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Showing posts from June, 2013

We're moving East: FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions about my move to the East Coast:

Q: When are you moving?

A: July 3

Q: So soon!

A: That's not a question :) But yeah, we want to get settled in in Cambridge before the school year.

Q: Have you found a place to live?

A: Yup, we very quickly found an ideal house in Cambridgeport, near Central Square and about 2 miles from the CfA.

Q: Whoa, that was fast!

A: Yeah, we got extremely lucky. There's very little inventory in Cambridge, especially in our price range. Erin and I laid out the characteristics that we needed, and a separate list of wants in a Google Doc, so we knew what we were looking for. On our second day of searching during our visit to the Boston area this Spring, Erin found a place that met all but 1-2 of our needs/wants. She called me with the news, I rushed over to take a look, and we decided to make an offer. It was accepted and we closed last week.

Q: Where will the boys go to school?

A: Cambridge does not have neighborhood schools. Kind…

A day for equal rights

Wow, what a huge decision! This from the court that failed to protect the voting rights of of one minority group earlier this week just affirmed the rights of a different minority group by striking down Prop 8 in California and the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). The court giveth, and the court taketh away...

I hope this is the beginning of end of the silly notion of "defending marriage" by denying it to gay people. The lack of honesty behind this argument has always made my head ache. If marriage needs defending, its from the straight people who do it for convenience, or money, or citizenship, or any number of reasons that have nothing to do with long-term commitment, love or family. Marriage needs to be defended from a 50% divorce rate. But the last thing threatening my or anyone else's marriage is someone else getting married.

This Fall I'm going to attend my first same-sex wedding. The individuals getting married are some of my and Erin's dearest, closest fr…

Resonances

Start with a metal surface attached to an acoustic oscillator (a speaker). Add salt to the surface. Increase the frequency until the plate reaches its natural frequency, at which point standing waves are set up. The salt settles down along the nodal lines on the surface where the plate is relatively still. Similarly, salt grains are bounced out of the regions where the surface oscillates.



(I found this video on ThisIsColossal. h/t Bri for pointing me to the site.)

This is a 2-dimensional analogy of oscillations in the Sun. Hot material just below the Sun's surface rises in convective cells, which then "ping" the outer layers of the Sun. This pinging causes the Sun to oscillate and set up standing waves throughout it's 3-dimensional interior. Some of these vibration modes can be observed by making repeated measurements of the Sun's brightness as its surface oscillates.


In principle, one could estimate the density of the plate in the video above by reading off the …

Cool Data Visualization Showing Where Greenhouse Gasses Originate

This is a really cool way to visualize complex connections in a compact, easy-to-read plot (via The Dish). I wonder if there's software to do this. 
Full-size PDF here.

From MotherBoard:Hope this is getting clearer: carbon is deeply entangled in every sector that runs our lives right now. Fighting this thorn-studded, planetary kudzu will mean hacking away at all of it. Obviously, that means killing coal-fired power plants, and replacing them with solar, wind, and/or nukes. But it means getting combustion engine cars off the road, too. And pivoting towards more sustainable agriculture. And stopping deforestation. And cracking down on power-draining houses. And.
On a related note, I watched a documentary on the architect Norman Foster last night on Netflix called How Much Does Your Building Weigh, Mr. Foster? What struck me is the scale of his undertakings, which now includes an entire city in Abu Dhabi, designed from scratch to be carbon-neutral and zero-waste. The first striking a…

PSA from NASA: It gets better

It's tough enough to be a nerd in high school. To this I can definitely attest. But being a nerd and being gay? That's gotta be rough for a kid.  Nice job NASA for showing that it gets better on both fronts!

Hyper-polyglot

Tim Doner is 17 years old and he has mastered 20 languages (via The Dish):