photo du jour

the "L" on all 6 faces with beautiful rotational symmetry

the “L” on all 6 faces with beautiful rotational symmetry

greetings all from a lovely village near Aix! i’ve seen many many lovely sights and been hosted by the marvelous Yvette and D here! But this has got to make highlight of the day: the “L” !! loong loong time ago during teenage years i spent days and weeks fiddling around with the rubik cube and found a very nice L-pattern with beautiful rotational-symmetry.. and for the last 20+ years unable to get anyone to dissect the move with, mainly because, as you can see from the video below, i can’t do it while looking 😀 . More importantly it took *six* forward rotational-symmetric moves to get there but only a combo of 3+1 (3 forward and 1 backward) rotational-symmetric moves to get back! and even more critical: there’s only a 10% chance to get back to 6-faces, other 90% i had to restart from scratch.. until this noon when i consistently (hence found a way) to get back.. In the past, every time i tried to sit down to try to understand, the continuous rotations made my head go dizzy…

debugging code

debugging code

that is until i demonstrated to the wonderfully knowledgeable D here, who promptly forwarded me the ENTIRE book on rubik cube, as well as conducted an analysis based on definition of moves, and voilà we now have a systematic language (generic formula) to get there and back from any orientation! The fact of the 3+1 offered an insight: first that you only need 4 instead of 6 moves, and that the +1 being a backward move is equal to 3 forward moves, hence the extra 3+3 forward vs 3+1 for+back! took us 1 day to ponder and 1 full evening for D to devise language and test, after i self-taped for demonstration! So, how’s that for solving a 20+year puzzle eh!

geography 102

a bit saturated in brain, so how about something fun. i quite proud of it :-), even used a virtual shovel to dig a couple of very important channels. Amazingly, a certain strait is missing!

ps- oh, colorscale + contours are in unit [km]. For completeness, i should really put lat/lon contour, but too tired… and too late. those text labels took ages.
ps2- don’t be alarmed by the 2-headed greenland, i see it all the time.

day2 – assembling

today was spent assembling all the instruments we tuned the previous day, putting them into frame, adding buoys, re-packing the containers. all preps are nearly done as we sit tight waiting for news from the ship. Things are beginning to make sense to me now as far as instruments are concerned. As advertised, the gumby suit fitting was hilarious :-). and as always, a tune-in-the-head for the day, no clue what’s sung, but i love the melody.

assembling ADCP + logger (recorder) to frame

attaching buoys

final product

serious oceanographers at work

day1 – calibrating

this never ending daylight in combo with different timezones on all of our laptops are confusing big time, not that i’m complaining! we’re just south of the arctic circle here. today was spent unpacking most of the delicate instruments from the shipment containers at the dock and calibrating to make sure everything functions as hoped. We got divided into group so i only know mainly the ADCP instrument. That’s for measuring the ocean speed and direction.
In addition, we also calibrated the CTD instruments, though i was stuck with trying to get the satellite phone to do ftp (unsuccessfully) so can’t tell you much how exactly to turn on/off/calibrate the CTD. Those (CTD) provide temperature and salinity of the water (most important for oceanographers). Seen above is the recorder (record info from the CTD). Lastly there’s also ocean bottom pressure sensors to give you information about the water column depth, i.e., instead of measuring “depth”, we can measure the weight of the water above the instruments and infer depth from that. Tomorrow plan: “building” instruments! i quite looking forward! and here’s the tune-in-the-head of the calibrating day.

(ps- oh, during dinner, i just found out those anchors are train wheels! They each weights ~ 1800lbs and we need about 2 of them to hold the instruments in place against the very strong currents across Bering Strait.)

music to start the night

of pool fighting, not exactly related to the photo below, but interesting nonetheless now that i realized it was taken exactly 1 year ago! how time flies.


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ig opera

and Ig nobel prize, such a thing got me giggling reading today. i was first aware of it only after it’s published on the front page of the school newspaper. they hold this award ceremony every year at Harvard to celebrate unusual achievements in science. This year’s theme is “chemistry” and featured “Chemist in a Coffee Shop”, a 5-act mini-opera about chemical composition and the effects of coffee (with local soprano Maria Ferrante)


You can watch the entire ceremony here or watch the clip above from the beginning.
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climate change lecture & more

quite late in posting this of course, since it will take place 2 hours from now… but in case anyone out there stumbling on my site and wants to attend a free public talk about climate change’ timescale:

Here‘s full info. and location.

PS- if you’re gonna be at MIT attending this lecture, don’t forget the FREE concert of opera arias across the river. Here‘s info:

What: Opera arias and highlights
Who: Boston Landmarks Orchestra and Boston Lyric Opera
Where: Hatch Shell on the Boston Esplanade
When: Wednesday 03-Aug-2011, 7PM
Cost: Free

Here’s Event’s site.