Lahar

September 8, 2007

Uh, yah

Filed under: Uncategorized — by lahar @ 7:15 am

I guess this blog hasn’t been deleted yet. Maybe I’ll eventually get around to those science articles like I was planning on back in February or whatever.

February 20, 2007

Fun with LaTeX. No, not that kind of Latex.

Filed under: Math,Uncategorized — by lahar @ 6:26 am

WordPress News: Math for the Masses

Awesome! We can have something simple, like the QG PV equation:

\nabla^2 \phi = q

where \phi is the QG geopotential height and q is the QG potential vorticity.

We can also do something more complex, like the full Navier-Stokes equations in a rotating frame with a potential body force with potential \Phi:

\frac{\partial \mathbf{u}}{\partial t} + \left ( \mathbf{u} \cdot \nabla \right ) \mathbf{u} + 2 \mathbf{\Omega} \times \mathbf{u} = -\frac{1}{\rho}\nabla p  - \nabla \Phi + \nu \nabla^2 \mathbf{u}

Fun for several!

Science Merit Badges!

Filed under: Uncategorized — by lahar @ 6:04 am

ORDER OF THE SCIENCE SCOUTS OF EXEMPLARY REPUTE AND ABOVE AVERAGE PHYSIQUE

Since everyone’s doing it, I might as well follow suit. Unfortunately, as a junior proto-scientist in a small and somewhat theoretical field who doesn’t do work that gets his hands dirty, I don’t have too many of these which count, but at least it’s a start 🙂

Talking Science

MacGyver: For the time back when I worked at a well-known clothing retailer when one of my co-workers took a cash till key with her to Chicago, leaving me to jimmy the lock of the thing with a paperclip. (I know it’s a bit of a stretch, since it’s not strictly science-y )

Special Auxiliary Child Member of the Order of the Science Scouts: Or, at least I used to be. It’s not like you can have the badges you earned a long time ago taken away, right?

I bet I know more computer languages than you, and I’m not afraid to talk about it: I’d list them, but I don’t feel like bragging right now.

I will crush you with my math prowess: After all, I’m the one who skips out on work to attend courses over in the pure mathematics department.

I’ve done science with no concievable practical application: Well, lee vortices look pretty…

I’m a scientist who is fundamentally opposed to administrative duties: Probably mandatory.

I’m into telescopes astro, Level I: Another one from way back when I had a little telescope of my own.

Statistical linear regression: Hey, I know what that means! Haven’t used it in a while, though.

Any other takers?

February 14, 2007

A Brief History of Valentines Day

Filed under: Satire — by lahar @ 6:41 am

February certainly is downhill all the way, isn’t it? It starts out OK, with the Super Bowl and cool holidays like Darwin Day, but after a while the whole month just really gets to be a bear. The Rex Grossman kind, too, not the good Brian Urlacher kind. This is about the time of year that everyone starts getting tired of the snow and the ice and the cold, there aren’t any sports on but exciting mid-season basketball, and everyone’s waiting for Spring thaw and the beginning of Spring Training.

So of course the time of fastest descent happens in the middle of the month, right around the 14th. So about 1400 years ago a medieval monk and early psychologist decided it would be a great time to dub that day after himself, a rather dismal fellow most of the time, in honor of the whole month’s dreariness and despair. For this and other great deeds (including the invention of the first anti-depressant, also known as the frosted layer cake, as well as the first recorded use of the clue-by-four), he was given sainthood, and the day was henceforth named St Valentine’s Day.

This went well for several centuries, with annual celebrations coinciding with the low point of the year, until fate interfered in 1507. That year, while the festivities were under way, a Flemish merchant sold a large quantity of fresh flowers and a few hot new exports from the New World to a young man who was planning to feed the former to his goats and try to synthesize the first plastic from the latter. Unfortunately for all of us, as he was leaving the merchant’s store he came upon a comely young woman our goat farmer had known for some time, and in his awe accidentally dropped a few roses and other items at her feet. She was so taken by the apparent romantic gesture that the couple soon eloped, leaving the goats to starve.

The merchant, noticing the economic potential of selling otherwise lowly-regarded items as love tokens (at a large markup), soon started selling his stock to others who hoped to attract the objects of their affection, making a bundle in the process. This became so successful that not only did the flowers he was selling but also the imported items, a pulverized substance called chocolate and a resinous tree sap now known as latex, became symbols of romance throughout much of the world. The idea was quickly copied by many other flower sellers and importers, and since many of these people either had a large quantity of business sense (or a sick sense of irony), the biggest day for purchasing said items was Valentines Day, which was pitched as a way to try to alleviate the misery of the middle of winter, or at least get laid.

Over the years, the commercial appeal of the repurposed Valentines Day (with the apostrophe and ‘St.’ dropped in order to circumvent an intellectual property lawsuit from the Valentine estate, which had somehow continued to pay its lawyers for nearly a millennium) grew to the point where it has become a major holiday in the United States and other countries, and is worth billions of dollars to the economy.

However, there are those of us who have kept the original tradition of St Valentine alive, and not just by the liberal application of clue sticks to lusers. Today, we honor our fellow brethren, who recognize the true unluckiness of this day in the face of saccharine platitudes and the like.

First, we have the classic, Ron’s Anti-Valentine’s Day Wake, who not only sums up much of our sentiment, but also expresses his feelings mathematically.

In a more expository vein, here is i-Mockery’s takedown of this day, including the truth about Cupid. Mischievous doesn’t begin to describe the little winged punk.

Although the modern celebration of Valentines Day is predominantly an excuse to sell flowers and candy, the original, true St Valentine’s Day also indulged in a little gift-giving. This article in Digital Journal lists some up-to-date gifts to get in to the true spirit of the day. For the true adherent, Despair Inc., the famous creator of the Demotivator series of posters and desk accessories, brings you BitterSweets, some allegedly-flavored candy hearts with some more appropriate sayings to celebrate this most depressing of days. Flavors include “Banana Chalk, Grape Dust, Nappy-Citric, You-Call-This-Lime?, Pink Sand and Fossilized Antacid.”

So anyway, take heart, everyone. Spring will be here soon, National Pancake Day is next Tuesday, and the Cubs will soon be sucking again. Although we have to survive three more weeks of February while we’re at it.

February 7, 2007

best of craigslist : 2 effective Methods on bathing a CAT.

Filed under: Uncategorized — by lahar @ 6:18 am

best of craigslist : 2 effective Methods on bathing a CAT.

If you aren’t reading the Best of Craigslist, you are doing yourself a disservice.

First Method:

1. Thoroughly clean the toilet…

February 5, 2007

Is the Pope Catholic?

Filed under: Da Bears — by lahar @ 4:46 am

Do Bears take a crap in Miami?

February 4, 2007

Super Bowl Forecast: Bear Weather

Filed under: Da Bears,Weather — by lahar @ 5:23 am

Ooohhhh, yeah. From the Miami NWS office:

FLZ072-074-041130-
BROWARD METROPOLITAN-DADE METROPOLITAN-
INCLUDING THE CITIES OF…FORT LAUDERDALE…MIAMI
903 PM EST SAT FEB 3 2007

[…]

SUNDAY…BREEZY…CLOUDY. SCATTERED SHOWERS IN THE MORNING
THEN NUMEROUS SHOWERS IN THE AFTERNOON. HIGHS IN THE MID 70S. NORTHEAST WINDS 15 TO 20 MPH WITH GUSTS TO AROUND 30 MPH. CHANCE OF RAIN 60 PERCENT.
SUNDAY NIGHT…WINDY, CLOUDY. SCATTERED SHOWERS IN THE EVENING…THEN ISOLATED SHOWERS AFTER MIDNIGHT. LOWS AROUND 60. NORTH WINDS 20 TO 25 MPH WITH GUSTS TO AROUND 35 MPH. CHANCE OF RAIN 50 PERCENT.

Still beats the highs in the teens Chicago will have tomorrow, though.

February 3, 2007

Weather Wars

Filed under: Cartoons,Weather — by lahar @ 8:49 pm

Tom the Dancing Bug: Nate the Neoconservative

This high pressure area will cause rain tomorrow. Torrential downpour, folks.

January 31, 2007

A $400 gaming OS

Filed under: Macs! — by lahar @ 6:21 am

Why Is Low End Mac Advocating Cheap Windows PCs?

This article does a good job at explaining when Windows might be a better fit than a Mac for some audiences, and where Windows has come a long way from the days of Windows 95 or (worse) Windows 3.1.

I do get a kick out of this passage near the end:

We also need to understand that you can’t just sit down a Windows user in front of the “superior” and “more intuitive” Mac OS and have them be productive. There is a learning curve, there are real differences, and there are areas where Windows is superior.

Yes, it hurts to say that, but it’s true. And truth be told, it’s not Windows itself that’s superior, but software written for Windows. Messaging software for Windows, such as Yahoo Messenger, tends to have features missing in Mac versions, such as voice chat. And Yahoo Mail on Windows with Internet Explorer is a much better email platform than it is on the Mac or on Windows with Firefox or Opera.

But overall, Apple builds the superior operating system and gives away an incredible bundle of free apps with every new Mac. We lose out to Windows on high-end gaming, Yahoo Mail, and messaging software.

I am reminded of an Email signature I saw a few times back in the late 90s:

Mac for productivity, Linux for programming, Palm for mobility, Windows for Solitaire

As if to drive this point home, here’s an Arsian commenting on Windows Vista:

One bright note is the games, they’re suprisingly fun and a departure from Microsoft’s typical bundled games. For Ultimate users, Hold ‘Em Poker is a good time. But the chess AI is almost embarassing to watch.

“VEHICLE HAS EXPLODED ON LAUNCH PAD”

Filed under: Space — by lahar @ 5:24 am

SPACE.com — Sea Launch Rocket Fails to Launch New Communications Satellite

Oh, MAN that’s a big explosion. It really sucks for the people who put all that work into the satellite on that rocket, though. As one of the BA comments noted, even after 90 years rocketry is still a pretty iffy endeavor.

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