Last Minute Change of Plans for the Weekend

Looks like I’ll be going here over the weekend after all.

I hope to see you there; if not, I hope I can take some good pictures to share with you.

Things I Saw in Stony Brook: “What?” Edition

I can’t decide if this person has an awesome sense of irony, or a really lousy lack of appropriate stationary to write their “we be clubbin” signs on. Either way, it’s worth sharing.

The Greatest Tennis Player of All Time?

Is there any athlete more stylish than Roger Federer? Of course not, as the picture to the left proves quite nicely. There’s literally no room for debate there. But when it comes to deciding if he is the best athlete in his sport, all of a sudden people have to go and get all riled up. For example, I like to read tennis blogs from time to time, and its no secret that the commenters (and blog posters) at such places have created a feud between Federer and Nadal of monstrous proportions. This is great for the popularity of tennis (especially since Federer and Nadal themselves seem to get along excellently), but unlike a religious debate (the only other type of argument I know that can get so heated so fast), I still think there are reasonable, logical ways to answer some of the questions which get debated between these factions, and I’d like to have  stab at doing so now. Namely, the claim lodged by so many Nadal-ites that Federer cannot possibly be the greatest male tennis player of all time.

Now I’m obviously a huge Federer fan myself, so I’ll make no pretense of being unbiased. But I think there are logical flaws in the three main arguments used against Federer’s candidacy. And yes, I am really going to waste my precious little window of free time this evening on something as trivial as this, thanks for asking ;-). With the elections coming up and political tensions running high, I have the urge to debate someone, so I thought I’d blow off steam rebutting nameless blogging adversaries (who have no real way to respond) about a totally unimportant topic. I guess it’s the forensics nerd’s equivalent of mowing down zombie Nazis on Call of Duty– which apparently some people still feel the need to cheat at.

Anyway, I don’t have time to find and present all the statistics about why Federer is the greatest male tennis player ever, so I’m just going to shoot down three common arguments for why he isn’t, although I think along the way I’ll still be able to suggest that, in fact, he is.

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Things I Saw Outside Stony Brook: New York Crosswalk Edition

Photographer’s note: for best results, view while listening to this song.

Since I Seem To Be All About Bad Puns Today…

… I thought I’d throw this one in for good measure. Originally found at So Much Pun.

If you’re not into amino acids, the information you need is here.

My First Graduate Lab Project

Remember that lab report that kept me too busy too blog a couple weeks ago? I got it back today and my professor was quite pleased, I’m happy to say. Thus, if you’re curious, I’m putting it up on the web, here.

It’s details are probably only of interest to people with a science background at this point, but at least it should help you appreciate how much more fun it is to do the lab write-up for a graduate course than it is to do so as an undergraduate (unless your undergraduate lab instructor was really awesome but demanding). The best part is getting to format the whole thing as though it were a paper I’m submitting to Physical Review Letters. It’s sort of like how nerds play dress-up, I think.

If I get around to it, I’ll try to post a nontechnical explanation one of these days. Unfortunately, superconductivity is tricky enough that it’s hard to distill it into a handy bite-size version. I’ll keep working at it though, I promise.

Just a Quick Musical Update

So usually I spend my Sunday mornings listening the the podcasts of all the NPR shows that aired the day before while I make breakfast. Today, however, my radio alarm woke me up to the last movement of the Concerto for Orchestra, which was so good I had to invest some time looking for a place I could hear the whole thing online.

Concerto for Orchestra thus ended up supplanting my usual NPR fare, and while I enjoyed it immensely, I was annoyed to discover that it’s time for me to get back to my homework, so I’ll have to put my regular shows like Wait Wait Don’t Tell me off until later. “Perhaps,” I thought to myself, “I should have listened to the programs with words during breakfast, so that I could put the music on while I was doing physics and have the best of both worlds. That would have been a better use of my time”

And that’s when I realized: It’s happened again; I’ve just squandered another perfectly good hour listening to Bartók.