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Taernost

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Science news doesn't get enough coverage... [23 Jan 2008|11:29pm]
[ mood | nerdy ]

http://www.space.com/scienceastronomy/070823_huge_hole.html

This is from August; I only just found out about it tonight thanks to tenketsu's generally diligent nature (amazing what you'll find by reading webcomics). It really is sad to me that if a celebrity goes to a bar, you can find out about it the very next day, and yet if something major like this is discovered, no one seems to care. And make no mistake about it; this is big.

One of the basic premises of our understanding of the universe is that the universe is isotropic and homogeneous; if you "scoop up" any random chunk above a certain size, it should always be the same regardless of where you got it from, so that basically the universe is identical in every direction and location. While I've always appreciated how logical the idea of a homogeneous universe is (after all, most physical forces are symmetric within an isolated system, and the universe is, as far as we can tell, an isolated system), I've also always hated how universally the idea seems to be accepted, considering how much of an assumption it is given how little we truly know about the fine structure of the universe (or even the gross structure of it, what with all the theories we're having to come up with to explain its large-scale behavior), so I'm not all that sad to see something come along and burst this convenient little bubble, but I am highly confused as to how something like this could've happened. I mean, it seems to violate the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics; an increasingly entropic system shouldn't have large empty spaces within it.

So is this evidence that our universe isn't an isolated system, or perhaps evidence of some kind of unusual force or pattern in the development of large systems, or (stretching on this one) maybe even evidence of interstellar travel (assuming the hole was formed, for example, by an intergalactic civilization who basically sucked raw material from the universe on a galactic scale, which would all but necessitate faster-than-light travel to make it worthwhile)? Whatever the case, so long as this hole's existence doesn't end up being proven false (and after having read the article, I'm not sure that's likely), it might not be a stretch to say that cosmology as we know it has just had a huge hole ripped in it (I couldn't resist; damn you, puns!), and even if the world in general doesn't think that's worth knowing, that's worthwhile news to me.

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[24 Sep 2007|04:55pm]
[ mood | Tired ]

One of the single most beautiful songs in all of Star Trek; hope everyone else enjoys it as much as I did.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2pnLO0N3XPw

By the way, I did manage to find this song after a lot of searching (the astute observer will likely realize how if they follow that link); if anyone is interested in getting it, just let me know.

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And now for fun stuff! [14 Jun 2007|03:04pm]
[ mood | Moderately pleased ]

For those unfortunate souls who haven't already seen this, the following is a link to an awesome Youtube user who makes Mario Paint renditions of various video game songs; in particular I recommend giving Robo's Theme, the Punchout theme, and the MegaMan 2 Wily Stage themes a good viewing. Enjoy!

http://www.youtube.com/profile?user=TomBobBlender

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Well, look who's trying to sneak an update in in the middle of the night... [14 Jun 2007|01:36am]
[ mood | Getting through it ]

Well, it certainly has been a while, but man is there a shocking lack of things to report. Evidence of oceans on Mars, a possible Earth-like planet within a mere 20 or so light years, the release of a few very worthwhile movies and games (Pokemon Pearl is devouring my break times at work, by the way), and still Taern has very little worth talking about. Still, it's been, what, a month and a half since my last update? Actually, according to LJ, it's been 7 weeks, so closer to two full months.

Well, it seems somewhat worthwhile to mention that, as mentioned above, I'm back in Arkansas for this summer, though with one of my prior roommates living in a new town, I now live only with Beth and Matt (So much for Superplan, eh? Still, that one failed before it ever began; our mistake was using the word "plan", I'm sure. Such an evil word...). Of course, this has actually made some things vastly simpler, so while I still wish that things hadn't ended up the way they did, perhaps it really was for the best after all. Still, can't help but feel that there's another friendship or two I ruined by trying to help people out. Oh well; that's what summers are for, right?

In brighter news, I finally got my grades in, and things are actually pretty good right now. Bs in Thermo, Quantum 2 (don't ask me how I pulled that one off; I'm even more confused by that than I was by our god-forsaken final, which apparently everyone else failed horribly?) and Japanese 4, and an A!!? in Pseudoscience (this is literally mathematically impossible, and solid proof that the professor didn't follow his stated grading policies, but rather gave grades based on how often you came to class, as I didn't miss a single class [and now we all know a big part of why]). Furthermore, I got into programming for physicists and Advanced Conversations in Japanese (the only non-Japanese major in my class who was accepted into that course, by the way; I'm still elated by that), so while next semester will likely be a headache in the homework load (I'm also taking Electrodynamics, which the careful observer will remember was a class that ate my lunch so badly that I Q-dropped it two semesters ago), it should be a very useful and maybe even fun semester, which I'm quite looking forward to (those words sound dreadfully familiar...).

And now for useless information, put up here primarily to satisfy my apparent love of ranting. Oh, and of reading my own writing.Collapse )

Anyway, busy as I've been with work and trying to keep my mind off of things, I'll try and keep a better eye on goings-on on LJ now that my PC is set up, and hope that everyone is doing well. G'night, everyone!

5 comments|post comment

Courtesy of Hachi, one very interesting tale indeed [24 Apr 2007|01:01pm]
http://www.wired.com/wired/archive/15.05/feat_cia.html
1 comment|post comment

So, the smileys have infiltrated our governments... [31 Mar 2007|04:10pm]
So I just finished doing my taxes for this year, and since I worked in Arkansas in the summer, I had to fill out my first ever State Income Tax Return form. Sadly, Arkansas apparently hasn't moved into the 21st century with the rest of us (sorry, frent, but this seems true based on what I've seen here) and so I am required to mail in physical forms for the State Tax Return. Ok, not that big of a deal since the forms I'm printing out (filled in online) are already fully filled out save for my signature. Still, being the paranoid sort that I am, I recheck all of the figures on there, and that's when I saw them. Form 2006 AR10000NR: Arkansas Individual Income Tax Return Nonresident and Part Year Resident, lines 53 and 54, a happy smiley face for line 53 (refund) and a sad frowning face for line 54 (tax due). I understand that these things are apparently popular, and even I have enjoyed a few (especially eternalhachi's highly creative smileys), but isn't putting them into official government records kind of taking the whole thing a bit too far? Still, I suppose it is refreshing to see some humor and liveliness in even the stuffiest of government functions, though some might argue we already see too much frivolous activity in the government.

(Interesting side note; my brother just called [again] for video game hints, and when I told him the above story he bust out laughing for several minutes; glad to see I'm not the only one who finds this to be ridiculous)

And now for a more standard updateCollapse )
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Again, not sure why I waited so long to post this [21 Mar 2007|12:14am]
[ mood | Busy once again ]

http://www.oldeenglish.org/

One of the many, many things that were great about this Spring Break, and something I've neglected posting on here for years now. Many, many thanks go to tenketsu for originally showing me this, and reminding me about it often enough to cause me to finally put it up here for everyone else to (hopefully) enjoy.

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Taernost and Hachi's Spring Break Misadventure! [20 Mar 2007|07:36am]
[ mood | Stressed, but hanging in there ]

Hijinks ensue!Collapse )

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This was FAR too nerdy for me to not post it [06 Mar 2007|05:28pm]
[ mood | Highly erratic ]

I'd assumed the person I received this from (whose name I shall omit, in case they'd like to avoid having themselves associated with something so amazingly nerdy) would've posted this already, but so far I've not seen them do so, so here it is. Enjoy!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=luVjkTEIoJc

2 comments|post comment

Yay, silly memes! [15 Feb 2007|09:55pm]
Note that due to how busy I am, I will likely take a little longer than usual to respond to comments to this entry, but I'll try to be as prompt with my responses as possible.

Leave a comment and...
1. I'll respond with something random about you.
2. I'll challenge you to try something.
3. I'll pick a color that I associate with you.
4. I'll tell you something I like about you.
5. I'll tell you my first/clearest memory of you. (online or offline)
6. I'll tell you what animal you remind me of.
7. I'll ask you something I've always wanted to ask you.
21 comments|post comment

Okami development team Clover reforms as Seeds [15 Feb 2007|03:20am]
[ mood | Busy, but still elated ]

http://www.gamespot.com/news/6165955.html

Sadly, Capcom still owns the rights to Okami, Resident Evil, and Viewtiful Joe (and of course Godhand, but as I've not played that, it's harder for me to care about that), so this team won't be making sequels to those series (though in all honesty, Okami was the only one of those three that really needed a sequel, since it's the only one to not have one so far and ended on such a to-be-continued note), but given their impressive (though short) track record so far, I can only imagine there's every chance that this will end up being the beginning of many great games.

(Also, note my music for this entry; yes, it does mean what you might think it does, and yes, I'm more than willing to share, as always.)

In more mundane newsCollapse )

2 comments|post comment

And here my mom talked of gaming ruining my eyes... [06 Feb 2007|08:36pm]
[ mood | Pretty good ]

http://www.gamespot.com/news/6165470.html
Usual update about current events belowCollapse )

2 comments|post comment

I, Mudd [02 Feb 2007|02:21am]
[ mood | Excellent ]

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0a2iwWo5w4Q

I was discussing inertial calculations with multicoloredwiz when he made a purposefully self-contradictory statement, and before I knew it, I had found the ending to the TOS episode I, Mudd, wherein Kirk and crew defeat a small army of androids with illogic. Enjoy!

2 comments|post comment

Winter plans [18 Dec 2006|11:24pm]
[ mood | Somewhat restless ]

Completely at random; from now on, I'm going to try and put my local time in on the update time. I have no idea what LiveJournal's time is based on, but I can never make any sense of it, so no more of that.

So, the hellish semester is finally over, and so far so good. We got back our grades in two of my classes, seeing me beat the class average in each (in fact, I did so by 30 out of 200 points on the Quantum final) and netting a B for the semester. Today's Classical Dynamics final went well enough, but I've yet to find out what the class average for that exam looked like, which means I've got absolutely no clue what grade I made in the class. To be honest, I'd be perfectly happy with a C, and I'm fairly sure I've got a good shot at one, but I keep worrying that my poor homework score will stop me from even receiving that high a grade; here's hoping this will FINALLY teach me to just turn in my freaking homework, and not let little problems like being antisocial and slightly obsessive/compulsive stop me from working with others/turning in imperfect assignments.

So, with finals out of the way, as soon as I finish writing this update I'll start cramming the things I intend to bring with me into a box and get some rest, with the intent of getting up at 9am, burning several CDs for the coming road-trip, loading up the car, and leaving around 11am. I'll then meet up with the_white_stag for lunch in Salado (which is conveniently directly on my way into Hot Springs), with the hopeful time of arrival in Hot Springs of 7-8pm (could be later, depending on the traffic in Dallas). The following morning my brother and I shall leave for Ann Arbor, to spend about 2 weeks with my family. Assuming we survive that (familial tension began building up several weeks ago; this is going to be one hell of a Christmas season...), I should return to Arkansas around January 3rd, for to begin hanging out with friends. Finally, I'm scheduled to begin classes again on January 16th, so I'll probably try to arrive back in Austin around the 14th or 15th, meaning I'll only have about a week and a half to try to squeeze in all of my time with friends (some 5 different people, but fortunately 4 of those might be able to be around concurrently).

So, that's the brief run-down of the next month or so. Next semester is looking to be a lot better than this one, so with any luck I'll actually be around to do stuff once I get back. In any event, I hope everyone has an enjoyable holiday season, and I'll see everyone in about a month!

3 comments|post comment

Yay, stalling from studying! [01 Dec 2006|12:30am]
Because Rutherford scattering has fried my mind, and I needed a breakCollapse )
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Good lord, an update from me; clearly the end times are upon us [11 Nov 2006|10:39pm]
[ mood | Not bad, actually ]

First, I had to share this:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FPejYdBM11I

Particularly humorous to me at the moment because, just two weeks ago, my cooling fans for my graphics card and tower both died, and then my PC died due to massive over-heating; thankfully, my drives were all fine, and the RAM even survived the process, but I had to replace everything else, ending up spending $600 and a week's worth of effort. On the plus side, I actually had some emergency cash set aside which covered those expenses, and now my machine if fairly upgraded (went from a Pentium 4 1.8GHz to an Athlon 3500 2.2GHz, and from a Radeon 9800 to an X1900 with AV and component cable inputs, though I've yet to install the multimedia center needed to make use of those).

Well, where to start? The semester's had its real rough points, but at this point, I feel like I'm going to come away from it ok. I'm easily destroying my Probability class, with my score for the first exam having beaten the class average by 30 points, and having made right on the average for the second test (of course, the average was 85 because the test was freaking easy, except for one 15 point question which apparently no one got right). Quantum sees me beating the class average, but only be a measly 7 points; despite the class having really easy homework, the first exam was suspiciously difficult (none of the questions had anything to do with our homework problems, and were barely even covered in class). I ended up dropping Electrodynamics, as my score on the first test was less than encouraging, meaning that passing the course would require so much effort that I'd likely have to fail something; as an interesting note, when I went to the professor to drop the class, he saw my schedule, grimaced, laughed, and signed the sheet and told me he was shocked I'd even been allowed to attempt what I was doing this semester. Finally, Classical Dynamics continues to be a pain in my backside, but apparently this is true for everyone, every semester, so I guess that's not too bad? I made 5 points below the class average on the first test, but the curve in this class is based on grade-grouping rather than curve-fitting, so anything above a 40 was a B (the average was a 45 out of 100 points; I got a 43).

My schedule for semester is looking pretty nice so far; Quantum II has no lab, so I won't spend every weekend writing insanely long reports, and Pseudoscience is just going to be fun. I also managed to sign up for Japanese 4 (finally), and am of course taking another shot at Electrodynamics (and this time, victory shall be MINE!!!). All in all, it's looking to be a fairly nice semester; Japanese has nightly homework, but the assignments are short and easy, and graded on completion, so no worries there, and Pseudoscience only involves reading interesting books (oh no, how ever shall I manage that?), Quantum II should be pretty easy, if only because for some reason I just seem to do well with quantum; Electrodynamics, of course, will suck, but still, only taking one rough class as opposed to 3 I think I can live with. And also, no Math classes! FINALLY!

Ok, enough of school matters; it is time to speak of games. Those of you who haven't talked to me lately might not have heard my many, many rants about how awesome Okami for the PS2 is. I honestly am having a hard time remembering the last time I played a game that sucked me in so completely and made me so absolutely happy to be playing it (the only other one that comes to mind is Ocarina of Time). This might perhaps have to do with the fact the game is fairly Zelda-esque in terms of gameplay, world design, combat, and even graphics (like Wind Waker, the game is entirely cell shaded, and some of the smoke and water graphics distinctly reminded me of Wind Waker). The storyline is based on Japanese mythology, and the graphics are based on traditional Japanese art styles, making for a very distinct and interesting game experience (well, here in America, anyway; the game didn't do spectacularly in Japan, possibly for that very reason). The soundtrack, the characters, the world itself; just about everything this game is awesome. The most distinctive feature, though, are your brush powers. You play as a sun-god who has the ability to use the Celestial Brush to manipulate the world around you, allowing you to do such things as slash trees and rocks, repair broken objects, and summon fire, wind, ice, water, and lightning to solve problems and defeat demons. My only real complaint is that it's fairly easy; if you're willing to use items, nothing in the game should ever offer a challenge. Still, it's a game loaded with gameplay, great music and controls and characters, and even if you're rushing through it there's at least a good 40 hours of gameplay in it, so I'd say it's definitely worth picking up.

Other than Okami, I've gotten around to playing Kingdom Hearts II and Final Fantasy XII, but in the case of Kingdom Hearts II I can only assume anyone who's interested in it has already played it (in my opinion, it was quite an improvement over the first one in terms of music and gameplay), and in the case of FFXII, I've only gotten in the barest minimum of gameplay, so I don't really have anything productive to say there. I also picked up a copy of Elite Beat Agents, but as of right now haven't stopped playing FFXII long enough to really check it out; still, having seen a good deal of Ouendan and even played a couple of levels, I'm fairly sure I'll enjoy it immensely once I finally get around to playing it. Of course, with Star Trek Legacy for the PC and the release of the Wii drawing ever nearer, all of my free time might soon be devoured ravenously by other, more aggressive titles.

Well, that's fairly close to all that's worth mentioning in my life as of late, really. It's pretty much just been schoolwork these last couple of months, and it's likely to be that again fairly soon, but this weekend saw me with a wondrous alignment of down-time in my various classes that I simply could not believe until it was upon me. My winter plans have been thrown into complete and total chaos as of late, but it seems that I'll probably be in Michigan around the 20th of December, and in Arkansas around the 3rd of January, so I'm hoping to schedule hanging out with various people within the the time-frame of January 3rd-17th or so. Oh, I also FINALLY got all of Swat Kats and should soon have all of Pirates of Dark Water, as well, so anyone interested in seeing/acquiring those, let me know and I'll see what I can do (more people need to be able to enjoy their awesomeness and share my anger at the fact that they were canceled so quickly). Anyway, enough out of me; hope everyone's doing well, and that I get a chance to see/hear from you all soon. Later, everyone!

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[07 Sep 2006|10:07pm]
It looks like it's my turnCollapse )

I like how it both says I lack energy and initiative, and yet also lead a fast-paced, busy life that I pursue vigorously and energetically. In fact, reading the full report, I see a lot of room for contradiction in these results; it would seem my usual complication of things has extended into how I answered the questions and thus is seen in my results.
3 comments|post comment

Structure? What in the world is that? [06 Sep 2006|11:00pm]
[ mood | Cautiously optimistic ]

Ok, so my plans for how I intend to handle the rest of my undergraduate career have once again been altered. Some of you might remember me saying I'd give up on getting a Bachelor of Science in physics and go for a Bachelor of Arts so I could graduate on the standard physics-major 5-year schedule. Well, after looking everything over (and being informed as to how the GREs are scheduled; my advisor either assumed I already knew or didn't see fit to advise me of those), it seems that my best bet for the long term is to graduate Fall of 07 rather than Spring; that being the case, I could just as easily go for a BA as a BS (well, in terms of how long it would take; the BA would be FAR easier), so BS it is! This means that the psychology course I am (well, was) taking is no longer going to count towards my major, and while it's certainly interesting looking, I've decided to drop it for the refund and the extra time, which, incidentally, I am going to need. Already my classes are making it very, very clear that there'll be little time to do anything other than homework; to help lighten that load, I'm going to start waking up at 8am every morning (believe me, I'm shocked by that idea too), giving me another 8 hours of study time a week (well, if you count weekends on that, it's trickier to calculate, but it's something like another 12-16 hours a week total). With luck, I might be able to squeeze out one or two nights a week of free time (depending on whether or not one of my 15 page papers for quantum lab is due that week).

It has recently crossed my mind that, as busy as I am with school this semester, I'm likely to have very little that's worth posting on LJ. I can't imagine any great number of people would like to hear what it's like to work on electrodynamics for 5 hours one day, classical dynamics for 6 the next, and then spend two straight days writing a lab report. Be that as it may, I'll at least try to think of interesting things to say on here (I'm sure as my classes progress, crazy ideas will start to enter my mind); in any event, hope to be able to pop onto AIM again soon (incidentally, I do happen to be on right now...) and hear from you guys, but until then, good luck everyone.

3 comments|post comment

I have returned from my annual Drop Off the Face of the Earth once more! [26 Aug 2006|10:59pm]
[ mood | Ready to go! ]

It always does seem that when I first get back to Austin, it marks the first time I've updated this thing in months. Some quick catching-up type stuff:

Old car is indeed totaled, so I now have a 99 Mercury Cougar, which for some reason has the same insurance costs as my old car despite being a much sportier vehicle (I assume it's because it's newer and has more safety features).

Other driver's insurance still refuses to pay up, but their client pled guilty to the charge of causing the accident, and we've got a lawyer/ex-claims adjuster pressuring them to speed the process up, so hopefully that situation is on the mend.

The accident might've actually caused more harm than initially thought, as my grandfather (aka the president of neurology in his area) has diagnosed my friend with a sensory block on her left brain; he took an MRI, but I've not heard anything official about the results so far.

Work for Kroger's remained fairly hellish throughout, but by the end I felt a little bad about leaving them, as I was apparently their best cashier the entire time I was there (a statement backed up by loads of computer records and gift cards to that effect), and they were more than a little short-handed right before I took off.

Started and finished reading Sandman, as well as watched a lot of Buffy and Angel, and almost the entire Romance of the Three Kingdoms TV series (complete with really bad Chinese-to-English subtitles), and was fairly pleased with all of them, though Buffy and Angel can be seriously depressing at times (actually, Sandman had a couple of moments like that, too, but it made up for it mood-wise much more than either of those TV series have so far).

That's about it for the summer stuff; as one can see, apart from what is becoming the routine summer hellishness (though not NEARLY as bad as last summer), there really wasn't much to report. I'm back at Austin now, in my own dorm room. Sure, maybe it's a little small, lacks lighting or windows, and has its cable, phone, and internet ports in inconvenient places, and costs quite a bit more, but damn it, it's entirely worth all of that, and I'd still gladly leap for the chance to take this room and it's lack of random roommates if it came to that. Classes start again this Wednesday, with the following schedule:

Intro to Quantum Phenomenon (writing component) MWF 900 -1000 and T 200 - 500P
Classical Dynamics I MWF 1100 -1200
Introduction to Psychology MWF 1200 - 100P
Probability I MWF 200 - 300P
Classical Electrodynamics TTH 1230 - 200P

As one can see, Thursdays will be great, but every other week day will be pretty rough, and the homework load, especially with a writing-intense quantum course, will probably be truly insane. Still, despite all of that, part of me is amazingly hyped about starting this year; finally, I'm taking Quantum Physics, the whole reason I finally chose physics over biology as my major. Also, when I first got to my new room, everything that could go wrong did its damnedest to do so (every part of my computer stopped working just as soon as I fixed the last one, the phone didn't work, the door wouldn't work, my cell phone died, etc, etc), but I worked on it for hours and fixed it all; to me, that seems like a very good way to start a new year, and I think is also part of why I feel so amazingly enthusiastic about this year. It seems to be saying that while this year's going to be long, work-filled, stressful, etc, I'm going to stick to it, and I'm going to make it work out in my favor in the end. On that note, I will wrap this up, encouraging everyone to work on all of the crap that's happened this summer (because even someone who's dropped off of the face of the Earth as thoroughly as I have can tell that the world has gone to hell for a lot of us this summer) and making it better, and wishing you all well until next we meet (well, and beyond that, of course, but knowing me I'll wish you well again then, too)!

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Yay, good news! [16 Jul 2006|04:19pm]
It seems that the other party in the accident (not the driver, but the vehicle's owners) did indeed have insurance, and what's more, they apparently had full coverage, which among other things means that their insurance agency is paying for a rental car for me to use until I either replace the old one or fix it up. Sadly, estimates on repairs still aren't in, primarily because the wrecker who has my car is some kind of incompetent idiot; for that same reason, I still haven't gotten my keys back (meaning I'm more or less trapped at the apartment right now, since everyone else [and their keys] is gone right now), nor have we retrieved my friend's documents from what's left of my vehicle. Still, on the whole, a very nice upswing, especially when combined with the fact that my own muscle tension is now almost totally gone, and my friend's x-rays so far indicate no lasting trauma (and I think, but am not sure, that she seems to be getting better, so yay).

Anyway, that's all for now. Everything else I can think of talking about either feels like it'd need its own entry, or else should just be left unsaid; we'll see how that turns out, I suppose. Hope everyone is doing well, and that maybe sooner or later I'll actually get to talk to all of you. Until then, have fun, and see you guys later.
15 comments|post comment

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