Nov 6 2009

GRE Badness

Taking the Physics GRE this Saturday and the general on Sunday.  This week sucks as I am doing nothing but studying.  I’ve got to go take another three-hour practice test now.

Nov 1 2009

Karmic Koala Is Here!

Ubuntu 9.10 released earlier this week so of course being a long time Ubuntu fan, I had to boot it up1 and see what was new.  While most of the improvements were subtle and under the hood, I feel like this release still takes solid step in the right direction.

The first difference I noticed was a friendly slide show added to the installation.  The presentation included a small blurb about many of Ubuntu’s default programs like Firefox, Photo Manager, Evolution, OpenOffice as well as nifty tips like how to install new software and where to find more help.  While those of us who are not exactly new to Linux or Ubuntu might glaze over this, for someone fresh from the windows, this will dramatically help the transition tone down the switch scariness.  More than anything else, the new installation presentation echos Ubuntu’s philosophy of Linux for human beings.

Stepping down from my soap box, the install took roughly half an hour on my old machine.  The installer took half of that time to seemingly update the repositories, something I don’t remember Jaunty doing.  Running the startup side by side with 9.04, it was a bit faster and much slicker looking.

With Karmic up and running, the differences are subtle, most notably the new icon set.  A few of the default programs have changed including a switch from Pidgin to Empathy as well as changing the default package manger to “Ubuntu Software Center”.  Over all, this latest release has a much-needed refined feeling.  Try out Ubuntu 9.10 for yourself and tell me what you think!

  1. as well as decorate a pumpkin in its honor []

Oct 1 2009

Real Life Starcraft

I don’t remember this unit.  Must be the protoss.

Sep 4 2009

Magnetic Monopoles… Holy *&%$!!!

It’s something most of us1 have been taught from the very beginning and take for granite from day to day…  no magnetic monopoles!  Gauss’s law for magnetism \nabla \cdot \mathbf{B} = 0 seems iconic and elegant, like one who would hold out, even until the very end in denying to give us a monopole while  \nabla \cdot \mathbf{B} \propto \rho_B seems suspicious and awkward.  In reality though I find this all thoroughly exciting2 and am contemplating throwing a party in honor of the discovery.  I must say that this is a testament to science’s pursuit to ever expand and correct itself through the scientific method.  Take a look at the nature news article for more information and links to the papers.

  1. or maybe just physicists []
  2. even surprisingly exciting []

Sep 3 2009

Can you find the Apollo 12 LM?

I was sent this by a member of the LROC team.  See if you have the skills to find the LM Intrepid from Apollo 12 as this video scans across the Moon’s surface.  The video is quite beautiful and I would recommend watching in HD!

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“What makes the desert beautiful is that somewhere it hides a well.” Antoine de Saint Exupéry