So they swam and they swam all over the dam

May 10, 2007

You don’t realize how much you miss something until you do it again. I finally made it back to the pool today (9 months late) and it was wonderful. You feel so refreshed after getting out of the pool (in summer), loose from a good workout, and rather then being hot a sweaty, cool and rinsed off. Unfortunately the pool is only open two days a week for a grand total of 3 hours (per week not per day). I am just hoping there are only about five people who want to swim regularly, otherwise the pool is going to get crowded.

On a completely different note, I have this picture that I have been wanting to post for about a month now.

R2D2 Mail Box

R2D2 mail box! How cool is that! The post office painted the mailbox by my apartment this way about two months ago. I am not sure why but I think it is cool.

Investigations Into a Digital Deception: Part 1

January 12, 2007

I received a new digital scale for Christmas. I can now weigh myself multiple times and day and find out fun facts like I gain about a pound after eating, my clothes weigh about five pounds, and lots of warm clothes and a backpack is almost 20 pounds.

The scale displays your weight to a tenth of a pound, but I suspected the scale wasn’t actually this accurate. I tried to test this by repeatedly weighing myself but I would always get the exact same weight, this allayed my suspicions for some time.

A few nights ago I weighed myself, was on the computer for about five minutes, and then weighed myself again. To my surprise there was over a pound of difference. Further investigation showed that the scale would remember the last weight it has displayed. If the next thing it weighs (within a few minutes) is close enough to the previous weight, it will just display the previous weight, instead of the new slightly different weight.

So I did what any normal person would do after discovering this; I stood in the bathroom for an hour at 1:00 in the morning repeatedly weighing myself holding bottles of cleaning supplies and then not holding bottles of cleaning supplies to trick the scale into displaying what it measured every time.


As you can see at ~140 lbs the measurements have a normal distribution with a standard deviation of about 0.3 lbs. From this I would say the error on the scale is around ±0.6 lbs and yet it still displays the weight to the nearest 0.1 lb. Deceitful, just deceitful.

Child Byar

November 12, 2006

Robert Jordan describes a character in his novel as follows:

His face was long and gaunt, with eyes so deeply set they seemed to look out from caves. There was no excess flesh on him, no fat at all; his skin was pulled tight over the muscle and bone beneath.

At other times is refred to as having “all of the fat boiled off of him”. I have often wondered what this would look like, but I have to wonder no longer.


This was on the back of a box of cereal I have, as you can see it is Dean Karnazes an Ultra Marathoner aka Byar, Child of the Light.

Golden Oldies

September 21, 2005

When you look at the history of Science Fiction it is really quite incredible. It is a genre that has really been quite abused over the ages (mostly by the SciFi channel). When you look at where it started and what it has been through it is really amazing that it was able to develop into something capable of producing Star Wars (the original three), Firefly, Terminator 2, and many other cherished shows. I have been watching Battlestar Galactica lately. It is a SciFi channel remake of a 1978 series, it just started its second season and has become quite popular. In an effort to brush up on my scifi history I downloaded some of the original 1978 series. It really made me appreciate the advances that the movie industry and science fiction have made. One particular scene I thought was especially good.

I about died laughing when I saw that. On a more general note the older series isn’t that bad, it is just hard to take it seriously. The enemies (humanoid robots called Cylons), are just not menacing. The move slow and kind of waddle when the walk, it is just hard to keep a straight face. That has been fixed in the new series, where the Cylons are quick and efficient killing machines. They modeled them after the most deadly life form on earth.



On top you have the old sissy Cylons, and below the new kick ass Cylons. I guess they realized their fan base was largely male anyway so why not cater to them. Oh and they have the robots too, but they have a comparatively minor role.


I would say the biggest disappointment in the new series is they took away the cool electronic voice of the robots (they don’t talk at all).

So here is to the advances of science fiction and shameless producers that will do anything to boost ratings.


September 16, 2005

In many ways my experience is a lot like studying abroad. I am being introduced to new religions, new languages, new accents, new cultures, and new foods. I have to struggle to understand the teacher, and in-between class I can’t understand the other students. I am by far in the minority, both by virtue of being white, and by having English as my first language. To give a few interesting statistics, I took an informal poll (looking around the room and counting) during my last class and I was one of 5 white people in a class of 40. After further observations two of these ended up just being of fair complexion for their ethnicity bring the total to three Americans in a class of 40. This of course could launch a whole debate on the sad state of American science and all that, but I will try to stay on track.

I thought it would be helpful to give a little translation guide should any of you find yourself in a similar situation. You hear some words and aren’t sure what they are or what they mean, only to find out later it is a word you know.

dome = dorm, repeat after me “hard rrrrrr”
Leanear = Linear
plaseo = placebo
chiral,cowsal,casual = causal, no one in the class got this right
heada = heads

And many other fun ones, but I didn’t start keeping track until recently.

Grad school also has some surprises for me. For example my statistic class has kept me very busy, and I take very detailed notes:


The nice diagrams at the top aren’t even statistics, that is a different project I am working on. So ya I am keeping myself busy, working hard, or hardly working. Well that is about all the clever material I have. Actually I tired myself trying to get the picture to be inserted in the middle of the e-mail, so I hope it is appreciated. You would think it would be a standard feature on yahoo or at least gmail, but no. I had to resort to complicated shenanigans.

On a final note don’t be afraid to call, its not that I’m bored and don’t have anything to do, it is just that . . well actually it is exactly like that.