Chem161 pset 1

February 10, 2009 at 3:59 am | Posted in rambling | Leave a comment

P(E)=A\int_{\left|v \right|<r} e^{\frac{-(v_x^2+v_y^2+v_z^2)}{B}}dv_x dv_y dv_z

In polar coords, with integration limits:

P(E) = A\int_0^{r_0}\int_0^{2*\pi}\int_0^{\pi} e^{\frac{-r^2}{B}}r^2\sin \theta dr d\theta d\phi


Made for me

February 9, 2008 at 3:01 am | Posted in design, harvard, internet, programming, rambling, school, science | Leave a comment
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[via flight404]

I love shopping week at the beginning of every semester, because it is a time of beautiful leisure and carefree distraction.

Okay, so I skip class for a couple days. But consider this–other, much more ambitious students will go to 20 classes that they don’t end up taking. And guess what? I also end up not taking those same 20 classes! I’ve effectively simulated Ivy-league-grade ambition by sitting in my room and surfing YouTube, and nobody is the wiser. A pareto-efficient transaction of sorts, between myself and The Man. (Maybe you question the correctness of my econ verbiage here. Maybe you’re right. Maybe I never sat in on any econ classes.)

Ah! But even without me once having to go outside, that perfect someone or something (but actually some thing) still strikes me like a thunderbolt between the eyes. Continue Reading Made for me…

Yoshimi succumbs to the second law of thermodynamics

February 6, 2008 at 1:54 am | Posted in life, music, rambling | 1 Comment
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[via kk+ on flickr]

So it was, the week after finals ended, before the intersession fun kicked in and I was just sitting in my room, ready to decrease entropy with the input of some enthalpy.

I vacuumed, re-attached all my posters to the walls, put all the books and errant pieces of silverware back in their places. Then I attempted the most ambitious and dangerous undertaking of all, so much so, in fact, that I haven’t done it since the 2nd year of high school–I took out all my files and began reorganizing them.

Most people, I imagine, like to keep it simple. There’s a folder for your important documents, some for important receipts or tax forms, and maybe a few tabbed folders for academics and the like. I definitely start the same way, except when it comes to actually using the organizational infrastructure I’ve set up, my habits start to resemble those of a failed African state. Squandering capital doing time-consuming, largely useless things (yes, that was a link to this blog), inventing more complicated bureaucratic hoops so that papers continue to pile up on the floor out of boredom/incompetence, and yes, eventually it takes nothing less than a multinational effort to mop up the mess.

Which is why classes have now started, and there is still a big pile of folders and papers on the floor, slowly starting to accumulate dirt from the bottom of my shoe when I walk over it. Where I used to neatly file away a paper (albeit in a meaninglessly categorized folder, from which I am never able to find anything again), now I just toss it on the ground.

Oh, and I can’t stop listening to the Flaming Lips album.


January 17, 2008 at 3:00 am | Posted in blogging, computers, humor, silly nonsense | Leave a comment
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You know it when it happens. Something struck you while you were surfing the internet. You wanted to jot down a couple of thoughts, just post a few sentences before going to bed. But now it’s 3AM and you’re looking for evidence in the New York Times archives, trying to support your argument so you can weigh in on some debate on someone’s blog from 2 years ago. What happened to studying for finals? Why are you writing in such detail about something so completely unrelated to what you claim to be interested in at school? Why are you still UP?

It’s unclear.

Maybe you want attention. Maybe you’re a world-class procrastinator. Maybe you have some horrible, life-threatening disease. Or maybe you’re just really, really passionate about the moral dilemma of doctor-assisted suicide.

Do you remember what’s going to be on the test tomorrow? Do you remember the last time you saw the sun? Do you remember what your girlfriend (ex-girlfriend, as the case may be) looks like? And yes, it’s cheating to check Facebook.

Get a grip! Put on a jacket and go outside. Smell that? That’s air. Go to the library, where you can study without distractions. Take out some paper. Jot down notes. Start writing:


Six Movies

December 21, 2007 at 11:39 pm | Posted in movies, rambling | 1 Comment
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No Country for Old Men — Interesting, i.e. enigmatic, but also a little dry and not in a humorous way (I’m not talking about the desert scenes either). The Coen Brothers are definitely going for dark, deadly, and deep, but I think they forgot wit along the way. Most people who saw this liked it, but I wonder if that’s just a testament to how well the trailer selected for the demographic most likely to enjoy the film. I’d go see Fargo first. Then the Big Lebowski. Then O Brother Where Art Thou. Then I’d use the money you have left to get a good book and a cup of coffee. Unless you plan to use it to see Atonement (below), in which case you should probably see this instead.

Atonement — Epic, emotional, long. If that sounds exciting, then go see this movie. If you are an aspiring film-maker and want to observe a veritable portfolio of tear-jerking and soul-wrenching techniques put to good use, see this movie. If you consume movies like they’re drugs and have built up so much tolerance to vicarious emotional trauma that every new trip to the theater is just an exercise in delaying withdrawal symptoms, you’ll get more bang for your buck somewhere else (i.e. go see No Country for Old Men).

I am Legend — I get a lot of crap for saying that 28 Days Later is one of my favorite movies, but there’s something to be said for impressive panoramas of empty postmodern landscapes and vaguely applied (but not blatantly wrong) scientific principles. The subtext was also a neat little commentary on human nature. Take that description of 28 days later, change “impressive” to “obviously fake and computer generated” and “not blatantly wrong” to “blatantly wrong,” and you have I am Legend. Oh, and the subtext this time is a thinly veiled plug for blind spiritual faith, because it turns out that although doing science fair experiments in your basement to find a cure for zombie virus is the most effective way to save mankind, it isn’t such a hot idea if you want to save your family.

Welcome to the Doll House — Proof that having roommates with quirky taste in films can sometimes pay off. The main character in this movie reminds me of Mouchette, a girl in the Robert Bresson film of the same name whose sole purpose in the plot, it seems, is to get shit on by fate. Without being excessively existential, this movie plays out a similar theme in exaggerated American 80’s suburbia. Ugly girl gets made fun of, ugly girl’s family hates her, ugly girl gets in all sorts of strange shenanigans, etc. A little painful to watch, but strangely enthralling.

Amores Perros — I’m already a big fan of the Magnolia-Traffic-Crash-Babel genre, so the minute I saw the set-up at the beginning of this movie — non-linear chronology, independent storylines announced by dramatic intertitles — I knew it had a lot to live up to. Most of these movies tend to flop a little unelegantly under the weight of their themes, and some times they’re so ambitious that they sink altogether (*cough*Babel*cough). Amores Perros was simple, coherent, and the acting was scorchingly good. A recent favorite.

Strangers on a Train — The only other Hitchcock film I’ve seen before this one is The Birds, and I guess I understand why he’s called the “Master of Suspense.” My enjoyment of most movies (not to mention that of my friends with whom I watch movies) has been ruined ever since I took an introductory course in film studies last year. That’s why I’m thankful we have directors like Hitchcock who make films like this that are begging to be analyzed to death. I can’t even name all the socio-literary discussions you can have over this movie, starting right at the first scene, a homoerotic moment in a train between, you guessed it, strangers. Then, it’s chest-clutching, stroke-inducing suspense right through 2 hours of man vs. man and man vs. himself archetypal conflict, to an ending that is way too exciting to have taken place on a merry go round. So, if high school English class discussions were the one thing that really made you feel alive, then this is the perfect movie for you.

Two more vectors

December 9, 2007 at 5:02 pm | Posted in artsy, computers, design, silly nonsense | 1 Comment
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As you can see, I haven’t gotten a lot of work done this week. These are the first two of 5 vector portraits I’m doing of my roommates (plus myself). They’ll all be integrated into some kind of poster/decoration eventually…



Some of the line drawing is a little dubious, especially the parts on the second image where I had to make up areas that were cut off in the reference photograph. This is probably where it helps to be good at drawing in real life.

Why I will never become a professional t-shirt designer

December 3, 2007 at 11:06 pm | Posted in design, geeky, humor, music, silly nonsense | 2 Comments

My designs simply have too much mass appeal.

Actual Size:


What is my design philosophy? If you can understand it without going on Wikipedia, then it’s probably trite and uninteresting.



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