Sunday, May 31, 2009

Reflections from the hospital maternity ward

A small collection of thoughts and experiences made while at the maternity ward following the birth of our Baby Boy Viktor
  • People who opt for a home birth due to some green-tinted sixties mind hippie bullshit are outta' their minds. Any birth can turn into a C-section in a hurry no matter how good the prognosis, at which point all the herbal tea in the world ain't gonna help you. Not using the existing resources to facilitate the birth is downright ignorant. Sure; they didn't need doctors to have babies in the olden days, but they also had a life expectancy of 30 and an infant mortality rate that makes smoking crack look like popping omega 3 capsules.
  • You probably have no idea how you're going to react to various aspects of parenthood until you're in the situation. I know I didn't.
  • Much props to the maternity ward at St. Olav's hospital - it's awesome compared to what I've been told from other hospitals around the country. The fact that fathers are allowed to stay at the patient hostel or in the maternity ward throughout for a pittance of a fee absolutely rules. Plus, most of the staff there were the epitome of helpfulness.
  • The "bed" I got to sleep on was a futon-like extravaganza of dimensions exactly as long as I am tall, and exactly as wide as my shoulder width. It wasn't made for someone of my dimensions - that's for damn sure.
  • When you send baby pictures to friends and relatives, the same picture will get you ten different interpretations from eight different people on how much and where the kid looks like his parents.
  • It's amazing how fast you get used to very little sleep and interval napping. I haven't slept this little in years (probably since grad school in NC), but it doesn't affect function. At least not yet.
  • I've never read newspapers (or at least VG and Dagbladet) quite as thoroughly as this past week.
  • It's true what the commercial says: Thank Heaven for 7-11. While hospital food no doubt covers the nutritional needs of the average individual, the taste leaves much to be desired. Hence I mosied on over to 7-11 every night to get me some of that Beef Chop Suey and a couple of cookies.
  • Why would a store called 7-11 need to post a sign on the door specifying the opening hours unless they deviate from the name of the store?
  • The same 7-11 totally got me hooked on photography magazines. From those I've learned that I need to use the raw format, use plane-polarized filters, and start to use Photoshop for post-treatment. Apparently I've also got to purchase all kinds of schtuff I didn't know existed before I bought the magazines.
  • Single-use razors absolutely suck.
  • I actually got a call from someone at work about trivial, work-related stuff while I was at the maternity ward. And yes; the dude in question knew full and well where I was and on what occasion when he made the phone call. Academia apparently waits for no man, and yet "purely academic" is a phrase used when referring to a subject nobody actually cares about. Go figure.
  • Few things are as relaxing and serene as the look and sound of a sleeping infant.
  • Walking out of the hospital with Viktor in my hands was a VERY proud moment

Friday, May 22, 2009

Pirate Bay Backlash Bonanza

In last week's Morgenbladet (May 15-21), there was a commentary by one Pål Hetland, self-professed writer and former press secretary for the Quart-festival. I'm not going to bother to recite large sections of the piece, both because the writing was underwhelming, and also because the argumentation mirrors what any "music and movies should be free for everyone, man" kook has ever written. The basis for the piece - beside the Pirate Bay legal hubbub - was a petition against piracy signed by some 300 Norwegian artists. According to Hetland, this is nothing but paranoia, as illegal downloading represents no clear and present danger for recording artists. Lemme' provide a rundown of his three main arguments:
  1. Whereas copyright legislation has only been around for 300 years, art has always existed and is thus immortal.
  2. Record companies, not recording artists, are the ones who stand to lose the most, as standard record deals today only provide the artists with some 15% of the record sales. Thus, the artists are pretty safe according to Hetland.
  3. In the future, recording artists will probably be able to find other revenue sources than selling copyrighted material.
Far be it from me to rain on Hetland's parade, or to let facts get in the way of a good (or in his case mediocre) story. However, I wonder if this master debater (master bater?) has thought of the following:
  1. Art is older than copyright legislation - no discussion. However, whereas some poor schnuck would have to spend six months painting a single replica of Mona Lisa - not to mention the time spent to acquire the necessary skill, no skills are necessary for some before-picture Clearasil poster boy to convert Eminem's "Relapse" to .mp3 and share it twith his 35 000 "friends" who can download it as many times as they want without any loss in quality.
  2. Sure; the majority of the revenue from record sales don't end up in the pockets of the recording artists. While the profit margins versus actual expenses and risk can be debated, allow me to present the following argument based on actual math and Hetland's premise of 15% revenue stream to the artists: Let X and Y be positive numbers. If X > Y, then 0.15*Y < 0.15*X. In other words, 15% of less ain't as much as 15% of more, and for some reason I doubt a struggling musician who's got to give up music as a full-time career is comforted by Hetland telling him that percentage-wise, Sony BMG or Nuclear Blast is losing more.
  3. "In the future, someone clever is going to find a way to fix the problem, so let's not worry about that now". Congratulations on copping out completely. When exactly is this future? Will we all have flying cars, personal jetpacks and silver jumpsuits by then? How about some glimpse into this wonderful future of unlimited revenue which does not imply any consumer costs, Nostradamus. Because as far as I know, there has been no quantum leaps in new forms of revenue for a LONG, long time. Gene Simmons pretty much rewrote the book when it came to making a buck off of merchandise, but all he really did was widen the selection. Merchandise has been big business since Beatlemania was running wild and Monkees had their own Milli Vanilli thing going on. Besides royalties coming from the front and back end of record and DVD sales, the major direct revenue sources are pretty much live gigs (for bands below a certain size), merchandise and paid appearances.
Don't leave us hangin' big guy - give us a taste of the magic revenue sources that have eluded the entire industry for so long. Otherwise, know your role and shut your mouth. "It's not a problem 'cause someone else will come along to fix it" isn't an argument - for future reference.


Tuesday was - to paraphrase 'Cube - a Good Day. I found out that I have been recognized with an award for my scientific accomplishments within my field, I got a reviewer invitation (which I accepted) from a very good journal, I was asked to be a collaborator on a very interesting grant application, and we got some pretty darn cool research results.

Tuesday, most things came up aces.

Wednesday, on the other hand, most work-related things that could've gone wrong did, and a couple of things I never saw coming kinda' crapped out on me as well. Some of it was due to me being severely sleep-deprived on this particular day, but other things, like being stuck in traffic due to a car that was on fire close to IKEA just came out of nowhere. We also found out that the chassis on our brand spankin' new stroller had some kind of design malfunction.

Is this some kind of restoration of cosmic equilibrium?

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Flickr update plug 052109

Some pics from downtown Trondheim this time

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Basic internet use FAIL part II now people have gone from complaining about the resulting spam to (mostly) doling out advice on how not to spam themselves. Get this; a bunch of people with doctorates and a presumed IQ above 70 send out what they believe to be private emails filled with good advice for the ones who accidentally spam the entire list.

Invariably the email goes something like this: "Hey, NN. I do not have a particular need to be informed that you wish to be removed from the mailing list. If you want off the list, simply hit the "Reply" button instead of the "Reply all" button and type in your request to be removed from said list. That way we don't all get hit with your email.

..and then they're probably confused as hell about why their supposedly private email is sent to everyone on the mailing list. Brutal lack of understanding how a mailing list works.

That's it; I'm writing down each and every single blowhard who does this on my personal $hit list.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Iacta Alea Est

That's it; I'm done with the teaching for the semester, save for some office-hour questions. I've prepared the final exam, turned it over to the exam office, and even made a solution manual. Since I've also posted a survey about the course, I'm waiting for the fallout feedback.

...then there's just the matter of grading the exams.....

Basic internet use FAIL

Let's say - hypothetically speaking of course - that you worked at a university and someone from within the system included you on a weekly mailing list that you found to be annoying and desperately wanted out of. Would you: a) Hit the "Reply" button and write a message expressing your wish to get off said mailing list in more or less polite terms or would you b) Send an email to the clearly listed person responsible for the list with the same message.

Bonus: If you opted for what was behind door a), would you also follow that up by hitting the "Reply" button at least once more complaining about all the spam mail you kept getting because of this mailing list? If so, you could be one of my esteemed colleagues, many of whom hold professorates within math, physics and information technology and thus ought to be familiar with the basics of email software.

Oh, and:

Jumping on the bandwagon

First of all - congrats to Alexander Rybak on winning ESC2009.

That being said, I'm totally jumping on the Synnøve Svabø-bashing bandwagon - she absolutely SUCKED as a commentator. She never stopped cackling, she was a relentless self-promoter, she gave out wrong phone numbers, and she totally effed up the score estimation. Moreover, I could've lived a full and happy life without knowing that the skank had stuffed her bra with tennis socks for the occasion.

Friday, May 15, 2009

TGIF - Why boys need parents

Have a nice weekend!

Web page blues

Dammit! The faculty is "strongly encouraging" each and every faculty member to create a web page. Not just any ol' web page mind you, but one based on a university template, with room for a photo, a brief statement of research interests and courses taught, and a few links.

So how come I'm not happy about this?

Because I absolutely suck at limiting myself to this format. I've been working on some quite grandiose plans for my professional web page with no less than five sub-pages. Two text boxes and a photo are not gonan cut it. With a motto of "more is more", this is gonna take way more time than if I had ten times the available space.

Not to mention that I've gotta get a better photo than the one currently in use for lab purposes. "Whiter-than-Christmas-serial-killer" is not a good look - trust me on that one.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Flickr some mo'

Time to spam the blog with a selection of flickr updates. I'm not sure whether it was me or my wife who shot the "clouds" photo - taken from our front porch. The cherry blossom picture is from our garden. Didn't really see myself as the kind of guy to take flower pics, but there you go..

Something to consider

It's about that time

....people like me are scrambling to write up grant applications. The worst part by far is the budget process - at least that's what sucks the most according to me. Making the numbers compatible between the faculty and department spreadsheet templates and those of the research council, with every rounding discrepancy from origins unknown coming back to haunt you when you least expect it - that's what really irks me. Last Spring I had an meltdown unrequested fission surplus of rare proportions during the budget process. This year it's been much less turbulent, thanks in no small part to the department's support person, but still my blood pressure rises to uncomfortable levels when I'm doing the numberjuggling.

I don't know why, but I've got zero patience with budget work - which goes a long way towards explaining why I'm not an beancounter numbercruncher commaf*cker accountant. I've got plenty of patience in other areas - perhaps not that many, but still: I can play the same scale in different tempos and time signatures for hours on end without tiring. I can work on the same sentence in a paper until I've got it just right. I can spend countless hours analyzing data, and I've got no problem putting in long hours of data collection whenever I've got the time.

Making budgets however.....

Tuesday, May 12, 2009


Had a small discussion with Marius about metal bands who cover pop songs, and it turns out to be a ton of tunes fitting this category. Some successful and others.....not so much. Checketh out this one; Dream Theater covering Elton John's "Funeral For A Friend/Love Lies Bleeding". It's on their "A Change Of Seasons" album and also on their live recordings for all I know.

Now THAT's tasteful use of a volume pedal.

Keeping in mind that Petrucci uses a pedal here, it makes it even more impressive that Yngwie does this and more using the volume knob......

Saturday, May 9, 2009

The oxygen thief is back

Who? Why; Jon Sudbø of course. There is an interview with him in today's weekend VG issue, following the inexplicable decision to give him back his license as a practicing GP.

If you thought that he appeared humble or sincere in the interview, you'd be dead wrong. The committee that investigated his case, led by Professor Anders Ekbom from Karolinska in Stockholm vastly exaggerated and didn't know what they were talking about. According to Sudbø, he just got "carried away", and also he suggests that what he did was not unique, because pursuit of science is hardly noble. In addition to these weak accusations, he claims that the academic system is to blame, because of the pressure to publish and parlay the publicized results into research grants.

...or how about an alternative explanation: Jon Sudbø is a scrub scientist who simply can't take the pressure and has to resort to cheating to make it in the big league. To wit, he was caught cheating as early as during his Ph.D. study, so already at that level he had to cheat to get anywhere. And now he is trying to pull the rest of the scientific community down with him, because his overinflated ego can't come to terms with him being a third-rate scientist and a piece of shit human being. As far as the charges against him being exaggerated, the Editor of The Lancet - hardly known for hyperbole - referred to his "being carried away" as the biggest science fraud the world has seen.

Upon being asked whether he felt shame, Sudbø answers that it was worse than that - at some point he felt worthless. Not, mind you, because he'd done something wrong, but because his character had been assaulted in the media for so long. Also, he complains about how he's currently held to "an ethical standard ten levels above the average dentist or GP".

That, you waste of perfectly good oxygen, is because there's a presumption of innocence until proven guilty. So while Sudbø has been proven to be a lying piece of steaming monkey crap since he embarked on his Ph.D., one might excuse the various agencies if they're a bit sceptical towards any claim laid by him.

And maybe people working on cancer therapy should be held to a higher standard anyways. Sudbø's data was to be fed into an actual therapeutic, so what I wonder is: How long was he going to keep making up data and waste enormous amounts of money and time meant to develop something that worked?

On the plus side, the article mentions that he enjoys paragliding. With a dangerous hobby like that, one might hope....

Friday, May 8, 2009


This clip from Failblog is waaaay too good not to be posted here as well:

Academic Friday Nonsense from

..Because Anders is a hyooge "Peanuts" mark for reasons unknown...

Any NMR people in the hizzouse?

PhDcomics hit the nail on the head yet again. I've seen my fair share of these. For schtuff that has to be handed down pretty much before the experiments have been completed and any sound conclusions can be drawn *cough*conference papers*cough*, I might even have perpetrated some of this..

When I was a grad student back in good ol' NC, my advisor was infamous for assigning tasks which "would only take 15 minutes - tops". One such 15 min task handed to me took me a good couple of months to complete, and I was not the record holder. By far. This particular "advisor trait" was something I didn't hand down to my own grad students, but recent events - and to my defense: instrument breakdowns - may prove otherwise. Dammit!

How true is ya recognize the TV shows in question? I love how on CSI - be it the original, CSI Miami, CSI New York, CSI Rome Wisconsin, CSI Lincoln Nebraska or the upcoming CSI Trenton New Jersey - some head schnuck can wipe a Q-tip across the floor of a crime scene, hand it to a former street thug/fashion icon/supermodel/gambler/Navy SEAL/astronaut. Said glorified gofer will promptly don a lab coat over his or her Vera Wang ensemble, and science ensues. The Q-tip is dipped into a plethora of test tubes, each yielding a different color. The test tubes are subsequently spun down in a centrifuge and placed in some form of advanced instrumentation which invariably ends up being defined as a GC-MS. Ten seconds thereafter, they show the results which in addition to the info you would expect from the instrument in question also gives you a recent picture of the suspect, his address, favorite colour and high school yearbook entry. Best of all; the same CSI guy who swabbed the crime scene gets to arrest, prosecute and sentence the guy (invariably) they determine to be guilty. Exactly like real life, eh?

Finals are coming up

...and it's reflected in the types of questions I get

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Speaking of the saddest of all keys

Here's a small tapping exercise/etude back to back with a fitting riff structure (think "Sleeping In The Fire" by W.A.S.P. on gear or "Between Heaven And Hell" by Firewind). I actually like this tapping thing a lot. What's really cool about more "involved" tapping motifs is that I don't come off as a poor man's Yngwie when I play them (seeing as how he doesn't tap all that much). With this style of tapping, I rather come off as a poor man's Kiko Loureiro.

Notice the rather unimaginative bass part...

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Cry me a river

..a river of blood. There's a story at about how high school students in Sør-Trøndelag are outraged by a decision that the Fall break - also known as the "potato break" is going to be eliminated. Thanks to Sondre for the heads up. This vacation week, originally there so that the students could help with the potato harvest, is of less value now than when most students came from farms, according to the politicians in charge. It's hard to disagree. Moreover, the number of school days in the Fall semester remains unchanged; the days off will not be eliminated but rather distributed throughout the semester.

The student representatives, however, feel that the politicians know nothing of the trials and tribulations of high school students, and that they certainly need a week off in the middle of the Fall.

Brilliant logic from the student representatives. First of all, I don't think there are many politicians without a high school education. Granted, few have more than that, but they still went to high school. Second, many a "career politician" went more or less directly from high school to some "elected" position, meaning that quite a few of the politicians in question are still in their 20s and early 30s and thus not so far removed from the current high school system. Third, there is no such thing as Fall break at institutions of higher learning. Nor is there such a thing in the real world assuming they want a job. Are the student representatives insinuating that the work pressure and stres factors are higher at high school level than at the university? If so, enjoy your oceanfront condo on Denial Island. Unless you're a teacher (high school or below) you won't see a two month summer vacation on the far side of high school either, so welcome to the real world.

But wait; there's more fail. According to student council representative Ingrid Rodem, this would really be a problem for the students who don't live with mom and dad, but have to rent studio apartments. She even backs this up with hard numbers - this would constitute a huge problem for the 72 out of 1000 students at her school who are not locals.

So let's summarize: The number of school days and the duration of the semester remain constant. Contrary to what Ingrid Rodem seems to think, workloads are significantly higher if she plans on higher education where there is NO Fall break. If and when she enters the job market she'll also have to contend with the number of vacation days dwindling like nobody's business compared to what you have during high school. The argument that students might not have the opportunity to spend a continuous week with Mommy and Daddy during the shortest of the semesters affects a whopping 7.2% of the students according to her numbers - and that's assuming that all of these students share the same homesickness as Ingrid Radem, which is quite the leap of faith.

This is really how you want to utilize the resources available when you're a student representative? 'Cause I can think of a number of issues more worthy of your time and effort than this.......also much more relavant to the quality of your education and how well-informed you are of the opportunities after your high school graduation.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Nigerian e-Fail

Wonderful - I just received a modified version of the patented Nigerian e-mail scam. This time the ruse goes along the lines of "We put all the names of people worldwide with internet access in a hat and your name came up with nine others, bro".

Lucky me.

Ecowas Organization, would like to notify you that you have been chosen
by the board of trustees of the above international charity
organization based in the Nigeria as one of the final Recipients of a
Cash Grant/Donation for your own personal, education and business
development, Ecowas Organization, as established 1977 by the
Multi-Million groups which aim was to Conceived with the objective of
Human Growth, Educational and Community development, In line
with the 28 years anniversary program this year the Ecowas Donation in
conjunction with the Fondazion Di Vittorio (FDV), United Nations
Organization (UNO) and the European union, is giving out a yearly donation
of Eight hundred and fifty Thousand United States Dollars ($850,000.00)
for this year 2009 Lottery promotion which is organized by Ecowas

Ecowas Organization collects all the email addresses of the people that
are active online, among the millions that subscribed to the Internet and
we only select 10 lucky international recipients worldwide every year as
our winners through electronic balloting System without the winner
applying, we congratulate you for being one of the people selected, Ecowas
is supported by United Nations Organization (UNO) and the European union
including the Fondazion Di Vittorio (FDV), We are giving out a yearly
donation of US$850,000.00 (Eight Hundred & Fifty Thousand United States
Dollars) to each
100 lucky.

These Numbers fall within your location file, You are requested to contact
the Ecowas Finance Department and send your winning identification numbers
to him, to enable him verify your claims. You are to contact the Ecowas
Finance Department on or before your date of Claim, Winners shall be paid
in accordance with his/her Settlement Centre.

You are by all means hereby advised to keep this whole information
confidential until you have been able to collect your Donation as there
have been many cases of double and unqualified claim, due to beneficiaries
informing third parties about his/her donation.
payment-release-order-form, which you will use in collecting the funds.

I should totally give these people my bank info - it's got that "legit" look you only get from supposed international corporations with a gmail account.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

The Tao of Grad School part 8

Part 8: Talks and presentations

You'll have to give plenty of talks and presentations during your stay in grad school, and odds are that they're also going to be part of your job description once you've completed your journey on the yellow brick road. Thus it stands to reason that you should strive to become as good as possible within this subject.

From my experience, there are five elements you need to master in order to give an effective talk or presentation:

Public speaking
Getting up in front of a crowd is considered to be intimidating by a large fraction of the population, hence all the jokes on the subject. Like the wedding MC who pulls the time-tested joke about how he (or she) has the most dangerous job in the world, since more than 70% of the population fear public speaking more than death. There is also the Dilbert joke based on the same premise: If you kill someone scheduled to speak in public, then statistically you'd be doing said person a favor.

Whatever. Fact is that to some, public speaking is so intimidating that they get physically ill prior to the event, which obviously is going to affect their performance. This reinforces the bad connotations to public speaking, since it didn't go so well last time, and the downward spiral continues. In which case this is a real problem, and quite frankly something you should consider. If you're going through grad school with the goal of entering academia, for example, then teaching is going to constitute about half of your job description. Teaching means public speaking, so if you get physical symptoms just thinking about standing in front of a crowd, you might want to think about other career paths. Not trying to demoralize anyone, but if half of your job is giving you physical symptoms of stress, then it's not good for you, and I can't see why you would want to expose yourself to that.

If you want to be a good public speaker and get your message across efficiently, you should be comfortable in front of a crowd. Simple (or not) as that. Watching someone who's shaking, sweating, mumbling, avoiding eye contact with the audience like the plague and is trying to will open a bottomless pit below the podium is excruciating. Moreover, if the speaker doesn't even have confidence in him- or herself, then why on earth should I? And why should I trust anything this person presents?

The good news is that for most people, the fear subsides and becomes more manageable with practice. The bad news is that I've never seen anyone go from being terrified of public speaking to loving it.

Scientific content
Unless the scientific basis for what you're presenting is sound, it generally doesn't matter how comfortable you are with public speaking. Sure; you can BS and handwave your way through a talk provided the audience is far below your level of expertise and/or they don't care about the topic. Of these two alternatives, the latter is by far the least desirable. However, there's only so much economy of content you can get away with in front of an audience of your peers. You can't polish a turd. If all you've got to show is a graph depicting the theoretical versus measured number of days since you accepted the invitation to give a talk, you're in for a rough Q&A session. The science is the reason you're giving the talk or presentation, so if it ain't there, you shouldn't be either.

A few months back, I read a piece wherein some soft-science dude spent a considerable amount of words berating elaborate PowerPoint presentations, boldly stating that "Presentations with fancy graphics and animations were so 90's". If you for a moment think that there's an inverse correlation between the quality of the content and the packaging, you're probably one of the people who show up with a black text-on-white-background, 300 words per slide, default Excel graphics with too small fonts, borefest of a presentation. I've also got a real good deal on some oceanfront property in Nebraska - special price for you, my friend.

A well-designed presentation can only enhance the scientific content and the points you're trying to underscore. That doesn't mean that you can't go overboard, however. When you're thinking about what theme music to incorporate for each segment of slides, you've gone from a talk to a Broadway production. If so, take it down a couple of notches. But don't ever think that the packaging isn't important and that spending the necessary time to make your presentation look good is a waste of time. Learn what you can about design.

Presentation technique
Your presentation consists of more than the content of your slides and the cold hard facts. Meta-talk and how you present the material have tremenduous impact on the total package. Have you ever witnessed a talk where the presenter mumbled, did nothing but read directly off the slides, had his (or her) back to the crowd the entire time and kept uttering "idle - system processing" sounds ("Uhhhhhh", "aaaand.....", "")? If so, did you come away with an overall impression along the lines of "Damn; that was hands down the best talk I've ever been to. I gotta get me some more of that"?

I didn't think so. In the above example, the presenter displayed the academic equivalent of a radio face, wherein the added dimensions (compared to simply publishing a scientific paper) of a public forum were completely wasted, as the presenter did not use - or benefit from - the added possibilities. A complete waste, like using a symphony orchestra to back up Britney Spears. Timing is key, and the time frame of your talk is not the right moment to go into full introvert mode.

There are many ways to become a good presenter, and I'd recommend taking a course in presentation technique if it's available. One of the ways to make your talk shine is actually by being fluent in and comfortable with the English language. If the presenter before you is some slick dude from an Ivy league institution and your spoken English is reminiscent of Gro Harlem Brundtland or Borat, you'll feel like you're Vanilla Ice and Eminem just opened for you.

You can learn a lot about what works by watching good presenters, and you can "borrow" aspects that you particularly like or find to be effective. However, you should never, ever try to copy someone, no matter how good they are. For one thing, in so doing, your maximum achievement is to become a good clone - hardly alpha material. More importantly, you've got to be yourself - as cliché as that sounds. The style of presentation which is best for you is 100%, grade A, guaran-damn-teed based on your personality. What you should do, is absorb what is useful, discard what is useless, and add what is uniquely your own.

Yes; that was an academic quoting Bruce Lee (Tao of Jeet Kune Do) quoting Sun Tzu (The Art of War).

Know Thy Audience
Tailor the level of your talk to the audience as much as possible. If you're talking to high school students, don't be flauntin' the triple integrals and Kramers-Kronig and be all "As you all know from quantum physics 101"-guy. Conversely, you don't need to define "EM radiation" or explain in great detail why the sky is blue at noon if you're giving a talk at the "Dateless Wonders for More Quantum Mechanics and Nonlinear Programming in Physics Education" society's annual optics conference.