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|Thursday, July 23rd, 2009|
|A new post
I've been reading Consciousness Explained by Daniel Dannett and it is pretty rough going. So far the book is a refutation of a theory of mind I don't hold. The dialog style of philosophy books kind of annoys me.
The book that really annoyed me lately is called something like "An introduction to Baysian reasoning in statistics" Nicole has been reading it so I just read the first chapter. I call Bull Sh*t on a lot of the ideas presented, I think one of the examples he gives is flat out wrong. My current view is that a significant portion of research is pure snake oil sales... but perhaps I am too jaded. I definitly accecpt that I could be wrong on all counts and am open to being disproven.
In other news! I got my tickets to Norway to visit my sister! That is going to be lots of fun.
Last night I started Milling the parts for my super awesome fantastic optics project! The only problem is that the 1/2 inch drill bit that I got is too long for my mini-mill. I have to go use the Physics dept. student machine shop, bog. Technically, I think I might have to take the safety class again... but I will try to just go use it anyway.
Anyway, life is going well despite my research project imploding. I've been applying to a few jobs while I work on a Hail Marry pass. Good times.
|Thursday, May 28th, 2009|
I'm sitting on the couch working on my general exam document so I can get a PhC. Writing is going really really slow unfortunately. The problem is mainly how open ended it is so the direction can be whatever I make it. Freedom is really hard, I tend to like much more structure in my life.
What I am really exited about lately is my optics projects I have been working on. I got some really fantastic books on optics that I have been reading while I collect components from ebay and other places. The coolest thing I got lately is a big crystal of calcite! It has some really interesting optical properties. If you place it on a book you will see two sets of words offset from eachother. Nicole's housemate was really impressed. If my PhD work motivated me a tenth as much as designing and building my projects I would be done and a half already. I really hope I can find a job that I am motivated to do. In hind sight, I think I would have been a lot happier leaving school after my masters to be an engineer, but now that I am this far in I have to finish up.
I got tickets this morning to fly back to PA for spring break in a week ish. I will bring some boards games and I'll see if I can find people to play. I always have a lot of fun doing that. Time has been flying lately, a month feels like a week used to, I remember in high school when a day took forever... now in a blink it is time to sleep again. What is happening to all that time?
I've been playing my Irish tin whistle a bit when I have free time, it is much much easier then my fiddle. anyway, I better get some more words down for my document.
|Friday, April 24th, 2009|
|Wow! Yum yum
So I went on the Theo chocolate factory tour with Nicole and her mom the other day. They make fair trade organic chocolates and boy are they fantastic. Did I mention that they make just unbelievable dark chocolate? I got two bars to take home besides the buckets of chocolate I ate on the tour. Next time someone comes to visit me I will definitely take them on that. The coolest part was how small it was and how I felt like it was a company I could start.
In other news I got funding though summer for my PhD so that is good. I'm finally getting back into it after having a bit of a crisis over the direction of my life. Feeling better about things now. Another problem is there are lots and lots of text books I really want to buy... but they are really expensive. I could easily drop a kilobuck if I actually got them. Number one on my list is a book called 'Optics' by Hecht. I've read a good portion of it and it was just fantastic.
I'm still working away on my secret project in my room (not really secret). I got hung up for 3 hours yesterday trying to deal with variable types running C++ libraries in Matlab. BUT in the end I figured out that I could do something I didnt think was possible with my little usb data grabber. I just love working on this project, it makes me really happy... that and the chocolate.
|Sunday, April 5th, 2009|
So Nicole is off on her NOAA boat and comes back Thursday. I'm trying to think of nice things to do for her when she gets back. She likes crafts so I'm getting dyes and whatnot to make Ukrainian painted eggs together. I went down to Pike's Place Market on a tip that I could get Ostrich eggs there... but the were $20 each and then were out anyway. Instead I got goose eggs which are more then twice the size of a chicken egg, still cool. Besides that I'm putting together a basket of picknick food, I hope she likes it. If you have any neat ideas I'd love to hear them? :-)
|Saturday, April 4th, 2009|
|Monday, March 30th, 2009|
|Friday, March 27th, 2009|
|Snow in MN
Yesterday I drove little Wil to the science museum and I pushed him around to all the exhibits. He really liked everything, his head was swiveling all over the place looking at all the colors and moving things. I think the wave tank and the pendulums were his favorite. My favorites had to be the collection of dinosaur bones, just fantastic stuff. The only thing that really caught me off guard was a sign that said dinosaurs are reptiles!! What! next they are going to say Jesus rode them. At least they said in small print at the bottom that there is some controversy and some scientists think they are related to birds. I was really impressed with the collection though, it really makes me want to go on a rode trip to all the science museums I can find.
Because I am in the mood here is a science related clip:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=42ccXj_gmgw
The museum also had a small exhibit on light and optics (one of my favorites), just fantastic stuff. I think the technical quality was a bit higher then I was expecting. They had a Bunsen burner with a spectrometer that showed how you can distinguish between chemicals based on spectral lines! Impressive! I will have to try that with my blowtorch sometime this summer.
For dinner I made Jon pizza and Nicole's broccoli recipe, I think it turned out really well. The night before I made my sister taco truck style tacos with cut up radishes on then. It is interesting having mys sister and husband coming in and out of town while I am here. They seem really busy and professional. I feel really different from other people sometimes, I've never been very motivated by money, status, or power... I really just want to learn and build what I find beautiful. Perhaps I will grow up at some point.
|Tuesday, March 24th, 2009|
|I'm in Minnesota hanging out with sister and baby
MN has been fun so far, I went driving around today the the local "water fall"... I guess all things are relative. The ice around it was very cool though and was a good example of blue from molecular vibration.
While my sister is at work I've been reading a lot. I've read about 50 pages into: Plato's Republic, A Beautiful Mind, QED, The Handbook of Modern Sensors. I read the first page of a few Sci-fi books but couldn't get into them: American Gods, Devil in the White City, and something station something. I really like reading, money has never motivated me but knowledge sure does and I think books hide a lot of things I want to know.
Of the books, the prologue of A Beautiful mind was the most fascinating to me. It talks a lot about the scientific mind and the strange quirks of mathematicians. I feel like I can relate in a lot of ways. Plato's Republic was a lot more interesting and understandable now that I was not being forced to read it for a class. It made me think a bit but not as much as B.Mind. I think QED was the most fun to read, the intro to that book is just fantastic. The Sensor Handbook was just something I found on the shelf that I wanted as a challenge to go cover to cover. Some people challenge themselves by running marathons, I try and read text books cover to cover.
Baby Wil has been a lot of fun to play with. He smiles a lot and likes it when I cut up a strawberry for him. He is a bit fussy and crys a bit when he is hungry or needs to be changed. Hearing him cry is a bit stressful for me since I get a strong feeling that I need to do something but my sister and Mom have it handled. I was largely in doubt that humans could have survived with how needy babies are.. but now I understand that they have mind control powers that make people want to help them instinctively.
I played Scrabble last night with my mom and Jon. I think Scrabble is a fantastic game, even though I lost I had a lot of fun. I like games where you can try and be clever and even if you don't win you can try to beat your own score... In other words I lost.
|Tuesday, March 17th, 2009|
|Monday, March 16th, 2009|
|Saturday, February 21st, 2009|
|Crap crap crap!
The forcast for Tuesday morning is cloudy! Their is a quadruple transit of the moons of Saturn at 4 AM and I won't get to see it. It looks like the apparent size is going to be about 19 arc seconds, with my 40x binoculars that will be about a third the size of the moon! Damn, Damn, Damn! That would have been cool. Perhaps in California you will be able to see it. I think getting my binoculars over an expensive telescope was a really good idea, for planets they are great and they take up so much less space.
Besides some miner worries about job prospects life has been really good lately. Things are going great with Nicole and I have no shortage of horribly interesting nerdy things to play around with. The only problem is that when ever I try to tell anyone about them I see their eyes instantly glaze over. It is really about personal enjoyment so I think I can keep my mouth shut.
Today, someone asked be about the idea I had to make scientific instruments for schools and education... I totally forgot how exited I was about that project. As one of my few semi practical business ideas I think I might start a real notebook on that and get some ideas down on paper. The main things I am missing is someone to market them and a manufacturing partner. I was thinking I could try and build a few and sell them at a loss as just a hobby at first. I also need to find out all the regulations about selling and building electronics... I'm just worried that the licensing fees might be prohibitively expensive to sell instruments on the scale of 5 to 10 for $100 each. Anyway, I better get to bed it is late.
|Tuesday, February 17th, 2009|
Life has been interesting lately. I got Nicole a picnick basket full of snacks for her birthday and we walked around in the park. I used some white lithium grease on some machinery in my room and boy did does it still smell bad. I read a bunch in my awesome optics book about optical computers and now I must build one. I finally succeeded in making a laser interferometer on my optics table. And, I'm planning on going to a book talk by Neils Degrass Tyson when he comes up to Seattle. Good times.( Read more...Collapse )
|Monday, February 9th, 2009|
|Saturday, February 7th, 2009|
Today was kind of surreal, last night a switch in my head just clicked and I decided to finally just do all the things I should do. This morning I got up and pushed the button to turn on my computer like I always do and the hard drive started making all sorts of scraching dieing sounds... oddly I had just wished for this to happen the night before. I wanted to try a day without a computer. And so the day started...
It is odd that I don't get really motivated to a few really bad things happen in a row and I get the feeling that the world is crashing down on me. So first things first, I made a list of all the things that I have put off or forgot to do. Then, I took a shower and made a nice breakfast. The rest of the day I just checked things off the list as fast as I could go. clean room, buy groceries, put all my taxes in order, sort my mail, clean out all my bags, pile up everything I don't need, take out trash, look at rings, mark birthdays on my calender, pay parking tickets, call harbor freight about my mini-mill, go get said mini-mill, lift weights, go on bike ride, get some work from the lab, and fix my computer. Man that felt good, I hope that I can keep it up for tomorrow.
What is really strange is how everything seemed to flow so well and everything just worked out the right way. Strange buzzaro world. It seems like a day of feeling like the world is crashing in on you can really make you get your act together. Good times.
|Tuesday, January 27th, 2009|
Well, life is going ok. My research has become reasonably interesting and that is nice. I feel so busy lately cooking, researching, planning new projects, doing homework, and spending time with my girl friend. Last night I almost slept in the lab because I had a presentation today and had a lot of work to get done. At 3:30 AM I decided it would be best to go home and sleep, so I did.
I think I'm slowly learning how to be a good researcher, the key is to be irrationally optimistic, everything looks like it will fail and be impossible until you get it to work.
Hold that thought! Wow, these dark chocolate covered almonds from TJ's are fantastic! The French guy in the lab brought them in and I just can't stop eating them!
In other news, I got an account on Mint.com to better budget my money. The sight downloads your bank information can makes graphs and budgets for you. Turns out I spend way too much money on my hobbies... optics are expensive! I guess I will have to cut back. I was going to order some lenses and windows from Anchoroptics.com (I love that place) but I think I will try and stay within my budget. I got a book called Optics by Hetch from the library and it is really good. I figured out why my interferometer didn't work basically, the light though all the paths need to go though the same amount of glass or it won't cancel. The problem is that glass slows down the colors different amounts so to have all the peaks and valleys line up both paths need to have the same delay. Interesting stuff!
Right now I am waiting for Nicole to come back to lab from swimming so we can go make dinner, she better come soon or I might eat all of the French guys chocolates... hmmm.
|Sunday, January 11th, 2009|
|Sunday, January 4th, 2009|
|Yep, back in Seattle
Wow, it is really gray here... makes me sleepy. Last night I played my fiddle with Nicole a bit, that was a lot of fun. I also ordered my Mini-Mill for lots of money... I will soon be able to make lots and lots of stuff out of aluminum, the only problem is that I should just be trying to finish up school... but, it is the natural progression of my projects. My plan is to make lens mounts for my optics table, mounts for my webcams, housings for my robots, motors for my research, and mounts for diode lasers.
Nicole and I have been cooking lots of food, life is good.
|Friday, December 26th, 2008|
|So busy with family
I've been so busy lately running around, hiking, and doing things with my family. It can be a bit stressful. Since all the rooms are taken up I've been sleeping on the couch and haven't been sleeping that well. Luckily, my presents turned out well: I got my oldest sister an assortment of really dark fancy chocolates. I got her husband a book on smart people. I got my youngest sister some really fancy teas. I got her husband some fancy beers. I got my mom a calender and my data god a book on FDR. For my Dads concurrent birthday I got him a gift certificate to Apple Wood Pizza, where my parents first date was. Oh, almost forgot, I got Will a baby book with lots of nice color pictures and cardboard pages.
Playing with Will has been a lot of fun, he smiles a lot and cries a lot less then when he was 3 months old. Having a kid seems really hard, I don't function that well on no sleep, but making a family and having them be there for you seems nice when you grow old. Anyway, I have a lot of conflicting feelings about that.( Read more...Collapse )
|Wednesday, December 17th, 2008|
|Packing my bags
I'm putting my boardgames in a bag to bring home! Should be awesome!
|Friday, November 28th, 2008|
|So, yeah update
The big experiments at the port seem to have been sucessful. After not sleeping for 72 hours and working that entire time hopefully has paid off in good data that I can use for my general exam. I will look at the data next week, now I just want to relax for a while.
Thanks giving went really well, Nicole cooked the best Thanksgiving dinner I have ever had. Of course, I ate way too much... but it was worth it.
In other news I got a Bike since Nicole and her room mate love bikes and I want to join in with the fun. Hopefully, I can get some good exercise. The bike is a Novara Safari form REI, I got the 08 model for a big discount since they are moving them out. It was the only one in my size for miles.
I've also been looking at Mini-Mills for making stuff with aluminum. Kind of expensive but I should get something nice for myself so I don't go crazy from working all the time. The only problem is that I don't have a place to put it, it is 30" high by 20"x20" and I don't know if I can get away with it in my student housing... perhaps I can hide it well with a cover... or under a box! That would just be the coolest thing ever! But, I might feel really bad about spending all that money... I think Nicole is trying to talk me out of it... I have been trying to talk her into letting me keep it at her place. We will see how that goes.
It is kind of strange, now that my sister has a kid and the other one is living in Norway, I haven't been talking to them that often. Also, since I stopped sitting around on the internet I haven't been communicaing that much with a lot of my friends. Hopefully I will get to see people again at Christmas and have some fun. Funny how life can get away from you sometimes.
Now it is time to have a snack and go to bed, I'm really sleepy and want to dream about my Mill and other things I wish I could have. :-)