So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.
Ethnicity. that of my father and his father before him
Location Altadena, CA
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The Link To Zanzibar's Past
This is my page in the beloved art community that my sister got me into:
Extra points for people who know what Samarinda is.
The Phases of the Moon Module
The Tree and the Telephone Pole
I Do Not Know Their Names
Today I am Young
A Night Poem
Siren of the Sea
If I Were a Dragon
To the Dreamers Leave the Sky
The Honor of the Oyster
Return From San Diego
A Late Summer's Night
Of Dragons and Men
The Edge of the World
The Snake's Terror
Metaphysics and the Middaymoon
Of Adventures in Foreign Lands
The Rogue Wave: The Unedited Version
Adventures in the PRC
Voyage of Discovery
Drinking the Blood of Goats
Ticket for a Phantom Bus
Os peixes nadam o mar
Three Villages Far Away
The River Weser
Children I Should Have Kidnapped, Part I
Let's Get You Out of Those Clothes
If Underwear Could Speak
Croc Hunter/Combat Wombat
Only My Favorite Baseball Player EVER
Aw, Larry Walker, how I loved thee.
M: Science and Exploration
T: Cook a nice dinner
Th: Parties, movies, dinners
F: Picnics, the Louvre
S: Read books, go for walks, PARKOUR
Su: Philosophy, Religion
The Reading List
This list starts Summer 2006
A Crocodile on the Sandbank
Tales of the Alhambra (in progress)
Dark Lord of Derkholm
Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?
The Lost Years of Merlin
Harry Potter a l'ecole des sorciers (in progress)
Atlas Shrugged (in progress)
A Long Way Gone (story of a boy soldier in Sierra Leone- met the author! w00t!)
The Eye of the World: Book One of the Wheel of Time
From Magma to Tephra (in progress)
Lady Chatterley's Lover
Harry Potter 7
The No. 1 Lady's Detective Agency
Introduction to Planetary Volcanism
A Child Called "It"
Is Multi-Culturalism Bad for Women?
Americans in Southeast Asia: Roots of Commitment (in progress)
What's So Great About Christianity?
Aeolian Dust and Dust Deposits
The City of Ember
The People of Sparks
When I was in Cuba, I was a German Shepard
The Golden Compass
Clan of the Cave Bear
The 9/11 Commission Report (2nd time through, graphic novel format this time, ip)
The Incredible Shrinking Man
The Elves of Cintra
The Gypsy Morph
Animorphs #23: The Pretender
Animorphs #25: The Extreme
Animorphs #26: The Attack
A Journey to the Center of the Earth
A Great and Terrible Beauty
The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian
To Sir, With Love
Alice in Wonderland
Through the Looking Glass
20,000 Leagues Under the Sea
The Hunger Games
Shadows and Strongholds
The Jungle Book
Beatrice and Virgil
The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks
No One Ever Told Us We Were Defeated
The Name of the Wind
Tao Te Ching
What Paul Meant
Lao Tzu and Taoism
Sand and Sandstones
Lost Christianites: The Battles for Scripture and the Faiths We Never Knew
The Science of God
Great Contemporaries, by Winston Churchill
City of Bones
Around the World in 80 Days, by Jules Verne
Stranger in a Strange Land
The Old Man and the Sea
Flowers for Algernon
Au Bonheur des Ogres
The Road to Serfdom
De La Terre à la Lune (ip)
In the Light of What We Know
Devil in the White City
The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August
How to Be a Good Wife
A Mote in God's Eye
want to read: Last Hunger Games Book, Honeybee Democracy, The Bell Jar
The Birth of Entropy, the Death of Boltzmann
Thursday. 2.14.08 1:27 am
So apparently I got a 5/40 on my first advanced fluid mechanics homework. Oops.
But today we learned how the famed physicist/mathematician Boltzmann (like Boltzmann's Constant!) killed himself after his work was roundly criticized by Mach (like Mach number!) and some other contemporaries (except for Maxwell, like Maxwell's Equations, who worked with him... hence Maxwell-Boltzmann!)
He had just discovered the second law of thermodynamics, the law of Entropy, that is, the law that says that the net state of the universe will always tend towards increasing disorder. So basically, if you have a closed system, (no energy is entering it!) then everything will get more and more disordered as a function of time. It was rejected by many scientists for whom he had great respect. He actually killed himself *just* before experiments proved that he was right.
I may be appallingly bad at advanced fluid mechanics, but I am smart enough to know that killing yourself is a really stupid idea.
Which technically makes me smarter than Boltzmann.
Boltzmann's actual tombstone:
Tuesday. 2.12.08 11:59 am
Saturday. 2.9.08 12:59 am
Well today is G-bird's birthday. He's come to visit. Naturally our furnace took the opportunity to break, and naturally the last two days have been the coldest it's been this entire winter.
Thalweg made him a birthday cake that looks like a bicycle! Quite grand.
Our very own brilliant and charming french climate modeler colleague Francois has been here for the last couple of days... he described radiative transfer to me in about 15 minutes. We decided that he and his equally charming student Jean-Baptiste should travel a circuit reinspiring worn out graduate students everywhere with their contagious enthusiam.
I also went crazy and bought a bunch of DVDs since they were on sale:
Rambo: First Blood
and Milo and Otis
Hopefully the weather will improve so T & G can have a fun weekend riding bicycles. As for me, I spent the evening cleaning the bathroom. Then I ate an entire can of baked beans for dinner. BECAUSE I CAN.
For Valentine's Day I intend to eat a curried garlic onion chive dish with beans and lentils. BECAUSE I CAN.
vive la france!
It's Getting Late
Thursday. 2.7.08 11:36 pm
It's late again.
I'm in the lab.
Doing fluid mechanics homework. Tensor space. Blasius discovered how to mathematically express the velocity fields of viscous incompressible fluids near the leading edge of a blade.
I don't know why you would be cutting water with a blade.
Ok, propellers. Shut up, smart guy. Yah got any other smart comments, smart guy?
But anyway, thanks to Blasius and his devious goings-on in 1908, I now have to manipulate his equations.
Reminds me of the grossest math book passage I've ever read, saying something about, "After massaging the equation for a bit..." (aka doing "simple" algebra that it would take you 30 minutes to work out, which they don't write out because they're lazy)
I really don't want to read about math nerds massaging their equations. tmi, math nerds. tmi.
Thursday. 2.7.08 11:36 pm
Monday. 2.4.08 5:51 pm
I am finding it lame that when I ask people to do awesome things, they're just like, "well, I can't say yet because I have to ask my boyfriend what he's going to do."
Welllllll then, why don't you spend your whole life with your boyyyyfriend? Why don't you just not do awesome things ever again, because your boyfriend is laaaaammme and you just want to hang out doing laaaaame things together???
I mean, ok, maybe if your boyfriend lives an hour away and only comes to visit sometimes, and if next friday is both his birthday and the first time you've seen him in like three weeks, then I would give you a pass on that.
But that isn't the case for some people. Therefore, beest thou now informed: I find your actions to be supremely Lame*.
*Note the use of the capital L.
Saturday. 2.2.08 10:09 pm
So Thalweg and Srog the Dane and Bethany and I went skiing again. Skiing! woooo! Apparently Denmark is a pretty flat country, but there's cross country skiing there. Srog the Dane is going to be here til May so we have to show her a good American honky-tonk time. And no, her name isn't really Srog but that's what I call her not-to-her-face because I'm always forgetting her real name.
We decided to go up to the top of the ski resort because we figured out that there was a route we could take where we'd only intersect blues and one blue-black if we were feeling adventurous. Naturally, once we reached the top it was revealed to us that all of the blue runs were closed, and the only way down was to go down the black diamonds. Naturally, I was the only one of us who'd ever been down a black slope, and it was Teresa's 6th time skiing and Bethany's 2.5th and Srog the Dane had been skiing once for a week in Italy a long time ago. Befitting her mysterious Nordic heritage, Srog managed to navigate quite well down the slope. Thalweg and Bethany navigated the slope by sliding down on their backsides.
In the life of a skiier, he will navigate many slopes. The names of only some will remain in his mind forever.
The first black I nagivated by sliding on my backside was the Sizzler, a slope I chose because it looked very short on the map. But short says nothing about difficulty, and the Sizzler was covered in pine shrubs and moguls, and my dad had to wait quite a while for me to join him at the bottom as I slunk from mogul to mogul like the Grinch stealing Christmas. I celebrated this limited achievement later by soaking in a hottub.
My dad also waited for me quite a while as I navigated the treacherous blue slope, Larry Sale, in its steep, icy wide final stretch. But ne'er perhaps has my dad shown more patience with me than on the ultimate of memorable slopes, aptly named the Forget-Me-Not. The Forget-Me-Not is located in a high-altitude bowl at the upper reaches of a Coloradan ski resort, above the tree line, where no living thing in its right mind ventures in the dead of the Rocky Mountain winter. The Forget-Me-Not was steep and covered in ice. But it had an off-shoot! Oh joy! A little side trail called the Paintbrush! I had turned off onto the entrance to the Paintbrush and my dad was trying to coax me back onto the Forget-Me-Not. But that would require me to ski backwards out onto the icy Forget-Me-Not, and I would have nothing of this idea.
In the end, my dad followed me onto the Paintbrush, which probably required him shuffling up some measure of the icy Forget-Me-Not, and which left us shin-deep in powder on a skinny little tree-run, which hurts his knees. I Forget You Not!!!
In other news, I'm going to Iceland at the end of the summer for "work". Here is the program, which I copy-and-pasted from the website:
Hekla is Iceland’s most famous volcano and among the most active in the country. During the Dark Ages it was believed that the volcano was the entrance to hell, demonstrating that even then people were attempting to explain the existence of an active volcano and its nature of expelling ash and lava that burnt and destroyed the land.
Day 1 (23/8): Drive from Reykjavík to the Southern Lowlands of Iceland, where we will stop to view the central volcanoes and other large scale features of the Eastern Volcanic Zone (if weather and visibility allows). From this vantage point we will also observe historic Hekla lava flows and the pathway of the 3.9 ka Selsund lahar flow. A section through the Selsund lahar deposits will be examined. At a nearby section as well as the well preserved en-echelon earthquake fissure systems produced by major events on the South Iceland Seismic Zone. Proximal sections of several prehistoric tephra layers will be visited at Ófærugil to examine the physical and chemical properties of Hekla tephra, followed by a discussion of the role of Hekla tephra layers in establishing methodologies of tephrochronology..
Day 2 (24/8): Pending good weather conditions, the plan is to hike to the summit of the Hekla volcano, which involves walking over rough-surfaced lava flows and snow pack. This will take up the whole day (i.e. 6-7 hrs). An alternative to the first option is a hiking tour to Holocene craters on the flanks of the volcano to examine the relationship between the Pleistocene hyaloclastites and the central volcano. Note, sturdy boots and warm clothing are requiered.
Day 3 (25/8): For the last day of this excursion, attention will be on the fissure systems in the vicinity of Hekla volcano as well as the impact Hekla eruptions have had on life in the Iceland through time. A large prehistoric explosive chasm will be explored along with several Holocene to very recent basaltic cone rows, we will also visit the Thjorsardalur valley, which was devastated by an eruption in Hekla 1104 AD.
It looks like my plan to go to grad school for the sole reason of having mad adventures is finally paying off!!
Thursday. 1.31.08 5:52 pm
I found a little movie showing the progress of Mercury MESSENGER towards Mercury. It will finally enter Mercury's orbit in 2011.
Mercury is a strange planet. It orbits the sun once every 88 earth days, but it rotates extremely slowly. The proximity to the sun makes days on Mercury into blisteringly hot affairs (up to 700 degrees F). There is also no atmosphere to buffer the heat loss and heat gain on the planet. However, this same effect means that Mercury also loses heat very quickly, making its night side among the coldest in the Solar System (-500 F).
However, while the Earth spins much faster than we could ever travel, you could ostensibly try and walk along Mercury's limb in order to stay in perpetual twilight or dawn, right around room temperature. See: The Chronicles of Riddick, Planet Crematoria. I was doing a calculation to see how fast you'd have to walk, but it's complicated, you see. If you go here then you can see how a day would look on the surface. Since Mercury rotates so slowly, the planet's position with respect to the sun is changing faster than it is rotating. In fact, at one point in its orbit, it would look like the sun is standing still, or even going backwards! That means that depending on the time of day and the time of year, you would need to move slower or faster to stay right at the right temperature.
It's the job of NASA-type people to think about these problems with regards to sending a lander to Mercury. Is it better to try and build a rover that can withstand the ridiculous temperature changes between night and day, or it is better to build a swift and nimble rover that can navigate across the surface at whatever speed NASA wants?
Naturally, you'd have to factor in Mercury's gigantic scarps, which can be up to a kilometer (~.62mi) high and thousands of kilometers long. It might take just a bit longer to navigate those on your way around the planet. Keep in mind that a typical one-way light time (the lag between when you send a command to your rover and when it recieves it) is about 10 minutes! No chance for last minute corrective maneuvers!
You can see how building and operating a Mercurian rover would be a Herculean effort. Just getting into orbit around this tiny planet instead of crashing into the sun will be a huge accomplishment. But we haven't even talked about Venus yet!
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