Sunday, April 30, 2006

Floating Magnet Experiment, Fun with Superconductors

I was able to convince a few physicists (thanks to the Mathclub) to lend me a superconducting ceramic, a powerful small magnet and to donate a bucket of liquid nitrogen. The complete lack of supervision meant an attempt to freeze off a wart, but besides that we defied gravity by floating the magnet.
As I told the Mathclub, We're not lifting spaceships out of swamps but its still cool.

After dipping my hand in the liquid N, I said "I didn't feel anything" to which David replied "You won't feel anything ever again!"

Note: No permanent damage, although the entropy of the universe increased significantly.

See the Mathclub page about it here.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Ballistic Eggs

First, some blogkeeping: I didn't post the last two weeks because of Passover (even though late last Thursday night was technically after Passover, I was still involved with Passover-related stuff). But, to make up for the last two weeks, this is a Passover PostTM:
Over the last few years our family has had trouble roasting the egg for the seder plate. Each time, somewhere in the middle of the roasting process the egg explodes, sending egg and shell shards all over the kitchen, and even out into the hall and living room. We've tried various different processes, yet none of them worked. For example, last year we tried roasting it in our (then) new grill (click on the picture for full effect):

In any case, this year Aryeh and I were not taking any chances:
(Un)fortunately, this year the egg did not explode: We tried getting the whole egg warm first and also poked some big holes in the shell. And yes, my regular glasses are actually Z87 compliant, impact-resistant, polycarbonate lab glasses (with removable side-shields). For those of you who are keeping score, I believe that's worth quite a few geek points.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Phun Physicist

My physics teacher Professors V. Kiryukhin has an interesting sense of humor. When I went onto my classes website today I found that at the top of the page was the following announcement “The final is canceled! LOL! Just kidding”. Unfortunately they had changed the website before I had a chance to take a screen shot.

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Paid Research in California

In a striking turn of events I have been accepted to 2 summer programs. Not at all suprisingly, they are both in California (I only applied to places in CA). One is by the beach at Humboldt University in Arcata CA. The other is near LA with a Caltech professor at the Keck Graduate Institute in Claremont CA (by Pitzer College).

Where in California do you think I should spend the summer?

POLL CLOSED (I went to Claremont CA)

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Aiplanes and Corrections

In the past I mentioned a club that I was in called the AIAA. In this previous post I talked about how I won a build your own airplane competition. Now the club is building a real airplane, it is a biplane with each wing being just short of 8 feet. I helped build and it is rather cool. Here are the current pictures of the plane.

I must also thank notelon for his informing me of my calculation error in last weeks post. Each student only gets 200 megabytes not 100 gigabytes this changes all the numbers by three orders of magnitudes.

Here is the text of his email telling me this (Colonel Henry is the name they give the answer this email address at Rutgers)

What is the maximum number of megabytes of space available per Eden Account?
Students are allowed a total space of: 200MB
Thank you for emailing Colonel Henry
This is the picture that made me think that Rutgers gave us 100 gigabytes.

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Sinking Automobile Function

So I didn't really feel like doing my HW on the way home one night, so I drew a picture instead. Note this was handed in of course, and this particular section got full marks.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

A Quarter of the Way to Alpha Centauri

While transferring some files from a computer in my schools onto my network drive (Rutgers University gives all its students a space to store information on there server), I decided to check how much space Rutgers gives us. I got a number that sounded kind of high, so I checked again and it was correct. Count them: ONE-HUNDRED GIGABYTES. Now after I made this discovery I decided to figure out how much memory space Rutgers has to have for their students. I went to the Rutgers registrar’s website, and I got my self this piece of information in the 2005-2006 fall semester there where exactly 50,016 students. I say exactly because they didn’t tell me 50,000 students they told me 50,016 (as a side note I wonder what the name of the 50,016th students name is, maybe Zxqur Zzqiuort).
So in case you cannot do the math, Rutgers University has to save 5.37042711x1015 bytes, which is 5.24455772x1012 Kilobytes, that is 5121638400 Megabytes, that is 5001600 Gigabytes, that is 4884.375 Terabytes, this is of course 4.76989746 Petabytes, but you all knew that. This doesn’t look to impressive in the Zettabytes and Yottabytes scale (approximately 4.5x10-6, and 4.4x10-9 respectively) however as I don’t think anyone has hear of Peta, Zetta, and Yotta Bytes so it doesn’t matter. For those of you who are reading this, and are not a geeks, I will give you a sense of perspective: If you take an average height of a Homo Sapiens (Human) (1.69 meters) for every Byte and line them up head to tail it would be 9.07602182x1015 meters (if you are so out of the loop as to not understand scientific notation this number = 9,076,021,820,000,000 meters) this is about 30335 round trips to the sun from earth (for the geeks: 60669.4061 AU). As a side note if you line up all 50,016 Rutgers students in a line, head to toe, you will have a whole lot of angry college students and a line 85 kilometers long (just 15 kilometers short of the agreed international boundary to space, so no - you can't gamble yet).

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Googlwhack Probability

I've been writing a math paper on internet search result probabilities and the program I've been using to take data gave me an error. Windows instructed me to "Contact your application publisher for instructions." (see error messages picture). So I gave the amazing programmer Etan Bukiet a call, (with google talk of course) and I must say that he gave me great instructions and now the program works as usual. (Etan asked me to clarify that he is not holding a gun to my head at the time of this post).

The main focus of my paper is the probabilities of GoogleWhacks (english word pairs with 1 google hit). As with all models of the real world some of the data doesn't fit. The word in the below search has exactly 1 hit alone, a goldmine! Pair it with any other word on that page and you've got another googlwhack. This is a very unstable state, any mention of this word anywhere on the internet will totally ruin everything. So check out this search then use caution and then never speak of it again.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

LanseyBrothers Spam Week! (Part 3/3)

The other day I decided to take a look at my Gmail spam section and a two spam emails caught my eye. One of them had a subject that I will not recount in this blog, but Gmail also displayed the first couple words in the email: "What's up Sigismundus." I was pretty sure that Sigismundus, aka Zygmunt I the Old, was the fifth ruler of the Jagiellon dynasty of Poland, but to be on the safe side I read the email. It started with a short discussion about statistics which will likewise not be recounted in the blog. However, the stuff that followed was very interesting.

It was a bunch of text, which seemed partially random, but also partially made sense. From the sections of psedu-clarity I suspected that whoever was sending this spam was gathering text from somewhere in Internet Land. After much extensive research (i.e. Google) I have located the original sources. Below is the body of the email, fully {referenced}. The text in [brackets] I added for your legiblity pleasure, and did not appear in the original email:
your mother to get rid of you. She however chose the worst method to get rid of you. If she had {termpapergenie}. normal faults are the cause of the earthquakes at these divergent boundaries.The seafloor sees the {freeforessays}. events, Holden tries to preserve his innocence and the purity of the children around him. Holde[n] {planetpapers}
doubt, that is, a doubt which will be the means of arriving at certitude. This differs from {joyterpin}. [le]tter to the President begging him not to use this terrible weapon. The rest of Einstein's life was dedicated {planetpapers}. [droug]ht and soil erosion, but the effects of man on the environment leading to desertificati {planetpapers}.
So, the dirty underworld of online, poorly-written term-paper databases has a purpose beyond cheating: Spam. It's good to know that at least sometimes evil hangs out in one place. And that's all for Spam Week, folks. To quote the end of the email, "Hope is was of some help, nano."

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

LanseyBrothers Spam Week! (Part 2/3)

Every day I receive zero to four spam emails. They have interesting subjects and they come from people with interesting names. I have been informed multiple times that I am pre-qualified to refinance my home (the one I have in spam world, I guess). Many a time I receive these lovely emails telling me about the great penny stocks of the stock market, with their projections of 100 times increases. I have been offered great deals on Rolex watches, and drugs with numbers in their names.

I have, through painstaking research, produced a theorem of how I suddenly got a many times increase of spam emails. I call it Aryeh's Theorem of University Spamming or, for short, Aryeh's Theory of Unaspammers. As you walk around your college freshman orientation you see all these interesting clubs and groups, so you give your email out to tons of people who you do not know. They then never email you, but you do have an interesting increase in spam emails.

The mathematical model for this is written below, X(i) is the initial amount of spam emails you get, k is the spam coefficient which defines the amount of time it take for your email address to spread in preexisting spam networks (it's defined based on the amount of email lists you are already on and what kind of lists), A is the Aryeh constant. It's derived based upon the amount of people you gave your email out to divided by the credibility constants of those people. Finally, X(f) is the final amount of spam you get. [X(i)*k+|4A*sin(X(f))|] this formula defines the amount of daily spam you will get for the first month of college, the amount of daily spam after this can be expressed by this formula |4*sin(X)|*k*A^(1/2). I hope you feel educated, and if you aren't or are confused please enjoy this police drawing of what this Unaspammer might look like.

Of course Spam Week wouldn't be complete without a hearty song: Spam! Spam! Wonderful Spam!!!

Sunday, April 02, 2006

LanseyBrothers Spam Week! (Part 1/3)

I got a spam email the other day from Kamel Ben-Salem, a professor at Akamai University. This "University" claims to believe in the "amelioration of major world problems." If there is a greater world problem than email spam I'll eat my hat. Obviously I sent my opinions to some Akamai folks (read the whole spam email and my response here).
The "University" president denied the whole thing:
We are not aware of the Spamming incident you have referred to in your email communication . . .
Kind regards,
Douglass Capogrossi, Ph.D.
Akamai University
"Dr." Ben-Salem was kind enough to reply more creatively, below is his actual response, I kid you not:
Dear Sir lansey,
Thank you very much for your mail. Nevertheless, I don’t agree with you that the publication of the article concerning the “ancient texts” is a crime against humanity. I do not think that asking the researchers about their point of view on my paper should be considered as a spam. According to me contacting researchers is beneficial:
- It lets you have new opinions and critics.
- It lets you exchange ideas about different cultures.
Let me also precise that some colleagues who received my paper through Internet, have made the following remark : the author of the Koran could be an exceptionally intelligent person, referring to the prophet of Islam. But can someone who lived in an epoch (6-7th century A.D.) and a place (Arabia) characterized by obscurantism and ignorance imagine the boiling of seas and oceans? ("(I Swear)Â… By the Canopy Raised High, And by the boiling sea."). No comment!

[The Camel Dr. Rambles on here so I paraphrase:]

Two questions have also often been asked by colleagues who read my paper :
1- Why are astronomical phenomena not described in the Quran with more precision?
2- blah blah . . . ?
The answer to the first question is that the Quran blah blah scientific phenomena blah blah swelling ball.") Quran 81:1), it says in Sura 82, verse 2, blah blah

blah blah, more blah and blah

I wish you good reading.
Yours sincerely,
Kamel Ben Salem
I'm not sure how to reply to this guy but I expect to have some good ideas by the end of spamweek.