Monday, May 26, 2008

Doctoral Degree Thesis Topics

Beth's brother Brandon graduated from Georgia Tech a few weeks ago. While waiting for his name to be called among the 2,000+ graduating, Beth and I had some fun reading the doctoral degree thesis papers. Here are some of my favorites:

-- "Supression of Osteoblast Activity by Disuse is Prevented by Low-Magnitude Mechanical Loading through a Bone Morphogenic Protein-dependent Mechanism"

-- "Sevine Palmitoyltransferase and Ceramide Kinase in Embryo Development of Loblolly Pine"

-- "Dynamic Mechanical Behavior and High-pressure Phase Stability of a Zirconium-based Bulk Metallic Glass and Its Composite with Tungsten"

-- "In-situ Monitoring of the Mechanical Properties during the Photopolymerization of Acrykates Resins Using Particle Tracking Microrheology"

-- "Transient Simulation of Power-supply Noise in Irregular On-chip Power Distribution Networks Using Latency Insertion Method and Causal Transient Simulation of Interconnects Characterized by Band-limited Data"

-- "Investigating Learning with Web Lectures"

But my favorite:

"The role of Heterogenic Spinal Reflexes in Coordinating and Stabilizing a Model Feline Hindlimb."

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Steven Curtis Chapman's Daughter Killed

This is just awful.

Daughter Of Steven Curtis Chapman Killed

Thursday, May 22, 2008 5:59AM The 5-year-old Chinese-born daughter of Grammy-winning Christian music star Steven Curtis Chapman was struck and killed by a sport utility vehicle driven by her brother, authorities said.
The girl, Maria Sue, was hit in the driveway of the family's home Wednesday afternoon by a Toyota Land Cruiser driven by her teenage brother, said Laura McPherson, a spokeswoman for the Tennessee Highway Patrol.
The brother, whose name and exact age were not available, apparently did not see the girl, McPherson said. No charges are expected.
"It looks like a tragic accident," she said.
Several family members witnessed the accident, which happened in Williamson County just south of Nashville. The girl died later at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, hospital spokeswoman Laurie Holloway said.
In a statement, Velvet Kelm, a publicist for Chapman, said Maria was the Chapmans' youngest daughter.
Chapman, who is originally from Paducah, Kentucky, and his wife have promoted international adoption and have three daughters from China, including Maria. They also have three biological children.
The singer's Web site says the couple was persuaded by their oldest daughter to adopt a girl from China. The experience led the family to adopt two more children and create Shaohannah's Hope, a foundation and ministry to financially assist thousands of couples in adoption.
The Chapmans did missionary work at Chinese orphanages in 2006 and 2007, according to the Web site.
"After our first trip to China, my wife and I knew our lives were changing _ our eyes and hearts were opening to how big God really is, and we have wanted to experience more of that," Chapman says on the Web site.
"We've really wondered whether or not we should just go to China and stay there. But I don't think so. I believe God is saying, 'I want you to go, get your heart broken, your eyes opened, and then take this story back to the church in America and around the world."'
The 45-year-old singer also has released a book about being a father titled "Cinderella: The Love of Daddy and his Princess." He has won five Grammy awards and 54 Dove awards from the Gospel Music Association, according to Kelm. - Associated Press

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Burma or Myanmar?

With the recent devastation in Burma, I've been hearing a lot of people refer to the country as it's U.N. recognized name, Myanmar. While it's okay to call it what you wish, I don't think a lot of people realize that you are making a social/political statement when you refer to the country as Burma or Myanmar.

Here's some interesting articles:

Should it be Burma or Myanmar?
The Magazine answers...

Protesters in Philippines
'Burma' to the pro-democracy camp
Protest marches in Burma have entered a ninth day. But why is the country not known in the UK by its official name, Myanmar?

The eyes of the world's media are focused on Rangoon, where tensions are rising in the streets, yet news organisations and nations differ in what they call the country.

The ruling military junta changed its name from Burma to Myanmar in 1989, a year after thousands were killed in the suppression of a popular uprising. Rangoon also became Yangon.

It's known as Myanmar in many countries and at the UN
But the UK doesn't recognise the legitimacy of the regime that changed the name
The Adaptation of Expression Law also introduced English language names for other towns, some of which were not ethnically Burmese.

The change was recognised by the United Nations, and by countries such as France and Japan, but not by the United States and the UK.

A statement by the Foreign Office says: "Burma's democracy movement prefers the form 'Burma' because they do not accept the legitimacy of the unelected military regime to change the official name of the country. Internationally, both names are recognised."

It's general practice at the BBC to refer to the country as Burma, and the BBC News website says this is because most of its audience is familiar with that name rather than Myanmar. The same goes for Rangoon, people in general are more familiar with this name than Yangon.

But look in a Lonely Planet guidebook to Asia and the country can be found listed after Mongolia, not Brunei. The Rough Guide does not cover Burma at all, because the pro-democracy movement has called for a tourism boycott.

There are various ways
'My' may be 'mee' as in 'street' or 'my' as in 'cry'
And stress can be on the first, second or third syllable

So does the choice of Burma or Myanmar indicate a particular political position?

Mark Farmener, of Burma Campaign UK, says: "Often you can tell where someone's sympathies lie if they use Burma or Myanmar. Myanmar is a kind of indicator of countries that are soft on the regime.

"But really it's not important. Who cares what people call the country? It's the human rights abuses that matter.

"There's not a really strong call from the democracy movement saying you should not call it Myanmar, they just challenge the legitimacy of the regime. It's probable it will carry on being called Myanmar after the regime is gone."

Colloquial name

The two words mean the same thing and one is derived from the other. Burmah, as it was spelt in the 19th Century, is a local corruption of the word Myanmar.

They have both been used within Burma for a long time, says anthropologist Gustaaf Houtman, who has written extensively about Burmese politics.

Question Mark - from original architect's doodle design for BBC TV Centre
A regular part of the BBC News Magazine, Who, What, Why? aims to answer some of the questions behind the headlines
"There's a formal term which is Myanmar and the informal, everyday term which is Burma. Myanmar is the literary form, which is ceremonial and official and reeks of government. [The name change] is a form of censorship."

If Burmese people are writing for publication, they use 'Myanmar', but speaking they use 'Burma', he says.

This reflects the regime's attempt to impose the notion that literary language is master, Mr Houtman says, but there is definitely a political background to it.

Richard Coates, a linguist at the University of Western England, says adopting the traditional, formal name is an attempt by the junta to break from the colonial past.

The UN uses Myanmar, presumably deferring to the idea that its members can call themselves what they wish
Richard Coates, Linguist
"Local opposition groups do not accept that, and presumably prefer to use the 'old' colloquial name, at least until they have a government with popular legitimacy. Governments that agree with this stance still call the country Burma.

"The UN uses Myanmar, presumably deferring to the idea that its members can call themselves what they wish, provided the decision is recorded in UN proceedings. There are hosts of papers detailing such changes. I think the EU uses Burma/Myanmar."

Other countries to rename themselves like this include Iran (formerly Persia), Burkina Faso (Upper Volta) and Cambodia (Kampuchea).

"They've substituted a local name for an internationally acknowledged one for essentially nationalistic and historical reasons."


The Burma/Myanmar Name Game

September 27, 2007 02:56 PM ET | Permanent Link

What's in a name? Plenty, when referring to the protests that are becoming increasingly violent in the Asian country being referred to as both Myanmar and Burma. Governments around the world are condemning the actions of the military junta, which started cracking down on protesters, killing at least nine people and arresting more than 100 Buddhist monks.

While some are calling the country Myanmar, others are using an older name, Burma. The BBC explained that the military junta renamed the country Myanmar in 1989 after a wave of similar uprisings a year before. The United Nations and other countries like France and Japan recognize this government; however, both the United Kingdom and the United States do not. Thus, this explains the BBC's and President Bush's usage of Burma and the U.N.'s use of Myanmar.

By refusing to call the country Myanmar, Bush is showing his distaste for the military junta that is using force against nonviolent protesters who have for 10 days taken to the streets of Yangon to express dissent for the military government's rule. The protests originated from the government's decision to hike fuel prices and have spiraled into a larger call for democracy.

Nikki Schwab

Monday, May 12, 2008

Sunday, May 4, 2008

The Raconteurs - "Carolina Drama"

Lately, this song has been playing constantly.

I'm not sure if there's a point to this story
But I'm going to tell it again
So many other people try to tell the tale
Not one of them knows the end

It was a junk-house in South Carolina
Held a boy the age of ten
Along with his older brother Billy
And a mother and her boyfriend
Who was a triple loser with some blue tattoos
That were given to him when he was young
And a drunk temper that was easy to lose
And thank god he didn't own a gun

Well, Billy woke up in the back of his truck
Took a minute to open his eyes
He took a peep into the back of the house
And found himself a big surprise
He didn't see his brother but there was his mother
With her red-headed head in her hands
While the boyfriend had his gloves wrapped around an old priest
Trying to choke the man

Billy looked up from the window to the truck
Threw up, and had to struggle to stand
He saw that red-necked bastard with a hammer
Turn the priest into a shell of a man
The priest was putting up the fight of his life
But he was old and he was bound to lose
The boyfriend hit as hard as he could
And knocked the priest right down to his shoes

Well, now Billy knew but never actually met
The preacher lying there in the room
He heard himself say, "That must be my daddy"
Then he knew what he was gonna do
Billy got up enough courage, took it up
And grabbed the first blunt thing he could find
It was a cold, glass bottle of milk
That got delivered every morning at nine

Billy broke in and saw the blood on the floor, and
He turned around and put the lock on the door
He looked dead into the boyfriend's eye
His mother was a ghost, too upset to cry, then
He took a step toward the man on the ground
From his mouth trickled out a little audible sound
He heard the boyfriend shout, "Get out!"
And Billy said, "Not till I know what this is all about"
"Well, this preacher here was attacking your mama"
But Billy knew just who was starting the drama
So Billy took dead aim at his face
And smashed the bottle on the man who left his dad in disgrace, and
The white milk dripped down with the blood, and the
Boyfriend fell down dead for good
Right next to the preacher who was gasping for air
And Billy shouted, "Daddy, why'd you have to come back here?"
His mama reached behind the sugar and honey, and
Pulled out an envelope filled with money
"Your daddy gave us this," she collapsed in tears
"He's been paying all the bills for years"
"Mama, let's put this body underneath the trees
and put Daddy in the truck and head to Tennessee"
Just then, his little brother came in
Holding the milk man's hat and a bottle of gin singing,

La la la la, la la la la, yeah
La la la la, la la la la, yeah
La la la la, la la la la, yeah
La la la, la la la...

Well now you heard another side to the story
But you wanna know how it ends?
If you must know, the truth about the tale
Go and ask the milkman