Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Bicycle Quotes

I rode in to work in the pouring rain today, but I still enjoyed the ride. For some reason being on a bicycle just puts me in a great mood. I dug up some quotes on cycling today and thought I'd put them here to share with others:

"Every time I see an adult on a bicycle, I no longer despair for the future of mankind" - H.G. Wells

"The bicycle, the bicycle surely, should always be the vehicle of novelists and poets."

- Christopher Morley

"The bicycle is the most civilized conveyance known to man. Other forms of transport grow daily more nightmarish. Only the bicycle remains pure in heart."

- Iris Murdoch, The Red and the Green

"When I go biking, I repeat a mantra of the day's sensations: bright sun, blue sky, warm breeze, blue jay's call, ice melting and so on. This helps me transcend the traffic, ignore the clamorings of work, leave all the mind theaters behind and focus on nature instead. I still must abide by the rules of the road, of biking, of gravity. But I am mentally far away from civilization. The world is breaking someone else's heart."

- Diane Ackerman

"[T]he bicycle is the most efficient machine ever created: Converting calories into gas, a bicycle gets the equivalent of three thousand miles per gallon."

- Bill Strickland, The Quotable Cyclist

"Nothing compares to the simple pleasure of a bike ride."

- John F. Kennedy

"You never have the wind with you - either it is against you or you're having a good day."

- Daniel Behrman, The Man Who Loved Bicycles

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

A Random Thought About Vision

The best way to see something clearly is to not look at it directly.

I was switching out the audio cords in the back of my machine in preparation for a conversation via Skype with my colleague in Bozeman, and as you might imagine it is somewhat dark under my desk. It was really difficult to see anything in the dim light when I looked directly at it, but when I looked off to the side I could see much more detail. This reminded me of the Observational Astronomy course I took my sophomore year of undergrad, when Dr. Odell told us that one can observe much more of the night sky with the naked eye by looking just to the side of the object(s) of interest. My recollection is that rods are much more light sensitive than cones, and rods predominate in the peripheral vision--so dim objects are much clearer when you are not looking at them.