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She shook me all night long

This spring I went to see the season opener for the Tri-City Roller Girls. It being my first time at a roller derby, I brought along my camera. After shooting over an hour of footage I put together this short movie. These girls are tough (and awesome).

Shot on my hacked Panasonic GH1 at 60fps. The footage was (mostly) retimed to 24fps in FCPX to achieve the slow motion.

Spectacular time-lapse of the annular solar eclipse

Spectacular time-lapse of the annular solar eclipse

The sun

Cory Poole's timelapse of yesterday's annular solar eclipse using a Coronado Solar Max 60 Double Stack telescope and a GH2. The telescope has a built in notch filter that only allows light from the H-alpha line at 656.28 nm to pass through. This allows astronomers to see features from the surface of the sun. 

Cory will be posting photos from the eclipse to his website shortly. He has a beautiful collection of photos available. Check them out.


The happy secret

Shawn Anchor shares some of the secrets to being happy. This talk contains almost everything I have come to believe about happiness.

A superb TED talk filled with humour and truth. Some excellent suggestions at the end for "creating lasting positive change":

  • Find three things to be grateful for each day
  • Journal the positive things that happen
  • Exercise
  • Meditate
  • Perform random acts of kindness

Good advice.

George and John’s Excellent Adventures in Quantum Entanglement

A clever video by Scientific American about quantum entanglement and Bell's Theorem. This is one of the better attempts that I have seen to explain the concept of hidden variables and the surprising nature of Bell's inequalities.

I have thought long and hard about the best way to explain Bell's inequalities. I would still prefer a less abstract approach, but I really like the way this video introduces the subject and I can't think of anything better off the top of my head. Up to now I have used1 a different card trick to illustrate the surprising correlations that exist between entangled particles and not attempted to explain Bell's work. Perhaps I can convince Marco and Robert to reprise their roles as Einstein and Bohr in a sequel.

Entanglement is such an awesome phenomena that has ramifications in philosophy, physics, cosmology, and biology. Sometimes I take for granted that I get to create entangled states of light in the lab every day.

  1. Technically it is Dan Trommater, my magician friend, who performed the card trick. 

Lindy Hoppers: Science needs YOU!

This coming March I am going to be explaining some the intricacies of Quantum Mechanics using Lindy Hop. To pull this off, I need your help.

The goal is to get as many scenes as possible to film themselves performing the routine. The footage will then be spliced together and be incorporated into a larger performance.

The Mechanics - a documentary profiling quantum physicists.


A documentary by Karol Jalochowski that profiles a number of physicists working at the Centre for Quantum Technologies1 in Singapore. It is great to hear fellow physicists talk about why they love science and the things that attract them to quantum mechanics.

From the Vimeo description:

THE MECHANICS is a short documentary project about the crazy world of quantum mechanics. The mechanics - all based in the Centre for Quantum Technologies in Singapore - are: Stephanie Wehner, Dagomir Kaszlikowski, Elisabeth Rieper, Kwek Leong Chuan, Pawel Kurzynski, Artur Ekert, and Momo Lu Yin.

  1. The CQT in Singaporean equivalent of the Institute for Quantum Computing where I work. 

The Ultimate Lindyhop Timelapse 2011

The Ultimate Lindyhop Timelapse 2011

ULHS 2011 Juan & Sharon

This past weekend I attended The Ultimate Lindyhop Showdown in New Orleans. Showdown is an awesome event that features excellent dancing, amazing competitions, and mind-blowing music. I spent the entire weekend in the French Quarter listening to the street bands who seem to populate every corner. There is no shortage of good music (and dancing).

Normally I would take copious quantities of video at an event like this, but there were already dozens of people filming the dances and competitions. Instead, I decided to do something different. Some 15,000 photos later I had enough material to create a timelapse of the weekend (Watch it in HD if you can). The music is a recording I made on the Saturday night of Meschiya Lake & Her Lil' Big Horns. Meschiya is a tremendous performer. I can't recommend her album Lucky Devil enough. If you have a spare $11 sitting around, it is definitely a worthwhile investment.

A big thanks to Amy Johnson and her team. I can't wait for next years event.

Flight of the Gibbons

Just got back from Thailand, and I am still battling jet lag. The trip and wedding were awesome. One of the highlights was the Flight of the Gibbons–a high wire zip line through over three kilometres of rain forest. The park is part of a larger conservation effort dedicated to saving Gibbon monkeys. If you go to Thailand make sure you check out the Gibbons.

Burpees Everywhere Toronto


Jaime, Martha and Heather are big Body Rock fans. Last week they go together to burpee Toronto as part of the Burpee Everywhere challenge. They travelled the city executing burpees at various landmarks and videoing themselves, and then asked me to cut the footage together.

Jaime has been trying to get me to start working out with her and I might give it a shot this fall—lord knows I need to get back into shape. There is a mini fitness craze at the IQC right now with people joining Fitocracy, an online real life exercise RPG where you get to "level up" by doing exercise. I am not sure I want to join yet, but I know it has motivated many people around me to start working out regularly.

Go Karting Group Outing

Go Karting Group Outing

Physicists can have fun too! One of the groups I work with at the Institute for Quantum Computing took a field trip to the Erbsville Kartway here in Waterloo. We had lots of fun go karting and playing mini golf. Congrats to Evan who destroyed everyone else at mini golf.

Bettina pushing the go kart

Quantum Physics & Harry Potter Talk

For those of you who missed it in person, the video for the Quantum Physics & Harry Potter is now live. Dan and I had a lot of fun putting this on and are hoping to repeat the show sometime in the winter. A big thanks to Peter Kovacs for shooting and editing the video.

Dan Trommater teleporting a 20 dollar bill during the Quantum Physics and Harry Potter Show

Dream Board Collage Time Lapse

Jaime and a group of her friends get together once a week for a girls night. This week they used old magazines to make a collage called a dream board. I set up a camera and captured a time lapse of the event. I am beginning to like this time-lapse business.

Square 2 Square Dance Time-lapse

Square 2 Square Dance Time-lapse

This past weekend I shot my first time-lapse video of a street festival, called Square 2 Square, that has been running this summer in Waterloo. Every few Sundays the main street through town is designated a car free zone. Local business set up booths and fun activities take place. During the last Square 2 Square festival I took some footage of a street water fight near my house. This time around a good friend of mine, David Trinh of Hep Cat Hoppers fame, set up a Lindy Hop booth. I set my camera on top of his car and set my camera to take a picture every 3 seconds. Nearly three hours and 3000 pictures later this is what happened.

Another reason I love Waterloo: during the three hours I was out on the street I ran into seven other physicists.

Shim sham at the square 2 square dance

Amazing Australian Astro and Time Lapse Photography

Alex Cherney is an Australian photographer who has taken some incredible images of the night sky. His photos have won numerous awards and are routinely featured on NASA's astronomy photo of the day site. Below are two of my favourite videos from Alex. They remind me of the superb time lapse video taken at the Very Large Telescope Array. [vimeo][/vimeo] I love the reflections in the lake and the music from the didgeridoo in the video. The next video was shot of one-and-a-half years and won first place in the STARMUS astrophotography competition. For more incredible footage check out his Vimeo page

I just got my intervalmometer (a remote control that can be programmed to take photos at regular intervals) and am excited to try out some time-lapse photography. When it comes to photography, I am always amazed and inspired by people like Alex.

360 degree panorama of the night sky

You can purchase some of his prints on Redbubble. I am buying a copy of this astounding panorama to hang in my living room.

Physics is Information

Leonard Susskind's brilliant introductory lectures on Quantum Mechanics from a Quantum Information stand point. If you have 90 minutes, check out the first lecture in the series. The first 8 minutes alone are well worth watching for Susskind's explanation of why modern physics appears so strange. His imagination, creativity, and force of thought are on full display in this lecture. 

Leonard Susskind has made a number of important contributions to modern quantum theory and is one of the fathers of string theory.

Via Sean Carol.