Sunday, December 20, 2009

Scenic campus...

... for wedding photos!

To date, I have seen three newlywed couples taking photos on campus since September. Must be the bright blue sky and the stately sandstone buildings and the colorful flora in the main quad area.

Two of the couples took pictures at the exact spot of the northeastern corner of the quadrangle, the four sides being long corridors lined with "Greco-Spanish-style" columns with this exquisite effect of shadow contrast when sunlight hits at certain angles.

Hmm! Maybe that's why. It's like the two parties have traversed down the perpendicular corridors and converged at the same spot. Very romantic thought :-)

And perpendicular means maximizing the CROSS-PRODUCT. (Die-hard nerd won't let this go without a lame tech joke.)

I think I would like my photos in the MIIIT Chapel area though. I rather like the moat and the stylish abstract rocket-like statue on the roof.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Techie jokes

- - -
A biologist walks into a bar...

I challenge anyone to make jokes about theoretical math. The Klein Four Group does the best job I know of.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Double standard for women engineers

- - -
(I came across this from an Ig Nobel reference... they FINALLY posted the webcast!!!!!!!! Was waiting for SO LONG!!11!!!1!!!!!)

IEEE Spectrum article about extending the "Studmuffins of Science" calendar project to women because it was successful for male models... as to be expected, didn't work so well for women.

I'm all for the notion that beautiful and sexy women can do awesome science. If there are more roles like Prof. Amita Ramanujan. Played convincingly, of course.

In retrospect, the East Campus calendar girls are courageous indeed. Their stylistic interpretation is open to debate though, ahaha.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Auditorium: the game

- - -
Play the online demo version.

It's a puzzle game with an aesthetically dynamic interface -- sleek, clean, minimalist color scheme. The object is to direct a photon beam via adjustable force fields in order to initiate various instrumental voicing simultaneously... and generate a symphony.

It's a festival of topology, visual arts, music, with physics references. Not much else I can ask for in a puzzle game!

The music is Hans Zimmer/Philip Glass-style hypnotic. In Act 2, the chord progression of i-VII-VI-V in C# minor works quite nicely with the elegant black background and bright particle beams. The visual and the audio together convey a sensation of cruising in space -- with an MP3 player and headphones.

I'm sorely tempted to get the full version of this.

Monk Finale

- - -
Monk ended! (Insert awwwwws)

I think it's a very nice wrap-up. Monk solved the case of his wife's murder. The evidence has been in the last Christmas gift she gave him... 12 years ago... and he never opened it until now. (Well, the series has been going strong for almost a decade now... the longest non-cartoon TV series I have watched and enjoyed.)

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

[In progress] Dark justice (more spoiler warnings)

- - -
There have been some memorable characters in fiction - some call them messengers of justice, others call them... serial killers. The shortlisted ones are Dexter Morgan of the TV series Dexter, Yagami Raito of the manga Death Note, and Dr. Hannibal Lecter in the numerous novels and movies featuring him. (Spoilers follow...)

They come from different backgrounds and have their distinctive modus operandi, but they are all hyper-intelligent, meticulous, confident about their abilities, and sociopathic. Very charismatic sociopaths who are (or in the case of Death Note, have been) quite successful in hiding what they do.

(to be continued)

Sunday, December 6, 2009

[In progress] Some takes on The Prestige (Spoiler alert)

- - -
(One can always check out Wikipedia for more spoilers.)

Some have said that this movie packed too much into the limited time frame. But movies like these are so much more fun because one could realize new insights upon multiple viewings.

Those who think this film is like "Batman vs. Wolverine" probably are more into plot-driven movies than character-driven ones. And The Prestige is most definitely a character-driven movie.

Michael Caine's "Alfred the Butler" aura works very nicely to soften the cutthroat competition between the magicians.

Tesla, science, magic

I like the way Nikola Tesla is portrayed. I admit to partiality toward scientists and engineers... but only those with good sense and wisdom. Tesla is a curious character with quirks and a brooding contemplative tendency. Though in this movie, he's the brilliant mind with the voice of wisdom.

He builds a device that creates a double of the original in another location, be it living or not. He understands the implication of his teleportation-cloning apparatus and warns Angier not to use it, and knows that Angier would anyway. Here we have the scientist who must watch an inherently neutral machine get abused.

One can say that the scientist has a responsibility to prevent that, but honestly, some people can turn anything and everything into weapons. Harnessing the force within subatomic particles has led to radiation therapy and fission bombs. Same with dynamite, airplanes, genetic manipulation.

Science can be like magic when it's not well-understood. But even after it's well-understood, it can still be like magic. If one does not lose the ability to appreciate the aesthetics of the underlying mechanisms.


The magicians' rivalry is a positive feedback of ever-escalating obsession with perfection and maintaining the illusion of success behind their rather imperfect life. That's the ultimate magic trick. As Buddy Kane from American Beauty puts it, "In order to be successful, one must project an image of success at all times."

But what about the inside? What if it's just an emptiness? Like Borden/Fallon each living half a life and driving their loved ones to demise? Or their thirst for revenge veiled by constantly trying to one-up the other on the stage?

Random aside

Twins who're in love with two different people while pretending to be the same person... just asking for trouble :-P

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Interactive games for the love of science [WAY TOO MUCH NERDING OUT]

- - -
[Procrastination from final exams studying]

Learning about science should be more "fun" in the "playful" sense. Call me neotenous, but I was daydreaming about creating a game to learn quantum mechanical concepts during class today.

Some possibilities arise:

(1) Puzzle game -

perhaps the most obvious, but this eventually degenerates into a press- button- to- pick- the- right- choice scheme. A good starting point though.

(2) Real-time strategy -

In the conventional market, this usually involves building home bases with personnel units and resources while taking over additional territories and attacking enemies.

So maybe something like... generating wavefunctions that are of certain energies in order to "fill-up" quantum wells... Or making the enemies fall into forbidden optical transitions of the hydrogen atom and die... A sample final objective might be solving the hydrogen atom, and along the way one needs to conquer sub-goals. Like perturbing the enemies' wavefunctions while defending one's own.

Or somehow factor in the probability distribution functions... say Precious Particle X is distributed in such a way at well location A, etc... resource allocation.

(3) Role-playing game (RPG) -

Here we get into the Bizarro category because I can't think of a way to make this format convincing. A possible idea is to have a large and complicated potential well, and the player has to navigate and wield their weapons of various approximation methods of calculating wavefunctions in the meantime... (yeah I know...) with many possible eigenstates (i.e. game endings) that collapse into only a single observable state upon each measurement (::headdesk::)

(4) MMORPG (...) -

Similar to RPG, except now many players can suffer along the overflowing nerdism.

This analogy could also be applied to device physics. I mean, transistors, moving charges, structures that seriously look like skyscrapers under the microscope... I see SimTransis-tower. (Insert major eye-roll and groan for bad pun.)

One could imagine that the whole research process is as such, except in real-space with real stakes. So... these ideas are fail-safe ways to fool around with concepts and experiments. Except for anything unverified in real-life. That's where cutting-edge research comes in.

[/Procrastination from final exams studying]

Friday, December 4, 2009

Interactive learning

- - -
Learning happens best when as many senses are engaged as possible. Especially for less abstract and more visual thinkers.

It would be nice to integrate learning about science with gaming...

Continued here. Beware extreme nerdism.

Thursday, December 3, 2009


- - -
Dainty petals twirl and flutter, waltzing with the wind. Steady breeze with occasional clouds, great day for a picnic. Or kiting. I should totally get a kite. So much open space here. Although... I have not seen anyone flying a kite around. Perhaps too many people about. Well... guess have to do it when there are no many people around.

Twirling twirling turning round and round.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

[In progress] Detective modalities

- - -
The hypothesis is that fictional detectives are curious characters that illuminate the temperaments of their creators to some degree... though I can't "prove" that without researching about the respective creators. Something I will have to postpone till a later time.

(1) Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

The one that inspired many to follow. For the Jungians, a textbook example of INTJ.

(2) Adrian Monk, created by Andy Breckman

The obsessive-compulsive detective.

(3) Kudo Shinichi from Case Closed by Aoyama Gosho

High school student-detective trapped in a six-year-old's body.

(4) Shawn Spencer from Psych, created by Steve Franks

The self-proclaimed psychic with no psychic abilities, though with razor-sharp sense of observation and quick wit.


Baaad Apple!! (Warning: Really really catchy)

- - -
Music video (subbed lyrics)

(Piano version)

Elegant and fluid motion. The dichotomous hues are suggestive of light and shadow with all that they imply, and the minimalism conjures up wandering thoughts about abstractions.

One can catch glimpses of fantasy elements -- a mage's hat, angel's wings, reaper's scythe, various head gears... like rabbit ears. Going down a rabbit hole? Perhaps this is a representational fairy tale. More like a dystopic fairy tale...

Not sure how good the translation of the lyric is, but the inflection reminds me vaguely of Romanticism and Gothicism. Expressive angst! One reason to learn languages is to appreciate works of literature (and songs!) in their original form...

Totally dig the punky jazz piano with major-2nd chords. Great pacing too, with the lyrical section in the middle. The counter-melodies around 1:27 and 3:14 are reminiscent of gliding over clouds -- pure exhilaration. The recap section at 2:12 could use some more subtle textures, as the percussiveness is a bit jarring. But overall a nice rendition. That last few seconds of Philip Glass-like periodic motion about sums it up.

These videos are based on a game called the Touhou Project. I'm not familiar with the game, but the creator seems like a highly interesting character...

(Alternate variation... Russian-style)

The music actually goes with the visual pretty well :-P

Friday, November 27, 2009

Swipe! (Belated)

- - -
Pretty glittery kitty! With a ball of yarn =D Mreow!

And... enantiomer Whiskers =) Or maybe they're two ends of wormhole portals, or opposite spins of an electron?

Campus-wide Thanksgiving lunch/dinner

- - -
The president of the school hosted a catered Thanksgiving lunch/dinner for students who opted to stay around on campus. Very generous of him. I have had lower and lower expectation about generosity from the people around here, so this was quite a nice surprise.

They had to divide the students into three groups: 1:30pm, 3:00pm, and 4:30pm. I went at 3pm so it was neither a lunch nor a dinner... and was totally stuffed. That pumpkin pie did me in.

Another online quiz... this time on religion

- - -
Belief-O-Matic, lol. Not too surprised there.

1. Unitarian Universalism (100%)
2. Liberal Quakers (97%)
3. Secular Humanism (94%)
4. Neo-Pagan (87%)
5. Theravada Buddhism (84%)
6. Mainline to Liberal Christian Protestants (82%)
7. New Age (77%)
8. Mahayana Buddhism (74%)
9. Taoism (71%)
10. Reform Judaism (61%)
11. Nontheist (60%)
12. Orthodox Quaker (59%)
13. Baha'i Faith (54%)
14. New Thought (52%)
15. Scientology (51%)
16. Jainism (48%)
17. Hinduism (45%)
18. Christian Science (Church of Christ, Scientist) (43%)
19. Sikhism (40%)
20. Seventh Day Adventist (32%)
21. Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (Mormons) (29%)
22. Orthodox Judaism (27%)
23. Mainline to Conservative Christian/Protestant (23%)
24. Islam (21%)
25. Jehovah's Witness (17%)
26. Eastern Orthodox (15%)
27. Roman Catholic (15%)

Monday, November 23, 2009

Biologically-inspired choreography

- - -

This made me speechless. One could go about analyzing what each move and each gesture signifies, but the overall message is elegantly presented. Evolution aptly represented.

Reminds me of the Cirque du Soleil with their exquisite motion of artistry.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Parodical homage of classical music

- - -

Apparently a lot of songs follow the same progression! Oh man, those descending fifths. ROFL.

This is rather silly... Perhaps Igudesman is bow-poking fun at the dual Russian/Ukrainian tradition of violinists and balalaika players running in families? Aside from the example in Dr. Zhivago. And the people in the video are actually violinists :-P

Classical music needs people like him and his buddy Richard Joo... check out more of their performances on Youtube. I would go for their live concerts.

* * *

And there is of course Victor Borge, who's a classic on his own... (more Youtube videos!)

I particularly liked the Beethoven and the Mozart versions. Spot on. I was hoping for a good Liszt version, sigh... too bad. I suspect his Hungarian Rhapsody has seen many renditions of randomness in Tom and Jerry already. Aaaand we have the circle of fifth again in the J.S. Baaaaaach version at 3:15...

Farmer's market

- - -
I got some romanesco cauliflower :-) among other things. Oh, pears. Mmm pears. The Asian kind with lots of fructose.

Gonna try to be good about making my food nowadays... I think that my creative muse activity is correlated with my nutritional intake. Hmm!

[In progress] Numb3rs chronicled - WARNING: spoilers galore.

- - -
It's refreshing to see a TV series that's not all about doctors, lawyers, politicians, or a combination thereof. And it's also nice to see that certain characters' nerdiness is not objectified as an easy target for humor as in a few other TV programs. Even though the technical details are glossed over for the sake of maintaining the abstraction barrier (and for having commercial breaks), the writers have done an overall good job in presenting said technical details.

The premise is using mathematical techniques to solve crimes, but the show is not just about math -- the characterization and relationships among the characters bring life to the math and the science. As the seasons progressed, the audience can see how the characters develop, how they gain wisdom (or cynicism), and how their relationships grow.

Organic designs

- - -

Good designs should be simple, functional, and aesthetically pleasing. No surprise that many of them are Nature-inspired, considering that Nature has been experimenting for millions and billions of years... even if by trial and error.

That car design has potential. Although it'll be a whole other matter to deal with the petroleum industry and the whole infrastructure reformatting.

It's refreshing to hear him shoot down the myopic view of the corporate representative in such colorful vocabulary.

And... Work should really feel more like play. That's the ideal. I would love to visit his office, from what it sounds like.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

So this is how it's gonna be

- - -
I've decided that if the Silicon Valley culture is even colder than NYC, then I will seek out everything it has to offer and take every advantage of it.

So basically, in order to stay intellectually competitive, I'll have to regimen my diet and activity level. Such as biking to the farmer's market on Sundays to get fruits and veggies. And actually eating them on a timely basis. And traversing all over this gigantic campus in whichever muscle-powered methods of locomotion imaginable. I must remember to bring camera next time.

Ugh, that ketchup stuff is really bad. No kidding. I'm not getting the fries again. Salads only. The burger itself seems okay though. Lean chicken with whole bread, lettuce, tomato, onion, and no cheese.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Gratuitous nerdy cuteness

- - -
Quoted from a forum I visit.

For Valentine's day last year, he got me a website, and since he was hosting it, this following conversation occurred:

Jacque: “And you’ll have shell access to my server.”
argyl3: “That’s really really sweet, even if it is incredibly nerdy.
Jacque: “Can I have shell access to your heart?”
argyl3: “You can have root access to my heart.”

In Perfectly Imperfectly Parallel Motion

- - -
Upon the windowsill where dreams

Reach out for the branch
Descend into the mainframe
Into the symmetry of space and time

When my poetry muse has a freaking bad case of ADHD.

Why is that Touhou Bad Apple!! music video so addictive... So. Addictive. It's the Eb-minor techno thing. Emo, daaaahk and mysteeeriousss. Just like the characters in the video, even though I'm not familiar with the game. And the lyrics. I mean, yeah. Emo with a vengeance.

Need. To. Surf. Down a hydrodynamic band potential, flyyyy over the forbidden gaps, and accelerate until velocity saturation. Way too much device physics, and apparently not enough...

Going over quantum mechanics pset with a bunch of crazy people until almost 2AM does funny alterations to my state of mind, which has degenerated into a superposition of confabul-conjugated modes... none of which makes sense on its own...

Friday, November 6, 2009

Big question, turn-off, unrealism in TV drama

- - -
I realized that to create the most impact, I would have to (1) maximize job utility (i.e. not waste my life) and (2) maximize off-job utility (i.e. keep sane)...

Within (1), there are components (1a) earning potential and (1b) job satisfaction and (1c) intangible factors. I suspect (1a) and (1b) do not completely overlap, and their intersection might actually be small.

In that case, I shall have to work on (2), which translates to hobbies. As being an adult with multiple responsibilities would mean minimal time for hobbies, this is not a viable option once I'm officially in the "real-world".

Which goes back to (1). If I had Prof. Charlie Eppes-level math skills I could totally make a math model of this stupid rat race.

* * *

The only female professor in my department has blown me off twice now, after two separate attempts of trying to establish contact. I heard from one student who told me that she's quitting and going abroad for (what I deduce to be) a more lucrative job. Another student told me that she once told him to "listen to everyone and believe in no one."

Both of the aforementioned students are male. This professor only had two female students in her 10+ years of tenure. I should have known... but I wanted to give people benefit of a doubt. But this experience has really turned me off regarding a career in academia. This plus two of my respected industry mentors told me that they were disillusioned by academia, shortly after I sent my PhD applications.

* * *

Prof. Larry Fleinhardt from Numb3rs is such an idyllic dreamer and scatterbrained hippie-type that I seriously doubt someone like him would succeed as a professor in the real world. I mean, he doesn't have a house and he lives in the... steam tunnel on campus... and the new dept. head saw him coming out from cellar doors... )

Well, he's megawatt intellectually and a fav character of mine, but realistically only if he had an awesome secretary would he be able to keep track of all his professorial tasks (not to mention his FBI consulting...) A secretary who is not shared by many professors as in my department due to the economic downturn.

See, I keep my facts straight and not mixed up with fiction. But I'm increasingly incredulous at how I ended up on this giant hamster wheel with hundreds of clawing and gnawing... fellow hamsters.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Narrative shot [001]

- - -
"Alright, I'll see you around."

"Yeah, laters."

KT rotated his handlebars and pedaled off into the distance.

AV watched him. The bike turned a corner around the fountain and disappeared.

"Now, where was I?" AV shifted his field of view toward his next steps, a mesh of tuned and timed sequences of events about to cascade into explosive reactions.

His hands inched into his jacket pocket and stroked the hard smoothness inside. A creeping smile was all that's keeping him from bursting into maniacal laughter.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Muse oh muse where are you

- - -
I keep wanting to write some poems about the nanophotonics class I'm sitting in on, but I have not found the right motif...

Some keywords I thought of were:

quantum well traps, confinement, resonator, superposition modes, total internal reflection, distributed Bragg reflection,

Some possible entities for metaphoric representation:

Mirror, dreams,

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Numb3rs chibi style

- - -

Ahahahaha... what an irresistible combination :-P The next best thing to plush dolls for this rabid fan anyway... I think I'm getting a little better at drawing on the tablet.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Eigenstates of fluffies

- - -
Soft soft and chub chub~~~

Even though I was spurned by quantum mechanics, I could not help but make another reference...

There was one, and now there are two... of the same kind! Snuggly chub chub.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Greensleeves, classic

- - -
That opening line on the flute and harp takes my breath away every time. I actually think it'll also sound amazing on an oboe-clarinet sequence. I think this originates from my affinity with bodies of water where I can see the shores. And tall grasses waving in the wind.

Maintenance tasks

- - -
Looks like I'll have to work up the discipline of getting up early every Sunday morning to get stuff at the only Farmers' market within biking distance. Having to depend on other ppl for rides can be such a hassle...

Despite being freaking expensive, I hope the quality factor would be worth it somehow... 'cause I'm starting to think that part of my time-to-time deranged tendencies might be related to dietary deficiencies. My problem-solving ability is my tool of the trade, and I can't afford to be regularly (even more) messed up in the head than I already am.......

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Maybe I'm a psychologist in an alternate universe

- - -
Two pennies of thought I find fascinating...

(1) Dissociative identities in the context of self-exploration or self-examination, in a metaphysical or ontological or hypothetical sense.

(2) The characterization of triple agents, e.g. Severus Snape (Harry Potter series) and Colby Grainger (Numb3rs). Like what are their motives, their inner conflicts, etc...

And I want to play with nano-photonic crystals... in a representational form. Yes... more nerdy poetry. Though that kind of poetry takes me a lot of brain power to generate.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Random convo between two huge nerds

(9:24:39 PM) ParticlePhysicistFriend: Apparently with a particle accelerator you can burn a tumor deep inside a person without even making an incision.
(9:24:51 PM) Me: I see
(9:26:37 PM) ParticlePhysicistFriend: The particle beams can be steered very precisely, and only deposit their energy at a particular penetration depth.
(9:26:58 PM) Me: I see.
(9:27:06 PM) Me: Very targeted.
(9:27:22 PM) Me: I'm curious
(9:27:38 PM) ParticlePhysicistFriend: If you want to hit a tumor in the middle of somebody's brain, you can't really do damage to all the surrounding tissue.
(9:27:39 PM) Me: I'm taking quantum mech now since I think circuits are getting small
(9:27:48 PM) Me: amazing.
(9:28:24 PM) ParticlePhysicistFriend: Anyways, particle accelerators cost billions so hospitals aren't getting them any time soon.
(9:28:25 PM) Me: but I guess this technology is not portable and very expensive
(9:28:32 PM) Me: aahahah
(9:28:46 PM) Me: hospitals are trying to make things *cheap* and *small*
(9:29:06 PM) ParticlePhysicistFriend: Not really, those MRI machines probably cost tens of millions.
(9:29:10 PM) Me: I know
(9:29:17 PM) Me: they want portable MRI's
(9:29:23 PM) Me: I think many groups are working on that
(9:29:31 PM) Me: some group @ Harvard has a prototype
(9:30:00 PM) ParticlePhysicistFriend: Yeah
(9:30:18 PM) Me: I'm trying to figure out exactly what my research is.
(9:30:25 PM) ParticlePhysicistFriend: By taking QM?
(9:30:25 PM) Me: I don't have an advisor yet
(9:30:33 PM) ParticlePhysicistFriend: Does the teacher have a german accent at least?
(9:30:47 PM) Me: oh, QM is what I think I should know for any research in circuits, devices, etc.
(9:30:53 PM) ParticlePhysicistFriend: You can't learn QM from somebody that doesn't have a german accent.
(9:31:08 PM) Me: Mine has an... Australian???
(9:31:15 PM) Me: Scottish?? Welsh??
(9:31:18 PM) Me: I don't know
(9:31:30 PM) ParticlePhysicistFriend: 4 out of 5 of my QM professors were german.
(9:31:31 PM) Me: But I don't think is German
(9:31:38 PM) ParticlePhysicistFriend: Fail.
(9:31:45 PM) Me: lemme check his CV.
(9:31:45 PM) ParticlePhysicistFriend: Tell him to learn a german accent.
(9:31:49 PM) Me: HAHAHAHHA
(9:32:00 PM) ParticlePhysicistFriend: So he doesn't sound like an imposter.
(9:32:36 PM) Me: He's a Scot.
(9:33:06 PM) Me: well, his undergrad is in Scotland
(9:33:17 PM) Me: so that's prolly where he's from.
(9:33:18 PM) ParticlePhysicistFriend: There's a lot of people working on quantum computing right now, but I don't know if that's really covered in most QM classes.
(9:33:25 PM) Me: nope
(9:33:36 PM) Me: not at this elementary level I'm doing :P
(9:33:37 PM) ParticlePhysicistFriend: Most classes just go on and on about atoms.
(9:33:51 PM) Me: I'm doing this operator thing
(9:34:04 PM) Me: expectation values? of momentum and position operators
(9:34:12 PM) ParticlePhysicistFriend: It's all just linear algebra.
(9:34:20 PM) Me: we went right into Schrodingers
(9:34:24 PM) ParticlePhysicistFriend: You should be familiar with that from those circuit thingies.
(9:34:29 PM) Me: oh
(9:34:36 PM) Me: But I guess I don't know how to set it up
(9:34:49 PM) ParticlePhysicistFriend: Oh you're doing the schrodinger formalism.
(9:35:00 PM) Me: since this was actually pset from my semiconductor physics class.
(9:35:06 PM) ParticlePhysicistFriend: That's just messy because you have to take integrals all day long for your homework.
(9:35:23 PM) ParticlePhysicistFriend: Later on in life you learn the dirac formalism, and the math gets simpler.
(9:35:23 PM) Me: oh, I didn't actually do that fortunately
(9:35:38 PM) ParticlePhysicistFriend: Apparently schrodinger was some kind of man slut.
(9:35:42 PM) Me: yes
(9:35:51 PM) Me: I'm doing QM in like 2 classes right now
(9:35:57 PM) Me: one is called QM
(9:36:04 PM) Me: the other is semiconductor physics
(9:36:38 PM) ParticlePhysicistFriend: Yeah. I guess they usually call it solid state physics.
(9:37:10 PM) ParticlePhysicistFriend: I think schrodinger also had something against cats.
(9:37:22 PM) ParticlePhysicistFriend: I'm allergic to them, but I have nothing against them.
(9:37:22 PM) Me: sigh.
(9:37:30 PM) Me: I'm allergic to them
(9:37:34 PM) Me: and I like cats.
(9:38:46 PM) ParticlePhysicistFriend: I don't know any solid state physics, since I work on miniature particle accelerators.
(9:39:01 PM) ParticlePhysicistFriend: But I hear the hot topic is graphene.
(9:39:11 PM) Me: and carbon nanotubes
(9:39:18 PM) Me: and solar cells
(9:39:18 PM) ParticlePhysicistFriend: Yes.
(9:39:29 PM) Me: these are the groups here that are getting $
(9:39:45 PM) ParticlePhysicistFriend: Apparently you can produce nanotubes by rolling up graphene like making an eggroll or something.
(9:39:57 PM) Me: yeah ahahah
(9:40:00 PM) Me: mmmm
(9:40:19 PM) Me: That sounds like cool stuff, but I don't wanna spend time in a bunny suit all day.
(9:40:28 PM) Me: So I guess I shall do the modeling
(9:40:33 PM) Me: if I actually research about this
(9:40:41 PM) ParticlePhysicistFriend: See, half the people that start grad school here think they're going to work on string theory with steve weinburg and become the next einstein. The truth is there's no money in string theory, so they all end up doing experimental solid state physics, where the benjamins are.
(9:41:12 PM) Me: I can see that
(9:41:31 PM) Me: there're many groups here doing optical waveguides
(9:41:38 PM) Me: something I should know about for my stupid quals
(9:41:53 PM) ParticlePhysicistFriend: Actually the solid state people spend most of their time wondering why their afm or sem or stm or whatever doesn't work.
(9:42:03 PM) Me: sigh
(9:42:06 PM) Me: how depressing
(9:42:14 PM) Me: Just like the PhD comics
(9:42:28 PM) ParticlePhysicistFriend: Part of my group does optical waveguides.
(9:42:59 PM) ParticlePhysicistFriend: You're just getting older.
(9:43:02 PM) Me: Here, the professors explicitly said they don't know jack about their students' work
(9:43:06 PM) ParticlePhysicistFriend: Reality is starting to stare you in the face more.
(9:43:09 PM) Me: And they're PROUD OF IT
(9:43:22 PM) Me: ahahaha
(9:43:32 PM) ParticlePhysicistFriend: Professors don't really care about the details of your work, they just expect results.
(9:43:39 PM) Me: heh
(9:43:52 PM) ParticlePhysicistFriend: It's not really academia, these research groups are mini research factories.
(9:44:07 PM) ParticlePhysicistFriend: Or research paper factories.
(9:44:09 PM) Me: Intel is one big ass research factory
(9:44:13 PM) Me: yeah
(9:44:16 PM) Me: lol
(9:44:19 PM) Me: I need papers
(9:45:01 PM) Me: well I mean, I'm still dealing with classes and ... qual prep... that's not getting done
(9:45:38 PM) Me: Actually, my ultimate life goal is to be like Henry Thoreau.
(9:46:09 PM) Me: I don't think there's a place for that
(9:47:52 PM) ParticlePhysicistFriend: Hell, they just gave a guy a nobel prize just for not being bush.
(9:49:11 PM) ParticlePhysicistFriend: To get a nobel prize in physics, you have to invent the ccd or the fiber optic cable. Then you have to stick around and not die for 40 years until everybody agrees your earth-changing invention is nobel prize worthy.
(9:49:22 PM) ParticlePhysicistFriend: But in politics, you just have to not be bush.
(9:49:24 PM) Me: That's why I say
(9:49:45 PM) Me: The Physics Prize should have more $$$
(9:49:56 PM) Me: and they should give it to their grad students.
(9:50:10 PM) Me: That goes for the prize for medicine
(9:50:12 PM) ParticlePhysicistFriend: What does an 80 year old emeritus professor need a million dollars for, to buy a sports car?
(9:50:12 PM) Me: and chemistry
(9:50:25 PM) Me: I think the insulin one
(9:50:40 PM) ParticlePhysicistFriend: Actually, lots of the old 70 year old professors in my department do in fact drive sports cars.
(9:50:44 PM) Me: the guy who won it gave to his grad student collaborator
(9:51:07 PM) Me: That's because they didn't have sports cars when they were young and dirt poor
(9:51:10 PM) ParticlePhysicistFriend: porsche, bmw, one guy had a ferrari that he crashed I think.
(9:51:11 PM) Me: like we are now
(9:52:09 PM) ParticlePhysicistFriend: I find it ironic that 90% of sports car owners are bald old men.
(9:52:24 PM) Me: They want to think they're still young
(9:52:30 PM) Me: suave and cool
(9:52:34 PM) Me: like James Bond
(9:52:55 PM) Me: People who wear helmets while biking - safe and uncool
(9:53:05 PM) ParticlePhysicistFriend: Maybe they go cruising picking up girls 1/10th their age.
(9:53:10 PM) Me: People who don't wear helmets - dangerous but cool
(9:53:24 PM) Me: like James Bond
(9:53:31 PM) Me: except his death rate is 0%
(9:53:35 PM) ParticlePhysicistFriend: This post doc I work with doesn't stop talking about his sport bike.
(9:53:39 PM) Me: lol
(9:53:53 PM) ParticlePhysicistFriend: And won't stop watching motorcycle crashes on youtube.
(9:53:56 PM) Me: Dr. Yang of parity violation fame
(9:54:04 PM) Me: he married a girl 50 years younger
(9:54:08 PM) Me: freaking sick
(9:54:24 PM) ParticlePhysicistFriend: It be ironic if her name was yin.
(9:54:29 PM) ParticlePhysicistFriend: Yin and yang's parity violation.
(9:54:33 PM) Me: Some people like to live on the dangerous side
(9:54:42 PM) Me: wow that was the funniest thing I've heard all day
(9:55:55 PM) ParticlePhysicistFriend: You know there's a tv show on cbs based on making fun of physicists?
(9:56:14 PM) ParticlePhysicistFriend: They tell jokes like that to try to pick up blond bimbos and get laughed at. But not in the good way.
(9:56:41 PM) Me: Big Bang Theory?
(9:56:57 PM) ParticlePhysicistFriend: You know, some physicist probably invented the cathode ray tube, which lead to the tv, and they use the tv to make fun of physicists.
(9:57:00 PM) Me: I watched the first 10 minutes of the 1st ep
(9:57:05 PM) Me: and got annoyed at it
(9:57:48 PM) ParticlePhysicistFriend: I've never seen a tv show before where I got every single reference.
(9:58:06 PM) Me: wahaahah
(9:58:08 PM) Me: amazing
(9:58:09 PM) ParticlePhysicistFriend: I even have digital copies of some of the posters they have in the background.
(9:58:14 PM) Me: dude
(9:58:20 PM) ParticlePhysicistFriend: Nasa public pics and stuff.
(9:58:33 PM) ParticlePhysicistFriend: Sad.
(9:58:49 PM) Me: no it's not
(9:59:12 PM) Me: physicists don't have to be freaking inept like that
(9:59:25 PM) Me: they could be cool and suave like freaking James Bond

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Truncated dreams

- - -
So two nights ago I was dreaming that I was about to go swimming. But the dream itself only included the mundane preparation interspersed with moments when I ran around a pool (in various locations) as a child. So I never actually did the swimming in the dream because I woke up before then.

Last night I dreamed about going to buffets with a large salad and dessert bar. But yes... I didn't get to eat any of the stuff I got in the dream.

Does this indicate unfulfilled, subconscious desires? I do know that lately I've sought out images of scenery with either running rivers or lakes. Probably because I'm not feeling the presence of the ocean or the bay here, and the campus lake is a freaking dried puddle. I mean, the temperature difference throughout the day is like 30 degrees F. That's basically a desert.

And yesterday for the whole day I ate a bowl of pasta with some lettuce and a bit of leftover pork.

So maybe the desires are not so subconscious after all.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

We are all superpositions of eigenstates

- - -
From my quantum mechanics class...

Prof: Here's how you remember that when a wave runs into a hard boundary, it will experience a 180-degree phase change. This demo will hurt so I have to take off my glasses.

[Prof walks into a wall]

Prof: Now you see that I have experienced a 180-degree face (phase) change...

(In a subsequent class.)

Prof: Remember that individual eigenstates are stationary in space...

[Prof does a robot freeze in a funny position]

Prof: That's an eigenstate.

[Another pose in a funny position]

Prof: That's another eigenstate. Now I look like an idiot.

This prof has a very flamboyant persona. Awesome demos. Makes up for the less-engaging Powerpoint slides. He reminds me of Doc DS from Intro Chem at the 'Tute, who is seriously a Godfather/pimp. And Doc S has board technique that totally rocks. Having done "chalk talks" before, I realize how hard it could be to lecture coherently while writing down equations and responding to the class, etc...

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Goodbye, Pandora (?)

- - -
Apparently I've listened to almost 34 hours this month, and that means they'll soon stop my free stream and start charging :( SIGH! I'll miss Ryan Farish and Enya, etc.

I guess I'll fiddle with the playlist of the campus music library streaming instead...

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Nerding out at the 'Tute

- - -
From a Facebook wall post and subsequent commentary.

recently described someone as a perfect Lowpass filter (this person "flattens/smears" any impulse!). I am a perfect BandReject filter (I listen and act on most stuff, unless you're in my sh!t pile). I know there are many Highpass (one... who follows the micro-trends of life) and Allpass (one ear in, the other ear out. Sounds familiar who started teaching again this semester?) My question to you is: What filter are you?

it is unfair of you to make me use my brain this early in the morning - shame on you....what would Ralph think?!?

Can I be an amplifier? I make all your impulses greater.

I think our Ralph the ceramic dog would be an All-pass filter :p

does it ever get unstable?? :p

You are a nerd.

I am a washing-machine lint filter.

This is interesting--I tend to think about people in the time domain. People have different time constants of decay in response to an impulse, and all are over, under, or critically damped. And yes, sadly, some are unstable and will explode when presented with certain stimuli. This, of course, is assuming linearity and time invariance, both of which are pretty big assumptions given the complex nature of human behavior.

It'd be nice to be a Kalman filter.

To MR: I think you're definitely not a symmetric filter (in the time-domain), because you're a COMPLEX filter... (this is getting nerdier by the minute...)
To CS: Wow... Kalman filter.. that's pretty good. I think the optimal filter would be a NON-CAUSAL Weiner... I'll buy lottery tickets all the time :D

A quote from Thomas Pynchon's "Gravity's Rainbow" (1974):
"Personal density," Kurt Mondaugen in his Peenem... Read Moreünde office not too many steps away from here, enunciating the Law which will one day bear his name, "is directly proportional to temporal bandwidth."
"Temporal bandwidth," is the width of your present, your now. It is the familiar "[delta-] t" considered as a dependent variable. The more you dwell in the past and in the future, the thicker your bandwidth, the more solid your persona. But the narrower your sense of Now, the more tenuous you are.

I am a comb filter. I perceive the world as constantly pulsating and flanging.

You need to make this a facebook quiz :)

Clearly, you also have nerdy friends :)

I'm gonna pick butterworth filter because it reminds me of pancakes. Yummm.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009


- - -
A couple of old-timers here (> 4 years) said that fenders on bike is a must if biking when raining. Else it'd be like "this one girl who was wearing a pristine white dress... with a line of mud from her neck down..."

Also heard many a story about biking while carrying precious circuit projects... and two possible outcomes of subsequent accidents: (1) One guy saved his project but got really bruised and bloody (2) The entire circuit board was dragged for 50 feet, with teammate screaming in the meantime...

Those are stories that might rarely happen at the 'Tute. The following one also... probably not.

And... 25 drunk undergrads once crammed into a dorm elevator meant for 18 people. And were stuck in there. For two hours. From 1AM to 3AM... At least the help button worked.........

Monday, September 21, 2009


- - -
It appears that things run less than smoothly here. Well, compared to the Beaver Institvvte anyway. Fifty people got ditched on the first day of class by going to the original classroom rather than the updated-at-the-last-moment one. How phenomenal is that...

The dorm plumber also made the bathtub faucet leak WORSE than it was before... it now drips into the kitchen. Apparently it was like that before I moved in. Then my roommate asked to have it fixed, but it still dripped. So I asked to have them fix the dripping and now it's a flood...

Am still putting off laundry... by washing socks this time. It's just annoying having to go to another building. Need to work out a system to maximize effective use of time...

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Onani Master Kurosawa

- - -
I was reading this series that has been dubbed a "parody of Death Note" by many, since the protagonists have the same mentality at least in the beginning... down to that particular scene...

It starts out with a perverse premise, but by Nature's folly it grows into something with surprising psychological and emotional depth... which I wasn't entirely prepared for... Apparently this has been compared to Catcher in the Rye as well.

(I seem to have a particular soft spot for moments where characters attempt to reach out but only to come short... same thing happened in One Hour Photo...)

Friday, September 18, 2009

Almost impulse-bought

- - -
I almost bought this toy from the campus bookstore. But (1) it's magnetic and might screw up my laptop, (2) it was $30 which I consider a tad too expensive. Sigh! Although if after a few weeks I still want it, then I will buy it.

More nerdiness (physics)

- - -
I was reading "Fearful Symmetry: The Search for Beauty in Modern Physics" and came across the following poem:

Cosmic Gall by John Updike

NEUTRINOS, they are very small.
They have no charge and have no mass
And do not interact at all.
The earth is just a silly ball
To them, through which they simply pass,
Like dustmaids down a drafty hall
Or photons through a sheet of glass.
They snub the most exquisite gas,
Ignore the most substantial wall,
Cold shoulder steel and sounding brass,
Insult the stallion in his stall,
And scorning barriers of class,
Infiltrate you and me! Like tall
and painless guillotines, they fall
Down through our heads into the grass.
At night, they enter at Nepal
and pierce the lover and his lass
From underneath the bed-you call
It wonderful; I call it crass.

... Hmm, sounds like someone is being a prude! Or mocking one wahaha :-P

I also love how the author of the book said that he decided to study physics rather than art history because he finds Nature's parity violations so much more seductive than any artwork.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Power naps.

- - -
I wanna be like this.

The profs at grad orientation today talked a whole new level of nerd puns, (e.g. half-wave rectifier circuits... diodes and breakdown voltages, positive and negative cycles and feedback, VLSI architecture, network theory...) dare I say I enjoyed them? Though my favorite nerd puns are even more abstract. I feed on multi-dimensional abstractions.

When I next get a chance...

... I should totally check out NY Philharmonic at its recently renovated home. I heart orchestras. Especially really good ones. This new conductor seems refreshing. :-)

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Life is purr before classes and stuff.

- - -
Yeah... it's very open, this area. Like your very being can spread out comfortably on the soft grass. I haven't had any strong urge to engage in dark works of fiction like I usually do... although it's a little to early to say it now, methinks. But at least there are many serene and quaint corners around... a different kind than I experienced. More organic, I think. Less angular and gray.

A bunch of my friends from camp got together... haven't actually seen each other in like, seven years or something. Great Indian food just outside of campus. The other three people were all vegetarian/ pescatarians, so I ordered fish and we all shared dishes. It was very yum and I ate too much. And we talked about nerdy stuff and it was awesome. Funny that they called the rain last week a thunderstorm... I was like, what thunderstorm? :-P And gelato was purry. I got my fill of the Asian flavors.

I guess now I just need to feel more comfortable biking around, and also knowing when I can ride fast and when not...

Random aside: (catchy song)

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Rodin sculptures

- - -
I took some photos of the Rodin sculptures...

1. Meditation

2. Martyr

3. Fallen Caryatid with Urn

4. Fallen Caryatid with Stone

5. Torso of the Falling Man

6. Seated Woman (Cybele) (Thankies <3)

7. The Three Shades (Thankies <#)

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

A recent dream (that was actually not a nightmare)

- - -
'Twas in a beautifully lush and green mountain range, with ancient forests and poetic mist. A bunch of friends and I from undergrad were leap-frogging over wooden poles, and it was as easy as skipping... so I was actually having fun! I wonder what this means.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

The "tall mast" yonder

- - -
(1) Awesome song requests on the local classical station. These people have similar tastes as I do :-)

(2) Accessible Jamba Juice stores - makes me purr!

(3) The campus bike store salesman was afraid I was gonna crash the new bike... since I haven't been on a bike for at least 13 years.

(4) The architecture all looks very sandcastle-like.

(5) Trees galore, grasslands galore, flowers galore.

(6) Fresh fresh fruits and veggies galore. :-)

(7) Racks and racks of wine... :-P

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Awesome art collections

- - -
I'm a sucker for pretty pictures. Actually, it's better if they're also geometrical one way or another. Even better if they're representational. A trap for me-specimen = stunning visuals, convolved metaphors, autumn-y music.

Some such collections on deviantART:


CG environment


Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Pandora radio stations

- - -
In chronological order of creation:

Andreas Vollenweider
June 2007

Paul Schwartz
June 2007

July 2007

July 2007

Kenny G
July 2007

David Arkenstone
July 2007

July 2007

Josh Groban
July 2007

July 2007

Fryderyk Chopin
January 2008

January 2008

Philip Glass
January 2008

Robert Schumann
March 2008

W.A. Mozart
April 2008

Ralph Vaughan Williams
June 2008

Simon & Garfunkel
October 2008

Gregorian Chant & Enya
October 2008

Danny Elfman
November 2008

Claude Debussy
November 2008

Pink Floyd
May 2009

Andy Williams
May 2009

May 2009

Andrea Bocelli
May 2009

Julio Iglesias
May 2009

May 2009

May 2009

Air Supply
May 2009

Anne Murray
August 2009

... Everything after Pink Floyd was requested by my mom who complained of a lack of music in my room... at least, when she was around...

I bolded the stations I visit the most often, and hence the most customized. They reflect my real-time mood quite well...

Friday, August 14, 2009

Villanelle seed quote

- - -
Believe in the future. --- Clow Reed, Tsubasa Reservoir Chronicles

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Middlesex Fells

- - -
Nice park area - lots of walking and rock-climbing :-P

Standing on a hill and looking out at Hancock Tower in the distance. Fake rock climbing :-P

We could see through the water of the ponds... and there were many dragonflies, mushrooms, a suspended tree, Darth Vader plants :-P

Friday, August 7, 2009

Parody scenario to flex my creative writing mind (an anti-fanfic, shall we say?)

- - -
(Thanks to E.D. for the inspiration, and that masterpiece of a sketch... quite the likeness I might add =P)

Just as she was unplugging her laptop and in the process of getting up from her swivel chair, a few curt knocks interrupted her thoughts. "Ugh, I'm already late to my next meeting!" she mentally grumbled.

A stumpy and hairy UPS deliveryman peeked in. "Excuse me, I have a package for [insert name]?"

"Okay I'll take that," she declared, although she wondered, "I wasn't expecting any package... and who would send me a box this big?" After verifying that it was indeed addressed to her, she signed the electronic pad in lightning speed, thanked and dismissed the UPS guy while zooming out the door with her laptop.

Thirty minutes into the meeting, she was already distracted. "What COULD BE in that box?" she ruminated. The buzz of the overhead projector and the flickering of the screen synchronized with the droning voice of the presenter in the ultimate ensemble of soporific. The singular thought that sustained her amidst the desert of Excel tables and graphs was about - that box.

"Can you label your columns? Otherwise we don't know what the numbers mean." She snapped. "Okay," the presenter obliged. "Jeez, I just got these numbers ten minutes ago! If only I were better at English..." he seethed inwardly, though he showed no change in expression except for a minute frown.

About one hour later, she rushed back into her office. "Rarrgh these meetings! Always run freaking overtime." she stewed as she replugged her laptop. "Now. What's in the box?"

She found herself taken by a bizarre sense of anticipation. She grabbed her keys and proceeded to slice open the mystery box, possessed by a sudden hunger of unknown origin.

Inside was something dark, velvety, and shrink-wrapped. "OMFG whyyyyy must there be shrink-wrap everywhere?!!??!!?! The inventor of shrink-wrap should suffer in hell and open these darned shrink wraps for eternity!!!!!"

She stabbed a hole in the plastic wrap and ripped it open with the sadistic ferocity of a dominatrix.

The shimmering black velvet river awakened upon thawing out of its shrink-wrapped frozen state with a flourish of golden sparks.

She touched the fabric and was surprised at its softness. Gingerly, she unfolded the cloth to reveal a cape in full splendor.

"Oooooooooooooooh!!!!!!!!!! I have wanted this for a long time, a verrrry long time.........."

She started giggling. It started out as a whisper, but she closed the door and her laughter slowly developed into a deep cackle as she opened her secret closet. Inside, an ancient broom rested...

Up to no good

- - -
I like being just a little bit evil.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Hot pot, HP6

- - -
Had the best best hot pot I remember in the last um, 8~9 years? =D Soooo much food, yet it was amazingly not *too* filling. We ordered a little too much veggies, but we finished pretty much everything ahahaha...

HP & Half-Blood Prince was actually better in movie than book, since the whole teenage soap opera seems to overwhelm the seriousness of the other events in the book, but the movie has a good balance. I revisited in new light Draco's vulnerability and Snape's character...

Parodies (Harry Potter Puppet Pals... need a thick-skinned sense of humor for these)

Thursday, July 30, 2009

On foils and duals

- - -
Contrasting characters make for great stories. Examples abound, and I only have a (looong) partial list below... (Myers-Briggs again, even though they don't describe the whole picture) I find myself gravitating toward the one who's closer to the IN*P type, but I enjoy the contrast provided by the other characters as well...

CSI seasons 1 - 8
Gil Grissom, Sarah (INTJ) and Catherine, Nick (ESTJ)

CSI seasons 9 -
Dr. Langston (ENFP) and the rest of the team (*STJ)

Don (ISTJ) and Charlie (INTP)

Ichigo (INFP) and Ishida, Aizen (INTJ)

Death Note
Raito (ENTJ) and L (INTP)

Naruto (ESFP) and Sasuke (INTJ)

Ouran High School Host Club
Tamaki (ESFP) and Kouya (INTJ)

Taiga (ESFP) and Ami (INTJ)

Tsubasa Reservoir Chronicles
Kurogane (ISTJ) and Fye (ENFP)

In the most recent manga series I'm reading ("The Drops of God", "Les Gouttes de Dieu") about fine wines and their associated imageries, there's also a pair of contrasting characters, but I'm liking the ESFP guy better than the INTJ one. Maybe because I'm substituing all the wines with music, because that's the closest thing I know of that could evoke such rich and varied imageries.

Monday, July 20, 2009


- - -
Purry =) We got a light yellow shirt and a pair of jeans for me. Shorts can wait, haha. We were also critiquing the mannequins... and laughing at the ones who look like they're permanently high (at Old Navy).

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Driving while texting

- - -
Here's the game. Below is my result. Considering I have minimal experience texting (and driving) and on the young end of the NY Times reader spectrum, this is probably expected... but it would be suicidal for me and everyone else nearby if I text while driving, that's for sure.

Sand sculptures

- - -
They're very awesome :-) I find that I really like the ones with lots of abstract representations and/or have highly intricate structures. (Will put pictures when I have them)

I made my own too, but they weren't very tall or elaborate because the sand is not firm enough. I built a 4-pointed star and a hexagonal-shaped structure and a semi-3D butterfly. ED built a spiral fort and a Greco-style edifice, which looked nice while it was still standing!

Good times~~

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Hodgepodge of recent

- - -
1. Rewatched "Wall-E" on DVD. And still enchanted by the robots' celestial dance sequence. I think I can rewind that part 10 times in a row. Watched the end credits to completion and the bonus features as well. I totally should watch "Up", but I can wait till the DVD comes out =P

2. E is for Expresso. One murder mystery, two 500-piece jigsaw puzzles, plenty of fun. Greenbucks Coffee, Cap'n Chino, Lottie Machiatto, rofl.

3. Instead of coding, I flew my kite for about an hour today. Took me awhile to get started because the loop was in the wrong place. It was airborne for approximately 80% of the time, and went quite high at some point... 5-story :-)

4. Errata in the book...
p. 166 - There is no such thing as a centrifugal force...
p. 174 - Human cells don't have cell walls...

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Optical musing

- - -

Sparks, twinkling.
Spectrum of colors.
Soaring over the valley of
Clouds in dancing waves.
Then down they drift, drift,
Drift until the afterglow
Where it may vanish evanescent
Or fade, fade into the hazy night.


One or the other identity
Either way
It can bounce right back
Or be deflected
Or disappear into the depth
Or come out on the other side
Then the question becomes
Or how
Or how much
Or when
Or why
Or what if


Would you like it done
Quantum mechanically,
Or medium-rare with a dash of thyme?

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Ultimate fanfiction project proposal

- - -
My ideal epic fanfiction would be a cross-over between Numb3rs and Batman. Go figure. Probably not altogether surprising, as the lead characters are both of a somewhat similar type as myself, and the supporting cast is more than awesome.

It won't be too hard to come up with a general scenario... could even be along the line of the Bourne series. But the devil is in the details, and one can imagine how the Professor and the Dark Knight would want to handle things on their own and see no need to collaborate... so it would take a most compelling circumstance that would force them to join forces and forego preconceived notions.

On an aside, I think Alfred and the prof's father would totally get along. I can picture them doing some crazy hands-on project together, like building something outrageous in Mr. Eppes' garage or the basement of Wayne Enterprises...

Saturday Night Live clips

- - -
Natalie Portman raps. Exciting stuff. Though my top favs are the Hillary-Sarah address and Jon Stewart's War on Terror-able Diseases.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Thursday, July 9, 2009

My sketch

- - -
Um... yeah... I know, it's weird...

Saturday, July 4, 2009


- - -
Watched it from the sailing pavilion across Memoriall Drive from Walkker. Pretty explosions. Bad for the environment, but very colorful :-P

Thursday, July 2, 2009


- - -
Somewhat suicidal, but looks like a lot of fun :-P

Monday, June 29, 2009

"The Way We Love Now"

- - -
This guy has potential to become a prominent voice of the conservative intelligentsia. I happen to find this article amusing... in an insightful way. Maybe this in part explains the low rates of sexual intercourse at certain higher institutions that shall remain unnamed...

And someone is rather cynical and bitter here, but she brings up some rather important points to ponder.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Strange qual question

- - -
You have four plastic containers filled with different substances. Without opening them, find out as much as you can about these four substances.

Hmmm... there's mass -> density, magnetic properties, optical properties (insert the slew of imaging modalities like MRI, CT, maybe X-ray, tomographies...)

The prof who posed this question heads a lab that does research on sensors and actuators with biomedical applications, and apparently he's also some kind of geologist and mountaineer and mariner and space explorer, so...

New England Aquarium

- - -
Many many fish species, and turtles and birds and echinoderms and corals and jellies, etc. Hooray for Pixar's "Finding Nemo" :-P

Penguins swimming and diving and grooming and jiggling their tails (what was up with one, I wonder?) and chilling near the air vent. Very familiar =)

Big puffer fish!

I like the jellies that produce the iridescent effect with tiny reflective cilia. There seems to be a bioluminescent source in the middle, and the cilia refract the light in a most mesmerizing pattern... and the ones with spots marking Voronoi regions :-P Both species are Australian, I think.

Friday, June 26, 2009

I Am A Strange Loop

- - -
That's where I found out what makes that screeching noise when someone takes over a microphone... audio (positive) feedback that amplifies the resonant frequency (circa 15kHz to 18kHz) to saturation!

This book contains a lot of nifty paradoxes. I must say that Prof. Doug Hofstadter sounds like Prof. Marvin Minsky at times, regarding the study of how brains think, consciousness, AI, semantics, etc.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

First sailing

- - -
... in 20 mph wind that changed direction every 2 seconds. Is that the so-called "trial by fire", or rather, trial by wind and gusty rain? This felt exactly like the time when I accidentally ventured onto a double blue square trail during my very first time skiing. I crashed into someone and got an angry red circle on my lift card, which basically meant "stick with the bunny slope, buster!"

Well, this time I (we) didn't bump into anyone's boat (though there were a few close calls) and we didn't capsize (there were also a few close calls...), but I'll be honest... I was scared out of my wits in the middle of the river when the boat was bobbing up and down at the mercy of the waves... well, I did manage to keep the boat from actually capsizing by constant moving my ass (shifting the boat's center of gravity). According to my boatmate, "that was about the only thing I did!" Hey, I was also scooping the water out of the boat in the meantime! Well, he did the steering and wasn't having a quasi-panic attack like I was. I do wonder though, looking out at the frothy 4-foot high waves, if that was how Hemingway's Old Man felt at the Sea... poetic?

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Isabella Gardner Museum trip

- - -
The restaurant was cute. Thaitation... curious name. Food was good, with like four kinds of mushrooms and tasty sauce. Music selection was nice too. And that song... no... it's "chasing pavements", not "chasing penguins". The coconut ice cream and mangos were awesome. And the two sticks of strawberry pockies over the ice cream.

The museum's in the neighborhood, so I thought we'd pay a visit. Mmm, private collections are often idiosyncratic, and this collector is definitely quite a character. The way artworks are arranged, the strategically placed / posed self-portraits, the courtyard with fractal fern trees and Medusa tiles, the garden with a strange though beautiful variant of hydrangeas...

The intricate details on the artifacts (furniture, tapestry, metal works) are remarkable. But I must say I prefer simple geometries with aero/hydrodynamic tendencies. I really liked the courtyard, on the other hand. It'd be nice to have a garden like that at some point, but... less symmetrical :-P