Things I hate

1) Printers. Never work when I need them to.

2) Open Office (OO). I copied a section of a calc spreadsheet about 30 min ago. Just now I copied some text from an external source I wanted to paste in my OO Writer (i.e. Word). It wouldn’t paste the text – it insists on pasting the calc spreadsheet in my writer. The text pastes in Notepad, but not Writer! WHY IS THE SPREADSHEET FROM 2353253 YEARS AGO STILL ON TOP OF MY OO CLIPBOARD WHEN I HAD TEXT TO PASTE?! What a piece of sh*t. OO can suck my balls. THE WORST PIECE OF SHIT SOFTWARE I HAVE EVER USED – I would NEVER recommend it to my worst enemy. EVER.

3) Cold water in the shower of my new apartment – but I got that fixed yesterday.

4) Taxes, but that’s unavoidable.


Why Republicans Tend Not to be Good at the Budget

Disclaimer: I am hardly a political expert, and never will be. For all I know, I could be completely wrong here. I don’t vote, and not only because I don’t have the ability to as a non-citizen. I am just commenting on a few observations I made just now. You can debate me, but chances are I will reply with poor rebuttals.

Random thought of the day. Right now, there’s a giant squall line capable of producing 80 mph winds in NW Missouri. Northern MO is in a notorious radar hole – basically an area where no radar was ever funded, making the meteorologists’ job to issue appropriate warnings that much harder. If severe damage occurs tonight and no warning is issued, constituents will be pissed off at the Weather Service, who in turn might be able to counter that “well, we didn’t have the radar to scan the lower elevations of the atmosphere, so we couldn’t see how bad the threat would be.”

Such a thing did happen earlier this month, in Springfield, MA. Western portions of the city didn’t receive a single minute of warning, because the nearest radar site (near Boston) was relatively far away and there were some issues resolving the data. Forecasters couldn’t pull up data from the next closest radar site because the Weather Service there apparently have bandwidth issues when dealing with data from more than one site.

Springfield was lucky. The tornado intensified more to the east. Three people were killed by the tornado, two within the Springfield region.

[[ Meanwhile, residents in rural NW Washington state just received a new weather radar, ahead of schedule, courtesy of earmarks. ]]

This brings up a point though. Residents of Springfield might just ask for a new radar now that a tragedy has occurred in part due to the lack of one. Same with residents of northern MO, if something bad happens tonight without warning. They might get their Congressman or Senator to do something about it. They might not, but that’s not the point. The point is that if something does not exist in an area, but which exists elsewhere, constituents will always tend to want that which does not exist. Stuff like weather radars, but that’s a very trivial example used for illustration. There’s a lot more out there that people could want. And it usually involves adding something which did not exist before. That requires money. Subtracting stuff only happens when there’s a budget deficit.

Republicans, are of course, anti-spending. They don’t like adding stuff. But here’s the catch. If your constituents really really want a new weather radar, what do you do if you’re a Republican? If you don’t do anything, your chances of getting reelected go down. People are never reelected for doing nothing when there’s a want out there. If there isn’t a looming budget crisis out there, chances are, you’ll do it. But…but… wait… what about anti-spending? Whoops.

This is why Republicans have a difficult time of balancing the budget. The nature of democracy requires that representatives do what constituents want. The ideal of the Republican entails lower taxes and smaller government. But if your representatives want stuff that costs $$$, you have no choice but to do it, because you want reelection. On the other hand, you’ll also lower taxes, because people like that too and you’re a Republican. Okay, maybe you spend a little less by cutting some unnecessary programs and spending, but it’s not going to be much because of the reelection problem. The reduction in revenue will be much more drastic, and over time, you will accrue a deficit. In my opinion, overall, democracy itself tends towards a higher-spending, bigger government over time, though the powers are spread out between branches, bureaucracies, etc. Denying that may be shooting yourself in the foot with budget problems later.

Supercell Tracks on April 27th, 2011

This has been a project I’ve been planning to work on for a long time, but it took an upgraded EF5 to make me actually do it.

Note that these are only the supercells that produced EF3 or stronger tornadoes. At least five other supercells produced EF2 tornadoes.

And HERE is the map that I worked all afternoon on!

Dashed paths indicate areas where the supercell lost most of its definition but enough of it remained to track its identity.

Detailed information on each supercell follows. In format of:
Storm Letter
Initiation time (in UTC), location.
Dissipation time (in UTC), location (how it dissipated).
List of EF2 or stronger tornadoes (fatalities, if applicable).

1515, SW of Hamburg, AR.
2210, Gallatin, TN (dissipated).
EF3 Water Valley, MS.

1645, N of Delhi, LA.
0010, S of Crossville, TN (dissipated as it was about to merge into storm complex).
EF3 Houston–New Wren, MS (4);
EF5 Smithville, MS–Shottsville, AL (22).

1800, Brandon, MS.
0630, Covington, VA (merged with storm complex).
EF5 Philadelphia, MS (3);
EF4 Cordova–Sipsey, AL (13);
EF5 Rainsville, AL (26);
EF4 Ringgold, GA–Collegedale, TN (21);
EF3 Camp Creek, TN (6);
EF2 Butler, TN (2).

1830, N of Vicksburg, MS.
0330, Morristown, TN (dissipated, but maintained a very weak identity to SW VA).
EF3 Haleyville, AL;
EF4 Dunlap–New Harmony, TN (4);
EF2 Dunlap, TN.

1800, WNW of Natchez, MS.
2330, NE of Meridian, MS (dissipated).
EF2 Terry, MS;
EF3 Polksville–Burns, MS;
EF3 Newton, MS.

1845, Berry, AL.
0450, Snowshoe, WV (dissipated shortly after evolving into a linear system).
EF4 Cullman–Union Grove, AL (6);
EF4 Flat Rock, AL–Trenton, GA (13);
EF2 Tellico Plains, AL;
EF4 Blount Smokies, TN.

1945, Columbus AFB, MS.
2330, SW of Crossville, TN (merged with larger storm complex).
EF5 Hackleburg-Phil Campbell-Tanner-Harvest, AL (71).

1930, Forest, MS.
2230, Cordova, AL (dissipated).
EF3 Scooba, MS–Panola, AL.

2000, Newton, MS.
0400, SW of Asheville, NC (dissipated).
EF4 Tuscaloosa–Birmingham, AL (63);
EF4 Argo–Ohatchee–Piedmont, AL (23);
EF3 N Cartersville, GA;
EF3 Mountain City, GA (1).

2000, Yazoo City, MS.
0550, Blacksburg, VA (dissipated).
EF3 Hubbertville, AL;
EF3 Glade Spring, VA (3).

2010, Magee, MS.
0520, SW of Asheville, NC (dissipated).
EF3 Sawyerville–Eoline, AL.

2000, Natchez, MS.
0430, NW of La Grange, GA (dissipated).
EF4 Raleigh–Enterprise–Snell, MS (7).

2030, Sipsey, AL.
0530, W of Harrisonburg, VA (merged with storm complex).
EF4 Bridgeport, AL (1);
EF2 W of Johnson City, TN.

0010, SE of Selma, AL.
0330, Peachtree City, GA (dissipated).
EF4 Lake Martin–Dadeville, AL (7).

0250, Auburn, AL.
0630, NW of Augusta, GA (evolved into bow echo).
EF2 La Grange, GA;
EF3 Griffin, GA (1).

0020, N of Evergreen, AL.
0630, E of Greensboro, GA (dissipated within a larger storm complex).
EF2 Manchester, GA;
EF3 Sunny Side, GA (2).

0150, S of Trenton, GA.
0500, Johnson City, TN (dissipated).
EF3 Horse Creek, TN (2).

Random Things

1) My mouth (but not my teeth, gums, etc.) is still sore from that dentist appointment. Gosh did I have to open my mouth wide.

2) I slept 5 hr yesterday night, woke up at 6:30 AM. How am I still WIDE awake 20 hours later?
I slept 7 hr the night before, woke up at like 11. That night, I knocked out at 1 AM.


Life is Temporary

…The truth that overrules all other truths of this world. Two stories that should remind us all of this fact, saved for posterity:

Was listening to a scanner when I was 15. Heard about a serious accident about a mile away. My dad and I were interested in joining the volunteer fire department at the time so we decided to head over and see what the response involved. On arrival, there wasnt an officer or ambulance on scene. Its clear that not only is the accident serious, its fatal with a mangled body clearly visible in the car. As I am trying to keep my distance, I notice my best friends sister sitting off to the side covered in blood. I look at the car and it doesnt look like theirs, the wrecked car is the same color, but its a four door and theirs is a two door. I stand there for a few minutes kind of stunned trying to figure out what is going on and why she is there bleeding. Then I realize that the body in the car is my best friends. I run over and tell my dad, and I could see he didnt believe me.

I took him over to the wreck and said “dad look, thats Sandy there sitting down on the bank bleeding”. Just then, their dad arrives and my dad runs up and hugs him trying to keep him from seeing the body. All total, the wreck killed three, all from my best friends family. There were three siblings. Two sisters and one brother who was my age. The brother and oldest sister were killed along with a cousin. It was their car, but the impact was so severe that it collapsed the rear passenger area so bad, it appeared to look like there had been a door there.

The creepy part is they were headed to a lake and had asked my sister and I to go, but my mom said we couldnt because we had something planned with me grandmother.


At the end of his message, Stan [Gerlach] told the mourners, ‘You never know when God is going to take your life. At that moment, there’s nothing you can do about it. Are you ready?’ Then Stan sat down, fell over, and died. His wife and sons tried to resuscitate him, but there was nothing they could do – just as Stan had said a few minutes earlier.

(Source: Crazy Love, by Francis Chan, p. 46)

Truth IS sometimes stranger than fiction… but then again, isn’t life itself? There is no one aspect of nature stranger than life, and its temporal nature is a testament to that.

P.S. Another story, found while preparing this post.


Hopefully I don’t jinx this (I probably will), but right now I am at a quasistatic equilibrium between multiple songs, for the first time ever. Moreover, this quasistatic equilibrium has lasted for a week!

For those who are curious, the songs I am listening to right now are (in the order of slight favoritism):
Kina Grannis – Valentine
Kina Grannis & David Choi – The Way You Are
Ryan Higa, Kevin Wu, and Chester See – Nice Guys
Rob Dougan – Clubbed to Death (from Matrix)
David Choi – So Weightless
JLo ft. Pitbull – On the Floor

The “energies” of these videos – what I will call the U-value – are given as follows
(Link to the post explaining these values here)
Valentine: 4.378
The Way You Are: 5.443
Nice Guys (the KevJumba version): 4.632
Clubbed to Death: 4.205
So Weightless: Insufficient data (not enough votes)
On the Floor: 2.594

The Nature… of God?

For this post I will be making two key assumptions…

1) Special Relativity (hereafter, SR) is valid. SR operates under the tenet that the speed of light c is absolute, and thus every speed < c is reference frame dependent.
2) The Christian God, as described in the Bible, is valid.

Now with that said, let’s get on to the post.

Taking the tenets of SR, the following relationship can be derived:

“…where Δt is the time interval between two co-local events (i.e. happening at the same place) for an observer in some inertial frame (e.g. ticks on his clock) – this is known as the proper time, Δt ’ is the time interval between those same events, as measured by another observer, inertially moving with velocity v with respect to the former observer, [and] v is the relative velocity between the observer and the moving clock…” (Wikipedia)

This is known as time dilation. Simply stated, if I were travelling very very fast (close to c), my clock will start to tick slower than a stationary observer on Earth. Time gets extended.

Another relationship can be derived, as follows:

L is the proper length (the length of the object in its rest frame),
L’ is the length observed by an observer in relative motion with respect to the object,
v is the relative velocity between the observer and the moving object,
c is the speed of light,” (Wikipedia)

This is known as length contraction… if I travel fast, space itself will contract around me.

But here comes the million dollar question – what if I was traveling at c? Forget for a moment that this is impossible, and imagine a photon looking down on Earth. Now let’s say the photon measures a time of three seconds. How much time would have elapsed on Earth? What about five seconds? No, wait, the denominator goes to zero! Likewise, let’s wonder if the photon measures a piece of space. No, forget about that — forget about the Earth — the whole UNIVERSE will have collapsed to a singularity! The photon knows of no time, nor does it know of space, because these things don’t make sense to a photon from the relativistic perspective. Instead, it sees all infinity of space, and all infinity of time – at any single “moment”.

So what does this have to do with God?

The Bible says many things about God. He is all-knowing, all-powerful. Paraphrasing, he knows the number of hairs on our head and [something else I forgot] before we are even born. He knows each of us by name, on a personal level. He listens to each and every one of our prayers. He knows what we are going to do before we even do it. Now a lot of people have a beef with this – and for good reason; it doesn’t sound very logical that God can do all this at the same time. C.S. Lewis provides a rebuttal: God is out of time (167-171). God knows of no time, and He knows of no space either – He knows our destiny before we can act on it, and He sees the order of the universe and the cries of our hearts all at the same time. Now this sounds familiar…

Wait. Am I implying God is a photon?!

Well, not really, because photons can’t do things like love us and stuff. BUT what we can assume from this, is that many inconsistencies about God can be accounted for by believing that God is a massless being traveling at the speed of light. Massless, because SR proves that massive particles can’t travel at the speed of light, but more importantly, because it creates a distinction between what we are made of – mass, and what God is made of – not mass. Theologically, we can then recognize that the Creator and the created are separate things.

Another thing is that SR effects are symmetric between reference frames. If infinite time and zero space on the Earth is seen from a photon in its frame, the photon of speed c will appear to us in our rest frame as something that goes through infinitely many lives every second, but can never be observed to have a finite dimension*. For those who ask why God never reveals Himself to us – He can try, but if He is traveling at c, we will never be able to see Him.

I can’t say much beyond “science can reconciliate Christian notions of God if He travels at the speed of light”. It’s a pretty random hypothesis, anyway. We can even argue that God is energy if we want, or even better, that He is outside of our Universe. There’s plenty of hypotheses out there, and thankfully we’ll never truly know the inner workings of God. But it’s something cool to think about.


*If SR is correct, we could never be able to observe massless particles such as photons traveling at c, because they would be size zero in our reference frame. I don’t know if I’m missing something and we’ve actually observed and measured photons, or if I’m right and “seeing” a photon is physically impossible. I suppose that, if photons are a quantum construct, they don’t actually exist in reality except to make bundles of energy mathematically and logically easier to handle. This is an entirely different discussion though.