Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Sore legs feel good

After a semester of epic sitting in a lecture hall, summer exercise feels so good! Chris and I explored the Midtown Greenway by bike on Monday, and made it from our apartment to just beyond Lyndale in Minneapolis. That's a hair over 13 miles, which is the distance I biked for the St. Olaf mini-triathlon that we did at the end of senior year. Our next goal is to make it from here to Lake Calhoun and back. After that, who knows?

We also discovered the East River Parkway, an amazingly wild-feeling place in the middle of the city. Winnie got to go for a swim in the river and met another wild urban corgi on the trail. We have so much city left to discover!

Monday, June 23, 2008


The new MPG, Miles Pr Goat!


Think Winnie would be a good at "urban mushing?"

Reminds me of this post.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Not MPG - GP1kM

That's Gallons Pr. 1000 Miles - a better way to understand fuel savings. Why? Because most people (including me) imagine fuel savings as linear, meaning that every 1 MPG saved is less gas used no matter your vehicle. So going from 25 mpg to 50 mpg should save more than going from 10 mpg to 20 right? Not true, and you can see why in this video from Duke University:

Here is a graph shoing how many gallons you use over 1000 miles in cars ranging from 10 to 100 MPG. As you can see, it gets exponentially more difficult to achieve a 50% reduction in fuel usage.

Of course, if you can go from 10 mpg to 50 mpg that would be the best, but if you have the option of upgrading one of two cars, go for the low MPG one first!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008


My new favorite political junky is sports statistician turned polling analyst Nate Silver over at - named for the 538 electoral votes up for grabs in November. He was a rising star during the primary for his detailed analysis and prediction based on complicated formulas of past voting history, past polling accuracy, demographics, and tons of other factors. So he doesn't just do a poll-of-polls to get his numbers, he runs them through scenarios to get a spread of predictions.
So his predictions carry a lot of weight, and his current electoral map/prediction just about matches my most optimistic/wild predictions for Obama in November. Thanks to a bunch of polls out today, Obama is now ahead in Florida, Ohio, and Pennsylvania. McCain absolutely must win one of those states to have any chance. It is still early and candidates have come back from further, but the longer McCain spends in this dismal territory the harder it is to make his case.

And a side note, stories like this are why I love Mike Huckabee:
Huckabee suggested questions about whether he might join McCain on the ticket were premature. "You can't accept an invitation to the prom until the football captain asks you. So I'm not going to go out and buy the outfit just yet," said Huckabee

Time to get those creative juices flowing

So that's where it comes from.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Summah time

It's been 25 days since second year ended, and the closest I've gotten to thinking about school was pondering my shiny new third year mailbox in the Pomeroy Center as I biked past it on the way to the farmer's market this morning. Our class rep was ambitious enough to convince our clinical pathology professor to send out summer review problems, which I haven't even opened... And I keep meaning to flip through some flashcards to keep my brain engaged, but haven't gotten around to that either.

It's fantastic!

Instead, I am getting some much-needed practice in the clinic learning practical skills, like how to restrain dogs, how to talk to clients, and how to take radiographs. Not that they don't go over those things in school, but you really can't learn it all without getting the chance to do it on a regular basis. Hopefully getting more confident with the basics will help me out when I reach clinics in school- it might be easier to answer questions that clinicians fire at me when I'm not busy wondering something stupid like, "Wait, is a 25 gauge needle bigger or smaller than a 20 gauge?"

In other news, Chris and I both got the entire first week of July off, so we get to head up north for our 5 year anniversary, a little camping, and hopefully more successful fishing than we had at the end of May!

The Talking Goat

Waaaaa, waahhhh, whhaaattttt!

Friday, June 13, 2008

Silent Library

While I am on a YouTube kick, here is another video I have been talking about. It is from the Japanese game show "Gaki No Tsukai" or "Silent Library." The entire premise is that A: it is funny to watch other's misfortune and B: that not being able to laugh makes anything 10x more funny than it otherwise would be. Also, enjoy the names of the punishments including my favorite "Old Man Bites Tenderly."

Project Make McCain Exciting

I commented on McCain's truly bad speech he gave on the night Obama clinched the nomination, but the green background behind him caught the eye of Steven Colbert who has created "Project Make McCain Exciting" by distributing video of him speaking with just the green background and inviting other to add in their own video. Here is the clip:

In other political news, Obama is on a serious roll while McCain is struggling. The normally very cautious Kevin Drum predicts that Obama will lead McCain by at least 5 points nationally until november. While I might not be that optimistic, it does seem clear that Obama is already being treated as a winner and McCain the looser and Americans just don't turn out for losers. Interesting fact that I didn't remember, Kerry was never ahead in national polling - at least by NBC. In fact Bush was leading by 1-4 points the entire race, and won by 3% nationwide. Today? Obama up by 7

This is clearly Obama's race to loose and judging by the speed his campaign has consolidated its primary win, the money they are raising, the fact that they will have offices all 50 states speaks to me of a campaign that will have the upper hand on everything this election. It will be fun to watch. 

The Reverse Graffiti Project

I have talked about this artist before, known as Paul "Moose" Curtis, but he has a new video out that highlights his amazing work:

Thursday, June 12, 2008


Over the past weekend and this week a lot of work has gone into tuning up my Dad's 1970's Gitane road bike for daily use. Big thanks to L. for all the work he put into everything! Megan's bike too. All of the "New" parts below are from his marvelous parts bin minus the rubber. We also discovered that the wheels that say they are standard 27"/700 cc are really the "French" measurement which is more like 705 cc so my new tires wouldn't work. Solution? New wheels! Since the bike came out of the shed it has gotten:
  • New tires and tubes
  • New wheels
  • New handlebars and tape
  • New brake levers
  • Removed the oddly low center gear and center derailer and made it a 5 speed

Now it feels just great! The new wheels and tires have much better stick in the corners and over loose objects than the old ones who's side walls had turned to stone a while ago, and they spin with much lower resistance than before. The handle bars are a little wider too which adds to wind resistance but I like the control it gives me.

I have run into a problem though, on Monday when I was adjusting the derailer my chain fell of into the spokes and I slammed on the brakes and flew forward and then back, hitting my tail bone on either the seat tip or the cross bar. Very painful. But I didn't think too much about it and it didn't really bother me until Megan and I were riding on Tuesday and it simply tapped it against the seat while crossing the street and felt just like I slammed down it it again. It is hard to describe, but it was a very clear wake up call that said "don't touch me!" So now that I have a great bike I have to stay off it for a little while.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

BMW "GINA" concept

I saw this video for BMW's new "GINA" concept car and was really blown away. The skin of the car is made of fabric with arms underneath to control the contours of the design. It is worth watching just to see the headlight open at 2:18. Wow!

Benefits beyond style include some serious weight reduction, and the ability to change aerodynamics on the fly to best match your speed and performance requirements. Perhaps $4 gas is just the ticket for a real automotive revolution.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Victory and Electricity

"Tonight, I can stand before you and say that I will be the Democratic nominee for President of the United States."
You couldn't hear yourself anymore. In fact you couldn't even hear much after "I can stand before you and say that I will be..." I had to read the rest on the big screen just to make sure he had really said it. The crowd was electric and just couldn't contain its excitement the entire speech. It was as if, after a moment of pause, every one would realize that hey, we are here on this night. And go wild again. The culmination was finally after fits and starts,  the entire crowd coming together in unison chanting the campaign theme, "Yes We Can."  It was amazing. 
"America, this is our moment. This is our time. Our time to turn the page on the policies of the past. Our time to bring new energy and new ideas to the challenges we face. Our time to offer a new direction for the country we love."
There we something like 17,000 people inside, and another 15,000 outside watching on a projection. It is not often that you know you are at some kind of historic moment, but this was a historic moment.

Via Talking Points Memo, here is the entire speech. Note that I had no idea he kept saying "thank you" at the start until just now it was that loud. Yes We Can is at 22:00

And now I can feel the energy pushing forward into the general election. John McCain gave an anemic speech tonight to 600 people rolling out the *New McCain* now in a pleasing shade of independent green . If the campaign until November looks anything like it did tonight, he is doomed. 

EDIT: TPM has a highlight reel of some McCain speech reaction last night here
And here is a journalists personal experience sitting in the press section in front of us. Quote: "It's hard to differentiate the moments of applause from the crowd of 17,000 because they were so frequent and sustained. It's likely the venue has not heard applause that loud at any Minnesota Wild game. When he promised that he would not use religion as a wedge, the Coke in the bottle next to my laptop rippled from the vibrations."
And yes, apparently the fist bump is the new peck on the cheek. 

He's in!

Chris made it into the Xcel Center, amongst the 50,000 people who turned up to see Obama... Hooray, the primaries are over!!

Obama in St. Paul

Tonight doors open at 7:00 at the Excel Energy Center in St. Paul for a 9:30ish appearance by Barack Obama. The venue is of course symbolic being the location of the 2008 Republican nomination, and the timing will be critical too. While it does not appear that he will gain enough delegates between now and tonight to really/officially/completely/finally clinch the nomination tonight he will be very very close. As of this moment 3:20 3:50 he is 37 29.5 27 away, and he will get 15-17 from voting tonight and another five super delegates if he wins MT which he almost certainly will. The AP reported that Hillary would be conceding tonight but I don't think that is the case. Rather she will pitch her case that she is more electable in November one more time, and then say that once Obama reaches the total number for the nomination she will concede. For his part, I don't think Obama will declare "victory" per se but will say that Democrats have voted, caucused, and organized and that they have chosen him to take on John McCain. He will also have very nice things to say about the Clinton campaign.

I am planning to go tonight so I can see history myself! Excel holds about 18,000 people - 1,000 less than the Target Center that he managed to fill back in February. At least it will be warmer as people wait outside.

EDIT: An Obama for Senate button just sold for $202 on ebay. I am going to hold on to mine!

Monday, June 02, 2008

End of second year

With all the other excitement lately, I haven't said a whole lot about school. I have officially finished second year (hooray)! Here's how I did this semester:
  • Professional Skills IV: S (pass)
  • Vet Imaging I: A
  • Reproductive Biology: B
  • Vet Neuropharmacology: A
  • Clinical Skills IV: S
  • Surgery/Anesthesia/Critical Care: A
  • Skin and Adnexa: A
  • Cardiopulmonary Disorders: B
  • Nervous System Disorders: B
  • Ophthalmology: A-
  • Urinary Systems Disorders: A
  • Obstetrics: A
  • Obstetrics Lab: A
  • Vet Clinical Pathology: A-
  • Integrative Medicine: S
  • Avian Core: A
  • Medical Care of Zoo Animals: S
This was, ironically, my best semester grade-wise so far. Thanks to everyone who tolerated my constant refrain of "Sorry, I can't, I have to study..." all semester!
I started training at the clinic last week, and will be working Monday-Friday for the next couple of weeks while I figure out a schedule. Everyone has been super friendly, and I'm excited to finally be a productive member of a clinic! I will be an Avimark master before long.
So, hooray! Onward to third year!