Tuesday, July 28, 2015

I am the harbinger of doom

Bad Dad observed that, if we like a product, that is a pretty good sign they will stop making/selling it. This talent/trait means I have a bit of a hoarder's mentality when I find something I like.

It appears that I am not alone.  In fact, some marketing folks at UPenn have identified consumers who are 'Harbingers' of failure.

I'm the type of person who will be swayed by features like higher quality or compact size, who would buy a Sony Betamax over a VHS.  I would spend $100+ on an iron that lasts 15 years over a $30 one that lasts 1-2 years.  People like me do not rule the consumer marketplace.
"Betavhs2" by Senor k - English Wikipedia. Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons.
Actually, I wonder if the study co-authors, Eric Anderson, Song Lin, Duncan Simester, and Catherine Tucker, did not stratify enough. They lump together early adopters with people who buy heavily promoted products "on sale" with people who purchase niche products. I'd like to see if their results hold up if they separate out the three groups.

For instance, if a product appears to be headed for flop status, wouldn't many companies/stores heavily promote the product (on sale!) or close it out (on clearance!).  That lures price-sensitive buyers.  Yet, some of their Harbingers appear to pay more than average consumers, signaling either early adopters or niche consumers.

Anyway, the upshot is that some people have a propensity to select products that are likely to go out of production by the big companies. However, consumers of niche products are also more likely to purchase the products they favor over the internet, and pay more than for bulk commodity products. You don't have to go to Wharton to figure that out. But, what do I know, I'm just a rocket scientist harbinger of doom.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Absorba 6


Iris asked for a sunset colored room and bathroom. We started by painting the bathroom a golden yellow. I had some bright sunset and ocean color cotton yarns.

As with Absorba 1-5, I used 2 strands instead of the 3 of the pattern instructions. Absorba 5 was the only one I made log cabin-style and it was not as square as the others, which were in courthouse steps-style. So I went back to courthouse steps.

I cast on 16 stitches with a size 8 needle and knit 20 rows (10 ridges) in pink, 2 rows in white, 32 rows in turquoise for a squarish shape, 2 rows white, 20 rows pink.

I kept the stitches “live” on stitch holders or an extra circular needle. This avoids the bulk created by cast-off and then picked-up stitches.

I outlined each section with 2 rows or 1 ridge of white for a crisp look. Each log layer, I picked up an additional 12 stitches (10 ridges in color, plus 1 stitch for each white stripe) on each side.

She likes it.  I like it.  My yarn collection is lighter by 500g.  Win all around.

Raveled here.

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Past and present

I'm in LA after 5 days at the Asilomar conference center. No, we rarely saw blue skies last week. The fog broke for about 15 minutes on two days, but it was gray the rest of the time. I took this screen shot from the Asilomar website.
The dining hall hostess steered us to the right or left sides of the room according to the conference we were attending.  To the right, my current work with The Federation of Earth Science Information Partners Summer 2015 Meeting. To the left, my PhD research field, Dynamics of Molecular Collisions XXV.

I crossed the line to say hello to old colleagues.  I stood in the lunch line near the professor that taught me graduate Quantum Mechanics and for whom I served as a teaching assistant for undergraduate Quantum Mechanics.  It looks like both meetings were fruitful.


Friday, July 03, 2015

Light and Line

As I explained in Treehouse 2, I had originally wanted a wider chair rail to avoid a gap between the back of the sofa and the rail.  But, I got talked into one the exact depth of the counter and window sill.  I'm glad I listened to them because the junction and line is so subtle, yet makes a strong design statement.

The bigger picture.
The entire wall in this room has only one small window, facing north.  Yet, the use of light-colored and reflective surfaces along the entire wall gives the illusion of a much more luminous space.

Thursday, July 02, 2015

Sous Vide Asian Cajun

Bad Dad took edX's Science & Cooking class and became curious about Sous Vide cooking.  On the way to the airport, we stopped by The Asian Cajun for a (Vietnamese take on the Cajun) crawfish boil.
Bag as evidence of Sous Vide technique.

Out of the bag and ready to eat. 
The NY Times mentioned this Vietnamese-Cajun style in Summer Seafood Boils Take on Local Flavor.  There are enough Cajun and Vietnamese transplants in Denver to pack this joint.  Both times I ate there (because you have to get the crawfish when they are in season), they were doing a brisk business.

Ironically, the African American family from Louisiana (the other LA) at a neighboring table told us the Vietnamese food at the Asian Cajun is really good.  I'll wait to try that some time when crawfish is not in season.

You can choose mild, medium and spicy.  I went with two genuine Cajuns the first time; they ordered medium, but found it a tad too spicy.  I ordered between mild and medium and it was just right (for me).

If anyone wants to meet for a meal at the Asian Cajun, combined with shopping at Colorado Fabrics and Tattered Cover, I'm in.