Tuesday, August 03, 2004

What Dreams Are Made Of

Here's an interesting article on dream research.

MSNBC - What Dreams Are Made Of

Go. Read. Learn. Now!

Thursday, July 29, 2004

Links you never new existed

So here are a few interesting links I've run across lately...

The RhymeZone


Church Fathers Online

After watching the final assembly of one, I wanted it... Too bad...

Where I work

That's enough for now! Enjoy browsing and laughing...

Tuesday, July 20, 2004

I have succeeded...

... in making my contribution to Murphy's Laws. The webmaster took the newly discovered Horn-Murphy Law of Laundry and added it to the "Miscellaneous Laws" page. Click on the link below and scroll to the very end of the page to view...

Murphy Laws Site - Miscellaneous Laws

My life has progressed one more step towards completeness...

Monday, July 19, 2004

Robots, Metaphysics, and REAL Artificial Intelligence

What a catchy title...

I watched the latest craze I, Robot last night, and it was impressive. I really enjoy Will Smith's movies, and they even had that guy who played Zefram Cochrane in Star Trek: First Contact to play Dr. Lanning (sp?). Set in 2035, the plot of the movie is about how robots attempt to take over the world, but not in the same way or for the same reason as The Matrix.

Before I go any farther, I need to make sure and put out a disclaimer - kids make sure you check the content of the movie with your parents, conferring with a site such as www.kidsinmind.com, before venturing to see this movie. I do not want to be accidentally responsible for offending someone because I endorsed a movie they would not pre-approve. Be smart and check out what you're thinking about watching.


The following should be read at your own spoiled risk. It might give away some of the storyline of I, Robot (henceforth referred to as IR).

Robots in this story are governed by the immutable three laws (precisely quoted fromt the oh-so-interesting Wikipedia):

Law 1: A robot may not harm a human being, or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.

Law 2: A robot must obey the orders given to it by the human beings, except where such orders would conflict with the First Law.

Law 3: A robot must protect its own existence, as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Law.

However, in IR we see a robot evolution in the extremely complex AI called VIKI, which effectively decides that for humanity's own protection against itself must take charge and, possibly-good intentions aside, control the world. VIKI, who indirectly is in charge of all the NS-5 robots, apparently uses logic to conclude that accomplishing this goal must necessitate the forced removal and execution of certain humans who cause too much danger to her idealistic robot-driven society.

This makes a very cool story, no doubt. Fortunately, we don't have to worry, for even if we were able to invent sufficient artificial intelligence that might mirror those of robots in IR I seriously doubt that sort of robot uprising has any possibility of occurring.

The metaphsyical, scientific, and AI question I have concerning this is the following: can the supposed "Ghost code" of Dr. Lanning be sufficient to provide the leap of logic necessary for VIKI to violate the first law to harm individual humans for the good of humanity? Another way of posing the question is HOW does "Ghost code" allow VIKI to take over the world.

To *hopefully* start some discussion and wake up our friendly-neighborhood-blog-circle, I offer my initial answer. The "Ghost code" supposedly allows a fundamental switch in the first law, possibly caused by an ambiguity. The robot must fully re-interpret the phrase "a human being" to "the whole of humanity" or simply restate the first law into "A robot must harm the fewest number of human beings to protect the well-being of the balance number of human beings." Robots must effectively redefine a number. Considering that it must ultimately think in binary form, this seems unlikely. Also, I think William Dembski's Law of Conservation of information ultimately prevents artificial intelligence from moving beyond their original programming. In short, it restates what everyone understands as the "no free lunch" principle, that you only get out what you put in. Thus, there is no way for a robot to evolve beyond what is programmed into it.

Go see the movie, I really enjoyed it and I bet you will too.

Friday, July 16, 2004


I have made a scientific breakthrough on laws of necessity today.  I am now prepared to offer the Horn Addition to Murphy's Laws. It is as follows:

"Pens sent through the dryer intentionally never break, but those sent by accident always attack white clothes."

I hate it when that happens!

Wednesday, July 14, 2004

Excursion into virtuality

I meant to blog on this Monday but never got around to it...

On Monday we had a plant tour. It is always fun to see what the different areas of the plant have to offer, considering that KCP can do just about anything, from materials production to advanced microchip engineering - all under one roof. So I got to see a water cutting machine that uses simple H2O to cut up to 8 inch-thick blocks of steel, gears smaller than a grain of sand, and virtual reality. Yes, virtual reality. For the first time, I donned head-gear and walked in a 3D virtual world! You could turn your head and the visual would change to another part of the virtual environment. Your "virtual hand" could interact with objects. It was amazing! Not quite a Star Trek holodeck, and at times it was a little polygon-ic, but nevertheless it was one of the neatest things I've ever seen done with a computer. How 'bout them apples, folks? We really CAN make virtual reality work!

"Stupid" Sayings

I have been researching Renaissance period stories/fables/tales, and happened to come upon this website and this particular page. Enjoy!

"Stupid" Sayings - Story-Lovers SOS Story Lists

Monday, July 12, 2004


Here is a quick post for today...

One of the annoying things about working at Honeywell is the constant muzak over the speakers across the plant. So I asked the question to the oh-so-knowledgable Internet: WHY does Muzak exist? Here's the answer.

The Science of Muzak

It's unfortunate, stupid, maybe even a bunch of lies - but it is interesing.

Comment with your thoughts about muzak. Rant or praise all you want, I care not.

Tuesday, July 06, 2004

IBM ViaVoice...

Well, well, well, this is certainly a new experience. Recently I've purchased software enabling my computer to be voice automated. This happens to be called IBM ViaVoice. But it apparently is quality software, albeit there are few errors that it makes every once in awhile. In fact this entire post has been composed from my speaking voice! Don't you think that's pretty cool?

Not only can you dictate to this program but you can also run programs with your voice. All I have to do is say 'Start Internet explorer' and Internet explorer starts! You can navigate your favorite sites with but a spoken word. In fact, you can even use ViaVoice to click on links in a Web page you're looking at. ViaVoice also has the ability to add words to its own vocabulary. It will even search all your documents for words that you commonly use in your work. This is particularly significant because, of course, I am a chemist, and I have to teach the program to recognize words tetrachlorobenzene. Fortunately, it's a pretty smart program. Even with a small amount of work that I have actually done with the program, it should be apparent that it is very, very cool.

One thing I would like to do with this software is to begin taking more frequent notes of what I read. The incentive to take detailed notes increases dramatically when you don't have to cramp your hand to complete the job. I think this alone makes ViaVoice very appealing. But furthermore, this makes dictating e-mail's, short essays, or long papers very simple. Collect your thoughts, and write! Or shall I say, talk! All in all, the program is very impressive.

If you're interested, IBM ViaVoice can be purchased very simply on eBay. Depending on which version you want, you can spend anything from $10 to $50 on the basic version for simple dictation, up to the professional version for Advanced Options. I purchased the advanced version for $30, and it seems to be a pretty good deal.

This ends the first-ever broadcast transcription of my blog! Hopefully, more of my post will be written like this. See you next time!

Monday, June 28, 2004


I am officially finished with the entire science-fiction television series called Farscape. This series is perhaps the greatest SF show ever, save for the obvious classics The Outer Limits and Star Trek. Here are three reasons why Farscape is so cool...

1) Incredible Storyline - John Crichton, from 1990's Earth, gets shot across the galaxy and ends up in a ship full of aliens dazed and confused. The crewmembers are all former prisoners of the Peacekeepers, effectively an empire that keeps order in their part of the galaxy, but all were wrongly accused of their crimes. Farscape chronicles their adventures through space on the living ship called Moya. They have to fight, learn, and survive through all sorts of crazy events, evil villains, and natural phenomena, from the likes of the Scarran Empire to mercenary bounty hunters to spaceship-eating gargantuan creatures. Nevertheless, the writers for Farscape create a convincing, thought provoking, and compelling story that as a whole is like watching a page-turner novel.

Many of the episodes are independent of one another, but very often there are a great many episodes that run in succession, if watched at once it could be compared to a really long movie. But what's amazing is that you don't get bored! Every time I finished an episode, I couldn't wait for the next one! It draws you in like no other show I have seen does.

2) Real Character Development - It isn't often that ANY show these days has characters that have substance. Fortunately, we have multitudes of characters in Farscape that are deep and meaningful. To save writing time for so many characters, here is a small sample of characters with excerpts from the Farscape website.

John Crichton - The astronaut from earth caught in a wormhole and thrown halfway across the galaxy is the central character of the series (albeit every character plays an important role). He is brilliant, witty, courageous, idealistic, passionate... he is incredible. His character develops through the series from a scared and confused young man to a fighter and leader to be reckoned with by empires. From Farscape.com: "The distinction of being a second-generation astronaut came, for Crichton, double-edged. After earning his doctorate in Theoretical Sciences, Crichton spent his time as a scientist/astronaut in his famous father's shadow, always trying to impress and please Jack Crichton, but never forced to scrabble to make a name for himself, since he was born into the legacy without even lifting a finger. When his experimental mission aboard the Farscape One module shot him through a wormhole, Crichton found himself definitely not in Kansas anymore. Here, he was at last forced to call upon the heroic qualities he'd inherited from Dad but had never needed to use. Crichton's natural leadership and decision-making skills make him an important member of Moya's crew; his complete lack of cultural understanding of alien races and technology makes his "heroics" just that much more difficult."

Aeryn Sun - From Farscape.com: "Part of the frontline Pleisar Regiment of the Peacekeeper Military, Aeryn was a top-notch soldier and combat pilot until her encounter with Crichton and Moya rendered her, by Peacekeeper standards, "irreversibly contaminated," and ostracized her from the only family she'd ever known. Her experience on Moya has taught her that there are other means and methods of communicating, but, like D'Argo, she still turns to combat as her primary solution to any problem Moya might face. She sees the Peacekeepers, now, through the eyes of Moya's crew, and knows them to be relentless and in many ways wrong, but there is much of Aeryn that still considers herself a traitor." This was written during the early Farscape days, and later she becomes John's girl and a totally different person. She is a compassionate friend to all on Moya and critical to the development of John.

Kar D'Argo - From Farscape.com: "Huge and powerful, D'Argo was wrongly imprisoned by the Peacekeepers as a scapegoat for the murder of his own Sebacean wife, Lo'Lann. His hatred for the Peacekeepers runs deeper than most, and he lives to reunite with his son, and to avenge the wrongs that have been done him and his family. His experience aboard Moya, and the love and friendship he's seen develop among Moya's crew has taught him patience and understanding... to some degree. His relationship with Zhaan, in particular, has taught him that there is much that's mightier than the sword (or Qualta Blade, his Luxan weapon of choice, half sword, half energy rifle). D'Argo admires Zhaan for this more than he'd ever admit out loud... fortunately, Zhaan can often sense what goes unsaid."

There are so many others! Zhaan the priestess and healer, wise in so many ways; Rigel the deposed monarch, arrogant and selfish; Chianna the runaway Nebari girl, flirtatious and silly; Crais the Peacekeeper captain; Scorpius the relentless Scarran-Sebatian half-breed after John Crichton's knowledge of wormholes; so many interesting people! Although Farscape.com is a little out-of-date (amazingly enough) with the later episodes, it is a good start to learn about the characters, so if you want to learn more check it out!

3) Great Acting - Along with our cool characters is the good acting. Ben Browder (John Crichton) actually has won multiple awards for the show! Not to mention that every actor has a very special way of expressing his or her character, and generally speaking the quality is very high.

It is truly unfortunate that Farscape was cancelled at the end of the fourth season. Recently, however, Farscape fans were excited to learn that there will be a four-hour miniseries to conclude the story this Fall. Not surprisingly, I am at the edge of my seat...

So if you love Farscape too, make sure to comment on what you love about the show!

Thursday, June 10, 2004

Free time

I haven't posted in something like two weeks, so I figure it is about time I do so. I bet you've been wondering to yourself, "What DOES QM do in his free time in Kansas City after work? Does he golf? Watch mindless TV all evening? Drink his troubles and cares away?" Ok, you probably haven't been asking those questions, but I'm going to tell you anyway.

During the summer, I like to read books. In fact, I have made a list of the books I'd like to read this summer - twelve books in all. That's about one book a week all summer long. It won't be easy, but patience and dedication will win the day. Here's my summer reading list:

Wild at Heart - Eldredge (finally getting around to it)
The Attributes of God - Arthur Pink (guess who asked me to read that?)
The Design Revolution - William Dembski (gotta keep up with ID)
Building the Bombs - C. Loeber (a history of the Nuclear Weapons Complex)
The Iliad - Homer (Don't go see Troy - read the book)
Sleep Thieves - Stanley Coren (on the science of sleep)
The Canterbury Tales - Chaucer
The Four Loves - C.S. Lewis
The Pilgrim's Regress - Lewis
Surprised by Joy - Lewis
Till We Have Faces - Lewis
Miracles - Lewis

Why all the C.S. Lewis books? Jaired and I are going to be leading the C.S. Lewis gel group version 2.0 next semester at school, and we haven't decided yet what book(s) to choose. We found out that the sum total of Lewis books we haven't read was about 10, so we each of us took half of them to study over the summer.

All these books are in addition to my regular reading of Scripture and daily reading from the "Year with C.S. Lewis" book I got for Christmas. All in all, this is about 3800 pages of reading. If for some strange, sick, or twisted reason I actually read all of this before the summer's end, then I have another 10 books after these...

Now, you are probably thinking "Well QM you aren't going to be doing ANYTHING but reading this summer, you loser." Ok, so you aren't thinking that but I do other things too, like play guitar... I'm working on cutting a full length CD by the end of the summer, so I'm learning some new music in addition to keeping up with my old material. First off, I am finishing off the Suite del Recuerdo by Jose Luis Merlin. The last two major pieces in the suite are pretty difficult, but nothing I can't handle. Second, I'm learning numerous Celtic guitar pieces. I would like to do an exclusively Celtic CD too. Third, if you're familiar with jazz music at all then you know Dave Brubeck's Take Five. Well, actually it was written by Paul Desmond and was made famous by the Dave Brubeck Quartet. Great piece of music, and fortunately for all of us my friend Jorge Morel arranged it many years ago for solo guitar for Chet Atkins. John included in his biography of Chet the version that my teacher Kirk transcribed, and so I am working on that too.

Other than that, usually over dinner I watch an episode of Farscape. What a fun show! Speaking of which, it's time for dinner... Later guys...

Monday, May 24, 2004

Greetings from Kansas City

I tried to post last week, but for some reason I could not access blogger!

So anyway, I am officially back to work at Honeywell, working on a bunch of new projects that are very cool. I am already learning new and interesting aspects of chemistry and thermodynamics! My mentor Rebekah is great, as well as my other "semi-mentors" Dan and Eric (note: not the Eric*h* from Overland Park Church of Christ). Security is as tight as I can remember... and I'm still never in a lab with windows! Hello cave, hows'it goin'?

My living accomodations are LIGHT YEARS better than last summer! James and Chris' house is wonderful, and I even have a good place to record. (the bathroom!) I have to compliment them, they have helped me to feel right at home! We are going to have a good summer!

In other news... Beth got married last Saturday, she's one of the Madrigal Singers. She asked a few of us singers to sing and me to play some guitar - and Katelyn on short notice played piano for Karen's solo vocal piece. I gave Beth a recording of us doing our ensemble music, plus my guitar stuff, as part of her wedding gift. She loved it, which besides making me feel good also reinforces that people care more about the thought put into a gift than the money!

After the wedding we went to see the opera 'Carmen.' Whoa, that was an experience! Gentlemen, be careful what you watch, whether on the screen or live - that's all I'll say about that. The music was WONDERFUL, though.

Another neat little tidbit - I was asked to come do a follow-up interview for the TV station in Rolla next semester! They want me to come and talk about being a musician while working through an engineering degree. How cool is that?!?!

What words of wisdom can I leave with you after reading this blog post? I don't know. I think a quote from Proverbs is appropriate... Where words are many sin is not absent, but he who holds his tongue is wise! Take care everybody, I'll see you this weekend!

Friday, May 14, 2004

That's all folks...

... and thus ends another wonderful semester at UMR.

Finals are over. The reactor design final was the most difficult test I suppose I have ever taken, but I think I did well. Today's Molecular ChE exam was cake with extra icing. No problem at all...

Unfortunately, fortune did not shine upon the American Literature CLEP exam... I did almost exactly as the CLEP study guides predict - a person with a year of college literature should answer half the questions correctly - but apparently it isn't enough for UMR, as I needed another 5 questions to pass. People, that exam was VERY difficult. Oh well, despite this it was worth the try... Thanks to Jaired and Leon for lending me that itty-bitty review book, and no thanks to the College Examination board for the pathetic online study guide.

I move to Kansas City tomorrow, start work Monday. YEAH!

This is QM, going to have some fun before the packing begins, signing off...

Thursday, May 13, 2004

Look ma, we're on TV...

I just got back from the Collegium Musicum's first ever television interview and performance! The Wynds (recorder) and I had a nice opportunity to play a few pieces for the Rolla Public Access Channel on the Wake Up Rolla show, kind of like Good Morning America, just a lot smaller. Again, we're trying to make the community aware of what we are doing and come to Madrigal Dinners. The recorders played wonderfully, as usual, and I played so-so, but at 8am what can you expect?

One final down, two to go... Yesterday was Process Materials, and I think I will pull off an A in the class provided I didn't do something exceedingly stupid on the fourth problem. Today is Reactor Design, which will be tough, but I'm prepared.

So... It all started with this redhead with brown eyes who I would do anything for... and the rest is just history! ;-) I don't want to say too much about it, but since she mentioned us, now it's my turn...

Wednesday, May 05, 2004

Recording tidbits...

I had a very nice talk with John Francis of KUMR today about recording tips and strategies. We listened to some flat recordings along with the Collegium CD we produced a few weeks ago. He really liked what I did with the trombones, recorders, and guitar - hardly any suggestions. He did have some very good things to say about how I could improve my singers mix. For instance, creating a totally isolated reverb track is a good way to control reverb. Never thought of that! I'm not entirely sure about how that will work with Pro-Tools, but I think I know how it can work.

We also talked a bit about copyright laws and recording commercial discs. I want to begin doing that sort of thing but I still have some barriers to overcome... Lookout world, I'm on the way!

Tuesday, May 04, 2004

We're on final approach... watch your vector...

So here's a quickie short post about the coming week and a half...

I turn in my final linguistic humor paper tomorrow morning, assuming all goes well in my meeting with Professor R. On Thursday I have my music history 2 final, as well as finishing my Unit Operations Lab with a final report. Friday is cake, just a couple of classes and a research meeting.

Then I'm effectively home free until the next Wednesday, because my only three finals are on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday! Wow, a FOUR DAY WEEKEND!!! So I'll be spending time at home before finals and the KC move... You can bet that CuppaJo will be a big hangout for me next week...

On another note... I think that all you bloggers need to stop being so lazy and post at least once a week. Just let us know what is going on in your life for goodness sakes! Post your thoughts, events, random musings, whatever, just do something... It's fun to hear what's happenin'...

Thursday, April 29, 2004

Isn't that Funny? Part 2

Well whaddaya know, hard work does pay off! I found out today that my linguistic humor paper won first place in the UMR 3rd Annual Writing Contest in the Humanities Research Paper category! Yay!

So I received a cool-looking, framable certificate, a $25 gift certificate to the bookstore, and a copy of the 2004 Winning Essays book that the UMR Writing Center prints every year. (However, the book won't be ready until next semester.)

To see this stinkin' awesome paper, click here.

Haha, what a joke... By the way, my Chet Atkins paper is almost finished, expect it to be posted in about a week. I actually decided to use some of the material in my previous blog post in my conclusion. I figure that this paper is about as personal as a humanities paper can get, so why not include personal points?

There are only two weeks of school left, then I'm off to work in KC! I am really excited about the prospects of working with Honeywell again, as well as seeing some old friends. I'll be living with former-CCF-worship-leader James Bruce in his house, a little north of where I lived last summer. I'm looking forward to not having my work follow me home every night. Holy moly that will be great! I'll be working on a full-length classical guitar album over the summer, I am purposing to practice more than I ever have before. Of course, I will also be preparing for the EIT, GRE, and for grad school stuff. I also will be doing a lot of reading and goofing off. Busy? Yeah, it will be fun.

This last week has been fantastic! God has been so good, so faithful, so forgiving. Praise be to God the Father and to our Lord Jesus Christ, who gives new life day by day and continues to pour his blessings richly upon us!


Thursday, April 22, 2004

My new hero...

It is entirely unfitting for a man of true greatness to be forgotten. In my research for my music history paper, I have come to realize the dramatic effect Chet Atkins has had on my life and the lives of quite literally countless others in music and in character.

Chet's musicianship was unparalleled across the realm of American music. He single-handedly changed the face of rock'n'roll, country, jazz, and even classical music. His generosity and character touched the lives of my teachers, Kirk Hanser and John McClellan (I can call him my teacher even though I don't take lessons from him). So dramatically were they affected that as I read Chet's words and what others have spoken about him, I cannot help but realize that his musicality has, in a way, been passed down to me, to be manifested in how I approach and play classical guitar. Though, I could not possibly say I am Chet's successor, he far surpasses anything I will ever accomplish, I can see my growth as springing from him.

No guitarist should play without being a disciple of men like Chet, but not because he had impeccable technique (he did) or that he was famous (he was). He was the penultimate musician, full of life, vibrancy, and energy.

Jerry Reed said, "God was in him, God was speaking to the human race through music when Chet played! It was ethereal... I was transported, swept up in the music."

"Fight mediocrity tooth and nail -- that's my motto!"
- Chet Atkins, Certified Guitar Player

Saturday, April 17, 2004

It is done.

Making the Collegium Musicum CD in FIVE DAYS was definitely the most ambitious, insane, hair-brained idea I think I have ever accomplished.

In a period of nigh 120 hours I have recorded nearly 40 pieces of music in around 60-70 takes, engineered/mixed 25 of those songs (~60min of tracks), bought all materials, produced liner notes, printed CD labels, burned over 100 discs, assembled CD's, and while we were at it I had a radio interview to promote the show. I have done nothing this week besides work on that CD and study for the multiple exams I had this week (oh yeah, and do two homework assignments). I have stared at a computer quite literally for at least 10 hours a day. I have forgotten to eat, forgotten to shower, forgotten to sleep, and probably forgotten other stuff but I can't remember.

Yes, I am a total fool. But now this is done, and it sure feels good!

The performance is tomorrow, 2pm. CD's are $5 if I don't have to ship it. Order one, they're cool...

Saturday, April 10, 2004

Another friendly blogger...

Hey, I added another link today. Sir Omer is a good friend of mine at school and has some interesting insights into theolgy. (CB, he bought at least two of the FOUR VIEWS books!) Check out his latest post (4-9-04) for some thoughts to ponder...

Thursday, April 08, 2004

Latest news...

I have been putting my recording studio to good use this week...

The very first UMR COLLEGIUM MUSICUM cd is scheduled for release on April 18, 2004, following the annual Spring performance at Christ Episcopal Church starting at 2pm.

The cd will contain music of famous English vocal composers from the 15th and 16th centuries on the subject of "Time" as well as instrumental music for sackbutt (trombone), recorder, and *hopefully* viol.

And... we will be selling it for a measly FIVE BUCKS. That's $5 people. Let me know and I'll get you one... Limited supply!!!

So now I'm done with the shameless plug... In other news... there really isn't any other news... Spring break is over and I already miss it. Bummer. At least I have music and books... ;-)

Oh yeah, my roommate's blog is now in the links... Check out Eternal Wanderer. I can't believe he had the nerve to call me a slacker, though, he should know better than that... ;-)

Wednesday, March 24, 2004

You think it's funny???

I'm curious... And so I will pose a question to all you frequent bloggers.

What causes something to be considered humorous? Go beyond the basic "humor is something that elicits laughter" and dig deeper. What do you think?

This is an experiment. I am becoming more well read about theories of humor, linguistic and otherwise, but I want to see what you guys have to say about it. If you say something really profound I may even include it in my paper.

Spring break is in two days! See you later...

Wednesday, March 17, 2004

Congratulations StrongBad

Dear StrongBad,

Congratulations are in order for your one-hundredth email! You are totally awesome. However, I am awesomer than you. According to the ontological argument, since existence is far better than non-existence, then since I exist and you are a figment of the Chap brothers' imagination I am by necessity awesomer than you. But you're still pretty awesome...

~The Quantum-Mechanic

Tuesday, March 02, 2004

What Matrix persona are you?

Random interesting thing of the day...

Tada, I'm Neo!!! Hey did you know you can easily purchase that oriental-style coat he had in Reloaded and Revolutions? I want one...

You are Neo
You are Neo, from "The Matrix." You
display a perfect fusion of heroism and

What Matrix Persona Are You?
brought to you by Quizilla

I like the "failure is not an option" part. Heheh, that sums it right up!

Friday, February 27, 2004

And we keep driving into the night...

... It's a late goodbye...

Random song off of an interesting computer game...

The blogs have been pretty slow lately, but that's okay considering the flurry of activity a couple of weeks ago. Anyway, Rolla life is about normal, but here's the latest news:

I have a recording studio now. I bought a bunch of equipment to turn my computer into an all-digital recording station. I haven't acquired a vocal mic yet, but I do have a special Octava mic for acoustic guitar. New toys are soooo cool.

I've been reading so much lately it's ridiculous. I think in the last month alone I have read upwards of 1000 pages of stuff. Homework and extra studies keep you very busy. lim(f(nerd-dom))@t->now = g(ubergeek)/h(fun) = infinity, by l'Hopital's rule. If you just understood that then you are a kindred spirit.

Listened to Miles Davis' Kind of Blue album. Holy toledo was it awesome! Never heard anything like it. Buy the Columbia reissue, it's worth every cent.

There's an intelligent design forum at UMR next Wednesday. I wonder if I had anything to do with this? No matter, I will attend and see what happens. I bought a few new books on ID, but I don't think I'll have them read by then.

God is good. Peace.

Tuesday, February 10, 2004

What is Language???

For those who are interested in this sort of thing...

Language is a beautiful thing, and I have the interesting opportunity to take a writing class that focuses on linguistics this semester. As our first major paper (well not QUITE that major) we were to answer the question "What is Language?" Well... THAT's broad. We were to touch on the following aspects

1) How do experts in the field define language?
2) What is the first recorded use of language?
3) What does it mean to learn a language?
4) How do people acquire their first language (L1)?
5) How are different language skills acquired?
6) What factors can help or hinder the learning of a person's first language?

At any rate, if you fancy yourself an intellectual, you can get my paper here. Hahaha, that's just a shameless plug to get you to read my paper. There's nothing intellectual about it... ;-) Have fun!

Even more reading material...

Ladies and gentlemen...

I present to you the first article of the day, my response to the Missouri Miner concerning the legality of the Standard Science Act. I have confirmed that it will be included in the next edition of the Missouri Miner to be released on February 12, 2004.

Thursday, February 05, 2004

More reading material...

There has been a lot of controversy about Bill HB911 in the media, and even the Missouri Miner, UMR's student newspaper has something to say about it. The writer apparently has nos sense of what is "real science" that is fair and balanced. If you don't accept the scientific evidence put forth by intelligent design proponents, the least you can do is call it a hypothesis. Evolution pales in comparison in evidence. Anyway, read the bill and the article and see if YOU think it violates the first amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

(If you can't see the article, comment so I can post it...)

Wednesday, February 04, 2004

Clothes for Geeks

I can't believe this exists. This is almost as cool as ThinkGeek! However, Errorwear is entirely dedicated to t-shirts with windows error messages on them. Nick and Jake, this one's for you!

Sunday, January 25, 2004


I've been reading a very interesting book lately: Moneyball by Michael Lewis. This controversial book is about how manager Billy Beane and the Oakland A's have reformed themselves into a ridiculously successful baseball team utilizing sabermetrics, a statistical method of objectively looking at baseball. I suggest reading this article for background information, then you should go buy the book. Enjoy...

Thursday, January 15, 2004

Windows Haiku

Many of you have seen this, but I thought it amusing enough for the second time to be worth posting...

Windows NT crashed.
I am the Blue Screen of Death.
No one hears your screams.
-- Peter Rothman
A file that big?
It might be very useful.
But now it is gone.
-- David J. Liszewski
The Web site you seek
Can not be located but
Countless more exist.
-- Joy Rothke
Chaos reigns within.
Reflect, repent, and reboot.
Order shall return.
-- Suzie Wagner
ABORTED effort:
Close all that you have worked on.
You ask way too much.
-- Mike Hagler
Yesterday it worked.
Today it is not working.
Windows is like that.
-- Margaret Segall
First snow, then silence.
This thousand dollar screen dies
So beautifully.
-- Simon Furth
With searching comes loss
And the presence of absence:
"My Novel" not found.
-- Howard Korder
The Tao that is seen
Is not the true Tao, until
You bring fresh toner.
-- Bill Torcaso
Stay the patient course
Of little worth is your ire
The network is down
-- David Ansel
A crash reduces
Your expensive computer
To a simple stone.
-- James Lopez
Three things are certain:
Death, taxes, and lost data.
Guess which has occurred.
-- David Dixon
You step in the stream,
But the water has moved on.
This page is not here.
-- Cass Whittington
Out of memory.
We wish to hold the whole sky,
But we never will.
-- Frances Heaney
Having been erased,
The document you're seeking
Must now be retyped.
-- Judy Birmingham
Serious error.
All shortcuts have disappeared.
Screen. Mind. Both are blank.
-- Ian Hughes
Sensitive and soft,
You press one small wrong button,
Things go up in flames.
-- Jaired Hall, my roommate, spontaneously creative...
Is your RAM lacking?
Buy another stick, but still
It is not enough.
-- Norman Horn

Why am I still here?
Ah the joy of computers...
Now I sleep with peace...

Sunday, January 11, 2004

Best and Worst of 2003

Since this is my first post of 2004, I thought it would be nice to review the past year and tell you about my personal favorite things of 2003. Now, don’t expect an unbiased report here, these things are what I enjoyed about the past year.

Movie – The best movie must go to, you guessed it, The Return of the King, hands down. Certainly the Lord of the Rings series is the film epic of our time, surpassing all my expectations. Worst movie has to be The Matrix Reloaded. If you’ve seen it you know why.

Book – This one is tough, but for non-fiction I think it has to go The Grace of God and the Will of Man, edited by Clark Pinnock. It will change your outlook on life. C.S. Lewis’ Space Trilogy receives the best for fiction. Lewis writes gripping stories with impeccable style, so if you haven’t read this yet, you should. Worst book goes to my textbook for my Chemical Kinetics lab. It certainly is the most pathetic excuse for a textbook I have ever seen. Blech.

Music – For the solo category, I have to pick Classical Cool by Bill Kanengiser. This incredible CD is a monument of contemporary guitar music, a fantastic recording. For the group category, the Los Angeles Guitar Quartet wins it with their latest work, Latin. LAGQ is the premiere guitar group in the world, and this album displays exactly why.

Government/Politics – Americans for a Free Republic easily takes the award for best government/politics in 2003. Reminding us that sound economic policy and small federal government is the foundation of a free nation, I eagerly await the day that their ideas will come to fruition in the USA. Worst goes to Federal Government Bloatation, which will probably get the award every year until AFR gets people in office!

Professor/Class – Starting with the worst prof of 2003… Dr. T[edit]! Thank you so much, I learned NOTHING. Best prof goes to Dr. Sitton for being such a good teacher and friend. The worst class award goes to Intermediate Quantitative Analysis Lab, because those TA’s were just ridiculous. Sitton’s Separations class gets best class for the year.

Game – Settlers of Catan, that wonderful game we love to play so very much, easily gets best board game of the year. Jedi Academy receives my favorite computer game of the year. Any game that allows you to play with double-bladed lightsabers has to be awesome.

Events – Gencon was far too much fun to not mention it as some of the most fun I had all year. Other events include skiing in Wausau, Wisconsin, moving to Kansas City and working for Honeywell, getting an apartment at UMR, and winning fourth place in our undergraduate research competition (only chemist to win!).

Person – Would a best and worst of 2003 list be complete without a PERSON of the year? Of course not… This year I have to give the award to Kirk Hanser, my guitar teacher, for being one of the greatest friends I have. I am so thankful for every opportunity I have to learn from him.