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Archive for September, 2009

Vegan Dog Food

Vegan dog food.

Vegan dog food.

The kangaroo dog food for dogs allergic to beef, pork and chicken was okay if a bit of a stretch. But vegan dog food? Really?

It is also comprised of mostly organic materials. I do have to wonder about the listed ingredient of chlorophyll. Does that mean they added some leaves to the mix? Or is there an inherent goodness about plants that can be traced to their solar powered organelles?

If I am not mistaken but dogs are fairly carnivorous creatures via evolution, so why would a vegan dog food be necessary?

Unless of course a pet psychic told the pet owner that the dog really wants to be vegan.

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Head Cold

Rain in Santa Babara is brief and leaves a heavy feeling in the air.

Rain in Santa Babara is brief and leaves a heavy feeling in the air.

I woke up this morning with a head cold.

Then I had to go to a health and safety seminar, the first thing they talked about was the recent outbreaks of H1N1. They warned us to avoid enclosed public areas like busses and elevators. As we sat packed in a lecture hall.

Then it started to rain on the way home. Rain and a cold, the perfect way to start the first day of classes tomorrow.

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End of Summer

Skim boarding out on Useless Bay.

Skim boarding out on Useless Bay.

Today marked the end of summer here in Seattle.

Yesterday I was out kayaking on Lake Washington, today the wind picked up clouds rolled in and I do believe Winter has started. Or maybe this is just the northwestern Fall which happens to map right onto California winter.

The day started off with clear blue skies and a slight chill to the air. Now it is raining out. This weather will take some time to get used too, until then I will likely complain about it every now and then.

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Labyrinth

Not the giant fauna I was hoping for.

Not the giant fauna I was hoping for.

Got sucked in watching Labyrinth featuring David Bowie.

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Learning Matlab

These grad students are not currently using Matlab.

These grad students are not currently using Matlab.

For my future lab work I need to learn Matlab. I am slowly working my way through the demo videos to get a basic familiarity with the software. While I am learning what can be done I probably won’t really learn the software until I need to do something with it.

I always thought that Matlab was an alternative to Mathematica or at least fulfilled a lot of what it does. After using Mathematica for some data analysis I can see how Matlab could replace Mathematica in a work flow, but Mathematica still wins for algebraic calculations and calculus. Though I suppose that I will slowly be shying away from solving hard integrals and moving more towards working with real numbers.

While I appreciate that Matlab is offered for 64-bit Intel OS X I am not a fan of the yearly license renewals. I am using my labs license so I don’t have to pay but it is just an inconvenience to know that your software could stop working. For this reason my professor also gave me an older copy of Matlab to install on my Windows partition that has a perpetual license and won’t expire. The only upside I see to the annual license is if it includes all updates and upgrades to new versions of Matlab.

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Late Again

Mt. St. Helens from the edge of the sear zone.

Mt. St. Helens from the edge of the sear zone.

I feel that once I start my classes I will have a more regular schedule and be able to post in a more timely manner.

Until then I apologize for short posts and late posts.

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CPR/First Aid Training

The blasted zone around Mt. St. Helens is oddly beautiful.

The blasted zone around Mt. St. Helens is oddly beautiful.

Today was a full day of CPR and First Aid training provided by my department. Everyone who works in a lab (I believe) is required to have up to date emergency training.

I thought that this training would provide us the tools to treat different injuries with specialized techniques. Turns out that most treatment can be broken down into just a few key steps:

  • Call 911
  • Make sure they are breathing
  • Give CPR
  • Bandage wound
  • Prevent further injuries (as in seizure or spinal injury)
  • Call 911

Usually one of those or several will cover most major accidents. In a way I was relieved to find out there was not much i could do beyond CPR and calling 911. Stuff like splints, tourniquets and needles are going to almost always be dealt with by someone more trained then myself.

Two great pieces of advice that really helped my willingness to help someone if they need it:

  1. At the point someone needs CPR they are already essentially dead and CPR cannot make things worse.
  2. Performing CPR is to help them until further help arrives but more importantly so the person performing it can sleep at night.

Knowing those two things really boosted my confidence in CPR. Also the part where Seattle has some of the best EMT response times was also really nice t learn.

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Learn my Lesson

A grab shot of Mt. St. Helens

A grab shot of Mt. St. Helens

I should really learn my lesson and start making posts a day or two in advance to give myself a sort of buffer.

Well maybe by next week I will have learned.

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Whidbey Island Double Bluff Park, one of the bluffs.

Whidbey Island Double Bluff Park, one of the bluffs.

One thing I did not think about before moving up to Seattle was car registration. I envisioned the process to entail going to the DMV with the title and asking to get a couple Washington plates. I thought it would be easy enough to do via mail.

I was a bit mistaken in that belief.

Registering an out of state car in Seattle (and Washington) is no easy feat. The first difficulty was the emissions test. There was no difficulty in passing the emissions test, I just wished that I could have used my emission test from California in lieu of a new emission test. In particular the testing center recommended driving on the freeway for fifteen minutes before getting the car tested in order to bring it to normal operating temperature.

First I find it off that there is a recommended amount of driving to do before getting an emissions test. Second the test is required every other year, I drove aimlessly on the freeway for fifteen minutes before the test, doing nothing but adding a car to the road for that time. Maybe this is why the traffic is bed in Seattle, people are just trying to warm up their cars for the emissions test.

The second difficulty faced by myself on the other out of state students moving here is the tax required on registration. If the car was purchased recently the person registering needs to pay Washington sales tax (about 10%) on the fair market value of the car. If the car was gifted recently this tax needs to be paid. The exception is if the car has been owned by the driver in another state for over ninety days. I fortunately fall into this category however my friends do not and they will probably be paying somewhere between $400 and $1000 to register their cars. Mostly they have either newer cars (bought just shy of ninety days ago) or they inherited them.

One of my friends, who is not happy with this tax, blames it on Washington being poorly run and out of money. Coming from California I am quite familiar with a state being out of money and trying to find creative sources of new income. However I could not believe that Washington was worse off. Absolutely they are not but per capita the state is actually in a worse shape then California. Based on Google California has a deficit of $1166 per person while Washington has a deficit of $1230 per person. Maybe the car registration tax is an attempt to close that deficit.

That or they just don’t like people moving into their state.

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A Bit Late

Driftwood and a crow (or a raven) on Useless Bay.

Driftwood and a crow (or a raven) on Useless Bay.

A have had a few short posts in the last few days, mainly because I am trying to keep up to the one post a day limit I imposed on myself over a year ago. And for some of these shorter posts I may be a little late in posting. In these cases I utilize (for what it is worth) WordPress’ scheduling feature to back-date fifteen minutes to an hour to get the post in the right day.

One of these days I should get into the habit of posting two days ahead to avoid this sort of thing.

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