Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Potentially habitable exoplanet found

The star Gliese 581 hosts an Earth-size planet (foreground) that orbits in the star's habitable zone. Artwork by Lynette Cook. [from press release]

UC Santa Cruz
September 29, 2010
A proud day for UC Santa Cruz

We are thrilled to share some breaking news with you about research led by UC Santa Cruz astronomer Steven Vogt. At a press briefing in Washington, D.C., Steve's team just announced the discovery of what may be the first truly habitable planet outside our solar system.
The discovery of an Earth-sized planet where liquid water could exist on the surface has long been considered a major milestone for planet hunters. This breakthrough constitutes the first strong case for a planet that could sustain life, and it raises profound questions about the possible existence of billions of similar planets within our own Milky Way.
We congratulate Steve and his UCSC colleague, associate research scientist Eugenio Rivera, as well as Paul Butler at the Carnegie Institution of Washington and the rest of their team. This is another example of the discipline-transforming work led by UCSC researchers. We are very proud of their accomplishments.
To learn more about today's news, please read the campus press release.
George R. Blumenthal, Chancellor
Alison Galloway, Campus Provost/Executive Vice Chancellor

SETI lunch seminars: Wednesdays at noon

From the SETI Institute colloquium announcement. They are free and open to the public.

Please join us on Wednesday 29th of September at midday *at the Innovation Room on the 2nd Floor of the new SETI Headquarters at 189 N. Bernardo Ave, Mountain View* for a free public talk.

Upcoming talks:

  • Oct. 06 -- Margarita Marinova (Ames): "The Mars dichotomy: Brought to you by a mega impact"
  • Oct. 12 -- Ellen Howell (Cornell): "Arecibo Radar Observations of Near-Earth Asteroids"
  • Oct. 13 -- Nick Woolf (UofA): "A New Look at what Life is and How it Began"
  • Oct. 20 -- Chung-Pei Ma (UCB): "Dark Matter: The Other Universe"
  • Oct. 27 -- Seth Shostak (SETI): "New Search Strategies for SETI"
  • Nov. 03 -- Gary Glatzmaier (UCSC): "Computer simulations of convection and magnetic field generation in planets"
  • Nov. 10 -- Claudio Maccone (IAA) "Statistical Equation for Habitables (SEH) and the Statistical Fermi Paradox"
  • Nov. 17 -- Mark Clampin (Goddard): "Status of the James Webb Telescope and its Capabilities for Exoplanet Science"
  • Dec. 01 -- Bart De Pontieu (LMCO): "IRIS: a new window on the physics of the solar interface region"
  • Dec. 08 -- P. Buford Price (UCB): "Microbial Dark Matter in Glacial Ice and implications for Martian life"
  • Jan. 05 -- David Morrison (SETI): "Near Earth Asteroids as Targets for Human and Robotic Exploration"
  • Jan. 19 -- Rob French (SETI): "The Evolution of Saturn's F Ring"  
  • Mar. 09 -- Heidi B. Hammel (SSI): "Planetary Observations with the James Webb Space Telescope"

YouTube videos of recent lectures:

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Path Optimization at Burning Man

Let A and B be any two points on the playa on the same lettered street between which a traveler wishes to travel, assuming he/she cannot cut across the blocks. Let r = distance from the Man to Esplanade, and theta = the angle formed by A-Man-B, and b = distance from the Esplanade to A or B.

2*r*sin(theta/2) + 2b = distance traversed if the traveller first goes up to Esplanade and then back out.
2*pi*(r+b)(theta/2pi) = distance traversed if the traveler moves along the lettered street.
// theta is in radians

r/b = [ 1 - (2/theta) ] / [ (2/theta) sin (theta/2) - 1]

Note that the actual values of r and be are irrelevant, only their ratio. For a given theta, we have a ratio of r&b that makes it equidistant to cut to the Esplanade versus traveling along the circle to your destination. For a given r/b, this is the minimal angle at which it is worth it to cut to Esplanade and back.

Of course, this is assuming your goal is to minimize distance travelled b/c your feet are hurting due to forgetting to wear socks, and not to maximize your adventures, whose general solution is more of a random walk. Other fun things to solve for: path optimization between A and B if the distance between them and the Man is different (that is, they live on different streets), or if you want to ensure at least one set of port-o-potties is on the route.

And if you, reader, are the pirates we had that swordfight with ... Ninjas forever!

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Absurdly Useful Household Cleaner


Type 1: (can be used on carpets, drapes, other fabrics, and tile)
1 spray bottle
2 c vinegar
2 c water
1/2 c liquid laundry detergent (scale down if it's 2x strength or some such)

Type 2: (all-purpose cleaner replacement, can scrub tiles or whatever)

3 c liquid laundry detergent
1 c water
(current proportions may not be optimal -- still testing)


Mix all ingredients in spray bottle.

Current music: Guster - Satellite

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Experimental Cheesecake



1.5 cup walnut pieces (ground)
1 T melted butter
2 T sugar


1 c cream cheese
1 c Greek yogurt
1/2 c sugar
zest from 1/2 grapefruit (quantity depends on your enthusiasm)
1/2 - 1 t vanilla


1. Mix crust ingredients thoroughly and grease baking pan with butter.
2. Shape crust into baking pan (a glass is useful).
3. Prebake crust for 8 min. at 350F.
4. Mix first 2 filling ingredients together thoroughly.
5. Add remaining filling ingredients and mix. Pour over the now pre-baked crust.
6. Bake whole thing for 40 min. (350F) or until golden brown.
7. Let cool overnight in fridge. (Or quick-cool in freezer for 15-20 min, then move to fridge.)

Sunday, May 2, 2010

the announcement ...

My first ever job out of school...

Trailer, Live long and prosper.

Current music: Beatles - Across the Universe

Friday, April 23, 2010

per aspera ad astra

It's been a long road, getting from there to here.

Dear readers, stay tuned for my big announcement next week. Yes, hold your breath. It's that awesome.

Current music: Russell Watson - Faith of the Heart

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Faith. 42. Transformation. CV.

I do not believe that life should necessarily be hypothesis driven.  I do not believe we know what we are looking for before we start a process of observation, a series of field studies in the "real world."  That we can formulate good testable hypotheses about our lives without first getting our hands dirty.  I'm not even sure this life thing is falsifiable, with its lack of properly controlled, repeatable paradigms.  Which is not to say that this is all a fishing expedition, and we are going to blast a vial of fruit flies with radiation and see what we happen to hit.
“Nabokov writes prose the only way it should be written, that is, ecstatically.” -- John Updike
We must live ecstatically.  Burying a seed in the ground is an act of faith.  That it, in the absence of your observation, transforms, undergoing processes that bring it back to you, to light, a leaf, or perhaps first a cotyledon.  Like love.  It is impossible to fully enter another's subjective state.  It defies explanation.  And it is certainly not unlike submitting applications and believing in a response.  And that in this search, you will find what you are looking for.

Because this is actually a post about searching for work in the U.S.A. in the year 2010, with three new letters after my name.  Because sometimes when you believe yourself capable of doing anything, and you've stood on the pinnacle of indecision for too long, it is necessary for the wave function to collapse and simply allow a single trajectory of events.  Allow something to happen.  A single course of action.  Preferably before the end of this May.  And I thank you, my readers, for your assistance in forwarding my CV to those who might find me useful.

Jade Q. Wang - Science CV
Jade Q. Wang - Non-science CV

Current music: Roland Albertson - No Place Like Home

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Blogger FTP Migration Tool

It is quick and painless and you have to do it by May 1st anyway, so get on it, you ftp stragglers of which I was one not so many days ago. :)

And for your amusement (thanks Adrian):

Monday, March 8, 2010

This blog has moved

This blog is now located at
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Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Publication List

Jade Q. Wang, Trent Nicol, Erika Skoe, Mikko Sams, Nina Kraus. Emotion and the Auditory Brainstem Response to Speech. Neuroscience Letters, 469(3):319-23, Jan 2010.

Jade Q. Wang, Trent Nicol, Erika Skoe, Mikko Sams, Nina Kraus. Emotion Modulates Early Auditory Response to Speech. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, 21(11):2121–2128, 2009.

Heng Zhao, Jade Q. Wang, Takayoshi Shimohata, Guohua Sun, Midori A. Yenari, Robert M. Sapolsky, Gary K. Steinberg. Conditions of protection by hypothermia and effects on apoptotic pathways in a model of permanent middle cerebral artery occlusionJournal of Neurosurgery. 107(3), Sept 2007.

Heng Zhao, Takayoshi Shimohata, Jade Q. Wang, Guohua Sun, David W. Schaal, Robert M. Sapolsky, Gary K. Steinberg. Hypothermia Blocks Nuclear ß-catenin Translocation Downstream of glycogen synthase kinase 3-ß in Focal Cerebral Ischemia in RatsJournal of Neurosurgery. 58(2):400-401, Feb 2006.

Heng Zhao, Takayoshi Shimohata, Jade Q. Wang, Guohua Sun, David W. Schaal, Robert M. Sapolsky, Gary K. Steinberg. Akt contributes to neuroprotection of hypothermia against cerebral ischemia in ratsJournal of Neuroscience. 2005 Oct 19;25(42):9794-806.

And one more in the oven.  Stay tuned.