Thursday, August 28, 2008

Take the prism pill

I finished working at Unilever this week, but I still have one or two things to post about. First of all, the mystery optical element is actually a polarizer, but only for certain wavelengths.
Anyway, we needed a special kind of prism for an experiment, so ThorLabs sent us a sample. A teeny tiny sample. They packed it inside a caplet:They were also kind enough to provide food!
Most of this wasn't kosher, but the thought was nice.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Chronic Splam from Tracy Wilkinson

I have a number of emails from this lady because she thinks I'm Lynne Fung, as I have preveously mentioned on the blog about Splam, or unintended e-mails. I thought it was over (there are only 14 adresses on the whole list) but in response to yet another email I hit-reply all with the following email:

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Jonathan Lansey
Date: August 22, 2008
Subject: Fwd:
please help JFS with this!

Hello All of Mrs. Wilkinson's Friends!
In celebration of nearly a year on this wonderful mailing list unintentionally masquerading as Lynne Fung, I would like to make public my historical correspondence with the organizational mastermind that is the great Tracy Wilkinson!

The first email I got way back in Dec 2007
---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Tracy Wilkinson <___>
Date: Dec 7, 2007 8:33 PM
Subject: Holiday Gift for Mrs. Hellarud

I ignored it with the hope that it would go away. After two more emails:
(Gift for Mrs. Hellerud and Play Date and a gift for Mrs. Hellerud) I politely responded. Please read my message below.

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Jonathan Lansey <___>
Date: Dec 16, 2007 6:06 PM
Subject: Re: A Gift for Mrs. Hellerud

Dear Tracy,
That sounds really great, a gift for Mrs. Hellerud and her husband- but there is only one problem- I don't know Mrs. Hellerud and I don't know her husband.
Who are they? and how, perhaps through some wierd twist of fate, how have I come to be on the short mailing list for their gifts?
I hope to hear from you soon,
Happy Holidays,
-Jonathan
PS: Parenthood is quite a few years away, I am 22 years old at the moment


She responded quite quickly the next day:


---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Tracy Wilkinson <___>
Date: Dec 17, 2007 2:25 AM
Subject: RE: A Gift for Mrs. Hellerud
To: Jonathan Lansey <
___>

Oh how funny. I have you on my list as Lynne. I guess this the list is wrong! LOL
So sorry. I will remove you. Yes all these pleasures you have to come!!
;)

Ah yes, "how funny" Laughing Out Loud over this strange confusion!
jlansey is just too close to jlausejo to tell the difference, ha ha. Alas, I thought the list was fixed and all the pleasures of annoying emails would be put on hold until I procure some children ;)

But the emails did not stop, I recieved yet another email last Febuary

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Tracy Wilkinson <___>
Date: Feb 3, 2008 10:07 PM
Subject: Still need a docent
To:
___ . . . . .

Tracy still needs a docent for the Art Attack Program- an issue that "directly pertains to the class" which means that its relevance to my life is . . . . not very great. Amazed at my re-appearence on the list (almost had an Art Attack) I kindly requested to be taken off again.

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Lansey <___>
Date: Feb 4, 2008 3:20 AM
To:
___

hey, it would be cool if __@gmail.com could actually be taken off the list,
thanks!
-Jonathan

I recieved no response to this email, and assumed the matter finished . . . until the end of May when I found yet another one floating in my inbox about "Kinder Teacehr Time"

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Tracy Wilkinson <___@sbcglobal.net>
Date: May 21, 2008 8:25 PM
Subject: Kinder teacehr Time
To:
___ . . . .

Hello all,
Are any of you interested in the following Teacher Time? There is one space left for Mrs. Hellerud. This minimum bid for each teacher time is $25.00. Please let me know ASAP so we can let the teachers know who to expect on the outing. Also let me know if you know any parents from the other classes.

Teacher Time – Day at the Park Value Priceless

Join Mrs. Beier, Mrs. Hellerud, Mrs. Acosta and Mr. Althof for a fun filled day at Fowler Creek Park! We'll play parachute games, blow bubbles and enjoy the park's playground. We will supply a yummy afternoon snack. Only two lucky JFS students per class may attend. Parents will drive their children to and from Fowler Creek Park.

Date: Wednesday May 28th from 3:30 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.


I thought Tracy might not have had the motivation to take me off the list- and so I hit the notorious "Reply to all" button and requested help from the public:

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Jonathan Lansey <___>

Dear All,
I would like everyone to please help me encourage Tracy W. to take my email address off of this mailing list. Last February I kindly requested that this be done (see the forward of my very polite message bellow), but apparently I am still on the list. Not that I am uninterested in blowing bubbles, parachuting into Fowler Creek Park's playground and Yummy afternoon snacks- rather I would much prefer to partake in these activities with people of my own age group and preferably with people in my own time zone.
I will give a very yummy treat to the first person to approach Mrs. Wilkinson about this.
Thanks for you help!
-Jonathan

She replied once more

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Tracy Wilkinson <___@sbcglobal.net>

Gosh darn it not again! I thought this got fixed already. So sorry.


Yes, I thought you had it fixed too . . . in fact I even believed you might finally take me off for real this time. But no, this email to which I am replying, is dated August 21 2008, I am even a year older now, moving on to graduate school but somehow I am still on your kindergarden's mailing list. I do not fundraise for my tuition, ask you for christmas presents or invite you to my friends events on the east coast. Please I ask of you to do whatever it takes to take me off your mailing list. One suggestion, since there are only 14 names on the list, just take a look at the list before sending your next email to make sure I'm not on there.

All the best!
-Jonathan

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Bamboo Flute

The other day me and a friend made a flute out of bamboo.

Here we are using a propane welding torch to heat a nail till cherry red than burning the holes into the flute (using the burning method gets you cleaner holes with better sound).
Here it is with all the holes.
The finished product, its a flute but you can play it like a recorder.
Cool clouds again.

Note: I was asked to link to the guys website that we got the instructions from, but I cant find it.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Further Letters from a Nut

After not hearing from 1010WINS in response to my first letter to them, I sent them another:
Dear 1010WINS,
I am disappointed that I have not heard back from you in response to my letter sent July 3, 2008. Since then I have continued to listen to your broadcast on my morning commute, and my complaints mentioned in that previous letter (dated July 3, 2008) are still unresolved. Furthermore, I have since poked around your webpage and discovered the 1010WINS history page: <http://www.1010wins.com/pages/4623.php?>. In the list of questions and answers, Phyllis Ross, of W. B. Doner in Baltimore asks if you "will you tape your newscasts and repeat them? Will you re-read the same copy at short intervals?" The answer on that page is an unequivocal "Neither."
Yet, your daily broadcast is in direct contradiction to that claim. Regularly entire segments are repeated, often the news is identical every half hour, and usually the order of segments is not even changed! Furthermore, I've begun to suspect that you replay traffic reports too! I've called in traffic tips quite a few times already (unusually heavy traffic, accidents, lane closures), and have yet to hear these reports updated in the traffic reports! Maybe I did not wait long enough, and the reports only trickle through to the traffic reporter after 30 minutes or perhaps 24 hours? I often remain stuck in unreported traffic; What is the typical turnaround time from tip to report?
Still awaiting the world,
[fake name]
[fake name]@gmail.com
(609) 208-7511
P.S. A bigger message box would be appreciated!

This time I got not only a phone response, but also an email:
Dear [name]:

Thanks for being a loyal long-time listener of 1010 WINS. We appreciate it! As to you questions about the format and traffic....

As a 24 hour news station we try to freshen our copy and content as frequently as the news of the world allows. Some stories are repeated because of the tremendous turnover in our audience (something perhaps not anticipated by the answer that was given on our website 43 years ago) . We have 2.5 million people who tune to WINS every week. They do not all listen at the same time. They come and go throughout the day. If we did not repeat some of the stories, they would never have the chance to hear them.

As to the point about traffic. The reporters are live 24 hours a day. We never tape the traffic reports for later playback. But just like the news, the big traffic stories get repeated because of our enormous listener turnover. Information phoned into the traffic center must be verified before put on the air. This can take some time and could lead to the delays you are pointing out. We do strive to turn that information around as quickly as possible.

We provide a public service to our listeners. We have zero incentive to diminish the product.

I hope this answers you questions.

All the best--
Ben Mevorach, News Director
1010 WINS

The response was colored blue, except for the 'D' in 'Dear.' So I replied (note the blue 'D' in 'Dear' in my response):
Dear News D. Ben-Mevorach,
First of all - what an interesting name! I have never met, or corresponded with anyone with the first name News and middle name Director. Is is an ethnic name? Also, most dual last names I have encountered usually include a hyphen, in the form Ben-Mevorach, so I assume you accidentally left out the hyphen in your email signature.
In any case, thank you so much for your phone call and email response to my most recent message (July 16, 2008). I appreciate you clarifying my confusion regarding traffic updates and repeating news stories. Perhaps you should update the 1010WINS webpage with a new Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) page reflecting the current reality.
Furthermore, I am not sure if you are the person who receives all of 1010WINS internet email, but in case you are not, I'm including my original letter (from July 3, 2008) in hope of a response.

Sincerely yours,
[fake name]
I then pasted my original letter to them. Alas, no response back from this followup email. So I've switched to NPR.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

180000 Miles and Cloudy

Well yesterday on my way to Rutgers for an AIAA design team meeting this happened.





Yep clouds happened, oh also that whole thing about my car hitting 180000 miles. To make it even cooler, as far as I know it has done it on the same clutch, and my father taught me and both my brother how to drive stick in that car.

Monday, August 04, 2008

Tons of Egypt Pictures, Cairo Alexandria

Cairo at night:


The traffic does not usually move in straight lines:



This is just outside of Eilat.




This kid had never seen a white person before . . . or so his stares seemed to say. Here a friendly stranger is showing him a newspaper.


the beach in Alexandria


Alexandria




Possibly the biggest statue I have ever seen (not counting the statue of liberty)


This guy was at wikimania, he was from Scotland.




Crossing the steets in Egypt can be quite scary. Jordan here is making his way through the middle of the street- note: none of these busses are parked.


This may be the best picture I have of myself in front of these things.


This is where my piece of the pyramid is from


These guys were life size




Egyptian spelling is the greatest. "Cood Bye, Wish you come again"