Friday, December 21, 2007

Confessions and other things

a) I ran away from the department yesterday ridiculously early so as to avoid running into my paymaster and having to explain to him why he still has not got the first draft of a paper we are writing together.

b) The reason I am not able to write the paper is because I have a “Yeah, so what?” reaction to the results in the paper. He is excited about them though.

c) This tells me that I am unable to get excited by inherently non-mechanistic theories (the ones where the mathematics does not really reveal why something is happening and you have to answer the why part with words). This is a very disturbing revelation for a theoretical physicist primarily interested in emergent phenomena.

d) I got a new comment on my post on elastomers at SC. To be able to respond to the comment, I reread the post as I had forgotten what I had said in it. I realized I like rereading what I have written. So I went and read “the hugely popular for mysterious reasons “Micelles and Vesicles post””. Is this normal? To like rereading one’s own posts?

e) Also, blogging break coming up. Going to NYC for a few days of what is hoped will be fun.

And on a completely different note, I came across this “gives you unjustifiable patriotic goose bumps” video from Lead India. Also gives me an opportunity to test iShare (trying to be the youtube of India?) Do complain if it does not work here or in your feedreader so I will know if there are problems.


Monday, December 17, 2007

Dark Energy again

A short while ago I said a little something about dark energy over at the SC blog. Today I discovered this at the hubblesite. I did not like it too much, but it has more info than my post did on some aspects, but less info on others. Further reading available here as well. Also, Cosmic Variance has something to say on the presentation here.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Jai Hind

Even I begin to feel a little patriotic when I see these BharatBala videos…[via]

You can watch a whole bunch of their videos here (requires you to register though).

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Random stuff 5

I spent part of this weekend watching Quentin Tarantino's grind house flicks (not by choice, I assure you), involving flying off of appendages, cutting off of unmentionables, smashing of faces and lots of squirting of blood and goo. So this post on Death and Tombstones did not put me off at all. I thought it was a cute compilation (I know, I am crazy, but you get numb beyond a point).

On a different note, have you seen these new videos from Delta airlines? People appear to like Kidtastrophe best. Here is my favorite though…I am always praying just like the couple in this one, for exactly the same miracle especially on my semi annual transatlantic flights.

And this last video, music video, “12 days of Christmas” by boymongoose I am sure you have already seen. But for some reason I am not able to get the song out of my head since I heard it! I have no idea why.

Monday, December 10, 2007

The second law

A while back, I had written this post on irreversibility. But I was just talking text book thermodynamics and stat mech. Here, Sean Carroll is putting the arrow of time in a cosmological perspective. Do check it out. Also, while you are at it, stop by SC and read my post on elastomers and tell me what you think.

Friday, December 7, 2007

Biochemistry of booze

Just came across this. It is a cool little applet that tells you the biochemistry of various drugs. Does not sound bad at all. So my question now is…why is this stuff bad for us exactly?

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Winter is here

That is me in front of my department just now...darth wader no less.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

The blue-white divide?

I was out having beer with some of the grad students in the department. We were talking about this and that and in the course of it I realized that the guy I was talking to, a second year grad student, was actually older than I was. When I asked him about it, he said he had worked as a car mechanic for a few years out of high school before he decided to go to college. That reminded me of the fact that this was in no way unique. In my grad class, I had friends that had been furniture movers, construction workers and picture framers before they decided to go to college or go back to college as was the case with a couple of these guys. And the one striking thing about this is that not one of the dudes in question was desi, they were Korean, Chinese, American or European in each case. I mean, in India, the blue-collar white-collar divide is complete is n’t it? The only case of older desi grad students we come across are usually people that took an unambiguously white-collar job right out of college and then changed their mind for some reason or the other and came back to school. Strange.