Sunday, January 29, 2006

I got tagged for the first time

Four jobs I've had
  • newpaper deliverer for the Trentonian
  • Tim Hortons girl
  • Zellars customer service clerck ("is there anything I can help you with today")
  • Front desk girl at the Inn on 7th
Four movies I can watch over and over
  • The Princess Bride
  • Ever After
  • 10 Things I Hate About You
  • October Sky
(I have very high class tastes in movies, I'm sure you can tell)

Four places I've lived (that's easy)
  • North Battleford, Saskatchewan
  • Collingwood, Ontario
  • Prince George, B.C.
  • Vancouver, B.C.
  • along with Trenton Ont, Niagara Falls Ont and Edmonton
Four T.V. shows I love (geek list)
  • B5
  • Firefly
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer
  • The Simpsons
Four places I've vacationed
  • the fabulous Essex Ontario
  • Northern Saskatchewan
  • Drumhellar
  • Jasper
Four on my favorite dishes
  • pizza (with any kind of meat)
  • my Mom's mac and cheese
  • chocolate of any kind
  • any combination of broccoli, caulyflower, chicken and some kind of cheese sauce
Four sites I visit daily
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day
  • Science at NASA Headline News
  • various people's blogs
Four places I'd rather be right now
  • at an observatory somewhere at a dark site
  • in Essex with my Mom and Dad
  • backpacking somewhere in Australia or New Zealand
  • cozying up on my couch
Four bloggers I am tagging
  • Jason
  • Brett (maybe he'll actually post something then, although I'm not holding my breath)
  • Tamara
  • Ben
Well that was fun.

Saturday, January 28, 2006

Amazingly fantastic...

...just like God

p.s thats the aurora with a volcano exploding.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Whoa, Green!

The green is very bright. I like things that are bright and colourful. I really have nothing to say, my electrodynamics assignment is just getting a little tedious and so I wanted a break. I got my new Ontario Health Card. I finally have i.d. that is valid again and actually looks like me. Although, I look very strange in the picture. I'm listening to Michelle Branch because it is girl music and I am a girl. That's all.

Random Pictures from Essex

Wednesday, January 25, 2006



Today is my sister's, Kimberly and Katrina's, birthday. I can't believe my little sisters are turning 18 today and that they are graduating high school this June.

Kim and Katrina, I'm so proud to be your big sister. Hope you have an excellent day. And good luck on your exams this week. Love you. From: Stephanie

Friday, January 20, 2006


That's right folks, 131! That was my score in 5 pin bowling this evening. Now I know to the average human this would not seem like a big deal, after all 131 is not that high of a score. But trust me, that is a high score by a long shot for me. And this also included bowling 2, count'em 2, strikes in a row!!!!!!!

P.S. I am only posting this because Jason made fun of me saying that I probably would post it.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Hertzsprung-Russell Diagrams

Here is one of my favorite things in astronomy. This is an example of a Hertzsprung-Russell Diagram. They are one of the most usefull tools designed in astronomy. This particular H-R diagram is a plot of the stars close to our Sun.

Once you know some of the physical data for a star (mass, effective temperature, luminostiy, radius...), you can plot it on an H-R diagram. And using present day evolutionary theory for stars, you can tell exactly were it is going as it ages. The x and y axis can be a lot of different things, in this case they are temperature and luminosity wrt to the Sun's luminosity. Also plotted with the temperature are the letters OBAFGKM. These are the spectral classes for stars. The diagram is divided into 4 main sections; the Main Sequence, Giants, Supergiants and White Dwarfs. You will notice that most of the stars lie on the Main Sequence. This is because stars spend most of their lives on the Main Sequence happily burning hydrogen in their cores. What happens when a star leaves the Main Sequence depends on how large the star is. The length of time that a star spends as a MS star also depends on it's size. The largest stars are in the upper left corner and decrease in size as you move down and to the right. The smaller the star, the longer it lives and the colder it is.

The Sun is classified as a G5 type star and is currently sitting on the Main Sequence. Disasterous consequences will occur for Earth when the Sun leaves, but humans have nothing to worry about because we wont last that long. (Aside- I apparently had my brother, Jeremy, scarred for years when I told him about the life cycle of the Sun. I apparently didn't mention any time spans and he was afraid we would all wake up one morning and the Sun would be this mounsterous giant, boiling us all away). The Sun will become a red giant and then a white dwarf. It's obviously a lot more complicated then that, but I wont "bore" you with the details. If you are interested, here is a rather decent link. It even plots the Sun's progress on an H-R diagram.

Anyways, I think their really interesting and stellar evolution and classification is my favorite thing to study in astronomy.

H-R diagram from

A Quantum Mechanics Joke

Q: Why is Hamilton so smoggy?

A: Because all of the Hamiltonians commute!


I quite imagine that most of you would not even realize that that was a joke if I hadn't told you in the title, but I thought it was amussing.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006


There, happy Jason. It's a picture of Snowball, which by the way I had to steal from your blog because you have never sent me any pictures of him.

Saturday, January 14, 2006

More pictures

Well, since everyone was so rude about the last set of cat pictures, here are some more. These ones even include the other 2 cats in the Gilbert family, Mazy and Tesseract's cousins, Theo and Eowyn.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

And the physics posts continue

Did you guys really think you could escape very long without me making some kind of physics post? This semester I am taking my first real course in Quantum Mechanics (dun dun dun) (my textbook is really cute, it has a drawing of Schrodinger's cat on the front of it).

In quantum mechanics, one of the proporties of a particle that you are looking for is it's so called wave function (you know, wave/particle duality and all that fun stuff), which you obtain from solving Schrodinger's Equation. The statistical interpretation of the wave function is that it gives the probability of finding the particle at a certain point at a certain time. Since this is only a probability that you are able to find, it suggests that you can not predict with certainty the outcome of an experiment to measure the location of a particle. So if you can make a measurement that gives you a position for the particle, the question is where was the particle just before you made the measurement? There are three schools of thought that deal with this.

1. The Realist- they suggest that the particle was at the location that you found it in when you took the measurement. Thus, they suggest that quantum mechanics is an incomplete theory because of your inability to predict the position of the particle. There must be a hidden variable that we have not yet discovered that will complete quantum mechanics. This is the view that Einstein took.

2. The Orthodox- they suggest that the particle wasn't really anywhere, it just existed in it's wave form until the act of measurement forced the wave function to collapse to a definite location where the measurement is being taken.

3. The Agnostic- they refuse to answer the question.

Recent experiment and theory suggests that it does make an observable difference as to weither or not the particle had a precise position before measurement. Thus the 3rd view is out. And more specifically have suggested that a particle does not have a definite position before measurement. (paraphrased from Introduction to Quantum Mechanics, 2nd ed., Griffiths, David. 2005 Pearson Education Inc)

I really don't know enough about quantum mechanics to definitly say which stance I take. I think that I would lean more towards the orthodox view. I know that there are huge amounts of things that we are missing in a lot of theories, but the realist view that there is some variable that we can't find or measure and may never be able to detect seems a little like we are getting into the same realm that aether and dark matter fit into.

I find it odd that Einstein, with his Theory of Special Relativity, destroyed the idea of aether, which scientists and philosophers held on to for thousands of years, but he could not accept the probability nature of quantum mechanics and instead chose to believe that there was this unmeasureable hidden variable.

Back to my dark matter comment. There is some very aetherest about dark matter. As one of my friends likes to say, "dark matter is today's aether". I agree with that. There must be something very wrong with our equations if they only work because about 90% of the universe is made up of stuff we can't detect. Now I'm not saying that I don't at all think there is any matter out there that we can't presently detect. I'm just saying that their measurements for the amount of dark matter seems a little extream. Just because something works on a local scale, doesn't mean that it is correct for the universe. Maybe once you get out to galactic scales, the dependance of force on radius changes slightly. We don't know.

I have a feeling that before I die there will be some sort of fundamental change in the way we look at the universe. Like the way Einstein changed the view on aether. At least, I hope there is because that would be exciting.

Well, I went on for a lot longer then I intended and I'm sure most of you didn't even bother to read this. But for all you critics out there who question the usefullness of all this QM professor quoted some statistic that claimed 20-30% of all commercial revinew in the U.S came from products that owe their existiance to our understanding of quantum mechanics. So there!

Monday, January 09, 2006

The pretty Christmas tree at Essex

I got a digital camera for Christmas, so now there will be a lot more random pictures appearing on my blog. How fun! For me at least. So here are some of the Christmas tree back home.

Pretty lights and an angel that I made in gr. 5 I believe it was.

My Dad got some Flames balls from the Thrift Store and decided he would put them up on the tree just for me (barf). Christmas is fun and I love it.

Back in Edmonton

I'm back in Edmonton and school has started once again. I had a fantastic time back home with my family. I just spent $507 on textbooks. Oh the joys of being in classes that not many people take and those who take them never bring back their textbooks (ie. me). I really can't think of things to write, so I'll leave it at that:)