luxury cars? I've always been a bit surprised that you execs don't drive Corvettes or something a little more fun.”
“We don't usually drive ourselves,” Jonathan said. “The stockholders consider it safer to have professionals do that.”
Arthur snorted out another laugh. “When was the last time you drove a car?”
“I don't have a license, actually. I grew up in the city and never needed one.”
Arthur began walking slowly towards the restaurant's backdoor, opening onto the dock. “So what do you do besides trying to convince me to give up my fishing license?”
“I'm the chief operating officer for the North American division of Petrochem. I run everything we do on this continent.”
“And yet you've still got the time to come down here to try to persuade me to quit?”
“I wish you wouldn't view giving up your fishing license as quitting. It'll be a change of occupation, for sure, but these days everyone changes jobs at some point in their life.”
“You kids these days are a new generation. Back in my day, when people started a job, they stuck with it.”
“It's not like you'll be deserting a promise you made.”
“Stop using future tense. I haven't agreed to anything yet. You still need to make an offer that I accept.”
Jonathan smiled a salesman's confidant facade. “I'm sure we won't have any trouble working out some sort of agreement.”
Arthur and Jonathan walked into the restaurant. It was busy, but in a corner, set apart from the rest of the diners, sat a table at which sat a man in a black pinstriped business suit matching Jonathan's.
Jonathan sat down next to his colleague, and Arthur took a seat across the round table.
“Jonathan said you had a driver bring you. Where is he?”
“Our drivers are out with our cars,” Jonathan's associate said.
“Don't want to invite them in here for a bite to eat? I'm sure they're hungry from driving around all day.”
“It's generally considered bad practice to bring unnecessary personnel to business negotiations. I'm Nathaniel, by the way.” Nathaniel extended his hand across the table to Arthur, who ignored it. After a moment he pulled it back. “Would you like something to eat, or shall we commence with negotiating a price?”
“I can eat on my boat,” Arthur said. “What price are you offering?”
“We're prepared to offer you two million dollars for you to give up your fishing license.”
Arthur looked across the table, no emotion showing on his old face. “You've got to be kidding me.”
“More than you were expecting?” Jonathan asked. “It's certainly more than we discussed over the radio.”
Arthur laughed. “Now, perhaps my understanding of exactly what you want to do is flawed, but you need me to surrender my fishing rights so that you can use the bay as an algae farm.”
“That's correct. Our use would render fishing impossible, and the states involved have said that as long as there's a valid fishing license out for anyone on the bay, we can't begin,” Nathaniel explained. “Hence our generous offer.”
“And what exactly do you need all this algae for?”
“It produces biodiesel as a by-product of photosynthesis.”
“How much?” Arthur asked. “Do you really need the whole bay for it?”
“It produces about 20 gallons per acre per day, so in order to produce a sizable quantity of oil we need a lot of space,” Nathaniel said.
Arthur looked up at the ceiling, numbers churning around in his head. “So you're offering me two million dollars while you stand to earn, what, close to a hundred million a day as a result?”
“Not a hundred million,” Jonathan said. “We won't have complete bay coverage. Most of the estuaries and inlets are functionally unusable.”
“Regardless, an offer of two million is laughable,” Arthur said. “Look, I realize I probably strike you two gentlemen as an old man who can be bought over by a bit of money. And yes – two million dollars is a fair amount of money, certainly enough for me to retire off of – but compared to what you stand to gain from all this, it's an insult.”
Arthur stood. “I'm sorry, Jonathan, Nathaniel, but you'll need to find another bay for your oil farm.”
“We can up the offer,” Nathaniel hastened to say. “That was just our initial offer.”
“You had your chance and you blew it.”
“How about ten million?” Jonathan offered.
“You had...”
“Twenty?” Nathaniel asked.
“Your chance...”
“Fifty?” Jonathan reluctantly tried.
Arthur stopped and turned around. Jonathan smiled.
“As I was saying,” Arthur continued. “You had your chance, and you blew it.” The old man turned back around and walked slowly out of the restaurant, as the two men sat in stunned silence at the nicked and dirty wooden table.

As soon as he was back aboard Arthur set a course in his autopilot for the center of the bay and lay down in the hammock strung between the railing along the edges of his cockpit.
“Fifty million dollars,” he said to himself, still amazed at the amount, as the seagulls circled overhead and the sun crept out from behind the clouds. “Not worth it by a long shot.”

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Write Club, October Boot Camp, 9 October

The Write Club at UVA has this thing called October Boot Camp where the officers send out daily writing challenges to get people prepared for NaNoWriMo. I probably won't do NaNoWriMo this year, but I'm going to try some of the writing prompts anyway. Here's yesterday's, which I did today as I didn't notice today's e-mail until just now.

Prompt: “Write a fable, containing either a traditional moral or a new one you think people should know.”


The clouds that night ensured perfect darkness as I limped along the path. I didn't need light to know my way. I'd walked the route enough times before.

I sniffed the ground as I went. That smell, that rancid stench, was there, and I knew that he had come this way. When, I wasn't sure. Maybe a half-hour before. Maybe two days. Maybe a week. More recently than that and I would've caught a rustle or a crunch of his passage through the wood; any longer back and the stench would be gone. Even foul smells fade with enough time. Even his, somehow.

I froze. I wasn't alone. There was a noise in the black ahead, a faint beating of a frail heart.

“Peter?” a small voice from the darkness ahead asked. “Please be Peter.”

I growled. “Not right now, Tomas. I'm busy.”

“Peter! Excellent.”

I heard the hare's heartbeat slow, and then heard the crunch as he crept forward. I thought about lunging forward, feasting, eating Tomas, but I resisted that urge. I wasn't hungry. Not hungry enough to eat a friend, anyway.

“I'm in a bit of a hurry.” I kept walking.

The hare leapt aside so I wouldn't step on him, but as soon as I was besides him he hopped up onto my back. I stopped.

“No.”

“Come on, Peter. Is it really that hard to carry me?”

“You've got a lot of nerve, hare.” I started limping forward again, my paws following the path without conscious direction. “You'd better hope I don't want a bite to eat.”

“You wouldn't eat a friend, would you?”

“Depends on how hungry I get.”

“I just need a ride for a little ways, and lord knows you're faster than I am by leaps and bounds.”

“Not when I've got a parasite clinging to my fur like a three-pound bur.” I quickened my pace, running along the trail. I shouldn't have stopped to chat. I didn't have the time, but Tomas was a friend. Well, a rodent that could get this close and not instantly get eaten. Perhaps not a friend but as close as he could ever get.

He hung on better than I expected, and he was still a thorn in my side as the clouds and morning broke together. I stopped in a clearing to lap up a few blades worth of dew. The grass cut my tongue but I didn't care. Wounds heal, and I've had far worse and I'm still here.

“If I hop down will you let me back up?” Tomas asked as I drank.

“No,” I told him. “Why do you want a ride, anyway? You don't need to get anywhere in a hurry.”

I'd had enough and I started back down the trail.

“I need to win a race.”

“And you don't consider this cheating?”

“I never heard any rules against it.”

I didn't respond. I was distracted. I lowered my nose to the ground again, inhaling the dirt's captured odors. The stench was here, and stronger. I was closing the gap.

I sped up, running faster along the daw-dampened path. There was maybe a mile left, at most two, separating me from my prey, but the route had turned uphill. My paw hurt at each step, the bones creaking and shifting around the two that had cracked. I couldn't stop. I was close. I could smell the hair, smell the hooves, smell the pride. If I weren't running I could've heard it up the trail, galloping along. I was almost there. My face twisted in pain and anger.

“What's wrong?” Tomas asked.

“Quiet, hare,” I hissed. “You'll be heard.”

“Heard by what?”

“Quiet.”

Tomas stayed silent as I ran on, bounding through the loose trees up the steepening slope. A glimpse of white flashed in the distance, and I snarled. Close.

Clouds once again rolled overhead, cutting the light, but it was still daytime and bright enough to see. A faint rain started falling, a drop here and there. The mud my paws kicked up slicked my fur.

Tomas's grip on my back loosened, and I felt him start to bounce around. I would've warned him not to make me break my stride, but a stray word here could've been enough to do that. I was focused, on my paw, on the trail, on the beast ahead, and I didn't have room to worry about Tomas.

The hill flattened and the forest broke before us, opening a clearing looking down to the field and the river below. I stopped just before the trees did.

He stood not a hundred yards away, his mane glowing in even just the light through the clouds. His hooves shone silver, untouched by the mud. His horn was no color, no single one, but all of them, an iridescent needle tickling the grass as he ate. I barely breathed, for fear of him hearing.

“Why did we stop?”

I snapped my head around and latched my teeth onto the hare hanging from my back. Not now. He wasn't going to ruin it all. A weak gasp escaped from Tomas's throat before I flung him to the ground, a crumpled mass of fur in the mud.

I looked back to the clearing. The unicorn was still standing there, but its gaze had shifted towards me. I stayed still, nothing but the blood in my veins moving as I watched the beast's eyes try to meet my own. He had heard Tomas, or perhaps my bite, or maybe just caught a glimpse of the body falling to the ground. Whatever had captured his attention was over now, and he turned back to the grass.

I crept forward, moving slow through the tall stalks. I had hunted ceaselessly for years, through every hell this forest had to offer, but now, I was here. This prey would be mine.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Sunday, August 29, 2010

This fall's schedule

So, after way too much shuffling and shifting, this is what I'll be doing this semester:

CS 3330 - Computer architectures
Basically, how software and hardware interact.

CS 4240 - Principles of Software Design
How to make big programs.

CS 4501 - Computational Photography
A photography class with an added focus on using computers to do stuff.

PHYS 5630 - Computational Physics 1
How to use computers to do physics stuff.

Additionally, I'll be TAing two courses, CS 2150 (Program and Data Representation) and PHYS 2419 (General Physics 2 Workshop). Basically, running a lab and doing grading.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Saturday boredom

I got bored on Saturday, so I took this photograph. [Note: some parts of that process have been omitted. Anyone able to guess what they are?]

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Obligatory June blog post

So, I just realized I haven't posted anything in June. That's not cool of me, so here we go.
I'm currently working at JHU's Center for Talented Youth TAing cryptology. I'll be doing that for the next five and a half weeks. Fun.
In other news, my dad and I recently bought a motorcycle together. It's a 2003 Honda Nighthawk 250. It's pretty awesome.



And a couple other random photos from the month:


Spiderweb at home one morning.


Some graffiti in downtown Charlottesville after the June meetup of the Charlottesville Photography Meetup Group.

Monday, May 31, 2010

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

The car that could save the world

This is the car that could save the world:


This is Citro├źn's 2CV, designed shortly after World War Two to be cheap, reliable transportation. It was capable of carrying lots of luggage for farms and made to handle off-road use as easily as on-road. It wouldn't sell terribly well in its original form (at first it topped out at 40 mph, and the last model, produced in 1990, could only make it to the mid-70s), but a modern remake, with the same basic principles in mind, would be excellent.

The main things the 2CV got right:

-Designed to do just one thing, and do it damn well: The 2CV was designed to get people and light cargo from point A to point B, and it did it better than almost any other car made in its age (and, arguably, better than many newer cars). It wasn't meant to be pretty, it wasn't meant to be fast, it wasn't meant to be a luxury car, and it certainly wasn't any of these. It was transportation, pure and simple.

-Efficient use of space: The average occupants per car vary depending on time and location, but it's around 1.3 people. There are certainly situations where you need to carry more, but at least 70% of rides are transporting only 1 person. The 2CV seats 5, but the back 3 seats double easily as storage space, effectively making it easily convertible between a 5-seater family car and a 2-seater light truck. The roof is removable canvas, making it easy to carry large objects.

-Low weight: The 2CV minimized weight in many ways, from folding windows instead of windows that rolled down, to the previously mentioned canvas roof, to a front-engine, front-wheel drive system. This contributed to the car's fuel efficiency: often better than 50 miles per gallon, comparable to a Prius but without any batteries or computerized controls.

A revamp of the 2CV, or at least a car made with the same principles in mind, would very much help current concerns about pollution, as well as fuel consumption and runaway consumerism. We don't need station wagons that can top 130 miles per hour, or cars with a hundred pounds of chrome bling. We don't need SUVs that seat 7 for a mother of two living in the city. We need efficient transportation, both in terms of construction costs and fuel usage.

The availability of a car like this wouldn't alone change the world, not by any means. There are certainly issues, such as the conspicuous consumption that has led to many of the inefficiencies of current cars, that need to be addressed, but a vehicle like this, designed around being a good, solid method of transportation, would almost certainly help.

[Photograph from Wikipedia]

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Edited foggy night photos

I increased the contrast in certain ranges to make the tree in the back stand out more and I took out a bit of green.

I increased the contrast of the tree and played around with the colors a bit.

I darkened the foreground and brightened the range containing the ray of light and the building.

This one is an HDR composite of three photos. I've been working on trying to get HDR photos looking better, as most of my attempts thus far haven't been terribly good.

Monday, May 3, 2010

High Heels Kill

A couple weeks ago I took part in the Sexual Assault Resource Agency's Walk a Mile in Her Shoes, in which men, well, walk a mile in her shoes (primarily high heels). It raises money and awareness for sexual assault resources in the Charlottesville area. It's quite hilarious to watch dozens of men parade along the Downtown Mall in high heels, and it was interesting to give it a shot myself, too. At the same time, though, it just reinforced something I've been thinking for a long time.

Now, I want to make perfectly clear that I'm not blaming any victims of criminal activity for what happened to them. No one should have to be subjected to violence or other crimes, and things like dressing scantily are not "asking for it" as some people say.

That said, it cannot be denied that there are certain actions that put people at risk. I occasionally find myself in less than favorable neighborhoods at hours I'd rather be in bed. When I have to do this, there are certain things I do to keep myself safe. I stay aware of my surroundings, I try to stay unencumbered, and I don't wear shoes that make it impossible for me to move faster than a crawl without falling on my face.

This last one, as you may have guessed from the intro paragraph, is my main point. Things like wearing high heels is inherently risky. High heels have a long history, but numerous branches (notably in Venice, Turkey, and China) began as a way of inhibiting movement, either to control women or show that a person's social status was above that requiring manual labor. They are, from a personal safety standpoint, a very bad choice.

However, they continue to thrive, as they're attractive and societal norms make them expected in certain situations. There's nothing inherently wrong with this, but it cannot be denied that they put women at risk. Not a large one, to be sure, but given how much fuss is made over preventing sexual assaults, even small improvements should be considered. Encouraging women to ditch high heels, or at least choose ones that can be kicked off in the event of an emergency, would save lives.

I think, though, that this isn't the direction society will head. Saying that not wearing high heels, or tight wrap-around skirts, or other clothing that restricts free movement, is frowned upon. The argument is that women (in a broader case, people in general) shouldn't have to restrict their lifestyles to stay safe. In an ideal world, this would be perfectly true. In the real world, though, this argument breaks down. There are people out there (not very many, but a few) who will hurt others, and if people are concerned about falling victim to those acts of violence, it's foolish for them to ignore actions they can take to stay safe, whether it's staying in groups when in unsafe areas, not getting trashed at parties, or, god forbid, wearing flats instead of heels.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

What I'll be doing this summer

So I'm in Clemons right now working on a take-home Symbolic Logic test. I'm also worrying about what I'll be doing this summer.

A lot of my friends are facing the issue of not being able to find a job, so I feel bad that I'm in the situation where I've got two and have to find out a way to pare that down to one. Well, I have a way. Just not one that I like.

I've got a job offer from a DC-area government contractor that I accepted (contingent on my receipt of a security clearance). However, since accepting this, my mind's been going back and forth on whether or not I actually want it, or whether I'd prefer the other pending job offer (TAing at CTY again), and at the moment I think I'd probably prefer the latter.

If I didn't mind being a dick, this would be simple. I'd call up the government contractor, tell them that I retract my acceptance, and I'd be done with it. The issue with that lies in the process of getting a security clearance, which is a very expensive process. The government would be displeased with the contractor if I were to drop out once the security clearance investigation is already underway, as it'd be a waste of money. If it were some massive contractor, that wouldn't much matter, but the contractor is on the small side and as such their reputation with the government would be hurt more than if they were massive. (It wouldn't by any means kill their reputation, but any negative mark is still a negative mark.) And as it'd be because of my withdrawal, I'd feel bad. I said I'd do the job, and I don't like going back on my word, even if the contract technically allows for it.

At the same time, though, I'm questioning whether it's really the right job for me for this summer. I know I'd enjoy CTY. I'd enjoy the work, I'd enjoy the people, and I'd enjoy that it would still leave a good portion of my summer free. Working for the contractor, I don't know. I may or may not enjoy the work. It's computer programming, which I enjoy, but I've never had to do it full-time for months. The people, I have no idea what they'll be like. I wouldn't have as much time free (only a couple weeks at the beginning and end), but it pays on the order of three or four times better than CTY.

So, the bottom line is, I don't know what I'll be doing this summer. If I get a security clearance I'll probably be working for the government contractor, but there's a definite part of me hoping that I don't get the clearance. I know it's a rare thing for me, hoping against both a valuable asset and a chance to try something new, but the expected value is, in my mind, in favor of CTY. There's also the issue that I may very well need to let CTY know whether or not I'll be back before I know whether the security clearance was granted.

CliffsNotes condensed version: If I get a security clearance, I'll be programming for a government contractor. If I don't, I'll either be TAing Crypto at CTY Lancaster, or I'll be unemployed.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

'Tis a sad day for cyclists

A biker was killed yesterday biking on West Main. He was a math graduate student, and although I didn't personally know him I have friends who did.

I've heard a lot since then about people blaming the driver, blaming the cyclist, and also generally just bitching about driver/cyclists/pedestrians (generally whichever group or groups the complainer themself doesn't fall into). I don't know the specifics of this accident, but I know it was what's generally called a "right hook" (biker passing a car on the right when the car turns to the right), and I myself have been in that very type of accident on West Main.

In my case, I was passing a car on the right when it made an unsignaled right turn. Whose fault is that? It's not entirely clear. By Virginia state law, cyclists are allowed to pass on the left or right when the conditions are safe. If a driver doesn't signal a turn, can it be considered safe to pass them? If people drive safely, yes. However, that's not realistic. There will always be some drivers (and cyclists, and pedestrians) who behave in an unsafe manner, and regardless of which group you usually fall into, you have to realize that the responsibility of keeping roads safe is held by all.

Drivers, stop for pedestrians in crosswalks, signal turns well in advance (especially when there are bikers on the road), and generally be aware of pedestrians/cyclists in the area. Cyclists, also stop for pedestrians in crosswalks, follow the rules of the road (especially with regards to red lights and stoplights), and don't automatically assume drivers see you or are driving legally. Pedestrians, use crosswalks if there are any cars in the area, be mindful of cyclists even when cars are absent, and for heaven's sake, if the red sign says don't cross, don't cross.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

New Desktop Background

A slightly edited version of a picture from the previous post. I'm now using it as my desktop background, replacing a slightly edited version of the tree in the field.

Photomagraphs

I was wandering around yesterday evening and I stopped by the cemetery to take a few pictures. Here are two that turned out okay.


Thursday, March 4, 2010

Goat on a roof

It's a goat...

...on a roof.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010