Things I Saw in Stony Brook: Annoying Fake Bell Edition

This is the Administration Building at Stony Brook. It is a nice building. It is well-landscaped. Inside there is a cast of a fossilized dinosaur skeleton and it’s really cool.

It does not, however, have a bell tower.

Why am I telling you this? Because every hour on the hour, a Big-Ben like series of chimes comes from this building, followed by one bell for each hour after 12:00. And it drives me batty.

Stony Brook just doesn’t have a campus that looks like it needs to have an old church bell ringing the time. Part of my evidence for this is that there’s just clearly no place a bell like that could be housed. We have a nice campus but we’re into brick, low buildings, and lots of flowers. We’re not so much into ivy and towers and old birch trees and such. The bell doesn’t belong.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s not the fact that the bell is faked that bugs me. CU has a fake church bell too, and I really love it. Because it comes from the tower of the old Auditorium building, which feels for all the world like the kind of place a bell should be ringing from. And it can be heard best in the old part of campus where the architecture reminds you that the campus has been there for almost 150 years.

Stony Brook just finished it’s first 50 a few years ago. We just don’t need a bell that sounds like it’s a century older than we are.


Things I Saw in Stony Brook: Pareidolia Edition

It seems my mailbox is as disconcerted as I was to discover that the Netflix DVD I was expecting hadn’t shown up yet.

By the way, there used to be a whole flickr group dedicated to photos that Apples iPhoto software erroneously identified as containing a face. It still exists, actually, but I find it’s not as entertaining as it used to be (nowadays it seems to celebrate really terrible inclusions rather than cutely anthropomorphic cookie dough). To that end, if your tendency to see faces and things where they don’t belong hasn’t received enough of a work out today, I’ll point you to this Tumblr blog instead.

Things I Saw in Stony Brook: Awesome Sunset Edition

Student Activities Center on the left. Colors have not been retouched at all, I promise.

Actually probably about 4 of the last 7 days here have had stunning sunsets like this. It’s just that it took me until now to figure out how to take a good picture of one! I tend to notice them only in the evening, when I’m at my apartment, at which point I am (like every other place of residence on Long Island) surrounded by trees. But luckily for me, I was stuck on campus pretty late yesterday, and I discovered that when you stand smack in the middle of campus, there’s enough of a clearing in the trees that you can actually take a pretty good picture :-).

A view looking Northeast below the fold.

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Things I Saw In Stony Brook: The Daily Show Edition

So rather than a photo, it’s a screenshot from when I was watching the Daily Show this morning. But technically, that means it is still a picture of something I saw in Stony Brook. And more excitingly, it’s a also a picture of Stony Brook! See that funny-looking building in the background?

That’s this building:

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Things I Saw in Stony Brook: The Simons Center, Continued

This week a conference on quantum computing (which is rapidly becoming a new interest of mine) is being held at our new Simons Center for Geometry and Physics. It’s given me an excuse to take some pictures of the inside of the building, which is really quite beautiful. It’s such a great place, and the photos don’t do it justice, but if you’re curious, you can take a quick, virtual tour below the fold.

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Things I Saw in Stony Brook: Solving-A-Great-Mystery Edition

While proctoring an exam last week, I took a quick break for a drink of water and discovered something interesting:

Now, don’t get me wrong, I know this photo is boring as heck. But you have to understand, I was quite, quite excited to see this broken water fountain. With the “push here” bar missing off the front, you could ┬átell conclusively that the trigger which activates the water flow is electronic, not mechanical.

I’ve wondered how those work since I was about 6. No joke, I remember being at the public library back home shortly after a power outage and wondering whether the water fountains there would still work during a blackout. It’s nice to finally know.

Things I Saw in Stony Brook: “What?” Edition

I can’t decide if this person has an awesome sense of irony, or a really lousy lack of appropriate stationary to write their “we be clubbin” signs on. Either way, it’s worth sharing.