Thursday, April 29, 2010

I want a sheep

Remember this cool artist with the hidden handguns? When I was looking through the archive of her stuff I came across this cool chart of the cost of mowing a lawn.

As you can see, the sheep is the most cost effective method for keeping a trimmed lawn. You would have to watch out for little sheepie poopies, though. And there might be some issues with zoning ordinances and home owner associations.

Be sure to look at the other things she has made by clicking here. You won't regret it.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Erasing is Illegal

This is what my professor and TA told me yesterday in class. It turns out that field books used in surveying automatically become legal documents, even the ones we use in class. Because of their legal status, erasing is a big no-no. If we make a mistake we have to cross it out (while still making it possible to read what has been crossed out) and re-write it.

This is a huge problem for me because I'm kind of a perfectionist when it comes to having things neat and tidy. I caught myself erasing stray pencil marks. I erased and re-wrote some numbers to make them more centered in the graph. My tally marks were a little crooked so I erased and did those again, too. My TA said that he'll take off one point for every eraser mark he sees.

I hope I don't fail because of this.

Spring Term

I started Spring Term today. I'm taking surveying, electrical systems, and the organic chemistry lab. I've been wanting to take surveying since I was a Freshman here at BYU and I saw the surveying students measuring things and stuff out on the lawns. It's a great Spring Term class. It's pretty relaxing to take Construction Management classes again. They're pretty easy compared to the chemistry and biology classes I have been taking this past year. I'll still be staying busy studying for the OAT. I have 34 days before I take it. Man, that's not a lot of time.

OK, well, it's good to be back. I hope to be able to write more interesting posts again soon.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Vacation Posts: LEGOLAND Billund

I still think about this place sometimes. I got scared on the dragon ride. I know; it's pathetic. Anyway, experience the amazement here!

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Vacation Posts: White House

I've never been to the White House, but now I don't need to go! I've taken the virtual tour! It's way better than the real thing.

You can take the virtual tour, too. Just click here.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Vacation Posts: BYU

It seems that a lot of my family spends vacation in Provo. I think that someone has been attending BYU in my family for about 10 years. Now Alison will continue the legacy.

To see virtual tours of BYU, click on the following links:
Go here to see more virtual tours!

Friday, April 23, 2010

Vacation Posts: Mountains

Switzerland has some of the best mountains in the world. No joke. Just to prove my point, here are some pictures of the beautiful mountains of Switzerland.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Vacation Posts: Beach

Here are some pictures of beaches. Don't they look nice?

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Vacation Posts: Sistine Chapel

I'm going to be out of town for the next couple of days, so I have some awesome vacation posts scheduled to show up. Enjoy!

Have you ever been to the Sistine Chapel? Well, now you can! Just click here and experience the sublime!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Hundo Pocent

It turns out that studying does pay off. After studying for hours on Monday and today, I took my microbiology exam and got perfect score. It was amazing! The only other test that I got every one right on was a religion test. I think it might have been Teachings of the Living Prophets. But religion classes don't really count. Anyway, I thought I would share the happy news. Woo hoo!

Seeing in 3D

This is totally awesome. I tried this out yesterday and it worked.

I thought of this during sacrament meeting at church. I took two pictures of an object, one slightly to the left of another one. Then I put those two pictures side by side on the computer screen and looked at them through two toilet paper tubes. My mind melded the two images together and made it look 3D!

Here's a picture of what I did:

I took one picture...
then I moved the camera a little bit and took another picture...

I put these images side by side and stared at them through the two toilet paper tubes. The image suddenly turned 3D! You can do it without the tubes, but it's just a little harder. Click here to see them side by side and to try it out yourself.

Isn't it cool?

You can see some more pictures like this at this website.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Look at your nails

Really. Go ahead and look at them.

Did you look at them?

If you were a girl, did you look at your nails like this?

And if you're a guy, did you look at your nails like this?

(I know, I know--this is a girl's hand. I couldn't find any pictures of guys looking at their fingernails. I had to search for the letter "e" in sign language to find this picture.)

This is basically a universal truth. Girls look at their nails one way and guys look at it another way. I'm not exactly sure why this is, but I think it may have to do with nail polish.

Sometimes I wish I had hookworm

I have heard about this phenomenon from four different sources in the past two weeks. That means it's a sign, right?

Apparently, hookworm can help you not have a hyperactive immune system. Cases of food allergies, asthma, MS, and other problems caused by out immune systems can be kept in check by helminths such as tapeworms and hookworm. I first heard about this HERE on This American Life, then I listened to it HERE on Radio Lab, then I learned about it in my microbiology class and I felt really cool because I was able to comment and explain how it worked to everyone. Finally, I just came across it HERE on this website.

My allergies are picking up again. My eyes have been watery, my sinuses clogged, and I have been sneezing every few minutes. Perhaps a small case of hookworm is just what I need.

Actually, I think I would be too grossed out to do it.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Benford's Law

I heard about this crazy law at work the other day. This law explains that most numbers found in nature start with a 1, 2, or 3 than a 7, 8, or 9. It took me a while to understand this, but once I did, I was amazed. This means that numbers from street addresses, credit card bills, weather patterns, and height of buildings are more likely to start with a 6 than a 7, and even more likely to start with a 1 or 2.

This graph shows the likelihood of the first number being a specific digit.
The reason for this is pretty complicated. It has to do with logarithmic growth. Some experts can use this law to detect fraud. For instance, if someone is making up numbers in a bank account or some tax returns they would tend to make sure the numbers are equally random. If they see there are an equal amount of numbers starting with a 9 and a 1, this numbers are most likely false. Crazy, huh?

Western Family vs. Quaker

It turns out that we have two of the same product in our home made from different companies. We have two boxes of peanut butter chocolate chip granola bars -- one box from Western Family and the other from Quaker.

I decided to do a taste test.

But first I took a picture of the two unwrapped granola bars. Can you guess which one is which?

I liked the one on the left a lot more than the one on the right (yes, I ate both of them). Guess which one it is.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Done With Homework

I finally finished my homework for the semester at 11:03 PM. That's all for today.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Only Two More Days of School

Just two more days of school...

and then finals...

and then spring semester...

and then I take the OAT...

and then summer semester...

and then fall and winter semester....

and then four years of optometry school...

and THEN I'll be done with school!

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Creative Photos

I really love looking at artistic photography. Here are some photographs by Chema Madoz that I found on THIS blog. It really is beautiful. He has a book available for sale. I think I will recommend that the BYU Library should buy it.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Answers without Questions

I was listening to RadioLab at work on Thursday (the day I discovered it) and I keep thinking about the episode I listened to. It was all about the limits we face--physically, mentally, and how much we can comprehend. I think the comprehension limit was the most fascinating. What this means is that there is a limit to what we can wrap out minds around. For instance, we can comprehend the number 10 and maybe even 100, but thousands and billions and trillions are so huge that it doesn't even mean anything to us anymore. We can even fathom the physical difference between 2 trillion and 4 trillion. They are both just huge, huge, huge numbers.

Anyway, they told a story about scientists coming across the answer without really understanding the question. The scientists built a robot that can detect patterns and tease out equations from the patterns it sees. For instance, after staring at the random movements of a double pendulum, the robot spit out the equation F=ma, which is Isaac Newton's 2nd Law of Motion. This was pretty amazing and scientists were excited because they understood that law and already had proof for it. Then they decided to try the robot out on things they didn't understand yet. They decided to see if the robot could study the inter-workings of a cell, a living cell, and see if it could derive some sort of law that explained how, for instance, if one enzyme did this some other protein did that which made this molecule move up or sideways depending on the concentration of something else, and so on and so on. Very, very complicated stuff that scientists have been trying to explain for years. Anyway, the amazing thing it that the robot did, in fact, come up with a huge, nasty equation to explain it all. And when the scientists tested it out, it worked. It could even predict what the cell would do in the future. The only problem was that the scientists had no idea what it all meant. It was as if they looked at the answer in the back of the textbook and copied that down without actually going through the problem and learning how to get to the problem. You can listen to just this 10 minute segment here if you want. It's pretty interesting.

At least we know what one of the next discoveries in science will be: the explanation of what the robot showed us. It made take a few scientific studies to get to that point, though.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Flipping Stairs

If you  have ever been the the Harold B. Lee Library on BYU's campus, you know that the stairs across from the circulation desk are pretty worn out. You can see the worn foot tracks of thousands upon thousands of trudging, depressed students climbing up the stairs to find a quiet area to cram material into their swollen brains. The tracks are quite deep and noticeable.

Seeing the stairs today reminded me of a story that my statics professor (not statistics) told me about two years ago when I took that class. He said that many years ago a castle in Europe had the same problem as the BYU Library. The tracks were worn deep into the stone steps. The royal engineer in charge of fixing the problem had the great idea of just flipping the steps over. That would be much cheaper than making new steps and double the life of the stairs in place.

However, when they flipped the steps over they noticed that the other side had worn out spots, too.

Can you guess why?

The people of this old European town had already flipped over the castle stairs! This happened perhaps 100 or 200 years previously. Interesting, isn't it? I think it's neat that both people had the same idea.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Whoa whoa!

My ears hugged my brain in gratitude.

Yesterday, I was listening to This American Life at work and they included a clip in one of their episodes from another public radio program called Radio Lab. It was amazing. Today at work I went to their website and listened to their most recent episode. It was fantabulous. It was entertaining, artistic, scientific, and of high, high quality. You can tell that a lot of time was spent in how it sounds as well as what it says. It was like ... informational music. If you like This American Life, you will like Radio Lab.

Just try it. 

Wednesday, April 7, 2010




I'm really tempted to take some pictures like this myself. The facedown blog is here.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

X-Ray Photography

Just look at these images. Aren't they amazing? These were all done by Nick Veasey. We talked about him in my physics class today (we're discussing the quantum effects of light). Check out his website for more work of his.

Monday, April 5, 2010

How to Spot a Hidden Handgun

Very useful information. I found it on THIS website.


Ricky Gervais is a pretty funny guy. I saw that he tried to put some of the most unflattering pictures of himself on his own blog so that the press couldn't beat him to it. I tried to do this, too. There are some pretty gross looking pictures of myself. I can tell you that I have never laughed so much while taking pictures. I recommend trying it. It is very liberating to try to look as ridiculous as possible instead as cool/nice/pretty/whatever as possible. I like this picture of me the best. Maybe if you're good I'll post some more later.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

"Patience, Iago."

As I heard from President Uchtdorf tonight, having patience leads to many other desirable qualities. A researcher at a university devised an experiment to measure the patience of four-year-olds: place a marshmallow in front of them and tell them they can either eat that one marshmallow now or if they wait for fifteen minutes, they can have two marshmallows. The researcher then left the room and observed the kids through a two-way mirror (side note: I have always wondered why it's called a "two-way mirror" when you can only see through it one way...). some kids ate the marshmallow right away, others waited a few minutes before caving to temptation. Only 30% of the kids waited the full fifteen minutes and got to enjoy two marshmallows. This researcher followed the lives of these kids. The kids who displayed more patience as a four-year-old were more likely to be in healthier relationships, in a stable job, and earning more money.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Enderova Hra

I have been working on one huge order at work these past to days. We're ordering every book ever written by Orson Scott Card in every language possible. It is insane. But interesting, if you are an Orson Scott Card fanatic.

I spent the day trying to navigate websites using Google Translate on everything. The most annoying thing is that Google Translate doesn't translate the labels on the buttons (like "Order" or "Cancel") so I would have to spell those words out. myself. Not so easy when you're dealing with Japanese characters.

These are all the languages that I dealt with today:
  1. Turkish
  2. Romanian
  3. Russian
  4. Hungarian
  5. Estonian
  6. Czech
  7. Latvian
  8. Polish
  9. Dutch (This one was the easiest for me. It's the closest thing to German...)
  10. Portuguese
  11. Spanish
  12. Hebrew (This was the hardest. Google Translate doesn't like Hebrew so much. It told me that I was ordering a pamphlet on leukemia when in fact it was Children of the Mind. Go figure.)
  13. French
  14. Japanese
And there are still more orders to do...

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Icky Kids

We talked about helminthic diseases of the digestive system in my microbiology class on Tuesday. It was the most disturbing and nauseating class I have ever been to. I won't burden you with the knowledge of tapeworms and hookworms, because it still makes me shiver and cringe every time I think about them. I learned, though, that children were more likely to get pinworms than adults. It is because children are more likely to do this:

Sick, no? It made me laugh so hard to see this.