Monday, August 25, 2008

My 2008 Top Ten Olympic Moments

*these are my top moments so I'm not including the larger accomplishment of Phelps winning 8 total gold medals...seriously its hard to even comprehend that one.

(10) Since the rest of the list is going to be all United States accomplishments I'll start off by splitting number 10 in half with my two best non-US performances that I saw.

a) Jamaica's Usain Bolt in the 100 and 200 meter sprints. I've never seen someone win the 100 m by such a large margin in the Olympics. It was amazing and I was really glad to see less show boating in the 200 m after he got some grief about the way he finished the 100 m sprint.

b) China's Yang Wei in gymnastics did some really amazing stuff. The best was what he did on the rings...impressive.

(9) The US men's indoor volleyball team winning gold against the favored Brazil. This was special since they started the Olympics without their head coach as he was taking time off after his father-in-law was murdered in Beijing.

(8) Jonathan Horton was such a great team leader that it was really great to see him win silver in the high bar (and just missed the gold...the crowd seemed like they thought he deserved the gold after the score was posted). He added a bunch of additional moves to his routine to try and improve his start value (something the announcers said usually ends in disaster) and performed it perfectly.

(7) The US men's basketball winning the gold medal once again...sure everyone expected it, but that doesn't take away from the accomplishment. Plus after Athens we needed redemption because that was an isn't embarrassing to lose but to not put forth the best you have in the Olympics is. So I'm proud of not only their accomplishment but also how they carried themselves this year.

(6) Shawn Johnson winning the gold medal in the final event for the women's gymnastics, the balance beam. She seemed to have such a good attitude and was so good that it was really nice to see her finally get a gold medal...she is just a little ball of muscle.

(5) Nastia Liukin winning the women's overall individual gold medal...her floor routine was so great that she left no room for doubt about who deserved it.

(4) Beach Volleyball - I'm lumping the men's and women's gold winning performances together...just make room on the list. Both May-Treanor/Walsh and Dalhauser/Rogers were great. Best May/Walsh moment was Walsh's final kill and their celebration and Dalhauser/Rogers would be in the third set for the gold when Dalhauser took over the match.

(3) Michael Phelps tying Spitz with "the touch" in the men's 100 meter butterfly. Everyone watching was rather confident that he had won silver, but to everyone's amazement he won by 0.01 seconds. I was actually thinking there was a mistake and that Phelps wasn't going to get the medal after a review, but you watch the video and sure enough Phelps' hands just shoot in there at the last moment to touch the wall.

(2) Alexander 'Sasha' Artemev was only on the men's gymnastics team as an alternate, but man he had an amazing moment. After having his two teammates do quite poor on the pommel horse they were in danger of missing out on the men's team bronze medal. Sasha got up and did an amazing routine that had me applauding at home by myself.

(1) Jason Lezak swimming faster then he had ever swam before in the men's 4x100 meter relay to beat out the French who had a commanding lead with less than half the pool length to go and keep Phelps' hope of 8 gold medals alive. This race had me not only interested in the Olympics but addicted to could I risk missing a race like this one.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

A Past Olympic Moment

Dem sent me this video of Olga Korbut performing an uneven bar routine that just amazed me. Basically everyone should see (or relive it if they remember) it because it is so unbelievable.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Colorful Fluid Dynamics

Video by Sherry Bian/University of Michigan

It was time to update my blog and I figured I would post something that isn't the Olympics (though there is more coming from on them...still awesome). After getting an email about a website that stories videos of fluid flows I got thinking of Sherry's great video of a driven cavity flow. This video really is pretty and scores one for experimental fluid mechanics. To date the pretty pictures and videos have been completely dominated by the computational fluid dynamics community, but Sherry scored one for us experimental folks. Above is the video and below is a picture to help explain what is going on in the video. Basically in the picture below everything that is white is water (that is slowly getting faster and faster in the video) and the non-white is Sherry's model that is not moving.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Olympics - Part 2

Photo by Julie Jacobson/Getty Images
Men's Olympic Gymnastics team with their bronze medals.

Well I guess I'm going to be posting a lot about the Olympics now because they are sweet. Last night I watched until nearly 3am...when they started the replay of the prime time coverage. I got to see Phelps get his 9th career gold medal, which ties him for the most in history with Finland's Paavo Nurmi (track & field, 1920-28), Soviet Union's Larisa Latynina (gymnastics, 1956-64), and the American greats of Mark Spitz (swimming, 1968-72) and Carl Lewis (track & field, 1984-96). Then hopefully tonight he can break the record.

However, to me that wasn't the highlight of last night. It wasn't when Phelp's teammate Vanderkaay managed to also get the bronze in Phelps' race, when Natalie Coughlin barely out touched Kirsty Coventry in the women's 100 m backstroke for gold while her teammate Margaret Hoelzer grabbed the bronze, or even when Aaron Peirsol had a burst at the end of the men's 100 m backstroke to grab gold. Nope, the highlight of last night would be a bronze medal for the US that they barely were able to hang onto. In the men's gymnastics they had lost their top two guys and were not suppose to have a chance to medal in this years Olympics. But half way through they were leading the way. The Chinese looked great and were able to pass them as the Americans certainly had some really bad performances. However, they also put in some amazing ones in the high bar and here and there impressive showings with no huge mistakes. Then on the last event, pommel horse, there was 2 horrible performances that put their chance of a bronze medal in jeopardy. The last guy to go was Alexander Artemev who was only on the team as an alternate. Worse then than that was he didn't make the team because he had made some big errors in team tryouts on the pommel horse. He got going and just seemed to pick up momentum and get better and better after he had this one sweet move with only one hand. It was so great that I started applauding even before he finished because that was awesome...and virtually secured the bronze medal (the German's mathematically had a chance on their final event but it was very unlikely).


Monday, August 11, 2008


Photo by Jack Gruber, USA TODAY
Michael Phelps (left), Garrett Weber-Gale (right), and Jason Lezak (in water) celebrating their gold medal in the men's 4x100 freestyle relay.

I typically need to watch a couple events before I really get into the Olympics, but after last night I'm fully into them now. Anyone that missed it needs to hunt down a video clip of the 4x100-meter men's freestyle relay final. While Michael Phelps will get the most publicity, if he gets the 8 gold medals he better be thanking Jason Lezak, the oldest man on the American swimming team, for it. What Lezak did in the final leg of the relay was simply amazing. With only 50 meters left the announcers were saying that the US team should be able to hold off the others to get the silver medal. The Lezak just turned it up a knock to get within half a body length of the France's Alain Bernard (the French were heavy favorites) with only halve the length of the pool left. At that point I still was like there is no way he can catch them, but Lezak turned it up another knotch and ran down Bernard to just barely touch the wall before him. Seriously he was going so fast it seemed like he was going to come right out of the water. Dem and I were so excited and thankful that we decided to stay up and wait for Phelps' race...which I'm going to call it Lezak's race now. Lezak had a great quote after the race when asked about his performance, "To be honest with you I got really tired of losing."

This is also a lesson in trash talking...don't ever trash talk about your top competitors publicly. I know that its important to have confidence, but you have to be smart about things in public. I suspect that Lezak may not have been able to pull off the fastest split in history if he didn't have the aid of Bernard's comment (“The Americans? We’re going to smash them. That’s what we came here for”) helping to give him some extra motivation.


Friday, August 08, 2008

HIPLATE Experience - Phase 3

I kind of got side tracked with my project of giving summaries of all my tests in Memphis. However, I must give details of the final phase of testing for me that took place during the summer of 2006 (at least large scale testing) since it is the one where I was project manager (and FYI I'm stilling processing data from it). This was definitely the most stressful period of my life to date. To give you an idea what it was like for the 3 months of testing, I would periodically go to the bathroom just to get away from the questions for five minutes only to realize that it just cost us about $500 for me to go the bathroom. I really don't have to say to much about the testing because I've already given the basic of my testing in Memphis and you can just read my entries made during testing (packing, trip to Memphis, southern talk, pro-smoking, one of my workers getting locked out of the hotel with only his towel, missing real life, the low point, Justin Timberlake, random stories during testing, my return, and the remains of my clothing) and most of the basics of Hiplate testing has already been shared.
So I'll just introduce my core crew (excluding professors).

(clockwise from top left) Me the fearless leader, Sherry my right hand woman, Ciara the handy woman (and bringer of cookie ice cream sandwiches and laughs), and my hard working French student Laetitia.

I'll just recap some other highlights with a couple pictures...

It's like the time I got the grinder caught in my sweatshirt and thought Ciara was going to yell at me.

Herold trying to explain something to me through the glass of the control room...not sure what he wants to say though.

Me working in the hot (it was so hot for a couple weeks we had to start testing at 3am when it was cooler), humid tunnel...we painted the model and that's why its white now.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

The Rainbow Conspiracy

Dem just showed me this youtube video that I'm posting...I'm a little speechless. It's really funny but at the same time rather sad. Well I guess we just now have to figure out exactly when the government actually started putting rainbows in our water supply.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Brian and Princess

Well its been awhile since I posted one of the old family home videos, and I know someone has been wanting me to post this one. So enjoy little Brian attempting to bury the dog alive in the driveway...its not as disturbing as it might sound.

Friday, August 01, 2008

Another Song

Waging War

When I find something I like I post it and thus I'm posting this video of Cece Winans performing "Waging War". I really like the lyrics because (a) it points out that God did great things in the past and we should expect similar things today and (b) I love the attitude of being sick and tired of the devil taking from us.