Sunday, March 29, 2009

Visualizing Areodynamics with Snow Patterns

There was a snowstorm one windy night - with the wind going smoothly in one direction. The pattern that the snow left made the aerodynamics of the various cars clear.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

A new blog

I have started a new blog called Behind the Guesses.  It is by and large a physics / math blog, so I imagine only a subset of our normal readers might find it interesting.  At the moment I only have an intro post, but I have an exciting post all ready for Monday, so check back then.
Here's a small preview of some topics you can expect to see:
  • The Quantum Harmonic Oscillator Ladder Operators
  • Newton's Laws
  • The Dot and Cross Products
  • And more...
And here's an excerpt of Monday's post as a sneak preview:
Now, at this point, many texts define, with no motivation other than future ``convenience'', two operators

and proceed to show how these can be used to simplify the Hamiltonian and easily solve the problem. While it is an elegant and quick solution, this presentation is completely useless. I find it highly unlikely that Dirac sat down to solve this problem and tried a whole series of random operators

and so on, along with their complex conjugates, until he lucked out with the solution in (5)...
See you all there!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

A Look From Up High

In the past I have spoken of my job, to be more specific here and here. For those of you who are to lazy to click those links and who can't recall what my job is here is a quick description. I fly a tethered blimp and take pictures of stuff. The taking pictures part has finally come to fruition; last week over spring break we finally where able to fly the blimp in the air outside (we had to wait for nice weather). Of course before we could fly it we needed an SD card for the camera, so I had them buy a 16 gig SD card, and I had the extreme pleasure of installing it and discovering that I could now take 4795 12 megapixel pictures.

I know you have been seeing a lot of my head, but at least here it is from approximately 30 feet high.

From 60 feet high, with a jeep driving by.

Picture of the roof of the building we store the blimp in.

90 feet high, legally we cant fly it higher than about 500, however we had slight equipment failure at this point. The up-link from the camera to me failed so I lost a picture of what the camera was looking at, and of course I am working to fix this problem so next time we can post some pictures from really high up.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

I joined a lab and went on a hike

The many layers of snow covering a volvo that never moved.

One layer of snow from a great snowstorm

Mount Monadnock in New Hampshire . . . It was covered in snow - waist deep in drifts.

Notice the hole where my foot crashed through the top layer of hard snow and I went in up to my knees.

The lab I work for is headed by Michele Rucci.
Iused a picture from California

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Missing the point

I recently got an email security alert from YU warning about a scam:
Hello:  This is yet another bogus email making the rounds at YU.
PLEASE NOT click on any links!   Please delete it.
If you have in fact responded to this email, please contact the Held [sic] Desk!
A copy of the email is below:
This seems pretty straightforward.  And yet, a few minutes later, someone responded, to the entire YU-Infosecurity mailing list, with their email user name, password, etc.  Sometimes it is important to read instructions, you know.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

It's a Star!!! It's a Planet!!! NO!!! It's The ISS

Well first off I need to show what photoshoping (although I did it in paint) I did on the last picture from last weeks post.


In Other News, If you are in the New Jersey Area you are offered a great opportunity this evening. Between 7:37 - 7:46 pm the International Space Station will be orbiting almost directly overhead at about 85 degrees (I don't know from which direction). Additionally this is going to be a very bright one with the additional bonus of possibly seeing the Space Shuttle Chasing it. Of course after this mission the space station will be at full power and because of the new solar arrays it will be the second brightest object in the night sky (after the moon). If you want more info on how to see the ISS both this time and in the future you can watch this presentation from my friend Paul titled How To View The International Space Station. This will of course also let you know if you can see it where you are and of course how to see it at another time.

Friday, March 13, 2009

The Consumerist beats baby bunnies and monkeys

Typically, aside from our regular readers, our blog gets a lot of its incoming hits from people looking for pictures of baby bunnies or monkeys and the like.  But yesterday my post got picked up by The Consumerist, driving up our traffic.  As of this post, The Consumerist sent us 230 visitors, while monkeys and bunnies combined sent us around 80 (out of a historical log size of 500 entries).

Thursday, March 12, 2009

No experience necessary

There are ads for Icon Parking in some subway cars:

Now, this seems like a pretty good deal for parking in NYC.  But, on the right side of these banners:
Note the last bullet point: ``No experience necessary.''  I don't know, now the cheap parking deal doesn't look so hot - I wouldn't want people with no (parking) experience, driving my car around a tightly packed lot.  I suspect they caught on to this, because the latest version of the ads change the last bullet point:
Yup, now they offer ``paid training.''

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Happy Purim

Well its Purim so Freilichen Purim to all.

Putting together the Shalach Manot
My costume (I borrowed the top hat from a friend).
There seemed to be some confusion about the hair, I will point out that this is my real hair. Not fake hair in any way.
Once again my real hair with the awesome, real felt hat. Now its time for the Purim Party Puzzle, I edited something in this photo, something big; the challenge it to figure out what I changed. And the game is on.

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Eating Disorders Explained

I got another email the other week from a YU spamming mailing list:
What are you doing for National Eating Disorder Awareness Week?

Nothing planned yet??

Join Active Minds at YU tomorrow...[snip]

"Celebrating The Survivors: Eating Disorders Explained"



light refreshments will be served
A few comments.  Firstly, who plans something special for National Eating Disorder Awareness Week?  Like, "I would go, but I have an all night all-you-can-eat buffet planned..." or "I would go, but I've been planning to eat only this one piece of celery this week for months already."  In any case, in light of the subject matter of the event, perhaps refreshments aren't totally appropriate.

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

I'm Back

Well after a long break from posting I am back. In the past couple of years I have often spoken of the AIAA and how we design and build an airplane. Well I have finally bought an airplane of my own.It is about three feet long, and powered by two ducted fans. I have to slightly modify the front landing gear so that it tracks straight and then flying time. I will post pictures and videos of course (assuming someone is there to do it for me, I will be flying after all).

Sunday, March 01, 2009


SPLAM, Definition: Innocent email in your inbox that is meant for someone else.

For those who don't recall, Splam is the term used to describe emails sent by real people, but to the wrong address. It is always appropriate to respond with some attempt at humor. It was first defined and described on this blog about one year ago and we have since had several sightings. Firstly Ilan, from Bits of Ink fame had a very clever response to someone back in 2007 (read it here). Next Tracy Wilkinson needed some help taking me off her mailing list last August, then Eli reported recieving some Splam in the real world!

This post is about my most recent Splam incedent. The last names have been changed in the email below, its a complex story - so pay attention to all the characters.
I just got this message from Bob Builder:
Hi Bonnie,
I've heard back from Bruce Wayne a couple of time today. Bruce has his talking points ready for discussion with Jonathan Smith. Bruce says that he is now just waiting for a call back from Jonathan. Hopefully that will be sooner than later.
If you happen to talk to Jonathan, please let him know that Bruce Wayne is ready with his comments.
Have a nice weekend!
You work so hard that I hate to urge you to call him this late on a Friday afternoon, but it would be wonderful to be able to go the board informed about thier basic position rather than uninformed.
See what you can do, please.
I did not know any of the people mentioned, but it was addressed to me, and I didn't want to call Bruce, so I thought it would be appropriate to respond:
I can't take this level of stress anymore! Just because of your email I'm not going to call Bruce for another WEEK!
You should be GLAD that I'm not QUITTING because of this!
One last thing - %$#& the $%#@-ing board! They know nothing about science!
PS: plz scroll all the way down before replying
And upon scrolling down - she may have noticed:
Just kidding!
You probably wanted to contact Jonathan Smith instead of me, I am an old KGI REU student.
Good luck!
PS: hope you didn't get a heart attack.
To end the story - everyone lived. The response I got was:
I may have errant fingers, but nerves of steel. Thanks for letting me know (rather creatively) that my message was sent to the wrong person. Hope all is well in your life.