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Frustrated Total Internal Reflection | Seth Sandler

In Uncategorized on January 25, 2013 at 8:47 pm

This is cool: Frustrated Total Internal Reflection | Seth Sandler.


Fractal Artwork

In Art, Geometry, Math on January 21, 2013 at 1:28 am

Photo credit goes to this deviantart.com artist. Apparently, you can make super cool fractal wallpaper with Apophysis 2.04b.


In Uncategorized on January 20, 2013 at 1:45 am

This post on The Dish got me thinking, as I sit awake at 1:19am, about what insomnia is to me. Why it is. My parents worked 3rd shift when I was growing up, yes, ever since I was a BABY. I feel I psychologically wake up at 9pm. Like I can’t go to sleep because the world is still humming, things are happening. I don’t like it that humans have to sleep. Such a waste of time.

Some of my best writing (not that this is good writing, this is hurried, apologetic, I-haven’t-posted-of-late writing) has come at 2am, 4am… a creative time. The more involved math problems make better sense late at night, when I’m half-lucid, and not as up-tight.

But then sometimes I hate being a sleepless person, rarely experiencing the morning, seeing calm morning water or hearing the birds in their full-morning frenzy; instead I wander through it all in a head-buzzing daze. Trade-offs. Early risers never know the dedication, the exciting onward push that gets you through a sleepless night. The late night snacks, the encouragement from whoever’s online to talk to, the buzzing of the streetlight outside the window (except on nights like tonight, when the buzzing is camouflaged by gusts of wind)… For me, sleeplessness is a chosen lifestyle, more about extending the day than it is about not being able to sleep.

No thanks, I’ll pass on the Ambien.

Healthy McDonald’s? A 2013 Review of the Menu

In Food, Health on January 16, 2013 at 1:58 am

In the past decade, documentaries Super Size Me (2004) and Fat Head (2009) battled head to head on whether Micky D’s was healthy or deadly. I’ve scoured today’s McDonald’s menu for the best options — no super-sizing or food-disassembly required — to see if ‘healthy McDonald’s’ is possible in 2013.

First, the criteria. Many nutritionists agree that a healthy diet is:

How many calories should you eat? Track how many you’re eating now. To lose weight, eat less. To gain weight, eat more.

Now, to the McDonald’s menu.

McDonald’s Breakfast

The contenders included Fruit & Maple Oatmeal, plain Hotcakes and Sausage Tortilla but the healthiest breakfast options by far are McDonald’s Egg McMuffin & Apple Cinnamon Walnut Oatmeal.

Egg McMuffin

McDonald’s Egg McMuffin

300 cal, 18g protein, 12g fat (5g sat fat), 780mg sodium, 2g fiber, 3g sugars

McDonald’s Apple Cinnamon Walnut Oatmeal

270 cal, 6g protein, 8g fat (2g sat fat), 105mg sodium, 5g fiber, 19g sugars

McDonald’s margarine, tortillas & English muffins have small amounts of trans fat (less than 0.5g). Regardless, the Egg McMuffin makes for a higher protein breakfast than many cold cereals one might eat at home.

McDonald’s Salads & Snack Wraps

The healthiest option here is McDonald’s Caesar Salad with Grilled Chicken (with Southwestern or Italian Dressing in place of the Caesar Dressing). The Bacon Ranch Salad and the Southwest Salad with Grilled Chicken are close seconds. Honorable mention goes to any snack wrap that doesn’t include the words “crispy,” “ranch,” “angus” or “mac.”

Premium Caesar Salad with Grilled Chicken

McDonald’s Caesar Salad with Grilled Chicken and Southwest Dressing

290 cal, 28g protein, 11g fat (4g sat fat), 920mg sodium, 4g fiber, 8g sugars

The healthiest salad dressings at McDonald’s are the Italian Dressing (50 cal, 0.5g sat fat, 390mg sodium) and the Southwest Dressing (100 cal, 1g sat fat, 340mg sodium).

Steer clear of the extra saturated fat in Ranch Dressing (170 cal, 2.5g sat fat, 530mg sodium) and Caesar Dressing (190 cal, 3.5g sat fat, 500mg sodium), as well as the extra sodium in the Balsamic Vinaigrette (35 cal, 0g sat fat, 420mg sodium).

McDonald’s Burgers, Sandwiches & McNuggets

Mayonnaise, tartar and ranch sauce are calorie-heavy with extra saturated fat and sodium, so I’ve listed the choices in this section without those condiments.

Runners-up include: the McChicken (310 cal, 14g protein), the Grilled Onion Cheddar Burger (310 cal, 15g protein), the Cheeseburger (300 cal, 15g protein) and the 6-piece Chicken McNuggets (280 cal, 13g protein).

The healthiest low-calorie choices are the Hamburger and the Filet-O-Fish without tartar sauce. For a more filling option, the McDouble and the Premium Grilled Chicken Classic Sandwich without mayonnaise have more protein.


McDonald’s Hamburger

250 cal, 12g protein, 9g fat (3.5g sat fat), 480mg sodium, 2g fiber, 6g sugars


McDonald’s Filet-O-Fish w/out Tartar sauce

300 cal, 15g protein, 10g fat (2.5g sat fat), 480mg sodium, 1g fiber, 5g sugars


McDonald’s McDouble

390 cal, 23g protein, 19g fat (8g sat fat), 850mg sodium, 2g fiber, 7g sugars

Premium Grilled Chicken Classic Sandwich

McDonald’s Grilled Chicken Classic Sandwich w/out mayonnaise

300 cal, 27g protein, 3.5g fat (1g sat fat), 730mg sodium, 3g fiber, 8g sugars

McDonald’s Drinks

Here’s the list of zero calorie drinks at McDonald’s: Water, plain Premium Roast Coffee, Iced Tea (not Sweet Tea), Diet Coke and Diet Dr. Pepper. Americans tend to drink too many sugary calories, so if you do order a drink with calories, it’s best to order a Small.

McDonald’s Extras

In place of fries, McDonald’s Apple Slices and a Side Salad with Italian Dressing (85 cal, 2g protein) is a great low-calorie choice. Another option is McDonald’s Fruit & Walnuts.

Fruit & Walnuts

McDonald’s Fruit & Walnuts

 210 cal, 4g protein, 8g fat (1.5g sat fat), 60mg sodium, 2g fiber, 25g sugars

Two healthy desserts are the Fruit ‘N Yogurt Parfait (150 cal, 4g protein, 1g sat fat, 70mg sodium, 1g fiber, 23g sugars) and the Vanilla Ice Cream Cone.

Vanilla Cone

McDonald’s Vanilla Cone

170 cal, 5g protein, 4.5g fat (3g sat fat), 70mg sodium, 20g sugars

In Conclusion

Did you know McDonald’s had Fruit & Walnuts before this? I didn’t. They don’t advertise it like they do their McCafé Chocolate Chip Frappé (a Small is over 500 calories!). It turns out most of McDonald’s menu runs very high in sodium, saturated fat and sugar. Trace amounts of trans fat also exist in the menu. However, by sticking to the healthy food options listed above, it is possible to achieve more protein, less saturated fat and some fiber in a quick meal at McDonald’s. And it’s OK to get yourself a Cone!

My Take on the Flint Area Economy

In News on January 12, 2013 at 8:34 pm

Possible business foreclosures …as if Flint, MI needs more vacant properties. Some of the small businesses that are what’s left of the backbone of this city didn’t see much improvement in 2012, and now consumer-driven markets are predicted to slow due to the payroll tax hike. I see more unemployment in Flint’s future. True, employment in Genesee County is growing in the health care sector. But there’s only so much saturation that job market can take. I hear “lottery” mentioned by a different person at least once a week, and I take it as a direct indication of the local economy: it’s bad.

 The winning ticket for Wednesday's $337 million Powerball drawing was bought in Michigan.

The only thing most powerball tickets are worth is the paper they are printed on.  Photo credit

I think the key to job growth in Genesee (and everywhere in the US, the world) is technology. We’re arguably in the middle of a digital revolution where technology is obsolete by the time it hits the market and yet basic coding (in any language: Python, C++, Java, PHP, etc) wasn’t taught in Flushing High School when I graduated in 2008. It needs to be taught. There’s no excuse. Tech skills (not limited to end-user skills) are now a basic component of many jobs and fields.

Lawmakers could help by passing tax cuts and other business-friendly incentives for the tech field to attract a larger college-educated, skilled tech crowd to the greater Detroit, and especially the Flint area. If lawmakers do nothing and schools continue this lack of technology in their curriculum, I suspect UM – Flint graduates will continue to move out of Genesee county after graduation for better jobs. And there’s no reason why Flint, MI can’t be the next Austin, TX as a destination for Silicon Valley ex-pats. Michigan is a beautiful state with lots of options for outdoor sports in all four seasons, and we have unique community events like Back to the Bricks and Zehnder’s Snowfest. Michigan has great potential, but if the economy doesn’t improve, I may be moving out-of-state, or at least out-of-Flint, once I get my degree.

Blogging & Journalism

In Journalism on January 12, 2013 at 2:40 am

Andrew Sullivan’s “Why I Blog” connects blogging with its roots in journalism. As a math major taking a journalism class, I will use this blog to post on things that are interesting, useful and relevant in my studies. Welcome to my blog.


Undeservedly blessed ♥

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