Let’s Start at the Very Beginning…

Today was a very full day! The JAARS center’s biannual spiritual vitality meeting was in the morning, and I had a center tour, hangar tour, and general job introduction in the afternoon.

The morning’s speaker was Dr. Jim Garlow, who pastors a church in San Diego. His doctorate is in historical theology, and he’s written several books, with Cracking the Da Vinci Code among them. His primary topic was “The American National Condition”, describing the establishment, domination, and then marginalization of the church in the United States; he described the three primary assaults on the church as being against procreation, marriage, and gender specificity. This leads to the question – what is a Christian to do about this? Continue reading



And… I’m here. “Here” being the JAARS center in/near Waxhaw, NC. I’m pretty tired, so I’ll keep it short.

Yesterday I made the drive from WL to Cleveland to see my former roommate, who had spent the day freezing in an icing wind tunnel – good times and good conversation, even if it was just for the evening! We were discussing Romans 14 a little bit, and the extent to which it condemns denominational divides. There are some issues that I haven’t fully thought through yet, such as infant and/or adult baptism, so I won’t really go into that here.

The drive itself was fairly uneventful. Last night it was pouring as I was coming into Cleveland, and visibility was so poor that I stopped under an overpass to wait it out. My boyfriend told me over the phone that there was a severe thunderstorm warning for the area; I was just glad that another car pulled in behind me, so my bike (on the back of my car) had a smaller chance of getting hit by passing vehicles. When I started driving again, I passed two sets of cars that had either run into each other or into the guardrail.

Today it rained for most of the day again, but the terrain gradually changed from foothills to mountains, and then back into hills. The Appalachians, being shorter than the Rockies, are less stark and more fuzzy. Well, okay, not fuzzy. They have trees on their tops. If you squint, or there are rain and clouds on top, they kind of look fuzzy. The roads were fun, but wet. I stopped every two or three hours, so the drive took about ten hours, I think.

My apartment is one of the furnished apartments they keep for volunteers and folks passing through. It’s very small and very cute. I admit I was expecting something darker and mustier, based on the one my family lived in for a few months in Dallas, but it’s quite light and cozy. The main room has a couch, table, chairs, and a tiny television (!) and a kitchen on one wall, and the bedroom has two twin beds and a nice bathroom. Half of my stuff is currently strewn all over, and the other half is in my car, but I’ll get everything shipshape tomorrow. When I walk outside, I can smell trees. It makes me happy.

Good night, world!

JAARS (More Plans)

courtesy of http://www.jaars.org/files/images/m_2009-09-25-12.03.30kmpj9605.jpg

I got an email yesterday, informing me that my volunteer application for JAARS has been accepted. This means that I’ll be spending the next few weeks, until Christmas, volunteering at Wycliffe’s center in North Carolina. I’ll also be flying back to Dallas just after Thanksgiving for a site interview with SpaceX, which means I get to see my folks, too!

So what am I doing, exactly?

I’ve known for awhile that I’d like to take this time in between school and a “real job” to make an impact on present-day issues. I tossed around the idea of going to Afghanistan to work with women, realized that I’d be really bored if I weren’t around engineering or machines, and applied for a Fall 2011 internship with Engineering Ministries International. I was disappointed when that didn’t work out, but in hindsight it was actually good, as I didn’t finish my graduate work at the end of the summer. Right now, I have a nice little gap between finishing school and January, when I would expect a job to start. Adventure time! Continue reading

Up and Running

It’s been a full week!  I’ve mainly been compiling and editing some video footage I took in the lab a few months ago; it’s for prospective employers to look at.

I had an interview with Aerojet on Wednesday. With them, I would probably end up in Sacramento, or maybe Virginia. I also had an unexpected call from SpaceX yesterday – they want a phone interview for a position in Texas, near Waco! I’m continuing to contact other companies, too – I like having all this hope and possibility right now.

In other news, I also filled out a volunteer application for Wycliffe’s JAARS center in North Carolina. I think volunteering out there until Christmas might be a worthwhile way to stay occupied while waiting for a potential job to start. More on JAARS later.

Also, I got to drive a Chevy Volt yesterday.

The very existence of flame-throwers proves that some time, somewhere, someone said to themselves, You know, I want to set those people over there on fire, but I’m just not close enough to get the job done.

– George Carlin

‘Well, I’m back.’

Hello, world! It’s been awhile since I’ve posted, but in that time I have completed a 141-page junior monstrosity of a thesis, which will shortly be published, stuck up on a shelf, and gather lots of dust. I’m not really being cynical; this is just what happens.

It’s nice to have a chance to catch my breath. Last week, my defense was on Wednesday, and the “Exam Only” (meaning that I only had to defend this semester) deposit deadline was that Friday, so the 48 hours in between the two were rather hectic. This was partly due to changes/corrections requested by my committee, and also to the formatting regulations imposed by the graduate school.

I went hiking with a few friends on Saturday, and will post those pictures when I have time. For now, I’ve been enjoying the chance to sleep and read books that have absolutely nothing to do with hydrazine!

However, I’ve not been entirely a bum. I have an interview with Aerojet next week, hopefully a phone conversation with GE Global Research at some point, and am preparing some materials that SpaceX has requested a look at. Hopefully some of these opportunities will come to fruition, so please keep them in your prayers.

More to come!

…And More Plans

Dear Family and Friends, especially the ones who care about me,

Just a quick update on what will be going in my life:

My schedule for getting my thesis and research done was really cramped, and my advisor decided I was accelerating the process too much, so I’m now looking at an official graduation date in December 2011. I should be defending sometime before mid-October.

Thanks very much to all of you who have been praying for me. I’m mostly glad I have some more time; I’d rather turn out quality work than a rushed, half-finished job. It will also give me more time to look for a job, which has kind of fallen by the wayside as I’ve been pushing my thesis through.

I feel like I suddenly have a summer vacation! I’ll be in Texas for a week in July and in San Diego at the beginning of August, if anybody wants to find a time to catch up.

Please be in prayer for:

  • Me finding housing/a roommate – everybody around here leases for a year at a time only
  • My experiments getting done
  • My sisters finding housing/transportation at their respective new schools.


But Mousie, thou are no thy-lane,
In proving foresight may be vain:
The best laid schemes o’ Mice an’ Men,
Gang aft agley

-Robert Burns

A Tale of Two Flames

I haven’t posted in awhile, so here’s a lit review.

The decomposition and oxidation of hydrazine has been a topic of scientific interest for at least eighty years. Early studies, such as those by Askey or Bamford, focused on the vapor phase. Bamford noted that the chemical exploded when sparked or heated.
Audrieth noted much interest in low-concentration (~30%) hydrazine as a fuel in the years after World War II, writing that, “The hydrogen peroxide-hydrazine combination was first utilized by the Germans as a rocket fuel and represents one  of the most promising bi-fuels for long-range high-altitude missiles.” He also documented that this combination appeared to be “self-starting”. In the same year, 1951, a paper by Murray and Hall recorded the observation of a 93% hydrazine flame. They described “possibly two inner cones, separated from one another by a very small distance.” This is extremely interesting to note in light of the dual-flame phenomena for droplets, although the authors attributed the second cone to “radiation from reaction products”. Continue reading