Sunday, October 31, 2010

People Who Smell Like Their Pets

My coworker and I were discussing how you can tell if someone has indoor cats because they smell like 'a cat lady' i.e. they smell like cat urine. These people are easy to pick out in society. For example, the other day I was at the temple, and I was sitting next to a lady whom I'd never met—I didn't even know her name! Yet I knew that she had multiple indoor cats because of the way she smelled.

Saturday, October 30, 2010


Fall is my favorite season and Hallowe'en is my favorite holiday. I like carving jack-o'-lanterns, I like eating all the pumpkin bread and candy, I like listening to certain scary soundtracks [1], etc. In honor of this wonderful holiday, I'm going to share a few facts I've learned:

Friday, October 29, 2010

Apparent Magnitude and the Degrees of Glory

A while back in Elders Quorum we talked about the plan of salvation, including the three degrees of glory. In 1 Cor. 15:41–42 it says:

There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars: for one star differeth from another star in glory.

So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown in corruption; it is raised in incorruption:

That got me thinking—just how bright are those luminaries in comparison with each other? So I looked it up. Astronomers use apparent magnitude to define how bright something looks from where you’re standing, here on Earth. This is different than how bright they would be if we observed them all from the same distance, or absolute magnitude. But Paul was only interested in comparing how bright things are to the earthly observer, so I’ll use apparent magnitude. The scale used for determining apparent magnitude is a logarithmic scale where the smaller the number, the brighter the object appears.[1] So here are the apparent magnitudes I looked up:

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Raster Graphics and Vector Graphics

There are two basic kinds of graphics: raster graphics and vector graphics.

Most of us are familiar with raster graphics. They are images which are stored as pixels arranged in a grid. A perfect example of a raster graphic is a digital photograph. They include file types with the extensions .bmp, .png, .gif, .jpg, etc. One of the weaknesses inherent in raster graphics is that they lose resolution if you zoom in or blow up the picture. I think we've all seen pictures that looked pixellated—that's because they're raster graphics.

Vector graphics, on the other hand, aren't as well known. They are images which are stored as points, lines, curves, and shapes. An example of a vector graphic would be a TrueType font. No matter how big you make the font it looks smooth rather than pixellated.[1] Vector graphics include file types with the extensions .svg, .vml, .swf, .ttf, etc. One of the weaknesses inherent in vector graphics is that they require every detail to be drawn by hand. The result is that it's easier to draw cartoonish pictures rather than draw a highly detailed image.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

I Looked Out the Window and What Did I See?

Yesterday the weather was quite nice and before I went into my lab, I walked around south of BYU campus and took some photographs of the fall colors.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Recipe: Brazilian Lemonade

For my last graduate retreat we went to Tucanos Brazilian Grill in Provo. They gave us a Brazilian lemonade to drink (actually, it was a limeade, but they insisted on calling it a lemonade). It was really good. So, with a little help from this blog, I've recreated the recipe. Along the way, I'll point out how this bears a striking resemblance to the preparation of an alcoholic drink, called absinthe, which was until recently illegal.[1][2]

Monday, October 25, 2010

Yay for Scotty!

Last Friday my high-school buddy Scott got married in the Salt Lake City temple.[1]

Thursday, October 21, 2010


I dislike it when people pronounce coupon as CYOO-pon (mouse over for the IPA [1]) instead of COO-pon. Once, when I was complaining about this unfortunate phenomenon, my sister, Camille informed me that historically the long u was pronounced with a y before it. I've since investigated her claim and learned more about it.[2]

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

It's Better to Be Zimri

In a recent issue of the Ensign, President Dieter F. Uchtdorf shared a tale about two brothers named Abram and Zimri:

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Good Company

There are lots of health benefits to a vegetarian diet, including improved cardiovascular health; reduced incidence of Alzheimer's disease, diabetes, and certain types of cancer; and a longer lifespan.[1]

Sounds pretty good, right?

Well, I was thinking about it and, despite the health benefits of being a vegetarian, carnivores find themselves in much better company.

Monday, October 18, 2010


Welcome to Matt and Leann's blog.

We'll start you off by introducing you to the image in the background. What you see back there is a composite photograph of the Whirlpool Galaxy (also known as M51a or NGC 5194) taken by the Hubble Space Telescope in 2005.[1] On a clear night it can even be seen with just a pair of binoculars.