Tuesday, November 24, 2015


Ruby's Taqueria, Sunnyvale, California
Try the vampiros: they will make you happy.

Monday, November 2, 2015

Pumpkin time

Finally, a practical use for pumpkin guts:

Pumpkin carving contest. Elon, North Carolina

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Companion, Wilder Ranch Bike/Run

I biked down the canyon to Companion Bake Shop this morning for a maple-bacon biscuit and a latté. Then I headed up the Route 1 bike trail to Wilder ranch and up the Englesman Loop Trail. There's some nice single-track trail that heads off toward Wilder Creek and Cave Gulch and back to UC Santa Cruz. Great way to start off November.

Trail in Cave Gulch. Wilder Ranch, Santa Cruz.

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Ashland, Oregon

For the first time since we were kids, I'm able to drive to visit my sister, now that she lives on the same coast (and the same continent). Ashland is only about a 7-hour drive from Santa Cruz, and I finally made the trip this weekend. After spending most of the day in the car, I unwound with a run on the trails just south of town.

View north from the White Rabbit Trail, Oredson-Todd Woods, Ashland, Oregon.

Today we drove into the hills north of town and explored a bit.
In the hills north of Ashland, Oregon.
There is a wonderful dirt road that meanders around the Ashland watershed. I explored a bit this afternoon in the car, but next time I'll bring my mountain bike.
Ashland Loop Road south of Ashland, Oregon in the Siskiyou Mountains.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Barn Raising in Santa Cruz

Santa Cruz, California
The new Cowell Ranch hay barn at UC Santa Cruz replaces the 150-year old original with a traditionally-built timber frame barn in the same location. The barn will house the Farm and Garden program at UCSC.


Buenos Aires, Argentina

Buenos Aires, Argentina
Buenos Aires runs on its buses, and each line has its own color scheme, so you can see from a distance if your bus is coming.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Go, pi

I have a friend who used to know \(\pi\) to about 50 places. I can barely remember nine. But on pi day last weekend, I wrote a little Go program that approximates \(\pi\) by calculating many terms of an infinite series (Nilakantha's Series).

You can express Nilakantha's series as: $$\pi = 3 + \frac{4}{2\times3\times4} - \frac{4}{4\times5\times6} + \frac{4}{6\times7\times8} - \frac{4}{8\times9\times10} + \dots$$

Here's the Go program:

  package main

  import (

  const ndefault = 10000

  func main() {
          // How many iterations?
          n := ndefault
          if (len(os.Args) > 1) {
                  n,_ = strconv.Atoi(os.Args[1])
          if n == 0 { n = ndefault }
          fmt.Println("n =", n)

          pi := 3.0
          s  := 1.0    // Sign for alternating terms

          // Nilakantha series.
          for i := 2.0; i <= float64(n*2); i += 2 {
                  pi = pi + s * (4 / (i * (i + 1) * (i + 2)));
                  s = -s
          fmt.Printf("%1.20f\n", pi)

Not perfect, but not bad (maybe I'm doing something wrong):
                     going off
                     rails here.
  approx: 3.14159265358953820879
  actual: 3.141592653589793238462643383279502884197
If you really want to know more about the history and the mathematics, there's a nice paper here from the Mathematical Association of America: The Discovery of the Series Formula for \(\pi\). And the Wikipedia page on \(\pi\).

Pi, a few days late

Everyone knows this one:
$$ A_{circle}=\pi{r^2}$$
But this one is a great wonder:
$$e^{i \pi} = -1$$

Monday, February 2, 2015

Wilder Ranch and Monterey Bay

I'm not done with posts from Argentina yet, but I went on a bike/run/hike yesterday in Wilder Ranch that was just so much fun. It was clear enough to see the hills of Monterey on the other side of the bay.

Engelsman Loop Trail, Wilder Ranch. Santa Cruz, California.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Laguna Torre, Patagonia

I'm eeking out these Argentina posts pretty slowly, but I find that Blogger seems to choke on larger posts, and these small ones are easier to get together and probably the bite-sized chunks are easier to digest as well.

In El Chaltén, we first experienced the direct effects of the Patagonian winds. It wasn't that cold (maybe around freezing), but when the sun went down and the wind picked up, we realized that we hadn't brought enough clothes to do anything but curl up in our hostel and drink wine and beer.

El Chaltén, Patagonia.

While we had plenty of sun in town, the mountains were cloudy, so we didn't see much of Fitz Roy or Cerro Torre, but the hiking was still pretty spectacular:

In the magical forest on the way to Laguna Torre.

Terminal moraine that dams up Laguna Torre, El Chaltén, Patagonia.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

El Chaltén, Patagonia

El Chaltén is a dedicated hiking/climbing town. There are something like 30 hostels in town (and a couple of fancier hotels). We stayed at Kospi Hostel, right in the center of this photograph. There are several trails right outside of town that head up into the mountains.

El Chaltén, Patagonia

Río de las Vueltas, El Chaltén, Patagonia

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Going to Patagonia

We had already planned to visit our daughters in Buenos Aires for Christmas. But when your daughter sends you an email to ask if you want to hiking in Patagonia for a week, you say yes.

I flew to  Buenos Aires, where I met Libby and Annie and took a quick afternoon tour to change some money and visit the Google office for a snack. Later, we had a great asado (meat fest) with Libby's host family.

The next morning, we hopped on another plane for the three-hour flight to El Calafate, in Santa Cruz province.

Lago Argentino, El Calafate, Santa Cruz, Argentina.

Aerolíneas Argentinas had the nicest plane I've ever flown on: clean, bright, with leather seats. They also serve you little ham and cheese sandwiches with the crusts cut off.

Then, a three-hour bus ride up Route 40 (Argentina's loneliest highway, though it's mostly paved now and less lonely than it used to be, but still pretty windy) to El Chaltén, a town that exists as a basecamp for trekkers and climbers around the Patagonian icefields.

View from Argentina Route 40. Reminds me of U.S. Route 50 in Utah and Nevada.