Monday, August 20, 2018

Lizards are everywhere.

I found a really cool app that I've been messing around with entirely too much. It's called Physics Toolbox Sensor Suite. It gives raw access to all of the sensors in your phone like GPS, compass, accelerometers. It can record the sensors into csv files which you can do analysis on.

I took it with me on my run this morning and recorded a timeseries of the GPS coords. I've been messing around with Pandas, Python, the haversine function and calculus to see what kinds of information I can extract from the data (other than that I'm a slow runner, haha). I think there's a lot of potential for this in the calculus classroom as well as the computer science classroom.

Later I want to explore the accelerometers next and do some discrete Fourier analysis on time series. In theory, I should be able to identify an activity like running, walking or cycling by examining the frequency spectrum of the accelerometer data. Something like that would be a fun project in my engineering math class.

Basically I'm just geeking out on having raw access to all of these cool sensors that I know all of my students have (because they all have smartphones). The accessibility is there, just a matter of putting it to use.

This isn't quite on target for my sabbatical, but I don't mind, haha.

Saw the first real cloud/storm here off in the distance this evening:
Noticed this beautiful tile mural on the Triana Market building today:
Finally, saw this little lizard in our building courtyard today:

Sunday, August 19, 2018

Random Images

Mostly quiet day today. Went out for a walk this morning. Saw the public workers cleaning up after Saturday night on the river:
Saw this clever drawing of an elephant on one of the curb ends on the river walk:
Sevilla is a very bike friendly city. There are bike only trails that cover the city. They're integrated into the traffic signals and crosswalks. There are lots of ways in which they are clearly identified. Most common, the pavement of a bike trail is painted green. In some places, where painting the pavement is not an option, like historic areas, small metal buttons are used to mark the border of the path. Laura noticed, and I agreed, that the buttons look like little faces when they're upside down:
Finally, I forgot to include this weird little sign hanging on a gnarled old tree down in the tourist area:
If you zoom in, it says, "Tengo miedo. No me tales, por favor." It's clearly on its last limbs and has been cut many times. Translated, the sign says, "I'm afraid. Don't cut me down, please." I guess somebody loves the poor old thing.

Hot today and as far as the weather forecast extends.

Today we (Laura) made reservations to spend a night next weekend in Malaga, a beach town south of here on the Mediterranean. The beach down there looks beautiful, but is likely to be very crowded. Our visit coincides with the start of the 3-week Vuelta a Espana (one of the three "grand tour" bike races). As an avid fan of bike racing for most of my adult life, I've never had a chance to see one of the grand tours IRL. Should be really fun.

Saturday, August 18, 2018


It's been creeping up on me how the iconic Triana bridge permeates a lot of the branding of the stores in the neighborhood. This evening it really hit me, so I took a few pictures this evening to make the point. Unfortunately, they're all low light and crappy, but clear enough to get the idea. First, the lay of the land. There are a lot of bridges within say a 2 mile walk up and down the river:
Our flat, marked with the small red circle is in the Triana neighborhood of Sevilla next to the Puente de Triana a.k.a. the Puente de Isabel II. This is the oldest bridge. Its current incarnation was completed in 1852, but there's been a bridge on this site since the 12th century. The current bridge has a distinctive sequence of circles underneath:
The residents of Triana identify strongly with the bridge and hence its iconic circles. If you pay attention, you begin to see stylistic use of the circular designs all over the place. This depiction of the bridge was over a tapas bar:
 The circles to the left and right of the store name here, hint at the circles under the bridge:
 The underside of the handlebars on this bike shop sign carry the hint of the bridge design:
 The circles at the left and right of this business sign are also inspired by the bridge:

In other news, we found a theater just across the river that shows a few English language movies. We noticed that The Incredibles 2 was playing there and I'd been wanting to see it for some time, so we tried it out:
It was nice inside with typical theater trappings:
Seats were comfortable and the Spanish subtitles were kind of fun to have. We noticed that the recent Mission Impossible movie is also there. Maybe next week, haha.

Friday, August 17, 2018

Do I Look American?

We usually go out to eat on Friday nights after Laura's language class. We were both pretty tired and not up for decision making, so we walked out onto our main street and picked the first place with an open table (literally right at the corner of our building). It's called El Patio San Eloy. We sat there for a while looking at the menu and decided on a few tapas. When the waiter came, we asked for the tapas and he claimed that they didn't offer them at this time and pointed us to another menu with only full entrees. Our Spanish isn't perfect, so we deferred and ordered a significantly more expensive meal that was also more than we were really looking to eat. It was ok, but not great.

In retrospect, it seems like others were ordering and getting the tapas that we were denied. Maybe we were tired and grumpy, but it seems like maybe they ID'd us as foreigners and upsold us. We should have just up and gone to the next place down the street and gotten tapas (tapas places line the street), but for whatever reason we stayed. Live and learn.

Here's us picking our "unavailable tapas":
 They did get the beer "right" because they brought us an extra beer that we soon realized was for the next table over. They didn't charge us for the error:
We didn't leave a tip:

The building across the street is pretty to look at. Also, the street was pretty busy. The camera makes this look lighter than it really is. At this point it's around 10pm and the sun is well down:
Finally, the singing busker that we hear from our apartment almost every night, made an appearance. Definitely not our style, haha:

Pretty quiet day today. Another good math day. It's warming up again, but I think the worst of the heat is behind us.

Thursday, August 16, 2018


Had a good, productive math day on a topic that just popped into my head this morning. I love when that happens. Gonna keep it short today.

I saw this sparrow contemplating a game of hopscotch:
 And this guy cleaning windows at the bank:
Sevilla's not the cleanest city I've ever been in (Vienna), but they do a pretty good job of keeping the centro clean. It's tough to keep the streets clean when it never rains. Also, like Budapest, graffiti. I don't get graffiti. Specifically, why is it so prevalent in some places and non-existent in other places? I guess that's a question for sociologists.