Author Archives:

Monsters in July

I can scarcely remember how I came to this place. When I was young the water flowed all around me. The swift current swept bugs and small minnows through predictable paths, and I ate recklessly. When the small bugs tried to fly, I jumped through the air and caught them in my mouth. But I […]

View full post »

The Digital Camera: The Spherical Lens (Part I)

We recently examined the way a spherical glass surface focusses light; however, this focussing property is not unique for light that travels from air into glass. Instead, this phenomenon occurs anytime light travels between two surroundings separated by a spherical boundary. For light that originates from a point source, the general equation that specifies the relationship […]

View full post »

Spam!

I have a few new posts ready to go, but I’ve been spending my time lately trying to learn how to stop the onslaught of spam comments I’ve been receiving on the blog. If you have advice, I’d appreciate any help on this. (I use wordpress to manage this blog.) I have wordpress configured to […]

View full post »

“They’ve never really been there”

It would be ironic — and a hideous thought to contemplate — if this little book should help bring about the discovery of the “forgotten” Upper Peninsula. Yet I take comfort when I reflect that the people who might find and deflower my native heath rarely hold still long enough to read books.  . . […]

View full post »

Back to School

My oldest son returned to college on Thursday, and, because of a work commitment for Friday, I stayed in Houghton while my wife accompanied him to East Lansing. My youngest son was practicing with his band the evening they left, so I retreated to my office to wallow in sadness and self-pity. “Stop whining you big […]

View full post »

Rolling a Cast on Frenchman’s

All Hail the roll cast: all fishermen should be required to learn it at birth. I teach it by special appointment, but only on Leap Year Day. John Voelker Anatomy of a Fisherman I think the instructor would be proud of his student . . . (John Voelker’s grandson Adam Tsaloff rolling a cast on […]

View full post »

The Digital Camera: Refraction by a Spherical Surface

Having learned about refraction in our recent posts, we can now begin to appreciate the imaging capability of a lens by applying the principle of Snell’s law to understand the way in which a glass surface can bend light rays to form an image. To see how this works, we first think about a cylindrical piece of […]

View full post »

Solitude Lost

The Middle Branch of the Escanaba River begins northwest of Humboldt, Michigan and flows south and east until it joins the East Branch just below the the town of Gwinn. Highly oxygenated riffles, pools the size of small lakes, spring-fed tributaries, and an abundant supply of food make the resident trout happy which, in turn, causes […]

View full post »

The Digital Camera: The Pinhole Camera

Over a period of several months in 2005 and 2006, a half-dozen artists converted a shuttered F-18 aircraft hanger into the largest camera ever made. To darken the hanger the artists used 24,000 square feet of viscuine, 1,300 gallons of foam gap filler, one and a half miles of gorilla tape, and 40 cans of […]

View full post »

The Digital Camera: Total Internal Reflection

Snell’s Law enables us to predict the way a light ray will refract — or bend — when it enters a new surrounding with a different refractive index. If the new surrounding has a larger refractive index the ray will bend toward the surface normal; if the new surrounding has a smaller refractive index the ray […]

View full post »

No one goes there anymore

I keep a picture of a river, and what used to be a store. Joshua Davis Delta 88 from the album Fool Rooster You can float the main branch of the Escanaba River from Princeton to Cornell, but, if you drive the narrow two-lane blacktop roads between those Ivy League cities, you’ll likely see this […]

View full post »

An Ivy League Education

The main branch of the Escanaba River — or the Big Escanaba — begins at the confluence of its East and Middle Branches just south of the town of Gwinn and east of the small settlement of Princeton. From there the big river flows south and east spilling over four dams before it surges into […]

View full post »