But You’re Catholic…

“…how can you be a scientist and a Catholic?”

Surprisingly, this is a question I often encounter and I’d like to address it with the following three images and a short explanation.

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George Lemaitre – Father of the Big Bang
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Gregor Mendel – Father of Genetics
Br. Consolmagno
Guy Consolmagno – Carl Sagan Medal Winner

 

There is a plethora written on the subject of “faith vs science”, however I am writing this as a short primer/response to my personal friends (the ones who read my blog anyway).

There is this stereotype that asking questions in religion is discouraged. In some denominations, it makes sense.  In Catholicism, there’s an entire order (the Jesuits) dedicated to research and education in both our faith and the physical world. In fact, two of the three men shown above are Jesuits.

What it all boils down to: The search for the truth will never contradict the truth that God is.

The only time this search is forbidden is when it is immoral. Fetal stem cell research, for example is grossly immoral and unnecessary.

[2275] It is immoral to produce human embryos intended for exploitation as disposable biological material.
[2295] Research or experimentation on the human being cannot legitimate acts that are in themselves contrary to the dignity of persons and to the moral law.

The USCCB goes into greater depth on both of those short snippets, but they’ve been truncated for brevity’s sake.

My faith is exactly that, faith, but it has withstood the crumbling of entire empires and the test of time. There should be no contradiction between my faith and my yearning for the truth, save for the methods used to obtain said truth.

I’ve closed comments (and will continue to keep them closed) on all of my posts pertaining to religion as it is all to easy to get on a tangential-debate that I don’t have the will to entertain. If you have legitimate questions, I am sure there have been terabytes written on the matter.

The Seven Stages of Project Development

Denial

T=0 hours

“I need you to ________”

Your first thoughts are “Oh yeah this’ll be easy.”

You get a basic sketch drawn up, and begin hunting for parts.

initial
I <3 OneNote and LaTeX

 

Pain

T=40 hours

The parts you’re wanting don’t spec up to the others. The design gets revised. Nothing unexpected. You never typed an A+ essay the first time.

second
Okay we need more supports…I get it.

 

Anger/Panic/Insanity

T=120 hours into the project you’ve come to regret taking on this “weekend project” that started out as a joke. More revision requests come in and you only have a week until the expected date where you present the DATA you’ve gathered on your project. You still hold out hope that you can source the parts, next-day air them, and assemble the experiment on time. Your file naming and revision hierarchy has gone to hell in a handbasket.

file paths
Now was it DoYouWantToBuildAPendulum/OkayBuild/SW Parts & Drawings/FlatpackPendulum or DoYouWantToBuildAPendulum/OkayBuild/SW Parts & Drawings/FlatpackPendulumFinal? Which revision is this??

Depression

T=160 hours the conference is over, you brought what you could to the table. You presented the concept. Nobody seemed too interested, and the project is still nothing more than a CAD drawing nicknamed “McPendulum”

mcpendulum
The customer is always right. Keep repeating that to yourself. The customer is always right.

Reconstruction

T=240 hours.

“This looks good! Let’s build it!”

Finally satisfied with your design, the boss signs off on the quickest possible method of construction, because, you know, the project is 3 weeks late. You begin construction and the project is starting to look acceptable.

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“You’re the guy who brought in $200 in gold coins for the deposit on the liquid nitrogen. Don’t worry about the deposit. We’re sick of holding on to those.”

Acceptance

You’re behind time, but thankfully not over budget. The conference is long over and the school year has started so you’re only able to put in what time you can put in between studying and sleep.

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Hello Kitty Bandaids: Because rounding corners removes an opportunity to shame the injured.

Don’t freak. Focus.

This summer has been an amazing experience for me in learning how to professionally develop projects and see them through to the end. I’ve never been one to shift the blame to anyone other than myself when it comes to my own failures. This project did have a lot of its own unique obstacles, and I’d say I did fairly well considering the circumstances of starting two weeks late, working with another researcher on another project, working with another researcher on yet another project, revising and finalizing various PCBs, and babysitting mentoring. Currently, the pendulum project is nearing completion, and is in it’s early stages of testing. If you’re interested in learning more about the systems experimentation platform, I will have a page for it after the apparatus is up and running.

What I learned:

  • Multiply all projections by 3
  • Time management
  • Have fun (see below)
  • Have even more patience
  • Solidworks is unstable on school-sponsored laptops
  • Save often and to multiple locations

Have Fun!

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My buddy Adrian next to my buddipole.
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Amanda, Jack, and David at Hippie Hole.
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Father Sparks with a 3D printed version of himself.

Boldly Going Where No Man Has Gone Before

It’s not really that bold, but it is pretty cool. I’ve been doing research under my professor throughout the entire year and right now progress has slowed to a halt, but I have gathered some interesting data so far! Right now we’re working on a magnetic flux leakage material evaluation method. The technology isn’t at all new, but how we’re going to be applying the method is entirely novel.

The application will not be discussed here.

It all started with Ghettoscanner, my three-dimensional topographic mapping scanner.

V1 was ugly as sin, but it worked.

And ended with Ghettoscanner 2.0, my three-dimensional magnetic flux scanner.

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I have an entire page I am preparing on ghetto scanner and its uses, but for the purpose of brevity, Ghettoscanner 2.0 is able to take “layers” of measurements, and software I wrote takes that data and compiles it into images.

WE CAN USE THIS TO SEE THE UNSEEN!

Mapping has been done before using a different method.

Three-Dimensional mapping (my approach)? Never been done outside of simulations and calculations. Neat.

There is a lot more work to be done in the way of processing the data into an actual three dimensional model (lots-o-vector calc), but as of a few months ago, I was able to compile the slices of the field into various .gifs which gave a really neat visualization of the field.

RECRIPROCATING100bigscan

Above are the fields, as measured (no altering of the data)

highcontrast RECRIPROCATING

Below are two more scans with a contrast function implemented to better pronounce the field.

I collected around 5 megabytes of data per slice stack. This doesn’t sound like much, but when you break it down, that’s 180X180X100 points of data, 3,240,000 points. Not really bad for servos.

I still have a long way to go before I get any decent data, such as correcting the strange overlap in my scans, and finding the actual magnitudes of the flux by implementing the other 3 axis of measurement I have available.

As soon as I stop being lazy, I’ll have new software written in C++ that will turn my point cloud into an .STL file.

The Tribulations of the Scatter-Brain.

I have, sitting in my post queue, about 5 really awesome projects that I’ve mostly finished. They’re not ready to publish yet because they are not up to the quality that I want them at. They should hopefully be finished up here-fore-too-long. With any hope you’ll be able to see some of the neat work I’ve been doing.

Like how I got this scan of Han Solo...
Like how I got this scan of Han Solo…

If I have one piece of advice for you all, it’s to just pick one project and finish the darn thing.

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Seriously, I sous vide’d some hamburgers today. Like I didn’t have enough on my plate already *ba-dum-tss*

“Get it working, get it working better, make it pretty.” -David H.

The pit I am in is deep. It’s a really cool pit, but it’s deep. And if I don’t craw out of it (I.E. finish my projects) then I’ve successfully wasted an entire year’s worth of time toiling about with proof-of-concept projects, but no finished products.

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My wallets can stop bullets…but they’re not ready to be pitched yet!

How all of you guys blog regularly is a complete mystery to me. I feel like I have a decently rigorous course load, combined with my extracurricular activities (learning LaTeX as of recently).

"Rigorous."
“Rigorous.”

Provided I am actually able to focus, I can turn out an entire system in a night. One of my projects was an XY plotter with a piezoelectric topography sensor I designed around two servos I had lying around. The proof-of-concept materialized right in front of me in a matter of 8 hours (designing, printing, and coding). I’ve since then spiffed up the design, and am working on publishing it on Thingiverse before somebody else decides that they can 3D print something that works around servos.

V1 was ugly as sin, but it worked.
V1 was ugly as sin, but it worked.

That’s it for now, I’m hoping I can push aside my filled schedule (looking at funny pictures of cats) to do some more posts, because hey, why not?

Warmest regards,

-C

 

 

 

Sexy Axe Murderers, Lab Entertainment Systems, and My First Semester of College

As finals draw near I am constantly in awe as to how fast time flies when I’m busy. These past months have all been blurred together which has caused me to abandon some of my projects (this website included). All I can say is WOW! I’ve been welcomed into my department and have been offered new opportunities! I’ll divulge a little later this month in the event that I remember to blog. Spiritually, I’ve never been stronger which blew my expectations of this school out of the water. Like any institution there is more than enough to complain about, but I’d say that I’m making the best of it by picking the brains of my professors.

As far as being busy, it isn’t so much the work load of school as all of the extra projects I’ve taken on.

I’m happy I started out with a smaller work load as it has allowed me to design, build, and program my mechanical fusor controller.

After spending several nights designing, printing, editing, and reprinting the design. I showed it to my professor who kindly said “That’s cute, now use a DAC.”

I’ve since abandoned the fusor as there is no reason the jump through the hoops of bureaucracy to “just run the thing”.

 

In between work on the fusor and school I managed to work on a bunch of personal projects which included the coolest beanie cap on campus, a lab entertainment system, and an axe murderer costume that I wore pretty well! On top of all of this I am on board with the school’s first hybrid rocket project and the HAM radio club. Can you say exhausting?

 

The cellphone allows me to draw energy from the atmosphere and recharge faster.
The cellphone allows me to draw energy from the atmosphere and recharge faster.

 

Granted, none of this is even close to what my friends over at RIT, MIT, or any of the other 3-lettered institutions are experiencing for a work load right now.

Here’s some eye-candy. I’ll start posting the cool stuffs as semester break rolls around!

sexyaxeman  beanie     A real chick magnet I tell you what. .

 

 

Nuclear Farnsworth Now Powered by Arvixe!

So I finally left the house both physically and electronically. All of my projects and hobbies have been transplanted to the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology. After I got everything unloaded, I saw a professor attempting to access my slow server. Since I already had purchased a professional server (and 6 domains/websites) I figured I would transfer everything over and use this always-available, reliable, maintenance-free resource. At $8/month it is a little pricey, but I will also be piggybacking other organizations’ websites on this server (hence the 6 slots I purchased) and that should be enough to pay for my blog, their blog, and all of hair I will be saving not trying to kick an old computer back into service.

I am honestly looking forward to putting more projects on here (and there are quite a few good ones). There will be some free time I will encounter once I get settled into this collegiate groove. As for now. Enjoy the new speeds!

arvixe

Fantastic company! Check them out sometime!

The Blog That’s Not Updated Often Enough To Be Read

Here we (my, myself, and I, and probably you) are. Several months from my last post looking back and asking myself…Where are all of the cool things? I keep reading this one depressing post about this kid who insulted a science fair director and made national news. Well fret no more. The reason I’ve been gone these past few months was because I was to busy doing awesome things!

So, some things to look out for:

  • Europe
  • Science
  • Underground Science
  • Engineering
  • Programming
  • Kevlar
  • Molten metal
  • More science
  • Firearms

I’ll also probably be transferring nuclearfarnsworth over to a more stable server service that I’m paying for. The amount of traffic I’ve been getting and the amount of down time I’ve been having were determining factors!

I can’t post without pictures!

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Not the Kind of Attention I Was Hoping For…

I have made a personal resolution to post only awesome things on my blog…but I feel like this needs to be said. Over the past few weeks, there has been quite a bit of blood spilled over this whole ordeal. Did I want it? Do I feel satisfied? Kind of. I am glad that progress has been made and that this issue had been brought up and dealt with so quickly. Am I happy she lost her job and had her name ruined? No. She made her bed and now she has to sleep in it though. It’s rather disappointing that an issue like this makes it all the way to Fox News, but the very fact that a reactor had been built in as intellectually dry a place as Wyoming does not. I guess the world likes hearing bad news. Any-who, I won’t look a gift horse in the mouth. Any publicity is good publicity and I hope to use it to make professional connections.

TL;DR:

Blood was spilled. I’m not happy that she lost her job, but I am content with the fact that this issue has been exposed, publicized, dealt with, and resolved. I am also INCREDIBLY, UNBELIEVABLY, and EPIC-LY thankful that I have so many people willing to support me and who are pulling for me.

FOX NEWS

fox news

 

 

 

 

 

 

Casper Star Tribune (State Newspaper of Origin)

trib

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Washington Times

Washing times

 

 

 

 

 

 

And let’s not forget the newspaper of origin, the News Letter Journal. They aren’t as connected as these other sites so I don’t have a picture…only a print article.

Regards,

-Conrad

Confidential Digital Document Destruction

We basically stuffed 5 pounds of exploding targets inside of a computer and ran for our lives…or at least got a safe(ish) distance away. The resulting detonation pushed the bottom of the computer a couple inches into the ground and scattered shrapnel over a radius of about 100 meters. Only one fragment of the hard drive was recovered and there were no signs of the discs. Even if the discs were found I highly doubt there would be anything recoverable as they would have been physically distorted beyond recovery. Overall verdict: Great success.

ISEF, Foul Play, Graduation, and Firearms

ISEF and Foul Play

DSC04557

This last week I was granted the special opportunity to attend the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair! Boy was it a blast….sort of! The tl;dr story goes that I flew 1300 miles into the middle of the desert only to be disqualified by a really swell person. More on this later. The entire experience ended up being grand and I made a lot of new friends, met up with old ones, and got to see family. There were tons of amazing projects put on display and I felt blessed to be in the presence of so many great minds. A competition like ISEF is one of the best times for collaboration! The first three days were rather stressful as I was scrambling to get my board together and binder assembled.

The third day had to be the most interesting as I had been called to a meeting with the display and safety committee for what was written down as “participation question.” I ended up being disqualified for competing at two ISEF affiliated fairs…one being out of state. This may seem like an obvious infraction, but it isn’t so when it’s the norm for the science department to take 50 or 60 kids down to Wyoming State Science Fair and then back up to a South Dakota to compete at their fair. The situation is made more unique by the fact that we’re closer (1.5 hrs as opposed to 4) to the South Dakota Fair than the Wyoming State Fair. I digress. The infraction was a legitimate one, and I had my competition status removed but I was still able to present. I like to call this the “your dog died…but you can still keep him if you want” scenario. Had the infraction been brought up earlier in the process…say before I flew 1300 miles into the middle of a damn desert for nothing, I would have: A) Been a lot less aggravated, and B) Handled the situation a smidgen differently

Here is where it gets interesting…

Had this infraction not been reported, I would have been able to compete (hence the reason it was not discovered earlier). But who out of the 2000+ adults and students would have known that I competed in two fairs? Apparently my project caught the eye of the Wyoming fair director as she was browsing the electrical engineering section. This woman decided to circumvent all professionalism and report the infraction to the ISEF officials without first contacting us. After we figured out that she had reported the infraction, we tried numerous times to call her. She would not answer calls from the science department back home, the South Dakota coordinator, my supervising teacher who was also there, and I also believe my principal. It takes about a day for word to get out and every faculty member of my high school AND the South Dakota School of Mines (the institution that sponsored the fair and paid for me to go down to Phoenix to compete) to be extremely angry at this woman who went out of her way to make sure all of my hard work that had been denied at her fair was also denied at the international level.

Okay, here is where the story gets REALLY interesting.

Out of all of the people there, I manage to run into the little rat. She was eating at a table in the food court of the event center with the Wyoming group and the moment I saw her I knew what happened next was out of my hands. My vision turned red and I approached her. I first confirmed that it was in fact the her (as I had never seen her other than a picture I found after about two seconds of googling). After the confirmation, I proceeded to let her, and everyone within earshot, know that she was a poor excuse of a woman and that she had fucked up the four years worth of work that had lead to this point. I am really sorry…that I was so angry I was unable to insult her more. Mind you, this is 24+ hours after she reports the infraction and refuses to answer our calls. Precisely 24 hours later she decides to give the South Dakota Coordinator a call and complain about being embarrassed in public by myself.

If you TL;DR’d the entire thing: I was disqualified for an unknown infraction reported by the Wyoming coordinator, she was completely unprofessional about the entire ordeal and I ended up seeking her passive ass out and promptly insulting her in public in a fit of rage.

I am somewhat more content now that I got that out of my system. Quite frankly, any fair that uses blackballing, unprofessional tactics such as the Wyoming State Science Fair can go fuck themselves.

The Sunny Side Up:

I got to meet up with old friends, my family, Nobel Prize Winners, Adam Steltzner, and an astronaut. On top of all of that I got to make new friends!

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Dominic is a friend I made at PAN Camp this last summer. He is an extremely bright gentleman!
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Jake is part of The North West Nuclear Research Consortium. He builds reactors. Adam is a winner of the Intel talent search who does research on plasma physics.
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Connor is a friend I made at JSHS two weeks earlier. This kid is awesome! He loves grass.
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I also Met Marianne at JSHS! She was a victim to one of my practical jokes.
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Jon is one of those crazy people you meet that has no social media ties. He is the most interesting man I’ve ever met. He does everything from fusion research to riding dirt bikes. Hmm reminds me of a much brighter version of myself. Definitely more interesting!
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Sarah is an old friend of mine that does undergraduate research in high school. If you want the definition of well rounded…this is it.
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J. Michael Bishop is a Nobel Prize Recipient!
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Adam Steltzer is the chief engineer for NASA’s JPL! Jae and I were lucky enough to have gotten a picture with him!
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Randy and Brent are family members of mine that live in Az! It was great seeing them!
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Of course I didn’t get the name of the astronaut I got a picture with!
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Aly was my neighbor from Egypt. He built what was essentially google glass…but for under $200. Luckily a rep from google glass decided to stop by his booth.
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Michal is a fusioneer from Slovakia. He is incredibly bright!

All in all the trip ended well. It sucked knowing that I had a fighting chance at winning some awards but I’m sure this situation happened for a reason! The friends I made and met were awesome and I hope to see them later in life. Everyone who attended ISEF was absolutely brilliant and it was fun picking everyone’s brain! The entire situation has gained publicity from our local newspaper and there is a lot of ruckus going on over it. I am extremely grateful that there are this many people behind me and willing to back me up in a situation like this.

 

Graduation!

I graduated from my institution of secondary education this last Sunday the 19th. It was sad having to leave all of the people who have coached, mentored, and worked with my the past four years. I am more than happy to be able to move on to the next chapter of my life, but I am going to miss my mentors and friends.

Look at how much I care. Everyone brought silly string...but I got the last laugh with my air horn.
Look at how much I care. Everyone brought silly string…but I got the last laugh with my air horn.

 

Firearms!

I created a new page under hobbies>firearms. Click on the picture for the story!

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