A level of class I may never achieve.

This has been the longest I have gone without a new post (3 days) and from it I have discovered two correlation.

First, the longer it has been since I have taken photo the less inclined I am towards posting.

Second, a post a day schedule is not what brings people to this site (all 40 of them a day).

I am guessing that I won’t start posting in earnest again until the quarter ends and perhaps after the holidays. This quarter has taken a lot time when combined with my RA position.

I still think a smaller camera would encourage me to take more photos out and about.

Vote Darwin

”]There is a cutest dog competition out there and my roommate has entered his dog Darwin (pictured above) into the contest.

Everyone should go to the website and vote for Darwin.

If we win we are going spend a significant amount of the winnings on scotch and postage to send out the winning Darwin Hallmark cards.

Lack of Travel

Nothing like a handful of coinage.

Same days, some weeks, inspire a desire for travel.

Today the weather felt just like November in Paris when I was there a few years ago. Cold, crisp and sunny.

At least as far as I could tell from my office window.

Enshrined Donuts


Is it still holy if it is in a museum?

Since coming to Seattle and meeting people from Portland I have heard nothing by praise for Voodoo Donuts, in particular the bacon maple bar. I will admit that this sounds like a wonderful idea but the hype surrounding this mythical donut and bakery was getting to be a bit much.

Today another first year came back from Portland for Thanksgiving and brought a box of Voodoo donuts with him. He sent out an e-mail to all the grad students saying free donuts. After braving the stampede and pushing a few people down the stairs I got one of the fabled bacon maple bar.

It was good. It was not legendary or life changing, it was good. I am now told that part of it is the Voodoo Donut Experience.

I will stick with freshly made donuts from street carts as my donuts of choice.



That store is ripe for a hooligan to change the P to a B.

Ever since I struggled to write a paper for a physics lab class and my friend introduced it me I have been a fan of LaTeX. Since that moment I have written everything that needed any sort of typesetting in TexShop for OS X.

Recently I needed to organize several papers for their references, I conveniently found in installation of BibDesk. This was a wonderful find. BibDesk was able to create my BibTeX file for my references as well as organize all of the PDFs for papers. With it I am able to now start a centralized organization for academic papers, something that will hopefully help me in the long run.

Furthermore it has helped me write my papers. I was able to load in a dozen papers related to my topic (Ganymede) and systematically read through the papers adding more information to my paper. The simple addition of a read checkbox to BibDesk makes the whole thing just work perfectly.

Of course after talking to a Windows using roommate about this I was only able to recommend LaTeX and BibTeX and not any neat front ends.


The Aurora


A different Aurora.

[*This is an article I wrote for a class in response to an incorrect article in a local newspaper*]
The winter season brings with it more viewings of the Aurora Borealis or more commonly the Northern Lights. Sheets of red, blues and greens dance in the skies of far northern (and southern) latitudes. While it is commonly thought that the aurora is more prevalent during the winter it is in fact constantly active throughout the year. Winter months just provide longer nights in which to view the aurora.
The Aurora is caused by the interaction of energetic particles with the Earth’s ionosphere. These particles come from interactions within the magnetosphere of the Earth. The magnetosphere is the space created by the interaction of the Earth’s innate magnetic field (which we use for compasses) and the solar wind. The solar wind is a consistent flow of particles in the form of plasma that have blown off the surface of the sun.
When the solar wind reaches the magnetosphere of the earth a bow shock, similar to a boat, forms on the sun side of the planet. This deforms the magnetosphere into the shape of an elongated tear drop. In the stretched out tail of the magnetosphere the magnetic fields get stretched out and oppositely direction fields get closer together. These opposite fields can collapse together and send particles streaming back towards the earth.
These streaming particles then approach the upper reaches of the atmosphere where they are accelerated to high energies. As they zoom into the atmosphere they interact with the ambient particles and molecules, giving away their energy as they slow down. The now excited oxygen and nitrogen give off the characteristic red, green and blue lights that we see as the Aurora.
The current location of the auroral oval can be seen at spaceweather.com along with more information about the current space weather conditions. For more in-depth information on the physics of the aurora visit: http://deved.meted.ucar.edu/hao/aurora/




Be thankful you don't live here.

Hooray for Thanksgiving!