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NullVoid » 2005 » September NullVoid » 2005 » September

Archive for September, 2005

online Chinese input

Sunday, September 25th, 2005 -- By ET





Only registered user can see this post

Sunday, September 18th, 2005 -- By ET

I’ve added a viewlevel2 plugin. xixi1



Captcha Implemented

Wednesday, September 14th, 2005 -- By ET

Recently, I get so many spam on my cell phone’s SMS. Many spammers are using the Text Messaging interface on my Contact page to send SMS spam to me. So I am forced to use Captcha to deter robots. I generate 3 random characters, and when you send a message to me, you have to get the 3 characters correct before the program will send out the text message to my cell phone. It is immediately effective. :-)

One more word for Qinjia, I got your SMS the other night. This blog is hosted on my own server in my office. The infrastructure is Apache+Perl+PHP+MySQL. Took me a day to design the look and feel.

Top 10 Things to Do in Chicago Before You Die

Tuesday, September 13th, 2005 -- By ET

Originally posted by hurryup@u-space
1.Wrigley Field
1060 W Addison, Chicago, IL
Sip an Old Style and cheer on the Cubbies from the lively bleacher seats of this historic ballpark.

2.Art Institute of Chicago
111 S Michigan Ave, Chicago, IL
Spend an afternoon at this famed Michigan Avenue museum and gaze at Seurat’s “Sunday on La Grande Jatte.”

3.Signature Lounge
875 N Michigan Ave, Chicago, IL
Settle into a window-side table 96 stories above the Magnificent Mile and drink in spectacular city views and sidecars.

4.Lou Malnati’s Pizzeria
439 N Wells St, Chicago, IL
Go to deep-dish heaven with a flaky-crusted, cheese-oozing pie from this pizza joint. FT thread on Chicago Pizza here.

5.Buddy Guy’s Legends
754 S Wabash Ave, Chicago, IL
Catch an authentic Chicago blues set by the club’s guitar-wailin’ owner during his annual stand each January.

6.The Wiener’s Circle
2622 N Clark St, Chicago, IL
Get yelled at by the feisty late-night crew while ordering a Chicago dog at this legendary spot for red hots. FT thread on Best Chicago Hot Dog here.

7.Second City
1616 North Wells St., Chicago, IL
Glimpse tomorrow’s comedy superstars at the legendary club that helped launch Bill Murray, Mike Myers and many other famous jokesters. FT thread on Seco
nd City here.

8.Chicago from the Lake
435 E Illinois St, Chicago, IL
Take an architectural riverboat tour and find out who built the corncob-shaped Marina Towers.

9.Billy Goat Tavern
430 N Michigan Ave, Chicago, IL
Dig into a double cheeseburger with chips (no fries!) at this divey lunch counter made famous by John Belushi on SNL.

10.Drake Hotel
140 East Walton Pl, Chicago, IL
Take a break from Mag Mile shopping with afternoon tea at this world-famous hotel.

air pressure at the time of dinosaurs

Monday, September 12th, 2005 -- By ET

I wrote about innovation and innovative ideas for many times. I’m thinking to create a new category in my blog dedicated to innovations now. It is always so entertaining to read about innovative ideas. Here is one: When we think about dinosaurs, we immediately think about how they got extinct, and there are certainly many explanations out there. I came across this extremely interesting article talking about the air pressure at the time of dinosaurs. In the abstract:

If we visit dinosaurland we will come across some of the most amazing and puzzling phenomena. For example: how can a flying creature as large as a giant quetzalcoatlus (12-15 m wingspan) actually fly when aerodynamic theory and biology both say that it cannot. Also, how can a giant dinosaur such as an apatosaur pump blood up to its brain (more than 13 m above its heart) when animal energetics and physics say that in no way can it do it.
Do we have to change the laws of physics and biology? I don’t think so. Instead we have to accept that ancient Earth’s atmosphereic pressure was very different from what it is today.

The paper concludes: “If you allow yourself to entertain the idea that a higher atmospheric pressure, say between 3 and 5 bar, could have existed in the time of the dinosaurs, it would resolve two of the anomalies that face us today, which are:
* how a dinosaur’s heart could pump blood 7 or more meters upwards, without introducing the ideas of multiple hearts (as many as 8), giant hearts, and hearts located right under their chins, and
* how a giant flying quetzalcoatlus had the energy to stay airborne, something that biology and aerodynamics says is not possible in today’s atmosphere. ”
The author, Octave levenspiel, is not a biologist, nor an archeologist, instead, his specialty is chemical engineering. In academia, there is an old saying:”publish or perish”. Here is the history of submission of this paper:
1. Science , 1992
2. Nature , 1992
3. American Scientist , 1992
4. Science , 1993
5. Nature , 1993
6. Geology , 1993
7. ChemTech , 1993
8. American Scientist , 1994
9. American Scientist , 1996
10. The Sciences , 1996
11. Endeavor , 1996
12. Chemical Engineering Education , 1996
13. Chemical Engineering Science , 1998
14. Science , 1998
15. PUBLISHED in Chemical Innovation , May 2000, Dec 2000
16. Nature , 2004
17. American Scientist , 2004
18. The Lancet , 2004
19. Geology , 2005

Like many great research in history (Wegener’s continental land masses drifting theory and himself were mocked for over 50 years before people suddenly found he had been right), this paper got rejected over and over again. We read so many mediocre papers in all fields, and because they follow a certain way of writing, they get accepted. Innovative ideas helps people to get published, but there seems to be an invisible boundary. I am not an expert in physics or archeology, I hope this paper can get read by more people. Not just about the result of higher air pressure, but about the unique angle of looking at things.

The Best of Chinese Calligraphy

Monday, September 12th, 2005 -- By ET

Eh. This pain has tortured me for almost a month now. My productivity in terms of research has been near zero. (Maybe this is because my productivity was 200% before this, and I used up my karma for this period :-p) Yet, I can not sleep all the time for so many days, so I found something meaningful for me to do while I was waiting to get well. I remember when I was young, my parents asked me to practice and write Chinese calligraphy, the point was (and is) not to write beautiful characters, but to get a feeling of tranquility, or in other words, a peaceful mind that is harmoinzed with the body. I would say, in retrospect, this training has very deep impact on me. I enjoy a peaceful mental state, and my creativity is the highest when I can find this state of serenity. I concur with some ancient artist who once said that he was most creative when he was at 3 places: "on horse", "on pillow", and "on toilet". lantingxu So in the last month, while I was not thinking about my research, I enjoyed appreciating the calligraphy by Wang Xizhi. He was considered to be the "god of calligraphy" by many. Above is his representative work called "Lan Ting Xu" (Preface to the Proceedings of Annual Meeting of Poets in Lanting :-p). lantingxu

ps. Thanks to Gordon for pointing out a spelling mistake 


Sunday, September 11th, 2005 -- By ET

wolfram tones
In a previous blog entry, I mentioned Steven Wolfram who was the creator of Mathematica. He recently applied his research of “A New Kind of Science“(Book readable online) to art. This is called “Wolfram Tones“, which instantly create unique music in many different genres. After listening to some compositions and creating a few random ones myself, I think it is very cool.

I don’t think it is academically pathbreaking or something like that, but using computer to create art work (or scientific papers in that matter) has been touted by computer scientists for a long long time. This one is actually quite near. If there is a Turing test for music creation, I would give this one a pass.

Katrina aftermath

Friday, September 2nd, 2005 -- By ET

I’ve been watching various news reports on Katrina aftermath. This is the first time I watched so much TV since I came to the US in 2000. Part of the reason is that I got sick for two weeks with a chest pain (forcing me to stop working and think about the real world), and part of the reason is that I really feel sorry for the people affected by the hurricane.

I see excellent news reports by Shepard Smith, and co-host Rivera (Fox), Anderson Cooper (CNN) and excellent anchor by Paula Zahn and Larry King. They showed their compassion in the reporting (while considered less professional, these really make me respect them as great human beings). Shame on Bill O’Reiley, you are still naggling about color of people and looters having 5 flat screen TVs in their apartment, you miss the whole point. I give you a big thumb down.

I can imagine the magnitude of the desperateness of the people trapped in the Superdome, but I really can not say I know how hard it is to be actually there. Just wish this ends soon and hope these people can be brought to a better place.

You win

Friday, September 2nd, 2005 -- By ET

First they ignore you. Then they laugh at you. Then they fight you. Then you win.


Newton and Einstein

Thursday, September 1st, 2005 -- By ET

When scientists die, they go to heaven. Once Einstein and other scientists are playing hide and seek in heaven, and it is Einstein’s turn to find people. After counting to ten, all other people disappear, except Newton. He stands boldly on a square brick. Einstein grabs him and says:”here you are, Newton!”.

Smiling sheepishly, Newton says:”No, no, my friend. My name name is Pascal, as I’m Newton over a square meter.”

If you don’t know what I’m talking about, go check the high school physics textbook. :-)

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