Thursday, April 14, 2011

Research Symposium and Cheesecake

This month Michael participated in the Central California Research Symposium held at Fresno State University. He was selected out of many hundreds of applicants to present his research. It was so interesting to watch as many people came by to see what he'd been researching. I am so proud of Michael and the hard work he has put into getting his Master's degree.

Below are some excerpts from the FSU CSM Newsletter coming out next month...

"Michael Gariety’s M.S. thesis was selected as Outstanding Thesis for the College of Science and Mathematics for 2011. It was a theoretical analysis of three recently developed methods of estimating distances to cataclysmic variables, compared with Hubble Space Telescope and other observations.

Astrophysics Research at Fresno State is carried out by Dr. Frederick A. Ringwald and his students. It mainly concerns cataclysmic variable stars and related objects, such as novae and black holes. We also observe exoplanets, which are planets of other stars, and stellar flares.

In a cataclysmic variable, a normal star (like the Sun) spills gas onto a burned-out cinder that once was a star, called a white dwarf. The normal star and the white dwarf orbit each other very quickly, in as little as 80 minutes, so the gas deflects around the white dwarf into an accretion disk, or cosmic whirlpool.

The disk can easily dominate the light, so we use cataclysmic variables to study accretion disk physics. There are disks of many kinds across the Universe, from the rings of Saturn, to star formation, to the disk of our galaxy, the Milky Way. The Milky Way rotates once every 250 million years, though. Cataclysmic variables operate on human timescales: the wonders of the Universe unfold before our eyes.

Most astrophysics research at Fresno State uses Fresno State’s station at Sierra Remote Observatories, which Dr. Ringwald and his students operate by remote control from campus, over the Internet. It is at a superb dark site in the Sierra Nevada, near Shaver Lake."

AFTER the symposium Michael took me out to lunch at the Cheesecake Factory...
We sampled the corn fritters...

And Michael tried the super-fantastic, ultra-delicious Memphis Burger. It was a burger with slow roasted BBQ pork, bacon, cheese, crunchy onion straws and coleslaw on top. Amazing!

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Gariety's Garden

The past few weeks Michael and I have been preparing the garden. We decided to try a few new organic "tricks" to help us have a weed free garden. We added organic compost to the soil, covered it with a barrier of recycled paper (which is supposed to break down gradually into the soil) and added a layer of cocoa shell mulch. Two weeks ago we started our seeds and yesterday in between conference sessions we planted a few choice vegetables and fruits.
In the top left we planted 6 rows of peppers (jalapeno, thai chili and banana) with more to come when our seedlings sprout. Mike uses them for homemade salsa in the summer time. In the top right is zuchini and tomato (also more to come from seeds), the bottom right has strawberries, rhubarb and pickling cucumbers and the bottom left was left open for all the rest of our seedings once they are big to plant.
Here are just some pics of walkway we added. Last year it was hard to get to the middle of the garden so we put our heads together and decided to divide the garden into 4 quadrants with the walkway and then stepping stones on either side.

For The Beauty of The Earth

A couple of picks from a hail storm we had last week. These pictures were taken about 2 hours after the storm. Even after a few hours the sides of the road were piled with mounds of hail - it looked a bit like snow :) And that rainbow was Fan-TAS-tic!