It Is The End, My Friends

Dear Readers,

My first substantial blog began on November 30, 2005. That was nearly 11 years ago. That is, I’ve now decided, enough blogging for a lifetime.

This particular blog was started on February 14, 2009, and most of the time it’s been quite fun. There is a lot of content stored on here!

Eventually, the posts on here will disappear. I will be gradually migrating some of the content off of here to a couple of historical Tumblr blogs. In case you are interested, they are an accumulation of book quotes (Things Read & Noted) and a collection of Baptist history posts (Baptist History Notebook). I will be sure to find other uses for other posts I deem worth preserving.

Alas, I am still around elsewhere on the internet. Here are links to my various profiles in case you wish to connect and haven’t already:

Thank you for reading and sharing my thoughts!

Mark Nenadov – September 24, 2016

A Study in Pink

maxresdefaultRecently, I rewatched the first episode of the first series of the BBC series Sherlock, A Study in Pink. It’s loosely based on A.C. Doyle’s A Study in Scarlet. I’m an avid Sherlockian and have been eager to revisit some of the older episodes.

The episode was originally broadcast just over six years ago and I’m happy to report that it stands the “try it again in a few years” test. The introduction of Mycroft is masterful and will probably never grow old. The appeal of this episode was also heightened due to the fact that I am almost finished a book on forensics.

Here are some further resources which viewers (and potential viewers) of A Study in Pink may find fascinating:


A Study in Scarlet

Blog “Spring Cleaning” – Phase 1

Recently, I decided it is time to do a “spring cleaning” on my blog. I’m not posting frequently in this stage of life and some of the clutter was heaping up additional “disincentive” to post.

Here is what I did for phase1:

  • Upgraded to WordPress 4.4.2
  • I updated a bunch of out of date plugins: Akismet, iThemes security, JetPack, and SI CAPTCHA Anti-Spam
  • Updated my “About Me” page. Not profoundly different, just a bit of an update.
  • Refreshed the Blogroll (removed 7 items that are broken or no longer relevant, added four new items)
  • Clean out old comment spam (~30,000)
  • I trashed 100 of the 101 post drafts I have sitting around. Really, if I haven’t gotten around to posting it yet, is it likely I ever will? (The one exception is a P.G. Wodehouse reading progress post I’m keeping around)
  • I deleted two inactive plugins


I’m hopeful that this will freshen things up a bit. Are there any other areas in which this blog can be improved?

My Favorite Android Apps

Here are some of my favorite Android apps for various purposes (I’m omitting very popular web services like Gmail, Facebook, You Tube, and Twitter).


  • DoggCatcher (Podcast software, Paid) -> Fantastic. I love this product and have never looked back. I use it heavily.
  • Feedly (RSS feed reader) -> Pretty good in a post-google reader world.
  • Chrome (web browser) -> Great browsing experience.
  • Pocket (–place to put stuff to read with text-to-speech for audio) -> Fantastic, now how do I get time to read / listen to everything I put on there?
  • FBReader (read ebooks, also has text 2 speech module) -> Very useful at times
  • VLC (video player) -> Fantastic, versatile, and much better than what the phones/tablets come with
  • Audible (audio book service) -> Good, if you have an audible account
  • ESV Bible -> Descent, simple Bible app, not many bells and whistles
  • GoodReads (reading social network) -> Excellent, with barcode reading for indexing a library.


  • Todoist (todos) -> Superb todo tool. I would improve some things, but overall it is quite good.
  • HabitBull (setting habit goals) -> Just started with this one, seems a great way to record progress on various habits


  • eBird (bird sighting reporting app) -> I like it, but don’t use it as much as I like.
  • iNaturalist (general wildlife reporting app) -> Not as good as the website, but still handy and fun since it automatically does the location data and date for you.


  • Flashlight -> Great to have
  • JuiceSSH (ssh client) -> delightfully powerful and simple
  • SSH Server (ssh server) -> Not a huge fan of the program, but having an SSH server on my phone is useful


  • Dropbox -> Use it a ton
  • Google Drive -> Use it a ton


  • The Weather Channel -> Essential for a nature buff
  • Flickr -> Great way to browse flickr galleries, uploading photos?… not so much.
  • Starbucks -> Well, you know!
  • Duolingo (language learning) -> I’ve fallen away from using this one to learn German, but I still regard it as fantastic

Building an Enhanced Macro Setup

Starting off with my new (to me–it’s actually about 12 years old) Nikon D70S and a Sigma 17-70mm F2.8-4 DC Macro lens, I decided to try out extension tubes. I bought a set of three Fotodiox extension tubes for $15. The set includes 7mm, 14mm, and 28mm, stacking together for a total 48mm. Basically, the extension tubes sit between the camera and the lens.

Here is a photo of the camera with the lens and the full stack of extension tubes:

tubesThe initial problem with this setup is that you (a) lose tons and tons of light, (b) lose the ability to autofocus, and (c) lose the ability to tweak your aperture.

My strategy for overcoming this had to be simple: reduce movement and increase light!

First, I rested the camera on a disk. Then I turned off the autofocus on both the camera and the lens. Then I zoomed the lens all the way in and positioned the object I’m photographing so that it is just under a inch away from the subject. Then I turned off the flash and figured out an external light source. Sometimes I used an overhead lamp. Sometimes I used the flashlight app on my phone. Sometimes I used both. I experimented pointing my phone light at different angles for different results and different shadow configurations. Then I manually focused and shot away!

I’m very happy with the result. I estimate that I get almost twice as much magnification with the $15 tubes! Objects that are in reality 1 cm appear in my images well over 20cm long. What I lose is photo quality and I have to with external lighting and obsessively remove movement.

I look forward to warmer weather and a chance to try this setup out on invertebrates. For various reasons, this setupĀ is not very practical for field work. However, I’m hopeful that it will be very helpful in getting better macro photos of invertebrates.

Here are some links to some of my tests on Flickr:

Spiders and God’s Providence

“Coelius Secundus Curio wrote a book of eighty-eight pages which was published in Basle in 1544. The name of his book, secundi, shows that it was in effect a sermon, Curio took his facts, both true and false, from the writings of Pliny and interpreted the life and work of spiders as evidence of the wisdom and goodness of the Creator.” – Theodore H. Savory in Spiders, Men, and Scorpions: Being the History of Arachnology, 30 (University of London Press, 1961).

The treatise mentioned by Savory, which was the first work ever exclusively devoted to spiders, begins on page 52 of this document. Curio (1503-1569) was an Protestant Italian living in exile in Switzerland. According to Robert Baird in Sketches of Protestantism in Italy, Curio was “the most regretted loss” of those who left Italy for the sake of Protestantism.

February 12, 2016 | Posted in: Wildlife Comments Closed

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