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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.

The Profile

Age. 37
Gender. Female
Ethnicity. that of my father and his father before him
Location Altadena, CA
School. Other
» More info.
The World

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
Croc Hunter/Combat Wombat
My hero(s)
Only My Favorite Baseball Player EVER

Aw, Larry Walker, how I loved thee.
The Schedule
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
Looking Backwards
Wild Swans
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 Geomorphology
Aeolian Dust and Dust Deposits
The City of Ember
The People of Sparks
Cube Route
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
New Moon
Breaking Dawn
Armageddon's Children
The Elves of Cintra
The Gypsy Morph
Animorphs #23: The Pretender
Animorphs #25: The Extreme
Animorphs #26: The Attack
Crucial Conversations
A Journey to the Center of the Earth
A Great and Terrible Beauty
The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian
Dandelion Wine
To Sir, With Love
London Calling
Watership Down
The Invisible
Alice in Wonderland
Through the Looking Glass
20,000 Leagues Under the Sea
The Host
The Hunger Games
Catching Fire
Shadows and Strongholds
The Jungle Book
Beatrice and Virgil
The Help
Zion Andrews
The Unit
Quantum Brain
The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks
No One Ever Told Us We Were Defeated
Memento Nora
The Name of the Wind
The Terror
Tao Te Ching
What Paul Meant
Lao Tzu and Taoism
Libyan Sands
Sand and Sandstones
Lost Christianites: The Battles for Scripture and the Faiths We Never Knew
The Science of God
Calculating 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 Martian
The Road to Serfdom
De La Terre � la Lune (ip)
In the Light of What We Know
Devil in the White City
The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August
Red Mars
How to Be a Good Wife
A Mote in God's Eye
A Gentleman in Russia
The Fatal Conceit: The Errors of Socialism
Seneca: Letters from a Stoic
The Juanes Module

Juanes just needed his own mod. Who can disagree.
Make Sure Your Lab Comes Standard with a Caleb
Friday. 1.12.07 9:43 pm
Well it's quarter to ten, I guess it's time for dinner.

Sometimes surfing nutang and deviantart and facebook are more important than eating.

I had a minor crisis of purpose yesterday, coupled with a complete lack of motivation. The crisis of purpose was averted by an email from ranor, thank goodness, but the complete lack of motivation lived on. It leaked into this morning, but luckily it waned with the passing of the day. Mostly it waned because of Caleb. Let me tell you about Caleb. Caleb turned 27 today. He's a computer nerd. He can program in many tongues. I want to be Caleb when I grow up. When I am 27, and the only impetus that remains propelling towards my thesis defense is the overpowering desire to "get the hell out of this place" like all the old grad students here... I hope I am just like Caleb.

He knows everything you could want to know about computer programming, ArcMap, Unix, geology, astronomy, geophysics, integrals, everything. Or at least, he says a bunch of related things until one of you remembers what the answer is. One time I asked him what he thought that the depth that heat from the surface penetrated into the Martian crust, and he calculated all of the parts of the equation aloud, including remembering formulae, various physical constants, and doing both number manipulation and integrals in his head. He ended the whole thing, "To an order of magnitude, anyway." I really can't tell you how overwhelmingly attractive I found him just then. That is when I resolved to be him some day.
And he seems to have endless patience for people bothering him! "Caleb...?? Why did all of my data points just disappear?" "Caleb, does the fact that it says thmvisget.ERR now mean that it didn't work?" "Caleb, when did the magnetic field of Mars disappear?" He manages to be both one of the nicest people I've ever met and incredibly sarcastic at the same time. This is because he is sarcastic about everything in science and nothing in life, or relating to talking to you. He's my ideal nerd.

When I took Observational Astronomy I almost died of frustration because I didn't know anything about Linux or programming in idl and there was never, EVER anyone there to help me with it. I thought maybe that I just hated Linux and idl and anything that wasn't Windows, because it was SO FRUSTRATING!! But now I know it's because I didn't have a Caleb back then.

I think every lab should come standard with one.

He's always there, always willing to help, and all knowing. Jim tells you what to do, but there's no way he could tell you how to do it. Caleb is the one that gets it done. (and Jay, when he's not in Antarctica).

Someday there will be a young, impressionable grad student like me, and he or she will venture into the Seafloor Lab, and I will be there, as much a fixture of the place as a floor lamp, or Tracing Table Covered With Maps. Nobody will want me to graduate, because I'll Know Everything.

Sigh... maybe I'll be engaged like Caleb, too. But you can't have everything.

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A Computer Chip from A Butterfly's Wing
Thursday. 1.11.07 7:38 pm
So I was reading "Physics Today", but it was really "Physics Last October", since that's when the issue was from.

It was talking about photonic crystals. Photonic crystals are an awesome kind of structure where you build a lattice of molecules and you build it with exactly the right spacing so that the walls of the crystal are just as far apart as a particular wavelength of light. If this is the case, it will be difficult for that wavelength of light to propagate through the crystal, or it will only be able to propagate in certain directions, depending on the geometry of the crystal.

People started making these things back in the 1980s, and the ramifications are huge. If we were able to construct a nano crystal and design it so that you could control the flow of light through it (like today's wires control the flow of electrons in electrical applications) then we could send information at near light speed through a computer chip that would be smaller than any computer chip we have invented thus far. Your average fiber optic cable, now able to carry about 40 channels of information, would be able to carry something like 10,000.

As is often the case, no sooner did we develop this technology did we discover that the animal kingdom has been using the same technology for milennia. Photonic crystals make up the iridescence of many butterfly wings, the vibrant quality of a peacock feather, and the brilliant fluorescent light show of certain kinds of jelly-fish. The more equant types of photonic crystals are able to project the same light, no matter what angle the object is viewed. Other types of crystals, like those of the jellyfish, are parallelograms, and they reflect white light in one direction, and a rainbow light when viewed from another direction. The jellyfish can control which by moving its tentacles.

If you made a photograph out of these crystals, it would last forever, because while pigments fade over time, the crystals always channel light in the same way.

And creepiest of all... scientists have been working on making the perfect photonic crystals for decades, but it's really difficult. The crystals are tiny, and small defects can ruin everything. However, if you could decode the genome of a weevil or butterfly and find the gene that codes for the photonic crystals, you could adjust the genes of the creature so that they built the kind of photonic crystals you wanted. Not only would the DNA make it perfectly, if it did make a mistake, it had a self-correction mechanism. Not only that, but you wouldn't have to manufacture the photonic crystal chips... they would reproduce themselves.

So maybe you could get a computer chip by pulling the wings off butterflies....

Kind of makes you think differently about MSN's lovely BUTTERFLY LOGO, DOESN'T IT???????

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Some other elements from the Periodic Table
Wednesday. 1.10.07 11:45 pm
For those of us who were sad that "Lithium" wasn't actually about Li and its properties.

My 8th grade science teacher told us that whenever somebody said, "The Periodic Table of the Elements" we were supposed to say, "Ah, Mendeleev" in a really snooty voice so that everyone would think we were really smart for knowing that Dmitri Ivanovich Mendeleev was the one who put it together in the first place. This, shall we now call it-- twitch-- has stuck with me ever since.


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Bleed just to know you're alive
Wednesday. 1.10.07 8:50 pm
I just recently got the new Evanesence CD (as evidenced by the YouTube link below). I really liked the song "Lithium" because it has a lot of really tough stuff in it, a real struggle. It makes you think, you know? A lot of people who are diagnosed with problems and told that they should take drugs to fix them are given a lot of crap if they choose not to (and thus choose to remain depressed/bipolar/mentally disturbed, whatever).

It seems selfish, especially if you have a family, to not take the medicine that could cure you and make you a productive and healthy member of the family again. But it isn't that simple, really. Nobody likes feeling depressed, but I think for a lot of people feeling depressed is preferable to feeling *nothing*. Yes, everyone always wants to feel happy, but I don't think anybody wants to feel happy *always*. It calls to mind Brave New World, or even my favorite movie of all time, Equilibrium. People are afraid of depression, afraid of the darkness... but worse still is the feeling of equilibrium, particularly artificial equilibrium. So in this song lithium, she talks about how she wants to remember how it feels to be without lithium. It's scary to take drugs for something, especially drugs that claim to drastically alter your personality and emotions. Emotions, even bad ones, are part of what goes into making us who we are. She says "Here in the darkness, I know myself."

There are a lot of people in the darkness. I empathize with the death metal rockers and the people who listen to all the really heavy stuff, like Pantera and Deaf Tones and Mudvayne and the like. You feel all of these wild, desperate emotions, and the music is that way too... frustrated, trapped, angry, constantly on the edge of some vast void, wind whipping around your body. You are terrified that the wind might cause you to fall almost as much as you are overwhelmed by the desire to jump. "...swan dive into the asphalt...."

And the drugs, the "cure"... yes, it makes you fit in better. It pulls you away from the edge and into safety, but it is a grey, stagnant safety, like limbo.

How much does the drug "cure" you, and how much does it take away the person you have always been? The creature of darkness you have come to understand as yourself? I think it's possible that the drug returns you to how you should have always been if you had been well... it just doesn't feel like that because for as long as you can remember you've been sick.

I'm definitely not saying to not take the drugs if you need them. They are a gift; they make normal life possible for a lot of people they might've shut away in the old days, they give you a new lease on life and freedom from the dark emotions that can choke a life and prevent it from blossoming. But we must improve the drugs. Because without emotion- that's not a way to live.... So I guess what this song said to me is that you have to be patient with people who need medication and seem obstinate in not taking as often as they should...... maybe they just need to remember how it feels to be without it.... both so that they remember why they're taking it as well as so they remember what it's like to feel- to really feel... to feel in every atom of your being... even if that feeling is pain.
To bleed just to know that you're alive.

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Tuesday. 1.9.07 10:07 pm

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yep, that's me
Tuesday. 1.9.07 8:14 pm
she said i think i'll go to boston...
i think i'll start a new life,
i think i'll start it over, where no one knows my name,
i'll get out of california, i'm tired of the weather,
i think i'll get a lover and fly em out to spain...
i think i'll go to boston,
i think that i'm just tired
i think i need a new town, to leave this all behind...
i think i need a sunrise, i'm tired of the sunset,
i hear it's nice in the summer, some snow would be nice...
boston...where no one knows my name...

-- by Augustana

The song would be "Providence" but it had too many syllables

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The Art of Surfing
Tuesday. 1.9.07 8:57 am
I just joined an AWESOME site. My sister got me into it.


You should go there. The combination of that site and this one have done the impossible... they've caused my surfage of the facebook to decrease drastically. So maybe that's not a step in the right direction, seeing as I'm substituting one kind of surfing for another, but I think it is since I'm substituting stalking for making and appreciating art.

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Sand Dunes on Mars
Monday. 1.8.07 9:17 pm
OOoOoOoOooo it's a picture of Mars!!

A really BIG picture of Mars. Love my job.

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