Heaven is a Job in…

One of the most frustrating aspects of living in the groves of academe (not a typo, my friends, look it up) is the lack of control one seems to have over the eventual institution where one gains long term employment. I mean, who in their right mind really wants to teach at the University of Alabama? Not to bash such a fine football school, but it is hard for me to imagine myself happy at such a locale (for geographic, political, climatic, and social reasons…if you must know.) And thus I find my goals morphed into not just gaining a tenure track position in physics, but in the suicidal attempt to do so somewhere where I would be happy to live even if I wasn’t doing physics. Of course like any good quaesitum much grief and stress is reigned upon my world for being so particular. But on the good days, I like to think it could happen. And on those days I go and surf the web to find the placed where I’d love to end up.
Below I’ve assembled my dream list. The first entry, as you will see, is so pie in the sky as to be laughable (but if you are Paul Allen or Bill Gates, please do read this entry, heh), but the others are the places that keep me motivated in the political regime of acquiring a job.
Continue reading “Heaven is a Job in…”

The R stands for Renormalization

R. P. Feynman characterized his work in QED as

a scheme for pushing a great problem under the rug. Maybe it will stay under the rug and, then again, maybe it won’t.

If this quote doesn’t fill you with a nagging desire to go look under the rug, then don’t become a theoretical physicist. If it does, take some aspirin, read the quote again for inspiration and then start doing problems.

Totally Recalled

The voting pamphlet for the California recall has a few choice entries. My favorite is definitely:

Trek Thunder Kelley Dear Voters, Please vote for me, thus breaking the Seventh Seal and incurring Armageddon. I will legalize drugs, gambling, and prostitution…

Then there is the guy who has the following astounding qualification:

Ralph A. Hernandez …adopted puppy and kitten into our family;…

Finally here is an unusual platform:

Rich Gosse Single adults are the Rodney Dangerfields of our society. They “can’t get no respect.” I am the first candidate in California history to campaign on a Fairness for Singles Platform.

As seen on I-5

Today I passed a nun driving a SUV with a big JESUS bumper sticker who was drinking a super sized soda from McDonalds.

Because I could not stop for Death

Is it heartening, or scary, to read Emily Dickinson’s views on “publish or perish.” Is the end result of demanding quality over quantity to die agoraphobic but be discovered brilliant?

Publication – is the Auction
Of the Mind of Man-
Poverty-be justifying
For so foul a thing

Possibly-but We-would rather
from Our Garret go
White-Unto the White Creator-
Than invest-Our Snow-

Thought belong to Him who gave it-
Then-to Him Who bear
Its Corporeal illustration-Sell
the Royal Air

In the Parcel-Be the Merchant
Of the Heavenly Grace-
But reduce no Human Spirit
To Disgrace of Price

-Emily Dickinson, 709

Diamond Age

Wired has an article about synthetic diamonds. It’s worth a read, if only for the second company involved: Apollo Diamond. AD’s primary goal is not the consumer diamond market, but they are focusing on the long term possibility of producing diamond wafers for computer wafers (high thermal conductivity, eh?) Sometimes a story really feels like it might have something to do with the future, and this is exactly such a story.
Interestingly, the main man behind AD is Robert Linares, who has been awarded an award from the Navy for “diamond based Quantum computing.”

Tlon, Uqbar, Orbis Tertius

Slashdot is running an article about theToynbee tiles. These small colorful mysterious tiles have been spotted around the world embedded in street asphalt. Here is a picture of such a tile stolen off the web
Nobody knows who has placed these tiles around the world, or exactly what the message in the tiles means.
Interestingly, the Toynbee refered to in the tiles, an English historian, believed that humanity’s perception of history shaped its future. Even futher, we can postulate that humanity’s perception of its past not only shapes the future but explicitly creates the future (for how else is the future to be shaped in not from information about the past as encoded into the present.) Then what are we to make of these strange tiles? One person’s attempt to shape our future into a reality in which heaven is actually a holding pen on the planet Jupiter? Immortality through the manipulation of our collective perception of what we expect to find on Jupiter.

A Philip K Dick Quote

To fight the Empire is to be infected by its derangement. This is a paradox; whoever defeats a segment of the Empire becomes the Empire; it proliferates like a virus, imposing its form on its enemies. Thereby it becomes its enemies.

-Philip K Dick, VALIS

Some Old Pictures

Here are a few old pictures which I thought I’d post.
The first is of house I recently moved into in South Pasadena, on Cawston Avenue. Apparently, Cawston was the name of the family which owned the famous ostrich farm in South Pasadena. I have looked closely at this picture and cannot find any ostrich feathers:

The second picture is of my mom at The Getty Mueseum:

The final picture is of the little stone pyramid I carved out of alabaster
This was my first attempt at carving anything. I learned that I need to buy a tool called a rasp in order to do some of the finer detail work.