What's up?

Saturday, June 12, 2004 - Hello from Ford MPG!

Hey all. Today is day 4 of the 2004 FutureTruck competition at the Ford Michigan Proving Grounds here in Romeo, Michigan. I'm having a blast and our hybrid electric truck is doing really well right now. It took us a few days to get caught up with the other teams here, but we're on par with everybody else now and experiencing no major problems. Many of the other teams qualified early, but broke major components. Michigan (sucks!) for instance, finished the off-road track, but broke their front driver's side wheel when coming back. The bastards they are, they managed to fix it in 2 hours.

Yesterday, I got to ride in a Land Rover on the off-road track. It was tons of fun. It's been raining a lot lately, so it was plenty muddy. Luckily, it dried out a bit, so we had more optimal conditions when our truck went. The day earlier, there were mud pits almost 2 feet deep and all the teams had to get out and push their truck through. We only had to push once, but all in all, we did really well.

Anyways, it's time for me to take a nap or something. I'm exhausted and my EHC (electrically heated catalytic converter) finally works.

Monday, May 31, 2004 - Graduation/Memorial Day Entry

So today is Memorial Day. I hope everybody has a enjoyable day off from work. While you're having fun out in the sun and grilling some hamburgers, take the time to remember why exactly you don't have to go to work. Take a momment to reflect on the true meaning of Memorial Day and spend a moment to remember all those who have given their lives in order to protect the freedoms in which you enjoy.

On a lighter note, yesterday I just got my Masters of Engineering (Electrical) degree for Cornell University! I've spent many sleepless nights in the labs working on projects and stuff, but it was well worth it. My degree ceremony was on Saturday, while the university commencement was yesterday in Schoellkopf Stadium where the University President (President Lehman) declared all the degrees official. The honourable William Jefferson Clinton (the 42nd US president) gave the convocation address on Saturday. At Cornell, it so happens that an outsider never gives the commenecement speech. About 20 years ago, the student body created the convocation in which outsiders are chosen (again by the student body) to address the university.

President Clinton's speech was very good and offered advice that all people of all walks of life should consider. The speech had a bit of a political tone to it, but wasn't a campaign speech (had George W. Bush spoke, I wouldn't have attended). Clinton urged us all (not just the audience, but everbody in the whole world) to work together and create friendly relationships in order to combat the problems in the world. By working together, there will be no point in having bad guys and terrorists in the world. The entire thing was very sound advice.

President Lehman's commencement speech was absolutely amazing. As mentioned earlier, no outsider ever gives the commencement address. As such, the president of the university normally gives it since he understands what the students have gone through at Cornell to get to this point. President Lehman is the first Cornell president to have actually graduated from Cornell, so he had a unique perspective on things. He has been in the same place as we were on the field of Schoellkopf stadium and has experienced the same things we have 20 some years earlier.

There were two main morals that he offered to us in his speech. The first was from a play (I think) which I unfortunately forgot the name of. The lesson here was that we sometimes need to set aside our moral standards and do something that we might originally object to doing in order to achieve some greater good. We need to occaisionally get dirty in order to maintain our moral integrity. If we maintain our moral integrity at all times, we eventually become pacifist and avoid all sticky situations and nothing will ever get done. One main example of this that he gave was when a man of great importance from overseas was supposed to come to Cornell in the 1960s to give a speach on peace and bridging the gap between peoples of different nations. Unfortunately, this was during the Vietnam War which he had vehemently opposed. He sent a letter to the university stating that he would not attend because he opposed the United State's involvement in the war. His mistake was that he refused to get dirty and was unable to give his speech. Had he set aside his moral standards temporarily and come to Cornell, he could have given his speech to thousands of Cornellians and given his message of world peace.

The second moral that President Lehman presented came from Kurt Vonnegut's novel Cat's Cradle. In Cat's Cradle a scientist creates a new form of crystaline water called ice-9. Ice-9 stays in crystaline form in normal temperatures and melts somewhere around 114F. If it ever comes in contact with liquid water, that water will freeze and turn into ice-9. In the novel, a King commits suicide by swallowing a small sliver of ice-9. All of the blood and fluid in his body froze and turned into ice-9. He then fell into the ocean and all the oceans of the world turned into ice-9. Apparently, this is a relevant metaphor for second-order contamination. Using this metaphor, President Lehman was trying to teach us that in the world, we must realize that our actions can affect others indirectly that we may not notice immediately. As such, we can also be indirectly affected by the decisions and actions of others. Combining the two lessons, we must get dirty sometime and set asside our morals, but we need to first think about how our actions might affect others down the road. All in all, it was a very eloquent speech.

Anyways, when I get the chance, I'll try and post up some pictures of the entire weekend (and yes, there will be some of Clinton). Time to go entertain the parents for another day.

Wednesday, February 18, 2004

Nothing really new. I just felt that I should post something considering it's been almost 20 days since the last post. School work is beginning to pile up. Having to do an MEng project isn't helping either. Anyway, I gotta go to class. Maybe I'll post some more later.

OMG! It's the bottom of the page! Whatever shall I do?!?!?!?!?!