Friday, March 31, 2006

6th day in Megantic

Well this is my 6th and last (finally) day at the observatory we might have another clear night but it looks doubtful (well there is an hole in the cloud.. right above the observatory that really unusual.) So there is not much to say about today i walked for a few hours outside and basically I'm waiting to observe the sky.

A little about the physics of gas

I just listened to a news bulletin with a news that scared me after making me laugh my ass out. They talked about how using Nitrogen instead of regular air would reduce your gas consumption and help your car performance. Well first thing first the air is 78% nitrogen so you where (with "regular" air) mostly using nitrogen. Now their argument why it is reducing your gas consumption is as follow: "Nitrogen is a dry gas, so when it get colder or hotter the pressure of your tire doesn't change and that translate to a smoother ride and less consumption". Now, that is complete and utter bullshit, the expansion of gas is not due to water in it or has any other relation to the present or absence of water vapor in it. No matter the kind of gas (well not exactly their are variation but many if not most gas can be approximated to this) we can use a simple equation to tied it fundamental propriety (p for pressure, V for volume, T temperature as well as n the number of particles) :

pV=nRT (where R is a physical constant)

now if you put the condition for a tire into this equation, you find: volume is fixed (it is the volume of the tire), R is fixed (it is a constant), n is fixed (you do not had or remove gas particles from your tired) so you are left with two variable... p and T now notice that since they are on opposite side of the equation when one goes up the other follow the same comportment (if T increase p increase also). Notice that even if n would change because of different type of gas the fact that we are not changing what in the tire between each change of temperature it becomes a constant and as such not a factor.

In short, if anyone telling you to change the air in your tire for some other gas is bullshitting you and is probably trying to steal your money. So next time you see a claim like that on TV or somewhere else contact your local physicist and see if the claim is at least possible realistically. Or well just get information about how things work and most of the time you'll have question about how it is possible and when you start having question about if something is possible or not, well most of the time it isn't.

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Dreaming at Megantic

Well I am on my fifth day of apparently clear sky (I'm still waiting for the night to be sure it will be clear) at Mont Megantic. Making what was thought to be impossible a run with more then 2 concecutives days of clearsky. I have good hope to establish an unbreakable record of 6 nights on 6 possible night here at the Mont Megantic. I would like to thank my friends, who supported me, my parent without.. ah cut the crap the weather is just being nice ;-) However it is starting to get scary for my return at Québec, people my be jealouse of me and make attemps on my good fortune by I don't know stealing my non-existant girlfriend or calling me names or in one particullar case accidently deleting my computer access.. ;-)

But speaking of non existent girlfriend, I had a dream that since I remember it (wich is rare in my case and means yes you will have to read all about and hopefull comment). So the dream start with me having a date (yep first second into the dream and you already know it's a fantasy ;-)) with a dropdead gorgeous girl. So I meet up with her in front of her appartement and tell her that I will go get the rented car. So I walk up to the end of the street (which is apparently very very long as I cannot see the appartement or the girl) where the car is located in a empty parking lot (not a dealership or something like that). I get in the car and back up in the street, when I get ready to start forward again I stop realising that I hit a parked (or at least really snow moving) Ferari (or lamborgini, anyway a very low sport car). The guy get out of the car apparently not pissed that I hit the car, he just want to get my insurance paper to get the paint that is scrached repaired. The guy is the typical rich young playboy except that he is not arrogant or snobish.

So I'm looking in the car for my insurence paper (car which for some reason is now back in the parking) and can't seem to find them (the dealership parper are apparently not the insurance). I finally find them but now a policement is there to talk, spontaneously, we are looking at the insurance paper when my father arrive and we all start talking about the insurance and the accident, no one is pissed it is all very friendly, the policemen laughting with the playboy and my father telling jokes about low sport car while I am getting confused. Then to add to the confusion, one of my teacher who is the one that is paying for the rented car (don't ask how I know it made sense in the dream) arrives to look at the non-existant damage (to both car!).

All the while I'm trying to get those people to agree that everything is all right that the insurance paper and numbre have been given and that I can go on to my date. I'm not really arguing but I feel rushed and want to complet the problem as fast as possible. It takes hours and magically the car is back in the street in front of the sport car. I'm going wow if that girl is still waiting for me she is my soul mate or the perfect girl for me but I really don't have any hope. So FINALLY, everyone aggree that it is all right and that everyone should leave and that the insurance will be all right. I leave turning into the street where the girl was waiting for me.

After driving for as much time as I walked to the parking lot I get to the place where the girl should have been waiting for me. Of course now I am on the other side of the road and for some reason I can't see her, I do a U turn and miraculously she is there sitting on the grass in front of her house (well before it was an apparentement now it is a house go figure). When I stop the car she waves to me raise and yell: "I'll go tell my roommate your here, wait up!" As she leave to enter the house and while she walk up I can't help to think: "Wow great ass" (hey I'm a guy). She walk back all smile and looking gorgeous, and ask:"so where are we going?" I'm like looking confused and answer bad with: "Your not wondering why I was late or if I had not played a trick on you?" to wich she answers with a smile: "You promised you'd pick me up and that we'll have a great time. I belived you..." We start moving in a strange vehicule where we can be seated next to each other but have to pedale for the motor to work and the 3-wheeled vehicule to rolls.. the dreams end with us driving toward I don't know where and me telling about the story of the day and the girl laughting.

So that was my dream, what do you think? I'm really weird or just desperate for attention from a girl?

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

4th days of clear sky oh my god!

Well, as impossible as it may sound I now have a fourth day of clear sky at the Mont Megantic observatory, something not seen since the beginning of the universe or even before! Now the problems become lack of sleep not lack of sky. I have had only 6 hours of sleep for the last 3 days and have to spend the night working so that might make me a little slow or distracted.

And of course the cooking sucks, like the technician said yesterday: "we have the choice between eating what we did not want to eat yesterday and what we do not want to eat today". I did not think someone could make meal for a whole week without making something that actually taste good. And of course lets us never forget the recycled chicken... she cooked chicken a week ago(Tuesday) and now yesterday she recooked it to make hotchicken (without bread mind you). It's a wonder no one ever got food poisoning here.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

3rd days of clear sky

Well I'm living through a miracle, must be karma for something really nice I did and don't remember or just luck, tonight is the 3rd straight night without cloud at Mont Megantic. This hasn't being seen for the last 15 millions years or so (ok maybe less then that but...). I think some people will be looking to sacrifice me to some weather god when I come back to Quebec since they had no time in their previous visit. So tonight once again i will observe the sky and hope for the same weather tomorrow. I'll probably be doing snowshoeing for a third day in a row, if my legs can carry me ;-)

Monday, March 27, 2006

Megantic day 2

Last night was like the best kind of night you can have at Megantic, clear sky, no cloud in sight, the moon far from where I was observing and no instrument problem. Which mean there is going to be a problem with the data ;-) Just kidding. According to the astronomy weather prediction we should have some cloud in the beginning of the night and the around midnight (with 4 hours of observation time left!) a clear sky. That is great since the target I came to observe is best viewed in the end of the night. Now today I went and travel a good 4-5 km of snowshoeing, teaching me once again that I am not as fit as I thought I was.. lets just say that the first 2.5km are downhill and quite easy but the return trip... well that a whole other story. I probably stopped at every 25 m or so. Oh well I plan on doing this or something like it every day until I go back so at worse it will help my health! Signing off from the starting to be cloudy top of Mont Megantic.

Sunday, March 26, 2006

News from the cloud covered top of Mont Megantic

Well for the next 6 days I'll be at the top of Mont Megantic, observing stars or cloud according to the weather. I have decided to give you an account of the weather, and if any happen my observation. Currently it is partly cloudly with a low possibility of clear sky in the rest of the night. If I am lucky the first night, the night where I am the most tired since I must shift from a day schedule to a night schedule so I am tired and I might have to stay up for the whole night. In a way I hope for clear sky but I also hope to sleep you know ;-)

Anyway it looks like I might have clear sky so wish me luck!

Intersting...

I recently learned about the existence of skepchick magazine and as a geek and self prophesied skeptic (not a really good one but hey!) I had to look it up. What I found was very interesting, the first article I read challenged a basic assumption that many guy/girl held: that most woman (if not people) have low self-esteem. they do it using something I love to do: challenge the premise of an argument. You know when you come up again an already made answer that you hear all the time (mostly in the media) and then ask, is this really true. (When example that came to mind is the Stephen Harper is gonna make abortion illegal argument I had many time with friends. He never said that, he only said: "If it ever come up in the chamber there will be a vote on it." which is not the same thing at all...)

anyway that was just to brag a little and point you to the interesting skepchick magazine.

Monday, March 20, 2006

Geeks and girls.

I was talking to yofed last night and I told her I would be making a post about something related to me figuring if a girl likes me or not. Now from experience and talking to other people I think it is not just related to me but to geek (or maybe that is more of a nerd thing...) in general. I simply cannot figure correctly if a girl is interested to me or not, well that not exactly true I can figure it but for one correct she is interested in me (or uninterested) I probably have 4 or 5 wrong. You see if I'm interested (and think there is a chance in hell of it working) in a woman I tend to see friendliness (or simply acknowledgement of my existence ;-)) as interest however if I'm not interested (or if I think the heat death of hell would happen sooner then our dating through sheer exhaustion of all other possibility) I won't register the sign of I will rationalise them as friendliness or something of the kind. Luckily as I get older and less stupid (I was gonna say wiser but you read my blog, there is no way you where gonna believe that) my average increase so probably before I'm 7 millions years old I'll get a .5 average.

So in short I think that one of the fundamental problem/constant of geekdom is that they cannot recognize when people are genuinely interested in them, probably from some kind of social misadaptation. So I hope it answer yofed question about me and if it doesn't well I don't think I'll say anything more about this subject ;-)

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Well it is strange

Well now this is strange, i just found out the "strange" way that I did not know myself as well as I thought I did. If you had been reading this blog for a while you know that I'm not normally this boyish, but this last week I meet a girl I found I would be attracted too (if it wasn't for some problem like she's married and stuff like that). I was surprised to find her interesting and even to find myself attracted to her as she is the very stereotype of the girly girl girl. Ok, she as something more then that (like studying for a master in astronomy which no offence meant but most girly girl don't reach) and as a very interesting personality. But still if you had told me a week ago that I would be attracted to a girl like that I would have basically laugh at you. But after meeting a girl like her with a great smile an very interesting personality and sharp wits I must say that I have to wonder once again at my taste in woman. Many of you (ok mostly piccolo) said that I was manly(or to be exact, only) interested in a girl physique, and not in her personality, but i realised that I'm very much influenced by a girl personality. I could have sex with a perfect (for me) body woman but I couldn't love her. I need much much more.. Well that probably means I'll be single for a while still but in a way it gives me hope, I can find woman that I find attractive for more then just their body. Maybe it's just a question of going out more and speaking with more people what do you think?

Monday, March 13, 2006

PATRIOT law and laws like it

Just like the US, Canada as an any terrorist law that allows the government to spy on it's citizen and even detain them without the due process of our country law (and as I like to point out to many people it got through our legislature faster and with less debate then the patriot act, scary ain't it?). Now I have heard people say: "what the problem as long as you don't do anything illegal you have nothing to fear from these law?" Well the first problem is that what they are saying is wrong... what they should be saying is: "Well as long as the law don't change and that you do not do anything that is considered illegal by those interpreting the law your all right" and since they do not have to follow the due process of law you would be better changing that sentence to: "Well as long as the law don't change and that you do not piss up anyone that as the power to apply laws, or have friend who have the power to apply these law and that you do not do anything illegal you will be all right."

You see I think those kind of law are wrong for many reason, first they only protect the power in place, not it's citizen. Second the people that made those law also have the power to change other laws, and you might end up in the situation where something that you could only do in the privacy of your own home (such as picking your nose) and that would be basically a useless law since the law authority couldn't enforce it easily becomes very easily enforced by placing surveillance on suspected people or even just people at random. Sure my example is silly, but just imagine down the road in 10, 20 years a government that would make some sexual act illegal or a section of the population suspect and would use those law to imprison people, monitor people, their friend and acquaintance and generally keep themselves in power by removing those that would threaten them.

Remember that the time to act to stop idiotic laws "to protect" is now. Not after the homosexual, the poor, the jew and the Yehova witness have been imprisoned and now they are coming for you... If we wait for unfair and dangerous law that target another group of the population to be applied to our particular group we will probably find that there are no one to stand with us when we try to defend ourself...

It's for your own good...

Piccolo's blog inspired me (this post in particular, a little note this is not a reply to that post, it as just about nothing to do with it in fact)to post something about a subject I find persistently annoying. What I call the it's for your own good syndrome. You know all those things that are made for your protection or for your own safety or to give you a better services, like for example cameras in changing room in a clothes store, or armed security guard near the door of your bank or law that stop you from listening to a song or reading a book. How are these thing for my own good, in fact how are those things helping me? In what way is watching me change clothes to try them on "for my protection"?

What does that mean you know that everyone is a shop lifter unless they do not see them stealing? That "for my protection" means in fact for the store protection? I am seeing this as one of those empty sentence used by people to save guard your feeling about something. They use it's for your own good (or a variation...) to hide for that fact that they would say something about you that you might not accept directly (i.e in the store example your a shoplifter unless we prove you are not).

It seems to be a way our society to say: "well you are too dumb to really know what is good for you so, here listen to us and we will tell you what is really good for you." It might have started as a way to tell people that really couldn't tell what is good for them (people who for some reason have psychological or physical condition preventing them from knowing these or experience life as an functioning member of society) but it seem to be degenerating into something we tell everyone regardless of capacity.

If you ever want to do something for me or to me that is "for my own good" instead of going it to protect you, or it's to safeguard your feeling or anything of the kind why don't you explain to me what it is exactly and let me choose if it is really for my own good or not. Don't worry about my feelings, my protection or my security I can worry about that myself.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Score one for irony and china.

After hundreds of human right report on the poor situation of civics right in China here comes China rebuttal that I personally find very interesting. It goes on telling by way of a report the world about the US breaks and non respect of their citizen civics right. It shows that you cannot hope to take the moral high ground and lecture everyone if it can be shown that you are not that perfect yourself. No one will take you seriously. I think that something the Canada should try to realise and remember, we are not saint and we often have no right to lecture anyone.

Monday, March 06, 2006

Peanut-butter kiss apparently not deadly

A few month ago there was a news story about a girl allergic to peanut butter dying after her boyfriend kissed her hours after having eaten a peanut butter toast (or something of the kind, something with peanut butter in or on it doesn't really matter you know). The news reported that she had an allergic reaction to the trace peanut butter remaining in her boyfriend mouth (the guy had apparently brushed his teeth before kissing her). Now however it seem that the investigator have found that an allergic reaction to peanut butter wasn't the cause of death (see this link). They won't reveal the cause of death so I tend to be careful about the whole thing but you know I think that might be a good case of someone jumping to conclusion and starting a urban legend. And I am betting you that in a few years we will hear that story as something that happened to a friend of a friend warning us to be careful when we have allergies to foodstuff....

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Kasimasi: Girl meets Girl

As a geek (if you have any doubt about my geekiness read the previous post) I like manga and anime. A few weeks ago, thank to a post from Fred at megatokyo I decided to try watching the anime Kasimai: Girl meets girl. Any person with half a brain probably guessed from the title that it had lesbian overtone... It is basically the story of an effeminate boy that thought some alien interference get turned into a girl and find that a girl he hanged out with all his life loves him and that the girl he had a crush on was a lesbian. Ok this might sound like a perverse thing but the story is amazingly romantic an not overly sexual. It is a very romantic story about a love triangle, at least where I am in the series.

That probably just the wine talking (I've drank a whole bottle of wine) but I must say I like this serie and it romanticism. must mean I am an hopeless romantic again. You know the thing kids fall in love in high school can't get girl. Meets girl year later and fall in love all over again and things work really well. Ok I have a problem there since I haven't fallen in love and couldn't get the girl in high school, not to mention no no childhood love that I haven't seen since and that I would find again now. Well that not exactly true there is a girl that I might have love while I was a kid but I have no hope of ever seeing her again.. beside I don't think I really loved her... or if I did how could I know i haven't seen her in like 22 years.

the end of an era

Last monday marked the end of an era, well a very short era as it had only been three year but an era none the less. You see last monday marked the end of one my weekly roleplaying games (yes I know am a geek, two games is way too many for a 28 years old). It was a dungeon and dragon game set in the Warhammer game world (yes we do know there is a warhammer rpg but it didn't exist at the time and dungeon was all the rage so there). It was one of the few games where I was a player not a game master (yes I know still geekier). And I must say I am happy it is over. You see that game was getting dull for me. I played a wizard (up one level in geekiness again it seems) and the game keeps getting simpler and simple up to a point where I didn't have that much fun playing it. You see the plot was advancing too fast, we where up again a soon to be undead demigod (yes I actually wrote those worlds in a sentence, I know I know geekier by the second, I'm almost at the nerds level there) and it was simply not fun for me anymore. The biggest issue I had with the game is that I felt like we where a side story of the story instead of the big story.

It started to feel like we where secondary character in the game, sure we where present at all the big battle but the main thing seemed to be done by other people. For example at one time we fought this "corrupted" priest of the god of law and even if we had done all the work we did not get to be the one that either redepemted him or kill him. Another time we had to be saved by random priest of pelor that just happened to have a gate spell memorised. It started to feel like we where the guy sabotaging corruscant while the rebel fleet was destroying the imperial fleet around Endor (GEEK!!!!!!!!!!!!). So it was a relief that it ended, I couldn't really play more my character was feeling more and more like it was bound to some plot it didn't have to follow yet for the sake of the GM (game master for you none gaming folk) not something we would logically do. And I hated the ending to be honest, every player got a small reward but nothing we had worked for or really deserved, my character got to be the official imperial mage but he didn't want that, in fact he didn't want nothing to do with the empire.. another player never showed any interest in war yet was named the empire general... my last toughs about that game was: poor empire an incompetent for general and an uninterested mage for magic representant.

After looking back at that game i think the problem was lack of feed back from the player. The GM asked for adventure idea and thing our character would want to do and only one player answer (me). We didn,t do anything I proposed but still i can't help but fell if more people would have answered we would have had more personalised adventure. As 13th level character we couldn't realistically be involved in a war against a god. Even as 16th level character it wasn't believable or logical.

So that was the geekiest post of the week, if I ever get a geekier post you can laugh at me some more :-)