15 December 2006


An hour ago, I received my final undergraduate grades. I walk the stage in 10 hours. Yay!
Our records indicate that you are academically cleared for graduation.
You are graduating Summa Cum Laude.

12 October 2006

Legos rock

Suddenly, I want to find and rebuild all my old Space Lego sets.

It's sad that Legos have been cheapened by stupid Star Wars and Harry Potter franchises. The more custom parts they make, the less genuinely Lego and cool it is.

09 October 2006

Nuclear North Korea

Well, it appears that North Korea has entered the nuclear arena. This is not a good thing.

Worst case, according to our resident nonproliferation expert professor, is NK weapons increase --> Japan weapons increase --> Russia weapons increase --> US weapons increase and we have another cold war on our hands.

According to the USGS, the nuke-induced quake registered about 4.2 on the Richter scale. I actually get to use something I learned in my 1-hour survey course about nonproliferation: a formula that converts earthquake magnitude to nuclear device power in kT. Assuming it's "well-coupled" (they're not using a large cavern or anything to mask its magnitude, which would be silly at this point in their program), mag = 4.01 + 0.79*log(yield). This gives a yield of about 1.7 kilotons.

The first U.S. nuclear test, the plutonium-based implosion device Trinity, measured about 20 kT. Maybe North Korea's first test was a fizzle? It might also just be a small test.

Regardless, the world is notably less stable today than it was before the weekend.

25 September 2006

Paper ball

Yesterday, one of my AWANA kids re-taught me (it's been way more than ten years at least) the skill of folding those little inflatable paper ball/boxes:

21 September 2006

Mac OS X Voodoo

Every once in a while some annoying glitch will show up on my Mac or my cousin's or someone else's. The examples of mine which I can think of have to do with the Finder sidebar: my "home" folder mysteriously refusing to be removed from it, or one of the folders on it refusing to open when clicked. My cousin once had a problem where he would get a weird and frustrating delay whenever he opened a "save" or "open" dialog box. All we could tell was that it was a problem with one of our preferences. Well, I figured out that they were caused by the same file: .GlobalPreferences.plist.

Moral of the story: if your Mac is acting up, it's not a bad idea to open up the terminal and run this command: killall Finder; cd ~/Library/Preferences; mv .GlobalPreferences.plist .GlobalPreferences-old.plist

05 July 2006


I spent most of last week and today learning MCNP and figuring out how to get it to do what I want. All I can say is that whenever we were unceremoniously thrown into the MCNP swimming hole in the hopes that we could swim, it would have been very nice to have these two primers.

28 June 2006


Today's stupid mistake was not remembering that MCNP's energy bins are described in units of MeV, not eV like those in SCALE are. I was confused why the flux above 20 eV was zero, and I even went and asked two people and was about to forward them my input file before I realized my mistake.

I usually have a hard time being coherent. If I have time to think about something and write it down, and I don't have to write it down very precisely, I'm ok. More formal papers and the like are pretty difficult because one can't get away with the stream-of-thought and highly parentheticalized stuff that I usually write. As far as just talking to my mentor out of the blue, unless I'm prepared with notes, I probably sound like a lunatic.

There have been several seminars that the NSTD puts on; today's was on the ENDF libraries. I don't think any of our classes at school have mentioned the effort that goes into evaluated nuclear data files, or most of the details of resonances and self-shielding and so forth. It was really insightful, and would've been nice to have had at the beginning of the summer instead of now when I'd already learned by trial and error and asking questions what most of the details about the resonance processing code that SCALE uses are.

Ultimate today definitely made up for Monday's. On Monday, there were maybe 20 people there, most of whom didn't seem to enjoy the game. Today, though, there were ten of us at first, with the final head count being 16 by the end of the game. That's the right number so that everyone can stay involved and needs to be involved in order for the game to be good; the field isn't so dense with people that all throwing is unreasonable. It's fun to hit the ground running all-out. And by hit the ground, I mean fall down and slide and look awesome. Not awesome is other people getting confused by thinking my glasses are the frisbee and knocking them off my face. But they're still ok.

And I'm irritated that sonic charges $.30 for a cup of tap water. Pft.

20 March 2006


The latest odd thing I did in my spare time was to create a little marshmallow-cooking furnace out of aluminum foil. The chocolate goes on a separate piece of foil that sits on top of it so that it's not rock-hard whenever it's bitten into. It makes a very even, light toast even without rotating it, since I suppose the incident thermal radiation is so uniform. Near-IR shows up as blueish purple to my digital camera, apparently.

Cooking the marshmallowPerfectly roasted

16 March 2006


I completely forgot to wish everyone a happy pi day, and to tell you all to "beware the ides of march!"

Today I made homemade ice cream. Yum.

And I learned yesterday another incredible way of increasing my sugar intake. Buy sugar cubes, saturate them with lime juice, and pop them in your mouth before they fall apart. <3 This is most delicious and sugar-tastic.

04 January 2006

CO2 sequestration

Today I came up with a great idea for burying our carbon dioxide.

Inject it as a high-pressure gas into liquid sugar. And sell it.

Deeelicous. I forgot how awesome pop rocks are.