Boston Adventures, January 2011 – Part 1

New Year’s Eve, December 31, 2010

We flew into Boston a few days early so we could attend their New Year’s Eve Gala. It was a lovely night of dancing to the sounds of Shawn Hershey and the Fried Bananas and guest vocalist Jan Marie, hosted by Boston Swing Central. Jan Marie, in addition to being fabulous company and a very talented dancer, has an unbelievable voice.  (I told her at dinner a few nights later that she may look like a small white girl, but it is evident from her voice that she is in fact a large black woman.) David and I got all dressed up for the occasion in black and green, but we unfortunately completely failed to get a photo of ourselves.

The evening also had a short break for some entertainment: The Harlem Hobos

The Boston Museum of Science, January 2, 2011

Saturday – New Year’s Day – we spent with Grayden and Koren, who were hosting us for the night.  We hung out in their kitchen, partaking of an excellent breakfast, courtesy of Koren’s housemate, Phil, and Phil’s friend, Tasha.  After breakfast there was a long period of iPad fascination and chit-chat that culminated in evening plans that never happened.  Instead of exploring downtown Boston, David and I explored a hotel swimming pool and some really terrible pizza.  I highly recommend a heated swimming pool and pizza as a post-New-Year’s-Eve-in-Boston activity. 
On Sunday we had brunch at Jacob Wirth, well known for their beer selection and their chowder, both of which turned out to be excellent.  
After lunch we were torn between visiting the Robotics exhibit at MIT, the Natural History Museum at Harvard, the New England Aquarium, and/or the Boston Museum of Science. It was a really tough call (yes, I know; we’re geeks), and we had originally hoped to get to two of them, but a late start meant we had to pick only one.  In the end, we decided on the science museum.

We saw neat exhibits on M.C. Escher, optical illusions, the senses, light, and math.

In the first one, the reds are both the same color and the blues are both the same color.  In the second one you have to pick out the one + or O that is not like the others. If you click on the image, you should be able to view the larger image.
When you click the button on any side of this box, the shape(s) hanging on that side dip into the soap solution below and come up with bubbles in the shape. I actually didn’t read what mathematical hoopla this proved or demonstrated, because I was so fascinated with the shapes the bubbles made. 
There was a lot of cool stuff in the math exhibit; even though I don’t particularly care for math, the machines and demonstrations were very impressive.  David particularly enjoyed the probability illustration: balls were dropped from the center top of the box, and they fell randomly through the pegs to create a bell curve. [Quote on the probability box: “The theory of probability is nothing more than good sense confirmed by calculation.”]

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