brucine (broo'-seen), 1) n. Pharm., Chem. a bitter, poisonous alkaloid, C23H26N2O4, obtained from the nux vomica tree; 2) n. Bruce Bortin's 'low-impact' weblog

Sunday, June 30, 2013

Quiet Pool

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Gravity-defying levitating superconductor on a magnetic Möbius strip

Does anybody else see a cartoon dog face drifting into the logo at around 0:05?

Cartoon Dog Face

Just, you know, wondering…

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Hey, #NSA, I just took another picture by mistake.

Gosh darn this new cellphone anyway.

Oh, and by the way, we've got a new #PhoneSystem at work starting today. All of a sudden, we don't have to dial 9 to get out. Well, I've been dialing 9 for an outside line for about 8 years now, so when I called Mary today, I [STUPID! STUPID! STUPID!] dialed 9 and then her number. Now my phone thinks I'm trying to call #Afghanistan. Dialing code: 93.

I would like to state, for the record, that this was a mistake. I don’t know anybody in Afghanistan, I have no reason to call there....I’ve said too much. Oh my God*, I hope I haven’t said too much.

Last night, there was a #DRONE hovering outside my window, with the single glowing red eye, the hunched shoulders, a sudden silencing of all ambient sound and everything. No visible #GUN #TURRETS on this model, thank goodness!
*I refer here, of course, to the Judeo-Christian God. I do not invoke Allah. What? I should?...Oh, right. On advice of counsel, I hereby assert my Fifth Amendment right to dummy up.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Telephone Phone Icon

Telephone Phone Icon
New phones at BASF

Elevator Sign


Monday, June 24, 2013

2 Watercolors

Kinda at loose ends today. I made these with a carrot at Mezz Café, 13th at Webster, Oakland.

Newly Lined Helmet


Distressed TP

distressed tp by fred
Toilet paper, altered.
No. 7 in a series of 12.
Installation, with live television feed.
By Freddie Mercury. 

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Waiting for Linder Cafe Milano in Berkeley. I've got to start spending more time in cafes.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Video of Pens Holding Perfectly Still


(Not actually video)

Compare & Contrast These Maps of...

100 Acre Wood with

Shepard & Aylett. Virtually indistinguishable, if you ask me.
Note identity of
  1. Christopher Robin’s house with Barney Juno’s digs at Ladderland
  2. Nice for Piknicks & Kanga’s house with Flyover Stump/Sloths
  3. 100 Aker Wood with Right Here is a Big Butternut Tree
  4. Rabbit’s House with Shop of a Thousand Spiders
  5. Floody Place/Rather Boggy and Sad with Baffling Ocean
  6. Eeyore (in the Swamp of Eternal Enmity/Degradation) might or might not stand in for Announcement Horse
  7. Pooh lives in the Scardummy Garden?
…and so on. Hmm Hmmm.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Take this pill and call me in the morning

Richard L. Perri



HAP chair projrct

Monday, June 17, 2013

Heres a pic posted by email?

Hey. Working out how the new phone does things.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Ask a Physicist: Higgs, Mass and Time Dave Goldberg's profile photo

Hi Dr Goldberg

In 2001, when LBNL announced the Sudbury findings about solar neutrino oscillation, I went to their press conference. Learned a lot, but there's one thing in particular that I don't understand.

The gist, as I understood it, of the SNO observations, was that a certain flavor of solar neutrino shows up more abundantly here on earth than it should, considering the relative abundance that are produced by the sun. The explanation for this is that during the transit from their creation, out of the sun and to the detector on earth, the neutrinos 'oscillate' flavors, changing from electron-neutrinos to muon-neutrinos or suchlike. One of the takeaways of this discovery was that neutrinos, since they can change over time, must have mass, as massless particles travel at c and therefore don't experience time, so would be unable to change over time.

So it seems to me that while massless particles are doomed to travel at the speed of light and never experience change, we massive entities (I am anything but massless) can exist in, and experience time. As our interactions with the Higgs field are what imbue us with mass, it must be what allows us to be at rest, or at any speed other than c, and to experience change, right? 

Is this a reasonable way of looking at things, and if so, why isn't it being talked about? I've had a google alert set for "Higgs Mass Time" for years, and it seems lime nobody is talking about this aspect of the universe. So, nu?
Bruce Bortin

Hi Bruce,

That's an interesting approach, and there's a lot of truth to what you say.  Time and Energy are intimately related in physics (as are space and momentum or angle and angular momentum), so there's definitely a strong connection between the Higgs (which induces a self-interaction energy in particles) and time.

However, there's a temptation to take an analogy too far.  The Higgs gives mass to certain particles for sure: the W and Z Bosons.  Others, like electrons and quarks, probably get their masses from the Higgs but we're not sure how.  Neutrinos may get their mass from an entirely different mechanism entirely. 

But what about you?  Well, the quarks in your body get their mass from the Higgs (probably), but the mass of protons are about 50 times higher than the masses of their constituent quarks.  In other words, the vast majority of your mass doesn't come from Higgs.  It comes from interaction energies involved in the strong nuclear force.  By extension, most of your mass doesn't come from the Higgs, either.

Just a warning to not take an analogy too far.


Thanks so much for the illumination, Dr G. I really appreciate your taking the time. I am SO pre-ordering The Universe in the Rearview Mirror today!

Bruce Bortin

Saturday, June 15, 2013

TMBG @ Warfield

Oh, hi. Mary & I just had the best time!

Friday, June 07, 2013

Wednesday, June 05, 2013

More Lunchtime Selfies




On Minna St. Some big black SUV.

Monday, June 03, 2013

Sassy’s Dogtag

Sassy's Dogtag

It’s That Time of Year Again

Sampling leter from Kaiser
“Dear Bruce H Bortin:
“I see that it’s time for your yearly colorectal cancer screening…..”

Okay, a couple things:
  1. I love the body language of the person in the photo. Fingertips only with a ‘here, you take it!’ presentation.

  2. Also, big ups to whoever greenlit the decision to print the specimen ID label on coated paper that your info will always smudge on. Way to go, design team.
Still, glad to have health insurance, and if this is my biggest problem with Kaiser, hey, not bad.

Sunday, June 02, 2013

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