[Video Uploaded!] The 101st way to make a lightbulb

UPDATE: Video! (thanks Amr)

2 weeks into the ECE Project Integrated Program. I think it’s the second best decision I have made in my life, after not doing drugs. The group is awesome. We have a multi-cultural group consisting of 2 people from India, 1 from South America, 1 from Egypt, 1 from Malaysia, and 1 from Taiwan (me!). Now we just need a Caucasian and a black person to complete the set. Too bad we can only have 6 people. Not quite as diverse in terms of genders, though, unfortunately. All very talented and interesting people. A lot of close interactions with profs, too. While we are busy designing our power supplies (rectifier + filter + regulator… I feel so knowledgeable now), our very cool prof, Dr. Jesus (a cool name, too!) came to our bench, and tried to make a light bulb out of mechanical pencil lead (which, of course, is not made of lead, but graphite).

A picture is worth 1000 words. 3 pictures are worth 2999 (bulk discount) –
leadbulb1
leadbulb2
leadbulb3
Shot at about 1 second intervals. At the end it was blindingly bright that I couldn’t look at it. Then it went up in smoke =P I was gonna record it, but my phone doesn’t like that for some reason.

That’s 35V running through a lead, capped at 8A (280W! compared to a regular large bulb rated at 60W). Actually, he first tried it with just 1 power supply (4A), and the lead turned bright orange/red/smoky, but no burning. Apparently that was too slow for his taste, so he turned it off, and connected 2 power supplies in parallel…

It’s a lot more fun watching it in real life. Try it sometime! (have a fire extinguisher handy, tho)

I wonder if I can try it at home… =D. I have 8 USB ports… each capable of delivering 500mA at 5V… hmm.

Oh and, if you landed on this page in your google search in the year 2020 trying to decide if you want to go to LIP or PIP like I was doing a few months ago, let’s just say, the LIP people are creating an inventory of their resistors while we were doing this =).

Vancouver Metropolitan Orchestra

Just spent a wonderful afternoon with the Vancouver Metropolitan Orchestra in Burnaby. Bro had to do some volunteering there for his high school hours*, and I tagged along. It’s funny that this is actually the first orchestra concert I have gone to, as part of the audience, despite having played in an orchestra for 3 years, and have taken the stage quite a few times… Maybe that’s part of the reason why I have never been that good of a player, in an orchestra or not. It’s like someone writing a book without having ever read one =P.

The experience was quite enlightening. Things look very different from the comfy seats than from the stage. On the stage, you can’t really see anything in the audience, because all the light is on you, and the audience is all dark. Maybe that’s what gave me the false sense of security when I was on there. After all, if I can’t see them, they can’t see me either, eh? =D

They looked very professional, even though they are a training orchestra (not that I could tell by the music, which was awesome, but because the program guide said so), comprised mostly of 3rd or 4th year music students looking to become professionals (co-op for music?! =P), and a few professionals. No last minute frantically fingering through difficult passages even as the conductor is walking onto the stage, or getting too nervous and bump over stands and send scores flying, or being a few chairs short, or anything. They all looked like they know what they are doing, and all the back-stage fun just before the concert never happened (come on now… =P).

And then there was this really young conductor from Japan that made her debut today as a guest conductor. Whoo! She was probably up there sweating profusely. It was fun to watch, though. Very different conducting style compared to western conductors I have seen. A lot more squarely and rhythmic, instead of loopy and smooth (and jumpy? =D).

Godly people, great performance.

*On a totally unrelated note, I never believed in mandatory volunteering. It’s like saying “I’ll give you a free donut if you donate me $10”

Art of staying awake

Yes, I just added “Art of” to make it sound elegant and high class. It’s a misnomer, just like many things in life. This is no art. It’s science :). Art is for what don’t make sense.

After a not-so-eventful 10 hours flight, I’m back to the cow land!

A few tips to force yourself to stay awake when jetlag kicks in. I tested them all in a non-blinded* controlled experiment (the control group is myself, last year, same time), and they do work wonders –
1. Eat lots of protein and avoid sugar. According to some random Google article, protein is harder for the body to metabolize, and will keep you awake, carbohydrate makes you sleepy, and high fat food makes you feel retarded.
2. Drink water. I think I had about 10 glasses of water. The flight attendant must have been really annoyed. I’m surprised she didn’t go “take this 2 litres bottle and stop annoying me!” =P
3. Some caffeine (I also did this one last year, though, and it didn’t really help)
4. Watch MythBusters =P I loaded about 400MB of MythBuster episodes onto my laptop, and watched nearly all of it. It was awesome =P. Now whenever I see vacuum toilets I think of Kari Byron… hmm.

*placebo effect, experimenter’s bias, and observer’s bias may apply