Sunday, December 31, 2006

Gaa It's been a whole month

Wow December has flown by. One would think that the follow up to a post apologizing for my absence from my blog would come before a whole month has expired, but alas I'm trying to get all my experiments to work correctly and what not for my master's defense.

Being the last day of the year, it is an excellent time to evaluate whether I should continue posting or become one of the two hundred million people who "thinks they have something to say, until they're put on stage and asked to say it." Although to be a good blogger one not only needs to write on his blog but also read other peoples blogs and comment about them. Otherwise how do we make sure that we pat someone on the back and in turn they pat us on the back for for a well written post.

Well anywho, I have decided to switch over to the new blogger format and as a result I have also changed the template. I was a bit tired of the balloon looking boxes on the pitch black abyss. I am thinking of actually designing something that looks cool for it but as usual I make no promises.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Why I haven't blogged

hmmm I guess this is the nearest confession you get that I am a nerd. But after spending all my free time (and some time I should probably have been working) I almost beat Nethack for the first time. Alas for those who know what I am talking about, here is my dump. And yes that is me only 10 squares away from being able to finish the game.

Eowyn, lawful female human Valkyrie

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Eowyn the Heroine St:25 Dx:18 Co:18 In:14 Wi:15 Ch:10 Lawful
Astral Plane $:0 HP:0(208) Pw:73(73) AC:-16 Xp:23/30043063 T:63123

Your inventory
Z - the Amulet of Yendor named the real deal (alternate weapon; not wielded)
a - the rustproof +1 Excalibur
b - the blessed rustproof +0 Mjollnir (weapon in hand)
r - an uncursed fireproof +2 pair of speed boots (being worn)
y - a blessed fireproof +2 T-shirt (being worn)
C - an uncursed +0 pair of levitation boots
F - an uncursed thoroughly burnt rotted +1 elven leather helm (being worn)
H - an uncursed +0 silver dragon scale mail (being worn)
N - a blessed rustproof +2 pair of gauntlets of power (being worn)
j - an uncursed giant beetle corpse
E - an uncursed lizard corpse
w - 8 uncursed scrolls of blank paper
e - an uncursed ring of teleport control
f - an uncursed ring of free action (on left hand)
q - an uncursed ring of slow digestion
M - an uncursed ring of regeneration (on right hand)
h - a wand of nothing (0:3)
k - a wand of create monster (0:15)
m - a wand of teleportation (0:0)
n - a wand of speed monster (0:5)
p - a wand of fire (0:6)
u - a wand of speed monster (0:6)
x - a wand of slow monster (0:7)
z - a wand of striking (0:5)
A - a wand of digging (0:5)
B - a wand of cancellation (0:5)
D - a wand of digging (0:0)
G - a wand of striking (0:5)
J - a wand of magic missile (0:4)
K - a wand of wishing named already charged once (1:0)
R - a wand of magic missile (0:4)
U - a wand of wishing named charged once (1:0)
V - a blessed wand of death (0:0)
X - a wand of cold (0:2)
d - an uncursed magic lamp (lit)
g - an uncursed magic whistle
i - an uncursed rusty stethoscope
o - a blessed +0 unicorn horn
t - an uncursed skeleton key
I - an uncursed towel
L - the Bell of Opening (0:2)
P - the blessed Orb of Fate (1:0)
Q - a magic marker (0:65)
S - a blessed bag of holding
T - 2 uncursed tallow candles
s - 2 uncursed luckstones
v - 2 uncursed diamonds

Contents of the bag of holding:
16879 gold pieces
an uncursed amulet of reflection
a cursed amulet of unchanging
an uncursed amulet versus poison
4 uncursed food rations
2 uncursed lizard corpses
3 uncursed lembas wafers
2 blessed scrolls of remove curse
an uncursed scroll of teleportation
2 uncursed potions of speed
3 potions of holy water
a blessed potion of object detection
an uncursed potion of object detection
2 uncursed potions of restore ability
an uncursed ring of fire resistance
an uncursed ring of cold resistance
a blessed +1 ring of increase accuracy
an uncursed ring of protection from shape changers
an uncursed ring of sustain ability
an uncursed rusty +1 ring of protection
an uncursed +1 ring of gain constitution
an uncursed ring of polymorph control
an uncursed ring of stealth
an uncursed ring of see invisible
an uncursed ring of invisibility
a wand of digging (0:7)
a wand of digging (0:6)
a cursed wand of cold (0:2)
a wand of striking (0:4)
a wand of magic missile (0:0)
a wand of striking (0:0)
a wand of probing (0:3)
a rusty wand of lightning (0:8)
a wand of striking (0:4)
a wand of striking (0:5)
a +0 pick-axe
an uncursed lock pick
a magic marker (1:33)
an uncursed oil lamp
a can of grease (0:6)
an uncursed blindfold
a can of grease (0:7)

Final attributes
You were the Hand of Elbereth
You were piously aligned
You were fire resistant
You were cold resistant
You were sleep resistant
You were shock resistant
You were poison resistant
You saw invisible
You were telepathic
You were warned
You were invisible to others
You were stealthy
You could teleport
You regenerated
You were protected
You were very fast
You had reflection
You had free action
You were extremely lucky (13)
You had extra luck
Good luck did not time out for you
You are dead (4th time!)

Spells known in the end
Name Level Category Fail
a - magic missile 2* attack 89%
b - create familiar 6* clerical 100%
c - knock 1* matter 89%
d - clairvoyance 3* divination 95%
e - sleep 1 enchantment 89%
f - extra healing 3* healing 82%
g - force bolt 1* attack 89%
h - healing 1* healing 74%
i - wizard lock 2* matter 89%
j - cure blindness 2* healing 74%
k - slow monster 2* enchantment 89%
l - charm monster 3* enchantment 95%
m - detect food 2* divination 89%
n - create monster 2* clerical 89%
o - light 1 divination 89%
p - confuse monster 2 enchantment 89%
q - dig 5 matter 100%
r - remove curse 3 clerical 82%
s - detect treasure 4 divination 100%
t - restore ability 4 healing 100%
u - jumping 1 escape 89%

Vanquished creatures
The Wizard of Yendor (14 times)
Famine (twice)
a high priest
2 mastodons
13 krakens
4 iron golems
3 storm giants
2 glass golems
5 balrogs
11 purple worms
2 gray dragons
7 silver dragons
6 red dragons
6 white dragons
an orange dragon
9 black dragons
7 blue dragons
a green dragon
5 yellow dragons
17 minotaurs
4 jabberwocks
Lord Surtur
10 baluchitheria
2 Angels
2 demiliches
Vlad the Impaler
6 stone golems
a master mind flayer
10 Olog-hai
6 Nazguls
6 pit fiends
4 sandestins
4 hell hounds
10 titanotheres
7 trappers
2 baby blue dragons
a baby green dragon
8 disenchanters
40 vampire lords
5 skeletons
12 aligned priests
5 captains
6 shades
3 liches
6 clay golems
11 nurses
10 ice devils
17 nalfeshnees
7 lurkers above
an Aleax
7 frost giants
an ettin
6 black puddings
25 vampires
7 lieutenants
39 ghosts
a valkyrie
3 queen bees
4 winged gargoyles
3 mind flayers
14 giant mimics
5 zruties
25 fire giants
9 ogre kings
6 ice trolls
11 rock trolls
14 umber hulks
6 flesh golems
13 Elvenkings
7 doppelgangers
15 hezrous
14 bone devils
11 large mimics
4 wumpuses
4 fire vortices
2 baby long worms
7 long worms
3 couatls
18 stalkers
9 air elementals
8 fire elementals
6 earth elementals
45 water elementals
6 hill giants
5 giant mummies
11 xorns
24 giant zombies
17 elf-lords
13 sergeants
7 barbed devils
9 vrocks
3 salamanders
16 wargs
2 winter wolves
12 hell hound pups
17 small mimics
3 glass piercers
9 warhorses
6 steam vortices
7 xans
6 ettin mummies
12 ogre lords
18 quantum mechanics
22 trolls
a sasquatch
6 wood golems
3 erinyes
9 mariliths
a djinni
8 sharks
14 electric eels
4 gelatinous cubes
4 pyrolisks
4 large dogs
3 freezing spheres
17 flaming spheres
18 shocking spheres
2 large cats
11 tigers
8 gargoyles
8 ochre jellies
7 leocrottas
12 energy vortices
4 mountain centaurs
5 stone giants
2 elf mummies
4 human mummies
4 red nagas
2 green slimes
5 pit vipers
3 pythons
38 cobras
59 wraiths
6 carnivorous apes
17 ettin zombies
5 leather golems
23 Grey-elves
63 soldiers
3 watchmen
10 horned devils
5 succubi
12 incubi
4 chameleons
a crocodile
68 giant beetles
5 quivering blobs
23 cockatrices
27 wolves
7 winter wolf cubs
4 lynxes
2 panthers
23 gremlins
4 spotted jellies
13 leprechauns
11 iron piercers
3 mumakil
7 giant spiders
3 scorpions
9 horses
3 ice vortices
10 black lights
12 vampire bats
2 forest centaurs
7 gnome kings
4 orc mummies
8 dwarf mummies
9 ogres
13 brown puddings
12 rust monsters
18 owlbears
4 yetis
5 gold golems
2 werewolves
14 Green-elves
9 piranhas
24 giant eels
9 lizards
8 chickatrices
2 dogs
3 dingos
3 housecats
7 jaguars
3 dwarf lords
4 blue jellies
3 gray unicorns
6 black unicorns
10 dust vortices
7 ravens
5 plains centaurs
6 gnome mummies
6 snakes
12 apes
16 human zombies
2 rope golems
20 Woodland-elves
106 soldier ants
78 fire ants
5 bugbears
2 imps
7 lemures
13 quasits
9 wood nymphs
3 water nymphs
8 mountain nymphs
2 Mordor orcs
12 Uruk-hai
an orc shaman
11 rock piercers
5 rock moles
5 ponies
7 fog clouds
14 yellow lights
a shrieker
11 violet fungi
18 gnome lords
4 gnomish wizards
4 kobold mummies
a black naga hatchling
3 gray oozes
2 barrow wights
16 elf zombies
12 ghouls
5 straw golems
3 paper golems
5 jellyfish
2 baby crocodiles
90 giant ants
3 little dogs
15 floating eyes
2 kittens
17 dwarves
8 homunculi
5 kobold lords
4 kobold shamans
11 hill orcs
22 rothes
3 rabid rats
7 centipedes
a giant bat
3 monkeys
8 orc zombies
14 dwarf zombies
3 wererats
4 werejackals
4 iguanas
138 killer bees
6 acid blobs
7 coyotes
3 gas spores
5 hobbits
8 manes
4 large kobolds
7 hobgoblins
19 giant rats
14 cave spiders
3 brown molds
4 yellow molds
2 green molds
4 red molds
72 gnomes
6 garter snakes
18 gnome zombies
9 geckos
15 jackals
6 foxes
7 kobolds
6 goblins
5 sewer rats
16 grid bugs
2 bats
10 lichens
9 kobold zombies
16 newts
2841 creatures vanquished.

Genocided species:
master mind flayers
master liches
5 species genocided.
Voluntary challenges
You genocided 5 types of monsters
You never polymorphed an object
You changed form 4 times
You used 9 wishes
You did not wish for any artifacts

Your skills at the end
Fighting Skills
Weapon Skills
dagger [Skilled]
long sword [Expert]
hammer [Expert]
Spellcasting Skills
attack spells [Basic]

Farvel Eowyn the Valkyrie...
You died in The Astral Plane with 2413317 points,
and 16879 pieces of gold, after 63123 moves.
Killer: Angel of Loki (with the Amulet)
You were level 23 with a maximum of 208 hit points when you died.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Turning 25

Oh goodness! Who thought it would be this quick. One day things are creeping along and then BAM! I'm now past the age of blaming irresponsibility and lack of major career accomplishments on the fact that I am so young. Okay so in perspective I am still pretty young, but I suddenly feel this weight on my shoulders that if I want to change the world I have to get on it.

Okay enough of that self pity nonsense. I finally got back from The Netherlands, where I was attending a conference on the FEniCS project (an automated mathematical modeling effort). The core members of the FEniCS project consists of Scandinavians and Texans with an Australian and Ohioan thrown in, but hey Australia is supposedly a lot like Texas and Matt is well ... Matt. The dynamic of these two groups are quite interesting, but needless to say the nights after the talks included lots of beer.

Spending three days with these guys was not only a lot of fun but really interesting. We shared our work they shared theirs both eagerly wanting the other to look at it and use it, or at least help out in another problem. But hanging out with this crowd really confirms how much I prefer the science world to the business world. We can talk about the concepts of global effects in physics is really a "Big Brother" approach to science, buying houses in Norway, and then solve all the problems in Africa (yeah something like that) without ever trying to look better than one another or unfair.

Alas I think I am in a good spot for the typical 25 year old, but the next 25 years are going to have to produce some more interesting results.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

In search of the internship

Probably the thing I hate the most about my school year is finding summer funding. Sure I could do things like work as a technician for the CS IT department, but honestly how does that help my career at all? There are lots of different possibilities for the summer such as Google, gaming companies, DOE Lab, and what not, but alas I have to get off my butt and go look for them.

At the suggestion of my advisor I decided to look into an international banking firm, for an internship opportunity. I gave them my resume and they invited me to dinner ... with lots of other MBA students. Now I have nothing wrong with MBA students but I really have nothing in common with them either. But stepping into the restaurant, I was hit with a large dose of culture shock that made me thank the good Lord that I wasn't lead down that path.

As I walk in it appears to be just a huge gaggle of people drinking and "talking". I say talking what I really mean is selling themselves to the representatives of the company. One look at my long hair and beard and the lady at the name tag table states, "You must be a PhD" in a tone of voice that is either jealous or awe struck. For the rest of the night all I had to say was I was a PhD candidate and people instantly acted as if I was Einstein come to solve all their problems. It was just a bit weird.

As I went to get a beer, one of the MBA students was kind enough to explain the rules of engagement for such events. I think I would have gotten similar advice from Sun Tzu himself. So we finally get to the dinner part and I get to sit next to Steve (not his real name). Steve was extremely well dressed, I shrunk in my JC Penney suit. The more I get him to talk about his job the more I realize he knows very little about computer software, much less about the financial models he builds with that software, and really only likes to hear the sound of his own voice. Okay so he apparently makes money for his company, which by the way is his definition of merit.

It is just amazing to me. Google comes to entice people to join their ranks, they wear t-shirts, sport beards and talk shop well. This banking firm dresses in fine fashionable clothing, buy expensive food and drinks that no one eats because they want to talk about themselves so much, and seem to only touch very briefly on how they do things. Moral of the story -- Bankers, much like politicians, scare me.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

AIDS/HIV Conference

I went to couple of really good talks about the global AIDS/HIV epidemic today put on by Amnesty International and a host of student groups here at the UofC. It was really interesting to see the doctors and lawyers in the global fight and their extreme care for all the issues and then some local activists seemingly lack of caution. But the doctors at the conference proposed a problem that is beyond them right now and until it is solved there will be no end to the amount of money needed to solve the epidemic. Let me outline the situation.

Currently, medical data shows that very few methods are very affective at prevention of the spread of disease. In most the world the position of women have made them more vulnerable and unable to prevent contact with the disease. Examples that the doctors gave were in Uganda and India.

Uganda has had one of the largest AIDS programs in Africa for the longest time, but mostly it has been focused on an abstinence only solution. But still prevalent in the country is men with the disease who marry. Then it is virtually assured that the woman will contract the disease. Not to mention that a large number of the women in the county have been raped and contracted diseases this way.

In India, female sex workers and truck drivers are considered the prime transporters of the disease. There are a large number of sex workers from villages where making a living is quite hard. It is only a matter of time before the sex workers contract a disease from a trucker and bring it back to their village and so on and so forth.

Condoms are not really the answer in most cases because they are a male controlled prevention method. Doctors would like to introduce more spermocides and microbocides into use, but women will not accept these methods because they harm their chances of having a child. These women see having children as their mandate and will be worthless to their communities otherwise.

Now to the problem. How do doctors stop the spread of this disease when the only methods they provide go against the nature of women? Empowering women by denying their nature has worked quite well in American culture but is fervently rejected in the third world. What good is the science if no one uses it?

My one thought on this matter, for whatever it is worth, is that the prevention and treatment of AIDS with drugs is futile without the reduction of poverty. This would help reduce prostitution throughout the world and at least give women a chance to be economically free enough to have more options in their lives. One of the doctors pointed out that even if we have all the right drugs and money, it is still that people can't live in their culture in a normal way. And with all these problems we see AIDS becoming more and more a disease of the marginalized and its effects being ignored by the rich and powerful. At what point does the world wake up and address these social and economical rifts that are robbing the world of so many lives to AIDS?

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Beauty in Simplicity

So after writing a few labs for my class on generating fractals, I went searching online for some pictures that other people came up with. I found the great video on Google Video. To tell you the truth, I think that the complexity of the Mandelbrot set (which is produced by a very simple iteration process) is just amazing and speaks volumes to what is beautiful in the sciences.

I am always at a loss when students will say they think some subject (such as Mathematics) is beautiful but have no ability to reason why. Maybe it takes a philosopher, in the rough sense, to tell why something is beautiful and only a casual observer to say it is beautiful. I really don't like this reasoning though because it lends to the fact that beauty is only in the eye of the beholder (ie relativism) and not a virtue to attain. But if I ever had to explain what beauty is in Mathematics, I think will most definitely point to the Mandelbrot set.

Anyone can generate parts of the Madelbrot set, its really easy to do. It takes a really bright person to fully comprehend all the reasons for its complexity, I mean its just about connecting all possible Julia sets which represent chaotic pattern studies in dynamics .... =D I guess to me there are few things that can be simple stated and represent so much.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Third world blues

So we Chicagoans get to see the sun for the first time in three days, but I am still wrapped up about a conversation I had last night at my parish. There was a priest from the Comboni Missionaries there who had just come back from south Sudan this past June. He had lived there for the past ten years as a parish priest.

As we ate pizza, I asked what they ate in south Sudan. He said that people in the regions where he lived only ate one meal a day. The meal was composed of a some flour and water with peanuts and a sauce on top. This was the only meal you ate every day. The people could not grow very much food in the region and they didn't have the resources to raise much more than a few chickens and goats.

I then asked about disease, in particular AIDS. He said something that really shocked me. Since Sudan is an Islamic State the government will deny anything that makes it look as if the country isn't perfect. This includes AIDS. While there is obviously a growing epidemic, the government flat out denies it and medical clinics treat people with AIDS by giving them some form of aspirin.

I guess anytime you get a real description of a third world country it is a bit shaking. I knew that life in Sudan was bad, but it seems that every time I hear more about the country it is worse and worse. Of course, it also makes me question what is the use of computer science when people are out there are starving and being marginalized by a blind government.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Trees, Fractals, and Fellowships! Oh my!

It's been a long week. Having a tree fall on my car, every bill come in with a late fee, and the city raising my property tax, has made me believe that money really hates me. But I did make what I thought to be a neat lab for my students, making fractals like the ones in the pictures. And I really hope I get this travel fellowship or else that's just more money down the drain. Goo I'm tired but I wanted to say hello to the world.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

That silly google

While avoiding the dirty dishes that have made a hostile takeover in my kitchen, I noticed that google has put me at the top of some unlikely searches. I elaborate:

  • The importance of labor day - Okay so I am a grateful for the link but I wrote like two sentences on the topic. For crying out loud there should be whole sites dedicated to this topic not some whinny grad student who has never gotten a decent wage in his life.

  • Completely useless skills - This just cracks me up. A blog about a PhD candidate is ranked number one on the search for completely useless skills. Now it would be poetic if I were a humanities major but it's still pretty funny.

  • squirrel chase math - Who ever was looking this up and found my site might be a little upset but it is a nice idea. "In other news, Perelman was attacked by ten thousand rabid squirrels today. Apparently he is nuts."

  • Falling off the math cliff - I didn't so much fall as take a leap like Dan Osman without a good calculation on the appropriate ropes. So I guess the link is fitting.

  • Scientists jerks - ah my favorite by far. Who else to call scientists jerks other than a struggling grad student. This link represents the plight of all grad students out there who have a deep lingering feeling that their lives are much more important than a piece of paper. Alas they will never take up their swords and standards to prove their worth, they just hunch over hit their keyboards a bit harder and mutter "jerk" loud enough for their pet cockroach to hear. And some of us blog about it.

I hope you enjoyed some of goggle's algorithms as much as I have.

Saturday, September 30, 2006

My Cubicle

my cubicle, a very funny and entertaining parody of james blunt's hit song You're Beautiful. video by Vic, song performed by JymBritton, lyrics by Morning Sidekick and musical arrangement by Scott Bennett

Monday, September 25, 2006

Back from California

So I have finally made it back to Chicago. Just in time to start classes. I am really glad to be back but I will miss California. Those wonderful sunny hills, exotic food at every corner, awesome lakes and parks, and of course the ability to bicycle everywhere. But hey at least I'm no longer camping in a really bad apartment.

I would like to link to a story I read from Patrick's blog. 10 rules for handling disagreement like a Christian written by the Bishop of Oakland. If there is ever a guy who has to handle disagreement a lot, he is it. There's something else I like more about Chicago than California, the Church. I could expound on this more and more but it would break rule number 1.

Anywho I have to get back to work. Being in Chicago I have a lot to catch up on. Oh and since I threw out one catholic link, if you want to hear some really great homilies check out Fr. Robert Barron at Word on Fire. You can get the podcast!

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Food Adventures

If you've never been to a place where nobody speaks English (or whatever language you speak) and ordered for you probably won't relate very well to this post. But today Cheryl and I ventured out into uncharted waters with my minimal experience ("just enough to be dangerous") with Dim Sum.

The place we went was absolutely packed, so you know it had to be good. As we stroll in we don't hear a word of any language we can distinguish, and the menu (which was a yellow piece of butcher paper on the wall) was written in some Oriental language as well. Avoiding the riot for the first table, apparently a group of six had been waiting for a while, we got a table right away. Maybe the fact that the restaurant wasn't the cleanest place in the world, or that the host didn't say much, or that the place looked like was a cafe from 1970 and hadn't been redecorated since wasn't enough to tip my wife off that she wasn't going to like the food, but the fish tank with green water, a really ugly carp and several dead clown fish certainly did the job.

Immediately upon sitting down the waitress shows up with a tray of food and yells something that I don't understand. Time to resort to tourist food tactic #1 - what I like to call the "Point and Grunt" method. Okay so the first item we had appeared to be some sort of pork with a really slimy noodle wrapped around it. Maybe tactic #1 is failing me, go for tactic #2 "avoid the moving things" method. Okay so it is less of a tactic and more of a hard fast rule but I guess the real guidance was "Go for the thing that looked the most normal" which happened to be some tasty mushrooms and barbecued pork. Okay that satisfied Cheryl well enough now time to make tourist food mistake #2, try something exotic (#1 was going to a place where no one knows the language spoken). Our something exotic happened to be dumplings with seafood in them which led us to retreat to tactic #3 "Always know where there is something you might really like to eat nearby". Seeing how the bill was in a foreign language I have a feeling I committed mistake #3 "Not being able to compare the price on the bill with the price on the menu."

Well it looks like funky "recommended" dim sum place won this round. But nevermind that if I overcame the fear of sushi and ghetto vegan food, I am certain I will be able to conquer more strange food adventures. But for now dim sum is off the menu.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Importance of labor day

It seems that this year has been a year with more debates and news coverage on labor issues than any other. But most of these are directed at the issue of immigration. As today the US unilaterally celebrates labor day (the rest of the world celebrates labor day May 1, in response to the Haymarket Riot). So how do most people spend labor day ... doing something besides labor.

Anywho this day represents more people than any other day in the year. Almost everyone has to work (not even that many celebrate Christmas). But it represents the plight of our ancestors who would not let their living conditions be compromised to help line the pockets of the greedy business owners. I think this issue has lost a lot of steam, but it seems to me with larger businesses neglecting their workers (Even Apple for crying out loud) these issues could be coming to the front of everyone's mind in the near future. Provided that Iraq and the terrorism starts to cool down.

I wish I had more to say here since I don't really feel like I am getting any point across, but I wanted to point out that today is not just another day off work. It is a day that we should recognize the issues surrounding work.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Crash and burn

So I crashed really bad today on my bike. Going like 25 mph, my wheel fell off the pavement and swung my handle bar into my stomach. I came out on my feet but it still feels like I got punched by Ivan Drago in the stomach.

I guess I really have a lot on my mind and I was just a bit distracted. The other day some coworkers and I were talking about Tom Cruise and Scientology. They didn't believe that being strange affects a career all that much, so I pointed out Ellen or Sinead or Boy George.

Then someone said something that I should have stuck up for. They didn't understand why "church folk" would boycott gay or lesbian actors. I calmly said that it is out of love that they do such things. It might be a self-righteous or perhaps misguided love at times but it is in fact love that drives them. They believe that there is something that will tear apart society, rip it to shreds and throw away all they have tried to make it be. To stand up and fight against what seems popular is a beautiful thing. But the same could be said for Osama Bin Ladin.

It just drives me crazy, these people determined that church folk are ruining America because their ways. I think they are ruining America for their blindness (not really talking about this issue per se). But when does the passion of activism become insanity, or how can we tell if our causes have lost their meaning?

But as my new favorite band says "I've been looking for a Ghost, I've been searching now forever and finally found it behind the door, And its changed its meaning but is still feels the same." ... maybe this is what people call maturity.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Yosemite photos

So we went to Yosemite National Park this past weekend. You can see some pictures on my webpage. It was great, I think Yosemite is probably the prettiest place on earth. I really enjoy being out in "God's Country" even if I fell into the river while attempting to fish.

On another note, I know that I can never live in California. My father-in-law was looking at prices on property near Yosemite. $300,000 for .3 acres and a trailer house, which is more than an hour and a half to the nearest hospital. Real estate is unreal out here.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Finding the speed

I swallow my dragon fly and get on my bike
pedalling with Erika and Bastards screaming in my ear
I find a solution traveling through a valley of debris
Everything clearly is coming to me

Some days I bike to commute, some days I bike to be free
but the speed I have been searching for, the speed that the skinny girl had
came to me on a day when she wasn't there, all alone in my valley of debris
a long way I did come to find this solution just behind my door.


I really like this new album I got All This Time by the Heartless Bastard

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Book Meme

Okay so Patrick has issued out a meme for me. So here is goes.

1. One book that changed your life: I would have to say the Euthyphro or the Apology by Plato. I guess it was the first time I fell in love with solid reasoning, not necessarily the conclusions but the reasoning.

2. One book that you've read more than once: Umm besides the answer for number 1, ... I really don't reread books all that much but I have read Erewhon by Samuel Butler several times.

3. One book you'd want on a desert island: Hmm ... I suppose a good encyclopedia. I would want a way to spot food, bugs, and good trees for building rafts.

4. One book that made you laugh: Okay so Patrick took the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy so I will pick Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency also by Douglas Adams. That man is just funny.

5. One book that made you cry: Slave by Mende Nasar. If you want to tell me that slavery isn't a problem in the world today, I will tell you to read this book. In fact I still say read this book.

6. One book that you wish had been written: The Art of Abstraction. It would be a book that takes all the greatest abstractions in science, mathematics, and other fields and tracks them to their origins. Also shows how they challenged the thinking of the time. One example is the photoelectric effect abstracting away light as a particle.

7. One book that you wish had never been written: Wow just one! I would say anything by Jack Chick. Or better yet anything by Ayn Rand, I'm not too sure who upsets me more weirdo fundamentalists or objectivists.

8. One book you're currently reading: The Evidential Power of Beauty: Where science and theology meet by Thomas Dubay. I like Fr. Dubay, and I got this book because it is something that I would write, although not nearly as well.

9. One book you've been meaning to read: Oh there are way too many... I guess just to pick one Les Miserables. I would like to read a lot more classical novels but yet I haven't had the time.

Alright as tradition holds I now give out the invitations. So I challenge you Cheryl, Stephanie, Borja, Jason, Charli, and Marcel to take up your keyboard and start blogging on your books.

Monday, August 07, 2006

A Beautiful thought

I rode up onto a hill with a bit of time to kill
Looking out over the valley, with smoke coming off the mountain
I thought about a thought and what makes it beautiful

Beauty in mathematics or science, that I know
the simple answer that opens a door of new understanding
like the keys to an important room

The beautiful novel is a bit harder, but still understandable
Characters that flow, scenes that tell, and truth to the plot are all there
making you believe that you are one with the book

And beauty in the particular can seemly always be found,
whether it is work or God, there seems to be beauty abound, except my thought
The beautiful thought seemed to elude me

I mount up while watching an eagle swoop over the lake,
wonder whether I should go forward or back, when with a fall I learn anew
that one beautiful thought at a time for me

Friday, August 04, 2006

This makes me happy.

Is Peace Possible?

As I came back from a social for my workplace, several coworkers scoffed at the idea that there would be demonstrations of an event 61 years ago outside our gates. This event was the dropping of the nuclear bomb. While I am not sure I agree with the protestors, I am certain I disagree with my coworkers.

America built the bomb at the request of scientists in order to prevent the use of such a weapon by fascist governments who were also using the newly discovered physics phenomenon to develop weapons. The dropping of said bomb was a decision that will shake the fabric of morality until the end of the human race. What could be more devastating than this? Even the holocaust required the decisions of thousands, whereas the bomb is the exercise of one man's authority over a powerful nation. Perhaps the most comforting thought is that America in its sincerest actions, has tried to contain and reduce the number of nuclear weapons throughout the world ever since that first bomb was dropped. Nevertheless, the protestor outside our gates serve a very real reminder of America's role as the birthplace of nuclear weapons.

Maybe today I feel a little bit more melodramatic as I reflect on my nice condo, comfortable student stipend, and new car. But watching a video on the press and the Middle East conflict has sparked maybe the deepest parts of my heart; a longing for peace and love to prevail throughout the world we live in. If you have the time, watch the video maybe then you will understand the mind of a suicide bomber, or you may scoff at wimpy liberals. I have felt that America was on the wrong side of the Israeli/Palestinian conflict for years, but it seems to be one of the only issues that both democrats and republicans are firmly together on.

I end this post on a reflection of the title. I once spoke with Sister Emmanuel in Medjugorje about peace. A brave and profound woman who survived the wars in former Yugoslavia. Her words were simply this, peace is never the removal of something. It is always the filling of something. When violence is to be removed, its cause must be uprooted and mended. Every person should seek peace not as the removal of hate or anger but as the filling of love and truth.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Good issue, bad video

Visit the site if you dare.

Friday, July 28, 2006

California Rocks!

I get to go to Redding, CA this weekend.

It will be lots of fun. See you on the flip side.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Cyclin' Home

Hot day it is, as I strap on the bag and saddle up
Six short miles, my bicycle knows 'em well
But today is a different day with a short story to tell
Gloves, glasses, helmet and all, ridin' my fat ones down that curvy rode home

Round 'bout 2 miles, on top'er the hill
Pumpin' fast as ever, I feel my legs ready to give
But yonder I spy another desperado on a skinny hot love
Red, his jersey screams for blood, I bet this old boy know the road home

Not thinking much as I pass his flowing head of snow
Just another hot day on that curvy road home
But as he mounted up and steamed on my way
Zoom, he goes by with his bronze legs sayin' "Think again"

Pour it on and I'm off, findin' these legs are ready to go again
Right next to him I pull, as he looks back and nods just to be off again
Ready to show who is the boss another burst I give
As fast as I can I could reach out a touch him, no use now he definitely speedin' on

Should I slow down and enjoy that curvy road home
Wait a minute, there I spy'em takin' a drink
My chance has come, his guard let down
Zoom I go by, saying come on we ain't done

Together we arrive, stopped cold by the traffic light
Grinding our tires, neither fool enough to let down the stirrup
Green it goes and a climb we must make
Both tired to the bone but it looks like I've gotten home

On with the wind that old cycler goes
Quite the ride we shared, hope he remembers it well
Only six short miles and we enjoyed them so much
Next time, I'll be ready on that old curvy road home.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Working too much.

Something I am definitely not doing this summer is working too much. It's not like I'm not working hard and all that but the sunny California outdoors keep calling my name. Whether I am off fishing, kayaking, or bicycle (I did all three this last weekend), work is not something keeping me busy.

Today at my internship a post doc gave a job talk to get a permanent position. After the talk I heard the manager saying how it is a problem that the fellow actually works too hard! I couldn't believe it. I don't think this possibility has ever been conceived by most of my professors back at school. In fact a colleague of mine once got a stern lecture for not spending every weekend constantly working (although the consensus is that prof is a jerk). But at least the Lockheed Martin business model understands that a well-rounded individual both increases productivity and loyalty (it also prevents workplace violence -- that training module was loads of fun ;D ) I think I am going to cry when I have to go back to Chicago.

Speaking of well-roundedness, this summer my constant fight with my Buddha belly is paying off. Of course bicycling 12 miles to work every day certainly helps. Who knows maybe I will shave my beard and cut my hair to be somewhat respectable looking ... heh, I knew you would scoff at that idea. Besides I trust respectable looking people far less than the average Joe.

Friday, July 07, 2006

Big step for Microsoft, Giant leap for open source

I am frequently annoyed whenever I get a Microsoft Office document in my mailbox. Most of my computers are running some flavor of Linux and it is rather difficult to get all the features to come out right, but I guess I have become even more annoyed at my new job. Not only do the HR people give me MS Office stuff, they want the same format back, and while I can usually go through the pain of reading the document writing to it in the same format is much harder. The arrogance is stifling, the sender is demanding that I buy some software to communicate with them while my free software is not good enough for them.

Then I read this article on Microsoft adopting a plugin to OpenDocument Format. Now you can pay too much for software and play with us freeloaders as well. But the reasoning for switching is because some governments and Massachusetts have adopted the OpenDocument format. This is a real plus especially for developing countries that may not want to spend the hundreds of thousands of dollars to buy all the right licenses for their computers. While I would love to believe this will help put the money towards the right causes, I'm not holding my breath.

Anywho this news made me really excited and I just wanted to share.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Coffee or Beer

So when I was a young undergraduate and hung around lots of physics and math people, I drank lots of beer. I was even encouraged by my departments to drink beer. To the point where I shared my homebrew with a one and went out drinking with another. In fact when I was in charge of the department banquet, I wanted to hold it in one of those science museums for kids but was told by at least four professors that they would boycott a dry banquet on principle.

Now I hang out with largely computer science people. They drink coffee. Pretty well end of story, go to the bar with a group of cs grads and it's like taking a fish out of water. Even I as I go through the day find myself desiring a good cup of coffee.

What is the deal here. One group wants a drug that helps them pontificate and the other wants the drug that helps them work. Why am I now in the second group? My undergraduate professors did not warn me about this. Although there is hope. The group of us computational math guys like both, well we also like tea. And apparently some of my colleagues like tea way too much, spare yourself an hour and never ask them what kind they like best.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

The Internship

Well I know I have said that I would be posting more but I just haven't had much opportunity. After traveling for a week, I finally arrived here in sunny California to start my internship.

The lab I work at is really very corporate and I think all I have done of any value this whole week is training. Although the really scary thing is how much everyone loves their job here. I swear if I hear "Sandia is an awesome place to work" one more time ... well maybe I come from a tradition where complaining about the job is more important. I'm just going to bring my own Kool-Aid to work.

I never realized that California was so purty! And to imagine I am the only hippie I have met, well I think my mentor would be a hippie if he wasn't bald. As one of the other researchers said "So you teach him the ropes and he gives you the hair." Well I am off to something else besides sit infront of a computer.

Friday, June 09, 2006


My summer internship starts the morning at 7:30 am ...... I'm in grad school to avoid this sort of thing!

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Not Dead.

So my blog looks like I am not keeping it at all anymore. Well that's not true. I have just had a combination of school work, research, and nethack take over my life. But all that is almost over... okay school work is almost over. Research will never go away and nethack is like that old flame you can never get over, when you think you have forgotten all about it this little tick in you head goes off and reminds you that you have yet to ascend. I will conquer you, stupid game!!!

Thursday, May 11, 2006

At least there is lasagna

I feel like I have had a whole week of Mondays. From my crazy networks project, to my crazy father, to my advisor leaving, to finally hit today. Where I get home and the doorknob is missing, and a cop busts some kid right next to me.

Well I made lasagna for our weekly dinner with some friends from church, and I guess there isn't much more soothing than cooking something slow. But with lasagna there isn't a part of it that doesn't taste good, so while I make the two sauces and the noodles and shred the cheese, I get little bits of goodness for a whole hour.

If you ever want to impress someone with a good spaghetti sauce I have this really good,simple recipe. Basically it's just saute onions and garlic, throw in some celery and carrot, when that is soft throw in a can of crushed tomatoes and a bay leaf. Then let is simmer for an hour. It is really good and pretty low maintenance especially if you have other stuff to get done.

Friday, April 28, 2006

Too Busy To Blog

This week I have been way too busy to blog, but I have had some really great ideas to blog about. I guess I will do something I really hate, advertise what I will blog someday in the future.

  • CS Drug = Coffee, Physics/Math Drug = Beer (Dr. Barnard should have warned me!)

  • About Web Design (My hacker's guide to looking like you know what your doing - requested by many)

  • Being a Well rounded Scientist (response to Lance's commenters and a few ppl in my dept)

  • How I really really really loathe Mondays (it seems to be a theme in my blogging)

But anywho, I get to play softball today HOORAY! I might enjoy spring, oh glorious day. I am sure that Carly (who played in college) is going to handle me my lunch ... well life goes on.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Fun music animation

About Blogging

So when I first started blogging on this site, it was merely to give my family and friends some insight to my thoughts. I also decided to have other blogs to put opinions and work related stuff, but that didn't work. So now this blog is a catch all for everything in my life, no matter how silly, boring, opinionated, or interesting it might be. But recently Lance Fortnow, a blogger who I greatly respect, has an entry pointing out the negatives of student blogging (although I think his entry could be more widely applied to any blogger). I also came across this entry by a blog that I think is well done arguing the other side of things. And finally another link that was left in the comments of the Lance's blog, just talking about blogging from a psychological perspective.

So since my blog has been getting more traffic, probably since I had that flaming post the other day about scientist being jerks, I think it is time for me to re-evaluate what blogging is to me.

  1. First I see my blog as a medium of expression. Now this is a personal blog so it should reflect me as a person, meaning not only my work but my opinions and insights in the world as well.

  2. This form of expression is written down so I should probably be as nice as possible here (something that I usually fail at doing), but not out of fear of losing a job but rather fear of hurting someone. Basically hold to my goal of offending by true content not argumentation style.

  3. I should not shy away from the fact that I do have an opinion and my work is only one part of my life. If somebody can't see past my opinion (and it could certainly be false) and see that I am human being underneath, then I probably don't want to impress that person anyways.

  4. Finally, as David Amulet pointed out to me, I blog for myself. Whether it be for my personal fear of being transparent in the world or just a way to relax, I'm not going to worry if people read it or not. I want a blog not to make me popular but to make me a better person.

Of course, Lance points out a very important fact: "The internet never forgets." It also makes people more accountable for their actions off of their blog, such as a professor in my department that made a racist remark about Indians, or the high school teacher that had his epitaph of Bush bashing recorded. My response to this is more about how much weight we should give to blogs, basically not much. While it is publicly available media, it is not peer reviewed and usually not official in any respect. And to any readers who have a problem with a blog (mine especially) I encourage them to send a private message and let them know. Bloggers are amateurs, we don't know when we really offend someone so be brave and let us know, politely.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Art in motion

I mostly wanted to see how this works, but I like the video too.

Great Science

So yesterday I heard one of the best research talks I have ever heard by Markus Püschel about his project Spiral. Not that the talks I hear are usually bad, but this one was just that good. Just a outline:

  1. He started out by talking about a problem ("Common signal processor transformations such as the DFT seem to have arbitrary decompositions"),

  2. then he developed an algebraic theory to pose the transformations,

  3. he built the machinery apply his theories (it generates the code that will do the transformation),

  4. finally he has made the code generation highly portable (that is he can generate for most environments)

So the talk went from some pretty deep math (I read the paper before hand so I knew most of the stuff he skimmed over) to some highly applied/systems areas (he talked a lot about optimization on compiler levels such as hyperthreading). As Dr. Niyogi, my AI professor, said about Turing, "He had a problem and he learn the mechanisms to solve it." He also had excellent presentation skills, as Dr. Dupont pointed out last year, "You not only need to have the great idea, you need to sell it."

Now it seems a lot of people debate over systems and theory, but this is the kind of science I want to do. Find a problem and go with it, doing what it takes to solve it. So that goes against the grain of many mathematicians who really just want to further math, but hey they are developing the theories that guys like Markus, Turing, and (hopefully) me use. With that thought, in answer to Peter's question ("Shouldn't you at some level consider yourself in theory?"): Yes I am at some level in a theoretical part of the world, but I am also at some level in a systems part of the world. I would rather just be called a problem solver, well a problem solver in training.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Arrogant Language

Yesterday I had a discussion with several undergraduates about language and I guess I was pretty appalled by their lack of social responsibility around the subject. Let me explain. The conversation starts:

"We were listing off the languages that we speak"

"I would have listed Tex-Mex"

"That's a dialect not a language"

" 'Dialect' is a pejorative word for language. Give me a definition of a language such that dialect would not fit."

"I bet your one of those people who want to list ebonics as a language"

There is this fuzzy social definition around what a language really is, and has proved throughout history to be one of the arbitrary factors that separates cultures. Language can be used as a political tool, for evidence of this I point to Franco's policy on only allowing Castilian being spoke in Spain or the new Dutch policy of requiring immigrants to speak Dutch. The tendency is to turn what could be its own viable natural language into a 'dialect' of another language then marginalize the people who speak said dialect. Ebonics is a bit of a special case of this mostly because it seems to be arbitrary in its composition. But it most certainly fits that if a child grew up in a community where only ebonics is spoken and goes out in the world, Americans will challenge the reasoning power of said child.

Then there is the way a linguist would look at the logical structure of a language to actually study it and compare it to other languages, but this post is intended to point out the arbitrariness of the social construct of language.

Monday, April 17, 2006

Another Monday

You know eventually these things have to go away...right?

Friday, April 14, 2006

Intelligent Walk

So as I was walking to school today, I noticed a magpie chasing a squirrel. It seemed that the magpie was getting a kick out of seeing this squirrel chase around. I can just imagine if they were speaking

"I'm gonna get you"

"What are you doing! Get away from my butt, don't make me throw an acorn at you."

This lead to a contemplation on the intelligence of birds, apparently scientist now think birds are highly intelligent animals. Well I just spent a whole quarter contemplating what it would take to make a machine intelligent but what about birds makes them almost as intelligent as humans? How intelligent are humans anyway?

Just then a car drove by with loud rap music playing, all I could make out "make them big ole breasts bounce."

So the answer is not much. Proof by drive by rap phrase. QED

Monday, April 10, 2006

When tolerance turns into intolerance of the intolerant

Maybe I'm being judgmental, but the Chicago Tribune reports that the Dutch are now requiring an entrance exam, which seems pretty intolerant to me:
The Dutch entrance exam, which became mandatory last month, has been praised by politicians who believe it is a good way of screening out people who are not suited to live in the Netherlands.

But it seems that the Dutch are doing this because they are afraid of the intolerance of Muslim lifestyle and this measure is one of many "symptoms of panic and anxiety." But I guess my question would be, does this really work? While I would agree that there are certain customs of certain Muslims that should be banned, such as honor killings or female circumcision, but it seems that the article portrays a general sense: If you don't embrace our counter-conservative culture, you aren't good enough for us. In the wake of all the immigration marches in our country and around the world, the Dutch government seems to be showing its colors with such an act of patriotic elitism. Tell me again why the progressive European movement is so awesome?

Sunday, April 09, 2006


Funny video, although my wife says it's kinda old: Troops. My only question is why does the storm trooper speak like a Chicagoan?

Friday, April 07, 2006

Why are Scientists Jerks?

For the usual I'm smarter than you stupidity that runs through the rift of theory and experiment in scientist, I point to Computational Complexity. Goo it just makes me mad, why can't they just say that some people are interested in other things rather than assuming that since they are not doing the same thing they are just stupid.

Same thing goes for Democrats and Republicans. Except their bickerings will always affect lives, scientists ... not so much.

Thursday, April 06, 2006


So I've seen some bloggers do this and I thought it was kind of neat. Basically shuffle my MP3 player and then flip through ten songs, write down the first couple of lines (as long as they don't give away the title) and see if people can guess what the song and artist is. So here you go, don't worry the songs are as eclectic as I am:

  1. Bad luck wind been blow'n at my back./ I was born to bring trouble to wherever I'm at

  2. Fine place for a day full of breakdown/ Takes more than a meltdown to show us how

  3. Don't worry mother/ It'll be all right/ Don't worry sister, say your prayer, sleep tight

  4. Well I heard some people talkin just the other day/ and they told me you were going to put me on a shelf

  5. Just around the corner there's heartache/ Just down the street that loser is you

  6. Love and hope and sexy dreams are still surviving on the streets/ Look at me I'm in tatters

  7. Well with bloodshot eyes, I finally broke/ I feel like I just had a stroke

Well poop my player just ran out of juice. God's way of saying stop wasting time and get to work. Funny though while all these songs are from separate genres, the first couple of lines all look really depressing.

Monday, April 03, 2006

Let me reiterate

I hate Mondays!

Especially dark rainy ones where I haven't finished the problem set due in an hour and can't get any of my examples to work for a discussion I have to lead and just to top it off I feel like I lost an hour somewhere...oh wait that's right daylight savings time sucks.

*Sniff* At least Metallica understands me *Sniff*

Friday, March 31, 2006

I want one!

Awe how cute, just imagine taking it for walks in the park ... devouring stupid yapping dogs and hopefully no children. If you want to know all about this killer dragon check this out.

I'm definitely between steps 4 and 5

1 A boy begins his wondrous journey.
2 He perseveres.
3 Math cannot become any more difficult than this, can it?
4 Yes.
5 Yet he does not give up!
6 For a brief moment, there is a glimmer of comprehension.
7 Actual midair pedalling.
8 The plummet.

“Falling off the Math Cliff” (Progression of student learning math.)
The New Yorker March 6, 2006 page 57

Monday, March 27, 2006

Bad Bathroom Art

So I realized the other day that the Dali painting we have on our bathroom wall might be too appropriate. It's soft monsters on an angelic plane, (it's only in our bathroom because the colors match) but I will let you wonder what the soft monster in the lower left corner reminds you of.


Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Completely useless skills

Every year around this time I devote a large amount of my time to learning a completely useless skill. Some years the skill becomes very useful, such as last year I learned C/C++, only to have it haunt me almost every day afterwards. One year I learned some basic html and created some bad websites, don't believe me check this baby out or better yet remember when frames were in style. And still another year I learned all about philosophy which then lead me to get a degree in it and thus forget why I wanted to learn it to begin with.

But this year I am looking into nicer DHTML web design, for no other reason than my current website sucks and I want to make it prettier. Hopefully this won't get me more work to do but if you are interested in my designing as it is manifested, check out this.

Monday, March 20, 2006

A weekend out of town

So this weekend my wife (Superstar Extordinaire) and I took a break in the country. It is amazing how nice real people are, that is non PhD types. Not that I don't like people with PhD's but there is just something relaxing about simple people who know that they aren't the brightest people in the world. Well if anyone wants a break from the big city I would highly recommend this little bed and breakfast in Kewanee, Aunt Daisy's. The couple running the place are fabulous, and with their cheap rates you can go their for about the price of a movie and a couple of drinks in Chicago.

Blah well off to work I go. It's spring break, why am I working??? Oh yeah I hate life so I went to grad school. Silly me.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Seafood in the Midwest

I now have substantial proof that Midwesterners have no idea what good seafood is. Last night to celebrate the end of the quarter, my wife and I grabbed a recommendation off the reader, which has never let us down. The highest rated seafood place (non-sushi / pan-asian) was this little neighborhood place called Pier 5736. We get there and find it to be little more than a glorified bar that served fish.

I won't say much about the service, besides the fact that I am convinced our waiter was intoxicated. We start with some lobster medallions (yeah we spend too much when we go out to eat). The remoulade was wonderful, the lobster tough. Then we had an awesome salad. But the kick in the pants came with the main course: Cheryl shrimp, me rainbow trout. Let's say I've had better trout cooked on a carburetor, and Cheryl's shrimp could have been sold as really old silly putty.

So that's it from now on if I want fish here in Chicago, I either make it myself or go to a sushi bar or pan-asian place. You might try the Satay, it is wonderful, look it up on the reader.

Monday, March 13, 2006


I didn't think it would happen but our Architecture project is done. And I think it is a decent result. I feel almost like my group contributed to the greater knowledge of the world. Hehe coming in just under 50 pages, I certainly hope so. And to imagine the original instructions called for only a 15 page paper.

Of course the response I expect from my professor. Click here

Sunday, March 12, 2006


One would think that I wouldn't forget how to shave. But when it's been four years since a razor has touched your chin, it is a rude awakening.

And for those who have never seen me without a beard. Brace yourselves, my wife doesn't even recognize me.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

A man I would like to meet

Okay so there are a lot of people in the world I would love to meet. Oddly enough none of them are scientists but that is okay, I would rather read their work. But today I ran across this article in the Times Online about Sayed Rahmatulla Hashemi, former Taliban spokesman now Yale undergraduate. The guy was the foreign minister to the Taliban at age 22. I don't care how backwards their government was that is impressive. He toured the world and defended his country and his faith tradition. I guess the most impressive part of the article is his reflection on 9/11 and how Osama bin Laden is worse for the Muslim world than the West.

Now he has come full circle and is in the "enemy" countries attending one of their elitist schools. It seems that he would have a great perspective on the world that I could not begin to gain here in my office at the UofC.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Military Recruiters at Colleges

So this story seems to be spreading all over the place about the Supreme Court allowing recruiters on college campuses. Even at our own UofC there were a number of protesters who apparently became belligerent and were arrested for disturbing the peace. Now people want to protest the arrests.

Coming from a family with strong military ties, this debate seems to be another rich versus poor in a number of ways. Especially here at the UofC where you average student is wealthy, white or asian, and incredible privileged. But take this image from the MTV covering of the story. College not Combat. Considering that a very large percentage of our troops are in the military solely to pay for their college tuition. Even more disheartening is the fact the most of these soldiers that are being attacked by students are not any part of the problem. They are just there to do their job. A job which the American people have upheld as being a worthy and noble job (while teaching is not held in such esteem, grrr). So while students and campuses are snubbing their nose at these recruits and our soldiers, they are missing the point of why they are there. Politics.

So where does this rich, privileged crowd have the authority to assail these military recruiters that have fulfilled a spot on the food chain that is revered by America to pay their bills. Don't get me wrong I know there are major flaws with the military, but I'm not going to go screaming in the face of a enlisted person who either does his job or gets in major trouble.

Monday, March 06, 2006

Andy's Life

I'm with Garfield: I hate Mondays.

Saturday, March 04, 2006

Teen Reckless Driving

It is good to see that someone is reporting about the problem of teen driving. I knew six kids who were killed in car accidents in high school. Hopefully these statistics will shock parents into teaching their kids better and politicians to get tough on reckless driving (both for adults and teens, remember the teen is just mimicking the adult with less experience).

Here's to you Austin, Toby, Brad, Elise, Amanda, and Chris.

Tribune Special Report: Teens at the Wheel

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Aha so you do read my blog

So very often I have engaged in activities where I did not receive so much feed back from my audience, radio show host, physics Olympics organizer, teacher, to name a few times. But now I know that more than three people (Patrick, Dave, and my wife) read my blog. Hehe I guess I know in a very real way when I get to discuss my opinions with my classmates over a beer.

Let me say one thing is for sure, there is a lot of safety sitting behind the blogger API as oppose to on the spot. Not that I don't think that I can defend myself on the spot, but I really like this idea of thinking more fully through my responses. And let me tell you, some of my responses today were pretty silly. I guess that is what you have to do when you aren't convincing someone of what you have to say.

But anywho, discussion is fun. Over beer is even better. But if you are reading my blog, let me know or better yet put it in the comment box. Of course, I really like the comment box because I can moderate there MUHAHAHA.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Pro life artwork

This is pretty nice. From

Late night programming realization

You know you've had too much caffeine when your fingers move with a "latency".

Saturday, February 25, 2006

Winter Olympics Suck

Okay I'm sick of it. I have held my tongue about the utter silliness of this competition until now. I'm not one who is against sports competition but I am against all the blathering on about how the Olympics gathers the world together. In truth, the winter Olympics only gathers the rich. That's right the extremely wealthy. Sure there are guys who compete who don't personally have the money but that is because their government fronted all their training costs. For example there are only 9 athletes from Africa competing. NINE. Currently only 26 countries have medaled none of which are developing countries. And today the breaking point for my curiosity about the Winter Olympics, is the description provided by the website for skeleton.
with its rewards for those guided by courage and the most advanced aerodynamic materials.

So ptttwwwy on you Winter Olympics. You might have some artistic sports where starving young girls can let their lives be dominated only to impress all those wealthy spectators, and it might be neat to see some idiot race down a moutain at incredibly fast speeds risking death for just a few oohs and awes. But fundamentally, you are just wealthy people showing off how your money can make you look to be better than the common man.

And yes of course there are exceptions to this rant, so please disregard it for those athletes who are a bit more pure than the others. I mostly am ranting at our society.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Two undeniable facts

Writing code has a sweet spot, it happens in the hours between 10pm and 6am.

Writing analysis proofs also has a sweet spot between 10am and 3pm.

Alas I am destined for no sleep.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Levels of busyness

So I have come to the realization that there are really three levels to my busyness here in graduate school.

  • Level 1: I have too much to do but it might be possible to get done.
  • Level 2: I have too much to do, with no end in sight but I am still motivated to work.
  • Level 3: I have so much to do and there is no end in sight so why even bother doing it at all.

Today is a level 3 day. Hence I am posting on my blog.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Hurrah for the Doctors

Okay so I haven't blogged in a while, mostly because I have been too busy. But I would like to take a moment to say hurrah for the Doctors in California. After ruling that a anesthesiologist needs to be present to make sure there is no pain for the state's lethal injection victim, they came out with this statement:

"The use of a physician's clinical skill and judgment for purposes other than promoting an individual's health and welfare undermines a basic ethical foundation of medicine -- first do no harm," she said. "Requiring physicians to be involved in executions violates their oath to protect lives."

You can read the article here

Now only to replace that same mentality from executions to abortions.

Friday, February 03, 2006

Teaching the Underserved

I no longer believe that America cares about teaching the underserved. In fact I was the most idealistic among anyone I knew on this fact prior to this year. Here I am a person with two technical BS degrees, and pretty soon a MS, trying to put my graduate career, which could lead to a very nice six figure income, on hold to help the underserved. But what do I hit, opposition because I don't have a degree in education.

Research studies have repeatedly shown that students of teachers who know their subject do better than any other. This combined with the fact that most math or science teachers do not have degrees in either, made me believe that I would be an excellent candidate for teaching. Two programs disagree, and the state has so many barriers to me teaching that I am not even going to attempt it. So when our government asks "Why do we not have capable math/science teachers?" My response is "You run them off."

In fact when I was an undergraduate, I thought of trying to get the educational classes to become a teacher. I hit barriers that just didn't make sense. In order to teach physics, I would need to basically major as in education and take a few physics courses. Which basically leads me to ask why would I not spend more time learning physics if I am suppose to teach it. Furthermore, if I am interested in learning physics and math why should I spend an extra two years to go through an apparently failing education program when I could move on and at least make money.

With that said, I believe our country that claims to care for our working poor is once again blowing smoke. Our government, liberals and conservatives, are interested in one thing: Staying in power. The working poor doesn't have the money to keep them in power, so the government will only pretend to help them.

(By the way I am just really p.o.'d because I was contacted by a principal for an interview. The interview turned into a phone conversation of 3 questions while she was driving somewhere. Then she told me I didn't have enough teaching experience. Why would you contact me then?)

Tuesday, January 24, 2006


Escapa! Hehe I got 19.5 s which prooves I'm brilliant =D

Friday, January 20, 2006


So I just have too many things going on now a days to keep up with my blog. But never fear, I have been stuck on several homework problems for a while now so I do the only natural thing to do ... slack off and pretend it is all done.

In fact I think I found my second calling last night. A professional chef. Well singing and writing will never work out so I gotta do something artistic. But cooking makes me happy and at least I know that I am pretty good at it. Last night I prepared a pretty fancy meal for some priests at my parish. They seemed to really like it so much that I am getting tired of people saying thank you ... not! Yeah go ahead and tell me how good my food is.

I know between my last post and this one I had a bunch of things to say, but I can't remember any of them. I was contacted by a principal for a new KIPP school. I will go for an interview and all that but unless it really feels like what I should do I probably won't. My classes are going okay right now. I bombed my quiz in Architecture but I had a headache and was tired, it doesn't really matter.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Gotta love that Kass

"Scientific fraud is always revolting, but it is fortunately rare and, in the end, truth will out. But in this case, American scientists and the American media have been complicit in the fraud, because of their zeal in the politics of stem-cell and cloning research and their hostility to the Bush funding policy. Concerted efforts have been made these past five years to hype therapeutic cloning, including irresponsible promises of cures around the corner and 'personalised repair kits' for every degenerative disease. The need to support these wild claims and the desire to embarrass cloning opponents led to the accelerated publication of Dr Hwang's 'findings'... We even made him Exhibit A for the false claim that our moral scruples are causing American science to fall behind." ~ Opinion Journal, Jan 7

Sunday, January 01, 2006

2005 Year Review

So to reflect a bit about the last year, and maybe to reflect a bit on myself, I offer the best and worst of my year:

Best Movie I watched: Batman Begins
Worst Movie I watched: Star Wars Episode III (even if it was the best of the new three)

Best Book I read: Slave by Mende Nasar
Worst Book I read: Real Analysis by Walter Rudin (mostly because it sucked my soul)

Best Dish I cooked: Wild Mushroom Sauce on ricotta gnocchi
Worst Dish I cooked: Paella (sadly it was bland, boring and burned, but I must try again!)

Best Date with my wife: Anniversary Date (ate at Volare downtown, watched Batman at River East, and finished off the evening with year old wedding cake and a very nice german beer (Schnieder Avenetus))
Worst Date with my wife: None they are all wonderful

Best volunteering: Retreat at Calvert House
Worst volunteering: Midwest Workers Association (aka ze commies)

Best Catholic tradition upheld: Mass, tithing, and praying
Worst Catholic tradition upheld: Gossiping

Best school related activity: Going to National SIAM Conference and speaking at the FENICS conference
Worst school related activity: Taking math classes (the only classes I have ever failed/dropped in my life)