Wednesday, June 30, 2010


The last month has again, been a whirlwind for me. I have not had an opportunity to focus on the specific scientific community but I am always keeping an ear to the ground. So, here are some of my latest "brain blasts" and possibly some future topics for full posts.

Private space flight had a big boost this month. SpaceX successfully launched their Falcon 9/Dragon Rocket. It achieved orbit which means we are less than 5 years from privatized space flight. Hey, if they need a pharmaceutical scientist on Mars...sign me up!

The iPhone 4G also was released this month. And I really wanted one...until I realized that Apple must only test their stuff with monkeys and mannequins. Between the iPhone's wi-fi not working for Steve Jobs at the release show and the "Death Grip" issues, I just cannot believe how they are still selling so many of these dang things. I mean seriously folks, it's like you've been brainwashed to think that shiny vampires and werewolves are cool! My conclusion, I believe Apple might become the Dell of phones. (You know because it was just released that Dell, who monopolized the business computer market for a solid 15 years after IBM, knowingly sold computers with a 97% failure rate on their motherboards, WTF?!) Well Droid, whatcha got?

I was given one more reason to despise soccer, thanks Team USA. Don't get me wrong, I cheered and celebrated as much as the next guy when we scored against Algeria but making a video of our reactions making it seem as though we just won the "Universe Cup" when all we really did was qualify for the next's a little absurd. Oh and Megan Fox got married, bummer!

Lastly, check out this video of lightning hitting three buildings at the same time in Chicago...

Lightning strikes three of the tallest buildings in Chicago at the same time! from Craig Shimala on Vimeo.

Gorgeous power! The storms that have been rolling through the Midwest lately have been more dangerous than usually. I wasn't sure hail existed still because every time the weatherman claims there is golf hall size hail, all I ever see is down-pouring rain. But, I have seen hail twice in two weeks now and I am again a believer.

Coming soon (if you have an idea for a "scientific" post you want to see, please leave it in the comment section): BPPL, male birth control, why health statistics/studies can be good or bad, and possibly a Purdue sports outlook, because I can!

Oh, and here is my shout-out of the week. It was my girlfriend, Heather's 21st b-day last week! So Happy Birthday, love! :-)

Saturday, June 12, 2010

"FINAL" Project

Unless you live under a rock in the middle of the desert, you by now know of the major oil leak in the Gulf of Mexico. I am a little perplexed at everyone involved and how we cannot plug the darn thing. I understand that in the words of about everyone associated with BP and the US government, "It's complicated." But what I don't understand is that the US government and BP combined probably the the smartest Chemical and Environmental Engineers working on this problem. And the best they have come up with was to cut the opening a little bigger to fit a cap on it and hopefully collect as much oil as possible. Well, I heard this on the Daily Show (yes I know that it is comedy and probably blown out of proportion but it makes sense to me and should make you think)....
The oil leak is leaking anywhere from 10,000 to 90,000 barrels of oil a day. So if you spilt the difference you get 50,000 barrels of oil. Now BP said that cutting into the pipe will "temporarily increase flow up to that's another 10,000 barrels of oil. So they cut the pipe and fit the cap. Success, kinda. The "cut" was not perfect and thus a seal could not be created, and not all the oil was being collected. BP then said it collected about 6,000 barrels of oil the first day of the cap. Now I am no mathematician but I believe that if the leak was increased to 60,000 barrels a day and you are only collecting 6,000 barrels; you actually increased the leak by 4,000 barrels a day. Does anybody else's brain hurt? Well again, this is probably exaggerated and taken out of context but it is interesting and frustrating trying to figure out the actually strategy to fix it (and BP just recently stated on their website that they are obtaining about 25,000 barrels a day).

Now after all my rambling, I do have a solution. The best way to solve problems, especially one's where there could be multiple answers and need to involve many different aspects, is to give it to students. Tell all the engineering students at the top engineering schools that they must "solve" this crisis as their engineering final to graduate. That motivation is so great, and the ideas are so raw that it would more than certainly work. The students would work in teams pulling an "All-weeker" (that's the week form of an all-nighter) and hand in a spotless proposal Monday morning after drinking enough coffee to kill a small elephant and eating enough cold pizza to freak out your mom, and still finding time to play a few rounds of beer pong Saturday night while their computers were recharging. My assumption is that the people currently working on this project have tunnel vision and have no capacity to see problems before they happen (like a machine freezing up in water that is essentially below freezing! DUH! - and I can explain that in another post if anybody wants me too). College seniors that have worked on unsolvable problems for four years would gladly take the opportunity to show up the big time companies and fix the problems. I even believe that Purdue's own Rube Goldberg Team (pictured below) could solve this problem in fewer attempts!

In all seriousness, it is a terrible catastrophe and we must all do our part to help fix this and prevent future disasters. Let's just hope that BP comes to it's senses and asks for help from someone!

Friday, June 4, 2010

Best Condom Advertising Ever

WARNING - Reader Discretion is Advised!

Alright. So my close friends know that my mom used to be a sex education teacher (and that she taught it at my high school). And some of you also know that I even put on a Sex and Sundaes Program about sex education, at Purdue for freshmen....with my mom. Thus, I have some pretty strong opinions about sex education. For example, I believe that abstinence only sex education programs are completely the wrong approach within public school systems. They might work for churches, private schools, and home schools but to the broad spectrum of teens, they need to be taught EVERYTHING! Not teaching teens about STDs (or the newly accepted STIs, sexually transmitted infections), not teaching kids about birth control, and not teaching kids about the consequences of sex is depriving kids of vital information. It's like teaching math to 2nd graders by giving them a calculator but not telling them what all the symbols on the calculator mean (so they press all the buttons and eventually delete your version of Frogger and Tetris on your graphing calculator, damn!).

To add to my strong feelings, pharmacy school preaches to young pharmacists to help teach young people about the products available for safe sex. So I have seen ever disgusting, raunchy, crazy, glow-in-the-dark ad campaign there is. However, I believe that Durex now holds the world's best condom advertisement campaign with their new iPhone app. Check it out--

Durex Baby from Peter Ammentorp Lund on Vimeo.

So all you iPhone users out their...practice safe iPhone sex!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Golf - The Love/Hate Relationship

As summer kicks up the heat, many people push their golf games into full gear. Golf courses around the U.S. begin twilight hours and tournaments to entice people of all skill levels to play. Now I have been playing golf since I was 14, and I have been keeping score since I was 17. This morning I posted my best 18-hole round on a championship style course. I shot an 88 at Ackerman Hills at Purdue and recorded my first birdie of the year (which is really late in the year since I have been playing at least once a week since March, shooting around bogey golf each time). That inspired me to explain my profound love/hate relationship I have with golf that I believe many people share.

For the past two weeks I was completely frustrated at my golf game. My driver was continuing to slice and only go about 150 yards off the tee. That forced me to play par 4 holes like par 5 holes, reaching the green in 3 shots (at least). On top of that, I have been struggling with the putter. However, my irons and short game have been my saving grace keeping me right above bogey golf. But today, everything clicked. I made some putts, including a 15 footer off the fringe for my birdie. The driver still sliced a bit but I controlled it, and I was finally getting 230-250 yards off the tee. And I went birdie, par, par, bogey, bogey on the par 3's which is where I seem to add extra strokes which kill my score.

Thus my love/hate relationship. I have been posting scores around 90 for almost a year now, and today I posted my lowest score yet with an 88. Yet I feel I shot way better today than I ever have before. I am trying to come up with an explanation. I believe I have reached a point in my golf game where unless I make a few more incredible shots, I will score the same whether I hit the green in two and three putt from 55 feet or use four crappy shots and save a bogey with a 10 foot putt. My friend Jason came to golf with me today and at least twice today we tied on holes where I smashed a drive 230 yards and then reached next to the green on my second shot. He might have shanked his drive and second shot, but recovered with a decent wedge and made a nice putt while I made a bad chip or missed a putt, we tied the hole with 5s or 6s. He even said to me once, "Did we really just tie that hole?!" Now I have golfed with Jason for about 5 years now, including on Team Boley for the belt (Drew and Zach, we still carry the belt, FYI!) and we have been pretty even for the most part, with myself usually taking honors home by a few strokes. His rusty 115 today proved that I am doing something right but still, I just cannot get over the hump for that really awesome round.

Of course, I have progressively been playing on better and better courses. I have finally graduated from the sandy greens of White Lick in Brownsburg and flooded fairways of Pittsburo and into the championship courses at Purdue, Twin Bridges of Danville, and other local public country clubs around West Lafayette. Even my "practice course" (the course I pay $10 dollars to play 18 holes on with the student discount), Lafayette Municipal Course, hosts many events throughout the summer and is home to high school competitions almost every week.

To wrap up, there is almost no better feeling than standing on a tee box overlooking a lake and beautiful par 5 fairway in early morning when the air is crisp and the cart is full of chewy granola bars and ice cold Gatorade.
And there is almost no worse feeling than hitting your divot farther than your shot while your "friends" drink the last of your beer and you are getting burnt to a crisp in 95 degree heat, while the players behind your laugh and curse at you for being so bad and so slow. And thus golf is the epitome of love/hate relationships, for me! I will continue to play as I love the preparation and the anticipation of playing, and I will continue to be dumbfounded after rounds when I play poorly and still score well, and vise versa. But I will continue to stand by my statement I made 5 years ago, "The moment I buy golf shoes, is the moment I have to take golf seriously!" So until then, I love you golf!

(Note: when I mention best feeling or worst feeling or epitome of love/hate relationships, of course I mean in perspective. This post is only regarding hobbies and interests which have little to no actual life changing aspects.)