I try not to post about random physics stuff but I can't help myself this morning. Bear with me.

Over at [personal profile] physics, someone asked a question about the non-intuitive nature of fermions' 1/2 spin i.e. how it's possible that fermions (electrons & quarks) must "rotate" 720 degrees before returning to an identical state.

Some answers were helpful but technical: The rotation you speakest of is not performed in real space. In real space the corresponding thing to a spin is the magnetic quantum number which tells you about the discrete rotational symmetry of your particle with respect to rotations of 360deg/m.

BUT, someone else, both acknowledged that it's not a real space analogy and also provided a real world example. THEN, another person jumped in to say that they made a youtube video of how the example works.


If you have no idea what I'm talking about and remotely care, just check out the video. You'll see that the mug has to rotate twice to return to it's exact original state.
My mother has a friend who did something totally bitchy and passive aggressive in an e-mail to my mom and I am seething on her behalf. I want to call up this woman and put her in her place. I have no idea how people deal with it when their kids are dealing with mean, nasty friends.

So, I was walking down the hall at work and some guy stopped me to ask if he overheard me talking about gravitational lensing the day prior. HAHAHAHA. In fact, he did. Someone had asked what I was reading and got an earful. It turns out this guy studied astronomy in school before moving onto an IT degree and we're having lunch tomorrow to talk cosmology and particle physics and all sorts of things no one else wants to talk to me about. \o/

Tomorrow is official Star Trek day!! My friend Mike and I have tickets to a 6pm show. Even having seen the movie already isn't dampening my enthusiasm. The one t-shirt of my dad's that I own is this old school Star Trek t-shirt. It's aged and worn and I'm going to change into it for the movie so I can be one of THOSE FANS.

Speaking of those fans: Trekkies Bash New Star Trek Film as 'Fun, Watchable.'

That's all I've got. Sally is running around the house like a crazy little fiend. She must know that we're only two weeks away from Bitcherie Fest 2009!

Oh! How could I have forgotten!?! I'm going to ComicCon!!! I booked my flight today - I'll be in from last Wednesday until Sunday morning. It's for work so I'm not sure I'll actually be able to hit any panels but I don't care - I'm going! I haven't been since 2000 when I was living in San Diego and it was a true geek fest rather than the media circus it's become. I loved the geek fest but I expect I'll equally love the media circus.

ETA: io9 give us a guide to all things Star Trek on-line.
I can't stand to see this weekend end. Dinner last night was fabulous. Good grief, my friends can cook. I brought my standard - wine, bread, and cheese (humboldt fog, shropshire blue, and a manchego)- and they made monk fish over vegetable fried rice w/ steamed spinach. YUM.

This morning I went to boot camp and then sat outside for a few hours at Caribou Coffee with "Waltz with Bashir" and, then, "Einstein's Telescope." It was beautiful out - the perfect weather for a book, my iPod, and a large nonfat latte. I love this time of year.

I can't say enough about Waltz with Bashir. I've just recently started reading graphic novels and this is among the best I've picked up. The artwork alone is reason enough to check it out but that's just the beginning. A true account from the front line of the Lebanon War, "Waltz with Bashir" is a stunning, and heartbreaking, commentary on war - both the immediate impact and the aftermath. It's a fairly quick read but it's gripping and leaves you with a reminder this is not fiction. Now I really want to check out the film.

Next up, I'm on to Einstein's Telescope: The Hunt for Dark Matter and Dark Energy in the Universe by Evalyn Gates. I'm 100 pages in and I'm loving it. This stuff is so fascinating.

I want to turn you all on to Amy Ray and the only way to do that is with her music. I can't pick among her songs so, here, have two from her new album "Didn't It Feel Kinder." : Bus Bus and Cold Shoulder. [right click/save] There's such diversity to her music, though, that I'm not sure any two songs fully reflect her style.

That's all I've got. This is my first shot cross posting from DW. Let's see how it goes, shall we?
saturn: (Default)
( Dec. 11th, 2008 07:40 pm)
I keep reading that a concern with Obama's likely appointment of Steven Chu as Energy Secretary is that he doesn't have a political background. I argue with two points:

a) When it comes to energy, Nobel Laureate scientist > Arnold Schwarzenegger. I LOVE that the (presumptive) nominee for energy secretary isn't just a political appointment. It's a practical appointment.
b) No one should discount the absurd political maneuverings required to succeed in the ranks of academia.

Tangentially related, Michigan State Picked for Half-Billion-Dollar Accelerator. \o/ The only thing better would be replacing "Michigan State" with "University of Michigan."

The new Sci-fi Magazine has an article of season 4.5 of BSG. I didn't read it because I'm spoilerphobic but I scanned it in the event anyone else is interested. (If you do d/l and read the article, please let me know if there are spoilers or if, at the very least, I can read the bits about the actors.)

[Tag line is blurred to avoid spoilers for anyone who hasn't seen 4.0.]

Download 11 pages of scans here: right click/save, zip file, 12.4mb, please comment if you download.

Also in the BSG world: BSG: The 13 minute recap. It's funny (and, actually, a good refresher). Spoilers through season 4.0. Thanks to [livejournal.com profile] titti for the head's up.

[livejournal.com profile] arsenicjade tagged me to to talk about one thing that has made me happy for each of the last eight days.

Here I go starting today and working my way back... )

Thank you to [livejournal.com profile] runerinrun, [livejournal.com profile] between_names, [livejournal.com profile] worldwouldend and [livejournal.com profile] cruisedirector for the holiday cards!!

I'm starting season 2 of The L Word tonight and then it's Grissom's penultimate episode on CSI. Tomorrow I'm off to NY for the weekend. My sister and Chase beckon!
  • ALFHLSDHFKSHKS!! HQ Star Trek movie trailer with new ending bit. MAY 8TH.

  • I haven't watched the BSG season 4.5 promo yet. I don't know. Maybe 1/16 still feels too far away. Maybe I'm in denial. One thing is for certain, I've stopped reading all BSG related media for fear of spoilers. I don't want to know ANYTHING*. [*Hello. That's "anything barring reasonable information that does not divulge key plot points such as character deaths (for I predict many0 or the identity of that final damn cylon."]

  • Judge overturns Florida ban on adoption by gays. It's nice when states decide to stop being stupid.

  • I have four stacks for books to read and none of them are enticing me but, today, a colleague stopped by my office with The Age of Entanglement: When Quantum Physics Was Reborn by Louisa Gilder. It's just what I was looking for. Gilder is a very young author (graduated Dartmouth in 2000) and it looks like the perfect mix of science and science history.

  • I head to NY tomorrow at 1:30 and I can't wait. I'm a bit over programmed for the weekend but there's nothing I want to give up so I'm going to make it work. Highlights include:
    * Babysitting for Chase tomorrow night (and cooking vegetarian stuffing & two chocolate pecan pies while I'm at it)
    * A Friday night fundraiser in memory of a guy in my high school graduating class who died in the WTC on 9/11. About 100 people are coming out for the event and all of the money goes toward his son's college fund.
    * Going to Walmart at 4am on Friday with my brother-in-law so I can buy him a $128 blu-ray player for Hanukkah.
    * Two Thanksgiving dinners
    * An afternoon with a college roommate
    * My grandmother's 80th birthday party

    That's all she wrote! Is it tomorrow yet?

    ETA: Via [livejournal.com profile] on_the_ground: From Michael Ausiello at EW.com.

    A December episode of The Big Bang Theory gives us Battlestar Galactica's Michael Trucco on a motorcycle. He'll play Leonard's partner on a project and one of the youngest MacArthur Genius Grant winners ever. My source says Penny takes a shine to him. My source also says, "Who wouldn't?"

    Who wouldn't, indeed!?!? I LOVE MICHAEL TRUCCO! I LOVE THE BIG BANG THEORY! \o/

    Okay, wait! I have more! This is from [livejournal.com profile] carta: What has surprised you the most about me (if anything) since beginning to read my lj? Was anything completely unexpected or have I always fit the picture of me you have in your head?

    Post this in your own journal and see how you have surprised people.
  • I had far too many margaritas with my Mexican food Friday night so my date and I sat in a Starbucks, drinking coffee and sobering up, until nearly 1am when we were both finally comfortable getting behind the wheel. It made for a slow, lazy Saturday. Then, last night, my friend Anne came over for dinner. I made baked pasta with sausage, tomatoes, and cheese. Success! I really need to start expanding my cooking repertoire, though. My friend's partner is just starting to cook and I might suggest we take a cooking class together.

    I caught up on CSI, SPN, and SGA yesterday morning which seems to be a new, relaxing, Saturday morning tradition. There was so much controversy on my friends list over SPN and SGA but I enjoyed both.

    SPN )

    SGA )

    [livejournal.com profile] timberho always finds the good crack. Today it was in the form of photos of Zac Efron and Leonardo DiCaprio at a Lakers game. See? And one more.

    For my reference: The standard model of physics got it right when it predicted where the mass of ordinary matter comes from, according to a massive new computational effort.

    Sally has been super needy all day. I don't know what's going on with her but I don't mind the attention. I had very few ambitions for the day but I just woke up from a 2 1/2 hour nap and decided even the gym can wait until tomorrow. Lazy, lazy day!
    This morning, on NPR, "Krulwich on Science" had an interview with Brian Greene - author of the new book, Icarus at the Edge of Time. Brian Greene, if you're not familiar, is a theoretical physicist specializing in string theory, and I'd liken him to Stephen Hawking in that he's written physics books that reached a mainstream audience. (Most popular among these is The Elegant Universe which I've read and enjoyed but recommend that you follow-up with The Trouble With Physics because Greene is quite biased in his support for the untested, not-yet-theory of string physics. But I digress.)

    "Icarus at the Edge of Time" is, at it's core, a cross between a picture book and a science fairy tale. Greene uses images from Hubble to illustrate the story of Icarus - a young boy who ignores his father's warnings and heads to the edge of a black hole. His intent is to illuminate a core concept of relatively through an accessible and visually stunning story.

    But don't take my word for it. Listen to the NPR piece here!

    Bravo is running a West Wing marathon today with a focus on the Bartlett/Ritchie election. I miss the West Wing. Especially now. "In the future, if you're wondering, 'Crime. Boy, I don't know' is when I decided to kick your ass."
    saturn: (Default)
    ( Oct. 10th, 2008 01:12 pm)
    I love Esquire. They know exactly what they want to be and they consistently deliver.

    For the November issue, on the heels of Esquire's revolutionary e-ink issue and as part of their year long recreation of past covers, they've recreated their December 2000 cover.

    I love it. It's satirical and hot as all get out.

    More on the cover shoot here.

    For more fun, of a different nature, click here to see Discover Magazine's "emporium of science tattoos." I wonder if my tattoo of saturn counts.

    And hooray for Connecticut! One state at a time...
    saturn: (Default)
    ( Oct. 9th, 2008 11:03 am)
    I'm am home from work to observe Yom Kippur and fasting to the best of my ability. (A few years ago I received medical instructions to forgo a full fast but I won't have more than a bowl of cereal before sunset. Just something to keep me conscious. :) )

    Moving on:

    I CAN NOT WAIT for tonight's CSI. I have a feeling CBS is going to ruin it for me with some kind of vomit inducing Grissom/Sara reunion but, even with that, it will be SO GOOD. Poor Warrick!

    Here's what I've been up to over the past few days:

  • The 2008 winners for the Nobel Prize in physics were announced on Monday. It always amazes me that people win Nobel Prizes for work they did decades prior. I totally get that the theories and discoveries need to bear out over time but it's been 40 years since Nambu did the work he was rewarded for and 30 years for the two other winners. Not quite immediate gratification.

  • Somewhat related, over in [livejournal.com profile] physics, someone recently asked: Why is E exactly equal to M multiplied by the square of the speed of light? Or to look at it in a way which illustrates the point of the question more keenly, why does light travel at a speed exactly equal to the square root of mass' relationship to energy? There are some interesting answers and arguments in comments.

  • Another Appoloosa review: Appaloosa: 10 Things I Liked, 5 I Didn’t

  • I had a date on Tuesday night for dinner & the debate. Watching a presidential debate is a great way to get to know someone. I forgot, though, that House was on so Tuesday's episode is sitting on my DVD waiting for me and on the agenda for today.

  • Snapfish is having a $0.01 photo sale. Promo code is FALLPENNY08.

  • Bones was so witty with last night's episode title: The He in the She. Hahahaha. I love Bones. And Booth. And this rotation of grad students. I wasn't sure the in & out of characters would work but I love seeing who shows up each week.

  • I spoke with a real estate attorney about my housing options. He gave me some advice but it was, generally speaking, a depressing conversation. I have some action items, though. If I can't sell the FL property, I need to at least feel like I'm doing something proactive.

  • Here are 7 deleted scenes from season 4.0 of BSG. They're excellent and fill in some interesting gaps. (DVD is out January 6th. Why do they keep waiting until after Christmas???)

  • Last, but certainly not least, are photos of David Tennant rehearsing for Love's Labour's Lost and some stills from the show. *loves*
  • saturn: (Default)
    ( Sep. 24th, 2008 07:49 pm)
    Hi. How are you? I'm in the midst of an irrational response to the news that GWB is speaking at 9pm EST which is exactly when I've been expecting to watch the season premiere of Criminal Minds. SOMEONE IS GOING TO BLOW UP, PEOPLE. I've been looking forward to it all day (all summer) and, quite frankly, I don't care if it's a disproportional response. What did Bartlett say? Sometimes a disproportional response is appropriate. Bush fucks up the economy and then takes away a much needed hour of escapism to tell me he someone else fucked up the economy? No thank you. I'll take Hotch and Reid instead.

    HOWEVER, embracing my irrational response, I called CBS (212-975-4321) and they confirmed that Criminal Minds is scheduled to start when Bush finishes speaking. The call center woman couldn't confirm for certain but, with me, assumed it means "scheduled to start from the beginning of the episode."

    Hey [livejournal.com profile] carta! This comes my way via [livejournal.com profile] subluxate: Knit One, Save One. Babies need hats and you can knit one for a baby in need!

    What else? [livejournal.com profile] sga_flashfic is doing a kidfic challenge! If asked, I'd tell you I hate kidfic but the truth is that I've read a lot of awesome SGA kidfic. What I'm really hoping for from this challenge, though, is a story where Ronon gets a kid. He'd be such an awesome father and I can totally see him looking out for an orphan the way Runner v2.0 did but with Atlantis rallying around him all the way.

    In less inspiring news, the restart of the LHC was pushed back to early Spring 2009. :(

    I don't quite get the deal with Jessica Biel as an actress but she's definitely hot. On a purely superficial basis, I love how she and Justin look together i.e. HOT.

    [click for larger images]

    ETA: My house no longer smells like mildew! It's been getting mildly better by the day and I came home today and it's just fine! I hope this doesn't mean the mildew morphed into black mold or something. I'm going to assume it didn't and revel in the fresh, clean smell of my home.
    saturn: (Default)
    ( Sep. 21st, 2008 09:28 am)
    Last night's date went well enough to last into this morning. He's smart, attractive and focused with a really great sense of style. He was also upfront about wanting to date for the future, not just for right now. (To be clear, that future didn't necessarily mean us - just that he's not into casual dating at this point in his life.) It's an interesting start with a guy who asked me out at a cheese counter. We have plans next weekend and I'm looking forward to it.

    All of that said, I'm still pining for A even though it's looking more and more like that's a road to nowhere. We spend a lot of time together - like good friends do - but she officially knows I'm interested in dating women and has given no indication of the same. To think, at 15, I thought dating would eventually get easier. :)

  • Have a meme: Grab the nearest book. Find the 5th sentence on page 46.

    I don't have a book right next to me but I do have the new issue of Scientific American: "Einstein's great insight was that spacetime is no mere stage on which the drama of the universe unfolds."

  • While on topic, the Large Hadron Collider is down for at least two months. How disappointing for all of the scientists involved.

  • Word is that Mary McDonnell will have a 3- 5 episode arc on Grey's Anatomy. I don't watch Grey's Anatomy but, at this point, I'll follow Mary McDonnell anywhere.

  • I didn't place the face until [livejournal.com profile] gdg pointed it out but Jen Halley, who plays Seelix on BSG, was the Demon Waitress on this past week's SPN.

    See? )

  • Also, in exciting guest cast news, this week's SGA preview reminded me that next week is Daniel Jackson week on SGA!! Daniel! On Atlantis! I know he was there before but it was part of an SG-1 team mission. This is his and, therefore, so much better. \o/

  • I stole this from [livejournal.com profile] bethbethbeth and am now seeing it everywhere. It's perfect.

    Ever wonder what a meeting between Jed Bartlet and Barack Obama would be like? Columnist Maureen Dowd of the New York Times actually called Aaron Sorkin to ask him, and here's what Jed had to say:

    Full text )

    I've actually been looking at parallels between Governor Ritchie of FL and Sarah Palin with that, "aw, shucks, I don't need to be intellectual or informed to lead" shtick. Which leads me to this bit of inspiration:

    "In the future, if you're wondering, 'Crime. Boy, I don't know' is when I decided to kick your ass."

    Or, even better, on video here.
  • Important newsflash courtesy of [livejournal.com profile] splifford:

    Worried about the Large Hadron Collider and the possibility that it might destroy life, the universe and everything we hold dear? Get live updates on whether or not your fears are realized here.


    "Encounter at Farpoint" is on sci-fi right now. I appreciate season 1 of ST:TNG for what it developed into in later years but I can't actually watch in. UGH. On the other hand, "Lower Decks" was on last night and remains one of my all time favorite episodes. They totally nailed that one.

    I'm sure there's more but, right now, I've got nothing. Wish me luck driving on the other side of the road! As I told kiffle, I promise to drive better than Booth!

    ETA: I sent in my Michigan voter registration today! I mistakenly thought I needed a MI driver's license (or other state issued ID) to vote here but it turns out I just need to be a permanent resident so I don't have to vote in Florida via absentee ballot after all!
    Amazon bought Shelfari so I migrated all of my books to Library Thing. You can find me at saturn_reads.

    I'm a bit torn over the decision because I prefer Shelfari and, right now, it's still free. For competitive reasons, though, I have a really hard timing supporting Amazon ventures so Library Thing it is. (I've also been waffling over how to use Library Thing/Shelfari for a while now. Part of me wants to try to load everything I remember reading [ever] but that's an absurd project. For now, it's books read in 2007 and on with the exception of series I started prior to 2007 e.g. HP and The Dark is Rising sequence.)

    Anyway, hi! I'm back from my long weekend in NY. It was perfect and I'm very sad I'm not there right now. My sister is a fabulous host and an even better mother. We had so much time to just talk and be together.

    Here. Have a photo of my nephew. )

    And here, have a funny little rap about the Large Hadron Collider:

    Also a Dr. Who fic rec:

    In Another Life by [livejournal.com profile] sam_storyteller - Doctor 2.0/Rose, PG-13 Summary: An all-too-human Doctor begins to build a life with Rose Tyler, but old ghosts — both real and imagined — still haunt him. And there’s only so much human life you can live without a name...

    And a West Wing fic rec:

    That Way Lies Madness by [livejournal.com profile] ygrawn - Donna/Sam, Donna/Josh, PG-13 Summary: "For years, I thought we were friends because that was the closest we could each get to Josh. But that isn’t true. We’re friends because that’s the closest we can get to each other." This story is set post-series and is AU from about midway through season three. It's told from Donna's POV, a wonderful, mature, flawed Donna, and the character voices are fantastic. Ygrawn is a bit hard on Josh but I dare you to read this and not fall in love with the woman Donna's become and with Sam, oh, with Sam.

    Now back to the ST:TNG marathon on sci-fi.
    saturn: (Default)
    ( Aug. 3rd, 2008 10:25 pm)
    What I'd love is a book club for non-physicists led by a physicist.

    [livejournal.com profile] scot_ty - Have you started The Black Hole War yet? I'm about half way through and I'd love to discuss it with you. I have so many general questions as I read and sometimes I need help tying things together.

    It took me a while to connect that gravitational time dilations at the horizon of a black hole are explained by the equivalence principle. I would have loved to have had someone to bounce my thoughts around with. Now I'm struggling with entropy.

    I mean, even at a high level, I'm having some problems. The 2nd law of thermodynamics says that the entropy of a system tends to increase. What if you freeze water in a bathtub to absolute zero? We know at absolute zero, the entropy of that system is at or near zero but it was much higher when it started. Entropy decreased. Does the 2nd law have to exist in a closed system or, somewhat related, does the system in the case include the mechanism for freezing the water which has energy of its own? I DON'T KNOW.

    I'm also confused about the mathematical formula around bits and entropy calculation. I'm not 100% sure it matters but the bit about bits (hahaha) is confusing me.

    If you haven't started yet, I should probably mention that it's a great book and most of it is entirely digestible if you're familiar with the basics of relativity and quantum mechanics (and there is an overview chapter on both). But there are definitely concepts I'd digest more easily if I had someone to talk to about them.

    ETA: If anyone else wants to help me get a grip on entropy, HAVE AT IT.

    ETA 2: 11 killed after avalanche on Pakistan's K2. How terrible. I love reading about mountain climbing but I have zero aspiration to actually try it.
    Today was week 4/day 1 and I needed the run desperately. What an awful day.

    First of all, let me start with a pet peeve: Chewing gum in meetings. Chewing gum in meetings, chewing gum when you're talking to me in my office, chewing gum when you're presenting to a group. WE ARE NOT BRITNEY SPEARS, PEOPLE. It's so fucking tacky. If you have something important to say please do not distract me with your Bubblicious.

    So, I got into a huge argument with the asshole rental agent who's handling my tenant's lease renewal. He sucks. He's nonresponsive and glib and does a shit job for me but I'm still going to have to pay him a $2,000 commission when the tenant resigns the lease. He was a nightmare to work with from the beginning and I have no interest in giving him more of my money but it's just one of those things I'm going to have to suck up and deal with. Eventually.

    It also turns out that Patrick Stewart and David Tennant have conspired to be so darn popular as to ruin my attempts at spontaneity and alternate side of the road driving.

    Let's just add to that I'm having an unexpected sexual identity crisis and you get the gist of my day.

    But there are bright spots:

    * Esai Morales was cast as Joseph Adama in the 'Caprica' miniseries. I like him a lot. Two thumbs up!

    * MIT has free physics courses. Is anyone interested in doing one of the classes with me? It would be so much more fun to work my way through Physics I with someone.

    * Katee Sackhoff, looking awesome, as interviewed by Michael Ausiello.

    Tell me something good. Rec me fic. Link me to things of joy. Help me save my day!


    saturn: (Default)


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