Archive for August, 2007


on Packing

A few (mostly) real-life story problems:

  • David is trying to create a cardboard box for shipping his hammered dulcimer. The dulcimer is 44″ long, 19″ wide, and 5″ thick. David wants the dulcimer to be protected by at least two thicknesses of cardboard and half an inch of bubble wrap on every side. What design will allow David to use as little cardboard as possible? How much cardboard is required?
  • Lab Activity: David is trying to figure out how much stuff to take with him to Seattle. He is flying on Southwest Airlines, which allows 3 pieces of checked luggage with a maximum allowed weight of 50 lbs. per piece. However, he is also allowed one carry-on bag which only has a size restriction: 10″x16″x24″ (there is no weight restriction on this bag). Devise a technique to estimate the density of David’s clothing, and then work with a lab partner to carry out your method. Then determine the maximum amount of clothing (by weight) that David will be able to take with him on the plane, assuming that he only packs clothing. Bonus question: If David wants to take along some heavy books, where should he pack them to minimize the amount of clothing that they displace?
  • Essay: It is 11:15 p.m. on Tuesday evening. David leaves town at 1:00 p.m. Sunday. David knows that it would be wise to start packing now, but he would prefer to put it off as long as possible. Conduct a SWOT analysis of both options and compare and contrast David’s choices. Are there any other options David is overlooking? Should David just give up on the whole darned packing business and assume everything will work out in the end when he gets to Seattle? What is the meaning of life? Please answer in 100 words or less.


on Family Gatherings

Yesterday afternoon my parents and I returned from a weeklong trip out to Harrisonburg for a Glick reunion. It had been 8 years since the previous reunion with this group of people–which was crazy, because the second-cousins who were seven years old at the last one are now sophomores in high school — which is the age *I* was at the last reunion. But, it was really wonderful to reconnect with this quirky, accepting, word-playing, board-gaming group of people that feels so much like home. I sincerely hope that it won’t be nearly so long until the next reunion, and that I’ll be able to make it.

I also got a chance, one morning, to revisit the Appalachian Trail in Shenandoah National Park, where I hiked with several friends last summer. We only hiked three miles, but still got to see two panoramic views more spectacular than anything I remember from last year. Beautiful. No snakes or queasy stomachs this time, either.

On Sunday we also had an afternoon gathering with the Algers (Dad’s mother’s family). Although this one wasn’t as familiar (I don’t think I’ve ever been to an Alger reunion, unless I was under 5), it was still good to meet family members that I wasn’t familiar with before.

Here are some of the more surprising relative revelations:
– Great aunt Nell, who owns a bunch of woodland with a cabin where she goes hunting and fishing pretty often
– first-cousin-once-removed-in-law Jan, the head of Google Norway
– second cousins from about four different conservative Mennonite groups, one of which still wears cape dresses

Here are some of my favorite shots from the week…


views from the hike in Shenandoah National Park


Uncle James pauses mid-volleyball game to praise the Lord for the preceding point.


My hefty camera and tripod made me the de facto official photographer. It didn’t turn out too badly.


Balloons released in memory of great aunt Ruth, who passed away recently.


Ebony jewelwing (Calopteryx maculata), from the stream behind our cabin. Mom told me about it and uncle James chased it to me, so this one was a group effort. 🙂