An unexpected perk of being a Caltech grad student

Filed under: academe,neat!,physics @ 18:54

Checking my campus mailbox this morning, I was delightfully surprised by an interesting missive: The January, 1987 edition of The UFO Report. I can only assume some local… is nutjob too strong a word? went through Bridge and put copies in random boxes.

Pretty awesome, though.

The first… article tells the tale of a man and his motorcycle – both driven to seek out extraterrestrials where any reasonable human would most expect to find them: in the woods ripping down the occassional tree and yelling a lot. After passing up the possibility to closely inspect one, nay, two clearly alien spacecraft, he heads to the nearest town for a drink and a chance to interview the locals who had taken advantage of a similar opportunity. Unfortunately, those locals had a dying aunt, or some such, and it wasn’t a good time to discuss the issue. Given, though, the nature of the periodical, you can safely assume he eventually found some aliens (…or did he???). It is particularly remarkable that, in the account, there are literally dozens of witnesses who, one supposes, could verify the presence of our hero near the sighting, yet at the time when he claims to have seen the beast(s?), the author was alone. Naturally, no details about the author are given.

A very entertaining read. Almost as good as the accompanying illustrations.

Read more…


Isn’t it great that women can do science too?

Filed under: academe,rants,thoughts @ 01:52

*vision of a thousand hackels rising on each of a thousand people*

Down the hall from my office is a poster of “Women in Science & Mathematics”. It shows about twenty or so famous women, noting their respective fields of studies: astronaut, theoretical nuclear physicist, geneticist, mathematician, etc. Every time I walk down the hall, I see this poster and I cringe.

Read more…


First Lab of a New Season

Filed under: academe,news @ 00:23

My first Ph 3 lab this term was today. You simply would not believe how hard we rocked out on our Joule’s calorimetry experiment discussion. Would. Not. Believe.


First day of a new term

Filed under: a group of folks,academe,news @ 18:53

It wasn’t much different than any other day. I didn’t go to campus because it was raining all day (and was that thunder I heard?) and just read stuff here in the SLR. To mix things up a bit, I pissed Greg off by solving his new rubik’s like invertable tetrahedron. Sukah.

More gratifyingly, I also headed over to amazon to spend a gift certificate (LotR:TT&RotK) and ended up donating to the American Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund for the victims of the December 26 Tsunami. So far, Amazon has amassed over $13 million from nearly 170 thousand contributions.

A few clicks, and it could be more.


A slight discrepancy

Filed under: academe,news @ 17:02

What I said I was going to do while I was gone: read P&S, read N&C and do all the prelab problems for the lab I’m TAing.

What I actually did while I was gone: read Linguists and Aliens, the Engines of God, Lemony Snicket, America the Book, and watched Chamber of Secrets, Prisoner of Azkaban, Bad Boys, and The Incredibles.


Term ≅ Over

Filed under: a group of folks,academe @ 21:13

I turned in my final (who has finals?), I passed GR, and I faithfully attended every first-year seminar. All I need to do before laying this term completely to rest is grade about fifteen labs. By the time you see me gate crashing the annual chemistry party, I’ll be at peace.

Speaking of, I’ve been telling people I’m going as someone’s ‘+2’ (though I was technically invited). Just who that someone is has yet to be pinned down – it may change throughout the evening. To further complicate (and for that reason), I tried inviting Holly as my guest to increase the maximal degree of separation, but she said she already had plans. So, is there anyone who wants free Ernie’s? Not that I want to get out of the oracle’s good graces, I just plan on having a good time.


Turn up the AC

Filed under: academe,rants @ 00:39

My laptop is really heating up now, and I think its fans have gone into second gear trying to calculate a very nice looking integral. I’m sure if I were clever, it’d be fairly easy to do by hand. But I’m not, so it isn’t.

In ~Mathematica Lingo:
Integral[Exp[[ImaginaryI] k.u] Exp[-m Abs[u]]/Abs[u], {u, all space}] (u, k 3-vectors)

(a 3D Fourier transform of Exp[-m Abs[u]]/Abs[u])

It’s for my Relativistic Quantum problem set. The problem set is late. Late because I’ve been spending all my time TAing Ph3.

I hate Ph3. It’s a huge pain in my ass; it eats away all my time and most of my will to live. I have to meet at least six times a week for this class. Six. And it’s a mechanics/circuits lab; I don’t even have access to any liquid nitrogen to cool down my currently-in-the-blackbody-domain laptop.

I wonder, is stress induced brain hemorrhaging grounds for collecting worker’s comp?


Ok – before anything upsets the situation

Filed under: a group of folks,academe,news @ 16:16

I want to get this down in writing. (The oh-so-permanent media that is the internet)

Preskill has signed the forms. As far as he’s concerned, I’m officially a Physics Ph.D. advisee of his.

Now if only I can find Porter and convince the Physics Option of the same thing.



Filed under: academe,thoughts @ 20:01

So I never registered for Fall classes. Who cares? Well, apparently the registrar does. You’d think it’d just be one fewer student to keep track of for them if I never registered. Something tells me they’d say it’s just one more to keep track of. I wouldn’t be worrying about it – the registrar is one person who seems like can make things happen retroactively – except that a necessary (sufficient?) condition to receiving helah benefits is actually being registered.

Thus, if I don’t register soon – I no longer have health coverage. And I am positive I will have some sort of horrific accident the day after I lose coverage. So I guess I’ll need to deal with that tomorrow.

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