Sunday, October 31, 2010

V daggers

Almost forgot. My friend Laura came dressed as V, the title character of the excellent dystopian movie V for Vendetta. As a birthday present, I made her a nice set of 6 wooden daggers, pretty close to the ones from the movie. They're made from hardwood crown molding; each is a total of 15" long with a 10" blade. The crossbars are basswood, the grips made of common electrical tape.

I carved, sanded, painting, and gripped each one myself. The tips were quite sharp; I in fact gave myself a nasty puncture would with one before wisely blunting the tips.

AH-HA-HA-HA-HA

(I was Dr. Horrible, from the eponymous internet super-villain musical, for Halloween.)


I made my death ray from duct tape and common household objects, and the goggles by painting a cheap pair of welding goggles. The gloves, boots, and lab coat belong to my father.



Mandachan was there as well, as Penny, also from Dr. Horrible's Sing-along Blog:

Fitchburg Line Map

I've made a map of the MBTA's Fitchburg Line commuter rail, including current, past, and future stations. All data is from the Wikipedia article. I put in the existing stations, matching the lines to every curve of the tracks, and filled in former stations from the wiki article.


View Fitchburg Line in a larger map

Unfortunately, it's not perfect. Some of the mileages are a few hundredths of a mile off. Normally that wouldn't be a problem, but in order to allow me to fill in missing mileages on the Wikipedia article, I need exact numbers. I can't get that from station platforms; they're around 150-500 feet (40-150 meters) long. That's up to 9 hundredths of a mile So, I will start with one location I know exactly - the Park Street bridge in Cambridge, taken from Federal Railroad Administration crossing data - and reverse engineer the distances. Exactly.

More deep-sea gigantism

There's a lot of really cool species that exhibit deep-sea gigantism. The most famous is perhaps the giant squid. It's huge - females can reach 43 feet (13 meters) - and have been reported all over the globe. They have a complex nervous system, an advanced brain (somewhat like cuttlefish...) and dinner-plate eyes. And they're not even the biggest squid in the deep sea.

That honor belongs to the colossal squid, which is fairly similar. It can reach 14 meters - 46 feet - long and its arms not only have the suckers and teeth of the giant squid, but also swiveling and three-pointed hooks. They can take on sperm whales.

You know the tiny pillbugs that probably inhabit your basement? Imagine them a foot long, and you've got the giant isopod. It's related to crabs and lobsters, only it's disgusting and not known to be tasty. They're found in the deep waters of the Atlantic, they really are related to pill bugs, and they can go up to 2200 meters - 7000 feet - down into the depths.

Other giant abyssal species are edible, though. The Japanese spider crab grows up to 13 feet claw-to-claw, with a 16-inch-wide body (carapace). They can live up to 100 years old.

Possibly the single biggest deep-sea species is the appropriately named King of herrings, the giant oarfish. It can grow up to 56 feet long - that's 17 meters. You could lay the head next to the driver on a school bus, and the tail would still stick out the back door. It's so big that it's believed to be responsible for some sea serpent sightings.

Deep-Sea Gigantism

Every child has heard of the great land animals: elephants, giraffes, anacondas, hippopotamuses. But few know of the deep sea creatures that are equally as strangely large. It's a phenomenon called deep-sea gigantism.

It's a manifestation of several factors. The first is the water itself. Water weighs one gram per cubic centimeter, which means that an animal like a fish, which also weighs approximately 1 g/mL, is effectively weightless. It does not have to support its own weight like a land animal does, thereby removing one of the largest barriers to scaling - the square-cube law. An organism's weight goes up with the cube of its size, but the cross section of its skeleton only goes up with the square of its size. Thus, the larger the animal, the larger its bones must be to support its own weight in air. But, marine animals are mostly except from the rule. A 100-foot blue whale does not require the immense bones of a 100-foot sauropod dinosaur like Seismosaurus. The whale has bones only a few inches thick; the dinosaur's leg bones are over a foot thick.

Other physical factors also come into play. Scarcer food and nutrients at great depth mean sexual maturity is delayed, meaning the organism will grow larger before its growth stops at maturity. The freezing-cold temperatures at depths of thousands of feet mean that larger animals have advantages in body temperature regulation and reducing the need to constantly keep moving - thus requiring fewer resources.

Some organisms also manage to grow large because they can use the massive energy available from hydrothermal vents called black smokers. Giant tube worms can reach almost 8 feet long (2.4 meters), tolerate extremely high levels of hydrogen sulfide (H2S) from vents, and survive depths up to several miles deep. They're basically giant cylinders that house bacteria which create nutrients like oxygen and carbon dioxide in a process called chemosynthesis, which the worm then feeds upon. The red tip of the worms contains a specialized hemoglobin that can carry oxygen with sulfides in the environment - most hemoglobins cannot.

No more Natural Gene Patents!

Via Blag Hag comes the welcome news that the federal government has issued a nonbinding legal brief saying that corporations should not be able to patent genes that occur naturally in humans and other animals. It's not legally binding, so it's uncertain whether the Patent Office will enforce it, and there's still other issues that need to be dealt with. But, it's a huge step in the right direction, and it represents a pretty big change in policy.

Basically, for years, companies have been able to patent human genes. That's right, someone could claim all legal rights to a piece of DNA that occurs in millions of humans - or everyone, just because they were the first to isolate it. That's like claiming exclusive rights to providing a new species to zoos, just because you discovered it, or claiming a royalty on all jewelry that includes a mineral your discovered. It meant that other companies and frequently research universities could not do research on that gene without getting sued.

The brief does say, though, that artificial manipulations of genes should still be able to be patented. This is both good and bad. Good, because it provides an incentive to not only discover genes, but do beneficial research on them. Bad, because it could still stifle important medical research. Also, companies that genetically modify plants have a nasty habit of maliciously suing small farmers who have had GM seeds drift into their field from nearby fields. Which, legally defensible or not, is just plain wrong.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Rest in Peace, Mr. Conlon

I've been thinking a lot about you, and there's a whole lot I could say about your legacy, all those you helped.

But all that really needs to be said is, you will be sorely missed.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Done.

At 11:06 pm today, I submitted my MIT application. I am now done applying to colleges. The wait begins.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Longest things I have ever written

These are the longest things I have ever written. All are over 1100 words - the point at which a paper or outline takes serious work. I've got tons of labs, essays, and outlines between 900 and 1050 words, an amount of work which can be done in one afternoon, without a huge amount of work.

Longer than that takes a lot of work. The more recent outlines were spread out over 2-3 afternoons, as were most of my ninth-grade bio outlines. The 9th grade English and 10th grade History thesis papers were written over a week each. The three thesis papers and the Bushy Point Beach paper since then were all one-evening productions, taking until 1 or 2 in the morning. I've found it's easier to focus and write a cohesive paper that way, even if it is somewhat irresponsible. However, with those four items, I had extensive planning, notes and data, and I'd been thinking about them for a while.

Bolded is my chapter 16 outline for UConn ECE Marine Science, a college-level course taught at my high school by a biology teacher. It's the longest outline I have ever written. It's longer than many short stories. And I'm very proud of it.

1) Pearl Harbor thesis paper - History - grade 11 - 2948 words, 8.5 pages

2) Electoral College thesis paper - English - grade 10 - 2923 words, 9.1 pages

3) Aquaculture thesis paper - English - grade 9 - 2601 words, 7.7 pages

4) "Johnny Mnemonic" thesis paper - English - grade 11 - 2490 words, 6.9 pages

5) Bushy Point Beach report - Marine Science - grade 12 - 2254 words, 7.0 pages

6) Chapter 16 (Plankton) outline - Marine Science - grade 12 - 2180 words, 5.4 pages

7) Chapter 3 (Molecules) outline - Biology - grade 9 - 1861 words, 4.9 pages

8) Chapter 12 (Coasts) outline - Marine Science - grade 12 - 1711 words, 4.6 pages

9) Neutrality Acts thesis paper - History - grade 10 - 1601 words, 4.7 pages

10) Chapter 2 (Chemistry) outline - grade 9 - 1398 words, 3.9 pages

11) Chapter 4 (Cells) outline - Biology - grade 9 - 1361 words, 4.6 pages

12) Chapter 5 (Working cells) outline - Biology - grade 9 - 1239 words, 4.7 pages

13) Chapter 6 (Respiration) outline - Biology - 1194 words, 3.4 pages

Friday, October 22, 2010

There is Justice in the World

The Yankees are not going to the World Series.

A-rod struck out to end their season, send them home as losers.

Once in a while, life is sweet.

Once again, Canadians for the win

Recently, there's been a flap about Virginia's State Attorney General, Ken Cuccinelli, has been engaging in his own private war against climate scientists at the University of Virginia. His accusations are ridiculous - it's a politically motivated witch hunt, and has the goods.

Some of the scientists who Cuccinelli has falsely accused have returned fire with strong letters of defense. And now, UVa has returned fire. They've sent out a strongly worded court filing which condemns Cuccinelli's actions. They say the 'investigation' "constitutes an unprecedented and improper governmental intrusion into ongoing scientific research". Read it here.

It's pretty clear who's in the wrong here. Cuccinelli is abusing his power to harass scientists - a grievous abuse. But it's raised a lot of questions about how governments, state and national, wrongly interfere with legitimate and important scientific research for their own petty political means. There have been incidents lately with attempts to censor research results because they disagree with politician's personal convictions. There's also a lot of talk on what to do.

The Canadians, they don't mess around. Their Conservative Party illegally attempts to force them to get permission to share results with the media, they fight back. They launch a website to place research results where everyone can see them. They're fighting back against censorship.


Publicscience.ca, folks. That's where it's at.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Always check your work

So, I'm making a neat little map of the Fitchburg Line of the MBTA commuter rail. I was trying to find exactly where the under-construction Wachusett station is. So I check the environmental notification form. I enter the coordinates into Google maps... and find myself in Canada.

About 10 miles from the nearest road, and 50 from the nearest rail line.

Take a look at the coordinates:

Here's the map:

View larger map

Turns out, that 49 should be a 42. Which puts the station right where it should be:


View Larger Map

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Working on the Nell

Lots of boring work. Mostly adding little dabs of wood glue every 6 to 12 hours. I have tons of tiny holes to fill around where side tubes meet body, plus a few imperfections to fix on the sides. I hope to get to priming by this weekend.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Nell: structurally finished!

I finished attaching the side giant side tube sections. They still need nicer glue joints, fillets, filling, etc, and it's somewhat weak. But, it looks good so far!


Hooray, cheesy grin!

Benoît Mandelbrot.

Benîot Mandelbrot passed away on Thursday at the age of 85. He was among the single greatest mathematicians on the 20th century.

He started out as a brilliant young mathematician doing interesting work with economic trends. Then he came across a problem: how long is the coast of Britain? The problem is, the smaller increments you use, the more tiny coves and ripples you measure. The coastline is actually of infinite length. And it's self-similar. You see 20-mile bays, 1-mile coves, 1-meter streams, 1-centimeter cracks. They all have similar shapes.

Now, mathematicians had found a few fractals before, but they just thought they were isolated curiosities. Mandelbrot took them and showed how they were related. He showed how to measure them, and give a dimension to curves that were between the normal dimensions of 1 (line) and 2 (plane) and 3(3D surface). He showed how everything in nature is fractal, from ferns to coastlines to clouds to ice to crystals to economics to lightning.

He single-handedly invented a brand-new branch of scientific study. That's possibly the rarest human achievement. Newton invented calculus. Einstein, relativistic physics. That's heady company.

He pioneered the use of computer graphics in mathematical study. Those computer fractals - they form the light, the water, the terrain - all the graphics of video games and simulators. You've seen his famous Mandelbrot set on t-shirts:


Rest in peace, Mr. Mandelbrot. Your legacy will live on, in the wealth of information you have given us and the far-reaching disciplines you have influenced. Also, your asteroid.

In Honor of Benoit Mandelbrot


Mandelbrot Fractal Set from teamfresh.

Benoit Mandelbrot died on Thursday. The man was a legend. He singlehandedly created a whole new branch of mathematical study - fractals - which show up everyday. This is an incredible animation of the famous Mandelbrot Set, with a high speed zoom. The final zoom is 10214, a number so ridiculous it's beyond comprehension.

Warning: may be browser-breaking; the video is giant.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Happy Birthday, Laura

**sighs**

"Day" is a vestigial mode of time measurement based on solar cycles. It's not applicable...

I didn't get you anything.

I did, however, get you a fantastic pile of shiny stuff. It's just invisible. But trust me, it's there.

Hope you like it. Couldn't get a hold of no flour,so it's mostly protein. In fact, it's pretty much what we just had for supper.

But I tried to make the invisible frosting as chocolatey as possible.

Happy birthday.

**breathes**

John Huchra, Cosmologist Extraordinaire. 1948-2010

John Huchra passed away a week ago today, at age 61. He was one hell of an astronomer.

He was one of the major forces behind the famed CfA study. The CfA Redshift Survey was started in 1977 to do nothing less than map the universe. The idea is simple: Take the redshift of thousands of galaxies - velocity measurements which correspond to distance - and plot them on one big chart.

The results were surprising. Instead of random distribution of galaxy clusters, the clusters were themselves organized into huge filaments and bubbles measuring billions of light years across. This resulted in the famous stickman image:

(image courtesy Smithsonian Astronomical Observatory, Geller and Huchra et al)

With more 'slices' of galaxies, it looked like this:

That huge structure across the middle of the figure? That's the Great Wall, a megastructure about 200 million light years away. It measures some 600 by 250 by 30 megalightyears. It is probably the single largest concentration of mass ever detected. One hell of a legacy.

Huchra also is the namesake of Huchra's Lens, the galaxy that causes the gravitational lensing that produces the famous Einstein's Cross:


Huchra was also well regarded in astronomy circles for being a very interesting and amusing man. Phil Plait and Sean Carroll have more eloquent remarks than I.

Mr. Huchra, you will be missed.

Gotthard Base Tunnel

The Gotthard Base Tunnel is going to be the world's longest rail tunnel when it opens in 2017. 57 kilometers long (35.4 miles), with a total of 152 km (94.3 miles) of tunnels. That includes two single-track, passageways, and shafts.

It's an incredible engineering project. It's part of the larger AlpTransit Project, which includes several base tunnels constructed thousands of feet below existing tunnels through the Alps, significantly reducing travel times - often by more than an hour - and the number of locomotives required to climb grades. The Gotthard tunnel saves almost 2000 feet of vertical over the older, shorter tunnel.

Construction started with sounding drills in 1993, and TBM (tunnel boring machines) started work in 2001. Today, major drilling was completed.

That 35.4 miles is an incredible length. That's like drilling into a mountain in Massachusetts and coming out on the other side of Rhode Island. Like starting in southwestern Connecticut and ending up on Staten Island. Like going underground in the middle of Baltimore and poking out of the ground on the White House lawn.

Goodbye, Rinderpest

Yesterday, for only the second time in history, scientists announced that they had successfully eradicated a viral disease. Rinderpest, a cattle disease, has not infected any animal since 2001.

It's a nasty virus, with near-100% mortality rates in infected populations. Some experiments in innoculation were done in the late 18th century, and vaccination was somewhat successful early in the 20th century. However, the real advance was Walter Plowright's tissue culture rinderpest vaccine (TCRV). Three million dollars of vaccinations have saved 45 billion dollars of cattle.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Finally getting somewhere with the Nell

After taking a bit of a break, I'm getting back into working on the Nell. I've glued most of the second side brace on. It's not perfectly aligned, but it's pretty good for such a complex and unorthodox model.

I won't be going to Saturday's CATO launch, but I plan to have it done for the November launch. Painting... might have to wait till spring.

Once that's done, I have several kits to build and repairs to work on.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Armadillo Lander Commercial

Just thought I'd beat Dick to the punch.



Blackberry commercial, featuring Armadillo Aerospace. Armadillo is an expert in vertical-takeoff, vertical-landing liquid-fueled rockets. Incredibly cool stuff; they're in the X-Prize Cup and are working on developing lunar landers.

Though, apparently everyone isn't on the Blackberry bandwagon...

Monday, October 11, 2010

Seaweed!

On Friday, my Marine Science teacher offered an incentive: for every species of seaweed you bring in for a lab, you get an extra point of bonus on the lab.

So, yesterday, I went down to Waterford Beach Park to gather seaweed. The good news is, I got at least 10 species, including the three major types - green, brown, and red algae.

The bad news is, my feet are still cold.

I've also mostly overcome my repulsion of seaweed. Handing a whole bunch of gross slimy stuff kindof makes you immune, it appears.

I found a whole bunch of different types, including sea lettuce (Ulva lactuca), various kinds of kelp (Laminaria), and Palmaria.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

10 10 10

It's October 10th, 2010, today. 10/10/10, for both Americans and Europeans.

Granted, in ten days it's 10/20/2010, with extra crunchy symmetry.

Ubuntu released version 10.10 today.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

GIMP and the T map

A while back I downloaded GIMP, the GNU Image Manipulation Program. It's a powerful raster graphics editor - not quite as powerful as Photoshop, but way better than Paint. It's also free, open source, and runs excellently in Windows.

So far, I've mainly been using it for maps. I took a medium-quality scan of a Boston T map (with a few changes from the current service) that was a .jpg - a lossy format that doesn't save all image information. I changed it to a .png - a non-lossy format - and I've been modifying it.

First, I took all the water regions. I sharpened the edges and made them a uniform shade of blue with no bad pixels. Then I did the same to the land. It's really easy - just create a polygonal shape, pick a color, drop paint. Repeat.

The final, lengthy step is the subway lines. Erase the weird additions, and the bus routes, and the station names, and the highways, and all that. Reroute a few lines. Then, turn the mottled lines into straighter, blank lines, and I'll have a beautiful, high-quality blank map showing just the subway lines and the urban commuter rail stations.

Then, to have an actual functional map, I'll need to add in station names, stuff like that.

Finally, I plan to make modified versions of the map for proposed changes like the Green Line extension into Somerville. Much like this which is done by some guy who makes incredible maps, and has incredibly cool plans for subway systems.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Chain Bagel

Apparently it is possible to cut a bagel into two linked section, each equal in size and still roughly circular. Way cool.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Boat Ride

Well, it was supposed to be a fishing trip. We were going to go out into the Race - the deep channel at the eastern entrance of Long Island Sound - and catch bluefish and striped bass.

As soon as we rounded the small islands at Avery Point and hit open water, though, we were suddenly bucking seven-foot waves. We were in a fairly light 50-foot boat, and we pitched and rolled. We rolled both forwards-backwards and side-to-side, with the motions separated by about a quarter cycle so the boat rolled effectively in a circle. I have a cast-iron stomach* and I soon got my sea legs**, but others did not, and a couple folks had, shall we say, technicolor belches.

We got out near the Race, and the waves were too strong to risk getting trapped in the Race for two hours should the waves get worse while the tide was going out. So, we tried a spot by Fisher's Island, but the fish weren't biting and the waves were too strong.

We then tried all manner of spots in the Thames River, but no one got so much as a nibble. I did learn how to attach a dead fish to a fishing line as bait. It's... rather disgusting.

We tried to go out in the mouth of the river a bit, but the waves were 8 feet high and rolled nastily. At the top of waves, we were fairly close to momentary weightlessness. So, we had to head back in with no success whatsoever.

But, because we had no luck, Project Oceanology invited us back later in the month. For free. Which is incredibly nice of them.

We'll still have the fish fry in class tomorrow. Just... not with fish we caught.


* I am pretty much immune to motion sickness of all types. I survived the 6-degree-of-freedom chair at Space Camp. No roller coaster known to man can turn my stomach.

** A skill honed on subway trains. The same balance that allows me to walk down a T train squealing around a corner, or stand upright through the stops and starts of an NYC subway train without a handhold, is perfect for walking on a rolling deck. The boat just requires a little timing, so that the side-to-side motion gets me where I want to go.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Things Learned on the MBTA

  • Bilevel coach cars are great. The extra few feet in height makes for a really nice view. I've ridden commuter rail before - Boston MBTA, Connecticut's Shore Line East, and New York City's Metro-North Railroad - but riding from Worcester to Boston was my first time on a bi-level car.
  • Back Bay station is weird. I got off from my train from Worcester and was greeted with no signs pointing me towards the rest of the station, with its other commuter rail lines and the Orange Line of the T. As far as I can tell, the only way to the rest of the station is by going aboveground, crossing a 4-lane street, and going in the portal. Sometime when I'm not in a rush to make the 4:00 train I will look further.
  • Between Newton and Auburndale, Interstate 90 and Interstate 95 / Route 128 cross. The rail line runs between them for 1500 feet before crossing under 90, then sharing its right of way all the way into Boston.

    In that 1500 feet, there's a mysterious rail line (google map) with a locked gate that disappears into the woods. It looks like some secret facility.

    Turns out it's just a back entrance, used for non-revenue transfers of traincars, into the rail yard at Riverside, the end of the Green Line D branch.
  • North Station is weird. More accurately, the T station is. On the lower level of the station are the inbound and outbound tracks for the Orange Line and the inbound track of the Green Line which carries the C and E branches towards center Boston and west (and to the B and D branches). The outbound track - which serves as the terminus of the C branch and carries E branch trams to Lechmere - is located directly above it, on a mezzanine level. To my knowledge, no other station on the T has tracks of the same line stacked vertically.

    Not to mention that you have to go outside to get from the T station to the Commuter Rail / Amtrak station. But that's another story.
  • If you go to the front car of a T train (Orange, Red, or Blue lines) and peer through the glass window, then you're looking into the driver's cab. The trains have pretty powerful headlights, so you can see what's ahead. You'd be amazed at how many stairs and crossover tracks and side tracks and other cool stuff is out there between stations, when all you see out the side windows is black. If you're lucky, you might be able to see the speedometer. I couldn't on the Orange Line train I was on, but when I was on the Washington Metro in July, I found that we went up to 45 mph.
  • On the corridor from Newton to Back Bay, when following I-90 into Boston, Worcester / Framingham Line trains go up to 60 mph. How do I know?

    The train I was on was a local train from Worcester to just outside Rt. 128, but once inside the beltway it was an express. The speed limit along the eastbound lanes of I-90 along that area is 55 mph, meaning that, this being Massachusetts, the slowest cars were going between 55 and 60 mph. Our train was just barely passing the slowest cars, so we were probably going about 60 miles per hour. Weirdly, there was no sensation of speed like in a car, just the normal track vibrations.
  • Orange Line train northbound through central Boston at 3:40 pm on a Friday: not very crowded. Orange Line train southbound through central Boston at 4:00 pm on a Saturday: same. Red Line train to South Station, ten minutes later: packed to the gills. Apparently everyone wanted to go to South Station. The train was so crowded that, had the doors opened on the opposite side of the train, I would not have been able to get out (except for the massive outflow of people). Too bad they don't announce which side the doors will open on like the Commuter Rail and the Washington Metro do.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Someone Put LSD in My Cereal Today

Today has been a strange day. But, a pretty good day.

Started in Marine Science. We got absolutely perfect data on a lab... and other groups didn't. It's usually the other way around.

Then, in band, our director announced that we won't be having afterschool marching band practices in preparation for the next game. Strange.

In lunch, the teacher who runs the math team came over to me and told me that guess what, no one else on the team can go to today's meet. Soccer and drama and swimming and cross country.

Got to the meet, turns out she did manage to snag a freshman to come compete. Turns out, he's one hoopy frood. He just about matched my score and between the two of us, we got Ledyard into the middle of the pack. With three out of 5 positions on the team empty. We are good.

On the way home, realized I really didn't know my way around Norwich. The two-way street splitting into one-way streets was my first clue that it was weird. Then I come to a six-way intersection, and there's only one way to go. So I go that way for 100 feet, then stop at a red light that lasts a whole minute.. with no cross traffic. Finally found my way across the river and onto Rt. 12...

And quickly come to a stop, as police guide us slowly past a tipped-over dump truck. I... I can't even explain what happened there.

Monday, October 4, 2010

The Little Monstrosity That Could

I've posted before about the Rokit.

It's made from a D12 motor casing, a scraped-up nose cone, and poor-quality balsa. It's liberally covered with masking tape. Its mis-spelled name is written on in magic marker.

It is... the ugliest rocket in the world.

Or, I thought so, until the end of August, when Al Gloer's 'Project Frankenrush' trounced me in the Ugliest Rocket competition. That eldritch abomination is made from the remains of three different rockets, and still has dirt on it from crashes.

But, Al bargained with Dave Mackiernan of Hot Rod Rockets for help with a different project of his. So, he had a kit ready to ship, and he graciously offered it to me as the second-place finisher.

Which means that as of last Thursday, I have a brand-new, just-released Buffalo kit ready to build. It looks to be high-quality and really, really cool. I'll build it immediately*.

* Immediately meaning, after my calculus midterm, math team meet, MIT interview, Marine Science field trip, and marching band rehearsal, plus normal classes and homework.

Friday, October 1, 2010

I'm on a Train!

Fun fact: the MBTA has wi-fi on a number of their commuter rail cars. So, I'm going 50 miles an hour through the north Boston suburbs, and I'm online.

I rode the commuter in from Worcester to Back Bay, the Orange line up to North Station, and now I'm heading out to visit my sister at college.

Google Maps is a tad laggy, but the connection is otherwise as fast as at home. Life is good.