Saturday, January 31, 2009

Interactive Interwebs

So, facebook has this chain going around asking people to list 25 random things about themselves. I was enjoying reading my friends' lists, so I figured I'd make my own! This is perhaps the first cool chain letter I've ever seen... Perhaps the interwebs are evolving into a more intelligent and sophisticated medium?

On second thought, no way. As evidence of the ridiculousness of the interwebs, I cite the following:
http://www.ufos-aliens.co.uk/cosmicapollo.html
http://allaboutfrogs.org/funstuff/jokes.html

So, although the interwebs are as silly as ever, I will indulge this particular chain letter for the purpose of aggrandizing myself in the eyes of the watching world.

25 Random Things About Me
  1. I love to sing, but only in choirs and when I’m by myself. Every other setting disturbs me.
  2. I am a Mormon, and a Democrat, and a scientist. Woah.
  3. As a little boy I danced ballet for 3 years.
  4. My telescope is bigger than your head. My next telescope will be bigger than you. My dream telescope will be bigger than your mom.
  5. I have been to every state except for Florida, Wisconsin, Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, Michigan, Alaska, and Hawaii.
  6. One of my pet peeves is that I hate having to bring stuff in from the car.
  7. I have a dancing cactus named Carlos that has gone everywhere with me since my freshman year of high school.
  8. One of my favoritest things to do is aluminum machining.
  9. I like astronomy, but can’t stand the thought of doing it for a living.
  10. My secret desire when I grow up is to have a huge garage with every tool imaginable and to invent stuff. Kinda like Ironman, or Batman.
  11. I got a 35/36 on the English section of the ACT, and only a 26/36 on the science section – yet I am a science major. Go figure.
  12. I used to be a demon on the dance floor – until I went on my mission. Now dances bore me.
  13. I listen to choral music incessantly – almost exclusively.
  14. I have lived in six states and two provinces.
  15. Sometimes I act in stage plays – but only comedies.
  16. I still want to go to Space Camp.
  17. I have not had a girlfriend in 5 years.
  18. I have a beard. At BYU.
  19. I have a habit of buying interesting books, and then never reading them.
  20. I’m a co-author on a recent physics publication in a major peer-reviewed journal.
  21. I still have dreams about my favorite cat Moose, who died four years ago.
  22. I got a car for Christmas once. It cost $200 and lasted almost two years.
  23. I read online articles incessantly – about anything and everything. Aren’t the interwebs great?
  24. I like hubcaps.
  25. My idea of paradise is sitting under a waterfall on a sunny day. With a pretty girl in the near vicinity. And a picnic lunch. And no time constraints. And finding a really big crayfish. And tadpoles.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

A Canadian's Perspective on the Clouds

I was reading through some of my old mission e-mails, and I found one that I find quite entertaining. Is it bad to think something you wrote is entertaining? I sure hope not, because I think this blog is hilarious! Anyways, here's the entertaining bit, with a map of Creston, British Columbia to serve as a visual reference:

Creston, British Columbia

View Larger Map
The white line on the above map shows the US/Canadian (Idaho/BC) border.

"Hello Americans,

"One funny thing about the Creston Valley:

"I live approximately 20 km from a HUGE lake called Kooteney Lake. Kooteney Lake is 100 km long and over a thousand feet deep at times (or so I hear). Because of the size it creates its own weather system in the valley here making Creston and the surrounding valley unusually warm year round. Not only is this nice to live in, but it also allows for a large and productive cherry and apple season.

"The warm air causes a lot of cloud cover in the winter which extends only to the south part of the valley. Funny enough the valley ends precisely on the 43rd parallel, or the US / Canadian border. So looking south 8 miles from my house, I see the dense gloomy cloud cover abruptly stop right where the border is, then I can see below the nasty clouds right into sunny and beautiful America - The True Country. At times the smell of gunpowder and the flashes of patriotic fireworks wafts up to my homesick self and I can almost imagine a bi-plane flying through the clear blue sky pulling a giant American flag. The sweet tune of 'America the Beautiful' might be heard echoing up the purple mountains - until it gets to the gloomy, frozen nation of Canada.

"Ok, I do love Canada, but it is true that the states always looks sunny from here. I really do like Canada..."

Creston, BC on a semi-cloudy day.

Creston, BC on a clear day.
The 'X' on the mountain marks the Canadian/US border.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Inauguration: A New Beginning


From the text of President Barack Obama's Inauguration speech:

"A nation cannot prosper long when it favors only the prosperous."

"To all other peoples and governments who are watching today, from the grandest capitals to the small village where my father was born: know that America is a friend of each nation and every man, woman, and child who seeks a future of peace and dignity, and that we are ready to lead once more."

"This is the meaning of our liberty and our creed - why men and women and children of every race and every faith can join in celebration across this magnificent mall, and why a man whose father less than sixty years ago might not have been served at a local restaurant can now stand before you to take a most sacred oath."



It is difficult for me to put into words my feelings after witnessing the swearing in of our new President. I am filled with hope, genuinely proud of my country, and excited to be a citizen of the US.

Pride and hope in my country is a new thing to me - ever since I was old enough to care about politics I have felt frustrated, no - angered, constantly put-down, subverted - and have nearly constantly lamented the decisions, or indecisions, of our leaders.

Today I feel refreshed, renewed, full of hope. I see the corruption and ineptitude of our government diminishing. I feel like I have had a say, like my voice has been heard.

What I have for so long yearned for I can now see on the horizon. Finally, it looks like justice will come to the poor and downtrodden of the earth. Finally, it appears that we'll reject the greed that has raped our planet, ravaged our sacred home. Finally, I see America becoming a leader in justice and rightness like I read about in history. Finally, I can hope that my children will look at my generation with gratitude as an example of conquering selfishness and propagating true freedom - not just freedom from tyrrany, but freedom of life, of health, of learning, and of self-respect.

May the Lord bless this country that we may serve the world and the meek by whom we will be judged at the last day.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Find a Way to Make Money Having Fun

"JobsRated.com offers help for uncertain job seekers by analyzing 200 different jobs according to 5 vital criteria: Stress, Work Environment, Physical Demands, Income and Outlook."

Here are the top twenty jobs from that list with their listed incomes:
  1. Mathematician - $94,160
  2. Actuary - $88,146
  3. Statistician - $72,197
  4. Biologist - $74,273
  5. Software Engineer - $86,139
  6. Computer Systems Analyst - $75,160
  7. Historian - $61,209
  8. Sociologist - $63,195
  9. Industrial Designer - $58,206
  10. Accountant - $59,173
  11. Economist - $83,222
  12. Philosopher - $58,200
  13. Physicist - $100,140
  14. Parole Officer - $46,169
  15. Meteorologist - $81,234
  16. Medical Laboratory Technician - $53,100
  17. Paralegal Assistant - $46,155
  18. Computer Programmer - $70,176
  19. Motion Picture Editor - $49,368
  20. Astronomer - $102,233
Here's to hard science! Also, please notice that the highest listed income (I'm assuming it's an average of some kind) in the top 20 best jobs in the US is an Astronomer - $102,233. Then, please notice that the second highest listed income is for a Physicist - $100,140.

So for all those accounting, business and pre-med majors who so haughtily study incredibly boring subjects with only the hope of obtaining riches beyond imagination, eat it!

I chose my major because I like it and, woah! what a surprise, I can make a heck of a lot of money doing something I actually like... what a concept.

Parsecs and Eons

I made a startling discovery yesterday. For the sake of non-physics types, I will define a few terms.

1 parsec is equal to 3.26 lightyears or 3.1 x 10^16 meters.
1 eon, as used in astronomic and geologic terms, is equal to one billion years.
The International Standard (SI) unit for speed is meters/second (m/s).
(Just think about distance traveled/time it took to travel, or miles/hour - that's your speed. If you say "I'm traveling in some direction at that speed", than you've also defined your velocity.)

Here it comes, are you ready?

Woah!! Coooolnes!

Saturday, January 10, 2009

What Hitler Thinks about BYU's Loss to Utah

A big thank you to whoever put this together. It expresses my sentiments exactly. Who woulda thought I'd have so much in common with Hitler...

Monday, January 5, 2009

At this time of economic uncertainty...

... remember the poor people who hurt the most.

video

Note: I absolutely cannot stand the title of this blog. Also I cannot stand: "In the current economic climate...."

Happy New Year

I hope all of you enjoyed celebrating the recent change in the Gregorian calendar.

As you look forward to the new year and reconsider your life, remember that the calendar system you and I hold so dear is completely arbitrary and has no real connection to anything.

(If you'd really like to celebrate something, just wait until 3501 when the Julian date changes to 3000000 - now that will be something to celebrate!)