Thursday, May 28, 2009

Steeerike!

It's three strikes and you're out in the old ball game. And well, for those of us not up to such high archaic standards, how about until you hit the ball?



Becoming one with the *foam* ball.



And striking a mighty blow for scrawny people everywhere!

Monday, May 25, 2009

Of Math and Men

In Elder Robert D. Hales April 2009 general conference talk, he taught that we should become provident providers temporally and spiritually. He said, "Our challenges, including those we create by our own decisions, are part of our test in mortality. Let me assure you that your situation is not beyond the reach of our Savior" In addition he stressed that "Our success is never measured by how strongly we are tempted but by how faithfully we respond." Upon reading that last phrase, the gears in my nerd-of-a-brain began to turn...

Linking engineering principles to life lessons and the eternities is not a strong point of mine, yet this dynamic system is of particular interest to me. As I recall from analog feedback controls coursework, time domain parameters such as overshoot, rise time, settling time and ringing for a given system may be analyzed to design a controller to help minimize those undesired quantities. But controllers aside, "Formally, knowing the step response of a dynamical system gives information on the stability of such a system, and on its ability to reach one stationary state when starting from another," as cut and pasted from our friends at Wikipedia :)

So how does this control theory jargon apply to you and me in a spiritual sense? Simply put, as sons and daughters of a loving Heavenly Father (second order systems), our faithful (optimal) response in giving head to spiritual promptings (e.g., analog or digital system inputs) will determine our success and happiness (system stability) in this life and the life to come and how we can mature spiritually as exemplified by the Savior, from "grace to grace" (i.e. ability to transition from one state to another), until at the end we reach that perfect day (no overshoot, rise time is near instantaneous, and settling time and ringing are n/a).

And just so you don't think I'm trying to pull a fast one on you, here's a snapshot of the step response for a common second order system:

Monday, May 11, 2009

A la Finale

Today after work I opened up an unfinished song from last year. I have the habit of writing a few measures of something just to hear the sound but rarely ever resolve it. So in the spirit of tying up loose ends, have a listen:


video

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Paint the Town Yellow

As some of you may know, I do not particularly favor the game of paint ball - I'm much more of a Frisbee or ping pong player. Lately, I've played a few rounds with some friends just to "help out" and even up the teams. It is not in my nature to scramble through the trees in search of human targets while hopelessly avoiding future welts; however, it has come to my attention that I am lacking in the assertiveness department and as such, need some fine tuning. I suppose that paint ball is a good vehicle to face my weakness and embrace the call to arms, along with a few shots to the groin (see "take it like a man" blog entry). So here's me, keeping it real:



Saturday, May 2, 2009

You Can Do It

No doubt your parents or teachers have emphasized time and time again that if you put your mind to something, no matter how difficult, you can do anything. Might I suggest putting your mind to eating the biggest juiciest burger you can find and then try belching the entire alphabet (preferably in the privacy of your living quarters), and remember, practice makes perfect.

Acclaimed author, poet and playwright Oscar Wilde once wittingly remarked, "In this world there are only two tragedies. One is not getting what one wants, and the other is getting it." My take on this phrase is that a "no pain no gain" mentality can help one to avoid contracting "social hernias" brought on from past regrets. In essence, it is imperative to understand and be willing at times to "take it like a man," especially when life gives you atomic lemons. But can this really be healthy? Of course, just as healthy as getting sucker punched or the age old character building experience of explosive diarrhea. But like all helpful advice, be prudent and act responsibly (e.g. do not operate heavy machinery whilst "taking it like a man").