Monday, May 18, 2009

Denver, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Connecticut, New York

I've been gone for a month, but I haven't written anything; originally that was because I was going to be sleeping way out in the forest and did not want any weirdos to come find me. This blog, I have discovered, is extremely googleable. Since I wimped out on the camping-for-a-month plan, it's just been good ol'-fashioned laziness, though.

I flew to Providence and visited Renée, which was a whole lot of fun. We ate wonderful food, played with the kittehs, went on all kinds of adventures (starring graveyards, duckpin bowling, Scrabble, lots of talking, and playing outside). I forgot things, I think. In fact, I'm sure I forgot things, but I know I had a really good time, and that Renée was a really great host. So, shout-out to Renée for letting me visit.

Then my cousin picked me up and we went to a Red Sox game with his friend Liz and her sister Kitty, who are both incredibly sweet people. They took me to the fancy section, and we ate really tasty food and watched the game from waaaaaay high up above home plate. Notable things about the game were a home run, and (more amusingly) a pickle between second and third. I kept getting confused about which team was batting, and thus was really happy sometimes when the Orioles got a hit. But I figured it out, eventually (there's that Cornell degree working for me).

We went back to Portsmouth, Rhode Island, and I got to see Emily (another cousin), play outside, make bread, and try to ruin some teak that Tom was working on for his boat. I mostly failed at ruining the teak, and succeeded at making the bread. Also featured was a really intense conversation during which I failed to really explain well why although you can't do infinite experiments to demonstrate quantum stuff, it still exists. Also, I couldn't really do justice to why something can work at the particle level but not be applicable on the macroscopic level (why we don't tunnel through our chairs occasionally). I think the first one really led to the second, because theoretically if you do something an infinite number of times, your wavefunction should in fact line up with the chair's eventually. The point against which I was arguing was that if you can't do the requisite number of experiments, then you can't make that assertion. Where I really got frustrated, though, was at the subsequent assertion that "just because something is supported by math doesn't make it true." In fact, it does make it true, but not because math is infallible--it is true by nature of the fact that the math has been described by many other experiments to be both predictive and accurate. Thus, if the math says something, it probably doesn't have a vested interest somewhere else, and is thus believable. This is all contingent on having "good" equations, but since Schrödinger's seems to work pretty well so far, I fail[ed] to see how you can discount it simply because it is counterintuitive. The counterintuitive doesn't go down so well sometimes, I guess. Jen had a good point, though (she wasn't there, but she is sitting next to me as I type), when she notes that it isn't always obvious that physical (in the scientific sense) intuition does not apply on subatomic levels. I guess this is true for math, too. Just because you can balance your checkbook wrong does not mean that the Schrödinger equation will sometimes be flat out (and untracably) erroneous. Anyway, I felt (and still feel) pretty strongly about this, as you may have noticed.

Then I visited my cousins' shipyard in Bridgeport, CT, which was really cool, and visited my other cousin in Mamaroneck, NY. My great aunt was there, so I got to see her, and re-meet some of my younger cousins, before Paul gave me a ride into The City, where I visited Andrew for an evening! Hooray Andrew! The next day I went for various adventures in The City. High points were turtling (falling over backwards due to a verrry heavy backpack and verrrry tired abs) in a flowerbed in Madison Square Garden, and visiting Evan. We went to the Tenement Museum, and learned a lot about the origin of the term 'sweatshop' and living conditions in the garment district in the 1800s. I got to see Naomi, too, before adventuring off to where I was staying for the evening--with another Paul. Seeing Paul was also a lot of fun--I don't remember most of what we talked about, but usual suspects are philosophy, morality, theory of relationships, and absurd jokes. Oh, and oregano (or was it basil?) tea. The next day, I successfully caught the Shortline up to Ithaca and Whitby, where I've been ever since.

So, a shout-out to Tom, Liz, Kitty, Paul, Andrew (and Andres, whose bed I slept in), Evan, and Paul for your hospitality and general awesomenesses. And if any of you find my shirt, would you please tell me? It's my favorite one...

Ithaca will be a new entry sometime soon.

1 comment:

Richard Marinos said...

Hi Katherine. My name's Richard Marinos, and I will know you in a few weeks. I also am leaving for Mauritania as an agroforestry volunteer on the fifteenth. (You're right that your blog is extremely Googleable. Blogger has an option, though, that will prevent Google from spidering your blog, if you so desire.) I likewise am a mandolin player, although I am definitely planning on bringing my instrument, even if I have to stuff it in my shirt. I also am an avid woodworker. Nice blind dovetails! Egad, I think I sound like I'm responding to a personals ad. Ha! Anyway, I'll see you in Philadelphia soon!