I still live

May 24, 2011

Uuugh, this past year has been a whirlwind. Things are finally slowing down. I won’t go so far as to say that’s the only thing keeping me from posting, but it was a thing. I’ve settled into my new job (research assistant) to a degree. However, I’m not really good enough yet at what I do to not get really frustrated and need something else to do. And that’s about when I forced myself to make this post. So, hello again internet, hope to talk to you more soon.

No More Lack of Updates 2: Desperate Resolution

February 18, 2010

So, originally I wanted my first new blog post of the year to be about No More Heroes 2, which is what the title is in reference to.  It seemed like such a good joke, I wanted to open with it even if I’m not prepared to do a blog post about it.  Also, one of my New Year’s Resolutions was to post on my blog here more often.  Well, as you can see, I had problems starting on that, but now here we are.

I got a new package of toys from japan today, so I wanted to do a post about that.  I will later today, it’s just that my camera’s batteries are dead, so I’m writing while waiting for them to recharge.

I really want to play No More Heroes 2 more, but I feel like it’s such a good game that I want to be able to sit uninterrupted so I can play it without worries.  I haven’t really had that kinda time.  Well, there was a lot of snow here in Pittsburgh last week, but I was feeling too cold to game and wound up watching videos of other things instead.  Rest assured, once I complete the game, I will give you my full review of it.  I feel it would be irresponsible to give a review after only playing partway.

I got accepted to a graduate program recently.  I’m terribly excited about that.  It’s a place I’d like to go to, too, so even if my other applications wind up duds, I’ll be happy.  However, the deadline for 3 schools I applied to were just this monday,  and one deadline has yet to happen, so I don’t imagine those schools are very far in reviewing my application.  I want to give them ample time to make a decision, so I have a lot of options.  While it’s nice to have options, nothing relieves you more than that first acceptance.

Speaking of acceptances, my friend ‘The Japanologist’ got accepted to one of her top choices recently as well.  Terribly happy for her.

There are two reasons that today, of all days, I’m finally blogging again.  One is, just a few days ago, I read a terribly spirited and informative blog post that I had been linked to at random:

http://fuzakenna.com/2010/01/06/stop-using-the-term-tsundere-you-fcking-assholes/

I’m not a fan of Tsundere or the sorts of shows referenced, but I know what the word means and have heard of the shows.   At least, I have an idea of what the word means.  Apparently my definition is dated.  But that isn’t what I find important.  I was just inspired by it, I don’t know why.  It kinda just popped at me like a good quality post.  An honest explosion of emotion of something important to the writer, with facts to back it up.  And being wrong or right didn’t matter either (like, my definition of Tsundere differs, for example), because hey, it’s a blog, you don’t have to be universally right.  I guess I kinda forgot that, built up blogging as a big idea in my head, felt I needed to get a bunch of facts and not tell people stuff they already know.  I guess I forgot what the spirit of blogging was, and this article just showed me the way.

While I read a lot of other blogs and am regularly impressed by Oguie Maniax, ( http://ogiuemaniax.wordpress.com/ ) and talk to the author a lot about his blog posts,  it always makes me feel rather daunted, because of how regularly he is able to provide such high-quality content.  Maybe by looking up to him so much I am holding myself up to a high standard.  But, oh well, I’ll forge my own path and not worry so much.

The other reason is, well, content.  There’s a lot of things I’d been thinking about writing, and in the long time since my last post I’ve built up so much I don’t know how to space it.  But today, I received a package  I ordered from japan.  I’ve taken pictures of older things too, in the off-time, and will post those eventually, but I might as well blog about what’s current with me.  And I just received some new paraphernalia from my favorite shows.  So, gonna blog about it!

Still a while before that battery reaches full charge, but I think I’ve kept you all waiting more than long enough.

Lazy Funk

November 15, 2009

I know my audience is terribly small as of the writing of this post, and that there’s nobody here to care or mind, but I feel I have to say something about what’s going on.  It’s just me being candid, I suppose.

As you can probably tell by checking the dates of my blog posts, I haven’t written anything for a while before this.  I have half a post saved on my computer, and a lot of ideas in my head, but nothing has been happening.  Part of this is that I hold myself to a high standard, another part is that I’ve been in a bit of a depressive funk thanks to stuff going on lately, and the last part is just plain lazy.

I mean, I’ve been talking about anime-related stuff, but no science, but the goal of this blog was to be a hybrid.  So part of why I have been avoiding posting is I’ve been feeling bad that there’s no math/science content.  Like, for a long time now I’ve been intending on declaring that Cantor was a Jerk, and stating the reasons why.

But my funk has put me in a mood where I don’t want to talk about Cantor and infinite numbers and such, so nothing gets done.  I feel like I’m somehow not academically proficient enough as of late to want to talk about things of an academic nature.

Anyways, now that I’ve gotten that off my chest, I feel like I’m going to be more able to write stuff.

At the very least, I’ll try to put some effort into photogalleries soon.  I haven’t quite determined how I’m going to mount my lamps around my lightbox, as while I could rig together something really quickly for just one shoot, I want an easily repeatable mounting system for consistent lighting.

tl;dr ver:

Sorry for not writing anything.  Will work on it.

I met Suda51 Yesterday

October 18, 2009

Yesterday, I experienced two of the most simultaneously awesome and embarrassing minutes in my life.  I met Suda51. Read the rest of this entry »

Graduate Record Examination

October 10, 2009

I took the GRE in physics for the first time today. First time officially, anyways. I had taken two practice exams from books before doing this. But, taking the exam is more or less a necessary thing for going on to graduate school. As I’m looking to go on to graduate school, obviously this was a must. Even though I’m scheduled to take it again, I’d say I think I did rather well this time. Time will tell, in regards to that, and thus time will tell how useful the advice I’m going to be sharing on the subject is. Read the rest of this entry »

King of Braves GaoGaiGar

October 9, 2009

My favorite giant robot show is “King of the Braves GaoGaiGar”.

Originally aired in japan in 1997, fansubbed somewhere near the early 2000s, released in 2006 and 2007. It’s truly an awesome show, but its English release is such a shame. The first half of the series was released in its full glory, with a pretty good English language cast, but poor sales caused the second half to be released only with the Japanese audio track. It is highly unlikely that we’ll ever see its sequel OVA.

Read the rest of this entry »

Suspending Disbelief

October 8, 2009

There’s a lot of things in anime and sci-fi that appear to blatantly break the laws of physics. By “appear to” I mean that, due to things only being viewed as far as we see them in the show, they do. There may be some sophisticated but physically sound mechanism that causes the effects to happen. For example, a double-jump in a videogame might consist of a displacement of air via some compression mechanism, giving the jumper a ‘push’. There’s no easy way a gamer can test to see if this is true or not, due to the limitations of the game, but for all we know it could be there. Of course, this makes the explanation unfalsifiable, and thus not very scientific, but one could imagine that if the game’s universe was expanded such that the necessary interaction with the environment was capable, one could observe these effects.

This is an element of the suspension of disbelief. You’re looking at a world you don’t have full access to, and assuming that because it looks like it works, it must work.

Another way of thinking about this is in Code Geass: Lelouch of the Rebellion. In the first season, every time Zero comes up with a stunning and amazing plan, you see a lot of the groundwork and preparation for that plan. In season 2 (known as R2), sometimes he’ll just arrive on-scene with a plan, and you never get to see how he came up with it. An example that immideately comes to mind is in episode 8 of R2. A friend of mine had complained that it’s less good this way, that he wants to see all the planning steps. I think that this is better, because by this point we know how Zero’s powers work, it’d just be boring to see him use them again because it wastes time that could be used on action. It just feels like a reasonable assumption that he has the capacity to perform such a task.

So when Professor Saotome of the Saotome Institute says he knows how Getter Rays work and he knows how to utilize them, it’s safe to believe him. It’s thereby safe to say that Getter Rays work in such a way that they can be used because this scientist says he knows. And it’s safe to say he’s a scientist because, in his show, his institute is famous, and he has a lot of people working for him. You’d think if he was a quack that some other scientists would come down on him, his reputation would be ruined, and nobody would work for him.

So dispite the fact that Getter Rays are among the more crazy fictional energy sources out there, it can be believed, to an extent, that things on the show are made possible thanks to them.

Now, of course, this sort of thing will always hinge upon at least one or two leaps of faith. In the above example, the leap of faith was that this magical energy source even exists. So, as scientists, we could start scrutinizing at this, looking at how getter rays work, determining that they could never exist, etc..

Or we could not. Because that just makes the show unwatchable. It’s important to be able to, when necessary, separate our personal and professional lives. That doesn’t mean we should do so always, or I’d be a hypocrite for making this blog. But, without being able to sit down and not worry, we can’t enjoy the shows. Shows try to have meaning and give messages, and anyone who gets stuck in the details is missing out.

Scrutinizing over how science is portrayed in fiction is certainly allowable, and interesting and creative discussions can stem from it. But, fiction is meant to be enjoyed, and if you can’t suspend disbelief at least for long enough to enjoy it, you’re missing out.

What is a Giant Quantum Robot, anyhow?

October 7, 2009

Odds are, you’re scratching your head at the title to my blog.  It’s paradoxical, or rather made to look that way.   It’s an artistic trick; a reflection of the paradox held within.

This paradox held within is, of course, in reference to the content this blog will someday hold.  My professional interests lie within physics.  I hold a Bachelor of Science in Physics (and also one in Math).  However, my hobbies are, almost entirely, about science fiction and the physically impossible/implausible.  Many see a problem in this, though there are some who are not.

After all, as a budding physicist, I should know better than anyone else how impossible what I watch is.  At least, this is what some people, scientists and non-scientists alike, tell me.

But that’s not the point.  I can recognize the difference between fantasy and reality; I know the definition of the word ‘fiction’.  In the context of video games, giant robot shows, superhero shows, and other works of fiction, physics is placed in a secondary role to the story, and dramatic embellishment is applied liberally.  And that’s fine.

But it’s fun to imagine.  It’s a great diversion from your everyday life to look at something physically impossible and imagine what the implications would be in a world where such things existed.

But I digress.  The point of the name is that this here blog is a composition of my work/lifegoals and my hobbies.  Being that those are physics (which Quantum Mechanics is a sub-field of), and sci-fi (which Giant Robots are arguably a sub-field of), the name felt appropriate.  I intend to talk about both subjects at length, both separately and in a connected sense.

I hope you enjoy it, whether you like sci-fi, science, both, or neither!

On Philosophy and Kamen Riders

October 7, 2009

So, when I was in my final year of undergrad, I had to take Philosophical Ethics, for it was a university requirement.  Our teacher made us read philosophy by Aristotle and then Nietzsche, and would have us write essays to show our understanding.  In order to minimize plagiarism, he told us to write about a TV show of our choosing, making the essays unique.  When it came to Nietzsche I was a little stuck for some time, and eventually asked the teacher if it was okay to do it based on an anime or tokusatsu.  He was somewhat down with anime, so once I explained tokusatsu he said it was okay.

The result is what you will see after the jump; the best non-thesis essay of my college career, rivaled only by my paper on Hawking Radiation for laymen:  How Kamen Rider Kabuto, the series, demonstrates themes discussed by Friedrich Niezstche.

((Note:  Contains mild spoilers for Kamen Rider Kabuto.  You’d best avoid this if you intend to see the series already)) Read the rest of this entry »


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