Friday, December 22, 2006

Lazy Blogging

  • Interesting: Adviser letters

  • Condolences to Lubos who got linked by Instapundit. It's a huge hit to his credibility, but I'm sure it can take it.

  • Not a Hybrid Fit but a new hybrid in two years. Crash tests... presumably logic would dictate that we all go out and buy cars bigger than everyone else. Or, god forbid, have the government infringe on our inalienable right to drive whatever we want (on whose roads, btw?)

  • Chad will be getting tenure. Congrats! Now you can look forward to a long life in the same position. Tenure is great, but once you have it how likely are you to ever go out and try something new. The calcification begins...sorry to be such a bummer.

  • Donald Trump is such a wiener, I don't know how anyone can stand to watch him on TV, let alone on a show where he acts like he knows how to conduct business business.

  • I've been tagged. So here goes:

    Careful inspection of this graph and comparison to the graph of 100 percent amplitude modulation shown in Figure 5-4 will reveal a slight difference between the shapes of the envelopes, especially for values near zero. In addition, the final DSBM wave undergoes a phase inversion each time the modulator passes through zero. The graph of balanced modulation is identical to the graph of beats shown in Figure 2-37.

    from The Physics of Sound by Berg & Stork. I'm not a big fan of chain-like things, but I suppose this falls short of a chain-mail, so what the heck....I'll tag Doug, Josh and, what the heck, good ole Glenn.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Cycle of Life (Insurance)

First Decade Parent's health
Second Decade Parent's health; Auto
Third Decade Employee's health; Auto
Fourth Decade Employee's health; Auto; Term Life
Fifth Decade Employee's health; Auto; Term Life; Umbrella
Sixth Decade Employee's health; Auto; Term Life; Umbrella; Long Term Care
Seventh Decade Retirement health; Auto (if you're lucky); Whole/Annuity/Trust Life; Umbrella; Long Term Care; Social Security

Wednesday, December 13, 2006


  • An interesting article on hardware purpose-built for n-body simulations.

  • A while back there was much discussion on who was the biggest geek based on some silly quiz which asked, among others, whether one preferred RPN. Well, here's the modern day much joy would you experience if you could only use LaTeX in your comments? What's that? LaTeX is for sissies, you only use TeX? Oh what's that, markup in general is for sissies you communicate in binary? I present the geek's pissing contest.

  • If nothing else, perhaps George Bush's time in office might demonstrate how much the actual person in office can matter opposed to just voting for a party.

  • So we're going to the moon, eh? Lots of discussion flying back and forth..."don't take money away from science to fund it"..."why not just go to Mars?"...Well, now I hear that Steven Squyres (he of Roving Mars fame [a good book, by the way]) says:

    The best way to explore Mars is with humans.

    I don't know what assumptions go into a statement like that, but I sure would have thought that, of all people, he would believe that machines provide the most bang for the buck. Maybe he means "explore" in a very particular in having a person there!

    On a related note, there's a slightly amusing spoof of Mars on Phil's site.

  • Some interesting comments on the tenure process by the tag-team of Chad & Rob. I don't have much to add (or subtract).

Friday, December 08, 2006

Missile Defense Fails Again

Yep, I feel safe already with that missile defense system. What's that? Oh, it failed? Well, at the least the interceptors didn't fail in flight, they simply failed to launch. It would seem that those problems should be surmountable. The job of actually hitting the right target in the air, that's the tough part.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

A couple more powerpoint tips

It's that time of the year when students end up presenting class projects. I've been sitting through some math talks, and a couple pointers came to me. Probably fairly obvious, but...

Plan your ending! And do it in a way that lets the audience know you're done. Why? Well, there will always be some fraction who isn't paying much attention, but will perk up and applaud when they sense you're ending. The reason this is important is because you want a reasonable reaction/applause when you're done. Not for your ego (necessarily). It may seem superficial, but even for people paying attention, without that applause, they might get a sense that other people didn't enjoy it and that will affect their opinion.

I'm not big on a long summary of key points, but I do try and generalize to some big, broad point even if it's as silly as "research is going well." Maybe it gives them something to "take away," but at least by doing this I key the audience in to the fact that I'm finishing.

The second point is to try and act like you enjoyed your project/research. Again, this might be easy for a research talk, but for students it's not. Especially as a teacher, if you get the sense that the speaker enjoyed it, it's easier to forgive mistakes and apparent lack of effort.

Oh, one more thing before I go. There's an illustrated version of Gravity's Rainbow out now for all you Pynchon fans.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Hopelessly, Hopelessly...

I'm way behind on things with barely a moment for catching up on the latest of our small corner of the blogosphere. Apparently, our country finally has some vague plans to go to the moon but no money to pay for it. I haven't seen Sean's post yet about his invite to be among the first to go up there but I look forward to hearing about those "peregrinations"! (I kid! I kid!)

Less importantly, Clifford egged Peter into a fight and now Clifford and Jacques are tag teaming.

Chad got a new car that is not a Honda Fit and he and Phil are getting interviewed. I think we need to develop a physics versions of that French guy's quiz. Job I would most not want to do? Host of a morning program ala "The Today Show."

Oh, forgot to add that people are looking for plagiarism on the arXiv but not finding much...that's good news.