Friday, April 18, 2014

What to Do After a Test

  • Watch a movie 
  • Read
  • Clean room
  • Run around in circles
  • Go for a drive
  • Listen to music
  • Go on a night hike
  • Play ukulele
  • Write
  • Internet
  • Do homework due the next week
  • Take pictures
  • Eat ice cream. Definitely eat ice cream.
  • Breathe. 

Monday, April 7, 2014

Galaxies and Relativity

My motivation has fallen away, like the snow melts and falls off in sheets from Marquez Hall, endangering any passersby. I've resorted to looking forward to stuff, and those stuff included Spring Break and E-Days, both of which are now gone.

So now I look forward to summer.

But hey, baseball is back, and E-Days did not disappoint, so there's that.

I think I've finally recovered from my disease of comparing everything to freshman year and finally found a year to just enjoy. My third E-Days held the same philosophy. I did things that made me happy, like took naps, rather than trying to do things to just do them. GalaxE-Days Lesson #1: Don't volunteer for events just because you want a t-shirt. I love Orecart Pull, but volunteering wasn't the best idea ever. I mean, it's a good thing to do if you have time and your heart is in it (and things are organized well). GalaxE-Days Lesson #2: Wear good shoes. GalaxE-Days Lesson #3: Naps are amazing. I spent the rest of my Friday napping (for 5 hours) until I woke up to show up to a rootbeer kegger late. But whatever, you know. GalaxE-Days Lesson #4: Starting E-Days early is totally great. Even if it's due to snow canceling a class.

E-Days was a lot of fun and I didn't do homework at all, but it made me tired. My feet are still silently weeping from the stuff I put them through during Orecart Pull. I get the feeling I'm going to be tired for a long, long time...

Sigh. Is it Summer (Field Camp) yet? No, but registration for Senior Year is tomorrow. What. When did this happen? When did we become so close to responsibility, to pretending that we know what we're doing?

As Orion sets slowly below the horizon and South Table Mountain begins to look more green than its usual brown color, all I know is that we got older somewhere. Maybe it was during the coffee-stained tests, or the index out of bound errors. It could have been all the free food we've eaten, or the late hours we spent just talking when we should have been doing other things. It was probably climbing all those stairs in the Green Center, or reaching over to open the doors to the Student Center. But no matter how much I notice that time is passing more and more quickly, it still accelerates. It probably has to do with Relativity and Quantum Mechanics, but I think has to do with the number of times that we've laughed so hard that it hurt.

 While my classes increase the gravity on my eyelids and put my head on my desk, life is still good. It's a good year to be a Mines kid.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Seven Days of Spring Break

Spring break tomorrow, homework today. Wake up to MATLAB. Rain rain snow snow snow, programming weather. Coffee for breakfast. Sherpa for lunch. More procrastinating, more computing. Barely done in time. Again. Sigh. No time to go to Seismic. Rent a Three girls and a dude at 5 Guys. Too many fries. Fries dipped in ice cream, yum. Driving driving. Packing packing. Downloading music for the road. Too little sleep.

At dawn we go. Ski bums and traffic. Hunger. Getting off schedule. Oh, well. Walkie-talkie battleship. The Utah sun beating down on my face like it did in my dream in January. So much deposition and erosion. Oh, the glorious erosion. Sitting in a car makes my muscles more sore than Corona Arch hike. More driving, and will we find a campsite? Old western-looking sunset with spires and purple sky. Darkness, and stars. How many engineers does it take to set up a tent at night? Amazing Grace under the Milky Way (as performed on top of a rock acoustically).

Time travel and confusion. Coldness of the desert does not bode well for sleep. No firewood equals no coffee. So much driving. Evading the law GTA style, but not really. Furthest destination: Grand Canyon. Status: reached. It looks like the pictures, and amazing in real life. Extensiveness blows the mind. Arizona sunshine. One point five miles into the heart of the canyon. Crossing layers, crossing time. Even more time travel in DST-less AZ. Professional camp-setting-uppers-at-night. Quick! Be loud before it's quiet hours! Sing! And the story of Henry the tree/boy/man. (Pretty sure we ran over Bob the tumbleweed).

This place has everything, including hot showers. Wat. I got to drive all the way from Grand Canyon to Four Corners. Passing cars...vroom. Sky. Silence, and mostly sleeping (not by me, the driver). When I stopped driving and got 3g, MIT Haystack REU emailed me an offer. Approaching Four Corners, the CO side is obvious: corner with mountains. Snow on ground after crossing state lines. Campground didn't work out...getting super hungry. Golden only six hours away! But actually seven. Operation Straight-Shot. "When I wake up, well, I know I'm gonna be..." plays in Wendy's right after having a conversation about it. Weird. And awesome. Near-elk encounter. Train encounter. THE longest train. I-25 is a boring road to drive. It's not an all-nighter if the sun doesn't rise before you go to sleep.

Solid six hours of sleep after waking up at noon. Then it started to snow. Packing again, then driving some more, but only twenty minutes. Sleep. Warmth.

Whilst jamming: "What am I thinking right now?" "We should go to Village Inn." Yes. Free pie Wednesday. A third-annual tradition, and the last with all three of us being students. Sadface-happyface.

Sleep. And good food. I probably gain so much weight when I go home. Good times with great friends. I don't want to go back to school.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014



One good thing about February is that it's the shortest month of the year. Bad things about February include bitter cold and wind, no real baseball games to attend, and of course, midterms.

I got my first smathering of midterms of the semester last week. It was the worst of weeks: Electromagnetics, then Probability and Statistics, and then Continuum Mechanics. I also received the "Procrastinator of the Year" award for not starting my math homework until after it was due. PotY is a prestigious award created by myself for outstanding feats of procrastination. The award includes eating cupcakes. (I ate two last Friday).

After my great accomplishment, it was nice to relax with the three-day weekend because of President's Day. It was almost a four-day weekend, because Structural Geology is not really a class. I mean, all we do is color. But now I've been studying for a math midterm this Thursday. It's funny how easy a week seems when you only have one test compared to three and homework and a lab report.

This semester has been going by pretty quickly, though. In a couple weeks, it'll be Soiree (a fancy dinner party for Mines girls) and I'll start finding out about REUs. Mines baseball plays their first home series a week after that. A week after that it's Spring Break, during which my friends from InterVarsity and I are going somewhere warm...probably southwest. A couple weeks after that it's E-Days! And Rockies Opening Day! And then the semester is almost over!

Woo. Sometimes when us Geophysics buddies are studying or whatever, we'll be like, " it Field Camp yet?" Soon. Very soon. Like 80ish days soon.

Monday, January 13, 2014

The Viscosity of Maple Syrup, and Other Breakfast Properties

The viscosity of a fluid depends on temperature and pressure. It measures how resistant to stress a material is, and is expressed in units of pressure times seconds.

There are a few important things about any material. Strength of the actual material, porosity (or how many pores are in a certain area), and permeability are a few properties.
But some would argue that the most important characteristic would be the fluid inside the material.

This is what I was thinking of when I poured a slightly viscous and mostly sweet non-Newtonian liquid over a layer of permeable pancakes. Those layers of the stack were deposited over time, just as sedimentary layers are.
Yet they resemble the flat overlapping volcanoes on the planet Venus.

Does a pancake's porosity correlate to its taste?
Is there an ideal permeability of the layers that the viscous liquid will have the ideal concentration in?

Grains are classified according to size. There are boulders, cobbles, pebbles, sand, silt, and clay.

The pebbles of coffee beans are eroded down to sand--coarse, medium, and then fine sand.
Depending on how strong I want the coffee to be, I grind it down to silt.

Grain size affects porosity.
Porosity affects strength.
Strength affects taste and how awake I am.

Two heaping scoops for every cup of water, and another scoop for good measure. And maybe another dash to prevent against weak coffee. A semi-quantifiable algorithm.

The tensile strength of bacon, the permittivity of orange juice, and the bulk modulus of scrambled eggs...

Perhaps a pancake's porosity correlates to taste, but taste is only semi-quantifiable as bleh, meh, delicious.

The taste of syrup is positively correlated to viscosity. Making my permeable pancakes filled with viscous maple syrup delicious along with my strong, light-absorbing coffee.

That is how you have physics for breakfast.