Shooting film

Remember when my camera had the worst swim ever?

Well, I figured I could use the old film camera my grandfather bought on one of his trips. It is a Pentax camera from the 60s, very advanced for it’s age and relatively new as they mostly used it for family pictures. It has only manual controls, it looks cool and I could learn a thing or two from the absence of any automation.

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So I picked up a film cartridge from Kodak and threw the camera in my backpack before a daytrip to Patras where I had some chores to run for my thesis.

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Is it futile to un-Google?

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I was watching Citizenfour the other day so you may understand my confusion.

I can say that I am privacy aware. On a high level, I understand how things work. I use a different strong password for everything, I have a GPG key and I opt for using open source services that make security a priority.

However I still use services that are not so privacy centric. I use Facebook and nearly all Google Services (Search, Gmail, Drive, Photos, etc.). These two alone can show you everything about me.

According to Edward Snowden’s revelations everything is busted. Dropbox, Google, Apple.. You are not safe.

On the bright side, Snowden notes that the big software companies are doing steps in the right direction.

But let’s say I stop using services from these companies and find alternatives. Am I really doing anything except dealing with bad UX experiences and beta software?

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Running streak

For 5 days now I run every day morning or afternoon. And it’s great!

I tried to form this habit many times in the past but for some reason it did not stick. At some point, my excuse would be that I could not find time and one day out of the loop was enough to throw me out of it.

Casey is very motivating in that stuff so for the first time I decided to make running (among other things) a priority.


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Elafonisos

Sand everywhere

On the road

Simos beach

Simos is a the biggest beach in Elafonisos. It consists of Big Simos and Small Simos. There is sand everywhere and the water is mesmerising.

The name of the beach is due to the of the drowning of the sponge diver Simos from Kalymnos in the area where the Small Simos beach is now.

Company was awesome

There was cockfighting involved (and asking for mercy).

And everyone asked for a new Facebook profile picture so these are my recommendations.

The sun goes down

Islands of Madonna (Nisia tis Panagias) is a beach and a restaurant on a high spot of the island. From there you can have a great view of the beach and the sunset.

Resulted to Moon rising

The moon was almost full and with the help of some beer, a good lens and a tripod I almost saw Neil Armstrong’s flag.

The Port

The town and port of Elafonisos is a typical one. Except the small rock where the small church of Saint Spyridonas is located. Saint Spyridonas is considered the protector of the island and the small rock is the most beautiful part of the port.

 

Footnotes: Canon EOS 1000D (Canon EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6, Canon EF 70-200mm f/4.0L IS II USM) // Nexus 5

A smart and witty Martian

Mark Whitney, an engineer and botanist, was left on Mars by accident and he has to survive some years since he has even a chance to get back to Earth.

While he is at the same time the luckiest and unluckiest person on Mars he manages to crack jokes all the time.

Here are some of the highlights I made on Kindle (WARNING! Minor spoilers ahead, proceed with caution)!

How come Aquaman can control whales? They’re mammals! Makes no sense.

I used a sophisticated method to remove sections of plastic (hammer), then carefully removed the solid foam insulation (hammer again).

Using advanced construction techniques (duct tape)

Even if it’s got a bigger problem, he’s an engineer!” Dialing, he added, “Fixing things is his job!”.

It’s a strange feeling. Everywhere I go, I’m the first. Step outside the rover? First guy ever to be there! Climb a hill? First guy to climb that hill! Kick a rock? That rock hadn’t moved in a million years!

The battery was a lithium thionyl chloride non-rechargeable. I figured that out from some subtle clues: the shape of the connection points, the thickness of the insulation, and the fact that it had “LiSOCl2 NON-RCHRG” written on it.

“Yes!” They said, “Yes!” I haven’t been this excited about a “yes” since prom night!

“Brought product to surface of Mars. It stopped working. 0/10.”

“Jesus, what a complicated process,” Venkat said. “Try updating a Linux server sometime,” Jack said.

I mostly ignore them. I don’t want to come off as arrogant here, but I’m the best botanist on the planet.

I told NASA what I did. Our (paraphrased) conversation was:
Me: “I took it apart, found the problem, and fixed it.”
NASA: “Dick.”

Yes, of course duct tape works in a near-vacuum. Duct tape works anywhere. Duct tape is magic and should be worshiped.

I used a geological sample container (also known as “a box”).

I got really bored, so I decided to pick a theme song!

Something appropriate. And naturally, it should be something from Lewis’s godawful seventies collection. It wouldn’t be right any other way. There are plenty of great candidates: “Life on Mars?” by David Bowie, “Rocket Man” by Elton John, “Alone Again (Naturally)” by Gilbert O’Sullivan.

But I settled on “Stayin’ Alive” by the Bee Gees.

The worst moments in life are heralded by small observations. The tiny lump on your side that wasn’t there before. Coming home to your wife and seeing two wineglasses in the sink. Anytime you hear “We interrupt this program …”

One kilowatt-hour per sol is … it can be anything … um … I suck at this … I’ll call it a “pirate-ninja.”

I tested the brackets by hitting them with rocks. This kind of sophistication is what we interplanetary scientists are known for.

That makes me a pirate! A space pirate!

The fifth one is reserved for the day I launch. It’s labeled “Last Meal.”

“What would an Apollo astronaut do?” He’d drink three whiskey sours, drive his Corvette to the launchpad, then fly to the moon in a command module smaller than my Rover. Man those guys were cool.

I’m in my space suit on Mars and I’m navigating with sixteenth-century tools. But hey, they work.

They’ll probably say, “Thanks for gathering samples. But leave them behind. And one of your arms, too. Whichever one you like least.”

Have you ever taken the wrong freeway entrance? You just need to drive to the next exit to turn around, but you hate every inch of travel because you’re going away from your goal.

I’m traveling 90 kilometers per day as usual, but I only get 37 kilometers closer to Schiaparelli because Pythagoras is a dick.

I started the day with some nothin’ tea. Nothin’ tea is easy to make. First, get some hot water, then add nothin’.

It’s been a long time since I’ve seen a woman. Just sayin’. Anyway, to ensure I don’t crash again, I’ll — Seriously … no women in like, years. I don’t ask for much. Believe me, even back on Earth a botanist/mechanical engineer doesn’t exactly have ladies lined up at the door. But still, c’mon.

It’s true, you know. In space, no one can hear you scream like a little girl.

But really, they did it because every human being has a basic instinct to help each other out. It might not seem that way sometimes, but it’s true.