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July 22, 2013


I am scheduled to leave for Charlotte on Thursday and being away for 10 weeks has created much anticipation to return. It is through absence that appreciation is gained for even the little things typically taken for granted and for me, the little things are what matter most.


This week I am winding down and do not have much planned at this time. Up to this point, I feel comfortable knowing that when I leave I have seen and done enough to be satisfied having visited Germany.



I will spend the week performing some short tasks leading to my departure on Thursday morning. I have no plans otherwise at this time.


I do not have much to add to the blog at this time as much of my energy is spent wrapping things up. 

Posted by Erik Northrop | 0 comment(s)

I spent the week in Newcastle, UK attending the SOUPS conference. While I didn't present a paper, I did have two posters of ongoing work. The first work received little attention but the other caused more conversation I think because its a new idea and people had their own opinions about the point of the work. 

Newcastle is a great place to visit and I would recommend the Gin bar downtown. There is only one so it shouldn't be that hard to find. This place makes very nice handcrafted drinks with... you guessed it.. Gin. They will replace other main ingredients like vodka or whatever with Gin. I had just one sampling from their menu but it was quite lovely. 

If you plan on driving in the UK be prepared, thats all i can really say. At least for me, thinking about it doents seem that hard and its not, its just backwards. I did not drive but was a passenger instead and it was basically a nightmare. Use what you were borne with and just walk.

There are some excellent sites to see in Newcastle both historic and modern. Its also conveiently located close to Ireland and Scottland. I did not make either country but others at the conference did.

Overall, I had a great time in the city and at the conference. I made connections with industry professionaly and shared some very nice conversation with others. 

Posted by Erik Northrop | 0 comment(s)

July 15, 2013

It's almost a month and a half since I got to Sydney and about now I'm begining to get more familour with this city. Yesterday I went to the town and visited some of the old part of the town. There were many old houses with small allies and different kind of grafitties. Unfortunately my phone died on the way there and I could not take any pictures. But I definately enjoyed my visit. 

Posted by Farhad Hemmati | 0 comment(s)

July 13, 2013

This was my first week back in Germany after returning from Turkey. This week the heat is back in Darmstadt. And not the basketball team either, this is the unescapable heat. I might have mentioned in a previous post that its typical to find businesses, hotels, and residences without AC here. My hotel and the university i have a desk at are both on that list so its been quite misserable. 

As a result, I have to pick the most comfortable location...the university. All week ive had 10+ hour days at my desk just becasuse the fan is better than the one in my hotel. But I worry not fellow PIRE-ers! Tuesday I leave for a conference in the UK and hopefully i can find some comfort there. 

Im not sure about the rest of the PIRE participants this year, but my time is just about over. I spend the rest of the week in the UK then have just 3 days in Germany before returning. For me, I left a lot behind at home and the excitement is building to return to these things ive been without for about 2 months now.

Thanks for reading. 

Posted by Erik Northrop | 0 comment(s)

I just spent two weeks in Turkey at a wedding with close friends. I have never experienced hospitality like that offered by the Turkish people in my life. It came from our host, the drivers, business owners, and even the people at the airport, among others. I am very fortunate to have experienced the warmth and welcoming nature of the culture there. 

Aside from the wedding, I visited Istanbul, Mersin, Konya, and Cappadocia. Each city has very unique features and sights forged by revolutions, weather, and time. The historic Grand Bazaar, Spice Market, Blue Mosque, and Hagia Sophia in Istanbul, the sea side views from the Mediterranean Sea of Mersin, the Whirling Dervish of Konya, and the Caves in Cappadocia were all breath taking. We took just about 3000 pictures in these cities and still hardly captured the beauty. 

Some of the most impressive sights were in Istanbul at the Blue Mosque and Hagia Sophia. The Blue Mosque is active daily but still serves as a major tourist attraction. The Hagia Sophia, now a museum, contains original mosaics from the 10th century and displays influences of both the Islamic and Christian religions, a truly impressive sight. 

During my trip, we swam in the Mediterranean, ate alongside local people, explored underground cities, and slept in cases. Anyone reading this who has not had the pleasure of visiting Turkey should definitely amend their bucket list. 

Keywords: cappadocia, Getting Started, International Collaborators, International Experience, istanbul, konya, mersin, Project-Plan, turkey, Weekly-Report

Posted by Erik Northrop | 0 comment(s)

July 08, 2013

This weekend was sunny and beautifull with a mild weather. There was a huge Rugby game on Saturday and I went to watch it. I had no idea what was going on. At the begining I just cheered with other people when there was score. I heard from one of a friend that there is a famous Turkish resturant in the middle of Sydney. I am looking forward to go there this week. :)

Posted by Farhad Hemmati | 0 comment(s)

July 02, 2013

IT's been raining for almost 8 days now. Even the local people who I talked to over the weekend said they never seen such  weather in years. Any how next weekend is going to be sunny and I'm planning to go to Rocks which is the area close to the Opera house.

I'll surely have some pictures to share with all of you thne,

 Talk soon. 

Posted by Farhad Hemmati | 0 comment(s)

June 24, 2013


 This week, more work was accomplished on the project; one step forward and two steps in the direction of more work.

I discovered some very desirable things in Darmstadt with the help of a lab-mate this week. Being in the center of the city almost isolates a visitor from some of the surrounding attractions. These are things not covered in tour guides but that locals know very well. I will visit some of these places over the next few weeks, but research has taken the stage and will be the primary focus until I leave.



I bought a fan for my hotel. While this might not sound very great, it was indeed. This past week it was over 90 degrees and in Germany it is not uncommon for an establishment to not have air conditioning, my hotel included. By adding the fan to the mix, I successfully turned my room into a convection oven…how wonderful.


Since my time is now half over, I am beginning to feel the weight of what lies ahead and what must be finished before my departure. With that being said, I have not done much outside of working on my research projects, even during the evenings and weekends. Recognizing this unique opportunity, I will make an effort to break away.




The heat was terrible this past week, but otherwise everything is ok.



Today, this weekend, and the week to come will be spent working on my projects. Unfortunately, I do not have much time to travel or see new things at the moment. However, I am still seeking new places to eat and different ways of traveling from point A to B.



Martin, R. A. (2003). Sense of Humor. Handbook of Positive Psychological

Graesser, A. C., Long, D. L., & Mio, J. S. (1989). What are the cognitive and conceptual components of humorous text? Poetics.

Posted by Erik Northrop | 0 comment(s)


My new exercise time is my lunch hour and if todays run was an indication of what I have to look forward to, then I look forward to gaining back the sub-8 minute/mile 5k time I once held comfortably. 


This has been nothing but a working week for me. Unfortunately, I have not the time to do anyting besides research and... research. I did read some papers though!



Weber, E. U., Blais, A.-R. E., & Betz, N. E. (2002). A domain-specific risk-attitude scale: measuring risk perceptions and risk behaviors. Journal of Behavioral Decision Making, 15(4), 263–290. doi:10.1002/bdm.414

Clark, R. (2002). Six Principles of Effective e-Learning: What Works and Why. Strategies and Techniques for Designers, Developers, and Managers of eLearning, 1–9.

Kumaraguru, P., Sheng, S., Acquisti, A., Cranor, L. F., & Hong, J. (2007). Teaching Johnny Not to Fall for Phish, 1–18.


Posted by Erik Northrop | 0 comment(s)

June 23, 2013

This weekend we planned nothing special as the stress level from the week was at a peak and also had to spend some additional time doing some extra work as we are about to enter the last week of the collaboration. We did go on some enjoyable walks and shopped a bit around town and on Saturday met up with some friends from last year and had some good discussions over food and drink. Hopefully the future holds more time for the fun things in this wonderful city but for now the important thing is completing our projected goal!

Posted by Anthony Marcus | 0 comment(s)

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