My weblog ELECTRON BLUE, which concentrated on science and mathematics, ran from 2004-2008. It is no longer being updated. My current blog, which is more art-related, is here.

Sat, 04 Dec, 2004

The Sunny Winter Day Problem

The season is Brumalia, the ancient Roman word for the period of short days leading up to the Winter Solstice. You'd think it would be appropriately dark and misty and gloomy, here in the temperate zone of the Northern Hemisphere. But the reality is that at least where I live, there are many days in winter that are brilliantly sunny and dry. You'd think this would be welcome, but it has its problems, at least for me. The sun is lower on the horizon during the winter months, and that means that in the afternoon, it shines directly into my west-facing home studio windows. For the twelve years that I have occupied this place, this means that on sunny winter afternoons, I can't work at my home studio because the sunlight is right in my face. I have tried sun-blocking or reflecting curtains, but this doesn't seem to stop the problem because any gap in or around the curtain still shines those bright beams into my eyes. In fact, one of the reasons I took my current day job is because I was getting nothing done during the daytime in the winter, so I might as well make signs for Trader Joe's in a windowless back room. The store, however, is also flooded with that low-angled sunlight on these relentless sunny winter afternoons. I had a conversation with a customer who struggled to pick out her organic tomatoes against the blazing Solstice sunlight. Her sentiments were the same as mine, seasonal and ironic: why should dark winter be so sun-bright?

My plants in the window area like the sun, and my brave little cactus is still in bloom, as are some of my aloe plants (the flowers are too ugly to show here). During these weeks, my apartment resembles that Pharaonic rock-cut tomb of ancient Egypt which was designed so that the sunlight only reaches the interior on the winter solstice. Low-angled beams of golden photons show every bit of dust and fiber on my floor, and enter into a closet and a bathroom which in any other month of the year is mercifully dim. There are some places which should not be brightly lit, lest too much be seen.

I have gone back to my embarrassingly simple middle-school physics text to review things I first studied in 2002. Sure, if I were that boy genius on his way to being a "real" physicist, I would already be studying quantum mechanics. But in my circling, elliptical, solstitial way, I need to review things over and over again in order to keep them fresh in my memory. I looked again at my notes from 2002 about acceleration and distance and scalars and vectors. Now that I am beginning calculus I see the presence of time and change in those acceleration formulas. I have also been pondering the formula for distance covered while accelerating, which is closely related, but not identical to the formula for the sum of an arithmetic sequence. Or perhaps it is identical at least in some situations; I can't quite figure it out. I will be reviewing vectors next. I need to make sure I know my speed and direction at the same time.

Posted at 3:16 am | link

Why the Title?
About the Author
What this blog is about: the first post
Pyracantha Main Page

RSS Version


November 2014 (4)
October 2014 (16)
September 2008 (5)
August 2008 (5)
July 2008 (7)
June 2008 (4)
May 2008 (6)
April 2008 (5)
March 2008 (8)
February 2008 (9)
January 2008 (8)
December 2007 (9)
November 2007 (9)
October 2007 (1)
September 2007 (7)
August 2007 (6)
July 2007 (10)
June 2007 (7)
May 2007 (10)
April 2007 (7)
March 2007 (11)
February 2007 (10)
January 2007 (6)
December 2006 (9)
November 2006 (9)
October 2006 (8)
September 2006 (8)
August 2006 (10)
July 2006 (9)
June 2006 (10)
May 2006 (10)
April 2006 (8)
March 2006 (12)
February 2006 (10)
January 2006 (11)
December 2005 (11)
November 2005 (9)
October 2005 (10)
September 2005 (10)
August 2005 (12)
July 2005 (9)
June 2005 (10)
May 2005 (8)
April 2005 (7)
March 2005 (8)
February 2005 (9)
January 2005 (7)
December 2004 (7)
November 2004 (7)
October 2004 (8)
September 2004 (5)
August 2004 (9)
July 2004 (9)
June 2004 (8)
May 2004 (6)
April 2004 (13)
March 2004 (12)
February 2004 (13)


Cosmic Variance
Life as a Physicist
Cocktail Party Physics
Bad Astronomy
Jennifer Saylor
Thus Spake Zuska

Listed on Blogwise