Sunday, September 23, 2007

"We've been practicing for about a year"

Allie and are have been married for over a month now. I surprised her on our one month anniversary. She wasn't expecting anything, so the roses and card wowed her. I think she even felt just a little guilty for not getting me anything. ::evil grin:: I also have a small surprise in store for her birthday that will likely get another wow from her.

I'm glad we moved in together last year. The stress of living together for the first time coupled with the marriage would've been a lot of deal with at once. This allowed us to take it a little easier for the wedding, though it was still pretty stressful.

Married life isn't treating us any different than before because of this, though. I mean, we've been practicing for about a year now. It's just good to have the ceremony behind us. A few people have asked about then we will start popping kids out, but for the most part we just hear "How is married life treating you?"

Friday, September 21, 2007

Squeezing Rubber Chickens

Ok, seriously, who would by these for their pets? (recommend listening with the volumn turned up for best experience)

Monday, September 17, 2007

US Company Blackwater kicked out of Iraq

Blackwater contractor kicked out of Iraq after killing 8 civilians .. 72% of Iraqis want the US out.. With no success.. So now they are kicking out the contractors.


I know I'm going to forget something. I just wish I could know what I'm going to forget before I forget it.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Making triangles with Six toothpicks

"Use six toothpicks to make four identical triangles."

This is a problem that was given to my pre-algebra math class in Jr. High School. The problem was straight out of an old math book.  It was presented to us by a substitute teacher whose strategy was to offer free time at the end of class if we accomplishing certain tasks. The math book listed only one solution to this problem. It stated that the only way to form these triangles was to build them into a tetrahedron (a 3D object). In other words, this old text book presented this problem in order to get kids to think in terms beyond the 2D dimensional realm of a flat piece of paper. 

No one in the class figured out the 3D solution. When the teacher presented the 3D solution, he declared that this was the only solution possible. Several people in the class protested by saying that other solutions had to exist. So, he gave us a double or nothing wager. If someone could figure out a 2D solution to the problem by the next day, he would double the amount of free time he offered.

I worked the problem for a couple of hours that night, not because I wanted the free time, but because it really bugged me. I drew many sketches of possible methods, but none produced four identical triangles while the toothpick ends touched. Then it hit me. Nothing in the problem stated that the toothpicks couldn’t overlap. (Nor did the problem suggest that the triangles had to be equilateral.) I drew up my solution: two toothpicks formed an X, and then the other four toothpicks formed a square around that X with overlapping tips. Easy. I read over the problem several times to make sure my solution was in compliance.

The next day, I left my sketched solution on the teacher’s desk and sat down. A minute or two after class started, the teacher discovered my solution on his desk. He was surprised. He showed our class the solution on the chalkboard. Everyone was happy. Our class won our free time. I didn’t really care. I got my rush the night before by solving the problem.

The next day, a deskmate of mine in another class mentioned the incident. She had the same substitute teacher at a different time in the day, who challenged her class with the same problem. So, the teacher presented my solution to her class as well, using my name. She told me that people in her class were upset with her because she sat next to me in another class and didn’t get the solution from me.

Now note, if you look for this problem these days, there are many different versions online. The problem is stated much more specifically, so as to limit the possible answers. These days, this same problem is worded something like this,
“Using six toothpicks, make four identical equilateral triangles and nothing else. (In other words you can’t make six equilateral triangles, or four triangles and a diamond, etc.)”. (backup link)
Of course, being this specific, the only answer is a tetrahedron. Another similar problem I found allows for several 2D solutions (backup link), but of course it also requires equilateral triangles. However, the solutions are similar to my solution to the old problem. 

Now, I’m not saying I was the first person to figure out this solution.  However, I did figure it out on my own in one night; in the days before the Internet. Looking over the Internet these days, I can’t even find this problem improperly stated. Maybe the writers of that old math book just didn’t do their research, tried to dumb down the problem too much, or just didn’t catch the wording error? I can’t imagine that this problem was improperly stated for hundreds of years before it found its way onto my desk.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Bourne to miss

Dang it. I had plans with Miriam after work on Friday to go to see the Bourne movie that's still in the theaters. Well, she wanted to go get something to eat at a Mexican rest'rant she really likes near her place. The drinks there where stronger than expected. Neither of us were sober, so driving anywhere was out of the question. Dang it! Well, it was still fun. She wanted to look for toys for her new hamster, so we walked to the per supplies store next store.
Then it got crazy. We found these rubber chickens (dressed in beach wear) that made this awful noise wailing when squeezed. It was hilarious. We made a symphony of wailing rubber chickens. We got a photo video and audio recording of it on her phone, but can't figure out how to get it onto the computer yet. When we do, I'll post here.
After that, we called some friends that could pick us up and take us to the movie. Ronnie and Fern ended up coming, but headed to the wrong city at first. Anyways, by the time they got there, it was too late to go to even the evening showing, so we decided just to head back to her place. Allie came by and brought the Knocked-up DVD to watch. It was kinda funny. It ended around 12am, and we all pretty much headed home right after.
I want to see Bourne in the theater. Oh well.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Great void in the universe

So, here's the deal. Science has disputed the age of the universe for a long time now. The current consensus is that it's about 12 Billion years so or, +/- a billion years (depending upon methodology). This comes from the previous observations that when looking into deep space, the farthest objects are about 12 billion light years away, in every direction.
When I was much younger, this interpretation of observations of the Universe got me thinking. How do we know the Universe is only as old as the number of light years away we can see? The only way to equate seeing the farthest objects with the age of the Universe is if we can also see one or both of the following: the center of the Universe; the edge of the Universe. Here's the problem. No one has claimed to observe either. Without this frame of reference, there is no way to determine the Universe's size. Without knowing how big the Universe is, we can't really know its age, unless by some magical fluke, we are at the center of the Universe. OK, so a general idea of the age of the Universe can be determined by the objects we observe at it's visible edge (Quasars), but we don't know if this visible edge is really the actual extent of the Universe. At most, we only know that galaxies of some sort began forming at that point in time, 12 billion years ago.
What does this hafta do with the vast void recently discovered in the Universe? The void is estimated as 1 billion light years across. That's 24th the size of the known Universe. That's like looking at a two foot long rulers and spacing them 1 inch apart by length. What would cause this big of a hole in the Universe? Could it be the middle of the Universe. Is it the void left as matter accelerates outward? Or is it the actual edge of the Universe? The notions being put forth by astrophysicist right now is some sort of dark energy explanation. But why does it have to be so exotic? OK, so I don't think it's the edge of the Universe because I believe astronomers do see deep objects past this void. So, hey, why couldn't it be the center of the Universe left void from matter expanding outward? One way to test this is to examine redshifts of the objects between us and this void to see if there are subtly less than objects in every other direction, using Hubble's Law. If the void is the center of the Universe, the age of the Universe could be judged with extreme accuracy because we'd no longer have to relay on objects 12 billion light years away. We'd only need to observe our distance from the center, then calculate the mass based on the shape of the Universe and the fact that the Universe looks the same in every direction.
This is all just an idea. I don't know much more than the press story. Heck, for all I know, this void could be where god lives. lol Just some fun to call up my old thoughts about the Universe.

Monday, September 03, 2007

Koi Pool

On Saturday, my new brother in-law planned a small suprize for his mother. My wife took their mom to The City to shop. Afterwards, her dad, brother, he's best friend and I met them for a big dinner at Koi Palace. Allie had only told her that she was talking her to a noodle place for dinner, so it ended up being a pretty good surprize.

On Sunday, Allie and I went over to Miriam's place and chilled by the pool for awhile, then had great chicken dinner and watched a movie.

Today, it looks like we are going to head up to The City just to be out and about on this Labor Day.