Will Work For Tickets (am geek – will travel)

will work for tickets

Will work for maker faire, SXSW, or Comic-Con tickets

Will work of food tickets (& travel costs). If you get me there, I will do (just about) anything; ranging from dazzling people with my intelligence/geekyness, giving presentations/speeches, loading and unloading heavy equipment, &/or get you coffee. Note: I am far more experienced at the first two, than the last.

In previous positions I have had the luxury of going to several amazing events; like traveling to India with Geeks on a Plane.

I miss that. Don’t get me wrong, my day job is awesome, but I don’t get to go to as many awesome/geeky activities as I use to (and claim that they are work related).

There are so many great events going on every year where having a resident “handy-man” / “smart guy” / “geek-extraordinaire” might come in handy. In particular there are three events that I really want to go to:

Maker Faire Bay Area (I’d also do New York)

SXSW (It may be a little late this year to swing it…)

Comic-Con (Not quite sure who would pay to send me to Comic-Con, but I still really want to go)

I could afford to go to these events, but it would be hard for me to justify taking time off from work and school AND paying for them… to my wife 😉

So if anyone has need of my experience/expertise, or just another set of hands. I would love to help you out, meet/work with new people, and get to attend any of these events. I’ll take the time off work, if you take care of the rest.

This is where I work 

Retiring a giant

I have personally worked at 3 different NASA facilities and
visited at least half a dozen. I also worked for GE Healthcare for
a while, which endeared me to that brand in ways few outside
of GE could understand. So when I first started at Stennis Space
Center (where I currently work) a giant piece
of machinery being uninstalled caught my eye quickly.
This piece of equipment had been on site for probably longer than I
have been alive. At all NASA facilities, and manufacturers like the
one I worked at while I was with GE,
old machinery is surprisingly common. Calling
either GE or NASA “cutting edge” would be an understatement, but
you don’t need glass office desks, or brand
new everything to be cutting edge. Older equipment that
is still in use today is there because it was built to last. I
really loved seeing this article about
the NASA Crawler, which is essentially a
GIANT tank that carries the shuttles
out to launch. In the article it talks about upgrades to the
system, but how it couldn’t possibly be replaced. When I see
machines like GE Space Heater get retired it feels a little like
the changing of the guard to me, and I only hope the
equipment that our generation builds is not only better, but
performs as long as the equipment our grandparents built.

3D printing in schools

A fellow I met through a LinkedIn 3D printing group, Davvid Lewis, posted this in the group a while back, I thought it was awesome to see the curriculum they are forming around 3D printing. I honestly thought I hit the publish button… but apparently I didn’t.

Original thread.

________________________________________________________________________

Here is a copy of the way we are teaching CAD & 3D Printing at Discovery School this semester. Please keep in mind that I have only 50 minutes, once a week with the kids.

3D Design & Printing at Discovery Charter School

Class size 12 (four groups of three)

Objective: Introduce the students (and their parents) to 3D Design & Printing through the use of Computer Aided Design (CAD) programs on the computer and the physical “printing” of their designs on the 3D systems 3D Printers.

Student Expectations:

– Be on time (crucial since we only have 50 minutes a week in class)
– Access the CAD software from home
– At least once a week, look for news about 3D Design or 3D Printing in the news
– Work in their teams
– Join the off site labs for printing of their final class project designs

This semester we are breaking the program into four blocks

Block 1: Introduction & Overview

– What is CAD
– What is 3D Printing
– Selecting your software
– Your first “print”
– In The News

Block 2: Learning to use CAD

– Selecting the software
– Creating initial designs
– Modifying designs
– Rotations
– Lofts
– Cool stuff

Block 3: Semester project

– Team assignments
– Project Definition
– Project Scope
– What you WILL do
– What you will NOT do
– Timeline

Block 4: Production (to the timeline)

– Design the parts
– What WILL print
– What is HARD to print
– Test a print
– Revise as needed
– Schedule team build days
– Print the parts
– Assemble it
– Options for “printing”
– Cubify Service
– Other outsourced printer services
– Presentations of projects

200 pages per week goal, week 1 | The Tipping Point, & ‘Alot’ of links

As part of my 2013 goals I committed to writing a blog summarizing all of the pages I read every week. Last week was my first week of the reading goal and I’ve learned a few things: First, that 200 pages might be too low of a goal; second, that I need to do a better job of catologing all of the things that I read during a week; and third, that either I need to blog more in between or post these summaries on a completely different medium, otherwise this blog will be entirely devoted to my reading list.

Books:

The tipping point book review

The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell

The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference by Malcom Gladwell. (304 pages)

You can read my 3 paragraph Goodreads review here. To sum it up in fewer words, Gladwell eloquently uses entertaining and intriguing stories to outline what key ingredients are necessary to tip a message over the edge into an epidemic, or what we now commonly call “viral”.

Blogs:

The Oatmeal & hyperbole and a half (too many pages)
I had a spare hour or two on Sunday and I needed a good laugh, so I read ‘alot’ of comics by The Oatmeal, including this one. Which lead me to Allie Brosh’s website. Perhaps everyone else already knows, but Allie Brosh is creator of epic comics such as “This is why I will never be an adult” Where the image “clean all the things”; she is also the creator of the “alot” monster. She is currently battling depression, and has been for quit some time. I’m sure I’m not the only one who wishes her the best.
 
 
CNN: Print your own life-size robot for under $1,000 (~1 page)
An open source robotics project where you can print most of the parts to a humanoid robot. It’s exciting, it’s open, I like it, but… I don’t think 3D printing is always the right mfg process for parts, and I don’t think humanoid is usually the right design for a robot. More often than not a robot can preform a task better w/o articulating fingers. I think that the idea behind encouraging people to collaborate and make there own robot is fantastic. I don’t think the robot itself is ideal. But I am definitely glad to see this sort of work happening.
3d printed robot
Meet ATHLETE, NASA’s Next Robot Moon Walker (~1 page)
Nasa has a cool moon walker. Check out the blog for full details.
NASA Moon walker
 
FYI: Why Is There A Winter Flu Season? (~2 pages)
 A good analysis of why and how the cold weather actually effects the probability of you catching a cold.

via Popular Science

So those are the highlights of the week. And I am realizing that capturing the content of all of the things that I read is a great exercise for me to commit the knowledge to memory as well as to help people by condensing content and sharing my insight. Granted I’m not an expert, but I like to share what I do know, and my semi-unique perspective on the world. Given all of that I think it would be easier to give blog digests as I read them, and the book updates once a week. Or as I finish the book. That is a lot more content than I normally share on this blog, and somewhat out of the vein of what I share on here. This blog is typically reserved for my thoughts, life events, etc. And occasionally news that I find so impactful that I feel the need to talk about the implications at length. Next week you can expect to see a new blog or tumblr from me with all of the content generated by my two part goal to (1) read over 200 pages per week and (2) share that information.

Here are a few more links of what I found interested this week if you’ve actually managed to read this far and are still interested 😉

NASA Joins ESA’s “Dark Universe” Mission

Awesome skateboard rack made out of PVC

A (physics) Trampoline of Light

Going Paperless: Getting “9 Things” Done With Penultimate and Evernote

Audi Envisions A Future Of Laser Brakes and OLED Trim

Engineers pinpoint origin of bone fractures

2013 Goals

So I have spent the last few weeks working on my goals for 2013. They aren’t perfect, but I’ve come to realize (or re-realize) that goals are moving targets. They should grow and evolve as you get closer to reaching them. So rather than postpone this post until the end of the year I figured I would post them now, and then follow up at the end of 2013.

Posting these here isn’t about bragging (especially since I know many friends who will set and achieve higher goals this year). It is an attempt to make myself more accountable for these goals.

Graduate

I am 6 months into an 11 month Executive MBA program at the University of New Orleans.

University of New Orleans Privateer logo

I can’t think of a much better mascot for an MBA program than a Privateer

Graduation is December of this year. So my number one goal, and my largest time commitment outside of work, is to graduate. During my undergraduate career I honestly didn’t care that much about my GPA. I cared about learning (both inside and outside the class), paying for school (I worked at least 2 jobs and graduated with less than $5k in loans), my research, and my social life.  But this time around I care about my grades, what I’m learning, and the connections I’m making. I have a number in my head of what GPA I want to achieve. Lets just say more As than Bs and no Cs.

200 pages a week

My brother Tac Anderson had a goal for 2012 to read 52 books, 1 book per week.

I like the idea of setting a reading goal, because reading good content is a great stretch goal for any individual. If you read/learned something new every day of your life not only would you know a lot by the end, but you would stay forever young by ingraining the openness and collaborative nature of learning in your character. But with my MBA, work, etc. I felt like a goal of 52 books was ambiguous because of the drastic difference in length of the books I read. I also fear that I would finish or select books based on the goal. So after much thought the idea dawned on me to set my goal by number pages. That way whether I read a 7 page scientific journal article, a 1-2 page blog (actually read, not just skim), text for my MBA course, or science fiction, the total number of pages I digest in a week from any source would add to the goal. To help make this goal more real, track it better, and hopefully get more out of it, starting next week, I hope to have a weekly blog post of the 200+ pages I’ve read. It will hopefully be a brief (1-2 sentences per source) digest of the pages I read during the week.

I hope the weekly digest of the 200+ pages/week I read, will be useful to everyone as I hope to summarize dozens of blogs, a handful of science articles, and large chunks of fiction and non-fiction in a sentence or two each.

Run a 5k 

History:

You may or may not know that in September of 2008 I as hit by a car while ridding my bike.   In the accident my the bike frame was thrown into my left knee dislocating it, and worst of all doing bone damage to my the femur at the joint. Since then I have had two knee surgeries. The first to replace my torn ACL, micro-fracturing of the bone in an effort to induce new cartilage growth to cover the damaged bone, and repair the meniscus and MCL. The second surgery a year later was to repair a bucket tear in my lateral meniscus . Because of the location and size, removing it would have left me with almost no meniscus.

When I was hit I was training for a triathlon and hoping to work up to an Ironman before I turned 30 (I turned 30 this last year). I ran cross country in high school, swam my first 2 mile competition when I was 14, and have always been and avid cyclist (usually mountain biking). So it has been hard to not run. Both of my doctors have told me that I will eventually need a knee replacement. It is not a matter of ‘if’ but ‘when’. And that the more running I do the sooner I will need it. My first surgeon said “you should save running for the sports you do”, when I responded that “running is my sport” he recommended that I “find another sport”. He suggested cycling, but as you can imagine a month after getting hit by a car I wasn’t too keen on getting to heavy into that sport. Currently I cycle more (not as much as before the accident) but I am still weary of any and all roads, especially now that I live in the south where the apparently don’t believe in bike lanes. I currently can’t run faster than a jog and for more than a few dozen strides at a time. If I run pushing the stroller to stabilize and support I can currently jog almost a mile. But that is progress that I’ve made within the last year.

Goal:

My goal is to at least run a 5k by the end of the year. There are several training methods I have in mind to help me reach this goal, it largely depends on the progress of my knee as I go through strengthening, pre-running, and other rehab exercises. One of my biggest problems with training is not pushing myself too hard. I know there are athletic people out there who are shacking their heads and possibly yelling at there monitors that you have to push yourself, let me clarify. I have found out that I either have a high threshold for pain, or I have a neurological block. I’m don’t want to give examples for fear of sounding like a on-upper, so let me just say that I have a history of pushing to the point where I do more bad than good, I’ve been told in those instances that what I was doing should have been painful, but for me they weren’t particularly painful.

This goal includes several sub-goals. I have more specifics in writing right now (including a training calendar etc.) but as it is a living goal I will list just the higher level stuff.

  • Achieve and maintain weight of 170 pounds or less than 12% body fat. I hope to further reduce that, but for this years goal I think this is sufficient.
  • Exercise 5-10 hours per week. That is both an upper and lower goal. I don’t want to work out more than 10 hours in a week for fear of getting burnt out and/or interfering with my other goals. When you are training for long distance running it isn’t that hard to put more than 10 hours in in a week. If I start getting to that length of training I will re-evaluate the goal, but I honestly feel that if I am spending 10+ hours/week running that; 1) my knee is obviously feeling better, but that is still probably more running than is good for it, and 2) I need to rethink how I am training.

As time goes on I hope to post the things I am doing as part of my training and knee rehab. Not sure if I should start a separate blog just for my knee, but seeing as I don’t even blog here often enough I don’t think I’ll keep up with two blogs any better 😉

give up single player games

As much as I love Angry Birds, Sugar Crush, and Lego Lord of the Rings, playing a game by yourself is an addictive waste of time. There is so much more I would love to do when I manage to get a spare minute to myself. Between my MBA, work, a startup (shhh it wont launch for a few months still), a 2 year old, and a loving wife, I have to dedicate a lot fo time to the things I love; leaving fleeting few minutes to myself. So why would I spend them doing something that doesn’t matter? Of all the things I will wish I had done more of on my death bed, Angry Birds will not be one of them.

– List of things I’d rather do with my spare time:

  • Read books.
  • Make things. (the 201 & counting Instructables I’ve bookmarked in hopes of doing later)
  • Watch Battlestar Galactica. That’s right, I’ve never seen it. I’m almost ashamed to admit it openly, hopefully they won’t deny me tickets to comic-con, or revoke my engineering degree. The good news is that Haley and I started watching it, we finished episode 2 last night.
  • Write
  • Do any of the numerous things I’ve been putting off… or maybe I’ll just continue to postpone them in favor of something else on this list.
  • Watch all the movies I want to see but I know my wife doesn’t want to. Including Will Ferrel’s last two movies Casa de mi Padre and The Campaign 

There are a few more goals, but these are the big ones.

Sub absolute zero materials

russia walrus ice melt

This picture has nothing to do with the article.

I just read an article on Nature.com about a study by Ulrich Schneider, a physicist at the Ludwig Maximilian University in Munich, Germany, demonstrating stable sub zero “Quantum Gas”. And when I say “sub-zero”, I mean bellow absolute zero!

In most of my science classes growing up I was taught that it is physically impossible to go below zero Kelvin, so obviously I had to do some digging.

The blog by Nature did a good job of describing the science:

Lord Kelvin defined the absolute temperature scale in the mid-1800s in such a way that nothing could be colder than absolute zero. Physicists later realized that the absolute temperature of a gas is related to the average energy of its particles. Absolute zero corresponds to the theoretical state in which particles have no energy at all, and higher temperatures correspond to higher average energies.

However, by the 1950s, physicists working with more exotic systems began to realise that this isn’t always true: Technically, you read off the temperature of a system from a graph that plots the probabilities of its particles being found with certain energies. Normally, most particles have average or near-average energies, with only a few particles zipping around at higher energies. In theory, if the situation is reversed, with more particles having higher, rather than lower, energies, the plot would flip over and the sign of the temperature would change from a positive to a negative absolute temperature.

As I have just started educating myself on the topic I don’t want to speculate too much, but it is all very exciting. But for your reading pleasure I have found online PDFs of the original journal articles referenced in the Nature blog. I know that I always prefer to read the scientific facts rather than journalists interpretations  even if they are much more difficult to understand at times 🙂

1. Negative Absolute Temperature for Motional Degrees of Freedom The original article references the article as if it was published concurrently with the blog, but it was published in November. Having been through the publishing process I’m familiar with how it feels like an article gets “published” several times as it goes through several stages of publication (peer review, digital publication, journal publication, and sometimes a separate print publication)

2. Spin gradient demagnetization cooling of ultracold atoms This is the 2011 work of Nobel laureate, Wolfgang Ketterle (though he’s the last name on the article…?) Which is referenced as early demonstration of super cooling below zero Kelvin.

3. Equilibration rates and negative absolute temperatures for ultracold atoms in optical lattices. Referenced as the article where Achim Rosch proposed the method used by Schneider, Published in 2010

4. Interacting fermionic atoms in optical lattices di use symmetrically upwards and downwards in a gravitational potential Article Published in 2011 suggestion that materials below absolute zero could exhibit anti-gravity and other interesting properties.

I hope to read all of these articles and report back on my thoughts before too long, I’d love to hear your thoughts in the mean time.