Category Archives: Geekdom

Weekend Update

This weekend was A+ and not just because it contained nearly 10 hours of rock climbing.

Saturday I hit up the rock gym with Mechanical Pete and Simon the German. My arms were miserably sore from a Friday workout, but my hands were steel traps. I attempted a few 12’s, but didn’t have nearly as much success as last Thursday. I did come to a major realization regarding the 5.12 with which I have been struggling.

There is one particular move which is so perfectly awkward that it’s nearly impossible to do slowly. I’ve found that the discomfort level increases rapidly, almost to an asymptote, at that one move. See red line on graph:

let\'s get Geeky

The only way I can get through the crux is if I ride the comfort momentum and swing through the moment of difficulty, not unlike bridging the current spike on a MosFet. Note the blue line on the graph above. With this realization, I expect little difficulty in the future.

Saturday night I checked out Big Shot (a billy joel cover band) at the bar Rookies in Cromwell. I wasn’t entirely impressed with the bar, but the band was top notch. Their sound was so perfectly full. The singer sounded exactly like Billy Joel and the bassist had the most unbelievable look of apathy for most of the show.

Sunday, I zipped over to Main Cliff at Ragged Mountain and played with the routes Y.M.C. and Carey’s Corner. Devin, Irene, Mechanical Pete, Tony, Paulette, and Nick were there. It was a climbing party.

Carey’s Corner is a route that follows two unpleasent offwidths. An offwidth is a crack that is just a little too big to use a hand jam. Instead, you kind of have to stick half your body into the crack and torque your body to push against each side. Then you inch your way to victory any way you can.

It was a great weekend.

Full speed ahead

I had a great weekend. Friday night after class I went home and spent some time with my folks (get psyched for a fantastic “Stories by Dad D” tomorrow). I got a hair cut and then spent some time with my sister, a friend, and the Schenk crowd. It was a very social day. I loved it.

Sunday I went climbing with Mark and Irene then spent three and a half hours battling advanced dynamics with a team of students.

Let’s get our geek on!

The problem was such:

A person fires a bullet into the air at angle a and an initial velocity of i cos a + k sin a (the projectile is being shot south). Solve for the position of the projectile when it lands taking into consideration the influence of the angular acceleration of the Earth on the projectile. Disregard air resistance.

Diagram anyone?

oh yeah!

Although a huge pain in the butt, I think we figured it out. What made it mildly interesting is that the distance of the particle from the center of the Earth is changing for the duration of its air time. So the angular acceleration has to be a function of the particle’s height.

Dynamically Newton.

My Advanced Dynamics class will be pretty challenging. The difficulty will be worth it though just to hear my professor get super excited about Newton and Physics.

Let’s get geeky.

One thing the professor mentioned was Modified Newtonian Dynamics (MOND), something I had known nothing about. I decided to do a little extra research on the matter and share it with the world.

We’ve all heard of Dark Matter. The big reason Dark Matter is believed to exist is because galaxies act a little funny. Let’s first look at things that aren’t galaxies… take for example our solar system.

Mercury is close to the sun. Because of this, the sun’s gravity influences this little planet more than the sun influences… say… Neptune. As a results, Mercury rotates much faster around the sun than the rest of the planets. Not only does it follow Newton’s law F=ma, it just makes sense.

Unlike our solar system however, all bodies in a galaxy move around the center at about the same speed. This doesn’t make ANY sense. If gravity is huge and imposing at the center of the galaxy, it should be weak and pathetic at the edge of the galaxy. Until 1981, everyone had assumed that the only explanation of this would be if there was some mass that we didn’t know about that was adding some muscle to the weak edges. And thus DARK MATTER was born.

Dark matter, as Newton followers believe, forms a ring around the galaxy that equalizes the gravitational forces. The result is that all bodies in a galaxy would rotate at the same speed. ta-da! problem solved!!

Mordehai Milgrom, an Israeli physicist, was NOT COOL WITH THIS.

Milgrom suggested that perhaps when the acceleration of F=ma is really tiny, things get funky.

Tiny is relative of course… but when we’re looking at galaxies, tiny accelerations could be pretty substantial by our standards. So Milgrom suggested F=ma be changed to:

F= m u(a/a0)a

There’s plenty of data on that equation on the internet, so if you’re interested I would recommend checking out this site.

The problem with MOND, is that it’s extremely hard to TEST. This is because we can’t really deal with a scale big enough to make accelerations really tiny. So far all scientists seem to be able to do is observe OTHER galaxies and say “hey… that one has constant speeds too.”

Grad Class

I have graduate class on Wednesday nights. I usually arrive a few minutes early and without fail the pre-class conversations are extremely geeky.

This week we talked about our calculator’s computing power. Last week we discussed pencil lead thickness preferences and the usefulness of watches with internal radial slide rules.

Who knows what’s in store for next week!

I think I’m on to something here…

Some people search for the equations that can relate the different natural forces (gravity, electromagnetic, etc…) I have long been searching for the connection between business and engineering. Last night I was in my Thermodynamics class and I came up with an interesting way to link the two.

Accounting, and perhaps Economics in general, is a monetary (single/multi variable?) version of Thermodynamics.

Think about it! Both are based off of obtaining equilibrium, and both obey general laws.

The first law of Thermodynamics states dU=dQ + dW
Basically, that there is a delicate balance of Energy, work, and Heat.

The second law of Thermodynamics, as I understand it, states that energy types within a system will naturally balance themselves.

Thermodynamics is all about balance.

Accounting is also about balance. But instead of balancing Heat, Energy, and Work, we’re balancing Liabilities, Assets, and Productivity.

Economics brings in supply and demand, micro and macro markets, and opportunity costs. Thermodynamics has energy supply and demand between phase transitions, closed and open systems, and phase diagrams that allow for individual variable changes to obtain changes of state.

I think someday a direct correlation could exist. Just like between Mechanical and Electrical (F=ma…. V=IR) I think that there might be a perfect crossover between accounting (ultimately economics) and thermodynamics. The goal? perfect quantification of managerial decisions using equations from engineering.

I’m going to work on this some more. If anyone is willing to help me do some research, I’d greatly appreciate it. I really think I have something here.