s Thoughts from the Physics Chick: April 2008

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Utah Mormon stereotypes examined: #2 Release time seminary

When fellow BYU students found out I was from Utah, some of them would start in with the snarky comments about release time seminary.

As luck would have it, I did attend early morning seminary, even though I grew up in Provo. Attending a small private school in the middle of Happy Valley meant that I had the unlikely combination of early morning seminary and a CES instructor. I would correct the comments of the snarky students, but then they'd usually follow up with "How early?"

I don't remember the exact time it started, but I don't think it was terribly early. (The private school paradox again intervened, meaning that we could hold seminary classes in our regular classrooms, since we didn't have to worry about church / state separation issues.)

For what it's worth, I don't happen to believe that righteousness is correlated with the start time of early morning seminary, and I'm not terribly impressed with anyone who tries to make a self-righteous contest out of it. (Also, with the amount of extra sleep that teenagers need, I'm not convinced that I support the idea of early morning seminary, at all, to be honest.) However, if you non-Utahns are still smarting from the injustice of your adolescent matutinal sacrifice, you may be comforted to know that
an informal survey suggests that most early-morning attenders had a better experience, overall, than their snooze-button-hitting CES peers.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

I'll see you and raise you

(or lower you, as the case may be).

A couple of weeks ago, I was chatting online with my cousin and his wife. (For purposes of this conversation, it helps to know that they live in the St. Paul area and that they're an electrical engineer and a food scientist, respectively.)

Cousin: How are you?

Me: I'm good. Cold. Spring hasn't hit Maine yet.

Cousin's Wife: Yeah, here neither. Although it has gotten up to 40.

Me: Oh. Balmy. ;)

W: And the sunshine makes it look like spring.

C: The 40 is in Kelvin.

Me: Ha! Well, here it's in Rankine.

C: You beat me on that one. I have no idea what that is.

W: Oh dear. Is that the unit they use on the 100 Hour Board?

Me: For your purposes, it's colder. That's all you need to know.

C: Never match wits with a librarian.

Rankine is the Fahrenheit answer to Kelvin. So 0 K = 0 R, but for any temperature value above absolute zero, Rankine will be colder because it's equal to 5/9 Kelvin.]