So I have a web log now

I have a web log now. I'm now That Guy With A Blog. I'm approaching this whole thing with much trepidation for a couple reasons. First, I hate the word "blog." What a dumb word. Is it really that hard to say "web log"? Who was sitting around and decided, "dang, man, I'm tired of staying 2 whole words for this thing. I don't got time for saying 2 words. Time to shorten things up a bit." Some words just grate. So I'll try to refer to this as a web log so I don't hate myself in the morning. But I have a feeling that running a web log will cause me to lower my standards, much in the way that having a kid makes you able to deal with snot and poop in ways you never imagined.

The other problem I have is a fear of digital commitment. I'm starting this whole thing because I'm starting a brand new phase of my life. After living in Berkeley for 7 years, starting a family, earning two degrees and meeting some of the best people in the world, it's now time to move on and start over again. I'm starting an National Science Foundation Astronomy and Astrophysics Postdoctoral Fellowship (or "blog" for short) at the Institute for Astronomy at the University of Hawaii. If I have as many responsibilities as words in my title, then I'm gonna be pretty busy over the next three years.

So yeah, commitment. I can't promise regular postings. I'll try to hop on here when I can and update what's going on in my life, which includes:
1. Being married (Erin will hopefully contribute from time to time. Right?)
2. Raising a 2-year-old boy, Owen (aka The Boy)
3. Living in a totally new and different place (Honolulu)
4. Being an independent scientist in the world of professional astrophysics

karinms said…
All my hopes and dreams have finally come true! :-) This is the best idea ever!
WB6PIO said…
I am so like totally awed. Thanks for clearing up the "mahalo" confusion. I'd always thought it meant "or else you're in deep doodoo with the Homeland Security Department," as in "Kindly obey all instructions from any member of the flight crew; MAHALO."

On the Height of J.J. Barea

Dallas Mavericks point guard J.J. Barea standing between two very tall people (from: Picassa user photoasisphoto).

Congrats to the Dallas Mavericks, who beat the Miami Heat tonight in game six to win the NBA championship.

Okay, with that out of the way, just how tall is the busy-footed Maverick point guard J.J. Barea? He's listed as 6-foot on NBA.com, but no one, not even the sports casters, believes that he can possibly be that tall. He looks like a super-fast Hobbit out there. But could that just be relative scaling, with him standing next to a bunch of extremely tall people? People on Yahoo! Answers think so---I know because I've been Google searching "J.J. Barea Height" for the past 15 minutes.

So I decided to find a photo and settle the issue once and for all.

I then used the basketball as my metric. Wikipedia states that an NBA basketball is 29.5 inches in circumfe…

Finding Blissful Clarity by Tuning Out

It's been a minute since I've posted here. My last post was back in April, so it has actually been something like 193,000 minutes, but I like how the kids say "it's been a minute," so I'll stick with that.
As I've said before, I use this space to work out the truths in my life. Writing is a valuable way of taking the non-linear jumble of thoughts in my head and linearizing them by putting them down on the page. In short, writing helps me figure things out. However, logical thinking is not the only way of knowing the world. Another way is to recognize, listen to, and trust one's emotions. Yes, emotions are important for figuring things out.
Back in April, when I last posted here, my emotions were largely characterized by fear, sadness, anger, frustration, confusion and despair. I say largely, because this is what I was feeling on large scales; the world outside of my immediate influence. On smaller scales, where my wife, children and friends reside, I…

The Force is strong with this one...

Last night we were reviewing multiplication tables with Owen. The family fired off doublets of numbers and Owen confidently multiplied away. In the middle of the review Owen stopped and said, "I noticed something. 2 times 2 is 4. If you subtract 1 it's 3. That's equal to taking 2 and adding 1, and then taking 2 and subtracting 1, and multiplying. So 1 times 3 is 2 times 2 minus 1."

I have to admit, that I didn't quite get it at first. I asked him to repeat with another number and he did with six: "6 times 6 is 36. 36 minus 1 is 35. That's the same as 6-1 times 6+1, which is 35."

Ummmmm....wait. Huh? Lemme see...oh. OH! WOW! Owen figured out

x^2 - 1 = (x - 1) (x +1)

So $6 \times 8 = 7 \times 7 - 1 = (7-1) (7+1) = 48$. That's actually pretty handy!

You can see it in the image above. Look at the elements perpendicular to the diagonal. There's 48 bracketing 49, 35 bracketing 36, etc... After a bit more thought we…