Do it and it will get done

I've been stressing out about my thesis lately, namely insofar as it not getting finished and that I've been blowing off time that I should have spent working on it but it turns out that it's not hard to write when I actually do so. I've spent the past 3.5 hours hunkered down in my room and I've churned out 7 pages of pretty decent stuff. If I can get myself to do this in the future, everything will get finished mighty fast and I can get back to slacking without stress.

The next thing that I really need to do is add some equations and diagrams to help make sense of some of what I've written. I also need to go do some research to get some references and a whole bunch of background material.

As great as procrastinating is, now is just not the time for it anymore.

Chickens and Eggs

Ok Internet, it's time we had a little discussion about the chicken and the egg. There's a longstanding pseudo-philosophical debate as to which came first: the chicken or the egg. The debate rests on two simple principles: chickens come from chicken eggs and chicken eggs come from chickens. The whole debate is wildly circular and people like to make it analogous to other, (less pseudo-) philosophical debates.

Now, because this is a stupid argument, I'm going to set the record straight. The egg came first. Now some people will launch into stupid debate with me and say where did the egg come from and to these people I say, learn some evolutionary biology. The current chicken generation (generation n) hatched from eggs laid by the previous generation (n-1). Generation n-1 hatched from eggs laid by generation n-2 and this goes back for a long time. As you continue to go back, different varieties of chicken converge and we find, for example, that the Bandara chicken came originally from an egg that was laid by a White Cornish or by a Gimmizah; in other words, the first Bandara egg was not laid by a Bandara chicken. Just as Bandaras can be traced back to eggs that are not their own, so too can chickens be traced back to an egg laid by some pre-chicken creature. So there you have it, the egg came first, now shut up about the damned chicken or egg debate.

It will have to be noted that this solution is theoretical and that experimental tests suggest that the chicken came first. Having run only one trial, the results can not be guaranteed to be statistically significant.

As a sidenote, the information about the Bandara chicken came from a Breeds of Chicken site that google got me to.

CalTech doesn't know that we don't care

It appears to be the case that CalTech is taking up a pranking war against MIT. This reminds me of the various college rivalries that I am aware of: CalTech has a rivalry with MIT, MIT has a rivalry with Harvard, Harvard has a rivalry with Yale and Yale has a rivalry with Harvard. Save for the Harvard/Yale rivalry, these rivalries are one sided and the target generally doesn't care about the instigator. As far as I know, Harvard thinks they're better than MIT and doesn't care enough to bother with us and the same is true for us and CalTech.

I'm speaking largely from my own experience and it may very well be the case that CalTech may be able to inspire some MIT students to react and the rivalry may become two sided. Personally, I find it rather childish but I am still mildly curious to see what will happen with this whole affair.

Not quite so deviated anymore

Background information: There are two items of background information that are necessary to understanding the rest of this post: 1. I had a deviated septum and 2. The past tense of point 1 is correct. To be more precise, for as long as I can remember, my left nostril has, on the inside, been this tiny, mostly useless thing. Breathing through my nose, I have been able to notice that the vast, vast majority of air travels through my right nostril. A number of months ago (Novemberish) it occurred to me that I could have something done about this condition and that I might as well whilst I have my awesome student medical insurance. I went in and had a consultation in mid-January and went in for surgery this morning. That's the requisite background information.

The so-called background information is actually the real meat of this post, now I'm just going to ramble about anesthesia and mild discomfort.

This was this first real surgery that I've ever had (wisdom teeth don't count) and the first time I've ever had an I.V. or general anesthesia. So I got to Mount Auburn Hospital bright and early at 6a without having slept very much last night (I'll admit it, I was freaked out) and get myself in a gown and on a bad. The nurse set up an I.V. which was ok for a little bit and then I started to get a bit freaked out, which manifested as the fingers on the I.V.ed arm twitching slightly. I met with the anesthesiologist and his nurse as well as my surgeon (whom I had met and spoken with a few times before). The anesthesiologist's nurse squirted a syringe full of something he described as "like Valium that takes effect in thirty seconds" into my I.V. A few moments later, I wasn't freaking out at all and I was wheeled into an operating room. I scooched over onto a different bed in the operating room and the next thing I remember was waking up with an oxygen mask and being told that I was starting to come around (which wasn't entirely clear to me at the time). I spent a while lying in that bed in the recovery room, drifting in and out of attentiveness until what point as I started to feel a little more alert. Since I had arranged to have Max come pick me up, the nurse called him and he came by. With a short stop at the MIT Medical Pharmacy en route, I ended up back at my apartment. I am still (four hours since regaining consciousness) feeling heavily drugged. The druggedness is making me rather spacey and I am finding that memories, perceptions, my imagination and complete fantasy are mixing together in a semi-alert dream of a reality. The semi-alertness is kind of bothersome and I expect that it's largely the work of the super-opiate that I was given but may be partly the result of the tranquilizer as well.

The druggedness, although annoying, is not the worst part of this recovery process, not by a long shot. The worst part is that I can taste the packing in my nose and it tastes horrible. In fact, the packing in my nose is the only thing that I can taste; I ate some goldfish, they tasted like packing; I ate some noodles, they tasted like packing; I drank some ginger ale, it tasted like packing. Also, the packing makes me feel like the one thing that I want to do in life is blow my nose, which I can't do.

Well. I think that I'll watch a movie and continue to put up with the taste of packing and the mild hallucinations. At least, in the end, my nose will work like it damned well should have in the first place.

Pre-counted eggs

It turns out that I did not get into the one graduate school that I applied to. I guess this means that I counted my eggs before they hatched, which makes it good that I'm a mammal and my species bears live young. This means that I am now roughly two months from freedom and not knowing what I'm going to be doing in the future; it's actually a kind of nice feeling.


So I go in to see the nose doctor today with regards to my deviated septum and I casually mention my recent sore throat. He takes a quick glance and pretty much says, oh hey, tonsillitis, you should be taking a higher dosage of penicillin. So he tells me to up my dose to 4 a day and writes me a prescription for a few more pills. Specialist doctors are awesome.

Norton I, Emperor of the United States and Protector of Mexico

That the United States, at one time, had an Emperor has recently come to my attention. I find it rather interesting that history books tend to neglect the reign of Emperor Norton I when recounting American History. The more I read about this man, the more exceptional he is, truly a great American and a patriot. I can honestly say, with great conviction that Emperor Norton I is one of my personal heroes.

Birthday: Not So Great

Well, today was my birthday; I'm 22 now, and I've been sick since sometime last week. I was originally planning on setting up some sort of dinner thing for last Friday but somehow I became completely incapable of sending e-mail to the people I wanted to send e-mail to, which turned out to be for the best because I was getting too sick by Friday evening to have done anything with anyone. I spent the weekend running a moderate fever and lying in bed. The Liz came over and force fed me water and Tylenol while we watched movies and TV shows on my computer. In the end, I spent most of my birthday in bed, watching the BBC show Coupling, dehydrated and with poor body temperature control.

Whatever, I'm 22 now and I've got a bottle full of penicillin, so hopefully I'll be ok in a little while.

Meal fit for Kings (or not)

I have reached a new culinary extreme (new low or new high) with my dinner tonight. Tonight's meal is a can of refried beans (heated) with shredded cheese and a Barq's root beer. One might think it easy to call this a lowly meal but it took me 3 minutes to make, cost less than $2, gave me my RDA of fiber, gave me about 30g of protein and tasted pretty decent.

Ok, I guess a can of refried beans is not a culinary anything, it's more of a hobo food. However, on my continued bachelor chow search, it's a pretty decent component option.

Inorganic Polymers

I've been looking into inorganic polymers a little and intend to write about them for my Polymer Physics final paper. They turn out to be rather interesting and have all sort of interesting backbones like silicon, germanium, tin (a metal), phosphorous-nitrogen, and others.

The Si and Sn backboned polymers are the most interesting to me, having interesting conductive and physical properties. As an example, polydimethylsilane (silicon backone with two methyl groups off each silicon) is a crystalline polymer that is insoluble in everything and does not melt (but does decompose at 250°C). All in all, very curious materials that I will be looking into.