Category: Conference Travels

Where am I ?

It seems that ever since returning home, I’ve been away from home (as I write this from a hotel room in Denver, Colorado). I’ve been to Mississippi, Oregon, Maryland/DC, and Denver. Lately, I find myself a bit confused in the mornings as I try to figure out where, exactly, I am (especially since the prior month was spent in all manner of accommodations in India). Especially weird is waking up from a nap on a plane wondering where exactly I am going and looking at the boarding pass to find out. There’s one more trip to go next weekend (New Orleans) and then I’m home for a solid six weeks with no interruptions, appointments, trips, or classes. I am going to lock myself in my office and write the first three chapters of my dissertation. Really. It’s my window of opportunity. It will happen. What else is going on? Joel is happily playing Super Mario World at home (guess what we bought) while I travel around. The dogs (Halley especially) are getting into trouble while Joel is at work. Halley first ate a loaf of bread off the counter and then, yesterday, Joel found her behind the gate (6-inch gap) in the cat’s litter box (don’t ask). There’s a new project in the works, but I can’t really even talk about it, and it will take several months to...

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Voodoo Doughnut

When I told Leah I was going to Portland, she suggested Voodoo Dooughnut as a must-see destination. So, once the sun came out I went in search of Leah’s mecca. Ironically, since I’ve recently been traveling in India, the public transportation system here in Portland was a bit baffling. One of the trolley lines is under construction, so you had to take a bus to the next working trolley stop, take the trolley to the metro line, and then the metro line to a stop near my destination. Later I realized that I could’ve just walked from my hotel and it would’ve taken about 20 minutes. How do you know when you’ve arrived at Voodoo Doughnut? Look for the line! The menu inside is a bit baffling. When you order a “Blood filled Voodoo Doughnut” what on earth are you going to get? (answer later … discuss amongst yourselves) There is also a showcase of all manner of bizarre dooughnuts: Including the maple bar with bacon? And, because I don’t want you to be in suspense for too long, here’s the Blood filled Voodoo Doughnut. It is raspberry-filled, and there’s a pretzel stake driven through it’s heart. Possibly Related Posts: Where am I ? Another Monument Walk in DC Technology Trip to Hope College Field Trip to Wolfram Research AMATYC Walk the...

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Technology Trip to Hope College

Last week our new Computing & Technology Club (plus a couple faculty) went on a field trip to Hope College to see some of their coolest technology. We saw lasers, their cluster supercomputers, their 3-D projector, and the particle accelerator. I think the technology that was easiest for the students to understand was the supercomputer and projector. Brent Krueger, Paul Van Allsburg, and Graham Peaslee were our great tour guides. I snapped a couple of pictures of the supercomputer and 3D projector. The amount of power that runs to the cluster computers is sure impressive! Of course, a 2-D monitor does no justice to the 3-D projector, but the ability to look at molecules in biochemistry in 3-D is definitely the coolest teaching advance for chemistry that I’ve seen! I remember struggling with organic and biochemistry and now I want to go back and retake both classes in 3-D! When I visit college campuses, I often find that I want desperately to go back to school and get a degree in _________ (fill in the blank). Perhaps I am just doomed to collect degrees until I die. I’d like to get a degree in Arabic, a degree in Physics, and a Masters degree in Chemistry.. I’d like a degree in Graphic Design and a degree in Music (did you know I play the Viola?). I’d like a degree in...

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Field Trip to Wolfram Research

October was a busy month (I was out of town 3 out of 4 weekends), so now I’m catching up. One of my trips was to the Mathematica User Conference in Champaign, Illinois. While I was there I got a tour of Wolfram Research. Like other tech companies I’ve visited, they also have a “creativity” room – this one included comfy chairs, a wooden periodic table (with elements in the compartments), a pendulum that hangs over a sand pit. I wish we’d get “creativity” (play) room at our college! I haven’t been a hard-core Mathematica user, but I’ve been extremely intrigued with the Wolfram Demonstrations Project, and how we can use the demos in our classes. This is tricky, because the demos were never really intended to be anything other than demos. Demonstrations are created by Mathematica users who build the demos because thay are fun or interesting. This user-generated content is growing at a phenominal rate – sometime this week Wolfram should be adding the 4,000th demonstration. There was this great video playing outside the exhibit hall/snack room that showcased a variety of Wolfram Demonstrations.   My presentation was about online calculus and how I am trying to use Wolfram Demonstrations as a teaching tool in this course. Since the demos are not designed for teaching purposes, I often find myself wishing for a slightly different version of...

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