Pictured above? Grants Pass. If I am not much mistaken, this picture was taken by one Brett Hopper, with whom I was a cub- (and briefly boy-) scout. I say it is him because I recall Brett had a great desire to become a pilot, and this one works near GP as a pilot, etc. Also because I heard long ago that he'd attended LCC for a time, as has this Brett Hopper. Anyhow, there you go. A chunk of GP for your viewing pleasure. The original is here.
- Is it
- a) Susan, the pregnant wife with the high potential for weird pregnancy-related food cravings
- b) Tom, the very un-pregnant husband
or is it
- The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald
- Catcher in the Rye, JD Salinger
- The Grapes of Wrath, John Steinbeck
- To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee
- The Color Purple, Alice Walker
- Ulysses, James Joyce
- Beloved, Toni Morrison
- The Lord of the Flies, William Golding
- 1984, George Orwell
- The Sound and the Fury, William Faulkner
- Lolita, Vladmir Nabokov
- Of Mice and Men, John Steinbeck
- Charlotte's Web, EB White
- A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, James Joyce
- Catch-22, Joseph Heller
- Brave New World, Aldous Huxley
- Animal Farm, George Orwell
- The Sun Also Rises, Ernest Hemingway
- As I Lay Dying, William Faulkner
- A Farewell to Arms, Ernest Hemingway
- Most of the flood damage has been repaired. A few things remain, but man, we really lucked out.
- Moving office. Again.
- We went to Oil Rig Eureka and dove under it. It was very interesting. Sea lions are funny. There were so very many tiny fish that sometimes you couldn't see!
- We also saw a taping of Last Comic Standing, in North Hollywood. It was a long wait for two ten-minute sets. The comedians were both funny, but the taping portion made me feel vaguely dirty. Not in any kind of good way, either, Woody Allen.
- Falafel fried chicken. 'Nuff said.
- Some good friends of ours are expecting a baby. The expecting father says, "people don't make babies: babies make babies."
My new Sony's hard drive died last month. This is not Sony's fault; components fail, especially (weirdly) when they're new. The service, on the other hand, is agonizing. After repeatedly explaining that there was an I/O error on the drive preventing me from booting, I was told to try reinstalling the operating system. This, of course, did not work, because . . . there was an I/O error on the disk, which did not magically disappear when I inserted the recovery CD. Eventually, I persuaded them that the disk had indeed failed. Fine, they said; we will send you in which you can ship it back to us. The box will get there within 48 hours; it will be expressed back to us, and we'll turn it around in 7-10 business days. Two weeks without a computer isn't insurmountable. That was two weeks ago. Unfortunately, it took a while for the box to arrive, because they'd gotten my address wrong. For some inexplicable reason, they'd entered "Clarendon, Virginia" after the correct street address. Now, this is not a conceivable error on my part. I have never lived in, or near, Clarendon, Virginia. I'm not even sure I knew it existed until the rep told me that that was where my box had gone. Unfortunately, by the time the box had arrived, I was out of town, being unable to plan my travel schedule around Sony's ineffable errors. When I returned, I boxed it up per the instructions and took it to Fedex. You can imagine my surprise when, two days later, Fedex delivered my computer to me. At least the address was right in one place: on the "To" section of the label, which was erroneously addressed to me, instead of Sony's repair centre. That was the end of last week. So today I called to arrange for service. Sony, out of the kindness of their heart, offered to . . . send me another box.Suffice it to say, I'm glad that I haven't landed there, yet. It is only a matter of time, though.
- To disappear into the blind spots of other drivers, and reappear when least expected!
- To strike with the deadly Toyota, Honda, and Nissan techniques!
- To utilize darkness, light, and the Element to confuse your target!
- To jump dozens of places in a line of autos!
- And much more
- Mickey loves it when we put used paper-towel tubes in the hobotrail with him.
- Sorry about that; it was force of hobo.
- The Mother Superior placed the hobo over Frances' shoulders.
She's been many things: EMT, day-care provider, student, teacher, sales-whiz, jewelry-maker, and more. She's got versatility.
A high-school dropout, she went to college and got a degree, and then went to grad school and got another! She's got gumption.
About thirty years now, she and her husband have taken care of each other, and grown four (quite) odd children to adulthood. She's got a family, and they love her.
Happy Mother's Day, Mom.
And to all you other Moms: I don't know how you do it--but I'm glad you do.
On the top left, we have a three-sided resonator, like you might form with your vantiy mirrors. We can imagine light following along the red path, coming back onto itself again and again. If we were to add more sides, and follow the arrow down, we'd see that each time the light turns, it makes a smaller turn in the seven-sided resonator than in the three-sided one. If we go farther, up the diagonal arrow, we find a twenty-sided resonator, and the light's turns are smaller still... taking the limit of that process to infinity and imagining a hollow cylinder with a mirrored inside surface, we form what's called a "Whispering Gallery Mode Resonator," (or WGM),so named for the Whispering Gallery at St. Paul's cathedral in London. We see that the arrow from the twenty-sided resonator to the WGM resonator is wiggly, and that the WGM is full of "lobes." That sort of represents for you that we're making certain that the light has the right wavelength to "fit" inside! Those are the kind of resonators I deal with at work. Here's a few Scanning Electron Microscope micrographs I took of one such resonator:
Along the bottom is an overview, looking down on a Silicon microdisk WGM resonator. That one is 100 micrometers in diameter-about the diameter of a human hair. Above that, you see a couple of detail pictures. The left one shows a bit closer, and the right, closer still. As you see, these disks are very thin. Around 200 nanometers. Dealing with these is a bit of a pain. In order to get light into them, we bring a fiber optical cable quite close... so close, that the photons jump from the cable to the resonator. Here's a schematic that emphasizes a that.
In the top panel, we have a fiber optic cable running from left to right, carrying a rainbow of light. The circular thing in the middle is a top-view of a WGM resonator. As you can see, some colors of light jump off the fiber optic cable and swirl around in the WGM. I've exaggerated the degree to which the different colors are displaced, just for clarity. As you see, each of the colors is a wave, and each wave closes on itself. That's called the resonant condition-and is what I mean when I say that the light has to "fit:" at any given point, after a round trip, the electromagnetic wave has to look identical to how it looked beforehand! Another thing we see is that after the WGM resonator, the fiber optic cable doesn't have any more "red," "green," or "blue" light. It's all stuck in the resonator. We can see that in the bottom panel, where the curve shows the transmission past the resonator as a function of wavelength. Right at "red," "green," and "blue," all of the light gets stuck in the resonator. The shapes there are called "Lorentzian curves." You see that each dip has a little width- well, that has to do with how much light gets absorbed in the resonator, or radiated out into the world, etc. The less that happens, the narrower each dip will be. So, what does all that have to do with the crazy picture below? Well, the shapes of the Whispering Gallery Modes are a little more complicated. It turns out that each of those is an electromagnetic wave. And there are a couple of different ways that the electric field part can be oriented. Each of those orientations gives rise to different specific properties. Moreover, a given orientation can also form more complicated mode patterns- each of which also gives rise to different properties. The picture below was made by recording the transmission versus wavelength (around 1500nm-invisible light) and then moving the fiber optic cable farther from the resonator an then recording the transmission versus wavelength and then movi.... Sorry. Pointing up is one electric field orientation, and pointing down is another. I'm still not sure WTF was going on.
- Ira Flatow basically tried to browbeat a caller into bombing a fertility clinic. The subject of the evening's show was stem cell research. When a caller spoke of his strong belief that all life begins at conception, Ira asked what the fellow was doing about it... Eventually, he posed the question, "If these were your children, what would you do? Would prayer be enough? Would writing letters to your congressmen suffice? Shouldn't you be doing something?" It wasn't explicit, but-hoo boy-subtext.
- Dr. Ruth was an Israeli sniper before she was-well-Dr. Ruth. Talk about a career change.
- We went shooting for the first time in a little over a month. Susan, as usual, was amazing. I did pretty well, too. We did have one problem: on several clips, the shell casings weren't clearing for Susan. She tried firming up her grip, but it didn't help. Any idears? (This did not happen to me at all)
In this post, you'll see some of my work... don't laugh. Here is an ICP/RIE.
We use it a lot. In order to make it work, we need all of this:
You can see small shiny tubes running everywhere. The tubes carry various gases: Argon, Helium, Nitrogen, Oxygen, Octofluorocyclobutane, Sulfur Hexafluoride, Chlorine, Silane, and a couple of others. I did that. It took a while to measure and bend it all.
Occasionally, the ICP/RIE breaks. When that happens, I usually have to fix it. Recently, the part pictured below broke. (It turns out, more than one thing was probably broken, with one leading to the other) Incidentally, that thing is a RF (radio-frequency) AMU (auto-matching-unit). Basically, it connects an RF power supply to our system. In order to make sure the power goes efficiently from the generator into the system, it has to automatically adjust some doohickeys to match the impedances. Impedance is just a fancy kind of resistance, but it is fairly important. In order to replace it, I had to take it apart.
This is the RF AMU:
Here's a better look:
And now with that part on the ground, ready to really work on...
You can see some cylindrical bodies there in the box. Those are tunable vacuum capacitors. The top one seemed to be stuck in one position, so I replaced it. No dice. I could tell that the capacitor could move, now, but looking closely, I found that the machine didn't know it was moving. Eventually, I traced the problem to one of the bits hanging off the side (there are two motors and gearboxes and whatnot)-one of the gearboxes was bad. When I replaced that, everything was peachy.
- Running 2 1/2 to 3 miles, every other day. No recurrence of knee problem, as yet.
- Playing The Elder Scrolls: Morrowind quite a bit. Getting near to completing it.
- Looking forward to reading the new Harry Potter book, which we've got pre-ordered.
- Not going shooting. What with a variety of things, it has been weeks. I need to lay off the diet coke before we go, though: it makes me kinda jittery.
- Enjoying the Pasadena weather. Not quite a proper spring, but it'll do in a pinch
- Listening to a bunch of music I haven't heard in a goodly while (my iPod has been largely battery-less for a long time, now, and I just reloaded onto computer several gigs of old tunes)
- Hungry (lunch in about an hour).
- Had to fix the ICP/RIE, which was a pain in the ass. I'll dig up some pictures of the things I had to deal with.
- Finally, after months, getting a working fiber aligner from New Focus (they sent a bad one, then returned it unfixed, the first time I sent it to be serviced).
- Diving at Anacapa.
- Shooting more, and getting the Handgun Safety Certificate Study Guide from the Attorney General of California, so we can purchase a sweet, sweet, pistol: the Sigarms P226.
- Eating at Gyu-Kaku, a yakiniku restaurant.
- Playing Fable, which we've had for about two years and haven't played for one.
- Thing the first
- Megan, you should do the "six things." Dad, Mom, Sis, anyone else, please also join in in comments.
- Thing the second
- Clean Messes: I don't mind a certain amount of messiness... so long as edges of objects in the mess are parallel and not askew.
- Stubbornly Refuse Recommendations: Basically, if more than one person (or the same person more than once) recommends something to me forcefully, I will refuse it. I don't know why, but it seems like badgering, and I hate badgers.
- Afraid of Heights But Love to Fly, Ride Rollercoasters, Climb Things: Go figure. I'm terrified when I look over high edges, or drive near ravines, cliffs, etc.
- Life Sized Cardboard Cutouts and People in Animal Suits Disturb Me: I just get the willies!
- Tremor: I have one. Have had for years.
- Periodic Teeth-clenching Whilst In Transit: I clench my teeth (gently) whenever I pass between dots on a dotted-line road.
- Beautifully shot: First off, I do agree that it was beautifully shot. The visuals were quite striking. I didn't really notice the score at all, but then I rarely do. Unless it is like one of those movies from the "Golden Age of Cinema," full of orchestral music recorded at much, much too high a level.
- Paranoid schitzophrenic: This may well have been the thing that made me not like the movie. It was disturbing. Note that I won't say that it was a bad movie. Just that I didn't like it.
- The pseudoreality concept: I'm not generally against pseudoreality in film or print. I didn't like Owl Creek, either, though.
1) It was beautifully shot.Perhaps now Tom might weigh in on why he didn't/doesn't like this movie...
I have to say that this was one of the prettier films I've seen in a while. In the opening sequence, we're swept along a mountain road, panning out over the valley as the sun rises. The musical score was affecting without being overbearing, I think, which added some level of intensity to the images.
2) I haven't seen too many movies that tell the story from the point of view of a paranoid schizophrenic.
And A Beautiful Mind this ain't. Not that I have any first-hand experience with schizophrenia, so I cannot attest to the validity of this portrayal, but it was interesting to watch "reality" unfold as the main character perceives it. At times he even knows what he is seeing and interacting with isn't real, but you can understand how he gets sucked into believing it anyway.
3) It seems that I dig the whole "pseudoreality" concept.
I enjoyed Ambrose Bierce's short story Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge when I read it in high school. This movie was very similar in its basic structure. It may not be the most meaningful or intellectually stimulating of plot types, but whatever. I like it, even if that makes me some kind of dolt. ;)
- 1968:The Year That Rocked the World, by Mark Kurlansky
- Casino Royale.
- Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs:A Low Culture Manifesto, by Chuck Klosterman.
- The Moon is a Harsh Mistress, by Robert Heinlein
- Inside Delta Force: The Story of America's Elite Counterterrorist Unit, by Eric Haney
- Snow Crash, by Neal Stephenson
- Mort, by Terry Pratchett
- Wigfield: The Can-Do Town That Just May Not, by Amy Sedaris, et al.
- GI distress
- Sensitive skin
- Sore throat
Our ambition is to give you connected experiences 24 hours a day.... And in thinking about that broadly, one area that comes up that clearly demand [sic] special work, and that is thinking about connecting to the car... But the car is special. You've got to have things that are simple. (like a computer) And so we've been investing in this, and we've had a very key partner who's been willing to pioneer this with us, and we're just making a significant announcement in that overall vision today. And so to help me with that, I'd like to welcome Mark Fields, the president of the Americas for Ford Motor Company, to join me on stage. (Applause.)
MARK FIELDS: Hi, Bill.
BILL GATES: Welcome, Mark.
MARK FIELDS: The new thing is a fully integrated, voice activated, in-car communications and entertainment system for mobile phones and digital music players...
So what Synch does is it totally integrates like never before all of your electronic devices, like your cell phones, Zunes, iPods, all the things that are in your pockets when you get in your car, right into the vehicle, and seamlessly...
Yes, what a good idea. We should let Microsoft get its tentacles into our cars. It won't be long before the following joke doesn't make the software guy look bad:
Four engineers were driving a car. There was a chemical engineer, a mechanical engineer, an electrical engineer, and a software engineer. Suddenly, the engine died and it coasted to a stop on the shoulder. "Must be vapor lock", said the chemical engineer."The distributor's probably shot", said the electrical engineer."The timing belt broke", opined the mechanical engineer. Then the software engineer spoke up. "Look, everyone calm down. Let's just get out of the car, then get back in and start it back up."