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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.
So Very Close Now, So Very Close
Thursday. 4.7.11 2:15 am
The thesis is almost finished.

I have to write the acknowledgments, I have to nice-up some reference lists, I have to read the whole thing one last time.

That's not trivial, as it ended up being over 300 pages.


[to be fair, it is double-spaced]

Tomorrow I shall PRINT IT OUT! I shall put it into binders, and I shall give it to my thesis committee so that they can have ten days to read it before my defense.

I have also just finished my talk for tomorrow. I'm supposed to give an hour-long talk about whatever I want. Ok, not whatever I want, because I would give a talk about the history of hot air balloons in warfare, but anything I want that has to do with my thesis.

I chose a subject which requires me to show lots of very pretty pictures of Mars.


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3:15 am
Monday. 4.4.11 3:14 am
The power went out. In the absence of power, I couldn't do any work. Hours and hours passed by.

When the power came back on, I drove to school to reboot my computer so that I could access it from home.

It wouldn't boot. No hard-drives could be recognized.


I remembered that I had saved my thesis in an online dropbox. I went to the dropbox. No thesis. Oh yes, I remember, I was going to save it into the dropbox, but then it was too big and I got distracted.


Remember, silly, you're supposed to save your thesis in multiple places! I DID. They just all happened to be inaccessible at once. I still had most of the individual papers, just not put together into the beautiful formatted thesis document.

I tried to boot it again. I got some kind of boot menu. That was better than the calm black screen I had gotten before, advising me of a hardware malfunction, or the blue screen of death, filled with technical error codes that mean nothing to me and "hardware malfunction" to the forums.

I booted into safemode.

My files appeared.

I dragged them to the external drive.

I saved onto every drive I have in my possession, the same files, over and over and over. Altogether it took from 11 pm til 3:15 am to get back to the place I was before the blackout, which started at 5 pm. Only now I don't have a computer.





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6:08 am
Sunday. 4.3.11 6:08 am
Another beautiful sunrise....

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It's the Final Countdown
Saturday. 4.2.11 10:25 am
I have to print out my thesis next Thursday.

I'm still writing my last chapter. You know, the chapter I didn't even really realize was supposed to be a real chapter, the chapter which I just assumed was akin to a conclusion, since it was called the "synthesis" chapter; the chapter that everyone told me I could use to write whatever I wanted to freely explore the implications of my years and years of work? The chapter which my advisor then said should not be whatever I wanted in the least, and should instead be yet another complete, fully publishable unit, in which I didn't necessarily have to synthesize anything at all?

This is where the Nanowrimo-honed skills come in handy, the skills of just writing, writing and writing, words and words and more words, never looking back, always surging forward, occasionally checking the holy word count... right now I'm at 2605, which would be pretty good for an average Nanowrimo day... (notwithstanding that I wrote almost half of these words yesterday) but this day has to be like one of those insane, "I'm-10,000-words-behind" kind of days, the kind of day with 5000 words, 6000 words, a veritable tsunami of words that descends onto the unsuspecting blank pages of Microsoft Office 2003.

Only neither tsunamis nor fiction-writers have to stop every single sentence to verify their claims with a well-chosen reference to the peer-reviewed literature.
And neither fiction-writers nor tsunamis have all the deficiencies of their work immediately thrown back into their faces for a second, third, or fourth round of editing.

Meanwhile the citizens of Providence play frisbee outside my window on a lazy Saturday during Spring Break.


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Sunday. 3.27.11 10:52 am
I was thinking about impact craters again. Impact craters, those giant divots in the ground made by the collision of asteroids and comets into the surface of a planet...

There is a deposit on the outside of an impact crater, people usually call it the "ejecta blanket".

My advisor doesn't like this term, because he feels like it doesn't capture the essence of how the deposit is emplaced. He says it makes it seem like it is laid down gently from above, like snow.

In fact the emplacement process consists of a giant shockwave that moves along the surface, forcing material outwards, overturning whole packages of rocks, creating a curtain of solid, burning rock fragments that advance in a growing ring. Large pieces of rock are continuously hurled into the surface, excavating even more rock, which in turn excavates more, further out, creating chains of elongate secondary craters.

My advisor always says that you'd like to have a "side-view" of that one. Of course I always imagine trying to get a side view of a radial process, and it's impossible.

I stared out the window of my room, where there is a high school with a large expanse of athletic fields. If a meteor were to crash into the field, the vantage point that my room offered would be the perfect side view.

I imagined it, streaking through the sky, slamming into the green space between the overgrown baseball diamonds, the impact flash, the vapor plume, the steaming hole it would leave behind.

Of course all of the scientists would be asking me about it afterwards. What angle did it come from? How fast was it going? Were there any colors associated with it? How did the crater look immediately after the impact? Did it collapse? The local authorities would be doing their best to control access to the site, and to make sure that the impact did not let off any toxic gases, which they are sometimes known to do. I would get there first, of course. I would call my professor who studies impacts, yes, but I would do so from the edge of the impact crater, where I would be looking for shards of meteorite to steal for my collection.

How imperfect, the human memory, I lamented. When my professor asked me all of the questions above I would only have the millisecond of flawed human memory to to rely on to estimate speed, color, and the process of the impact. How much nicer if I had got it on video. Depending on the speed of the video and the speed of the meteor, he could probably get a least two frames so that he could estimate speed. He could measure some angles to try to back out what direction it was coming from. I could post the video to YouTube or sell it to CNN. It would play over and over again, ad naseum.

I stared at my computer, and then back out at the empty grass outside. I walked across the room to fetch my video camera. I placed it on the window sill.

Just in case.

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4:26 am
Sunday. 3.27.11 4:24 am
Life sucks.

But this too shall [eventually] pass.

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Life Update
Sunday. 3.20.11 11:56 am
1. I am finishing my thesis. It must be finished by the end of March. Hence the slow-down of updates on Nutang.

2. I have set up a little home-office for myself where I remote desktop into my office computer and wear nothing but sweatpants and sweat shirts and eat nothing but okonomiyaki and cookies for days at a time.

3. I have pretty much finished four of my six chapters. The sixth chapter is just a synthesis chapter, so I will probably be writing that at 3 am the day before I have to print it out. I am halfway through my fifth chapter.

4. My favorite spacecraft ever, MESSENGER, successfully went into orbit around Mercury on St. Patrick's Day. We flew down to Maryland to where the mission control is so that we could be there for the orbit insertion. We flew down at about 3 pm on Thursday and then flew back at 7:30 am on Friday. We made posters about various aspects of Mercury and there was all kinds of SWAG including a poster with a graphic on it that I had made a couple of years ago in MS Paint when I was bored at a team meeting. I was not given credit. :p There were also delicious cookies-- I probably ate about seven.

This was the sweet graphic that I made in Paint. "Credit: NASA/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Carnegie Institution of Washington" pshaw.

You can learn more about MESSENGER here.

5. My bicycle finally melted out of the giant snowbank where it has been frozen for the last couple of weeks. Unfortunately, it was revealed that when the plow piled all of the snow on top of the bike, it also bent the front wheel in a serious way. Now the bike is ruined. I really like having a bike, but I don't want to buy a new one since I'm moving in a few months and I can't take the bicycle where I'm going. Thanks, Brown University.

6. I'm still practicing Javanese gamelan like mad. My Russian scientist friends said that they would come to my concert in April if I reminded them.

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How to be Invisible
Friday. 3.11.11 1:07 am
In middle school I was friends with two Korean girls.
After lunch we would go outside where people would stand around in groups of three or four and talk, because there was nothing else that we were allowed to do.

My two Korean friends would talk in Korean to each other, and I would just stand there.

Sometimes I would pretend like I was following the conversation, and look from speaker to speaker and occasionally nod my head.

But most of the time I would just stand there silently, staring into space.

In middle school, as long as you were with a group of people, even if they were speaking Korean, you could go unnoticed.

And in middle school, that's all anyone ever hopes to be.

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