Cross Country Skiing

As Kjirsti already blogged, the big highlight of the week was probably skiing. I was talking to friends at work, and we all decided it would be great to go skiing together. It was wonderful to cut through the icy snow, and get a nice workout. I had a great faceplant early on, which would have been documented if I wasn’t the photographer.

Cleveland is so great this time of year!

Ring in the new year

Happy New Year!

Kjirsti and I had a great time in Washington with her family.  I love all of our wonderful nieces and nephews.  They have such spirit!

Kjirsti got me perhaps the coolest gift I’ve ever gotten.  It’s called an arduino, and it has to be the geekiest thing I’ve ever owned.  But it sure is cool.  I made a timer for our camera, and put together a time lapse video of our front yard:

It is great to be back to Cleveland. Washington was so cold!

I thought I might share a few of my resolutions here, perhaps to help motivate myself to actually accomplish them!

I have a brainstorming list a mile long. However, the two which particularly stand out are these:
      8 hours of sleep a night
      Co-publish 10 papers

The first is because I’m getting grey hairs!  And because it might actually be one of the hardest things that I struggle with.  Waking up daily at 5:45 means I have to go to sleep at 9:45pm.  However, that 10pm to 12pm always seems to be the most fun part of my day, when I catch up on books, movies, shows, toys.  Hopefully I’ll be able to work those into my day.

My second goal was inspired by Mary’s brother Nathan.  I guess he became known in his graduate school for publishing a ton of papers.  He did something like 10 papers in a year.  I’m hoping that a shift in attitude could help me get some papers out.  That way, I could really get my PhD next year.

Perhaps that will be it for my goals this year.  I think they are plenty ambitious.

What are your goals? I’d love to hear.  I figure you have all of January to write them.  That way you start the year procrastinating ūüôā

Edmonton Meteor

A few hundred people in the edmonton, canada area witnessed a beautiful fireball/meteor crash through the atmosphere.  Luckily, a canadian policeman had his dashboard camera pointed in the right direction.  Here it is:

The meteor is thought to have weighed about 1-7 tons before entering the atmosphere. On entry, it was roughly 5 times the brightness of the full moon. It likely landed near the Alberta-Saskatchewan border.
Edmonton Journal

We Voted!

What an amazing thing to be able to vote.  Even with all the economic problems we are having, we have such a wonderful country.  Earlier this week I came across a couple of powerful pictures of the drama in congo:


I wish there was more we could do for Africa.

I’m grateful that we as a country have to make a decision between this guy:


and this one:


and not:




I’ll be following the election tonight here:


Let’s hope the best one wins!


This is probably the best video I could find of the launch. From our view, it was AWESOME in person, but probably wouldn’t be more than a speck on the camera.

Here’s my summary of the launch.

There were a ton of people on the beach, which created a really great atmosphere. Most people were in their 20’s-50’s. There were a lot of families, and a lot of guys who had always dreamed of seeing a launch (like me). There were some absolutely incredible binoculars, and camera’s with super zooms.

So we were only out there for ~ 2 hours. They went through a bunch of checks, and then we didn’t hear anything for about an hour. And then, all of a sudden, they started the countdown. 10, 9, 8…… Smoke was pouring out of the rocket…..7,6,5… could barely see the shuttle, there was so much smoke….4,3,2,1,Lift off! And up comes the rocket! It quickly accelerates, and gets higher and higher every second. Everything has been silent up to this point, but you start to hear the rumble of the rockets. The sound grows louder and louder each second. Then we saw the shuttle roll, and begin to shrink in size. Through binoculars, I watched the solid state booster rockets separate and return to earth (they reuse them).

Then the shuttle became a beautiful star, visible in daylight. It was simply incredible. Within minutes, they were in space!

Tobacco Bill

I just received this email from a friend today:

The Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act has been gaining momentum and working its way through Congress. The strong bipartisan legislation (S. 625/HR 1108) grants the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) effective authority to regulate tobacco products, protect children and promote public health. This vital public health legislation has the support of 57 Senators and 223 Representatives and is ready to be considered for full vote.

Please show your support for this important legislation by signing our petition today. It asks that Congress move quickly and schedule time for the full U.S. Senate and U.S. House of Representatives to debate and vote on the FDA tobacco bills (S. 625/HR 1108). Each day the Congress doesn’t act, more than 1,100 kids will become regular, daily smokers. One-third of them will die from a tobacco-related disease. Unless Congress acts to protect our kids, Big Tobacco will continue to target and entice them with products like candy-flavored cigarettes

In other words, this legislation would allow the FDA to regulate tobacco products. Makes sense to me! The site will automatically email your representatives based on your location. Make sure you uncheck the boxes at the bottom, or else you will receive notifications. Here is the link:
FDA Petition

Happy Sunday to you all!

It is getting really lovely here in Ohio. Kjirsti and I are looking to perhaps buy a house. The housing market here is incredibly affordable, and we are hoping it will be a good investment. only time will tell!

I’m just going to be happy to not travel for 3+ hours a day anymore. My time in Oberlin has been delightful, but it will be nice to have a little more time with Kjirsti.

One great thing about the commutes is that I have really expanded my education to online materials. One source of incredible talks has been TED ( It is a yearly conference on technology, entertainment and design, incorporating a number of talks on science, business, public policy, etc. This week I was really impressed by Brian Greene’s talk on superstring theory. I have always had a hard time understanding it, as Stephen Hawking has always been my source on theoretical physics, and his treatment on superstring theory is limited (check out a brief history of time if you are interested).

Anyways, I think Brian Greene explains the theory in an understandable way, and gives insight into one of the many reasons why the CERN supercollider is so exciting. Here’s the link:
Brian Greene on String Theory

On a related, equally nerdy note, we just bought our tickets to see the shuttle launch on May 31st! Let’s hope they don’t scrub the launch! We’ll definitely be putting pictures on the blog afterwards.