Friday, August 26, 2005

This is New York-Over and Out

Or something like that. its supposed to be a quote from apollo 13 right before they plunge through the atmosphere. in non-technical english it means that i'm leaving new york on monday
In homes across the country they are reading this blog and wondering-does she have a point or is she talking to hear the sound of her own fingers clicketing (very rapidly i should point out)
yesterday i was at a meeting and there were some israeli professors there and i spoke hebrew with them very well. when you speak hebrew you get so much more nosy. if i spoke to this professor who's head of biomedical engineering at stony brook in english i would be respectful and polite, but in hebrew i almost asked him-az nu matai atah chozer (so, nu, when are you coming back) but then i caught myself. at the meeting a bunch of groups were trying to get funding from this foundation so they had all these high schoolers on a summer program come down and explain their research-and they all used such fancy technical words that i struggled to follow and the practicle applications of their research ranged from solving the energy crisis on up. alas, Mother, when i pulled my controlling size of palldium nanoparticles by changing synthetic conditions and analyzing structure with EXAFS they all looked at me as if i was running a cooking show and had announced "now we're going to make macaroni and cheese". grrr-smart high school students. well maybe they'll give yu more funding because their poor students really need some more resources.
i hope i have amused you enought to make up for my rambling.
shabbat shalom!

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Job interviews

Given that I having been spending my time back home in an absurdly lazy manner, I decided that I would try to get some temp jobs, which are probably the only jobs I can get for only three weeks. So I checked out various temp agencies on the internet and called one up and scheduled a job interview. So far so good. Of course, I had wanted to schedule more than one appointment, but I didn't have the guts to tell this place no in case I got a job elsewhere or cancel my appointment, so I was stuck with this one. Come Monday morning, I got up early, dressed up in interview clothing, got my resume (the story of printing that one is a story of its own, which we shall not go into now), and went off to this place on Old Orchard Road, about a 15 minute drive. I arrived at 9:55, a few minutes before the interview, and the stupid office was locked. So I hung about, thinking that maybe they actually didn't open 'til 10, although that was somewhat ridiculous and then someone from another suite told me that they had moved. Hello! Did they not feel the need to inform me? We never discussed their location, but I don't think it was hasty of me to assume that the address on the internet was inaccurate, and if they recently moved, you'd think they'd tell people where they were in case the other person had the wrong information. So when I got home, I called them up and found the guts to cancel my appointment, since they were all the way out in Northbrook. And then I called up another place, interviewed there, and am currently waiting for them to get back to me when they find a job that fits.
That is not the point- the point is my massive annoyance at this other place that did not feel the need to tell me where they actually were located, nor did they feel in any way guilty for my trouble, etc. And also the point is that I posted on the family blog again, which I have not for a while and had to keep my hand in even if I didn't have anything particularly interesting to say.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Thank You Pat Robertson.

Pat Robertson recently said that Hugo Chavez had to be eliminated since he was a tyrannical dictator. The National Council of Churches attacked him on the theory that if it is communist it is good. Hugo Chavez is the Castro of South America and this leads liberals including Jimmy Carter to support him even when he steals elections and crushes dissent.

Monday, August 22, 2005

Somebody needs to Tell the Left about Cars

Juan Cole has a long screed against Bush. I particularly like this part: But working people, whom we on the left are supposed to be supporting, get to work on buses, and buses burn gasoline. If the bus ticket doubles or triples, people who make $10,000 a year feel it. In theory, buses are energy efficient, I doubt prices of gasoline change bus fares much, the major cost is probably the bus itself and the labor of the bus-driver. And fares are set politically, so costs don't really matter very much.

Actually, most people in the United States drives cars. Even, shockingly enough, working Democrats are much more likely to drive cars. Buses are good for energy efficiency because they pack people in, but they're horribly inefficient at actually getting people from point A to point B. Maybe the welfare of all the car-owners doesn't count in a moral sense, after all they're evil energy consumers. But our insane system of democracy counts everybody, even the ecologically insensitive.

Somebody is Missing the Point of Religion

Today, had a letter from a pagan concerned about sending her child to Catholic school. She was perceptive enough to realize the major problem. "When it came to the section on religion, the teacher assured non-Catholic parents not to worry, that the religious instruction would be inclusive because "we're all Christians here." As my husband put it, if my eyes were laser beams, the auditorium would have been filled with little piles of dust. That's my hot button: The attitude that all good, reasonable people must be Christians; none of you hippie Pagan liberal Buddhist types need show your face ... go speak to the teacher and explain our somewhat unique situation, and see if she seems amenable to some compromise, and if she isn't, to request that our child be moved to one of the other classes where the teachers seem a little less evangelical."

Of course, the advice columnist agreed with her worry, and agreed her son was being taught nonsense, though maybe it wasn't quite as offensive as she thought. I'm very grateful we have such tolerant people safeguarding us from Christianity.

Why is the Media So Self Centered?

MSNBC had an article today about pregnant women being abused

With several high-profile cases in the news over the last year of homicides involving pregnant women, psychologist Robert Butterworth joined MSNBC's Amy Robach on Monday to discuss why this group may be at risk.

Sounds serious, except for one thing: the article hasn't the slightest trace of evidence that pregnant women are likely to be murdered. On the sidebar they say "homicide is one of the leading causes of death for pregnant women", but that's not very informative. Pregnant women are overwhelmingly under 45 and healthy (sick women aren't likely to be fertile, and it's probably not a good idea for them to get pregnant even if they could), so they're not likely to die of natural causes. So the only causes of death left are murder, suicide and accident. That means murder will be one of the leading causes of death, no matter how rare.

The media is obsessed with missing pregnant women beacause it's a good story. The media generally goes for missing women, and pregnancy makes it more exciting because it adds the idea of a time limit. They would be in heaven if there was a beautiful pregnant woman abducted by a shark who was also having an affair with another beautiful woman. That doesn't mean that pregnant women are likely to be kidnapped or murdered.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

A Picture

An Israeli soldier and his sister, a settler in Neve Dekalim, comfort each other near a synagogue.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005


The Atlantic Monthly had a really good article about Arafat (Sept. 2005). Its so exciting to pick up an American magazine and see a blunt title like "How Arafat Destroyed Palestine: the legacy of one man't corrupt person rule-through the eyes of those who knew him best"
(I think you need a subscription to read Atlantic Monthly stuff online so I won't link)
One of my favorite passages from the aritcle:
Al-Masri remembers sitting with Arafat one night in 1988 as the Palestinian leader negotiated a formula that would allow the United States to recognize the PLO. "They gave him the formula and he said it in a speech in Geneva, but he put in extra words so no one could figure out what he was saying," Al Masri remembers. "The Americans said 'No way!' so I stayed up all night with him and Dick Murphy, the assistant secretary of state, to work out what he must say. The formula was 'We totally and absolutely renounce all forms of terrorism.' So they called a press conference and he said everything right except instead of terrorism he said, "We announce tourism! We announce all forms of tourism!"

A Political Rant

The whole notion of this Gaza engagement and the way the media is spinning it like its about time the Jews got out of Gaza and there are still some jews who are still protesting is ludicrous. Because it involves a people expected to be civilized and rational, the Jews, the Arabs, unwilling to act rationally, somehow use their lack of rationality as an asset. If Mexicans started claiming amarillo Texas was somehow acquired unfairly or unlawfully and then started blowing up Cheerleaders in Dallas to protest, George w. would never give him an inch of land.... but the Jews are expected to surpass the moral norm and sacrifice, and allow themselves to be shook down by an enemy whose only weapon is their lack of respect for human life............... and those arabs will never take that as a sign that they should give up the the homicide bombings, it only will teach them that to push israel into the sea they must bomb Jewish civillians.!!!!!!

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Stupid Surveys

I've been reading a book about unmarried couples. This book is insanely pro-unmarried couple, for example it is sympathetic to a woman who refused to marry in order to cheat the pension system, and who then doesn't get an inheritance after her boyfriend died.

But, I think the funniest line is "According to a Newsweek poll, three-quarters of Americans now say 'family' is 'a group of people who love and care for each other'". This is funny for three reasons: a)What were the other options? This sounds like one of those spoof 7-up commercials where they find that 80% prefer Coke to the alternative, but the alternative is dish-soap.
b)According to this, dysfunctional families are impossible, any time they're angry the family ceases to exist; c)Does one-way love count? If it does, then the entire Yankees team are part of Mike's family.

Petty Authors

It is common for books to start with a dedication to the author's family. Normally, the dedication talks about how much the author loves them. However, today I was doing research on the sexual revolution (and whether it was connected to the introduction of birth control pills). I found that people writing books on divorce often write nasty things about their ex-spouses in the dedication. I think it's a very bad idea, I don't take somebody's opinion seriously when the only thing I know about their personality is how much they hated their spouse.

Stupid Slogans

Today, the University was having somebody clean out the catchment basins in our courtyard (I don't know what that is, but it involves a huge hose and a big truck parked in the street). The University is a socially conscious company, so the company is called "Enviromental Liquids". Underneath the title is the slogan "As reliable as a windmill".
Windmills are incredibly unreliable, because they only work if the wind is blowing. And it can't just be any wind, it needs to be steady wind coming, not gusts back and forth. I wouldn't want to live in a civilization that relies on windmills. (This regularly scheduled program has been canceled until the thunderstorm resumes and your TV's get more power).

Monday, August 15, 2005

More pics


I don't know if any of you have been conscious of this, but I feel conspicuously silent on the topic of disengagement. Two posts I devoted to the petty politics of Bar Ilan, and not a single post pretending an insider position on the disengagement issue.
If you are hoping for the real scoop on Israeli public opinion, or better yet what the day after will be like I'll admit complete ignorance. I probably know more than you guys but much less than other people who profess knowing.
Disengagement was originally scheduled during the Three Weeks and the government postponed it to show consideration for the Religious Zionist community (or perhaps to lession the religous zealousness of their cause), but officially making it illegal to be in Gush Katif (Gaza) the night after Tisha B'Av gave disengagement back all the historic timing.
I heard a lot of speeches since I came back to America, many predicated with "no matter how you feel about disengagement..." and the rest making no such pretenses at neutrality. I have forgiven American Jewry the right to have opinions on how Israelis govern their state, we need American Jewry not just because of the financial support and the pressure they put on America but because you don't reject people who truly care about your future. I have made peace with almost all opinions in the mouth of Americans except "Yehudi lo m'garesh Yehudi" (translated as: a Jew does not/should not expel another Jew). That statement crosses the threshold of dictating moral standards without any responsibilty for the consequences of that statement.
This post is not supposed to be about me and the way I am coping with being in America for disengagement. (But while we are on the subject I can say very badly, accompanied by a persistent gnawing in the pit of my stomach that I'm following Elimelech of Megilat Rut-deserting the country in famine.)
I don't know what will happen in the end. CNN had a headline today "violence breaks out in Gaza withdrawl" but the article revealed more rowdy than malicious behavior. I want to promise that we won't let it happen again, that there will be restraint, but if disengagement teaches us anything it is that we don't write history as it should be with a happily ever after ending.
I've been trying to conclude this post for two days now and I'm unable to find the few sentences to wrap it up in a neat package. I guess all I want to say from this is please pray for the Jewish People, the State of Israel and don't give up hope on us.

Friday, August 12, 2005


Ever since I took Mavis Beacon back in ninth grade (almost for a whole year of computer class, if not two. But don't get me started on Hanna Sacks curriculum), I guess I've sort of taken the ability to type for granted. So much that I currently can't compose anything, even an essay, past a first draft on paper. The whole editing process only works through computer for me. Which is fine, when you can type, so it seemed like a fine system.
Until today. (Da-DUM!) Today I had to type a paper in Hebrew for my summer Kollel thing, and it took me over five hours to transcribe six written pages. Of course, a lot of that was also editing and correcting and I think that the whole paper is a lot better now, but even so. Five blinking hours. Pen pecking letter by letter and everything. And some of that on a laptop that for no particular reason would change the line I was typing on or start typing over some other things I'd written. Aargh. The only good thing about the whole process was that the paper is now a lot more compact than it would have been- anything that wasn't absolutely necessary got left out, because it wasn't worth ten minutes to say. Think how different this post, for example, would be if I only had to type what needed to be said. It would read something like this, I suppose "Typing's useful. Hebrew is annoying."

Shabbat Shalom!

I am writing from the annals of National Synchtron Light Source monitoring my samples (aka glancing at a computer screen every 5 min). The really glamorous part of life in a presitgious national lab: everyone has their $10 own coffepot at their desk; second rate scientists, lowly academics, and the average business guy have the time to gather at the communal coffee pot.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Rally at the Kotel.
mike is setting this up for me because I again got overwhelmed with the technology and couldn't post it today at work..  I wish I would have been able to post it from work, because you bet I would have attached pictures of the giant disengagement rally that were e-mailed to me.  I was so overwhelmed by the numbers, and the different kinds of people that were crammed in together--all of one heart and all in so many minyans.  Chassids with orange on their black hats, secular, modern, young old.  I could feel their strength and I wish, I wish that this unity could stay.

The hidden Ball Trick

Yesterday the Marlins pulled off the hidden-ball trick with the tying run on third. Trivia Question who hods the modern day record for most times being picked off by the hidden ball trick. Hint he's a manager now.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Doing my best to beat Joe

I have started my own blog so I won't be posting here as much. I also filled in my profile so anyone interested can view it. I hope Shmuli gets the link title and I apologize to Mike Carminiti and Michael Lewis for my stealing of their phrases.

Deep Theology

This morning, Yosef told me that milk comes from cows, so we don't have to thank God for milk. It told him that God made cows, then he said "Thank you" to God in English.

PBS pushes polygamy

Today, Barney had a show about the different types of families. It started out when the children opened one of the nesting dolls. Inside the nesting dolls was a family. The first doll was obviously a man, he appeared to be Turkish. The second and third dolls were identical looking adult women. They had their heads covered in what could be Muslim hijab, though many nesting dolls cover the hair to save drawing costs. Then children on the show ask about different types of families, and the show switched to singing about how all the different types of family are good. (Standard liberal line of married parents good, divorced parents good, no parents good).

As an economist and an Orthodox Jew, I have no strong objection to polygamy in theory. But I thought that the Christian Right and the atheistic Left were united in opposition to polygamy. Why is PBS pushing something this controversial?

Sunday, August 07, 2005

Profile Views

Was just checking the blog when i came upon the User stats portion of the profile, I was horrified to see Rachel dominating the field with a whopping 505 profile views Shmuli is next with 244, and everyone else is lagging well behind. I am dominating Young Mike though 44-32... Now if everyone can just click on my profile 450 or so times, at preferrably 450 different computers, we can have a real battle on our hands

Pictures Just afew hard to load many

Chemistry Lessons

Yesterday, Yosef told me that water is called H2O. I responded by telling him that it's called that because water comes from hydrogen, which is H, and Oxygen, which is O.

He wasn't fooled by my ridiculous stories. He condescendingly told me that water comes from a hose, H-O-S-E.

Saturday, August 06, 2005

Funny Cartoon

I found this cartoon hilarious

Thursday, August 04, 2005

A New Theology

Yosef has been talking about God a lot recently. Most of his statements are stuff like God lives in clouds; God's a giant. Sometimes they are strange theologically (He confuses we can't see God with he can't see us), but they normally make some sort of sense.

This morning however, he told me "I know a boy with no feet. His name is God". He then explained that God walks on his tummy.

I first thought that maybe he was thinking of Buddha, who's been a regular character on the Simpsons. I suppose the lotus posture might look like he doesn't have feet. But he said he didn't see God on TV. I'm putting it up to the collective family mind to figure out what Yosef was thinking.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Nanoparticles and niceties

I can see that everyone has been stunned by the travesty of the USA Today's column and is terrified to post on the blog again. I am proud to break to the fearful silence.
Anyway, I've been in NYC since last Friday. I spent Shabbos with Sima Rochel at her grandparents in Queens and I've been staying in a Stern dorm apartment in Manhattan (184 Lexington) since Sunday. This Shabbos I'm going to spend with Tobie in Boston.
Now you're all thinking enough with the niceties, we want the dirt on the nanoparticles. Well since Monday I've been 9-6 in the lab. (I know that doesn't sound so bad, but an academic lifestyle is supposed to be less rigorous-like that of my professor as I'll explain later.) Synthesizing is only a small part of the action-the real drama is trying to avoid being caught up in the power struggle/blame game in the chemistry department at Stern. My research is officially part of the physics dept but since we're synthesizing all the work is done in the chemistry labs. We bought the basic materials ourselves but all those little things-like gloves, kimwipes, abs0lute ethanol-my professor didn't order so we end up begging/borrowing/stealing from the chemistry department. Unfortunately me and my friend get all the yelling at for materials that we're missing because our professor has a schedule that involves coming every other day from 12-5. Our only satisfaction is that every time he comes he needs to spend an hour aplogizing and kissing up to the chemistry powers.
Our nanoparticles are beautiful
and small
they are raven black
except 1:3