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Ras Algethi
Metallic toroid concatenation
Recent Entries 
11th-Sep-2011 05:02 pm - G+ invites?
eUMa A0p
If you want a G+ invite, let me know (comments screened). I have so many.
6th-Sep-2011 04:50 am - Well, this is impressively weak
eUMa A0p
I read a few pages in Order of the Phoenix about the main characters being hosed and having exams, and I have to put the book down for a minute. *sigh* I graduated, I graduated, I graduated. I don't have to graduate any more.
4th-Sep-2011 02:33 pm - Cloudsea
eUMa A0p

The Unseen Sea from Simon Christen on Vimeo.

Yeah, I miss it...
29th-May-2011 07:49 pm - Lentil chicken soup
eUMa A0p
1 jar (~2 cups??) red lentils (or some kind of lentils that cook relatively fast)
Chicken broth
Couple handfuls of spinach (or more)
Couple chicken breasts or thighs (depending on desired chicken:lentil-soup ratio)
Cayenne pepper
Garlic powder
Olive oil

Cut up onion. Saute in bottom of saucepan, using a bunch more olive oil than you would need just to do the onion. Add generous amounts of cumin, cayenne pepper, and whatever else you want. Continue sauteing until onions are translucent. Add lentils and chicken broth (keep the lentils covered). Simmer for a while. Eventually, add chopped spinach and continue simmering.

Meanwhile, cut up the chicken and rub it with salt / garlic powder / whatever else you want. Fry it up in some more olive oil.

When the lentils are soft, take half the lentil soup and blend it in a blender, then mix it back in with the rest. Add the chicken.

8th-Mar-2011 01:26 pm - How did we meet? (Fiction Edition)
eUMa A0p
It's Fat Tuesday. As you're polishing off the food that isn't kosher for lent, think about how we met and tell the story here. Since I'm a rather dull person most of the time, telling the TRUTH would be dull, so please lie like a politician. Feel free to venture into any literary genre you like.

Feel free to steal this nonsense and post it to your own journal.

(h/t halleyscomet)
21st-Feb-2011 03:01 am - Rapid-fire update
eUMa A0p
* Life is good! I'm a hell of a lot happier than I have been for lo these many semesters.

* ET spring rush was successful and brought three new pledges! Yay!

* I've discovered that I really enjoy hacking on instruments/apparatus for doing bio experiments. I sort of suspect that if I had gotten more into tools and fixing stuff as a child, I would be a MechE major. (It wouldn't take much...)

* I haven't really made much progress on my job hunt due to procrastination, but I get to meet with someone at the Broad Institute and have an informal chat about possibly working there! Eee!
26th-Dec-2010 04:37 am - Conreligion
eUMa A0p
So I finally got around to doing my little winter solstice observance. In the middle of it, I had a random idea for a secular-humanist solstice ritual. It would center around lighting several candles sequentially while reciting lines from a lesson. That lesson would be Everything Goes Because The Sun Is Shining; the light of the candles is sunlight that can be stored and invoked at will. Or maybe the ritual could use multiple types of illumination to illustrate the principle of energy changing forms but ultimately tracing back to the sun.

There could also be a lesson ("calca") on the analemma and why we have solstices and seasons at all, but it's slightly more general and could be given at both solstices and both equinoxes... or at any time, really, if there was a part that went "and at this moment we are here in the analemma, in this hemisphere the sun's power is waxing/waning, etc etc".

I have an awful urge to flesh this out completely. It would basically be "science stuff except rewritten to sound poetic". Thoughts?
24th-Dec-2010 01:13 am - Recent dreams
eUMa A0p
I've been away from the internet for four days, traveling with my family to the CA gold country and to Yosemite. I have many things to say, but for some reason I want to tell you all about my weird-ass dreams first.

Contact Lenses: I get a new pair of contact lenses and decide to go through my collection of old ones. They look like no contact lenses I've ever seen -- some are almost an inch across, or weird colors, or triangular (???), or have chips and cracks at the edges. The new ones are the only ones that look normal.

Star Wars: A mashup of Star Wars and real life. My housemate JRL is Luke Skywalker. Both the Empire and also this faction within the Rebel Alliance want him dead, so when we are in real life we have to be very careful to not reveal his identity. Also, pumpkin plays a large role.

Notable scenes:
* Like the scene in Return of the Jedi where they fly into the heart of the Death Star, except the interior of the Death Star is made out of cooked pumpkin. Lots of sploogey noises as small ships fly around and dock/undock from the pumpkin.
* Hiding in a room at ET with the door shut as agents of the Empire walk by, black-clad. Because at ET if someone's door is shut you don't enter without their permission.
* Googling "star wars luke skywalker rebel alliance", realizing I had made myself vulnerable, closing that tab, and opening 30 tabs about Star Trek as a blind. (I guess my subconscious forgot it could erase its browser history.)

Rehearsal: The most horrifying rehearsal I have ever been in. It's Chamber Chorus in collaboration with a couple other groups of similar size, totaling about 50 people. The music we're rehearsing is supposedly the Schütz piece that we did in real life, but it is like no Schütz I've ever heard -- it's a funeral piece, but there are bits that are like surrealist comic opera. The risers sag dangerously but Bill says it is no problem. I spend half my time clinging to a column in order not to fall down. And I keep having to dash back into rehearsal because I forgot something or I was late or I wasn't actually at rehearsal, just dreaming I was.
2nd-Nov-2010 06:56 am - Axioms, axioms, axioms
eUMa A0p
For some reason, it took until now for me to really crash into people whose beliefs/opinions differ wildly from my own. (Isn't this supposed to be one of the benefits of college?) On a low, practical level, the answer is to just stop talking about provocative topics so that I don't get into bitter arguments with people I have to live with, reach consensus on mundane topics with, etc.

The amount of conviction it takes just to say "I am definitively correct" about a nebulous issue, never mind "I am closed to the possibility of being persuaded otherwise (absent a worldview-toppling argument) and I am proud of that", just boggles my mind.

I have no memory of discussing things like "what happens if people die?" with my parents, but I know it must have happened because every kid has those sorts of questions, and I'm kind of itching to know what they said.

It's not even like I've encountered anyone really crazy. No one is a young-earth creationist or an animal-rights extremist.
28th-Oct-2010 12:05 am - Therapy seems to be working :)
eUMa A0p
I'm not going to talk about details publicly, but suffice it to say that I seem to be happier now. I'm still in the transient stage, of course, because I only started recently, so we'll see what I have to do to achieve a happy steady state. Also, the next step is translating improved emotional health into improved work habits. Still not doing great on that.
19th-Oct-2010 12:24 am - Color meme
hello cthulhu
I think I've done a variant of this before... but anyway...

If you want to continue the meme, comment and I'll give you a color that I associate with you for some reason, and then you list ten things you like in that color.

ninja_orange gave me white.

1. Freshly laundered socks
2. The frosting on carrot cake
3. The white DNA precipitate you can sometimes see when you're doing an ethanol precipitation (it's usually very small, but if it's there then you can be confident you're doing something right)
4. Yogurt
5. When you're halfway through cleaning an old grotty whiteboard
6. Fresh mozzarella cheese... nom nom so much fun to dissect
7. Gis
8. Nice art paper, even though I don't draw or paint... just the way it feels
9. Coconut
10. The fuzz on baby ferns and other such plant things
31st-Aug-2010 09:27 pm - Foo and bar
eUMa A0p
This makes me kind of sad, but I'm happy that it still exists (and is still remembered).
26th-Aug-2010 06:57 pm - omg word geeks represent
eUMa A0p
If you haven’t read the essay, you really should, even though if you’re anything like me, it will require you to sometimes stop and look up what words like “thanatopic” and “peripeteia” mean. (Don’t worry! I won’t spoil the definitions for you here!)


source (is about something totally different and kind of disturbing)
17th-Aug-2010 05:17 pm - Catharsis
eUMa A0p
So, it's apparently well-known now that venting your anger is not actually a productive way of dealing with it, despite how good it feels (see Lifehacker and also much of the rest of the internet). I can accept this.

Does anyone have any word on catharsis of emotions besides anger? Sadness, guilt, etc? Do they follow the same pattern where distance and calm reflection is really the way to go? This seems plausible, given the assertions in Why Russians Don't Get Depressed, about how 'third-person' style reflection is much more beneficial than reliving the event.

12th-Aug-2010 10:51 pm - Fuck greatness
eUMa A0p
I went through a miniature identity crisis when I skimmed this Study Hacks article on becoming great. Half of what Study Hacks writes is about how to be the best of the best, how to live a truly remarkable life, how to be An Amazing Person. Something about my reaction to this bothered me a lot -- namely, that I thought it was all decent-sounding, practicable, and plausibly correct advice, but I had no interest whatsoever in following it. The prospect of working to become the best of the best in a particular field had become completely unpalatable.

When did that happen? Or, to approach the same question from another angle, why did I grow up with the expectation of being a brilliant genius in whatever field I chose to do my life's work? Why did I spend months and months worrying that anything less than that would be a waste of all the education and opportunities I have had?

Part of why I no longer care to be great is that it sounds like an awfully high-stress lifestyle. People constantly expecting things of you, whether they be your students or your cohort or your supervisors. The pressure to choose problems that are Important and have the potential to Save The World, rather than problems that spark your interest or that you have some idiosyncratic personal reason to care about (or that no one else is working on, or that you think you even have the capacity to address!). When the mediocre becomes completely unacceptable.

I'm not sure when exactly this happened, but now I find myself actively not caring about being the "best". I would be happy to get out of here with my sanity not noticeably worse than it is now, and find a job that provides some nominal level of intellectual stimulation and enough money to stay off the street. I suspect my current active antipathy toward the One True Path of Academia is just the pendulum swinging in the other direction... but I really, really cannot see myself surviving grad school right now.

I don't have to be a super genius scientist. That is not my ambition. I don't know whose the fuck it is, and I don't know what the fuck my ambition actually is, but right now that is fine by me.
4th-Jul-2010 02:49 pm - Next year
eUMa A0p
What to do, what to do...

1. Take the required classes and fill the rest of my schedule with advanced-biology or other electives.

2. Take the required classes and attempt an undergrad thesis in the Silver lab (where I'm currently working, at Harvard Med School). This depends on (a) their willingness to host me, (b) administrative feasibility from MIT's end (can you cross-register for Thesis units?), (c) having a viable project that I feel some sense of ownership in, (d) logistical/scheduling feasibility of thesing off campus and commuting, (e) my ability to stay motivated enough to finish the work, (f) whether I feel some sense of regret at not savoring the last of my undergrad experience...

3. Run off and do something completely different for a year, possibly involving building trails in the woods, or (going abroad and) volunteering for some public-health thing, or working in the biotech industry and actually attempting to make money... (As opposed to taking a gap-year after graduation but before grad school).
22nd-Jun-2010 08:47 am - Should I feel old now?
eUMa A0p
A friend of mine (who is both an MIT student and younger than me) got engaged. For realz. I was not sure whether to believe him at first, but it turns out to be legit. I can't imagine him getting married, but there are an awful lot of people I can't imagine getting married, and relatively few who I can.
10th-May-2010 11:43 pm - Music
eUMa A0p
Wildly Incorrect: Finite Simple Group of Order Two, Untouchable Face
Better But Still Ultimately Incorrect: Studying Stones
Correct: Pinball Wizard, And She Was

I need to diversify my collection a little.
7th-May-2010 10:26 am - This is just to say
eUMa A0p
I have eaten the plums that... yeah, yeah. I just wanted to register that sometimes I am unsad or even actively happy, and that LJ misrepresents my state because I only ever bother to post when I'm miserable.
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