Sunday, February 22, 2009

dinitrogen trioxide.

so... another day, another two weeks since i've taken the time to put anything up on the ol' pig pen blogwash. anyway, time to act as if that never happened.

i've decided that the key to happiness, or at least absence of aggravation, is essentially the delay of affect or knowledge of affect. this seems to be the case at least as a student right now.

i'm by no means seeking to convince anybody that you should forget consequences in order to paint a picture of a more pleasant reality. instead, it's sort of a method for dealing with really frustrating situations.

testing is part of education. fair enough.
you know (or remember) the really annoying feeling of reading a question, knowing the answer is somewhere inside your huge skull, and still putting the wrong answer simply because you can't seem to claw it out? yeah. i have that somewhat frequently. now, if i hear the answer to such questions within hours of taking the test, i'll be aggravated. within a day or two, annoyed. past that, i can view it subjectively. or as close to it as i'll ever be, i suppose.

the reason i bring this up is because i used this exact same method on friday after a chemistry test. we'll see how i did soon enough. but the story goes something like this--

friday, at three forty-five, i enter the testing center after studying for a few hours. i bring with me a packet of cookies, three mechanical pencils, and a sheet of graph paper for notes and pencil work. i recieve my test, solubility chart, and bubble sheet and head for the first left-hand-friendly desk i can find.

test begins. i work on the first ten problems for half an hour. fifty questions to go with two and a half hours left before i need to turn it in. now, the first ten i had a fair grasp of. it was tricky, but most of the answers options i picked had perfectly matched the answer i came to. around question eleven, that changed. and so it went. i decided instead of taking forever on each one, i'd blaze throught the ones i already knew. and i did. maybe half the test was "easy" stuff i could quickly recall. as for the rest, i took a break before i started. i'd been there an hour and a half by the time i had completed all the stuff i knew.

cookie break.

the sun that had been peaking in the window and pouring on my desk at the beginning had since migrated to the next row over and my wrist was cramping. it's strange though, after the cookies, the testing center took on a different feeling. at first enterance, it's an opponenent. something to beat. as your test continues, it becomes a tyrant--something you must submit to or conquer. but when you've been there for a few hours, your eating a cookie, and you have a few moments to take in atmosphere of pencil lead and fluttering papers, it becomes a sort of friend. not one you'd want to hang out with, more the kind of friend that offers a shoulder to cry on. it's almost as if he would rather you didn't have to be there, but since you do, he's going to try to keep you as comfortable as he can.

but i digress.

when the cookies were gone, i continued on. this is where educated and non educated guessing came into play much more than before. either way, within another hour's time, i had completed the exam. entrance time: 15:45. exit time: 18:30. it was quite a trip.

and now on the the point.
you see, i don't know how i did on that test. they have a tv screen when you leave that will tell you, but i decided not to look. now, i still don't know, but it's something that i can't change now. so why let it ruin my weekend?
i have an anatomy mid-term on monday, and i think i'll check my chem score after that. we'll see how i did on a chemistry test after i take an anatomy exam and hope the edge is worn off if the grade is poor.

and so, my idea of a delay equalling a lack of aggrivation will possibly be put to the test.

i suppose we'll see.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

robot anatomy 220

not to make everything about anatomy, but a quick mention that it's pretty awesome. yesterday we were studying the leg and we got to look at this HUGE specimen of a leg. pretty rad stuff. handling it was tricky business, though, and i needed the assistance of the girl across the table just to turn it over. very exciting.

anyway, so this leg got me to thinking about robots. every time i see muscle structures i find my mind wanders to far away images of threepio and his gears and pulleys, as well as other robots. the same way our muscles pull various points to create movement of the body, various hydraulic pumps and pressure tubes keep the same sort of duties. of course, they have the upper hand in being able to both pull and push (where as our muscles can only pull--that's whey they need opposing muscles). however, they don't have the biological structure that can repair itself and improve with use. i guess you just have to decide which is better. having muscles that are more easily damaged or strained, bearing in mind that they can (usually) repair themselves; or having techno-muscles that only weaken with use and must be externally repaired, but are generally much more versatile and powerful (not to mention, after a few missions, you can upgrade with future-aged money).

of course, the skeleton on the other hand is of a more insect-like nature. while inner structures surely help in supporting the internal parts and wiring, the casing which contains it all is surely reminiscent of an locust's exoskeleton. just think, if i crush your leg in a compressor (horizontally), you're body is designed to be able to take some of the pressure in your softer tissues before your bone structure is damaged. painful, yes--but you could still limp home. on the other hand, a robot's leg (or limb otherwise), if crushed even a bit, causes immediate damage to his casing and thus his support structure. walking home would be no treat where every step further damaged your vertical support as it crinkled under your weight. following this same example, though, if your meaty leg was so thoroughly compressed that the bone was broken or otherwise damaged, to correct the damage takes a)a hefty load of time and babying, and possibly b)operations where the external tissue must be somehow bypassed to correct the injury. meanwhile, robo-friend catches a cab, gets his leg casing replaced, and is running marathons within hours--if he was already planning on them. otherwise, he would still probably want to just rest.

the closest thing to vital organs that a droid has is circuit boards and batteries, and those are more like an rc car than anything else. we wouldn't want wires frying our systems nor would robots want wet, fleshy organs flopping around causing problems. no need to compare apples and oranges here.

sensory organs are one where you win some, you lose some. we have eyes that allow us to process great amounts of information, ears that hear things nearby. robots have "eyes" that can pinpoint and analyze moles on individuals in distant cities and "ears" that can hear a pin drop in a pin-making factory. one point robots. likewise, if we lose sight or hearing, good luck replacing them. robots? one trip to the shop. two points robots. lucky us, though, robots stop there. touch? sure, they can tell you the temperature in the room in kelvin without a pencil and paper, but they can't delight in shag carpet. that's what the the sense of touch is all about. one point humans. next, robots will only eat to be polite (like when they're offered a bowl of tomato soup with some toast), and by "eat" i mean dispose of via their self-contained mini blast chambers. when they can enjoy marshmallow cereal like i can, maybe i'll reconsider this one. two points humans. the last sense to consider is smell. this is a draw because, no, robots can't really smell anything. however, how often do we with we couldn't either? that makes a two point draw between robots and humans on this one. we're all winners (unless you include cyborgs, then most of us are losers).

it's important, as we remember these points, that the miracle of life is something that provides us with those things we've needed and utilized for our survival for thousands of years. those same ones we used to create robots. things that robots will never have.

remember also, we created robots via the miracle of electronics and provided all of them with the things they need to one day rule over us.

it's the circle of digi-life.