Chronically Tight Muscles



The fascia is a lining between the muscle and skin. When healthy it is easily liquified (liquifies during exercise making you feel loose). When this is true, it will be easy to separate the skin from the muscle (pull up a fold of skin on your leg for example).

To maintain healthy fascia, eat healthy, exercise regularly, and stretch after exercise (to help your fascia and muscles reorient themselves in a longer more stretched out position). Deep muscle massage once every month or two can also be very helpful in maintaining healthy fascia (Swedish and spa massage will not help).


Muscle Immobility and Muscle Spasm


Immobility: The body will use the “Splinting Reflex” to tighten muscles around a sore muscle, making the whole region very uncomfortable and achy. This is what generally occurs in lower back pain.

Muscle Spasm: When a muscle is overworked it becomes tight and has lots of electrical activity, causing spasms. This indicates that it is advantageous to not exercise muscles to the point of pain, but rather regularly exercise your muscles a reasonable amount.

Acupuncture and Movement Systems by Bradley Cox



Bradley has a background is acupuncture and sports medicine and created a trademarked system “Acupuncture and Movement Systems” to help injured atheletes recover. He has recieved rave reviews from all the gym friends of my friends Carmel!



Muscle Activation Techniques (MAT)



MAT specialists identify which muscles in your body are weak, causing other stronger muscles to become tight in an effort to compensate for the weak muscles. You can find a MAT specialist “near you” on the official MAT website.



Hanna Somatic Education



Sensory Motor Amnesia is when the sensory motor system in your brain begins to routinely keep muscles tight. As defined in the book Somatics by Thomas Hanna, PhD, “it refers to a condition in which muscles become habitually tight in response to surgeries, injuries (e.g., soft-tissue injuries), physical shocks (e.g., falls or blows), repetitive use (e.g., excessive computer use, athletic overtraining) or on-going stress.”


Hanna Somatic Education seeks to re-train the sensory motor system to keep these muscles relaxed. It provides a more long-term solution to muscle tightness than physical therapy / massage, etc, beacuse in principle those are only treating the syptom (a tight and sore muscle) of the brain tightening the muscle, rather the the cause.



This is a condition people can have, which can be genetic or lifestyle related, and results in difficulty in processing lactic acid and other acids in the body to maintain a stable pH.

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Posted by on July 11, 2013 in Runners Knee


Voting in 2012: Romney or Obama?


Here is a brief outline of my perspective on the 2012 presidential election.  I will begin with social policy issues, as those are simplest.  Each candidate has a clear stance on most issues, and their stances are generally opposite, so all that matters is what you think is right!  Their approaches to the economy and to the environment contain more controversy, and it not simply a matter of what you ‘believe is right’; there are facts that can determine which of them is right. (Will Obama’s plan bring economic prosperity, or will Romney’s? Is global warming a problem that we should address, as Obama has begun to, or can we just ignore it like Romney intends to do?)

Gay Rights

From Obama’s website: (

“President Obama was the first sitting president to publicly announce his support for marriage for same-sex couples, and has always believed LGBT Americans should be treated fairly and equally.”

“President Obama repealed “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” so that gay and lesbian service members no longer have to lie about who they are to serve the country they love.”

“President Obama endorsed the Respect for Marriage Act, signed the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act, and extended hospital visitation and medical decision-making rights to LGBT couples.”

From Romney’s website: (

“As president, Mitt will not only appoint an Attorney General who will defend the Defense of Marriage Act – a bipartisan law passed by Congress and signed by President Clinton – but he will also champion a Federal Marriage Amendment to the Constitution defining marriage as between one man and one woman.”

(Romney doesn’t have much on this subject on his website)


From Obama’s website: (

“President Obama signed the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act to help women fight back against pay discrimination. He understands that when women are paid less than men for the same work, it hurts the entire family.”

From Romney’s website: (

“Mitt Romney is pro-life. He believes it speaks well of the country that almost all Americans recognize that abortion is a problem. And in the quiet of conscience, people of both political parties know that more than a million abortions a year cannot be squared with the good heart of America.

Mitt believes that life begins at conception and wishes that the laws of our nation reflected that view. But while the nation remains so divided, he believes that the right next step is for the Supreme Court to overturn Roe v. Wade – a case of blatant judicial activism that took a decision that should be left to the people and placed it in the hands of unelected judges. With Roe overturned, states will be empowered through the democratic process to determine their own abortion laws and not have them dictated by judicial mandate.

Mitt supports the Hyde Amendment, which broadly bars the use of federal funds for abortions. As president, he will end federal funding for abortion advocates like Planned Parenthood. He will protect the right of health care workers to follow their conscience in their work. And he will nominate judges who know the difference between personal opinion and the law.”


From Obama’s website: (

“President Obama is doubling fuel efficiency standards, which will save consumers more than $8,000 at the pump, create jobs in the American automobile industry, and save 12 billion barrels of oil.”

“Under President Obama, the United States has become a world leader in natural gas, and production is at an all-time high . He is promoting the safe, responsible development of our near 100-year supply of natural gas, which could support more than 600,000 new jobs by the end of the decade.”

“Under President Obama, we are producing more oil than we have in 14 years. He is helping expand domestic oil production by offering millions of acres of land for development—including opening up 75% of our oil and gas resources in the Gulf and Arctic—and is improving safety measures to prevent future spills.”

“Since President Obama took office, electricity generated from clean energy sources like wind and solar has more than doubled and his investments in clean energy and energy efficiency have supported nearly a quarter million jobs.”

“President Obama has made one of the most significant federal investments in clean coal technology in history. The Obama administration has attracted more than $10 billion in private investments, and in 2011, employment in the coal sector hit its highest level since 1996.”

(As an activist for ending fossil fuel consumption because of the social impacts of global warming, I am not exactly excited about the expansion that Obama has made of the domestic fossil fuel resources.  However, he at least has also been championing alternative energy, and wants to stop the subsidies to large fossil fuel companies.)

From Romney’s website: (

“Open offshore areas for energy development

  • Mitt will establish the most robust five-year offshore lease plan in history, that opens new areas for resource development – including off the coasts of Virginia and the Carolinas – and sets minimum production targets to increase accountability.”

“President Obama has described his own energy policy as a “hodgepodge,” sent billions of taxpayer dollars to green energy projects run by political cronies, rejected the Keystone XL Pipeline as not in “the national interest,” and sought repeatedly to stall development of America’s domestic resources. Rather than embrace the nation’s abundant energy resources, the President has used endless delays, reviews, litigation, and overregulation to both slow their development and elevate his chosen “green” alternatives. He has gone so far as to impose regulations designed to “bankrupt” the coal industry, and his Administration was held in contempt of federal court for illegally imposing a moratorium on drilling in the Gulf of Mexico.

Under the Obama Administration, leasing and permitting on federal lands and offshore are down by half. Last year, oil and gas production on federal lands plummeted. Today, the Gulf of Mexico is producing hundreds of thousands fewer barrels per day than expected. And the EPA predicts that another coal power plant will never be built in this country.”

Science of Climate Change

(Now, if you are unfamiliar with the consequences of continuing to burn fossil fuels at our present rate, let alone drastically increasing production and ceasing to subsidize renewable energy sources, while continuing subsidies for large fossil fuel companies, here is some information on climate change:

From, a campaign I was involved in three years ago:

“A recent 6,700 page report funded by the United States Army, World Bank, and others states that without bold and immediate action, “billions of people will be condemned to poverty and much of civilization will collapse”[1] as a result of global climatic disruption.

NASA’s top climatologist, James Hansen, set the goal by stating that atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide of 350 parts per million (PPM) is the highest suitable level for civilization.[2]Prominent scientists agree that stabilizing CO2 at 450PPM (the current political consensus) is “inadequate to sustain the integrity of global climate and to hold the risk of ruinous climatic change to an acceptably low level.”[3]


I need to get back to doing work I am funded for, so this one will be brief, but I want to leave you with a graphic from Obama’s website that I feel says a lot about his ability to save our economy from the disaster that he walked into:

Do me a favor and go to this website and spend five minutes reading the dialogue boxes that appear when you mouse over the dots at the top of the bar-graph depicting the change in the number of employed americans each month for the past four years.

If you want Romney’s perspective it is here, feel free to get a balanced perspective, but keep in mind that the rhetoric of unregulation that the republican party follows caused the corruption in banking etc that initiated the economic crisis.  If I have time I will come back and try and provide some sources for this claim, in the meantime it will have to stand as my perspective.

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Posted by on September 25, 2012 in Political Views


Applying for graduate fellowships

Here is what I have learned about applying for graduate school fellowships.

National Science Foundation Fellowship – GRFP

NSF offer the GRFP – deadline Nov 15.  You can only apply during your senior year undergrad, first year graduate school, or second year graduate school.

Tips for Applying

2011 Solicitation (I need to wait for them to publish the 2012 solicitation)

Past Recipients

Other Funding Sources:

Chateaubriand fellowship – To spend 10 months doing STEM research in France

DOE SCGF – 3 years living stipend, research allowance, partial tuition coverage at a U.S. academic institution

Ford Foundation / NETL Fellowship

NDSEG (DoD) Fellowship Program – Application available Sept 2012

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Posted by on July 22, 2012 in Fellowships


Renewable Energy Education

Renewable Energy World Magazine North America (subscription is free) described in “Is Education the Fuel We Need for a Renewable Future” a number of programs available to integrate renewable energy into basic math and science courses for primary and secondary education. Namely Sprout and KidWind.





Photolithography is a microfabrication technique used for addition/removal of material to/from a thin film or bulk material, following a detailed geometric pattern.


Cleaning: The wafer is cleaned usually via the RCA procedure.

Preparation: The wafer is heated to drive off moisture.

A liquid or gaseous “adhesion promoter” such as Bis(trimethylsilyl)amine (aka HMDS) is applied to promote adhesion of the photoresist to the wafer.

(The surface layer of SiO_2 reacts with HDMS to form tri-methylated SiO_2, a highly water repellant layer which keeps out the aqueous developer)

Photoresist: A photoresist, or resist, is adhered to the sample via spin coating. Spinning runs from 1200 to 4800 rpm for 30 to 60 seconds to create a 0.5 – 2.5 µm thick coat with variation of 5 – 10 nm. Aspect ratio of resist after development is limited to 4:1. Resist-coated wafer is baked at 90 – 100 ºC for 30 – 60 seconds.

Exposure: The photoresist is exposed to a patter of light, causing a chemical change such that some of the resist can be removed by the developer solution.

  • Positive photoresist becomes soluble in the developer when exposed to light. (most common)
  • Negative photoresist becomes insoluble in the developer when exposed to light. (less common)
  • Maskless lithography projects a precise beam onto the photoresist without use of a mask. Uncommon in commercial processes. Used in Very-large-scale integration lithography (this covers only one or an array of die, not a whole wafer).
  • Mask Lithography uses a photomask, as a negative is used in photography, to produce a pattern of light and shadows on the photoresist.
  • A proximity printer puts a small gap “d” between the photomask and wafer. (resolution is √(d•λ) )
  • A contact printer puts a photomask in direct contact with a wafer and is exposed to uniform light. This is liable to damage the resist and wafer, and thus is uncommon.

(for both printers the mask covers the entire wafer and simultaneously patterns every die)


The post-exposure bake (PEB) is done to reduce standing wave phenomena. For deep ultraviolet lithography chemically amplified resist (CAR) chemistry is used, in which much of the “exposure” reaction takes place during PEB (and is thus sensitive to PEB time etc).

The develope chemistry is delived on a spinner. Developers used to contain NaOH, but now are metal-ion-free and contain TMAH.

The wafer is hard-baked at 120 – 180 ºC for 20 to 30 minutes. This solidifies the remaining photoresist to make a more durable protecting layer for ion implantation, wet chemical etching, or plasma etching.


Etching: a liquid (“wet”) or plasma (“dry”) chemical agent removes the uppermost layer of the substrate in areas not protected by photoresist.

  • Dry etching techniques can be made anisotropic (used for semiconductor fabrication to avoid undercutting resist)
  • Wet etching is generally isotropic (used for microelectromechanical systems where structures must be released from underlying layer)

Photoresist Removal: A liquid “resist stripper” is used to chemically alter resist so that it no longer adheres to the wafer. Oxidation of the resist via oxygen containing plasma can also be used.

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Posted by on June 1, 2012 in Lab Research


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Posted by on May 31, 2012 in Lab Research, Physics


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Posted by on May 30, 2012 in Lab Research, Physics