Supplies!

Today was my last exam for one of my two subjects this term. Mostly a challenge–nothing surprising considering my brain capacity and the department I am in. It didn’t feel like one of my last tests either, but I guess the “almost there” syndrome of graduation hasn’t fully kicked in.

As for my stint and times as a staff member/editor of The LaSallian, today is the beginning of such an end. We finally tallied the scores of our executive editors/top three aspirants 30 minutes into the GA set for the announcement. It was a very intense moment, as the calculations took some time (*ahem) and deliberations were made. As soon as Jabin maximized his excel window, the results were truly shocking to both incoming and outgoing aspirants. Three of them had initially ran for section editors/manager positions. However, based on last year’s EB race/under-editor/staff’d experience, we decided to give all the aspirants a chance, regardless of the position they wanted. It turned out that overall, these three had the highest scores: Ms Gianina Densing, Editor in Chief; Julie Yang, Associate Editor and Arik Abu, Managing Editor. I saw Arik’s potential actually in his interview for my position this year, but I was still (pleasantly) surprised his score made it. [“The Secret” works nga!] :)). As for Ms Gia, it seemed like only yesterday that I was interviewing her for the Menagerie. *sniff* They grow up so fast!

Reactions so far have been mixed. These are completely surpising and unexpected results. People have been involved in this race on a more personal/involved perspective, hence expectations based on what we had observed led to bets on who would be The LaSallian’s next tough editors (i hate the word top. really.). However, unbiased and accountable basis for such results are needed to have credibility in the process. The scores spoke for themselves. A few flaws were put into light though. One is the length of the tough 3 exam, which was not at all feasible for 3 hours. Soft skills have been mentioned as well. As I said, the results were not expected. But how much power do subjective expectations have? As a scientist, quantifiable results beat subjective observations. There would be no point in trying to influence the system in working for your expectations. If it were so, then why not just appoint someone to the position?

In the end, it’s a matter of proving you’re worth the position you’re given. Life really takes you by surprise, and calculations are only made to understand the chaos that happens in nature. I’m proud of those three, and I will do everything I can to help them have a good start next school year. Good luck gu-uys. Drink red bull, coffee, and mag-gimik din kayo para di kayo magwawala. 😉

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Formulas

Change takes time. Therefore, in order to allow a drastic change to happen, it takes a lot of your time. Hence, it should be acknowledged that drastic changes for the sake of great improvement cannot be done in such little time, especially when exceeding such time has pressing consequences.

on being female

Both male and females attribute a woman’s extra bitchiness to their time of the month (clue: it’s red). Women rely on this as an excuse or as a ‘reasonable’ explanation for their unreasonable actions. Boys/men (whichever category you really fall into) use it as a supporting reason for our extra bitchiness.

Yes, our hormones may be triggered by the smallest of things or our anger maybe more than usual because of our little red sea. However, it is natural for anyone to be annoyed/angry/infuriated (and, or, or progresses in such order.) at responsibilities not met, or promises not kept (aka Asa ka na gagawin niya talaga kahit na he/she said so). They trigger a naturally negative response–only for our periods to amplify.

Why science is something i always go back to

WHY SO BLUE? Dr. Manhattan’s color and (some of) his powers can be explained by quantum mechanics, thanks to your (self-proclaimed) “friendly neighborhood physics professor,” Jim Kakalios.

The anticipated film Watchmen, based on the 1980s DC Comics 12-part comic book series (later adapted as a graphic novel), hits theaters tomorrow. Die-hard fans of the original publication may fret over its faithfulness to the series, but studio execs also worried about their movie’s faithfulness to science. To set their minds at ease, they placed a call to Jim Kakalios, a physics professor at the University of Minnesota.

Kakalios, 50, began advising the film’s makers in the summer of 2007 on everything from the quantum mechanics of Dr. Manhattan (one of the superheroes of the story) down to the details in the laboratories. “They wanted to know what was around the corner at the end of the long corridor, even if the audience wasn’t going to see it,” he says.

So why is Dr. Manhattan blue? He might just be leaking electrons, Kakalios explains. In a previous accident, the character had destroyed his “intrinsic field” (a made-up concept), which presumably stripped him of the fundamental forces—electromagnetic, strong force, weak force—other than gravity, that hold material together. Some avid readers of the book wrote to Kakalios expressing concern after seeing a trailer that included an “intrinsic field generator,” which, they felt, was clearly meant to be an intrinsic field remover.

Not to worry, Kakalios says: in the same way that sound waves can be canceled by running other waves out of synch with them, one could destroy intrinsic fields by canceling them out with others. (Kakalios cautioned the filmmakers, however, that generating those fields would take a ton of energy, so it would be wise to include a particle accelerator of some sort in the lab.)

Dr. Manhattan’s life-altering accident, like so many others in comic book history, has given him special quantum powers, such as (drum roll)… teleportation!

“Teleportation isn’t real,” Kakalios concedes. “But quantum mechanical tunneling is.” In quantum tunneling, which scientists have known about for some 80 years, a particle passes through a barrier that classical mechanical physics says it shouldn’t be able to. By that point, he says, “you’re dealing with real science that is just as fantastic as anything in the comic book.”

Kakalios was also happy to correct something that Hollywood always gets wrong: the ever-prominent A Beautiful Mind–style blackboard. In the movies, he says, these chalkboards are always filled with the most complex, but unrelated equations—Schrödinger’s right next to Heisenberg’s—probably chosen by an art director. But in real life, he says, it’s only going to be one (not-so-famous) problem, along with notes to remind oneself to pick up the kids from, say, swim Lessons (or in Schrödinger’s case, to let his cat out of that box).

Not many physics professors get a phone call from the National Academy of Sciences in Washington, D.C., asking them to help out on a new Warner Bros. Entertainment superhero movie. But then again, not many of them are Jim Kakalios. By day, he studies nanotechnology, but explaining science is his passion—and he’s found that superheroes are just the right tool. (He’s even written a book called The Physics of Superheroes and teaches a course on the subject.) “I can use this in some kind of sneaky ninja fashion to teach…real science,” he says.

Kakalios notes that scientific incongruities in movies don’t actually bother him that much: “I don’t go to these movies with a pad of paper and a calculator.” But he delights in finding snippets of accuracy in films, which to him, “is like finding an inside joke.” In Iron Man, for instance, he noticed that star Robert Downey, Jr.’s character, Tony Stark, constructed the superhuman Iron Man suit using the same type of soldering iron Kakalios has in his lab—and correctly!

But he’s not too concerned about the central aspects of Watchmen that can’t fully be reconciled with real science, such as Dr. Manhattan’s ability to be in two places simultaneously. In superhero movies, after all, he says, “You’re asking the audience to buy something that’s intrinsically ridiculous.”

Still, he thinks it’s a good chance to tap into a new market of minds. “The audience for this material…, [they] are also, in general, fans of real science,” he says. At the end of the day, a nerd is a nerd, Kakalios admits comfortably, because he is also a comic book aficionado: “Geeks are people who get turned on by ideas” whether that’s about spider powers or quantum mechanics.

And superheroes use a lot of the same brainpower and creativity as scientists do, Kakalios adds: “In the lab we’re always doing creative problem solving, but usually with much less dire consequences.”


from here. Hehe, coincidentally, what Dr. Manhattan discusses is discussed in my major subject this term. Ahlahvet! 

it is written

With once-good shows falling into bad writing, winner shows getting cancelled/withheld (Pushing Daisies and Ugly Betty anyone?) and even more money being wasted on trash reality TV for ratings, it’s rare for me to find true joy from being a couch potato. However, thanks to the power of the internet, one can find worthwhile time by being hooked on rare gems of the screen. This weekend was particularly eventful through the AWESOMENESS of Slumdog Millionaire.

I watched Slumdog Millionaire a second time around yesterday. You don’t need its many oscars to tell you it’s an amazing film. It was lucky enough to get what it deserved in the recently wrapped awards show. But like 2008’s action phenomenon, The Dark Knight, it only needs one viewing to let it stand out. The editing is crisp, with each shot giving your eyes a feast. But such a feast does not use natural wonders but instead, the harsh realities of a corrupted country. Aesthetically it astounds and the plot, develops itself into full circle. Rare it is to find a story that uses such a direction; it is even more surprising in this film since it is directed by Danny Boyle. The perception may come from the Western end, but coming from a country facing similar problems to India (call centers, slums, children not living a life of children), I was drawn to the story for its third world Asian elements. It provided an exact picture without preaching about what needs to be done. It reported every situation simply as it is: a daily struggle, a need to survive. It showed and did not need to tell (unlike Best Film aspirants Milk and The Curious Case of Benjamin Button).

The transitions into each story are crisp, as each layer is unfolded through well-edited shots. Jamal Malik’s story is almost a miracle: a young orphan from the slums joins the Indian version of “Who Wants to be a Millionaire.” He happens to get every answer right, and he is arrested for suspicion of cheating. How did he do it? Jamal’s whole life is shown in about two hours, with enough details to keep you hanging on the edge of your seat (beat that Benjamin :P)–literally, in my case. It keeps it simple despite the many issues the film shows by giving you enough characters to follow and one person to consistently cheer on.

More than anything, this film resonates a familiarity with destiny that everyone can grasp. One does not need the life of a slumdog to understand how much of our lives is really in our control. In the end, triumph is possible, no matter the circumstance. In an age where crisis abounds and survival is the only hope, Jamal’s story reminds us what we really need to hold on to and find true happiness in whatever destiny we hope to pursue.

(and finally, a story that still reminds us love can go against all odds 🙂