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Thursday, 16 October 2003
bon anniversaire githan


Today was a day of shock, but I am not going to say anything about the bad news until tomorrow.  I need to hear the full story and establish exactly what has happened.  But do not be alarmed - everyone is safe and sound.

This evening I went roller-blading with anna-sofia. We also invited our house-mate aline to join us but she declined. She apparently had a run-in with mme wolff about having had a friend over on Tuesday night, and is now nursing her wounds.  We drove to Betchdorf, a charming Alsatian pottery-village and then roller-bladed 4,5 km along a piste cyclable through the fields to the village of Surbourg, and 4,6 km back.  (That is not a typo, but what the signs on each end of the piste indicate the relative distances to be!).  I appreciated them particularly this time, because there was a headwind on the return journey which made it seem longer than the outward one.  The piste is built on an old (forestry) railway line.  It was bitterly cold and windy, and we got back to my car just after sunset at 7pm.  A highlight was seeing a traditional sc�ne pastorale - shepherd, sheepdog and herd of sheep in a field.  A lowlight was hearing the continual boom-boom of les chasseurs.  The piste passes close to several miradors, but these were empty. The shots were being fired from further afield.

Today was my nephew githan’s 9th birthday.  It was good to speak to him this evening and hear his soft deep voice. 

bluemeanie, lil blue meanie, and I visited him and his family in August this year.  Although it was probably the coldest and wettest time to go it was good to connect with family and friends in Cape Town again. 

The following two pictures are “left-right” photos of githan. These pictures are produced by taking a picture (e.g. the one above) and splitting it in two - down the middle of the face.  You then have two pictures.  For each picture you create a mirror image of the half-face, using it to complete the face.  You end up with two complete faces, but one composed of two-left halves, and one composed of two-right halves.  Because of the beauty mark on his face, githan’s face is clearly asymetrical and you end up with two very different faces.  (Unfortunately the original picture is also of a ‘tilted’ head, so this also distorts both the “left-face” and “right-face” images in different ways). 

githan’s “left face”:


githan’s “right face”:


What is striking is how githan’s “left face” looks so much younger than his “right face” and (for those who know justin) how strikingly like his second-cousin githan’s “right face” looks!

The pictures come from our trip to Cape Town in August. The technique was shown to me by peter and eva.

Posted by bigblue on 16/10/2003 at 10:52 PM
Filed under: AfricaSouth Africa • (4) CommentsPermalinkBookmark or Share

I once came across a graphics tool that let you rotate the image.  That may make a difference.

Posted by flank  on  17/10/2003  at  04:35 AM

That’s a good idea. I have been using MS Photodraw (it came with MS Office 2000) and it might even be able to do that.  While in Cape Town I took a series of photos of people to do the “left-right” thing with, and found it was more difficult to get some people to keep their heads up straight than other! Of course another option is to tilt the camera wink

Posted by bigblue  on  19/10/2003  at  02:28 PM

This picture was taken exactly a year ago today, after bluemeanie’s confirmation. Amazing how a year flies. Yesterday afternoon I took bluemeanie to this year’s confirmation ceremony (in Hearst

Posted by  on  20/10/2003  at  07:42 PM

Lop-sided features linked to temper

Michael Hopkin

? Punchstock

Sometimes it can be worth judging by appearances: it seems that people with less symmetrical features are likely to be more aggressive. In a study of stressful telephone conversations, those with uneven faces and bodies were more prone to angry reactions.

A lack of symmetry is known to be a hallmark of slightly imperfect development, so the researchers speculate that people with ill-matched external features may also have small defects in their nervous systems, which impair their ability to control aggressive impulses.

A link between asymmetry and aggression has been suggested before but never properly tested. Previous attempts have relied on subjects to report faithfully their own levels of aggression, or used violent offenders who are often abnormally aggressive.


Asymmetrical subjects were more likely to slam the telephone receiver down at the end of a call than symmetrical people, indicating that rejection made them angrier, the researchers report in the American Journal of Human Biology1.

Asymmetry is generally caused by conditions in the womb that are less than ideal, points out Benderlioglu. She believes the result shows that the environment in which a fetus develops has subtle effects on the nervous system as well as the more obvious effects on external features. Mothers who drink, smoke or are ill during pregnancy may be more likely to end up with unruly children, she suggests.

Benderlioglu Z., Sciulli P. W. & Nelson R. J. Am. J. Hum. Biol., 16. 458 - 469 (2004).

Posted by flank  on  31/08/2004  at  11:31 PM

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