Halfway done term two, week two


in Daily updates, Oxford, The outdoors, Travel

White balance error... in my favour!

My essay on realism and neorealism has finally been dispatched to Dr. Hurrell. It will be nice to give my EndNote databases a rest, though it really just means a return to more reading. The last class on foreign policy analysis is tomorrow and I’ve yet to do the reading for it. Hopefully, this class will be better set up for the large group format than the last one was.

As a gift from China, Neal sent me a tin of Tieguanyin: “one of the most famous and highly prized teas in China, and possibly the greatest oolong tea produced anywhere.” He explains that Guanyin is both a Taoist saint and the Sino-Japanese-Korean Buddhist Goddess of Mercy. Apparently, this specific varietal of Camellia sinensis is called Hong-Xing-Wi-Ma-Tau. I wish I had my beautiful Murchie’s teapot – itself a gift – in which to brew it. Many thanks.

Having nineteen emails in my inbox, where I only keep items that require some kind of response, is a marker for how busy the term is becoming. It’s a feeling I generally appreciate. At least when I am spending time doing things other than reading, I am generally doing things that are entirely justifiable and necessary.

The next item on my personal travel itinerary should be Africa. I’ve never been there before and it really seems like the kind of place you cannot be complete until you’ve seen. For a first trip, the most likely options are Kenya, Tanzania (Mount Kilimanjaro being near the border of those two states), South Africa, Nigeria, or possibly somewhere in West Africa, like Ghana or Benin. Regardless of where the trip ends up being to, I’d much prefer to go with someone who knows the country in question already. A trip to a French speaking part of Africa would also be preferable, since it would give me an incentive to brush up on my French before leaving and an opportunity to converse in at least one of the native tongues.

  • Tim has some interesting cabinet speculation. Canadian mousepad wonks, have a look.
  • On a related note, the definition of ‘wonk’ in the OED has nothing whatsoever to do with its most common usage today.
  • Many thanks to Margaret for informing me that this Saturday (January 28th), Philip Pulman will be at an Alternative Careers Fair at the Exam Schools, talking about how to be a writer. I will most certainly be in attendance. The event begins at 11:00am.
  • I bought another two months worth of multivitamins and omega-3 fatty acids today. While they’re obviously not a substitute for eating well, they make for a nice accompaniment. Those who are concerned about my diet, rejoice.
  • Anyone who doesn’t believe that the world, as we see it, is largely constructed on the basis of assumptions your brain makes about the world should watch this video. It’s a relatively rare case of a strange three-dimensional optical effect that still works when filmed (ie. presented without the benefit of stereo vision).

{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

Anonymous January 25, 2006 at 9:07 pm

Tieguanyin is really excellent tea: especially if it’s from Anxi, in Fujian province. That said, there are Tieguanyin teas from other regions that are also very good – for instance, Nantou in Taiwan.

B January 25, 2006 at 10:04 pm

Nice composition today, but the strong blue colour cast is annoying. Were you just trying to be different, or is there some reason for it?

Anonymous January 25, 2006 at 10:10 pm

Man, I just saw this one red paperclip thing where a guy has traded a single paperclip for a van, though a number of steps.

In short, everyone is making money off the internet but you. Even that dumb one million pixel idea. You should find something to sell.

Milan January 25, 2006 at 10:37 pm


It was a mistake, the product of me leaving the camera on a custom white balance setting for tungsten. The shot after, where I fixed the white balance, didn’t have the bicycle.

Anonymous January 25, 2006 at 10:59 pm

Regarding the optical illusion described above, you can build one yourself using these plans.

This one actually only works if you close one eye, or do something that approximates it (like video taping).

R.K. January 26, 2006 at 1:04 am

Regardless of how you feel about the colour in that photo, the timing strikes me as pretty much perfect.

Anonymous January 26, 2006 at 1:22 am

I am guessing you’ll find this article ont he state of the US military interesting:


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