Monday, June 30, 2008

Simply Explained

Dem recently sent me a link to a site that had the following quote from Albert Einstein: "If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough."

That is exactly how I feel. I originally got the idea from C.S. Lewis discussing language. He was explaining how it shows more understanding to use simple words because its the technical terms that are really just short hand for a whole bunch of simple words and ignorance can be hidden by using the technical term.

Here is an example from fluid mechanics..."Couette Flow". Sounds technical, but really all it is is a simplfied way of saying you are discussing "a fluid filled between two parallel plates with no variation in pressure in fluid and the plate on the bottom not moving and the plate on top moving at some speed, creating a linear velocity profile in the fluid from zero at the non-moving plate to the speed of the moving plate at the top plate." Now these terms may need some further explanation, but what you see is that true knowledge of the subject allows for further explanation of each term in the definition until it can be conveyed to anyone.

So whenever someone uses a term that you don't know, make them explain'll find out if they really know what they are talking about and if they do you'll probably be able to learn something new.

The Weekend


1) Dem and I ate at Zingerman's Roadhouse for the first time...great food. I had this mac & cheese dish that had chicken, corn, and cilantro in it, and Dem had a beef brisket thing with mash potatoes and green bean casserole.

2) Dem and I saw Wall-E. It was great and I won't be surprised if we saw it again.

3) Watched more of Arrested Development...such a good show.


4) Went for a long run...first run of the year without Dem and it probably the worst run I've had all year...I guess I should just run with Dem.

5) Basically just had a day off.


6) Went to church

7) Bought a wii!!! Yeah, Karen was talking about how awesome her and mike's wii is and before I knew it I was the proud owner of my very own one. Typically if I make a sudden purchase like that I have buyers remorse...not really with this one. It's awesome.

8) Visited my buddy Joe since he was up here in Michigan. Dem and I went and it was pretty fun.

9) Drove back to Ann Arbor and played wii with Dem before taking her home to end the weekend.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Thursday, June 26, 2008

HIPLATE Experience - Phase 1

So recently I came into possession of a lot of pictures taken during my time in Memphis for my research experiments. I thus got inspired to write a post (actually its going to be a series of posts) recapping my experiences at the LCC (US Navy's Large Cavitation Channel) in Memphis working with the HIPLATE (the term we use for our test model). This phase of testing took place in the fall of 2004. Phase 1 of my experience with HIPLATE was actually the third time the model was tested (I obviously wasn't involved in the first two tests). I was actually only hired for this test as an hourly worker and was only down there for the installation of HIPLATE...who would have guessed that I would return for another 3 tests (and possibly 4 now). While I was just hired to turn a wrench, it was that ability that got me my funding for my PhD. As my advisor said "there is value in a student that is able to do something besides hurt themselves, hurt others, or break something with a tool." I think he had some doubts as to whether I could do the intellectual stuff, but I think I've handled it pretty well (actually better than I even expected and I'm pretty self confident).

First I must introduce everyone to the HIPLATE. The picture below shows the model in its three sections. When installed in the LCC tunnel it makes one very large flat plate...really nothing too fancy about it besides how big it is (total weight is 21 tons). Also in the picture is what I did the majority of my time in Memphis during this test...grinding away. To date these two weeks were the two worst weeks in Memphis, and as Sherry can testify to I have had plenty of dark days down there since these two weeks. I would say the highlight for me was when we came in at 6am like normal only to work have the day, get sent back to the hotel for a few hours, and then return in the evening to work through the night...on what was suppose to be my last day in Memphis.

HIPLATE model in pieces and me grinding on one of the 3 pieces.

Now I have to introduce everyone to the important people for this phase of testing. The Michigan crew had four primary people (pictured below) that actually created a rather interesting personal dynamic in Memphis. I personally get along quite well with all of them, but there happened to be some communications issues between two of them that made for some interesting stories.
The key Michigan contributors to this phase of HIPLATE testing.

And I must give credit the LCC crew...these guys are always good for some stories in Memphis. I've been fortunate enough to get along really well with these guys, but Michigan didn't exactly have a great track record (from what I hear) with them prior to Eric and I beginning to work on down there. The picture below shows probably about half the crew, I'm missing Jerry, Bob, Mike, Ken, Marty, Tony (this guy is famous now amongst Michigan'll find out why in the next HIPLATE post) and a few others.

Part of the LCC crew.

In the lot of pictures there were quite a few that captured exactly what I spent the vast majority of my time doing...grinding, bondoing, sanding, and polishing.

Me grinding...I did this for over 10 hours in one day.

Me sanding down my Bondo job.

With all that bondoing, sanding, and polishing the HIPLATE was looking rather nice by the time we installed it in the tunnel for testing.

Check out the mirror finish we had on the HIPLATE before testing...pretty nice.

Monday, June 23, 2008

1999 Coming Home Game

I needed to take a break from the family home videos since I am currently in the Berne 4th of July program part of the tape. There is some great moments in there, but it's kind of long and after awhile of watching it (with no audio) you get kind of bored. So today I decided to spent some more time on my high school sports stuff. I'm not digitizing too much of the tape because if its lost it isn't the end of the world for me, but I did keep some highlights from our Coming Home Pep Rally. Highlights included the "pep talk" given by our point guard (lets just say he was better know for his basketball skills then his speeches), the dunk competition (highlights below), and interviews by my couch and myself before the big game (also below).

The first video shows the highlights from the 1999 Laker Dunk Competition, which I actually won...though competition wasn't exactly super strong. You maybe able to guess this from the highlights consisting of a kid jumping off another's back to dunk and me dunking while still in jeans.

Another gem that I found on the tape are these interviews of my coach and I before the big game. I think as much hype as can be generated for a Thumb high school basketball game was created for this game. We were playing a top 10 team in the state for our Coming Home game (its like Homecoming for basketball...for those that have never heard of it before) and from what the old folks around Laker country say it was the second largest attendance in memory. They had these interviews with all the seniors on our team and our junior point guard, which basically they are all as sweet as my interview.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Happy Birthday Day Sis

Today is my oldest sisters birthday, and since I'm at work I can write her a post (probably even a bigger reason is that I have a video that has been just waiting to be shared). I'm sure everyone in our family knows exactly which video would have to be played for Rey. So happy birthday sis, and M-I-C....C U Later!

Monday, June 16, 2008

The Races

First I have to wish my dad a happy Father's Day...since I haven't gone to bed yet this is still considered Father's Day to me. One of the many things in my life that my dad has always supported, encouraged, and challenged me in is sports. Since sports (and competition in general) is something I really love, I'm extremely grateful for this. Thus in the spirit of Father's Day I shall share more family home "sports" videos.

I'm not exactly sure why this was apparently a recurring thing, but apparently there were races between us siblings. Two famous races were caught on tape. The first between Rey and TC. This is, in my opinion, the best race. I'll give everyone the highlights before they watch it just so you know what to keep your eye out for.

Race I Highlights
Video begins apparently half-way thru the race.
2) TC while running manages to throw her candy out of the box.
3) TC realizes this and both Rey and TC pause to try and figure things out...race back on.
4) Rey drops something.
5) TC catches up...pauses...points at Rey and resumes running.
6) Rey realizes she just got passed and takes off for the finish line for the victory.

Now I guess a few years later it was decided that a second race was needed. This time between TC and me. I'm guessing I was really excited about the possibility to compete and be video taped doing it. This race isn't as exciting as the famous Rey vs. TC race, but it has its own moments as well.

Race II Highlights
Apparently I felt holding my shirt was a more aerodynamic approach for the race then wearing the shirt.
2) Clearly TC didn't realized that between the races the route had been changed.
3) It was really nice of Rey to keep me cooled down during the race by running behind me and spraying me with water.
4) I may have won the race, but who knows what would have happened had TC ran the correct route right away.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Old Glory Days

In the digitizing of the family videos I've finally got to my sports television debut. At that point in my life baseball was the best sport in my mind and played all the time. I also sported some pretty sweet Tigers wrist bands and a Tigers t-shirt (I believe that shirt is now a rag somewhere). In the video I struggled with the starting pitcher (mom), but when the relief pitcher (dad) came in to the finish the game I had more success.

However in the closing moments of the game a similar play occurred, but this time dad made a heroic effort and got me out at the plate...though I did make a strong case that the tie goes to the runner.

I've also begun work on some of my sports tapes. They are actually in much worse shape then the family home video and probably will lose some of the videos. However today I managed to capture a couple highlights from our big game with Reese my senior year. The video below captures my best offense-to-defense sequence (at least that is on tape).

Also from that same game I was able to get the biggest assist of my basketball "career" (I'm using the term career here very loosely...typically career's result in the making of money). Basically the team we were playing was ranked in the top 5 in the state and we weren't ranked at the time. We had been down by like 10 points with about 5 minutes left in the game before we went on a scoring run. If I recall write at the point of this play we were down by one point and after it we never let Reese score again...oh good memories (I'll choose to forget that this same team later breaks our 17 game winning streak).

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

JFM Paper & Home Video #2

I'm proud to say that as of yesterday I got a manuscript accepted for publication. Now this isn't my first publication but there are a few reason why this one is much more significant.

1) Its being published in the Journal of Fluid Mechanics (JFM)
JFM is the top publication for fluid mechanics research (my area), so getting a paper published there is an accomplishment in itself and this is my first paper in JFM.

2) I am the first author
I've never been a first author on a publication before this one (excluding conference papers)...though hopefully my second one will be accepted soon (however in a less significant journal).

3) It was accepted after only 1 round of revisions
I've seen very good papers go many months (even years) before being accepted. This manuscript from first submission to acceptance was only 4 months. I would say I'm going to be spoiled getting a paper through so quickly early in my career, but the last paper I got published took well over a year to get accepted.

Home Video #2
For those that aren't that interested in publications I'll provide everyone with a great video from my youth. There are several things to notice in this video: (1) as Rey pointed out...make sure you check out the awesome art hanging on the refrigerator, (2) as typical of the videos from this age, I seem to be in my own world, (3) Rey is a star and knows it, and (4) TC has the best dance really cracks me up.

Monday, June 09, 2008

Trip to Springfield

Demoree and I had a road trip to Springfield, Missouri for our friends Jim and Allison's wedding. We drove over 1600 miles on the trip, but fortunately the driving was quite pleasant. All and all it was a really fun trip.

The bride and groom after the wedding.

Here are Jim and Allison getting pictures after the wedding. The wedding was really nice and both Jim and Allison have great families.

Demoree looking cute.

Demoree stood up in the wedding and looked super cute in her dress. She told me months ago when she first saw the dress that she looked pretty in it and basically talked it up for quite awhile...well it lived up to all the hype.

Demoree and I in front of the Mississippi River.

On our way back we made a few more stops then originally planned, but it made the drive more enjoyable. The longest stop we made was in St. Louis where we got a good look at the Gateway to the West. We also found out that it isn't very easy to take pictures of the Gateway Arch from the park where its at...turns out the thing is quite large.

Demoree with the Gateway Arch.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Stanley Cup Champions

In spite of game 6 of the Stanley Cup Finals being the only playoff game this year that I didn't get to see any of (had to be driving between Michigan and Chicago during), I won't change a thing (unless some how I could have changed history and made the Wings win in overtime of game 5). I'll even take the most "crap-tastic" game winning goal (as Trudi correctly referred to it as). Probably the worst part of driving during the game was due to the NHL's inability to market themselves I couldn't even listen to the game on the radio (I lost a station before I even got out of Michigan...seriously?!). However I have to thank Trudi and Jen for giving Demoree and I updates during the game. With all that said I'm really glad the Wings won their 4th Stanley Cup in the past 11 years...Amazing! Its going to be a fun year with the Cup being in Michigan a bunch and perhaps I'll even get to see it...everyone in Michigan better be heading to Detroit tomorrow for the it up. Congrats Wings!!!

Photo by Dave Sandford/Getty Images

So I think I could go on and on about how great it is to win this Cup, but I'm sure everyone that cares already knows (or they could just read other websites). Thus I shall keep it short and sweet.

Photo by Dave Sandford/Getty Images

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Home Videos with Young Brian Talking

First the mystery has to be solved from my last, it wasn't an old man with a cool hat like many have thought. It was actually me when I was a youngster. So now I have to post the video because (1) only to be fair and (2) this video cracks me up more than any other family home video.

As an added bonus I'll finally post video of me talking before my speech had been corrected (I think at this point I could hear properly but still couldn't speak quite right). I actually remember when this was taped and the majority of the conversation I was talking about Odie and how I wanted a stuffed Odie to go with my Garfield.

This is another video from the same day. Renee was basically telling me I had broken something and with a very serious face I attempt to explain what really happened (I'm not sure what my point was but I'm sure in reality it wasn't my fault).

Tuesday, June 03, 2008


The question everyone is asking...who is this stud?...the answer is coming soon.

Home Video #1

Well the Wings remain one game away from winning the Stanley Cup. That was pretty much a big time bummer with the way they lost. So to cheer everyone up I'll post the first of what will probably be many family home videos.

Renee (the star), Teresa (the helper), and me (the crying baby).

Monday, June 02, 2008

One Game Away

Hopefully after tonight the Wings will have secured their 4th Stanley Cup in the past 11 years.

The game winning play for game 4 (ok, it should probably be the Hudler goal but this was in my opinion more important) and possibly the series defining moment.