Monday, July 20, 2009


Are uncontrolled experiments. Too many unknown variables (Water, soil, drainage, nutrients, pot size, insects, temperature, species, mood...! ) in too complex a system composed of too many parts and too many materials and chemicals (it is a Plant).

It is comforting that I have better control in the clean room. Known, controlled variables of humidity, temperature (and you name it) in a simple system, heck, a simple element (silicon!) or compound (Gallium Arsenide).

But if my plant starts dying, I can look up the Internet for tips to further try to manage this complex system. If the device I make dies, I scratch my head. And scratch my head. Gardeners across the world are smarter than this PhD student.

Monday, July 13, 2009

'Lazy' days of summer

Summer goes too fast, and when Phaedrus is in town, the speedometer breaks.
Last week we did the following, in the stated chronological order:
Work, visit friends for dinner, work, watch Ice Age : Dawn of the Dinosaurs in 3D.
Work, visit the Eno River Festival and get our caricatures drawn, work.
Work, go to an American Dance Festival concert and watch a drag performance of Beyonce's All the Single Ladies, played an hour of Table Tennis.
Work, listen to the Army Jazz band on Corcoran Street, visit a Hindu temple and unexpectedly attend a Satyanarayan Puja, watch Howards End (quite a jump from pious Hindu godly thoughts).
Work, go to the mall and buy supplies from Target for a weekend-out-of-town trip, work.
Work (and finally get experimental results and submit a grant two separate unrelated events), experience the Duke Immersive Virtual Enviroment cube, go to Target to finish shopping, go to Dain's Place with friends.
Drive to the Outer Banks, mull over the genius of the Wright brothers, beach around, watch "The Lost Colony", an outdoor drama in its 72nd year, wonder how many lakhs/crores of rupees would be needed to start and run an outdoor theater in India.
Climb up the shifting sand dunes of the Jockey's Ridge State park (is it the beach, or is it a desert?), climb up the 268 steps to the top of the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse (and NOT pant, Hurray!), go the the Graveyard of the Atlantic museum (the museum is pretending hard to not be a Graveyard.) Take the ferry to Ocracoke, beach around.
Go parasailing at 1200 feet (that was it?), watch a Kite Flying festival, drive back from the Outerbanks, eat substandard garlicky Indo-Chinese food for the umpteenth time (we never learn), watch a crappy Bollywood movie while burping out garlicky burps.

Pass out.