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!


Sidewalk Art


Turkey maybe?






My grandma needed help opening up Zip files so I was about to recommend Stuffit Expander.

Then I realized how much that is a bad piece of advice.

She would need to fill out a web form, respond to an e-mail, give her e-mail again and then download the file. After that she would get spam e-mails from them until the end of time.

Instead I recommended The Unarchiver. A simple download and I hope an easy solution to opening Zip files (and potentially others down the road).

Never again will I download Stuffit Expander based on the unending e-mails they are sending me.




Being away from it for a while I must admit that Santa Barbara did have a nice climate and location.

Last Friday (before the onset of illness) I had to give a five minute presentation as part of a teaching course, so I chose one of my favorite topics: Black Holes.

The toughest part was choosing the correct name for the presentation, I narrowed it down to three and had to choose from:

  • Dr. Schwarzchild: Or how I learned to stop worry and love the gravitational collapse.
  • Black Holes: Great Compact Object or Greatest Compact Object?
  • Falling In: A Black Hole story.

I realize now that I have a natural disposition towards naming talks with a colon.

After surveying my office I decided on the second title, though I am still quite partial to the first.




I feel like this bike looks.

Sometime on Friday I came down with the flu. I have been in bed for the past forty hours and just now am I feeling well enough to sit at my desk.

It is a bit ironic that I came down with the flu the day that I found out I could get a H1N1 vaccine if I was healthy. Looks like there is no vaccine in my future.

I have come to realize, or at least remember, that I truly hate being sick. A combination of the weakness and inability to do anything. It is just a huge waste of time. And I was plagued (I use the past tense hopefully) with extreme tiredness to the point where I could not keep my eyes open for longer then twenty minutes. There was also headaches, body aches, slightly runny nose and chills.

Luckily my roommates have all been very understanding and have helped me where I needed it, mostly in buying my some sprite and providing some herbal tea. Mostly they have been out of the house though to avoid getting sick. And I don’t blame them, for my part I have been restricting myself to my room so I don’t spread anything.

Hopefully I am over the worst of it now and this is not a temporary lull in symptoms.


I Will Not Get Sick


A windy beach.

I Will Not Get Sick.

I Will Not Get Sick.

I Will Not Get Sick.


Hanging About

It is starting to get cold.

After trying to program an almost intractable problem it is fun to help my roommates with their Matlab homework. Especially since I have never had a dedicated programming course before. And because their homework problem is very reasonable in what it asks and what it needs.

VLF attenuation in the earth-ionospehre waveguide is not as easy.