Sunday, June 03, 2007


  • You know those alumni magazines? I really don't understand the custom of including a spouse's alma mater. The chances that any readers went to that school are nearly nil, so presumably it's just some sort of pedigree sort of like saying "Joe Schmoe married Susan Aragon of the Cheshire Aragons." It bugs me. I wonder if I could sneak this by the editors:

    John Smith '84 is happy to announce his engagement to Susie Doe (York Middle School '06). The wedding is scheduled for Susie's 17 birthday in Kentucky.

  • I'm looking to buy one of those universal power adapters for the airplane and am looking at iGo's Juice70. I'm no electrical engineer, but my notebook's power adapter is a 90 watt unit. In addition to the power adapter, I'm thinking I'd invest in a little plug adapter so that I can just bring this setup overseas without bringing the US power supply that came with the notebook. Is the 70 watt adapter going to be sufficient? For those non-physicists, you might be surprised at the general ignorance of any practical electrical knowledge among career physicists (not all, but some). For those engineers out there, the surprise is probably instead that I would even realize the adapters differ in different countries!
  • Slashdot refers us to an interview with Guth and Turok about the Big Bang (Censor's note: "Big Bang Theory").
  • I still haven't commented much on Rob's tenure woes. Once again, I don't have anything too deep to say, but I did want to comment on one issue that Rob raises. That is, the job market is very much non-liquid. That is, once you get a tenure-track job, it's not that you've broken through and can move around to a school which provides a good fit. This may seem obvious, but this makes for a fair amount of frustration. Of course, for those in their fifth postdoc not able to get a tenure-track position, there's probably not much sympathy.
  • FSP talks about what it takes to succeed as a science professor:

    So, even if you're not brilliant: if you are smart, can get things done, and can think of new things to do, you've got most of what it takes to be a science professor.

    My experience suggests most (if not all) prospective physicists think themselves brilliant for some amount of time. That perception suffers increasing attacks as you progress out of high school. But I pretty much agree with takes all kinds in physics, somewhat like a basketball team. It always helps to have a superstar but you also need the workhorses and the role players. Not necessarily brilliant physicists, but people who can get a job done.


Anonymous said...

According to the iGo data sheet, the power supply can handle 100 to 230V, so it will work fine overseas with only the plug prong adapter (i.e. the ones that don't have a big transformer built into them).

From an E&M point of view, modern power supplies are switched mode. The old transformer based power supplies could not easily handle changes to the input voltage level, but switchers can.

I had a problem importing some soy milk machines designed in China for 220VAC to the US. At the lower US voltage, the current for the same wattage is higher. This was okay with the switcher, but the Chinese engineers put a fuse in the unit sized for Chinese current levels. So they blew after a half hour of usage at US power levels. The factory simply changed the fuse.

Anonymous said...

"general ignorance among career physicists..."
hehm... You talking to me ? ;-)


Angry said...

Carl: Yeah, I wasn't worried about the iGo thingy, but any other stuff I have...but I checked and they go up to 240 V. Of course, the silly adaptor is structured at a weird 90 degree angle so that my proprietary camera charger (the kind that goes right into the wall) can't use it! Silly design.

Also, I had to go with the 130 watt everywhere power supply because the 70 watt wouldn't supply enough juice. Also, there's a bit of confusion out there. The S20 tip will only power the Dell, but their new S35 tip will charge it. Works okay so far on mine.

Tommaso: No, do you have wild stories of short circuits and the like? I'm always afraid that I have just enough knowledge to be dangerous.