rockets and creativity


Recently, I’ve been roleplaying a rocket scientist. I’m not even kidding; this is an illegal hobby of mine. (Also, I’ve been playing with candles and the effects of diluting various chemicals e.g. toothpaste, cologne, water, etc. this video; a candle doesn’t need a wick to light, super interesting)  shhhhhh! Don’t tell anyone I do this!

(here is the link to a video on my facebook of one of my rocket tests)

I bought some solid potassium nitrate in the form of garden stump remover (spectracide brand; the other brands don’t have potassium nitrate as active ingredient). Then I used granulated white sugar sucrose. (for better results, use pure sorbitol) I don’t have pure glucose, but I think that would work even better. Heated on the stove with catalyst iron (III) oxide, it creates very very effectual rocket fuel. 

What does this have to do with creativity? October sky.

I am relatively obsessed with this stuff. I mean, I’ve been ordering the stuff online. And I’m creating nozzles out of 3dsmax (so I can 3d print). I learned how a nozzle works. And I learned the state laws on firing rockets. This has to do with creativity because when you’re interested in something, you’ll want to explore every facet of something. It’s pretty exciting. And to me creativity is all about being excited for something. I don’t know.


Enjoy the little things in life, for one day you’ll look back and realize they were the big things – Vonnegut

final quarter, I am skipping

Association


This is written in one shot. Stream of conscious, boom, random, kind of, but something I wrote nonetheless. Not the best, but … ok.

In scholastic bowl, for completely random in-the-dark guesses, for whatever reason, we have a tradition of guessing “Smith,” which is pretty much never right, but it is a constancy we sit back on. It feels good: Smith. It does, but never right. Smith, and if you have watched The Matrix, you would recognize him as the one who compared humanity to a virus. A virus with a host of mother nature we are, and always feeding and begetting, replicating, reproducing, duplicating. One. Two. Four. Eight. Semelparity, exponentially, big bang, and consume we do. Like the fire in Stravinsky’s Firebird, from a small flame to one that is whirlwind cymbal dramatic, trombone blasting, piccolos screaming into the timber sparks and bombast dust. Mankind. Smith. Evolution. Only needing enough to replicate. and so we replicate, limited by not us but the medium in which we live in. Limited not by us. No, we are limited by our egocentricity, or perhaps, the heliocentricity, virus unable to spread outwards of the sun. Be we do anyways go above the heavens in some sort of self-proclaimed apotheosis, whether it is by our egos or whatever, we answer, perhaps with something completely random like a firebird. this is why as mere mortals of the Scholastic bowl team, we answer and we are wrong with “Smith,” and we’re ok with it. Because, we’re just human.

Dice with Buddies (Yahtzee) personal heuristics


1. Be somewhat certain you can get the 35 bonus before you fill up 4 of a kind unless you are totally winning and are just looking for a safe game.

2. The 35 bonus requires an average of 3x per ever single category. Aiming for 3x in each will fail. Aim for 4x on some 5s, and 6s and worry about the 1s, 2s, and 3s at the end. With this in mind, the 1s square is a pretty good box for busted draws as it is pretty much worthless.

3. The chance square should be used for busted large straight draws. Unless very high busted 3,4 of a kinds later in game can get you high chance scores.

4. Chase for 5 of a kind (Yahtzee) early in the game. Don’t be afraid to use it as a filler for busted draws as you run out of turns. On that note, this rule is the same but looser for 4 of a kind and full house. If you don’t score for 4 of a kind or full house, realistically, will probably lose.

5. Promising high initial rolls of 1s or 2s or other combinations of low numbers, unlike 6s, should be used to chase full house, 5 of a kinds (Yahtzee) or perhaps even straights. Busted full house, 5 of a kinds can be used to fill 1s and 2s, etc.

6. Though it might be tempting to re-roll everything if you get a bogus initial roll, consider keeping the highest number for high 3 or 4 of a kinds. On that note, don’t be afraid to re-roll everything if there is nothing, but always consider the board. For example, keep a 3 if you’re thinking about small straight possibilities, etc.

7. Though expected value is difficult to mentally calculate especially with three turns ahead, it is useful to be aware that it is unwise to go for 4 of a kind or 5 of a kind when you have a full house even if it is 3 sixes.

8. More expected value: If you roll a small straight with a double (2 5s or 2 6s), don’t reroll for the 35 bonus points. Get points for small straight.

9. Banking on rolling 3 of a kind for any specific number in mind is a bad idea as it is statistically infrequent. If you get a pair of 5s but you already have 5s, maybe good idea to go for 3 of a kind instead even if you are hard headed with the 35 bonus points.

Any other heuristics you use? share in comments! (:

3 Types of Students


Applying to colleges made me aware that there are 3 types of students.

The first are students who don’t care about grades, only going to school because it is mandatory. The second are students who care only about grades, only trying in school because in the process of getting into college it is mandatory.

The third are students who don’t want to care about grades. They want to learn things and express things and make things for themselves rather than for the system. Without sounding too pretentious, I think I am in the third group, a very noble group to be in indeed.