Observations about the universe, life, Lausanne and me

Friday, July 13, 2007

Bollocks to this

I am off on holiday. Back in about four weeks. Intermittent posting may occur, but don't hold your breath.

Thursday, July 12, 2007


For some reason, the francophones only eat small pizzas. I don't know about the original pizzas (pizzi?No, the Italians say "pizze" for the plural, but the internet assures me that pizzas is the correct form in English. I am relieved; thank you, internet.) in Italy, but in Austria you don't get a pizza with less than 35cm of diameter. In France or here in Lausanne on the other hand, they rarely reach 30cm. This one (with extra cheese and bacon lovingly arranged by myself) has a diameter of 23cm. Which is not necessarily a bad thing, because it is still enough for me, and I won't feel sick afterwards like with our huge Austrian Mega-pizzas.

If you take me for a total nerd because I like to quantify my pizza-experience, you are probably right. At least you are in excellent company, as my girlfriend agrees with you.

On a completely unrelated note, there are only three countries in the whole world that don't use the metric (or SI) system: Burma, Liberia, and the USA. Burma is in really bad company ;)

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Yet Another Rainbow

It seems that my flat is at the local rainbow-hotspot - not that I am complaining. This time I had my camera handy. So there it is in all its glory, a rainbow produced by the low evening sun over Lausanne.

You can even see a faint secondary rainbow to the left - it has it's colours reversed. It is produced by the light being reflected twice inside the water droplets instead of once - a quick explanation with diagrams is to be found here.

Also, note the small tree growing in the chimney (behind the Antenna). Fire-hazard much?

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Canon Remote Control

A couple of days ago I stumbled over a 3.5 to 2.5mm audio jack adapter. Yesterday I finally had a couple of minutes to build a Canon remote control. I found out about it here, and it's pretty simple: All you have to do is build a switch to connect the tip of the jack to the sleeve - that focuses the camera and then releases the shutter.

Above the parts I used, to the right the result, and on the bottom myself trying it out the first time. Eventually I want to use a light barrier to photograph quick-moving stuff, but that will have to wait until after our holidays.

Monday, July 9, 2007

Casual references to the bible

What I don't get about American Christians:

Austria is not the most secular country in the world. Indeed, according to this map (warning: wikipedia. As far as I know, this was coloured in by a demented 6-year old technorat), nearly 50% of us believe in god. More than those go to church ('cause it's the thing to do, particularly in small villages). But never in my life did somebody reference something from the bible to make a point that had nothing to do with religion. But now and again, when aimlessly surfing the internet, I stumble about an otherwise well written, or well thought-out, or just amusing blogpost like this one, and then suddenly there it is. Noah's ark.

In this case, the post is about stuff it took the author a long time to learn, i.e. general life advice, and one of the points made is

15. Never be afraid to try something new. Remember that a lone amateur built the Ark. A large group of professionals built the Titanic.
Pardon me? Are you telling me that you are comparing a stupid fictional boat (and not very well thought out at that - a bit too small to get two of each kind of animal in there) with the largest passenger steamship of her time?

Stuff like that causes me to immediately classify the author as a crank, i.e. somebody who is prone to believe all manner of things without evidence. Is this bible-quoting thing just an illness of American-Christian fundamentalists, or don't I know the right people to hear it here in Europe? Or maybe it's the internet that brings out the weirdos?

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Must... have... coffees!

Ahh, coffee in the morning. Comes right before I leave for the EPFL, where I will brew up a pot of green tea (Huang Shan Mao Feng at this time) to carry me through the day ;)

Unfortunately I haven't found a coffee-roaster (roastary? roasting-facility? coffee-vendor? Unbelievable that I don't know this essential English word!) in Lausanne yet. In Vienna this is no problem, with Eduscho and Tchibo all over the city, as well as other, independent Kaffeeröstereien.

But the coffee-culture is sadly lacking here in Switzerland. Today I will check out a small 3rd-world store, they sometimes have decent coffee. There's also a Starbucks, but going there to buy coffee goes against the grain of my small, Viennese soul...

Tuesday, July 3, 2007


Got my girlfriend and myself some fish yesterday, because we have to get in the mood for Losinj. Fish is surprisingly cheap, those were 12 CHF/kg, which is about half as much as you would pay for beef.

Filled with a mixture of garlic, thyme, rosemary and basil, roasted in the oven for about 10 minutes - fast and delicious. As you can see, my girlfriend was impatient for me to stop shooting photos so we could eat...

As a side-dish we had Indian-style vegetables with a garam-masala yogurt sauce and rice. Njam!

What kind of fish, you ask? I have to admit, I haven't got the faintest. In my haste to get at the good stuff, I tore the wrapping off and threw it away without getting our meals genealogy. My bad.