An engineering student’s Blog

” …All of this. All of this was for nothing – unless we go to the stars.” – Infection, Babylon 5, J. Michael Straczynski

unprecedented commitment to science

Missed in yesterdays headlines was Obamas announcement to increase R&D funding to a new high of 3% of GDP.  And attempt to reverse losses in our nations ability to lead in education and innovation.

Highlights of the speech by the American Institute of Physics here.

Full transcript of the speech here


Filed under: Economics, Education, Science

academic disaster

Ive had a rough time keeping up with multivariable calculus. I must say the how annoying it is to goto a lecture and not understand half of whats discussed sometimes – annoying is not it – its more like torture, its personally unbearable to approach this topic unprepared, and I wasnt able to dedicate enough time to prepare for the material covered in lectures or the exams. I will be repeating this course even if I could recover my grade before the end of the semester – I feel I’ve glossed over too much material that will be important in the rest of my course of study in mechanical engineering and in practice upon graduation.

On the upside of this mess – towards the end of this semester Ive discovered this interesting resource at the MIT’s website. MIT OpenCourse ware – where you can get a sort of second opinion of sorts or even go thru a semesters worth of lectures at your own pace and attempt to work out examples yourself before registering for the class yourself, or while youre in the class in need to hear a lecture on the material covered again, maybe a decent review tool. Although most of the courses with a full list of video lectures are introductory maybe theyll add more to thier openCourseware list as time goes on.

Multivariable Calculus Here
Or here on youtube

Filed under: Education

Shift happends

Found this video at the JSC Advanced Planning Office Blog 

Its not exactly News – was posted November of last year – but still EYE OPENING and highly recommended that you watch it and meditate on it if you have a minute.   Me I dont have a minute and this is probably going to be my last post in a while – vector calculus is kicking my ass and I have a test tomarow morning.  If I didnt I would be entertaining the idea of driving up to see the shuttle launch tonight at 920pm – but I cant.  Maybe will go to Miami beach and hope theres no clouds.  Sad – yeah I know – maybe we’ll just watch it on NASA TV or and look out the window (: will have mission coverage from 430pm including an interview with Astronaut Leroy Chiao and Damaris Sarria, Coalition Advisory Board Member and aspiring astronaut.

Now back to studying


UPDATE :: also available in v2.0 && v3.0

Filed under: Economics, Education, Science, Space

Electrodyanamic forces between intersteller plasmas or is it just plain oldfashion darkmatter?

I unfortunately at this point don’t know enough physics and math to crunch the numbers myself. But I plan on reading up on this old conversation. Hopefully with my current, limited scope of education I can conceder and evaluate an alternate theory from whats currently commonly accepted without falling for fictional or pseudoscience.

Darkmatter was proposed when astrophysicists and astronomers found descripancies between how fast stars were moving with respect to the forces keeping them in orbit. There wasn’t enough mass – was the assumption – because the gravitaional force needed to hold stars in thier orbits at thier tangential velocities had to be more than the estimated masses acting on those stars. Darkmater an invisible, currently undetectable mass was proposed to fill in the blank. As I understand it. Given not entirely complete, but that’s the way I think of it.

What proponents of the electrodynamic solution say is that the powerful force of electromagnetism acts on the plasmas of interstellar space to draw starsystems into tighter orbits without the need of any additional mass.

Is it possible? That’s the question on my mind recently.

Filed under: Education, Science, Space

Another semester behind me

Still waiting for the proffessor to post the final grades but I may have acomplished the improbable. A 100 on the last test on sequences and serries & a final I think I got close to a 100 on means that I’ve improved my chances of getting an A. In fact I think that’s what I’m going to end up with – which I concedered imposible after the 3rd exam. But here we are – I can’t wait to see my score.

Next semester we maybe moving into our first house so I’m just going to be taking 1 class – multivariable calculus. I had originally planned on taking a 2nd course in C++, an intro to differential equations and the first course in the physics sequence. But that’s going to have to wait.

UPDATE: Its an A. How I’m going to miss the easy stuff. (:

Filed under: Education

It was a friday…

My extended family, grandmah, grandpa, mywife my son Tristan and myself went to the mall after work to window shop and stop at the playground setup for kids at the foodcourt when it happend.  The end of the world.  Well, maybe not, but my son probably thought so, he learned to up the decibles and pitch of his scream by an order of magnitude.  He somehow managed to get away from us and fall onto the corner of a squared base of a lamppost, THUMP.  There was some blood at first and a whole I dont want to talk about, then later that evening – 4 stiches – just a quarter of an inch from his left eye.  I work weekends and my boss thought it was “absurd” that I spend some time with my wife and 2 yearold after this bit of trauma – fine I went to work, spent most of the time on the phone with my wife and wasnot exactly a model of the employee of the month.  Tristan and I spent the week together rather than send him to day care where some moment of briliance by somekid thier would have’em try to remove the stitches for him, even though we had him saying “dont touch eye”.  He’s had a few incidents at daycare with bumps and scratches at the end of the day so he stayed with me, it was a cool change of pace, but still, a fulltime job.  On wednesday the stiches were removed by our pediatrician at her office and revealed a decent job by the E.R. physician who put them in.  My father was right when he complemented the doctor when it was done at the hospital – I was a mute – maybe in more psychological trauma than my son at the time.

This friday I felt sick but began my work week.  It was just a little fatigue, no cough, but a sore throat and maybe a fever.  On monday Tristan went back to daycare allowing me to cram for a calculus test on polar coordinates.  Lengths and Areas of polar coordinates were on the exam – the last I heard, they weren’t going to be – oh no – now that I think about it surface areas of polar coordinates were to be excluded from the festive test, but not Lengths and plain Areas.  Even if I mis-heard, I shouldve anticipated a math profesor would change his mind about the little bit of calculus in the chapter would be on the calculus exam.   The other questions were gimme’s from precalculus, problem was the way the exam was setup.  11 questions, 3 mandatory, and we were supposed pick 1 out of the 8 remaining as a “regular” test question & pick another of the remaining 7 as a “bonus” questions.  2 of the 3 mandatory questions were – yes you guessed it on lengths of polar line segments and areas confined between 2 polar curves I still remember them r = 5 & r = 5(1 + cosΘ).  Which now that I’ve had a chance to look at the last section of the chapter – doesn’t look like rocket science.  

 And if I had studied – the way the exam was setup wouldve made geting an A easy.

Its too bad that instead of craming on the one day I had left I was still sick and needed sleep more than I needed to strain my brain.  The test was a complete disaster, I completely destroyed it based on the professors instructions.  And it was kinda my own fault for not anticipating that the only calculus of the chapter on polar coordinates would be on the calculus exam.  I shouldve started from the last section of the chapter and studyied backwards since the stuff in the begining was pretty familiar from pre-cal.

The probabability of me getting an A in this class is not good.  I’m going to have to get an A on the last test and close to it on the final to get close.

On another angle my son was the first to notice the moon last night.  He pointed it out and said “MOOON!” He did this at about 5pm when the sky was still light blue, I mused it was a good telescope night.  Later we stepped outside of a chinese food place on coral way to look up and southwest and it turns out the moon wasnt alone.  It was a beautifully crystal clear night too.  I postulated they were 2 planets next to the moon, but watered it down for my boy and pointed at the 2 “stars” which he understood and did the twinkle-twinkle with his hand. 

Turns out if you were looking at this constellation from austrailia it wouldve been a frown upside-down Monday nights COUNTDOWN with Keith Oberman had good pictures and mentioned the next time we’ll see this formation will be in 2050something.

I thank my son for pointing all of this out first though 🙂

Filed under: Education, Family, Space


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