Wednesday, November 19, 2003

MRI, NMR, and the Japanese Professor...

I had a 2 hour lecture today on NMR. You know what it is even if you've never heard the term before. You know it as MRI, or Magnetic Resonance Imaging. You know why you don't hear it called NMR or NMRI by Doctors? Because of that lovely little "N" at the beginning, which stands for that dreaded word "NUCLEAR"! I know, you can't hold back your shock of disbelief and fear. Actually, the American public can't seem to get over that word, and because the majority of Americans wouldn't take an MRI scan if they knew it involved "nuclear" imaging, Doctors have decided to just knock the word off... but I digress...

I didn't take notes today during this lecture, rather I wrote down my 'thoughts'. This professor is probably the most boring lecturer I've ever had. I have described his lectures to people as "listening to paint dry." Think about it. Anyway, his obtuse and vague way of teaching leaves me with many, many questions, yet when I ask questions I only get long, drawn out, obtuse, and vague answers. I'm reaching the apathetic stage faster than ever before. So let me put my Sarcasm Hat on and tell you what I learned in my lecture today...

Travelogue - NMR Lecture 11/19/03
1pm - Amazed at the speed at which I can become lost in the material.
1:15 - I ask a question regarding how the blazes he managed to get a complex number into a physical quantity. He attempts an answer and baffles the class, but I'm sure an answer is out there even though the NMR book I own doesn't seem to indicate it...
1:20 - Bogus drawing #1. Rotating coordinate system? What the?
1:25 - Oh, magnetic spins have ENSEMBLES? Who would have thunkit, I didn't know they were so talented.
1:30 - Magnetic spins begin to take on even more personal aspects when I find out that they have COUPLING. Greeaaaaat...
1:35 - Spin interactions disappear when theta = 55degrees 44minutes! (angle measure) NO KIDDING! It's the 'magic angle' of spin! No joke, the terminology exists!
1:41 - Discovery of the 'fictitious temperature' that can happen to take negative values. Anybody up for negative absolute energy? Maybe this is antimatter...
1:43 - The fictitious temperature can also happen to take an infinite value. This just makes Ramin and I crack up. Uh-huh... It's kinda like saying "two plus two equals four, except for unusually large values of two, in which case two plus two equals forty-two."
2:15 - We are told that the Hamiltonian (quantum mechanical operator) is "easy to understand" in matrix form. Bull. Make the insanity stop!
2:40 - Total amount learned = 0

"If you can't answer the question, just make fun of them."
-Me, to Ramin, regarding my prof's answer to a question

Can you tell I was a little ticked? Haha... I'll perhaps have something more pleasant in a day or so... Until then: study hard and remember that NMRI is a very safe and excellent method that really does work... I just can't explain it yet.

Friday, November 07, 2003

Apples to Oranges?

Can you believe it? Two posts in two days! Amazing.

Anyway, a chemistry friend gave some links I found quite incredible. You should check these out.

"Everyone should know the wonderful fruits of science."
-Ramin H., Rolla Chemist, pun intended

Apples and Oranges - Actually, they're quite similar...

Kansas - You thought it was flat? You were right.

USPS - Our postal system is pretty amazing! Laugh your socks off with this one.

Thursday, November 06, 2003

Homestar makes headlines

Wouldn't you know, good ol'Homestar Runner has his 15 minutes of fame in the Missouri-Miner, the University newspaper. I thought it was funny, so I'll share it with you.
~The Yellow Dart

Homestar Runner as a basis for society
By Laura Warren

Well, since I am not exactly a fan of the hate mail, I decided to avoid a controversial topic this week. Thus, those of you who have ever visited, prepare to be amused.

In my year of watching the wonderfully amusing cartoons on this website, I have noticed many parallels between the characters and various types of people we run into in the real world (yes, there is a world outside of your computers and Rolla, believe it or not). Thus, I give you how the characters of fit into the real world (or just whatever I happen to think of related to a character).

So without further ado, in alphabetical order we have:

Bubs: Grease monkey, McDonalds worker, whatever you wish to call it, Bubs is the person you depend on for conveniences that for some reason no one can live without.

The Cheat: The Cheat (my favorite character) is the little devil that runs about playing pranks on everyone. But, he's so well loved, no one ever suspects or blames him for anything. He may seem to be Strong Bad's lackey, but the Cheat has masterminded plenty of pranks on his own.

Homestar Runner: Homestar is the "slow" athlete. He thinks he's in charge, but really, he's incompetent at anything outside of whatever athletics he's involved in. He even has the moronic girlfriend.

The King of Town: The King of Town seems to be a caricature of the corrupt, bumbling career politician. Other examples of this role could be Mayor Quimby of The Simpsons, or Dick Gephardt of the St. Louis and Jefferson County areas. This type of person seems to be in charge, but is just an idiot who looks for publicity opportunities, and does nothing to benefit the area in which they supposedly have influence (unless it benefits them). Oh, and he also reminds me of the Hamburgler.

Marzipan: Marzipan is the dirty hippie of the bunch. If she were not so busy protesting everything, I could see her sitting around smoking weed, strumming on her guitar. Silly hippies...

The Poopsmith: The Poopsmith is the perfect example of the hardworking laborer. They may not have much a job, but they do it, whether they like it or not, they get paid, and they go home. The job may suck, but someone has to do it.

Strong Bad: Strongbad is a fine example of a teenage bullyboy with too much time on his hands. He is constantly causing trouble for others to gain amusement out of it. He cheats his way to get ahead in life, with a modicum of success.

Strong Sad: Strong Sad, the eternally depressed brother of Strong Bad, as well as the butt of many jokes, reminds me of the rock in the Zoloft commercials. Heck, his face even looks like the rock! He is just a big, misunderstood teddy bear who really needs to learn how to have some fun. Maybe he should try drinking...

What can I say - I have too much time on my hands.

Sunday, November 02, 2003

What I Will Be

I'm going out on a limb here... but I don't think it matters anymore.

There has been a lot of occurrences in the past few weeks lately that have involved romantic relationships. Without going into details about this, I want to propose something that has been on my mind lately, and that may to some people be a tad revolutionary. Sometimes we concern ourselves too much with finding someone to love rather than being someone who can be loved; being the type of person who a lady/gentleman would be honored to have as a spouse. This change of thought can occur once you realize that God has in mind someone special for you, and in due time, once He knows you are ready, will reveal that portion of His will to you. After the fact, you can prepare for the day that you will become united with your spouse, rather than worry about the whole issue.

This is what I will be, what I will offer, for my wife:
God-centered - More than anything my allegiance will be to Holy God, Jehovah.
Integrity - I will be consistent in what I say and do.
Character - I will exemplify what it means to be a servant of Christ by considering others before myself.
Trustworthy - She will be able to have full confidence in me.
Loyal - I will keep my oath of faithfulness to her.
Perseverance - I understand what it means to bear up under trouble and stay the course.
Patience - I will be level-headed and even-tempered. Anger will only occur when it is demanded of me by conscience and the Word of God.
Humility - I know my limitations and am not afraid to admit wrong. Moreso and again, I will serve my family, the household of Believers, and my fellow man.
Confidence - Even in humility, I will be confident in my ability to do whatever it takes to accompish goals.
Courage - I will not shrink back when trouble comes in whatever form - the meaning of Godly courage.
Leadership - I will provide physical and spiritual leadership, keeping in mind that he who believes himself to be a leader must first and foremost be a servant.

"But Norman," you ask, "don't you want to be a fun, nice, romantic guy?" Yes I do, but don't you see how minor this is compared to the bigger issues? Can't we understand that it is easy to show a girl a good time, and that it is much more difficult to have the character of a Godly man? Most of us don't have to work very hard to be fun and cheerful. Let's strive to be people who are more interested in what they bring into a marriage than what the other has to give.

I'm sure I've missed some important qualities, feel free to comment on what I have forgotten. (When you write on the fly and do very little editing, you miss things...)

Well, it looks like I've got a long way to go... but if I'm good at one thing, it's never giving up.