Tuesday, May 30, 2006


Well we have just got back from our family vacation to Canada. I'm happy to get back to the states as I got into a wee bit of trouble in Canada's capital, Ottawa. I informed Canada's Supreme Court that they looked like they had just wandered away from a Santa Claus convention. I was promptly arrested and put on trial. After the longest trial ever held in Canada (seventeen and a half minutes) they sentenced me to death by train. Unfortunately for them the train they chose didn't work anymore, so they let me off. However to teach me a lesson they stuck my head in a cannon right outside of the Canadian Parliament and right next to the Parliament cat sanctuary.

Sunday, May 28, 2006

Future Stations Already on the Map

We'll be back from canada today but the video is still being google-verified. This Newark post will have to do for now but the canada vid. should be up next week.

Why put stations on the map before they exist? Imagine a guy gets into the subway wanting to go to NJPAC, see's future station, thinks "okay, I'll just wait a few years for them to finish."

Something we learn from Shammai (an old Jewish wise man),
"Say a little, do a lot." Pirkei Avot (1:15)

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Dry Paint

The hallways in the YU buildings are painted once or twice a year. However, they do not scrape off the old paint before adding a new layer. This means that in like 700 years, the hallway will be totally filled in with layer upon layer of paint.

Also, you know how they put up signs that say "Wet Paint"? I want to put up signs that say "Dry Paint" in random places - park benches, subway stations, and so on.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Petting Zoo

"DWEEEEEEEEEEEEE", ah there I said it now I don't have to say it again (at least too many times more). This Sunday was the Highland Park street fair. I was there helping out at my Karate School's booth. We had our booth right around the corner from the actual karate school (its about two buildings down from the main street). At the beginning of the block there was a petting zoo. They had four ponies in a cage tied to carousal; they had a big sheep and a little sheep, a llama (which tried to kick the one person I saw try to pet it) a baby cow, two baby goats, and three baby bunny rabbits and a guinea pig. For all that the animals where cute, I had to feel really bad for them. The big sheep went crazy when the little sheep was taken back to the truck (the sheep were not anywhere near as fluffy as they should be). The llama ran away when I tried to pet it. The baby cow appeared to be way to thin and the goats spent most of their time standing on the llama. Finally I have never seen such traumatized rodents, poor three-week-old rabbits and an adult guinea pig getting poked by little kids the whole day. On the plus side one of the kids helping with the petting farm was wearing a collar with a leash (don't ask me I don't know). Dwee little animals are very dwee but sad when traumatized.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Revisiting Catenaries and Googlewhack

My Catenary Experiment webpage has been sneakily linked from wikipedia, and it comes up first for a few different searches. To make a long story short, some Washington State HS teacher found my site and had his calc class repeat my experiment, the results of which are now hanging up in their "school common room." Thanks Rick for sending me the pictures:

In other news, my googlewhack research has taken poster form at an NJIT Math Conference, checkout my abstract in the big list here (page 9). You can also learn everything about it on my website here, or go straight to the fancy PDF poster here.
I was lucky to get a great location and the pretty pictures didn't fuzzify like they do on all the other posters.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

You were online for how long?!?

When I am not on my own computer, and I want to sign on to AOL Instant Messenger, I use Portable GAIM. But I noticed a little bug: It shows some people having been signed into AIM for over 49,709 days.
49,709 days is around 136 years. In other words, GAIM is saying that some people have been chatting online since 1870!
So, in 1870 the US fought a civil war, the Brooklyn Bridge started being built, Standard Oil became a corporation, Lenin was born and some people signed onto AOL Instant Messenger.

In other news, I am one of the 10,000 finalists in Google+Sony's Da Vinci Code Challenge.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

What would you do with 10 extra square inches?

While studying for finals I decided to take some books out of the library (The Rutgers Pharmacy and Sciences library is thankfully free of holes in space time) to study Mechanics-Statics. I took out three books, one was the second edition of a book on dynamics and statics, the other two were the fourth and fifth editions of the same book (all three were by the same authors, but weirdly enough they covered different material). In the end I ended up teaching myself most of the material from the second edition statics/dynamics book published in 1957 (kind of shows you how "static" the subject is). The fifth edition book (published 1988) included tutorial software on a five and a quarter inch floppy disk with an awe inspiring 800 kilobytes of info which means there is a womping 29 kilobytes per square inch (nothing in comparison to the modest 281617 kilobytes per square inch of a DVD). However, unfortunately I don't have a computer to run this; not because I don't have a working computer with a working 5.25-inch floppy drive, but rather because my family's lovely and still working Commodore 128 falls short on RAM. The disk requires 256K RAM; the Commodore has only 128K of RAM. For all you college students out there happy summer vacation and to all those that this applies to happy Log B'Omer.
Extra Credit for figuring out the title of this post.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Happy Spring to Everyone

We had a cardinals nest in a bush right by our window. My mom built a birdblind and cut a hole in the bush so we could see. I took some pictures of the father cardinal throwing up- I mean feeding the babies.

Once the parents started with solid food, the birds went out into the world.

Kind of a nice bird as long as were on the topic.

If your at NJIT Monday or Tuesday, come see my Googlewhack poster 3720 GITC.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Danger! Paper Shredder!

We recently got a new paper shredder to shred all sorts of classified documents. But this is no ordinary paper shredder. It shreds paper, opens envelopes, and, I'm not kidding, sharpens pencils. This amazing device can shred five (5) sheets of paper at once, staples, and even credit cards! Alas, it can not shred CDs, paper clips, or, as you can clearly see in this picture, ties or hands:

In other news, my trusty computer of 8 years has finally bit the dust (but the hard drives were spared!). I am hoping, however, that a Windows re-install will bring it back from the dead.

UPDATE: I discovered that one of my RAM chips was on the blink, removed it, and IT'S ALIIIIIIVE!!!!

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

They aimed for the sky, and missed

In previous posts (here and here) I mentioned one of the clubs I am in was making an airplane. Well we finished it and it went down to GA to compete. To cut out a whole lot of technical aerospace jargon I will put it simply: the plane won the record for most propellers destroyed and most crashes survived. Basically the servos that powered the controlling surfaces (flaps/ailerons, rudder, and elevators) had about a 1/5 of the power they needed. When the plane got to about 30 mph the pilot attempted to take off, the wind overtook the servos and the plane pitched into the ground. This happened about 15 times, until they cut down the elevator to about a third of its original surface area and got it into the air. However the center of gravity was above the fuselage and the plane started swinging around (very amusing video they have of it). Then it crashed and the rudder section broke off, and the front landing gear bent. It's still fixable, so some friends and me are going to fix I up and make it fly.
Here are some pictures for your viewing pleasure.


Houston we have lift off!


See it did actualy fly in the end.

So ended the build a plane odyssey for this years graduating seniors.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

More Evaluation Forms, Happy Year's End

Evaluation forms are sort of a hobby of mine,
here's my Thermodynamics form:

What was the best part of the course?
"The demonstrations, wait . . . there were none. Is Physics even real? I have no idea!"

What aspects of the course would you want to see improved?
"the height of the ceiling could be a few feet taller"

Would you recommend the instructor to your friends? why or why not?
"yes", [then I circled why not].

If there is anything else you would like to add, please do so here
"I would like to add 372+2946 but i haven't had the time,"

They had a spot for questions from the professor, he didn't have any so there was a blank spot for the question to be filled in with my own questions. There were still circles to fill in for our answers to the questions.

"Burnt out light in front of the room was replaced promptly"- Strongly Disagree
"Quantity of oxygen present in the room" - Excellent
"ph of water" - Neutral

My College Dorm Microwave Cookbook has a review written by somebody, I don't know who but I know for sure that its Not Elon.

Read the Review here

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Don't ask

Often, in the midst of a pleasant conversation, people innocently ask me what my major is. In case you haven't figured it out, I am majoring in physics at YU. This tends to be, at best, a conversation stopper. But sometimes people feel the need to comment on it. So, here is a list of the top 9 (I couldn't remember 10) things that people have actually said to me, that, in my opinion, should not be said to a physics major:
  1. "Oh... [silence]" - This is by far the most common. Give me a break, people: I am capable of talking about other things (now and again).
  2. "I took physics in highschool." - You did? No way! That's almost like taking physics in college, right? Do I tell you that I took history in highschool?
  3. "I was never good at physics." - And I was never good at philosophy. Should I start with the sad violin music?
  4. "But doesn't that involve a lot of math?" - Yes. And your point?
  5. "What are you going to do with that?" - Simple: Physics. What else would I do with it, analyze French literature?
  6. "But isn't physics hard?" - Yes. That's why it's fun.
  7. "Oh, I never understood physics." - So do you want a tutor? I have reasonable rates...
  8. "Yeah, so I took physics for poets." - And I took English for English majors. You tell me if that's fair.
  9. "I'm sorry." - Don't be. I wouldn't be doing this if I wasn't having fun.

As I know that some of our blog's readers are also physics majors, perhaps you'd like to add to this list in the comments. Non physics majors are welcome to comment, too, on things that people shouldn't ask/tell you.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Incoherent Industrial Inhibitions?

Last week the power for the entire Rutgers Busch Campus (click on the map to zoom in, as a little compitition lets see who can figure out what departments building doesn't fit) went out. I was in the computer lab at the time; fortunately I was just using the computer as a way to listen to my yahoo radio station, while I studied chemistry. This was amusing for me, because there was suddenly almost total darkness and about 200 uhhhhh's??? Well they kicked everyone out until the power came back on, but while standing outside the computer lab I was talking to notelon. He told me that while doing chemistry problems with batteries not to be surprised to get a Kc to the order of magnitude of 10^300. He went on to tell me that his calculator couldn't get this high so he had to use logs, I told him that my calculator could probably go higher than this. Needless to say my TI-89 went way above 1x10^300 in fact I ascertained that it went all they way up to 2x10^613 (it actually printed out that many zeros), after this point my calculator gave me a data overload message (note in reality 1x10^614 went with no problem however 2x10^614 didn't and 9x10^613 did so I just ignore this point). Kind of a cool coincidence don't you think or maybe it is a sign of divine intervention, but than again maybe not.