Counting down!

Google.com has a new easter egg... For those of you who don't really know what that means, when pertaining to a program or a website, an easter egg is a surprise bit of functionality added by the designers that is not advertised or noticeable, and usually requires the user to do something a bit out of the ordinary to see it. Anyway, if you go to www.google.com and just hit the I'm Feeling Lucky button without typing anything into the search bar, it will display a countdown of the seconds left in 2009. So if you ever need to know exactly how many seconds are left in this year, now you can know!


Save money when you fly

Most of us are interested in saving money, especially when it comes to things like flights and the like. Well, now you can easily check the baggage policies of your airline before you even make your ticket! Just head on over to Luggage Limits and have them do the research for you.


Wave Invites

Hey friends,

I now have 18 Google Wave invitations to distribute. Invitations will be awarded on a first come, first serve basis. Let me know in the comments if you want one.

Watch this video if you want to know what Google Wave is all about. (Alternatively you could scroll down to the post with that video in it)

Here's \/\/aving at you!


What happened to global warming?

“This headline may come as a bit of a surprise, so too might that fact that the warmest year recorded globally was not in 2008 or 2007, but in 1998. But it is true. For the last 11 years we have not observed any increase in global temperatures. And our climate models did not forecast it, even though man-made carbon dioxide, the gas thought to be responsible for warming our planet, has continued to rise.” (BBC News, Friday)


(follow link to read full article, quite interesting, especially if you believed in global warming caused by humans)


The Bass

I've been reorganizing my My Documents folder on my desktop for the first time ever - i just had everything that i ever wrote or saved in that one folder - and i came upon this story from a tour to Jamaica a few years back. I thought I'd share it; it's pretty epic! :)

The Bass

This is the story of the bass I used in Jamaica. I finally received it on Sunday afternoon (we arrived on Thurs.). I got it off the truck, brought it inside, and the first thing I noticed was that the case was the most decrepit and bogus piece of junk you ever saw. The zippers were ruined, and the case was a pain to put on and take off. It was made out of really heavy rubber, and only opened the minimum needed to barely get it off the bass. When I got the case off, the next thing I noticed was the bridge had hugely deep grooves for the strings, about a half an inch deep! While Danielle, Preston, and I were trying to figure this out, we started to straighten the bridge because it was crooked, and Preston noticed that the bridge was really high on the bass. It was positioned near the top of the “f” holes! So we decided to move it down. We looked inside to find the soundpost so we could set the bridge properly, and there was none!! (I found out later that it was stuck in a corner, because it rattled loose after a while. We obviously couldn’t reset it, however.) We found that we couldn’t move the bridge to the proper locality because of the deep grooves in the bridge: if we put it in the right place, the strings were hitting the fingerboard. So we had to set it up with the bridge high on the bass so the strings were the right height. I nervously tuned it up, hoping it wouldn’t collapse, which it didn’t. The other problems were discovered over a longer time. The fingerboard had a finish on it, which was partially flaked off. The fingerboard was on slightly crooked, so it stuck out from the neck a little on one side. The bass itself was wider than normal overall including the inner bouts, making it hard to bow on the E and G strings. The neck had been broken at the base at some point, and was held in place with two nails and a bolt. The upper bout was extra wide in proportion to the lower bout, so the bass felt farther away than normal. The endpin was immoveable and the wood plug was halfway out, so the bass was perpetually about one whole step too low—whenever I would put my hand up to start playing, it would inevitably be about a whole step flat. I finally figured out the reason it felt so soft to play: since the bridge had to be so high, the strings didn’t have to be under so much pressure to tune to the same tone, causing them to feel extra soft and to hit the fingerboard from time to time. During the first concert the bass developed a loud buzz on A and D notes, so the next day I had to tighten all the screws on the scroll. The bass was plywood, really heavy, and extremely abused. All the edges that touch the ground are broken off, and when I looked inside, I could see daylight through one of the joints. I don’t know how it sounds so much without a soundpost, but the A and E strings are really loud and the D and G strings are somewhat quieter, but still reasonably strong. The strings are badly in need of replacement, and are unraveling in places. Since the case’s zippers are broken, I leave them open and carry the bass by holding onto it through the case instead of using the handles-very awkward! The endpin, in addition to being unmovable, was really not a real endpin at all, just a rod with the end flattened, presumably to keep it from falling into the bass, though it never moved. Thus, it has no point, and slides around with great suddenness during concerts on a stone or tile floor.

Evidently i didn't add to this epistle the account of what happened at the Jamaica Grand Hotel, so I shall append it here:

About halfway through the concert, I believe during the Hoe-Down, I was happily plucking along, when suddenly i was startled by a huge snap or crack! I looked down and saw that the bridge had fallen, right in the middle of the song! Dr. Rittenhouse looked up, as did most of the rest of the orchestra, and I believe saw what happened, and I left the stage when the song was over, to try to put it back to rights. Luckily, Rittenhouse is very long-winded in her introductions to pieces, and i was actually able to stand the bridge up again without even loosening the strings! The deep groves in the bridge were helpful for this, because they kept the strings in place while i was trying to stand it up. Since I did it this way, it only took a minute or two, and I was back onstage before she was half done with her intro. When she turned around and saw me back onstage, she looked rather surprised... all in all a rather hilarious occasion! :)


Talking Piano!

This brings back memories of digital signal processing... shudder...

But it's really cool, i never would have thought of this, let alone that it would be possible!


Google Wave

This video does a great job of explaining a little bit of what googe wave is all about and why it's so awesome. Check it out!



Dear Teacher,
We want a teacher who knows what punctuation is all about. You are clever. People who are not like you admit to being horrible at grammar. You have ruined us for all other teachers. We will do our best for you. We stare out of the window whenever you're not around. We feel so lucky. This is meant to be!
Your Students.

Dear Teacher,
We want a teacher who knows what punctuation is. All about you are clever people, who are not like you. Admit to being horrible at grammar! You have ruined us. For all other teachers we will do our best; for you, we stare out of the window. Whenever you're not around we feel so lucky. This is meant to be love?
Your Students.


Lord of Creation

Lord of creation, to You be all praise!
Most mighty Your working, most wondrous Your ways!
Your glory and might are beyond us to tell,
And yet in the heart of the humble You dwell.
Lord of all power, I give You my will,
In joyful obedience Your tasks to fulfill.
Your bondage is freedom; Your service is song;
And held in your keeping, my weakness is strong.
Lord of all wisdom, I give You my mind,
Rich truth that surpasses man's knowledge to find;
What eye has not seen and what ear has not heard
Is taught by Your Spirit and shines from Your Word.
Lord of all being, I give You my all;
If I ever disown You, I stumble and fall;
But led in Your service Your word to obey,
I'll walk in Your freedom to the end of the way.


Hubble telescope's latest images

A refurbished U.S. space telescope is showing Earth the sharpest photos yet of cosmic beauty, complete with heavenly glows. NASA on Wednesday unveiled the first deep space photos taken by the Hubble telescope since its billion dollar repair mission earlier this year. That work included installing two new cameras, other science instruments and replacing broken parts. The images of galaxies and nebulas are sharper than previous photos taken of the same places by Hubble before the upgrade. Some of the colorful images have brilliant glows of light that give them halos that to some people can appear heavenly. Here is a look at some of the most recent images from Hubble and some of the images taken earlier by the telescope...
[click on pictures for larger view]
This image shows the planetary nebula, catalogued as NGC 6302, but more popularly called the Bug Nebula or the Butterfly Nebula. The Wide Field Camera 3 (WFC3), a new camera aboard NASA's Hubble Space Telescope was installed by NASA astronauts in May 2009, during the servicing mission to upgrade and repair the 19-year-old Hubble telescope. NGC 6302 lies within our Milky Way galaxy, roughly 3,800 light-years away in the constellation Scorpius. The glowing gas is the star's outer layers, expelled over about 2,200 years. The "butterfly" stretches for more than two light-years, which is about half the distance from the Sun to the nearest star, Alpha Centauri.

This NASA Hubble Space Telescope image creates a picture composed of gas and dust, the pillar resides in a tempestuous stellar nursery called the Carina Nebula, located 7,500 light-years away in the southern constellation Carina. The image shows that astronomers are given a much more complete view of the pillar and its contents when distinct details not seen at visible wavelengths are uncovered in near-infrared light. Scorching radiation and fast winds (streams of charged particles) from these stars are sculpting the pillar and causing new stars to form within it. Streamers of gas and dust can be seen flowing off the top of the structure.

An image taken by the refurbished Hubble Space Telescope shows Barred Spiral Galaxy NGC 6217.

An image taken by the refurbished Hubble Space Telescope shows a panoramic view of a colorful assortment of 100,000 stars residing in the crowded core of a giant star cluster, Globular Star Cluster Omega Centauri.

An image taken by the refurbished Hubble Space Telescope, shows the planet Jupiter.

An image taken by the refurbished Hubble Space Telescope shows Gravitational Lensing in Galaxy Cluster Abell 370.

An image taken by the refurbished Hubble Space Telescope shows a clash among members of a famous galaxy quintet reveals an assortment of stars across a wide color range, from young, blue stars to aging, red stars.

This image captured by NASA's Hubble Space Telescope's Wide Field and Planetary Camera-2 and released in 2001 shows an unusual edge-on galaxy, revealing details of its warped dusty disk and showing how colliding galaxies spawn the formation of new generations of stars. During observations of the galaxy the camera, designed by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, passed a milestone taking its 100,000th image since shuttle astronauts installed it in the Hubble in 1993.

Resembling the fury of a raging sea, this image actually shows a bubbly ocean of glowing hydrogen gas and small amounts of other elements such as oxygen and sulfur. The photograph, taken by NASA's Hubble Space Telescope on May 29-30, 1999, captures a small region within M17, a hotbed of star formation. M17, also known as the Omega or Swan Nebula, is located about 5,500 light-years away in the constellation Sagittarius. The image was released to commemorate the thirteenth anniversary of Hubble's launch on April 24, 1990.

An image of the center of the Omega Nebula, a hotbed of newly born stars wrapped in colorful blankets of glowing gas and cradled in an enormous cold, dark hydrogen cloud. This stunning picture was taken April 1 and 2, 2002 by the Advanced Camera for Surveys aboard NASA's Hubble Space Telescope. The region of the nebula shown in this photograph is about 3,500 times wider than our solar system. The nebula, also called M17 and the Swan Nebula, resides 5,500 light-years away in the constellation Sagittarius.

An image of a pillar of gas and dust. Called the Cone Nebula (NGC 2264) because in ground-based images it has a conical shape, this giant pillar resides in a turbulent star-forming region. This picture, taken April 2, 2002, by the Advanced Camera for Surveys (ACS) aboard NASA's Hubble Space Telescope, shows the upper 2.5 light-yearsof the nebula, a height that equals 23 million roundtrips to the Moon. The entire nebula is 7 light-years long. The Cone Nebula resides 2,500 light-years away in the constellation Monoceros.

January 2000 image taken by the Hubble Space Telescope of Keyhole Nebula NGC 1999, a nebula in the constellation Orion, about 1,500 light-years from the Earth, in a region of our Milky Way galaxy where new stars are formed actively. The nebula shines because the light from an embedded source illuminates its dust; the nebula does not emit any visible light of its own. The nebula is iluminated by a bright, recently formed star, visible to the left of center. Its mass is estimated to be 3.5 times that of the Sun.



One Star Pound Bypasses Needless Voicemail Instructions

I imagine some of you might find this incredibly useful and gratifying... (Taken from the Smarterware feed)

It’s 2009, and we all know how to leave a voicemail. We don’t need explicit instructions on how to do so from a robot, yet you get just that almost every time you call someone’s mobile: “To page this person, press five now. At the tone, please record your message. When you are finished, you may hang up, or press one for more options.” To reduce your cell minute usage and stop letting carriers waste your life with Silicon Sally’s dumb monologue, you’ve got to know the right keystrokes. Every carrier lets you skip voicemail instructions, but the keystroke is different for each.
Blogger Jeremy Toemon runs down the three-key combo that will cover major cellphone carriers in the U.S.: One Star Pound. When you call a friend and want to leave a VM fast:
  • Step One: Push 1. If your friend is on Sprint (or possibly Verizon, but not always), this skips the greeting and you are done, skip to End. IF you hear a message that says “One is not a valid option” skip to Step Three below, otherwise continue to Step Two.
  • Step Two: Push *. If your friend is on Verizon, you’ll hear the beep, and can leave your message. Skip ahead to the end now.
  • Step Three: Push #. This works for both Cingular and T-Mobile subscribers, and you’re all set to go.
So just remember One Star Pound (and listen to what happens in between). NY Times technology writer David Pogue is so incensed by carriers upping minute usage with lengthy automated messages he’s launching the “Take Back the Beep” campaign. Here’s how to let your feelings be known to your carrier about wasting your time on the phone.


Storm at Reid State

Much of the credit goes to Kent, not only for several of his own pictures but for helping my pictures to be better.


Awesome low impact house

This guy built this house pretty much himself, with a little help from buddies now and then... Check out the story on his site. A really cool-looking house!


Sabbath at Union Springs

I spent last Sabbath at the NY campmeeting in Union Springs visiting some friends and listening to two great sermons by Ron Halverson, whom I highly recommend. We went hiking that afternoon in a nearby park. Christy, this is the only picture I took that whole weekend, sorry!



As some of you have already found out, I am back from Brazil! I got back around 5pm Monday evening, about 25 hours after we left the hotel in Rio. We had great concerts, ate great food, saw great sights, and had great fun with each other. If you would like to see pictures, I have about a tithe of the total number up on Facebook.
I will be putting another 177 or so up in addition to those, but this larger album will be on Shutterfly, and is not finished as of yet. Link to come when ready. [Edit: Shutterfly album is finished!] These extra ones may only be of interest if you are really into looking at or taking photos, as there are quite a few. Anyway, feel free to ask me questions about Brazil in the comments, I'll be glad to answer them!


the end?

It's startling, really. Four years ago i had my heart set on attending Andrews University. This weekend many people i came to Southern with will be graduating. Jobs, masters degrees, marriages, missionaries, research, things changing, just like they do every year, but different. Life is happening. And here i am, still here, another year, another life. But what will i do? When i march out of here next May, where will i be marching to? By whose orders? What will life be for me? It will be an end. It will be a beginning. It will be startling and calming, sad and happy, maybe an adventure, maybe coming home anew. i don't always like this kind of change. i am happy knowing the friends i know, doing the things i do. But He has new friends for me, new things to do and places to go. Can i trust Him to lead where i would go if i knew? i must.





Goodbye to computer science

Well, the time has come. I have given it a lot of thought, and talked with several of my friends, and I have decided. I am going to switch my major to pre-dental. I know, this is probably quite a shocking revelation for most of you, but I assure you, it is for the best. See, I have come to realize, during my hours of soldering circuit boards, that my hands could be put to better use repairing teeth. I think this idea must have started when I had Greg Sprague, a good friend of mine, work on my teeth over christmas break (I had a couple small cavities and grooves resulting from the structure of my teeth). I began to realize how interesting and exciting it really could be, and the thought of using all the technology that comes with the field is rather invigorating as well. My plan is to finish out the classes I am in this semester, but next semester I will begin taking the sciences that the program requires. This of course means that I'm not nearly as close to graduation, but I'm prepared to make the necessary effort, especially since I have not yet experienced first hand the traditions of Southern Matrimonial College. I think that my experience will be better overall, and my employment opportunities will be just as good, if not better. So let it be known that this day, April 1, 2009, markes the beginning of my new life!


Cumberland Trail

Since I didn't have any musical obligations this Sabbath (the first time since break), I decided to find a trail somewhere to hike upon. I happened on the Cumberland Trail, and started at the Suck Creek Bridge.

A puddle of tree
(it's growing right on top of the rock)

Suck Creek
(which, by the way, doesn't suck at all!)

a rather elevated stone

I Spy a Kayaker

having fun with my camera


Want a human?

I'm sure most of us have at one time or another wished we could just bypass those irritating automated menus when calling some company or another on the phone. Well, now there is an online database with instructions on how to do so, for myriad individual companies! That little picture at the top of the sidebar, the green hands, will take you there.
Enjoy your homogeneous communication!


I am happy

Few of you probably know, but last spring, I attempted to take Differential Equations, which is like Calculus IV (sort of), but had to drop it after the first two tests because I got D's on both of them. This class is the hardest math class that I have to take, unless I decide to become a math major... It is quite hard to understand how things work - as Barry suggested when I was talking to him about it, "It sounds like mathematical alchemy," and that's kind of what it feels like. This is because the methods we use to solve Differential Equations are methods that we are actually unable to understand - we would need to finish a major in math to fully understand some of these things. That is the biggest problem for me, because the way I learn, I have to understand how something works before I really know how to do it, unless I just do tons of repetitions.
Anyway, since I didn't finish the course last spring, I am trying again this semester, and I just got the results from my second test today. I got a 90 on the first test, and an 88 on the second one, giving me a solid B+ overall so far! I'll just say that this makes me very happy, and I thank God for giving me the ability to learn this, even if it takes two classes to get it! :)

Note: The picture at the top actually shows a problem involving Partial Differential Equations, which is a course that has Differential Equations as it's prerequisite. Fortunately I don't have to take that, because it's even harder then DE! (Come to think of it, neither of these classes are even required for a BS in Mathematics, probably because they apply more to engineering than they do to math in general)


Falling Water Falls

Last Sabbath we took a trek to Falling Water Falls, the first time we've been back there this year.
The first falls still had quite a glacier left around it's base.

After a rather steep hike, for which pictures cannot do justice, we came upon some icicles.

And some more ice...

Later on, Barry and I decided to try our hand at capturing matter in motion...

...then we froze the motion in place.

But never fear, we left plenty of untouched beauty for the other beholders.

Some of the other beholders.

Later on we had a rendezvous at Kelsey's house, with much music...

...and excellent smoothies! :)

An awesome Sabbath!