Disney World Crowds

While  at Disney World we were constantly comparing the resort to Disneyland.

The layout of the Magic Kingdom at Disney World is slightly different. Different ride, different amounts of open space, and different general organization.

The fact that there are differences isn’t that surprising. The amount of space and the working conditions were different in 1970’s Florida than 1950’s California so the parks ended up being different. And now you’re thinking, “How many times can this man squeeze the word different into this post?”

What’s surprising is how different the park guests are.

In Disneyland most of the people are Caucasian, Asian, or Latino in race and mostly American in culture.

Definitely not the case in Disney World.

The people are a lot more diverse and they come from all over the world! Makes sense given the name of the resort, but I’m still surprised.

There are people from Scandinavian countries, Germanic countries, Asian countries, South/Central America, and India. I’m less than specific because I can’t recognize the other guests nationality easily from hearing a language I can’t understand, but I can get close.

One of the larger groups of people in Disney World are the high school Brazilian tour groups.

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Thousands of Brazilians. Millions of Brazilians!

Groups of about a hundred are all over the resort.

They’re super excited too. They sing songs while in line and occasionally run between rides so they can catch more fun before going back home.

Another highlight in my memory of foreigners in Disney World was when my wife and I were in line for the Snow White and the Seven Dwarves Mine Train ride in front of an English family.

A father was taking his tween son and daughter on vacation and the son just couldn’t handle the Florida weather.

“It’s awful hot, Dad. They don’t have weather like this in England do they, Dad?”
“No we have the four seasons there. They don’t have so many here.”
“But it sure is hot.”

And some continuing variation on that between the son and his sister or his dad in English accents for the hour and a half we were in line.

At one point my wife and I looked at each other and couldn’t help laughing at how ridiculous the son was being. The father definitely noticed our reaction and he was definitely embarrassed.

His children remained oblivious.

-GoCorral

New Phone

I got a new phone last weekend and have been adjusting to it.

This was a thing for me because I’ve never had a smartphone before.

I’ve shied away from smartphones in the past for two reasons.

#1 Having a touch screen in my pocket kind of freaks me out. I’m always worried that it will touch my leg and turn itself on and text something to someone I know.

Of course that never happens but we all have our irrational fears.

#2 I don’t want to get too distracted from other things by my phone. A phone with more stuff to do on it is more distracting.

I got over both of those things by getting an iPad. The touch screen doesn’t freak me out as much and I don’t get more distracted by my iPad than I did by other things in the past.

So! The new phone! I was basically deciding between an iPhone and an Android.

I went with the Android for a few reasons (this is apparently the listing reasons blog post!).

The Android has better reviews. I generally trust consumer reviews and all of them were poiting me towards the Galaxy phones.

The Android has better ads and has always had a more adult feel to it to me. The iPhone has always felt like a child’s phone to me. Not saying that it is, but I feel childish when I hold one.

And finally, Android phones are cheaper.

The phone is working out great. As a smartphone it can do a lot of things my old dumb phone could not.

Old one on the left if you couldn't tell.
Old one on the left if you couldn’t tell.

My old phone could make calls, text, and take poor quality pictures.

The new one can make calls, text (with a predictive text messaging keyboard which is way faster), take high quality pictures (WTF do you even do with 16 MP pictures?), and has access to apps.

The apps are also a lot better than what I was using previously on my iPad.

It’s surprising to me that differences in app quality would exist for different machines, but there are.

The WordPress app that I use to write my blog posts comes to mind first. My iPad mini has advantages that my Galaxy S6 can’t compete with. A decently sized physical keyboard attachment and larger screen are just things a phone will never be able to do.

But the Android makes up for it by having an app that actually displays pictures while I’m writing. I can also access the picture library that I uploaded onto WordPress earlier. The iPad ap doesn’t let me do either of those things.

The Android app also doesn’t have any problems with carriage returns, something the iPad app has always had a problem with for some reason.

The next app that was noticeably better was the Starbucks app. The iPhone/iPad version makes it difficult to use or even find coupons that the app gives you. You have to struggle to use coupons on the iPhone version and sometimes the baristas don’t even know how to redeem them once you do find them.

The Android app ties those coupons into the pay function. You just tell it you want to pay for something and it applies your coupons to that stuff. Boom! Done!

Cons of the phone are few compared to my old one.

It uses data, so now I have to pay for that, but Wifi is nearly ubiquitous, so maybe I won’t.

The new phone has really bad battery life. I’ve needed to recharge it every night after using it. My old phone needed to be recharged about once a week. Partially that’s because the new phone has apps so I’m using it more, but its still a big difference that I’m adjusting to.

The new phone is also bigger. Taking up more space in pocket means its been a little harder to get my keys out. That falls into the category of #FirstWorldProblems so I’m not overly conerned.

It’s a good phone, I’m glad I upgraded, I wish it was perfect and had all the nice things my old phone had as well.

-GoCorral

My Lab Meeting

Here's a picture of one of my PowerPoint slides from today's lab presentation.
Here’s a picture of one of my PowerPoint slides from today’s lab presentation.

I presented the progress on my research at lab meeting today.

I haven’t gotten as far as I wanted to since my last lab meeting, but I did get as far as I expected to.

By the end of the summer I was expecting to have 5 of the 6 constructs successfully injected and integrated into C. elegans strains.

I’ve gotten 4 out of the 6 and the summer isn’t over yet. I’m on track to finish.

Otherwise, I’ve had a problem with the worms not staining like the ones of the person who used to work on this project.

His worms stained extremely dark. There’s so much blue color that the picture of them looks black.

My worms don’t look like that, but we aren’t sure why.

I’m going to tweak some things to try and make my strains look that way.

If the tweaks don’t work… I’ll have to check using a more complicated method to ensure that I injected the worms correctly.

That’s the gist of what I presented at the meeting.

The meeting went pretty well.

Today’s meeting was between my lab and the lab adjacent to us.

Our lab meetings are always joint meetings. The neighboring lab works on similar stuff. Both of us are small labs as well so it makes a lot of sense for us to meet together.

The professor from the other lab always asks the presenter tough questions.

I felt like I fielded everyone of his questions really well.

I felt prepared, I had answers to most of his questions.

I’m going to look for answers to the questions I don’t know in research papers.

I haven’t gotten around to describing more about what I do in lab, which might have made this post a little confusing.

I’ll try and upload a post that goes in more depth for my lab meeting presentation in the future.

That’s all for tonight.

-Mister Ed

Solar Freaking Roadways

My wife showed me this cool new technology called Solar Roadways this morning.

She showed me with a Youtube video you can look at here.

The technology is a new type of pavement made out of solar panels.

The video describes it quite well in a funny way (Solar Freaking Roadways!).

Solar panels cover the road. On top of the panels are a few LED lights and then a strong shield of glass.

The glass can support up to 250,000 pound (113,000kg) trucks. The inventor of Solar Roadways, Scott Brusaw, chose that researched weight because the transportation of oil refinery equipment is done at weights of around 230,000 pounds (104,000kg).

The LEDs are used to create lane lines or for other necessary road paint (Pedestrian Xing, Slow Down, etc.).

If every paved surface in the USA were covered with these panels they would generate three times the current energy consumption of the USA.

Other energy sources would still be needed as solar panels don’t operate at night.

The panels can also heat themselves to melt snow and prevent dangerous driving conditions in colder states.

Two underground channels are planned to run along side the Roadway. One will hold water runoff. The other will hold electrical wires.

The wires carry the electricity off the solar panels to consumers.

The channel could also hold telephone lines, fiberoptic internet cables, etc. By placing them underground, storms are less likely to cause outages.

Mr. Brusaw, pictured above in a tractor on the prototype driveway of Solar Roadways, seemed particularly proud of the traction of Solar Roadways.

Some people worry that cars won’t be able to stop on glass, but Solar Roadways glass panels are textured in a way that cars going 80mph (130kph) on a wet panel could stop just as fast as on wet asphalt.

My worry upon seeing the giant textured panels was that bikes would not be able to go on them.

Fortunately, Mr. Brusaw has an answer for that too. Another variety of the panels has a smoother texture that bikes can ride over comfortably.

The smoother texture allows cars to stop in times similar to wet asphalt at speeds of only 40mph (65kph) though. You can’t have everything.

It would be easy enough to build a bike lane out of the smoother panels next to a road made of the textured panels to accommodate both types of vehicles.

If you’re interested in learning more about Solar Roadways you can check out their website or fund them using Indiegogo. The fundraiser is until June 20th 2014.

-Mister Ed

League of Legends Map Part 1

This is a map of League of Legends. I figured I’d bring it up to show you a few things about the game to help understand future posts.

The League of Legends map is split into two halves. The middle line is referred to as the River because in the actual game shallow water divides the map. This dividing line goes from the top left to the bottom right.

The two sides, bottom left and top right, are color coded in League of Legends. You can see the little icons on the map above are blue for bottom left and purple for top right. Because of these colors the two sides are always called blue side and purple side.

Each side has a corner deep in its territory where the base of that side is. To win the game your team must break into the opposing base and destroy the giant crystal there called the Nexus. The Nexus is represented on the map by the six pointed star thing.

The map is further defined by the three lanes. The three lanes are top lane, middle lane, and bottom lane. The lanes are marked by those helmet looking things you can see on the map.

Top lane runs the perimeter of the map from bottom left, to the top left, and then to the top right. Bottom lane runs the opposite perimeter from bottom left, to bottom right, and then to the top right. Middle lane runs on a diagonal across the map from bottom left to top right.

Every thirty seconds three groups of computer controlled minions spawn at each Nexus. One group goes down each lane. The minions of each side meet at the River and fight each other to a standstill. The actions of the people playing the game will tip the balance in favor of one side or another.

The goal of the game is to destroy the Nexus, but all those helmet looking things, called towers or turrets, protect the Nexus.

Each turret has to be destroyed in succession. An outer turret in one lane must be destroyed before an inner turret can be dealt any damage.

So why not just walk up to a turret and blow it up? Because it shoots lasers at you! That’s why!

The turrets prioritize their laser targets in a predictable way though. Taking advantage of this prioritization allows the turrets to be destroyed.

The first target of turret is always a player on the opposing team if that player is attacking a player on the turret’s team. The secondary targets are minions. If no minions are in range the turret will fire its lasers at any enemy players that come within range.

So the turrets are approached and destroyed by having minions going first and ignoring any opposing players that may be under the turret. This can be quite dangerous so a certain amount of strategy is required to accomplish it.

I’ll talk about those strategies in a different post though!

If you’d like to give League of Legends a try you can click this link and give me a little boost in game. League of Legends Signup Link

-Mister Ed

League of Legends Map Part 2