A moment of zen

As we wait for everything to make itself clear tonight, a moment of zen. Jim Bales up at MIT runs the Edgerton Center where they play with light, photography and science. Jim invited me in for a tour last weekend when I was in town for my high school reunion and it was awesome.

Here is my favorite picture that he took:

We had placed a white balloon inside of an orange balloon. We inflated both and then I popped the balloons. The “pop” was the strobe light trigger for the camera and this is what happened. If you look closely at the bottom, you can see the needle most of the way into the white balloon but the balloon not breaking (yet).

One of the other things that he showed me and my dad was using light columns to identify density differentiation. This was an awesome picture that he took.

This was just awesome and I had to share this great experience with you all for a moment of zen.

Open Thread.

20 replies
  1. 1
    Barbara says:

    I don’t want zen. I want cupcakes.

  2. 2

    @Barbara: that is the 16:00 post

  3. 3
    Tom Levenson says:

    Jim’s great. He once shot my business card for me.

    And you were in town and even in my shop and didn’t reach out? Dude!

  4. 4
    rikyrah says:

    This is a response to Yarrow:

    Yarrow says:
    November 6, 2018 at 11:57 am
    Guys, we have a Juicer who is in the hospital in Houston, TX who wants to vote. Keith P has been posting about his problems getting what he needs to vote. Let’s see if we can help him. Front pagers, can you contact him and see if we can find a way to help him. If we can find out his district we can maybe contact the campaign offices of his Rep or his Rep’s Dem challenger. I asked if he has friends or family who can run the paperwork back and forth but so far he hasn’t responded.

    He said he planned to vote straight ticket Dem. I HATE to leave votes on the table when every vote counts, especially in Texas this year. Let’s figure out how to help him!

    This is from the Harris County Elections Department:

    Special Circumstances

    You may submit an application for a late ballot because of sickness or disability after the last day of early voting and before 5:00pm on election day. In order to qualify the sickness or disability must originate on or after the 12th day before election day. (Secs. 102.001; 102.003).

    You may submit an application to vote due to a death in the immediate family that occurred on or after the 5th day before election day and will be absent from the county on election day. (Secs. 103.001; 103.003b).

    Voters are required to submit an application for these specific instances. Please contact the Elections Division at 713-755-3150 for questions.


  5. 5
    Jason says:

    Offered to the science geeks like me:


    Very cool ISS experiments by Don Pettit involving water. My favorite series of space experiments ever starts at 12:52.

  6. 6
    Mnemosyne says:

    Has anyone checked on lamh36? Because she may have fainted with happiness when she hears that Idris Elba was picked as this year’s People Magazine Sexiest Man Alive.

  7. 7

    @Tom Levenson: I was already massively overbooked; I know my limitations unless you wanted to talk on the 4:35 Central Square to Government Center Redline train before I ran to Milk Street for a 4:50 beer

  8. 8
    Sister Rail Gun of Warm Humanitarianism says:

    @Mnemosyne: She did. And then got up and shouted it from the rooftops.

  9. 9

    @Mnemosyne: Late b-day present for lamh?

    ETA: Just returned from voting.

  10. 10
    Tom Levenson says:

    @David Anderson: I know. Just feel it’s important never to leave an opportunity to give grief go unutilized.

  11. 11
    cleek says:

    the Schlieren effect!

  12. 12
    Waynski says:

    So, I went over to the GOS and they had a pretty longish but good analysis of what Mueller as well as Trump may do post-election and the comments section was immediately hijacked by two knobs talking about the Lord of the Rings.

  13. 13
    RedDirtGirl says:

    I’m having some cognitive dissonance trying to put a popping balloon and Zen together…

  14. 14
    WaterGirl says:

    @Mnemosyne: Of course he was! How fun.

  15. 15
    Matt Wesson says:

    @RedDirtGirl: What is the sound of no balloons popping?

  16. 16
    Jim Bales says:

    @cleek: Yes! Schlieren is fun :-)


  17. 17
    Jim Bales says:


    As I said in person, it is the least I can do in recognition of the immense value I have received from your ACA and health insurance blogging — it was a delight to meet you and your father!


  18. 18
    ruemara says:

    You should drop by my lab next time you want to play with light. Granted, we don’t do physics, we do lighting development & sustainability, but it’s still pretty fascinating.

  19. 19
  20. 20
    Jim Bales says:

    @ruemara: ruemara — this sounds interesting — can you tell me more? Feel free to email me at work “bales” “at” “mit.edu”

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