Monday, December 3, 2012

Short Story: Soren Gray

I'm very happy to put up a short story by none other than my friend Stac Mahuna-Brantner!  (That's her blog there in the link).  She wrote this short piece for The Burning West,  Facebook group that appears to encourage the creating of short stories centering around a common theme:

Civilization has fallen. Our world has become a brutal wasteland of corruption, death, and victory. Imagine yourself in a different time, a different place, and carrying a savage weapon.

The setting: America, the future. After monetary ruin and political degradation, the world has descended into a dark and global war. The Skulls, a monstrous faction of militant psychopaths rule the Northern and Western parts of the globe. The Southern and Eastern philosophies are upheld by The Shadow Engineers, a righteous sect of honor. These opposing forces battle endlessly for global control amid a strange new world filled with assassins, mutated beasts, twisted shaman, religious zealots, thieves, sirens, vigilante heroes, and soldiers who become kings.

Your job is to re-imagine yourself. Are you Skull or Shadow Engineer? Or are you something worse? Something elusive or legendary? Describe your costume. Choose your weapons. Mold your backstory. 
Enticing!  Anyway, without further ado, here's her story: Soren Gray.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Now It's Time for Something Completely Different!

Music!  I'm in a mood for some D'Angelo today.  And this is my blog, so I'm going to put it up here.

Whoa whoa whoa, yeah yeah yeah
Whoa whoa whoa, yeah yeah yeah yeah...

When I first saw you baby, I wanted to die
Me and those dreamin' eyes of mine,
Started to cry,
Then I'd dream,
wishin' my fantasy would soon become a reality

Cause every time I see you baby, all I do is sigh.
Cause you're the most precious thing baby
That my dreamin' eyes has ever seen,
So I'll continue to dream.
Me and those dreamin' eyes of mine.

Is it just that you're the finest little thing that I ever saw?
Or is my imagination running too far?
Or is it that my eyes are telling me something you could never see?
Something like me being with you, or you being with me?

Ooh wee baby, you've redefined my vision of love it seems.
Your love be the cherry in my chocolate covered dreams.
So it would seem, my oh my.  Me and those dreamin' eyes of mine.

Oh my goodness, here she comes.  Switchin' that ass.
I wonder if her men in the past treated her bad
But if I had the chance, I'd treat her like a queen.
Just like I do in all my dreams.
If you only knew how many times that I think of you.
I'm quite sure that you would find, I'm goin' out my mind.
My oh my, me and those dreamin' eyes of mine...

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Viz: Rain in Seattle? Really?

This is my face most days...
Before I moved out here to Seattle for graduate school I was repeatedly warned about how rainy it tends to be out here.  One person even described it as "London-esque".  However, when I first visited back in March 2010 (this becomes relevant later), not only was it barely raining, but it was absolutely gorgeous for each of the 4 days I was here.  I left here thinking, "where's all this rain people were talking about?  It's beautiful here!"

Sunday, November 18, 2012

My First Time

It's been pretty busy lately, which is why I haven't written anything new in a while.  I've got some things in the works though.  A couple weather-related Science Sundays, more capoeira stuff, and even my first data visualization post!  I'm really excited about that last one.  I've got a couple really nice figures coming up.

Right now though, I'm working on my first research proposal.  It's actually an observing proposal for the 3.5-meter telescope at Apache Point Observatory.  The basic idea is that I want to use that telescope to look at the spectrum of a certain type of star.  Or rather, candidates for a certain type of star.  I don't know what types of stars these are yet, so I'm going to be observing them to possibly classify them!  I hope they're a special type of post-main sequence star called an R Coronae Borealis star.  I'll write a Science Sunday post about them at some point in time (probably would've been good to write one about them prior to this proposal, but bleh whatever).  Alongside the spectra that I hope to obtain, I'm also going to try to get some time on a small nearby telescope to do synchronous optical photometry.  Awesome!

However, as mentioned before this is my first time actually writing a proposal.  I'm SO nervous!  What's the right amount of publications to include in your references?  How do you structure it?  How do you ask for time?  So on and so forth.  What makes it a little bit worse is that I just decided to put this in this past Tuesday, and the deadline is this coming Tuesday!  I barely know anything about these stars, I've had a fair bit to do outside of this little side project in the meantime, and I'm inexperienced with scientific writing!  I'm glad I've got some assistance from the illustrious Jim Davenport.  Dude's awesome.

So yeah, I'm nervous.  I'm also excited!  This will truly be my first data set.  MY data!  Collected for MY project that I came up with.  I can do anything with it!  The possibilities are endless!

Alright, back to reading papers.  I hope to have some good posts coming up in the next few weeks.  Ciao till then.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Cross-Post: Race in US Colleges

My coworker did a really quick but very interesting analysis of race in US colleges using some data from The Chronicle, complete with maps and histograms used to visualize his data.  It's some pretty interesting stuff.  


Moving forward, I'd like to see a map similar to the cumulative latitude map, but in longitude, and also a control for HBCU's which are by nature artificially inflated with black people.

Also, I'm wondering what the maps would look like for hispanic students.  I'm willing to bet that it's a lot worse just because they haven't had the same degree of a civil rights push that blacks have had which have resulted in a lot of institutionalized pushes for blacks to get into college.  Maybe also a split on gender if that data's available, as it's often reported that women in the black community are more likely to enter college and graduate than men.

Anyway, awesome stuff, Jim!

Monday, November 5, 2012

Conan O'Brien and Cynicism

I was reading through my coworker's blog this morning and came across this article in one of his text links.  I thought it was an interesting essay on cynicism, so I figured what the hell why not post it here.  This article struck me particularly because I tend to be a cynic when it comes to my own circumstances, disguising it as "being realistic".  However, as of late, with much encouragement and a fresh perspective from the lady in my life, I've been learning to accept some degree of optimism and look for opportunities instead of seeing nothing but barriers.

Anyway, rather than have me blather on about it, here's the link:

And a quote from the article:

"Cynicism is a mindset, and—like happiness—it's generally not specifically situational. I've worked with many wealthy, famous people riddled with cynicism, as well as foster kids in the Bronx who inspire me with their determination to suck the marrow out of life.

The perception of opportunity is just that, a perception. The reality of our human condition—wherever we come from—is largely the result of the choices we make every day, and in every moment."

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Capoeira Na Roda, Capoera Na Vida Part II: Inferno Suado e Condicionando de Angola

Capoeira dominated much of my summer after the Batizado and the bulk of my research stuff was finished.  Because the weather had turned upward (as it does in New York, and NOT here in Seattle) and because Columbia's Dodge Fitness Center was no longer available to us, every Tuesday and Thursday we'd find ourselves outside on the grass to hold class.  The main instructor for these sessions was Papito, who in my opinion was nothing short of a capoeira beast.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Cross-Post: Gender Disparity in the Sciences

Another interesting article that I found on someone else's blog:

Here, scientists of various statuses are interviewed and asked why they think there's such a gender disparity between biology and the physical sciences.  Needless to say, the responses vary based on the gender of the respondent.  Here's a sampling from the article:


Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Orishas: Yemanjá

Because of my involvement in Capoeira, and a long-standing interest in the histories and cultures of the descendants of black slaves in the Western Hemisphere, I've become pretty heavily interested in the religion (some would say cult, and I would say that's disrespectful due to the connotation of the word "cult") of Candomblé.  I'll write something about Candomblé as a whole at some later time, but with this series I'd like to focus in on the gods of Candomblé.  These gods are known as Orishas (or Orixas), and they rule over different parts of existence.  This particular post is going to be about Yemanjá, the Orisha of the waters and the feminine principle of Candomblé.


I'm serious.  I'll do it!
So for whatever reason, my blog has been getting a ton of traffic in the past week.  Particularly, the Science Sunday posts (e.g. Clouds, Low-Mass Stars, and Stars In General) and my recent capoeira post have gotten a fair bit of attention.   However, with all the people that are viewing these posts, NO ONE'S LEAVING COMMENTS!  What's the deal, people?   I know they're informative, but I would hope that after reading these posts, people would have thoughts of their own!

I crave (constructive) criticism!  Criticism will make me a better writer, researcher, and informer.  I crave feedback!  I want to know that people actually got something from the words that I spent time putting together on a given page.  Don't be shy, fine folk.  Let me know how you feel!


Sunday, October 14, 2012

Science Being Awesome: Retinal Prosthesis

I don't have the words to explain how spectacular this is.  Instead, I'll let the article do that.  Here's the link: .  I'll repost the discovery here.

Science Sunday: The Basics of Clouds

After taking all this time to write this post about clouds, you'd think that I could identify the types of clouds in this image.  Nope.

"I'm a dreamer.  I live to dream and reach for the stars, and if I miss a star then I grab a handful of clouds." ~Mike Tyson

Like Mike Tyson, today we'll be missing the stars and instead grabbing at clouds.  Sure this seems somewhat random, considering what my subject matter (not to mention my profession) has typically been,  but this post is borne out of two completely unrelated things.  First and foremost is my desire to learn about things outside of my field.  I spend hours each day, every day of the week accumulating knowledge about astronomy in general and stars in particular.  This has resulted in a sort of scientific tunnel vision, where I neither know of or pay attention to anything that doesn't concern stars.  I feel like I've lost touch with a lot of the science that goes on in the rest of the world, and so I'd like to reach out every now and again and learn about what other things the Universe has to offer beyond the various happenings of huge balls of burning hydrogen/helium plasma.

The second motivation for this post comes from my girlfriend's affinity for clouds.  Some days she just hangs out outside and looks up, staring at the shapes and different species of cloud, getting lost in their dance across the sky.  Then she calls me or sends me a text message to tell me about them, to which I invariably respond with my own personal disdain for clouds (I live in Seattle.  I have more cloud than I know what to do with).  Even though there's no love lost between clouds and myself, I'd still like to know what makes them tick.  Hence, we have this post.

Since I actually have no real training in this subject, I'm actually going to try to rely a little less on Wikipedia and a little more on websites with "atmospheric", "physics", "chemistry", or "meteorology" in the name.  Also, if you want to skip much of the scientific inquiry here (in which case I'd ask you why you're even looking at a post entitled "Science Sunday"), you can jump to the very brief summary at the end.

A Grandfather's Last Letter to his Grandkids

I came across this on Facebook some time ago, and have been debating on whether or not to repost it here, as I'm a little wary of getting too into the habit of presenting non-original content.  Then I remembered that I don't actually care about that, so here it is.  The link to the original article is here (link).  Everything that follows is a verbatim repost.  Cheers.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

An Introduction to Capoeira

This was originally written as part of a bio post about me, but the bio ended up going a little bit more personal than I had originally intended.  There was still the bit about capoeira though, and I didn't want it to stay in the vault just because I can't write short, non-personal blurbs about myself.  I talk about my introduction to and involvement in capoeira in my series capoeira na roda, capoeira na vida, so with this post I'll just say a little about capoeira itself.  Bear in mind, this is as brief as I can manage to get while still giving a solid overview of what goes on in capoeira.

On Quality of Life

Found this little gem online.  I think it speaks for itself.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Cross-Post: The United States of Starbucks

While I feel like I'm arriving a bit late to the race, no doubt due to some other notables picking this up and publishing it, I'd like to pimp out my coworker's awesome post on how Starbucks is taking over the United States.  We simply can't get away!  Here's the link:

And congratulations again, Jim, on being recognized for your awesome work.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

The Fifteen Professions that Drink the Most Coffee

An interesting post on, regarding the professions that consume the most coffee.  The interesting thing isn't that scientists top the list.  That's more or less a no-brainer.  The interesting bit here is how the lion's share of the article has very little to do with coffee, and much more to do with how scientists are addicted to working and how we have no concept of a work-life balance.  It sounds almost as if it's written by a bitter current or former scientist.

Anyway, enough of my babbling about the topic.  The link to the article is here: link.  I've included the main graphic after the jump.

As always, cheers to my fellow soldier's of knowledge.  This cup's for you!

p.s.  While I actually don't really drink coffee, I have learned how to make it in a way that I enjoy, and have felt remarkably alert and focused since I've discovered it.  On top of that, I there's a special place in my heart for mochas, machiattos, and frappuchinos.  If I had more money (ha ha!  Please, let's not forget I'm a graduate student), I'd probably be in real danger of a new caffeine addiction. 

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

The 2012 Resolutions Review

So it's been quite a year for me, with many changes that I did not see coming, both positive and negative.  As such, I'd like to take quick account of the goals that I had earlier in the year and see how I did toward achieving them thus far over the past 10 months.  Or neglecting them entirely.  Or falling short because they weren't as realistic as I had originally thought.  That last one's a bitch.

Anyway, I'm really just copying the old resolutions list, pasting it up here, and commenting on each one with my brief thoughts (bolded and italicized like this!). Let's get it.

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Science Sunday: The Stars - Part III: Low-Mass Shinys

This one's about the red-boxed stars
On the last Science Sunday, I discussed all the basic stellar populations, putting up little descriptions of each part of the HR diagram.  For the next few posts, I want to go in more depth regarding each portion of the diagram, starting with the Main Sequence.  As always, Wikipedia will be a major source of information.  Aside from that, I'll also *gasp* be using actual notes from my actual Stellar Interiors class that I actually took (and somehow passed) this past spring.  Actually!  So there might be some actual truth to this post!  Don't count on it though.

Without further ado, let's get into it.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

A Cup of Tea

Nan-in, a Japanese master during the Meiji era (1868-1912), received a university professor who came to inquire about Zen.  As Nan-in spoke, the professor would frequently interrupt him with remarks like "Oh yes, we have that too", and so forth.

Finally, Nan-in stopped talking and offered to serve the professor tea.  He brought out his teapot and two empty cups.  He filled the professor's cup, and then continued to pour.  As he continued, the teacup overflowed.

The professor watched the overflow until he could no longer restrain himself.  "Enough! No more can go into the cup!"

"Like this cup," Nan-in said, "you are full of your own opinions and speculations.  How can you begin to taste my tea if you do not first empty your cup?"

An amalgam of different stories of the Zen master and the learned man with the tea cup.  Stolen from bits of the internet.  Some of it's quoted from Bruce lee?

Friday, September 28, 2012

Cross-Post: US Population By Longitude & Latitude

Here's a little post by my friend Jim over at his blog ifweassume.  In it, he takes this post from and adds his own US Census data to it to come up with a population density map of the United States.  Interesting where all the little pockets are.  Note: the horizontal plot is density according to latitude, and the vertical is density according to longitude.

Here's the link for his post:

But here's also the post itself.  Enjoy:

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

The Storybook of the Kingkiller Chronicles - Pt. 1: Intro, Tinkers, and Taborlin the Great

Kvothe, Arliden's Son.  My hero.
There exists a series of books in this world that currently has my undying love: The Kingkiller Chronicles.  This series is as of now unfinished and still being written, with 2 books out of 3 already published by the author Patrick Rothfuss.  The first two books are The Name of the Wind, and The Wise Man's Fear.  Buy them.  The only thing that you'll regret about this purchase is that the third book has not been published yet, leaving thoughts of how this story will conclude to keep you up at night like a crack addict jonesin' for his (or her! Equal opportunity, folks) next hit.

Leaving Academia

This is a repost from someone else's blog.  The original can be found here:

Now, without further ado...

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Exploring Buddhism - Pt 1

I was sitting around in my apartment today thinking about how I haven't updated my blog in about 2 months and felt guilty about it, especially since one of my coworkers called me out on it on Friday. He was right too, I've been super lazy regarding this blog.  So, inspired the 6 (7?) fat and happy little buddhas that I've used to decorate my bathroom, I've decided today to look up some information regarding something that's always interested me a little bit: Buddhism.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Brief Thoughts on Mediocrity

You pigs, you. You rut like pigs, is all. You got the most in you, and you use the least. You hear me, you? Got a million in you and spend pennies. Got a genius in you and think crazies. Got a heart in you and feel empties. All a you. Every you… …Take a war to make you spend. Take a jam to make you think. Take a challenge to make you great. Rest of the time you sit around lazy, you. Pigs, you! All right, God damn you! I challenge you, me. Die or live and be great. Blow yourselves to Christ gone or come and find me, Gully Foyle, and I make you men. I make you great. I give you the stars. - Gulliver Foyle; The Stars my Destination

Mediocrity is an issue for me. Mediocrity, by one definition, means “of only ordinary or moderate quality; neither good nor bad; barely adequate.” By another definition, it means “not satisfactory; poor; inferior.” The thing about mediocrity is that once it's accepted, it can go on to generate a trend in your life. Paraphrasing (as I don't remember the exact message, only the gist of it) what my AP History teacher, Mr. Burke, had said to us roughly 10 years ago: you can be mediocre now, and go on to a mediocre school, get a mediocre job, a mediocre car, a mediocre house, a mediocre wife, and a mediocre life. And that's fine, if that's what you're comfortable with.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Science Sunday: The Stars - Part II: All Types of Shiny Things

Oh snap!  It's that time again!

On the first Science Sunday, I discussed the Sun.  After that, I talked about charged particles and light.  The goal there was to talk about light and charged particles in order to build up the machinery for this and later blog posts, where I hope to talk about all of the wonderful things that they do in the Universe.  Very specifically, I wanted to introduce the concept of different types of light occurring at different wavelengths, so that I had a reference for when I talk about it here.  I'll probably be referencing it often, so be sure to keep an eye out for links like this that use it as a reference.

In great contrast to the first post, today I'm going to talk about the Sun not being special at all.  Instead I'll cover most of the known types of stars that reside in our Milky Way, including the Sun as one amongst billions.  Today we talk about stellar populations.

As with before, I'll steal from Wikipedia liberally.  Onward!

Sunday, July 8, 2012

...and again!

It appears that I'm spending too much time doing things that aren't nourishing my scientific side, so there wasn't enough time for me to complete the Science Sunday post that I've been working on.  Instead of giving myself a "deadline" for the next one, I'll just say that it's up when it's up.


Sunday, July 1, 2012

No Science Sunday...Again

Bleh.  I ended up being a lot more busy than I thought I would after coming back from vacation.  Didn't plan accordingly for completing the Science Sunday that I had in mind, so there's none today.

I think I'll try to do it once very other week.  Still working out the kinks on the limits of what I can and cannot manage with this whole blogging-about-science thing.

I'll try to have some other post(s) up this week as well!  Sorry!

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Science Sunday: Light, You Magnificent Bastard

An animated gif showing a prism dispersing visible, white
light into its color components: red, orange, yellow,
green, blue, indigo (seriously? indigo?), and violet
Well now, it sure has been a while, hasn't it?  It's about time that I got back to this, no?

Last time on Science Sunday, I discussed the Sun.  I didn't discuss it in it's entirety though, because let's face it, there's enough going on with the Sun to warrant its own blog.  In fact, it already has it's own Scientific Journal!  Nevertheless, I did a quick overview of how it stays up against the constant threat of gravity without really discussing much of any of the interior physics, and I'm going to just continue to leave that as an open question for some later date.

What I originally wanted to do today was move on toward discussing larger populations of stars beyond our own Sun and those like it (and believe me, there are many).  It seemed like the next logical step to me: start with one really well known star, and use that as a jumping-off point to talk about stars in general.  However, about one-tenth (if even THAT much) of the way through writing that post, I hit what I perceive to be a massive roadblock.  The way that astronomers categorize stars has everything to do with the light that they give off, and it's really pretty damn stupid to talk about this categorization and go onward from there without actually talking about what light IS!  It's somewhat like saying "hey, let's talk about all of the different types of cars there are, basing the types on the engines they house," with you all like "hey that's great and all, but what in the hell is an engine?"

I'm supposed to be educating here right?  Right!  So let's get on with the edumacation* regarding that most magnificently brilliant of things in the Universe: the phenomenon of light!  The most blindingly magnificent of bastards!

Friday, June 22, 2012

Interesting Quote

I happened upon this quote during my current stay in Nashville at the Parthenon. Inside the Parthenon, there's a small art exhibit in two parts: one from the personal collection of this dude who loved Tennessee from afar, and one that I suspect is a rotating exhibit.

Currently on rotation is an exhibit by a local artist Juan Pont Lezica, called Artwork Among Us, that displays classic works of art reinterpreted through modern eyes using modern models to take the places of classic figures. One model in particular had a tattoo on her back in full Greek of this quote by Fyodor Dostoyevsky from his book Notes from Underground:

“You see, gentlemen, reason is an excellent thing, there’s no disputing that, but reason is nothing but reason and satisfies only the rational side of man’s nature, while will is a manifestation of the whole life, that is, of the whole human life including reason and all the impulses. And although our life, in this manifestation of it, is often worthless, yet it is life and not simply extracting square roots. Here I, for instance, quite naturally want to live, in order to satisfy all my capacities for life, and not simply my capacity for reasoning, that is, not simply one twentieth of my capacity for life. What does reason know? Reason only knows what it has succeeded in learning (some things, perhaps, it will never learn; this is a poor comfort, but why not say so frankly?) and human nature acts as a whole, with everything that is in it, consciously or unconsciously, and, even if it goes wrong, it lives."

Thursday, June 21, 2012

The Value of Fact Checking

I wasn't going to write another post until Sunday, but something happened today that...compelled me to write one.   There's this picture going around on Facebook today about the Tarantula nebula and its absurd brightness:

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

The Impostor Phenomenon, Redux

In response to a previous post of mine about my own experiences with the impostor phenomenon, a friend of mine, Joji Kojima, wrote this awesomeness that follows.  I definitely think it's worth reading, and I'm still thinking about a worthy response to his wrote.  Anyway, here it is:

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Words to Move You Forward

When I was studying for the Qualifying Exam, I oftentimes got down about my chances of success.  So, taking a note from some of the senior graduate students, I started seeking out and writing down words of inspiration.  While some of them are for me specifically, I figure that the majority of these might work for others as well. So, here they are:

Experiences With The Impostor Phenomenon

Within the last seven days, my life has encountered two major milestones:

- I took the longest, most intense, high-stress exam in my life thus far—the Qualifying Exam.

- Two days later, I found out the results of that exam. I passed, apparently without a bit of of debate.  I officially became Nicholas Hunt-Walker, Master of Astronomy.

I think the news of my success still has yet to fully hit me.  Honestly, I have a hard time believing that it's actually true—that I managed to pass the qualifying exam at the "doctoral" level.  The first thoughts that come to mind even now are, "how is this even possible?  Are they sure that they graded the exam correctly?  Knowing what I know about astronomy, there's no real way in which I could be viable to move forward to the next stage in my graduate career."

Thursday, June 14, 2012

You Must Balance Your Yin And Your Yang

Ever since I can first remember recognizing the yin-yang symbol, I've been interested in it.  When it was first introduced to me so very many years ago, its symbolism simply meant a balance between darkness and light, where within each there is exists a small part of the other.  No darkness without light, and vice versa.  I always had the impression that somehow, through bringing balance to one's yin and yang, one achieves internal peace, though I never quite understood why.

Well, even without any actual deeper understanding of the symbol, I've managed to doodle some version of this little guy on pretty much every notebook that I've had, as well as on homework assignments, chalkboards, whiteboards--pretty much on every surface that I can find to write on.  Deciding to have more than just a superficial association with it, I've taken some time to do bits of research here and there about it (read: looked at the same few Wikipedia articles again and again), read a bit of the Dao de Jing (didn't really understand it; need to read it again), and have looked into more of the philosophy behind the yin-yang.  Much of what follows will be personal conjecture/opinion, so if you have your own opinion, feel free to leave a comment and we can have a discussion!  Here's some of what I've gotten so far (again, Wikipedia heavy!)

Saturday, June 9, 2012

T-minus 4 Days and Counting

Roughly 3 days and 20 hours (as of this writing) until I take the most important exam of my life to date.  With that in mind, I copy something here that I wrote on Facebook this morning when the fear really hit me for the first time.  It was in response to people telling me that I'll do fine (as I'd expect from anyone who calls themselves my friend, and as such expects great things from me):
Success is the result of hard work and prep. I've done most of it. My fear is the product of feeling like I haven't done enough given the time I have left. I'm gonna get on this bus and fix that.
Well, now I'm in this chair in this office in front of this computer.  Back to work!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

You Didn’t Thank Me For Punching You in the Face

An interesting post that I saw on another blog.

I am sure every girl can recall, at least once as a child,  coming home and telling their parents, uncle, aunt or grandparent about a boy who had pulled her hair, hit her, teased her, pushed her or committed some other playground crime.  I will bet money that most of those, if not all, will tell you that they were told “Oh, that just means he likes you”.  I never really thought much about it before having a daughter of my own.  I find it appalling that this line of bullshit is still being fed to young children.  Look, if you want to tell your child that being verbally and/or physically abused is an acceptable sign of affection, i urge you to rethink your parenting strategy.  If you try and feed MY daughter that crap, you better bring protective gear because I am going to shower you with the brand of “affection” you are endorsing...

Check the rest here

Thursday, February 9, 2012

10 Years Ago, Today

***Disclaimer: This was written in one go, so it's probably pretty bad.  But, I'm not correcting it.  So it goes!***

10 years ago today, one of the greatest women I've had the pleasure to know died. She was a friend to all who crossed her path, and held great expectations in her heart for all her progeny. Grandma, I hope that I've begun to become as great as you thought I could be, and I hope you know that whenever I have grits and cheese, I'm gonna think of you (and know that I couldn't ever make it better than you). I'll continue to try to make your name a proud one, through my achievements and even through my failures. Rest in Peace, Tomannie Walker. Your work is done. Ours has only begun.

Monday, January 30, 2012

We Are The TA's!

We are the TA's.

We are on the front lines, providing the buffer between the misunderstandings and confusions of the students, and the lack of coherent notes by the professors. We take knowledge from on high, and attempt to partition and filter it down so that it can be palatable for the masses.  We are Prometheus, stealing the fire of knowledge from the gods of the ivory tower, and giving it to man so that man may enrich its own life.

We are the damage control.  We pick up the pieces that have been produced by waves of information crashing against the beachhead of people in the lecture hall.  We put these pieces back together as best we can, like an incomplete puzzle.  We tease the signal out of the noise.

We are the TA's!

And we rock the god damn HOUSE!


Sunday, January 29, 2012

No Science Sunday

So the once-per-week Science Sunday was entirely too ambitious for me, especially considering the volume of work that is currently on my shoulders.  I'll scale it back to once per month.  At least that way, I should be able to get a quality post out.


Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Capoeira Na Roda, Capoera Na Vida Part I: No Início Com Os Guerreiros

In about a week and a half it will have been 2 years since I first began to practice capoeira.  It's amazing that this activity has become such a large part of my life, especially considering how before that moment I hadn't thought about capoeira outside of video games and movies.  Even then, while I thought it looked cool, I only really thought of it as sort of a quaint novelty.  Knowing absolutely nothing about the style, I had thought it impractical for real-world fighting scenarios, and entirely too filled with unnecessary movements to be useful before the practitioner exhausted himself.  Then came February of 2010.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

The Fairy Tale of Science


So true.  So very true.  The mouse-over text is "I believe that the secret is to keep your child-like sense of wonder without becoming jaded by life.  It's too late for me, but SAVE YOURSELF!"  I'm finding that keeping my original sense of wonder about life and science allows me to appreciate everything more!


Sunday, January 22, 2012

Life is Art

Remembering this definitely adds a certain quality to life.

Science Sunday: The Stars - Part I: Introduction to Shiny Things

I've thought a lot about this, and I've decided—really for my own benefit—that I should spend some time once per week thinking and writing about a science topic that interests me.  I figured that it'd be good to just choose something and go somewhat in-depth about it.  In the future, should I continue, I won't always choose something astronomical, though anything outside of what I've been fortunate enough to learn will take extensive use of Wikipedia (and maybe even *gasp* a book!).  However, to start, I think that I should talk about something(s) that has interested me since the first time that I actually cared about astronomy: Stars.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

5 Things You Should Know Before Dating a Scientist

Courtesy of the blog, Journal of Are You Fucking Kidding, we have the 5 Things You Should Know Before Dating a Scientist:

So, you’ve been eyeing that smart, attractive scientist you’re lucky enough to know personally. You’re intrigued. Your scientist is smart, funny, confident. Visions of Louis de Broglie or Rosalind Franklin putting on their safety glasses and lab coats to come to do experiments with you runs through your head..
Who can blame you? Science is a sexy occupation.
But scientists aren’t like the bimbos you usually pick up at the bar. Nor are they the assholes you ladies continually fall for. No, scientists are different beings (which is why you’re attracted to them in the first place), and you should realize — before jumping in — that this isn’t going to be a run-of-the-mill, boring, lame relationship you’re used to.
Here’s what you need to know:

Friday, January 20, 2012

New Year's Resolutions 2012

This past year has been definitely a year of expansion for me, and as such I have had a rapid expansion of goals.  I actually want to remember these, so I made myself a separate file and just listed essentially all of the things that I'd like to either accomplish fully, or make some damn good progress toward in the coming year.  I then remembered that I had started this blog and decided that I could put them up here, and maybe even add a little bit of explanation on each item.

My view of New Year's Resolutions might be somewhat different than most people's.  The impression that I get is that most people make a resolution, and if they don't hold to it then they feel like the scum of the Earth.  My way of thinking about resolutions is thus: they're just a list of goals that I want to work toward.  If I don't achieve them, then I don't achieve them.  But, as long as I make progress toward these goals, I'm alright.  And, if I happen to actually accomplish any of these, then even better!  It means that I've managed to take an active role in improving my life, and there's documented change!  Awesome!

Anyway, here's....most of them (some are meant to remain private), in no particular order:

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Weathering the Terrible Seattle Snowstorm of 2012

Picture courtesy of one of my coworkers' facebook albums.

So last night, I'm sitting in my office putting the finishing touches on one of my homework assignments, when one of my friends who also happens to be there late appears at my door.  She tells me that she was getting ready to go and spend time with her boyfriend and wait through the oncoming snow storm at home.  She went on about how there was supposed to be up to 14 inches of accumulation between midnight and the next midnight, and how I should probably get home so that I don't get snowed in.  Now, because I was in my office late and completely absorbed by what I was doing, I was completely taken by surprise by this announcement of inclement weather.  It also didn't help much that when I looked out of my window, the skies (of SEATTLE!!!) were essentially clear, and not a single flake had fallen yet from the sky.  I gave her a quizzical look and a sarcastic "ok, yeah.  I'll see you tomorrow then."  So she left, I kept working, and at some point later on in the night I left to go to my own home.