That Guy You Know

The personal blog of an Astrophysics Undergrad attending Arizona State University. Feel free to ask me any and all Astronomy/Astrophysics/Higher Maths  questions you might have and I'll do my best to answer them, regardless how oddball and unanswerable (Whee, Speculation!). If you're looking for my Dwarf Fortress blog, the FUN is here.
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Academia is a true nightmare. 

Sorry for the click-bate-y title, but this is kind of really important. While tuition is going up, the people actually doing the teaching are being severally underpaid. What follows are some particularly upsetting excepts:

Over three quarters of college professors are adjunct. Legally, adjunct positions are part-time, at-will employment. Universities pay adjunct professors by the course, anywhere between $1,000 to $5,000. So if a professor teaches three courses in both the fall and spring semesters at a rate of $3000 per course, they’ll make $18,000 dollars. The average full-time barista makes the same yearly wage. However, a full-time adjunct works more than 40 hours a week. They’re not paid for most of those hours.

Some professors in his situation became homeless. Oliver was “fortunate” enough to only require food stamps, a fact of life for many adjuncts.

“It’s completely insane,” he said. “And this isn’t happening just to me. More and more people are doing it.”

“We have food stamps,” said the anonymous adjunct from Indiana. “We wouldn’t be able to survive without them.”

“Many professors are on food stamps and they go to food donation centers. They donate plasma. And that’s a pretty regular occurrence,” Merklein told Salon.

“As soon as they hear about you organizing, they go on the defensive,” Merklein said. “For instance, at my community college, I am being intimidated constantly and threatened in various ways, hypothetically usually. They don’t like to say something that’s an outright direct threat. … They get really freaked out when they see pamphlets around the adjunct faculty office and everyone’s wearing buttons regardless of what professional organization or union it is. They will then go on the offensive. They will usually contact their attorney who is there to protect the school as a business and to act in an anti-labor capacity.”

The most telling phrase in Merklein’s words are “the school as a business.” Colleges across the country have transitioned from bastions of intellectual enlightenment to resort hotels prizing amenities above academics. Case in point: The ludicrously extravagant gyms in America’s larger universities are home to rock climbing walls, corkscrew tracks, rooftop gardens, and a lazy river. Schools have billions to invest in housing and other on-campus projects. Schools have millions (or in some cases “mere” hundreds of thousands) to pay administrators.  Yet schools can’t find the money to hire more full-time professors. If one follows the money, it’s clear that colleges view education as tertiary. The rigor of a university’s courses doesn’t attract the awe of doe-eyed high school seniors. Lavish dorms and other luxuries do.

Anyone going to college now, consider organizing for your faculty. They are at risk of being fired for it, you are not. The university might be more willing to listen to students demanding the education they are paying for. Make noise for the people making your degree possible.

If you are touring colleges, ask what percentage of the faculty are adjucts. Ask what they are paid.

If you are not in a position to do these things, there are two petitions in the linked article to sign.

and honestly if you can read about shit like this and still be against unions I don’t know what to tell you.

Can’t wait to get my degree so I can start teaching!

(via quantumspork)

Today is the General GRE, more specifically it starts in about 3 hours. Ah well, at least the Physics subject GRE isn’t for 3 weeks.


Not everything is a popularity contest.

(via the-skooma-cat)



Author John Scalzi was on a roll this morning (currently 7:14 AM, 26 Sept. 2014) with a tweet he found from some guy sending out an “ultimatum” to women to “make a choice” between feminism and, well, men like him. So Scalzi launched into a truly magnificent set of scorchers, which I’m posting here for the delectation of people everywhere.

Also: I would like to thank that guy for setting the ultimatum. It makes finding a boyfriend so much easier when the undesirable ones wear a placard identifying themselves.

"The tragedy of that poor boy’s life is not the realization that he’s not the grand prize he’s assumed, but that he’s not even second place."

(via otpblackholemagnetar)

With iOS 8 law enforcement can now control your phone and prevent you from taking photos, videos and recordings of officers when they are near. The apps will be disabled within a certain radius. Capturing any police brutality is now prohibited.

Apple employee who demands to remain anonymous

Sept. 17, 2014

(via negrophiliac)

This better be a fucking joke/rumor.

(via susiethemoderator)

Apple holds a patent which mentions that its technology could have applications for law enforcement and government security. For example, the patent description notes that covert ‘police or government operations may require complete ‘blackout’ conditions’.

(via priceofliberty)

This little tidbit sold me on the Galaxy over the iPhone for my next phone since I’m due for an upgrade.

(via tylerthereblogger)


(via ashleighthelion)

If true, this is horrifying.

(via nudityandnerdery)

First unwanted U2 albums and now this no thanks

(via mens-frights-activist)

Staying my Black ass with Android, then…

(via kyssthis16)

(via fumblingtowards-ecstasy)

  • The US Government: We're not going to make it federally mandatory for people to get paid a wage they can actually live off of
  • The US Government: If people want to make a living, they'll just have to work 16+ hours a day
  • The US Government: And if their kids end up disenfranchised because of a lack of parental involvement, well that's not our problem
  • The US Government: In fact, what is our problem is creating a system that will funnel these disenfranchised youth into our prison system so they can work for corporations (that promise us money) for damn near free
  • The US Government: If they don't want to fall victim to this system, then they can seek higher education
  • The US Government: Except such an education will be inaccessible to most disenfranchised people and skewed in favor of the financially stable and white people
  • The US Government: And we're not going to make intervention programs like sex education and conflict resolution federally mandatory, because that's the parent's job
  • The US Government: The parent who is working 16 hours a day





(via fumblingtowards-ecstasy)

Hah, special relativity is fun. Two ships got where they were going at the same time (by the time observed by an observer at destination or origin) BUT the wall time for the two ships differs by a month because of the differences in their velocities ( one was moving at a constant 0.97 c, the other went 50% at 0.95 c and the other times at 0.99 c)



CityscapesJeremy Mann

these are sick

(via thegrazing)

It makes me happy to know out there in the world is a high-energy radio telescope with the initials OCRAP.



it’s been a trying past few days

SO thats how it’s done!

mantoniospam said: For reference’s sake, how efficient are fusion reactors nowadays? How about the fission ones that are actually used?

Best way of comparing efficiencies between disparate reactions in my book is in relation to the complete annihilation of one atom of hydrogen (about as efficient as you can get for energy creation in a nice standard unit size)

In that frame of reference the “pool heater” is around 0.4%, the sun gets 0.7% (so the pool heater is only ~half as efficient, whoops, glad I double checked) and fission gives about 1/9 of that (~0.04%) from what I know of current reactors. As for what the current efficiencies of the research reactors is, damn good question, none of the public ones are power positive yet (so negatively efficient XD) and the one I know of that is power positive currently is under a deep shroud of secrecy (the polywell, the descendant of the stellarator designs).

Special relativity has the best absurd example problems of all the physics I’ve taken thus far, easily

An eccentric billionaire decides to sterilize his 10^6 liter swimming pool by boiling the water in it, For heating purposes he uses the fusion reaction

1^H + 3^H => 4^He + energy

Assuming the heating system is 20% efficient (!), how much does he pay for the Tritium to raise the pool temperature from 20 to 100 C? It takes 4.2 Joules to raise 1 g of water 1 c and Tritium costs $5 per cm^3 of gas at STP.

Atomic Masses : 

  • 1^H   1.0081 amu
  • 3^H   3.0170 amu
  • 4^He 4.0039 amu

The answer is $610, but thats only because his “pool heater” is more efficient than the Sun and it only takes .122 liters of Tritium (even for that half olympic sized pool). Try working it out yourself with wolfram alpha’s help, its a great exercise in unit conversions.