This week I have been living on a pretty intense learning curve. I have been working from 8:00 in the morning until around 4:30 or 5:00 every day this week and it is definitely not work I am used too. I have had a regular full time job every summer since sophomore year, but working in a gear shop is different than any desk job. It takes stamina. Staring at a computer screen and focusing for a whole day is a skill that I have definitely not mastered. My one reprise is a one hour lunch where I have gone for a bike ride almost every day now.
Every morning I get up around 7:00 and go through my normal morning routine. I grab a bowl of cereal, thrown on some music and get to work pilfering the kitchen for my lunch. At around 7:40 I leave my house on my bike and head to work. I live pretty close to Cardno’s headquarters in Portland so it is a pleasant fifteen minute bike ride in to work. When I get into work I meet with Alex, one of my coworkers, who gives me my first job of the day. So far this week I have been helping compile a large database of documents for the company and cross-checking each document with a master list to make sure everything is up to date. Cardno is a corporation based out of Australia that has been rapidly expanding in the America’s for the past four or five years. My job for the past week has been calling and emailing people in different branches of Cardno across the country and gathering their letterheads. Letterheads as I learned this week are the templates used to send out professional notices and letters to people. As more and more have come into my inbox I have been making sure each is brand compliant and that the addresses and phone numbers on the template match with the actual address of each office. One of Cardno’s biggest jobs right now is creating a single brand from all of these companies and they are aggressively making that switch right now. In checking for “brand compliance” I have been making sure the letterheads are using the right logo’s, colors, etc. Finally once I have done all this I upload all of the documents into one file on Cardno’s massive server.
While this work is definitely not what I had in mind when I got this internship it has still been educational. For one I have learned my limits in terms of working on computers for X number of hours. Usually around 12:30 I can’t get out of the building fast enough. Also I have learned a lot about how businesses are run and the essential need for brand identity. While most of the documents I have been working with will only be circulated internally it is still important that they still have a single brand. This is so the company feels together as opposed to a bunch of different arms and legs working separately. Previous to this week I hadn’t ever been exposed to anything like this so it has been eye-opening to say the least and I am excited to see where it goes.
Remember those factor trees that you spent so much time making in middle or lower school. who would've thought they'd ever be useul? Well useful in a mathematical sense anyway. I started with the idea that you could just factor prime numbers into forever by continuisly factoring out the number and one. In doing so you could create an infinite line coming from a point or as we like to call them, rays. my project hinges on ideas of composite and prime, prime numbers take the form of rays and the composite lines make finite line segements. I started by assuming that when you split things it always spilt at the same angles. from this it forms a factor tree with distinct shapes in it, these shapes, as far as I can tell so far are not unique, or at least there is a general catagory of shapes that aren't unique. Each differant number will have a unique tree but there will be shapes that can be found in multiple nunbers. The are two goals herein, A) to catagorize numbers based on the differant types of shapes found in them and t be able to make varialbes more concrete. I'm going to devote an entire blog post to both of those ideas so that will come next.
So first blog post out of the way. Hrnk, so far this is my least favorite part but its good to be able to explain your ideas, I suspect this will get more theropudic as time goes on. Also I'll spell check the next one but not here, I'm done.
A week later, I finally find the time to write and reflect a little bit about the opening night of my exhibition. Like I predicted at the end of my previous post, it was a long day of work for me. I accomplished all that I had hoped to accomplish, except for the picture frame and the sign directing people to the Dant house. And technically, I only had to put bridges on one side of the screen… Minor details, though.
The tempra painting was super fun. You could say that it has inspired me to paint windows in my house this summer… (Don’t tell my parents). I was lucky enough to have some help too, while I was running around campus trying to find a projector screen.
Oh, funny story about the slide projector. Before my exhibition, I had never actually used a slide projector, so I couldn’t figure out how to put the slides into the carousel. I didn’t get that you are supposed to take out the inner ring, allowing for the slides to fit into the slots. I thought there were all just too big and the wrong size, sooo I may have cut up about five slides to fit before realizing I was doing it very very wrong. It was a good moment for me.
Anyway, by the time 3:30 rolled around, I was in full panic mode. I realized I hadn’t taken a shower in about three days, my caterers were supposed to be on campus in 30 minutes to start setting up, and I had yet to create a picture frame or sign. I chose a fast shower at the gym over the picture frame and sign, thinking that I should probably look somewhat clean for the final culmination of my Senior Project. I even wore a dress that I had found junking around Portland several times before. I figured it was appropriate.
While I was still running around trying to get everything ready, my caterers had yet to arrive, and it was nearing 4:15! 4:30 rolls around, and I’ve gotten calls from a bunch of people saying they were going to be late, including one of my caterers. For a moment, I had the horrible thought that no one was going to show up and that the opening would end up being a complete joke. I had to take a moment to sit in my green chair and breathe, telling myself that it would all be ok, no matter what happened.
And it was all okay! My caterer arrived with food, and some other people went and picked up some light desserts for the show to make up for the other caterers last minute cancellation. Guests began around around 4:45 and 5, and soon enough, the lounge was crowded with people from all aspects of my life, from my mentor and her friends to friends from outside of school. Overall, a good time was had by all. I remember having a moment to myself to survey the room, and seeing a group of people playing cards around the blue coffee table, another cluster of people clicking through the slides in the projector, and other people enjoying the furniture and flicking the cars along the zipline overhead.
Besides the opening being a success, I also have had people approach me about buying more of the furniture! Nichole will be frustrated to know that I’ve gotten a better offer on the green armchair from a certain Catlin alum. I would just like to get the most money out of this as possible to pay back my expenses, so I’ll just let them work that out…
Unfortunately, I didn’t take any pictures on my own camera, so I don’t have any to post as of now. I know that both Vicki and Laurie have photos, so hopefully I’ll have some to post at some point.
When I first arrived at the studio, Tim was about to give a guitar lesson to a new student. Since it was the student's first lesson with Tim, they spent a good deal of time figuring out what was left to teach. This guy had a lot of experience playing by feel and by ear, but he never learned to read music very well. This encounter reminded me of a thought that had been bouncing around in my head for the last few weeks: the difference between playing by ear and feel as apposed to playing from sight and sheet music.
I honestly think this is one of the main ways you can classify musicians. Not a way to judge them, because each side has extreme strengths, but put someone's style into perspective. Obviously there are a huge amount of people who fall right in between, but there are also a vast amount of musicians on either extreme. For instance, Ray Charles or Stevie Wonder both play by ear with no music. Lang Lang could take a Beethoven sonata and play the whole thing through on his first try just by reading the music. You can't deny that these musicians aren't some of the best in the world, but their skill sets are quite different.
I had also been thinking about what the smartest approach for a musician is. When you look back into our history, our American history, we see a deep and rich tradition of playing from one's ear, and from this tradition spawned jazz and blues, the single greatest art that America has given birth to. This music, which came simply from people's ears lays the backbones for almost every single sort of music we hear around us. Look at almost every single fifties or sixties song and you will find that it is based on the simple I-IV-I-V-IV-I chord progression, also known as the twelve bar blues. The foundations for modern music were laid by musicians who couldn't read music. But in today's music scene, people communicate through much more technical means than feeling. That's why I think it is critical to be able to read music. If you are a professional musician, it would be expected of you to receive a chart and understand what is happening. It's probably impossible to make a living as a ear/feel only musician these days.
We spent the rest of the day working with the same musician who was in last week on producing another song with the same feel. Tim did the same thing where he laid down a rough draft of each track that will eventually go on the actual recording. It shocks me every time I see him work so easily and quickly to make such a professional sounding piece of work.
Although my advisor, Chris Snelling, had said that I could start work at 10, I was up and going by the same time as an average school day to go to my actual job at 730. This isn't part of my senior project (I actually get paid for this time) but it definitely contributes to my overall business throughout the day. After doing some reception work for 2 hours and drinking several cups of coffee, I left for OHSU. Getting there at 9:50 (giving myself plenty of time to park, right? Wrong.) I spent about 15 minutes driving around the campus looking for a parking space that didn't require me to have a parking pass, be employed by maintenance, or be disabled. After paying $8 for a 5-hr spot about 1/2 mile from the lab, I finally arrived at about 10:15.
First thing, Chris and I got my paperwork together and we headed over to see Diane about getting my badge. She gave us a pat on the wrists because I was supposed to have my badge before even coming on campus, but otherwise took the papers and told us she'd fast track the background check. From there we headed over to see the mice! Chris showed me his other office there where he keeps track of all the data and then we went over to take readings on the mice before starting there 2-hr alcohol session from 11-1. Today we got to weigh them, so Chris took out each cage and placed it on the scale, then removed the mouse in order to determine weight (a much more effective method than we'll see later) and I got to do ther recordings since I did not have the clearance to handle the mice myself without the badge. Everything was going great until we got to poor 6-3. Sadly, this little guy was stiff as a board in his cage, and Chris said he'd probably been dead since Friday. While a sad way to begin my project, this did allow me the opportunity to get a closer look at the attachment to the head of the mouse after Chris pulled it out. Then, walking towards the "Mousey Morgue" we stopped in small room in which a woman seemed to be operating on a mouse with it's chest spread open. It seems like this might make someone sick, but oddly enough, when we left after watching her whole process (Including extraction of the brain, which was especially awesome), I was definitely ready for lunch. And good thing too, because the cafeteria spread is amazing; It is like a mini New Seasons.
After lunch, Chris showed me a little bit of what he was doing on the GC Mass Spec and began a bit of a chemistry lesson, until we had to go back to visit the mice at 1. After taking results there and inputting them into the computer, we returned to discussing chemical composition of steroids and their roles in the body. After probing me for my knowledge of steroids (which made me wish I'd paid more attention during the chemistry section of BPC), we settled on using common hormones estrone (the hormone of estrogen - I was corrected) and testostrone to go through the ways in which chemical signalling happens. We wrapped it up around two and after a 10 minute walk back to my car, I headed back to joys of secretaryship.
Once again, after being forced out of bed, I went into work, this time from about 6:45 to 9:30. Super awesome. This time I managed to find a FREE! parking spot much closer to the office, however, it was only good for two hours so I knew I'd have to come back and move. I got to Chris' office at about the same time and we talked for a bit before heading down to do readings for the mice. I tried to keep up as he sped through and we were able to finish pretty quickly. Immediately after this we ran back to his office and then walked over to the VA for a meeting. This was especially interesting because I got to listen to these 5 women talk about their varying, but similarly based experiments and the results and problems that they faced. One girl, Marsha, even described a mouse of hers as a "popping popcorn" that she could never weigh because it would leap out of its cage everytime and nearly escape. Another woman then volunteered her assistance as a "mouse whisperer" to go and help get the mouse in line. Chris was also able to announce that he'd been successful in his attempts at locating this compound after many attempts and tinkerings with the mass spec, etc, and he told me that he'd be explaining that process more later. After the meeting we walked with Marsha and the other woman back to Marsha's lab where I got to see the jumping mouse. To me, as I watched the one woman try to calm the mouse and then have to chase him around the desk so that she could then stick him on a scale, I found this completely unnessesary as either woman could simply use Chris's method of first finding the weight of the mouse in the cage and the weighing only the cage to find the difference. That would take away any reliance on the mouse staying still, but Chris later explained that he has tried to tell them this but that many researchers have the way that they do things and they don't like to change it.
From that lab we went down to the lunchroom and got some more yummy food and went back to his office until 2 when it was time for the next readings. While doing this, Chris and I found our way onto the topic of drugs and how they work on a chemical level. Luckily I got to participate a little more on this subject thanks to Dan's biology class this year! We were talking a little bit about marijauna use when Chris asked if I knew what they used to use as a pain reliever way back when. I wasn't really sure exactly and so he described what used to be called Tinctures of Opium, something that could once be found at a local drugstore. We then talked about how they slowly realized the addictive factor of this drug, as it was basically a mixture of alcohol and morphine, they attempted to change the composition and bonded two acetyl groups to it, with the idea that it would make it not only longer lasting and more effective, but, even better, non-addictive. They had created diacetylmorphine. Typing this into wikipedia (which Chris, of course, told me never to cite but considered it suitable for our discussion) it automatically redirected us to the page entitled: Heroin. Chris explained that the name actually derived from heroine, as it was meant to be a hero to the pharmaceutical industry. Of course, as we know, this didn't turn out quite as planned. However, what is appalling is the amount that we still use other descendants of this orginal, addicting drug, such as morphine, oxycodone, and vicodin. After looking up the amount of sales in this business, though, I can see why it is still around. This of course brought us back to the subject of marijuana. Looking at its benefits, it seems that it could theoretically be a great substitute for this other addictive drugs given the fact that marijuana is not physically addictive. It also is just as effective at relieving pain and actually has some cancer preventing benefits. The one problem is, however, the psychological effects, as it tends to make people rather inactive. We also talked about how exactly addiction works at synaptic level. Chris drew a familiar picture of a synapse and helped me recap the different chemicals involved here and the process of the neurotranmitters diffusing across the synaptic cleft to enter the open channels of the post-synaptic membrane and continue through that axon. When a drug comes into this, like heroin, it will block these channels and cause the mellow "high." At this point, as Chris described, the brain will realize that the potential of this pathway has decreased and in order to get back to resting potential it will compensate by opening new channels, increasing the usual number. But as the effects of the drug wear off and the usual channels reopen, the withdrawl phase begins because the resting potential has now increased due to the excess of channels. This will cause the user to then use the drug not only again, but in increasing quantity as to reach the same amount of high. Over time, either from over stimulation in the wihdrawl phase, or understimulation due to overdose, the most likely result would be death.
Knowing this, we circled back to alcohol, and here I learned something (a fact I might've missed in Dan's class, if so, sorry Dan) a little bit shocking. Chris explained that it worked similarly at the synaptic level, however, instead of being limited to specific receptors, it had the ability to act as water, and bond with almost any receptor. Looking at the chemical composition of the two, side by side, it was easy to see why, as they are very similar. After we talked about this for a bit, we ended for the day and I hurried back to work.
This post is so far way too long and so I am going to try and keep this short.
We are now basically up tp date. This morning I arrived a little early and, as I suspected may be the case, Chris was not yet there and his office was locked. I wasn't suprised not because it was early and I didn't think Chris would be there that early, but because last night he had shown me where the spare key was (In a walk in freezer!) and he wanted to be mean and make me go into to the freezer and retrieve it (he'd told me to get there between 9:30 and 10, when before he had simply said to get there sometime around 10). So after I unlocked it and put the key back in its hiding place, I went in and left Chris a note that I was going to go get coffee in the cafe and then be back. Of course, it didn't take me a half an hour to do this, so I was still back before he was. Today we started out with the usual lab readings with the mice, and then I got to go get my badge! Now I am all official and stuff.
After lunch we returned to follow up with the mice and then as Chris input the data he explained more about his data. He showed me what he was inputting and then we took a look at the data and found an outlier (6-4, what a little drinker!) and so Chris showed me how to perform a q-test to see whether or not it was a usable number. Before I could even question whether or not it was really ethical to just throw away data that didn't fit, Chris explained that as he just wanted to look for a trend in the mice, he really only needed to look at the majority. He also went on to show me other ways that an outlier may affect the sigma, or error bars and used a bell curve to illustrate how he likes to look at the numbers within the range of 2 sigmas from the mean and anything too far from that is really just an outlier. He also explained a something new to me called SEM, or standard error of the mean. And he showed me who that is calculated as the sigma/N^(1/2). Basically, what I understand as the difference between the SEM and the sigma is that the sigma stands for the probable majority surrounding the mean, and the SEM encompasses the actual majority in relation to the mean.
After looking at the data and the calculations, we switched over to look at this in the form of a graph and Chris showed me how to make data appear to be more what you want it to look like (as an example of what not to ever do in science, of course). Using the results of todays drinking levels, which showed the multiple withdrawl group and control group as having extremely overlapping error bars, Chris showed me how, if he wanted to make these results seem more divergent, like he wants them to be in the end, he could hide the overlapping error bars and even hide the scale of the y-axis so that it appeared as if there was a significant difference between the two averages. This led, oddly enough, to our discussion of climate change and the movie "The Inconvenient Truth" because, as Chris explained, in the movie, most of their data was exactly as Chris just showed me, with the error bars and scale hidden, making the results seem more drastic. Chris has, however, seen the actual data from which that movie pulled and the error bars are quite large, seeing as the way in which they measure these different conditions, such as temperature and sea level, has varied quite a bit over time. The differences in sea level, for example, can be explained even by the fact that the recordings of the oldest data (sometime BC) is mostly guesswork and then even more recently it was dependant on someone looking as the level of the water based on the measurements on a pier, and now, they do it by satelite which is subject to huge error because there are so many factors that the satelites are dealing with. Temperature is a very similar case, as the ways in which it is measured has also changed numerously. As Chris and I discussed it, if anything, it seemed more and more apparent to me that the only way for a trend to really be concluded it to continue measuring everything the same way over a long period of time to see if we can really find a difference. Oh, and when we were talking about how they measure temperature now, that was also very interesting because Chris explained how they use the current between two types of metal and the voltage based on the temperature of the air. I would talk about it more, but I said that I would keep this short and so far it isn't. Chris wrapped this up going back to why he is keeping all factors of his experiment and his process the same because he wants to know that the only thing affecting the data is the mice and their reactions.
Tomorrow, sadly, I will not have as much time in the lab as I have to be at Catlin for the assembly, and then on Friday I am driving down for my first college volleyball tournament, but next week I will be back in the lab and at some point I even get to go over tothe Psychology dept. to learn more about what I will be doing there!
Wow. Way too long. Who even reads this? (hopefully not any english teachers, if so, I'm sorry for any grammar and spelling errors.)
Hi Dan! Pictures will come soon! Instead I actually wrote a thousand words...?
While exporting and uploading my Cinco de Mayo edit to the web, I came across something very interesting. If I simply export the movie as quicktime directly from final cut, it comes out to be 190 megabites, and is pretty bad quality. However, James taught me how to export it in HD (720p), which looks 100x better, and somehow is only 15 megabites... I couldnt understand how something that was of such high quality could be compressed into such a small package; James tried to explain it to me, but I had never heard of half the words he said. Oh well.
So yesterday I had to stand at the front of a classroom in front of all the teachers here at BSE and the principal (my boss) and tell them all about the project I'm working on. Thankfully it was a pretty laid back meeting and the faculty were very receptive to the ideas I was pitching about using the garden in their curriculum next year. I also found an AMAZINGLY helpful book titled "The Growing Classroom" which is chock full of class plans designed to use a garden to teach 2nd-6th graders in a number of subjects ranging from science to nutrition and sustainable living. Overall the meeting went well, and I think my boss was pleased (yesss!!).
I'm also now in charge of getting a wooden chair that the fourth grade built engraved and stained to put in the garden. Hopefully I'll have enough time to get that done (I'm pretty sure I will).
Also, composting is going extremely smoothly. The kids continue to impress me with their intuitive feel for what kinds of material can and can't be composted. It's great to see them walk up and proudly throw their banana and orange peels into the correct bin. Having the fifth graders on the sustainability team is also going to be a big help, since someone is going to need to monitor the process when I'm not there to help. I am concerned that the 5th graders have to miss class, but hopefully the impact isn't too negative because I don't see a readily available alternative.
And now I must go tend to issues such as who I can borrow staining brushes from.
I start my project tomorrow at Sockeye Creative. We are moving the entire editing suite from their current building in Union Station into their new space, so there will be a lot of work to be done. Im super excited about begining my project there, it looks like they have a lot of great stuff in store for me.