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
Sunday. 10.14.07 3:48 pm
Je suis in Paris maintenant. Je travaille.
On the way over I sat next to this pencil-thin girl from Eastern Europe (not really, she and her parents moved to Connecticut when she was a little girl). Then she went to Brown University as an undergraduate (pre-med). She graduated pre-med then took a year off before medical school when she worked in a lab in Chicago. In Chicago she got into the art scene, and she ended up going to school for sculpture and media visual arts. Many of her projects have focused on the similarity between many city systems and the systems of the body. While she was getting her MFA she worked briefly on an art fair that was coming to town. That's when she met Michel, a Parisian student and lover of art and philosophy who was in town for the week visiting and whose friend also worked for the art fair. After meeting her he extended his stay a few days and then went back to Paris. She figured it was a fling, but she couldn't forget about him. He couldn't help but come to visit again and the feeling only grew stronger. She learned that her school offered a semester abroad in Paris and she took it. Turns out the school she went to was really bad, but by that time she was in love with Michel and he with her so it didn't matter. She learned french. As she was finishing her MFA he was asking her to move to Paris and she did. She found it much harder than she thought it was going to be to get a job; they got married almost immediately and then it was much easier. Now she works designing websites and art projects, and she's working on an art project on the Parisian metro and its similarities in appearance and use to a biological system. They've been married for over 6 years now.
Seth, a row behind me, sat in the window too, but next to a sweaty guy who was in the middle of requesting a seatbelt extension when we arrived.
Luckily the flight wasn't full and the fellow moved across the aisle where he snored a great, complicated snore about once every 4 minutes the whole night through.
Qu'est-ce qu'on peut faire?
My Love is...
Thursday. 10.11.07 8:59 pm
Chilling with Astronauts
Wednesday. 10.10.07 12:51 pm
So this morning when I was having a meeting with the commander of Apollo 15 and talking to him about what it was like to do geology on the moon...
oh? what? what did I say? Yeah, I just casually mentioned that, did you see how I did that? But it's true.
I have a sweet job.
Saturday. 10.6.07 10:23 pm
Yesterday I went to a talk about the ethics of bioengineering. We're talking about real Gattaca stuff here. Who should decide what a child's genes should be? The parents? The government? One of the speakers began the lecture by talking about the failed social experiments of the 20th Century. Communism, socialism, fascism- these were all experiments in the 20th century in different forms of government. All of them ultimately failed, most with catastrophic consequences. Why? Because they tried to change (through re-education, gulags, and what-have-you) the fundamental essence of human nature. At the end of the century, most of the world has come to the view that democracy is the only truly stable form of government, because it works with the nature of mankind instead of trying to change it. Professor F described this as an equilibrium result.
However, the advent of bioengineering and genetic engineering has ushered in a whole new era of thought- namely that we now can change the nature of mankind. So... shall we try the whole thing over again?
My Will is As Strong As Yours
Tuesday. 10.9.07 1:52 am
Sunday. 10.7.07 1:11 pm
My professor was teaching us about random noise. Can you somehow predict random noise? (Ans: yes, and that's how they make noise cancelling headphones... I'll talk about this later when I've had time to make figures) How do you tease real data out of random noise? (Ans: using very, very tedious techniques, that's how)
"No matter how well you know the physics behind your experimental setup," he said, "you will always have to deal with random noise. The only way you can deal with it is statistically."
I raised my hand here. I'm sure he loves it when I do this. I said, "But if you really knew everything about your experimental setup, you wouldn't have any random noise."
"No," he said calmly, "you would still have random noise."
"Ok, let's say," I pressed, "let's say that we are God." A "God-cringe" wave swept over the faces in the room. They hate it when people mention God, even it's just as an analogy. It makes them all uncomfortable, like you just made a major faux pas.
But I didn't let that faze me, of course.
"Let's say that we are God, and we know EVERYTHING about our experimental setup. We know about every stray gamma ray that passes through, neutrinos, beta-particles, minute changes in the wind, whatever, and we put ALL of these things in our model with the right relations. Then we should be able to account for ALL of the random noise in the experiment, no?"
He was about to say no again, but he paused. "Yes," he answered a little uncertainly. "Hypothetically, if we knew everything, then there would theoretically be no random noise. But we don't, so it isn't really an issue."
But ISN'T IT?! Isn't it THE ISSUE?! To assume that no noise is truly random is to assume that that the Universe is infinitely knowable! Isn't that the entire point of science?! If something isn't understood, it's because there are variables that we haven't accounted for! To say that an electron is statistically in a particular place in the electron cloud is to say that you DON'T KNOW but roughly what influences its orbit! To say anything is statistical is to say that you haven't discovered all the variables that govern its true equation of state!!! To rest there, at statistical probabilities, and consider the problem solved, is a HUGE COP-OUT. There should be a big FAT ASTERISK next to any solution with a statistical spread as an answer which leads to an explanation that says, *the answer, or as close as we care to get for practical purposes/government work.
Now all of this rant flies in the face of my personal opinion that there are some things in the Universe which are infinitely unknowable, such God himself, altruism, love, and what the tupperware container in my refrigerator used to contain before several weeks of neglect.
But I have to make Sloppy Joes for myself before I starve to death so I'll have to talk about that later.
Saturday. 10.6.07 8:57 pm
Today I've eaten a chocolate and peanut-butter granola bar, a bratwurst with ketchup, mustard and sauerkraut, a Snapple, and about a half a box of Chewy Chips Ahoy.
That's what I call mm-mmm-good!
We are Not Worthy, We are Not Worthy
Friday. 10.5.07 8:37 pm
The day couldn't have gone better.
I solved my FORTRAN problems. Oh yes, you know, the fortran problems that have been plaguing me pretty much the entire summer? Well I've been solving them, one by one, and after each one there would be another. Now I've solved them. ALL of them. I made a huge break through when I realized that my entire grid was transposed and upside down from the way I had been calling it. Then I fixed it. I invented this brilliant bit of code that solved all my other problems. Ta-DA! I went into the computer lab where Seth was and danced an irish jig. Then I ran around the building. Then I came back and reveled while sitting at my desk. Now I can stop throwing myself into janitor closets evertime I see my geophysics professor and instead have a meeting with him where I show him how awesome I am.
This week that my advisor has been gone has been one of the most productive weeks of the entire year. Not just for me, either! Joe made a major breakthough in his research and rekindled his dying love for the planet Mars. Caleb made the most amazing figure that any of us had EVER seen. We were all just totally flabbergasted. There's this place on Mars where an ancient river flowed across the land and deposited a bunch of different layers as it slowly changed course. Then it slowly changed back the other way, eventually making a sort of a Z when you look at it in cross-section. Anyway, somehow or the other (maybe by erosion, maybe by tectonic uplift or whatever) this whole sequence can be seen from above by the satellite, because it is lying on a hill with an approximately 20 degree slope. So he used photoshop to actually adjust the image to show you what it would look like if you were standing on the ground and looking straight at it. Now everyone who said that it wasn't an ancient river, but was actually lava or something, will be TOTALLY OWNED. Plus he looked at it with the spectrometer to get some information on the composition of the rocks: they're clays. It was amazing. He's so BRILLIANT!
He's going to use it in a talk he's giving at the next Mars Lander conference. He is supposed to suggest a landing site that he wants to go to on Mars and then support why it is that he wants to go there. With this figure on his side, there is no WAY they can even think of going anywhere else. The engineering part may be a bit of a challenge, but that's what engineers are for, right? Living up to ridiculous challenges?
When you read in the news in a couple of years that we're going to Mars and we're landing in this one crater with the delta-y-river-stuff going on, know that Caleb, a random 27-year-old grad student was the one who said we should go there. See? You don't have to be old to change the world.
So then I went shopPING! And I got all this cool stuff. And I ate mall chinese. Well, I only ate less than half of what they gave me because you can only have so much mall chinese. And with the extra $75 I made working at the museum last Saturday I bought myself the newest version of Dance Dance Revolution. What am I doing writing a blog? I'm going to play it right now! You can even dance to J. Timberlake (no how heavy is that?)
I think after the next time I work at the museum, I'll buy myself Guitar Hero. I just can't imagine actually making $25/hr in real life. I mean, 3 hrs, $75, wtf? I would be SO RICH!!! Every three hours I could buy myself almost two brand new video games! I would run out of things to buy! I've already run out of things to buy! If I had any money right now I would have to think for like a day to think of something that I needed or wanted. Well. Actually. I'd probably take a vacation in England. But ain't that the trouble. When you got the money you ain't got the time, and when you got the time you ain't got the money.
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