DIY Solar-Powered Hot Air Balloon: Up, Up and Away!

I guess that balloons and airships are in, because they are popping up everywhere. I remember one year, there was even a personal balloon with a rotor available for $10,000 in the American Express rewards catalog. This project takes personal ballooning a step further because it’s solar-powered and you can make it yourself.

diy solar hot air balloon

Read more @ Technabob

Ecuador Rainforest Fungus Survives on Polyurethane without Oxygen


Polyurethane is one of the most commonly used plastics in different types of products, but it’s also one that takes an extremely long period of time before it can be broken down. A team of students from Yale discovered a fungus that has a healthy appetite for all things made out of polyurethane, which includes garden hoses, shoes, seats and more.

Read more @ SciTechDaily

Miniwiz Re-Case: Sustainable iPhone 4/4S Case Made from Trash

There are sustainable products, and then there are products that are made from recycled trash. The Miniwiz Re-Case is touted as being 100% made out of trash, which is amazing. The case is made from agricultural waste that stems from rice, which has been added to post-consumer thermo-plastics.

re-case miniwiz sustainable trash rice paper case iphone 4 4s

Read more @ Technabob

Trashed iPad and iPhone Found Using MobileMe

It’s every geek’s nightmare: mistakenly putting your precious gadgets into a bag and accidentally having them thrown out! This happened to Eric Boehs and he managed to use MobileMe to track down his lost iPad and iPhone. Incredibly, he actually found them again – a little worse for wear.

ipad iphone trash adventure gadgets mobileme

Read more @ Technabob

Graduate Trash and First Impressions

Apparently, a few months ago, there was trash all over the graduate student area at NTNU. It was so bad that the professors and staff talked about how to clean up your own trash for about 20 minutes today. It was kind of funny. Charlotte told me that most graduate students are babied and really don’t know what is going on. She told me that a student had left her with actual mice because of teh amount of trash that she had left there without cleaning up.

I also learned that I have a sort of office. It’s a communal office that I share with other students. This means that I can easily stash my bike there. That’s a relief. Charlotte told me that they have a lot of free space on the 4th floor. That made me want to request other office space, but I won’t. I don’t mind being around other students, it’s going to be fun.

The staff and older PhD students are all very nice, as well as the new students who aren’t too shy. Shida specializes in the education of mathematics and the history of math. Those aren’t my areas of interest, but I’ve been told that I’ll have an easier time studying there than at NTU.

The big thing are the qualifying exams that everyone has to sit in order to get into PhD programs in US universities. Charlotte is taking hers in about a month. I will take them next year in May. There is a chance that if I do well in those exams, I could get a “passage au doctorat”, which means that I’d get a M.Sc and PhD instead of just a PhD by just doing about 3 years. That’s pretty exciting, but that means that this year, it will get intense.

There are quite a few interesting classes. Above all, it’s Real Analysis and Complex Analysis that I will focus on, as Functional Analysis isn’t taught this year. I’ll have to take a Modern Algebra class as well in order to prepare fully for the exams. All the professors that I’ve talked with assured me that this should be my goal. This will make admission into a US university easier as well.

In more mundane tasks, I’ve secured a locker for myself as well. They have given me the access card and I still have one paper to fill in for them.

My wife ended up doing a lot of extra work for professors. This is totally of on top of what she has to do with her classes. It drains a lot of her time. I was curious to find out if this was the same in math. Charlotte assures me that this isn’t the case. She has been studying for her PhD for two years and she never does anything extra. Well she does, but it’s usually small things.

I’m really happy that I’ll be studying there with Charlotte nearby. She’s French and I love the fact that I can speak French with her all the time. I’ve only met a few French-speakers in Taiwan and I’ve never really been in contact with them for long amounts of time.

BTW, Charlotte is studying Mathematical Education and she is translating Sanskrit math problems into English.