Skip to main content

What If?

I might have mentioned before, (or I might not), that the kids and I, especially when they were very young, shared a rather incredibly tight biofeedback loop.  I found that when I became upset, even just internally, (assuming to myself that my emotions were smugly, if not stoically hidden), within seconds, whichever kids was the youngest would also be upset.  The whole thing was a bit of a bummer with respect to generally wanting the kids not to be upset, but also edifying in that we were so connected, and finally it was a very mindful sort of way to live in that I was offered constant reminders to calm myself the heck down.

As the years have progressed, the kids and I have lost some of the animal immediacy of our bond.  When one of us is upset, the other doesn't instantly fall to pieces anymore, but we do still feel each others general tone.  Now, instead of calling it biofeedback, I find myself calling it jangliness, and I can feel it in the kids every bit as much as they can sense it in me.  Sometimes, when I'm feeling more mindful, or when the stakes are higher, (like when we're on a crowded sidewalk), I'll mention the feeling to the gang.  I'll ask them to slow down and focus; to pay attention to where everyone else is around them before something happens.  Sometimes it works.  Sometimes, they say 'OK!' just before they bounce into some innocent passer-by, completely confirming my original hunch.

It's this sense of jangliness that brings me to my point.  Lately I've felt it coming from No. 2, the local five year old, while we've just been hanging out at the house.  I can tell, I know, that within five minutes, he'll be in trouble.  So far, what I've done is to ask him to perhaps play something different, or play somewhere else, or to try to calm down.  It's mostly been to no avail; within a few minutes, he or one his sibs are howling in disappointment, or outraged hurt.

But, what if?  What if instead of asking 2 to take it easy I interjected myself in a constructive way instead?  What if I asked 2 what he was up to, and could I play?  What if I asked him to help me with what I was doing?  What if I asked him if he'd like to go for a walk, or what he wanted for dinner?  What if I used my foreknowledge to forestall the future?  I'll give it a try, and let you know!

Are you prescient about your gang?  What do you do with this future-sight?


Popular posts from this blog

Cool Math Tricks: Deriving the Divergence, (Del or Nabla) into New (Cylindrical) Coordinate Systems

The following is a pretty lengthy procedure, but converting the divergence, (nabla, del) operator between coordinate systems comes up pretty often. While there are tables for converting between common coordinate systems, there seem to be fewer explanations of the procedure for deriving the conversion, so here goes!

What do we actually want?

To convert the Cartesian nabla

to the nabla for another coordinate system, say… cylindrical coordinates.

What we’ll need:

1. The Cartesian Nabla:

2. A set of equations relating the Cartesian coordinates to cylindrical coordinates:

3. A set of equations relating the Cartesian basis vectors to the basis vectors of the new coordinate system:

How to do it:

Use the chain rule for differentiation to convert the derivatives with respect to the Cartesian variables to derivatives with respect to the cylindrical variables.

The chain rule can be used to convert a differential operator in terms of one variable into a series of differential operators in terms of othe…

Lost Phone

We were incredibly lucky to have both been in university settings when our kids were born.  When No. 1 arrived, we were both still grad students.  Not long after No. 2 arrived, (about 10 days to be exact), mom-person defended her dissertation and gained the appellation prependage Dr. 

While there are lots of perks attendant to grad school, not the least of them phenomenal health insurance, that’s not the one that’s come to mind for me just now.  The one I’m most grateful for at the moment with respect to our kids was the opportunities for sheer independence.  Most days, we’d meet for lunch on the quad of whatever university we were hanging out at at the time, (physics research requires a bit of travel), to eat lunch.  During those lunches, the kids could crawl, toddle, or jog off into the distance.  There were no roads, and therefore no cars.  And, I realize now with a certain wistful bliss I had no knowledge of at the time, there were also very few people at hand that new what a baby…

Lab Book 2014_07_10 More NaI Characterization

Summary: Much more plunking around with the NaI detector and sources today.  A Pb shield was built to eliminate cosmic ray muons as well as potassium 40 radiation from the concreted building.  The spectra are much cleaner, but still don't have the count rates or distinctive peaks that are expected.
New to the experiment?  Scroll to the bottom to see background and get caught up.
Lab Book Threshold for the QVT is currently set at -1.49 volts.  Remember to divide this by 100 to get the actual threshold voltage. A new spectrum recording the lines of all three sources, Cs 137, Co 60, and Sr 90, was started at approximately 10:55. Took data for about an hour.
Started the Cs 137 only spectrum at about 11:55 AM

Here’s the no-source background from yesterday
In comparison, here’s the 3 source spectrum from this morning.

The three source spectrum shows peak structure not exhibited by the background alone. I forgot to take scope pictures of the Cs137 run. I do however, have the printout, and…