Saturday, May 23, 2009

Purry day

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Pool adventures! Haven't swam for a while, so I started gently. The squid is a funny stroke. But it's actually pretty fast :-P I shall get goggles for next time so I can swim properly.

Walking in the neighborhood... browsed around in a Nike store. ED got a belt and a fuzzy light blue towel at Marshall.

Mmm, b.good is a grrrrreat place to eat (artworks, yummy burgers, yam fries and veggies and tea, hehe)

Star Trek movie - I wasn't very familiar with the back story, but I knew enough to appreciate certain character exchanges. Good mix of intense and light moments :-) I shall investigate more into this series.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Mathcounts on Today Show

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This is hilarious. And I did (1000 - 512) wrong in my head, how embarrassing.

"He doesn't understand the 'Spanx' part of it" HAHAHAHAHAHA. I see that smirk! I see it!

I just friended my research advisor on Facebook

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And he just friended me back on the same day, haha. I wonder if his profile pic is real. Maybe I'll ask around. :-P

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Exactly one year ago...

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I submitted my thesis proposal. And today I've submitted the actual thesis. Two hard copies. I kept one nicely bound copy for myself. Actually, the department secretary made the remark. I wouldn't have remembered when I submitted my thesis proposal, lol.

I was gonna ask my research advisor for a reimbursement (along with the poster I printed out two weeks ago), but he gave all his graduating students a really nice book that I estimated would have cost about the same as printing my poster + 3 color copies of thesis, if not more. So I guess I'll leave it at that. Plus I can use the book as an autograph collection for all the eminent professors I've had...

It's kind of hilarious actually. One prof was slim ~25 years ago but is now rather chubby, while another prof was chubby ~25 years ago but is now slim! I wouldn't have known they're the same person...

Monday, May 18, 2009


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The ending is a downer, but perhaps not surprising...

Kevin Spacey is a piece of work. Morgan Freeman and Brad Pitt's performances are as I expected, but I've rediscovered Spacey since "The Usual Suspects". I still like Anthony Hopkin's portrayal of the intelligent villain better though.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Oasis: "Falling Down"

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Good song. Here's a monstrously psychedelic remix of it... and one sung by chipmunks! It's the opening theme of Eden of the East. Quite a cool series.

I think I would like to hear a simpler and more meditative version, i.e. Ryan Farish style.

Minority Report revisit

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For some mysterious reason, I rewatched the whole thing. That was the third time. The first time was when it came out in 2002, the second time was about 3~4 years later. Each time I got some more out of it.

Two salient points this time:

(1) How beautiful the score sounds... Schubert's Symphony No. 8 (no wonder), and John Williams taking inspiration from Bernard Hermann...

(2) The character Danny Witwer is actually kind of cool... though in the end his ambitiousness and eagerness to please have contributed to his downfall.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Silent consonants

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I swear someone has a fetish of silent letters. Was it K? I forgot. And this time it was T. As in Tpuzz. The name of a 300-lb leopard from the island of Cahnahdaah off the coast of Norway. (WTH?)

I want pictures. Of Cahnahdaah. With the leopards. And the flattened cauliflower. :-P

This reminds me of the time when I spoofed my resume three years ago. I wonder if it's about time I spoof my most updated resume...

Thesis-related story

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(Saturday morning 2009.05.16... I was on the phone with one of my thesis supervisors, i.e. the one who's been the most helpful with my thesis work)

Me: Does 3pm today sound good?
Dr. Silver Mage: Sure, I'll be in my office.
Me: I told [Prof. Moon Mage] that you looked over everything except the last section.
Dr. Silver Mage: Okay... Ohh! Remind me to tell you a funny story when I see you.
Me: Ahaha sounds exciting!

(3pm, in Dr. Silver Mage's office)

Me: So you were going to tell me a funny story.
Dr. S: Ah... what was the context?
Me: We were talking about the last section of my thesis.
Dr. S: Ohh! I remember. Okay... so this was in early spring of 1974? 75? I was co-supervising a project about switch capacitors with Prof. A (the one w/ a room named after him) because he asked me to. So I read over what the student wrote, and it really wasn't up to [insert my school name] standard... I told him a list of things to do and asked him to come see me every week.
Me: Okay.
Dr. S: That was the last time I ever saw him!
Me: O_O seriously??
Dr. S: The funny part is, at the end of term, I bumped into Prof. A. And I asked him, whatever happened to so-and-so's thesis? And he told me that he signed it - because I've seen it! i.e. I've read over everything except the last section...
Me: XD Oh wow....... I'm very curious about what that student wrote!
Dr. S: Me too! Man...
Me: I wonder where he is now...

(Later I told this story to my suitemate. We decided that he must have been doing fairly well at least at some point, considering the level of daring con that he pulled.)

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Dum dum dum la dum dum ba dum dum

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I can't recall a time when an a cappella performance has really resonated with me as this time. And I guess I sort of miss the pre-concert anticipation and post-concert high (when the music completely fills one's head)... as a performer.

I did do some improvisational whistling in the stairwell. A remix of "Scarborough Fair". Pop version. The kind that one can snap fingers to. With lots of gratuitous suspensions in half steps and allargandos to prolong the moment of illusory blissssssssssssss. Come to think of it, I have never remixed that song before, and it has a nice pulse to it.


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Curious. I wonder why I wonder why I wonder why I wonder why I wonder why. I love this circular reasoning. A rose is a rose is a rose is a rose is a rose. One extra phrase, haha. A cell is a cell is a cell is a cell is a cell.

Yet another long talk. Something is not quite right, but I can't explain it. There might not be too much to explain anyway. So hmm. Something is kind of off. There appears to be a misunderstanding. But I don't know how to bring this up, or if I ever would actually bring this up. Maybe... I don't know.

I quoted my own blog and poetry in my final project about music perception and representation. What shameless plug! But I'm not listing my URL...

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Debugging success

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I helped get one group's pulse rate monitor to work - after a lot of finagling :-P Managed to get the Schmidt hysteretic trigger to work by a putting in a manual-tuning potentiometer in the voltage divider for the reference voltage... since the setup is rather finicky. And there's only a narrow range of finger positions for it to work, especially if you have weak pulses (i.e. cold hands...) It's the same problem as the thermistor experiment, where some people's resistance values went in the wrong direction because they had cold hands...

The most environmentally friendly building I've ever been in

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Genzyme corporate headquarters. I wish that I could work in a place that's built like that... seriously. The architect's contest proposal was a napkin drawing and a (visionary) pitch that evidently beat out all the other massively detailed plans... I think it helps that the CEO is European.

I walked in and felt the forest air with a refreshing aura of serenity. There's a reflecting pool/fountain by the staircase, with lush plant growths all around. The iridescent decor generates dancing rainbows all the way up the 12th floor... It's a magical glass cathedral. 80% natural lighting and convection heating/cooling... the epitome of a passive building! (ahem inside joke)

The cafeteria is on the top floor, so that "everyone can get the views and not just the senior execs," said our tour guide. All the corner spaces are conference rooms for the same reason. There are chairs with different colors and they're meant to be mixed together (symbolizes diversity)... except the cleaning crew likes to arrange them in uni-color groups :-P

There's also an artwork trading program with the DeCordova Museum, pretty awesome.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Moment of funny.

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About 1.5 hour into the weekly 2-hour AI.../philosophy/psychology/(neuro)biology/math/physics/chemistry/sociology class...

Prof (rather eminent in the field of AI): (After concluding that people have not changed much in intellectual capacity over the last 2000 years or so) Did we run out of questions to ask? Okay, how about... Do you think whether Socrates got in lots of fights?

Me: [Thinking about whether he meant intellectual debates or bar brawls]

A girl with a particularly lilting voice: So I was reading in this magazine for teenage girls about the "rule of 3"... like you can live for 3 minutes without oxygen, 3 hours in extreme weather, 3 days without water, 3 months without any social interaction or love...

[Scattered chuckles from class]

Prof: Hmm, that's interesting... I don't know if there's any experiments on the social interaction one...

Me: Three months? That sounds kinda short. They do stuff like that in prisons...

Prof: I wonder about the three minute one too.

Me: Apparently you can train yourself to hold your breath longer.

Prof: Right, like the pearl divers. They can go down like what, 300 feet? Pretty amazing...

Succumbing to flash games

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Here's a record of my recent degeneracy... All the "medals" are from playing games.

Monday, May 4, 2009


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Fuzzy moments~


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I hope his lab is preserved somehow... recently I've come to appreciate his brilliance and engineering feats a lot more after taking the power electronics class.

AC vs. DC currents... Yeah, that's when Edison lost his previous mythical status w/ me.

I like the way Tesla is portrayed in "The Prestige"... not sure if it's completely accurate, but it captures his technical brilliance, flair for magic, and aura of eccentric Zen. :-P

Sunday, May 3, 2009

A different system

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American vs. Dutch. I take it as a sign of burnout when the word that pokes out at me the most is "vakantiegeld" (vacation money)...

Saturday, May 2, 2009


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I should stop surfing women scientists' and engineers' blogs because they demotivate me.

Friday, May 1, 2009

A bit about teaching

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One of the metrics I use to see how experienced a teacher is and/or quality of teaching is how long the teacher waits for the students to respond after asking "Does anyone have any questions?"

The inexperienced teachers tend to be nervous and would fill in the silence after less than one second, whereas more experienced teachers might wait 4~5 seconds. (Waiting longer could also lead to more girls participating, but that's another issue for another time... Link to this book contains info which merits serious discussion... ahem Chapters 3 and 6 ahem)

My power electronics prof always waits more than 4 seconds every time (I counted), where as the intro electronics class prof (whom I TA for) usually waits for less than 3 seconds.

There could be other factors as well. Maybe it's just impatience. One time the prof (latter) told the class that the extensive lab reports should be kept short and concise, "not like a novel". And then, "my wife is writing a novel, but I have no interest in reading it!" Besides the obvious point that he doesn't like reading long-winded stuff, it also sends a message that he tends toward the unreceptive... which mirrors what another student told me secretly earlier in the semester that this prof (department head) is a traditionalist who likes to leave things as they are, and not improve on them, as long as they "sort of work".