Thursday, July 2, 2009

I'm Ba-ack!

Back from engineering camp. It was good, although I was disappointed that there was nothing about aerospace or aeronautical engineering included. I learned to solder and I actually did pretty well. I made an electronic die from a kit, then promptly discovered that it is biased towards 2s and 3s. (The 4024 counter has 8 states of the last 3 bits, but only 6 numbers on the die, so 2 and 3 get doubled.)

I was comprehensively beaten by at least a dozen people at pool. I did win a lot too, though; about half a dozen clean wins and the same amount from my opponent pocketing the 8-ball or scratching on the 8-ball.

Saw some pretty cool stuff. UConn has a complete fabrication lab, where they can make transistors, LEDs, solar panels, and even smaller VLSI chips. They have an advanced software program, which was given to them at a huge discount (it's normally one hundred thousand dollars PER COMPUTER), where they can design chips with thousands of transistors. They have modern equipment and cool experiments - it's a research school - going all over. They convert their own cooking oil to biodiesel to run their busses. They also have HUGE incoming pipes. I have never been on internet so fast.

We saw a few cool demonstrations this morning. One was the Briggs-Rauscher reaction, where a reaction cycles from clear to blue and back, on about a 15-second period, for almost 50 cycles; another was the Ruben's tube. The thermite demonstration, unfortunately, failed to work.

I had some pretty good times solving my 5x5x5 Rubik cube as a 5x5x5, and some decent times solving it as a 3x3. A number of people were rather impressed. Last night, I accidentally knocked ou an internal piece (many are free-floating) while solving it, but nothing was damaged and Youtube provided the solution.

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