Tuesday, November 22, 2011

How I look at the world

Source: University of Alaska at Fairbanks physics dept.
This diagram might look strange to you and then again it might not. This diagram represents a simple pictorial description of the forces acting on the rectangle. For example, we are looking at three forces acting on the rectangle. F1 is gravity pulling the block down. F2 is the normal force, and F3 is the friction from the surface or the "ramp."

F1 is pretty simple and most people can understand that gravity is pulling you down to the earth. F2, the normal force, is the force be applied to the rectangle by the ramp. The theory is that for every action there is an opposite and equal reaction. So fs you press down on a floor, then the floor is "pressing" back against you. Now this is a really simple explanation and not technical so don't try to over think it unless you are like me. F3 is the friction. Friction helps keep the rectangle from sliding down the ramp so is acting up the ramp.

This is how I see the world. When something is moving or remaining stationary, I am thinking about the forces acting on the object and imagining the arrows. When I see a tree blowing in the wind I am thinking about the tension in the limb, the wind moving the limbs, and the other various forces in motion.

This is how I look at the world, but not the only way. How do see the world at work?

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Iron Chef Material...Maybe Not

Source: mccormick.com
Since I moved in with my wife I have had the opportunity to cook breakfast, lunch, and dinner. I didn’t cook much when I lived with my parents, but I have come to appreciate the finer art of cooking. I believe most of my cooking skill comes from watching Iron Chef.

Sometimes I cook from a box and other times I cook from family recipes, but sometimes I put things together from pure inspiration. There are times when inspiration produces wonderful results that tantalize the tongue, and then there are times when my concoctions require drowning in a condiment of your liking.

The other day I was looking for a way to make chicken differently and we were already hungry. I was looking through the refrigerator at sauces to baste with and found nothing appetizing. I began rummaging through the pantry for seasonings to add spice to my life when I  found some steak seasoning. I thought, “Steak seasoning tastes good…surely it would be too bad.” I was wrong…very wrong. The chicken was almost completely overwhelmed by the seasoning, and the miniscule amount of flavor emanating from the chicken did not agree with steak seasoning. I learned that sometimes salt and pepper are enough.

Have you ever made something you thought would taste good and didn’t?  

Friday, August 26, 2011

Math Jokes

Source: JokesPrank.com
Me: “Knock Knock” You: “Who’s There?”
Me: Interrupting Cow
You: Interrupt...Me: MOOOOOO!

Everyone has their own unique sense of humor and recently I was reintroduced to a particularly painful (yet still amusing) brand of humor. Dry-Professor-Academic-jokes are a particularly niche group of jokes, but if you have never had a professor in a technical or theoretical  academic field then you are missing out.

My first introduction into Dry-Professor-Academic-Jokes came my freshman year when I had a professor of mathematics make a joke about not limiting are fun. Now this might not seem like a joke/pun but at the time we were studying the mathematical properties of Limits. The pun fell on deaf ears for the most part, but I found the attempt at humor more amusing than the actual humor.

Maybe even funnier than the pun or the attempt at making a joke was the professor’s reaction to his own pun. It is amazing to see a professor take delight in his own witticism when clearly it was a terrible pun.  

Now I am taking some accounting courses and the professors attempts to make jokes or puns has made me reminiscent of some old math videos…don’t worry these are supposed to be funny. I hope you Enjoy!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Chattanooga Landmarks

Source: NewsChannel9.com
My father has worked on Amnicola Highway for a long time and my mother used to work on the north side of the river flowing through Chattanooga. When I would ride with them in the morning to summer camps or my grandmothers we would pass the Tennessee American Water Company tanks on the river bank. (TAW is a local water company)

On one of the tanks (closest to the road) there is a plywood cut out of a worker sitting on the tank. The plywood worker is taking off his hard hat as if greeting everyone who passes by. The cut out has a name tag that reads, "Phillip D. Glass." As a child, I found the word play funny, and even today I always find time to glance up at Phillip when I drive by. The water tank has the message "Good Morning Chattanooga" written on the side.

As you can see in the picture above, Phillip is holding a local University football helmet in place of a hard hat in honor of this years impending football season. Phillip has also been know to sport a Santa hat during the Christmas season. I have also seen a cowboy hat as well, though I never knew the significance of it.

This morning my hat is off to Phillip D. Glass. I hope he will continue to be a longstanding Landmark in Chattanooga.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Judging Books by Their Covers

There is an old saying, "Don't judge a book by it's cover." Two Hundred years ago that actually meant something, but I would like to argue that doesn't matter anymore.

Before you start crying about prejudice and stereotyping let me clarify. I literally mean we should judge books by their covers. The saying is typically reserved as metaphor about not judging the value of something by its external appearance (which includes books), but books are marketed objects and I think we should judge them my their main form of marketing...the cover. Take a look at this book from before 1800


There is a title and some fancy scroll work, but not a lot do judge the internal value of the information. You might judge this book by its title but that isn't the cover and conventional wisdom doesn't seem to say how to judge a books cover. Look at this book cover from 1895.

Now this cover hasn't changed much in 100 years but the decorative print is more flower-ey and less rigid. That seems like a step in the right direction, but still not a lot to judge a book by except the title or the contents. Lastly we have something much more modern.

Source: EatMeDaily.com

These covers including the title tells you a lot about the books. One lets you know the relative age and looks of the two female leads. One cover plays to the cooking aspect and the choice of playful decorative whisk with a mess evokes some feelings for most people. I think you would be right to judge this book by those covers. There are some genres of books that haven't yet utilized contemporary cover art...I am looking at you Sci-Fi and Fantasy novels.

Maybe I am wrong and we shouldn't be judging books by their covers, but I say publishers need to up the ante and give me some eye candy.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Don't Take My Facebook

Source: GruntledEmployees.com
I work in an office that requires everyone to have a computer. Most of my work in accounting (boils down to record keeping) is stored on a computer. Everyone also has access to the internet and you know what that means...Facebook. Since I have worked there, my employer has had a philosophy of trust and bottom line counts. If we are getting a job done in a satisfactory way, then any amount of time on Facebook probably wasn't hurting us or the company.

Day 1: Then one day Facebook was gone. I am not going to lie, I noticed at 9:21AM. It was so traumatic that I remember the time I noticed the end of Facebook. I mentioned this to the person a share an office with and they were shocked beyond all belief. Throughout the rest of the day more and more people in passing asked if I could access Facebook. Several people made tours of the building talking about the outrageous actions of the company. It then came to our attention that the CEO hadn't known about disconnecting Facebook and "requested" that his access be restored. And so it was that the CEO, marketing, and presumably IT could still access Facebook ("for business purposes").

Day 2: The next day a single pioneer came around asking if we used Facebook for work. At the time I didn't have a legitimate reason for being on facebook, but my coworker did. As it turned out, there were three people who could find legitimate (if not very convincing) reasons for being on Facebook. Meanwhile, I am getting farther and farther behind in my Facebook games.

Days 3-5: The petition for re-activiating Facebook was being formulated and I was discovering more and more I had a legitimate reason for having access to Facebook. My Job is extremely boring. So much so, I often find myself getting sleepy from the lack of mental stimulation. Then i realized that I only needed half of my computer monitor to do my job (collections). I soon began using the second half of my screen to be on Facebook. This increased my collections potential because I wanted to be on Facebook and I had to be calling people to be on Facebook. I played games that had minimal attention requirements. I spied on people (don't judge because you do it too). However, now I dread making calls because there isn't anything to fill the void left by my job.

Day 6: The petition was made to the president that only people using Facebook for work should have access. There was a meeting, and I must stress they had to have a closed door meeting to discuss this. The verdict was simply, "No one outside of Marketing shall access the Facebook."

It has only been nine days since the ban on facebook, but I feel like day 100 in the Facebook hostage Crisis. Say what you will, but I have felt more depressed and restless since the ban. Maybe I will join Google+ or Twitter.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Is Anyone Listening

I am overly cynical about certain subjects. One such subject is homelessness. I understand God has called me to love my neighbors and help those in need alongside sharing the gospel, but sometimes I can’t help but think some homeless people don’t need my help.  I have been introduced lately to some wonderful programs helping out homeless families. I have even been disillusioned to some preconceived notions.  Sometimes those notions rear up and bite me on the brain.

For instance, when I see a homeless person with certain objects my immediate reaction is, “They don’t need my help since they have a _____.” This is terrible. They may need my help desperately and I am judging them for carrying some stupid little item. One particular item is a cell phone and/or Bluetooth headset.

When I see Joe Homeless walking down the street in last-year’s rags talking to someone on their Cell or Bluetooth it sets off my homeless-people-are-homeless-because-they-want-to-be alarm. Homeless people talking on cell phones also ignites my curiosity. I cannot help but wonder who is this mysterious person could be. Is it an uncaring friend? Do they know they are speaking to a homeless person? Is it a debt Collector? Which participant in this conversation made the call?

At this point, I start concocting scenarios in which Joe Homeless has friends and a support system that he either spurns or does not need because his rags used to be an Armani suit he bought from pandering. Normally by the time, I get to this stage in my thought train I have driven past or left the vicinity of Joe Homeless so I start over-thinking some other random, meaningless topic.

Life Lesson: Don’t be a jerk and judge a book by its cover.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Should I feel Bad?

The other day I saw what appeared to be a homeless man leaving the parking lot of the local grocery store. He caught my attention because he was pushing an empty shopping cart away from the store. At first I thought, "that man is stealing a shopping cart." Now this begs the question, should I feel bad that my first thought was his thieving and not his personal circumstances? Those shopping carts are around $150. While that isn't an exorbitant amount of money for this particular grocer, it is still wrong to steal right? I fought back the urge to roll my window down and chastise him for stealing, but that made me think.

Am I guilty of stealing a shopping cart since I saw such a seemingly innocuous act and failed to act upon it. At that point I know the grocery store's managers could have done nothing other than call the cops. Surely it isn't worth the police's time to take down a cart theft report. In hind sight I suppose the grocer could have at least known about the incident and called to order a replacement cart.

I regaled a friend of mine with this tale and they thought he might have just borrowed the shopping cart to transfer his belongings. This really got me thinking. Surely that would be a lot of walking. In my scenario the homeless man is borrowing the cart and thus would have to return it to the grocery store. What if he was moving his belongings to a further away location? Where did he leave his belongings in the first place to make the journey to find a cart? Why if there was a safe place to leave his belongings does he need to leave?

At this point I concocted the crazy map in my mind.

I imagined this guy moving his belongings from a bridge and wondered which path would he take to get to the new place. Would he take the most direct path through people's yards? Would He travel along the main highway or take some less traveled back roads for as long as possible? Then he would have to bring the cart all the way back to the grocery store.

Why is Joe Homeless moving? Does he know something about the end times that I don't? These thoughts kept spiraling in my head until I just decided he stole it.

Hopefully this doesn't make me a bad person, but that guy stole something and shame on him.