Ph.D. Defense:
Synthesis of Nanostructured Inorganic Materials for Enhanced Heterogeneous Catalysis


Thursday, March 21, 2002
Goddard Hall, Room 227

The synthesis of nanostructured inorganic materials by hydrodynamic cavitation processing was investigated. The goal of this work was to develop a general synthesis technique for nanostructured materials with a control over crystallite size in the 1-20 nm range. Materials with crystallite sizes in this range have shown enhanced catalytic activity compared to materials with larger crystallite sizes.

Several supported and unsupported inorganic materials were studied to understand the effects of cavitation on crystallite size. Cavitation processing of calcium fluoride resulted in more spherical particles, attached to one another by melted necks. This work produced the first evidence of shock wave heating of nanostructured materials by hydrodynamic cavitation processing.

Hydrodynamic cavitation synthesis of various catalytic support materials indicated that their phase composition and purity could be controlled by adjustment of the processing parameters. Zirconia/alumina supports synthesized using hydrodynamic cavitation and calcined to 1368 kelvin retained a high purity cubic zirconia phase, whereas classically prepared samples showed a phase transformation to monoclinic zirconia. Similarly, the synthesis of alumina resulted in materials with varying Böhmite and Bayerite contents as a function of the process parameters. High temperature calcination resulted in stable alumina supports with varying amounts of δ-, and θ-alumina.

Synthesis studies of palladium and silver showed modest variations in crystallite size as a function of cavitation process parameters. Calcination resulted in larger grain materials, indicating a disappearance of intergrain boundaries. Based on these results, a new synthesis method was studied involving controlled agglomeration of small silver crystallites by hydrodynamic cavitation processing, followed by deposition on alumina.

The optimal pH, concentration, and processing time for controlling the silver crystallite size in the cavitation equipment were determined using a statistical design of experiments approach. Three series of alumina supported silver catalysts were prepared, with silver weight loadings of 1%, 2%, and 5%. Variation of cavitation processing time between 1-64 min allowed the systematic control of silver crystallite size in the range of 3-19 nm.

The preferred oxidation of CO in hydrogen (PROX) was chosen as a catalytic test reaction, because of its increasing importance for fuel cell applications. It was found that the catalytic activity was significantly increased for silver crystallite sizes below 5 nm.

This work is the first experimental evidence of independent crystallite size control by hydrodynamic cavitation for alumina supported silver catalysts. The synthesis method involving controlled agglomeration and calcination is a general synthesis procedure that can be used to synthesize a wide range of novel catalysts and advanced materials.


This time, I am going to make it.

It's been about 8 months since I last attempted to stop drinking myself into incoherence every night. In my case, that means a couple of beers, followed by about a bottle of wine, per day. I know that is nothing compared to some people, who consume the same volume in vodka per diem - the old "Ah sonny, I spilled more than you drank" line. For me, it is too much. I refuse to continue to damage my body and my mind in this manner.

So, no more. I tried to quit before and gave up after a few days. New Year's Resolutions that crashed and burned before long. And most recently, my glowing announcement of Independence from alcohol on July 4, 2001, which sadly fizzled out 2 or 3 days later.

No more.

When I attempted this before, I had no plan, no guideline, no fall-back. I am not religious, so the constant references to God and prayer in the Alcoholics Anonymous publications don't help my concentration or determination one bit. Thankfully, a search on the Secular Humanism websites pointed me in the direction of a number of non-religious ways to achieve long-term sobriety. I plan to node some items related to this in the next few days, in the hopes that it will help other people.

I am now on my 17th consecutive completely sober day, which means I've made it through 16 more days than on previous attempts. I feel great. I am more alert. My thoughts are clear. I can practically feel my poor abused liver regenerating. Even though I don't fall asleep (read: pass out) as easily at night, I enjoy deeper sleep and wake up feeling more refreshed.

Plans for the near future:

- Node some information on secular recovery methods
- Keep a running daylog with thoughts and feelings on this process of detoxification
- Try to stay as focused as I am now.
Haunting Voices, Long Gone

Yesterday, maybe the day before, I was shooting the shit, catching up, with an old friend of mine from a mud. I hadn't talked to her in maybe a year.

She mentioned a small collection of wav files that I'd sent her a while back and I demanded that she send them to me.

I've owned three PC's so far, since I left home behind. I still have all my pics, .txt files, and other interesting crap from every computer on my current one, spread out all over the place like a history book gone horribly wrong.

Things get lost, though, and I had a sneaking suspicion that those .wav files were part of the few that I hadn't kept. I was right. And I reclaimed them for my collection of personal miscellaney.

These were .wav files I couldn't duplicate now because it was not me at the mic, it was my slightly psychotic, acid suffused, eccentric, nutty, and bold roommate from Florida.

In the first wav file, he talks about the gray, striped kitten I had, which he dubbed, "Helf Reykoon", even though the kitten's name was actually tweaky. The first wav file:

(Old man voice,tranquil and methodically spoken):Today we have for you, a very young, very horny young cat. Yes. We also have for you... the horny young cat's trainer. The cat's name is helf reykoon, the trainer's name is: Abdul-kramCHACHZHAMBATO. Okay. Take it away, Abdul.

(He changes his voice to a vague, ethnic, Middle-Eastern accent): HEY MAN! Helf Reykoon breeds inside the jack-off theatre, in puddles of semen and goat cheese. This is what I know of helf-reykoon. Heee HOoooooo!!

Okay. Now I know you're ready to judge him harshly. But imagine this guy, sitting at a microphone and making all this interesting nonsense up right off the top of his head. People get paid millions of dollars for writing shit that doesn't come close to the above. You have to admit, it does have a certain artful quality to it, despite the coarse nature.

And he thought it all up in seconds, with only a striped kitten for inspiration.
The voices are excellent, too.

Now here's a song he made up on the same night. Once again, it's improv. Sick shit, but I laugh my ass off when I hear it, especially since he raised the pitch to about 2x normal and he sings it with such profound joy and innocence in his voice:

I wish I had a kilo of crack
of crack
and then another kilo of smack
yes smack
(rising in pitch and tempo)
I'd shoot up the smack! and then I'd smoke some crack!
(evil, rasping and emphatic)
And then I'd shoot your gramma in the neck
and the back!

I know. The lyrics are pretty fucked up, but imagine someone singing them like he's one of the Chimpmunks in a Broadway Musical. Yeah. That's what I thought.

Needless to say, the guy did a lot of illegal drugs. He was callous, egomaniacal,greedy, and sometimes, outright vicious but, man, he was fun to hang out with.

Here's a brief list of things he did while we lived together:

Gave the duplex neighbor's cat a White Russian.

Did three lines of cocaine, ran outside with no shirt, and took a spray-painted plywood religious symbol from outside a Church(The religion of which I will not mention due to its unimportance)across the street. He ran up to a couple walking down the sidewalk, held it up, and proclaimed, "I AM GOD!" They turned and walked away, without comment.

Walked up to a bum in St. Augustine Fl. after getting loaded on acid and told the guy that he was Satan Offered him wealth and power beyond the dreams of any mortal man, plus a lot of heroin and hookers in Hell. Told the bum a handshake would seal the contract, and the bum,(It was quite evident to anyone who looked at this bum and or listened to him talk for a moment that he was indeed out of his fucking mind) smiled and shook his hand, mumbling gibberish.

Bought computer cleaner at a crowded Wal-Mart and informed the cashier and everyone he saw on the way out that he was going to inhale it (which he later did), as he held over his head, high and proud. (I was filming it with his camera. His mom later saw it, after he had moved back in with her, and kicked him out of the house again.)

He pissed on three cops standing below the apartment balcony(yeah. He was tripping then, too) who were guarding the entrance while others went in to raid the apartment. Then he said, "I BAPTIZE YOU!"

Stared at a palm tree, transfixed, and said, ever so quietly, "noodles."

Yeah. There are a lot more. Maybe I'll think of some later. I'm coming to realize, as I write this, that this guy deserves his own wu entirely.

To say he was a character would-be a gross understatement.

Oh and, if you'd like to, by some off chance, hear the .wav files, msg me and I will send them to you in email or via aim.

08:05 UTC

Upon researching my predicament, I find there is a name for it, or for what I think it is: delusion of reference.

My real problem is not so much with the issue of delusion or no, but what I should do about it. After now more than a year, it still doesn't go away.

In some respects in fact it has recently intensified. Yesterday morning I thought I caught a continuity slip, like when Truman hears set coordination communications on his car radio. This was also on the radio. Actually I get a lot of support for the delusion from the radio but this was almost like the experiences on the streets of NYC at the start of the whole thing in being outside of the fuzzy area and into the concrete. But I won't go into the details.

I considered going to a psychologist or psychiatrist but I was just desperate, and decided later that would be a waste of time and money. I'm not psychotic or deluded, at worst I'm involved in something or am having a problem correctly perceiving something.

That's the real problem how to assign the right meaning and right response to the experience.

The thing has begun to work real transformations in me personally.

10:35 UTC

Q & A
  • Do you believe in God?

    The first action to be taken on the query "Do you believe X?" is to define X. The success of belief is truth. I have defined this particular subject in a way in which I can answer this question in the affirmative. The need to do something like this should be self evident.

    It is important to say though that I absolutely reject the concept as it is commonly understood, in fact I know of no other sensical formulation, and see no greater evil in the world today than this lie at the heart of human being. That god is dead.

  • Do you really think you are deluded/mental?
  • What then in fact do you think is going on?
    A lot of speculations arise in the absence of firm information ranging from ideas similar to the content of Wallace Shawns The Designated Mourner to reality TV, to just a some adolescent prank.

    The matter of fact remains unresolved and can be usefully posed as a dichotomy/alternation: aperception or not? If it is not an aperception but some process directed at me from the outside world, I can't effectively cooperate with it unless I know what the process is. So for now I accept it as an unresolved aperception which is having a transformational effect on my existence.

  • Aren't you a rather unlikely candidate for something like this?
    Yes, assuming the cloud "something like this" to be understood, absolutely. I would have thought somebody nice looking (like Jim Carey) or with better people skills would have been chosen. The only explanation I can come up with is my extreme truthfulness combined with social conditions which my work life somewhat typify.
  • What are you going do?
    What can I do? My old life has run out and has been discontinued. I am pleasantly living in the best way I know how in anticipation of the end of me as a process. I think this is what you're supposed to do anyway.
  • Would you in fact sue?
    That depends. If commercial profit is involved then I would want for me or my estate to be fairly compensated. Even a malicious prank which was not for profit I could look the other way on. For anything else the answer would be no.
  • Are you a racist/Anti-American?
    No of course not, wait a minute, maybe a human racist. I don't even have a race as such unless you consider merkins to be a race so it would be absurd. Some aspects of the current state of the American cultural and political scene are extremely irritating to me, but as I love myself so I must love my people. See Anti-Americanism, the Anti-Imperialism of Fools in at the WSWS:

I woke up today, March 21, 2002, in a state quite like I had the other 365 days of the year, hung over. That being said, I'm not a drinker or even anything closely resembling an alcoholic. It's just every night I smoke myself into a pleasant delirium of marijuana induced bliss. My mind isn't quite as clear or as reactive as if could be, but I maintain a level of "happiness" or at least I pretend so that the world will let me be with who I am. Anyway, today began much as all my other thursdays have this semester with my Biology lecture and my usual breakfast of yoohoo and a cigarette. Today the thought struck me that I've slowly lost not only an interest in the world, but I've lost almost every ounce of my faith in this planet or more specifically the United States in general. Unlike my southern raised grandmother who has a strong opinion on everything under the sun, I have the decency to realize that I'm not educated on every subject that I think about, so I'll save myself the embarassment of a rant on something I'm ingnorant of. So as I'm sitting in this biology lecture with my diminishing faith in mind, I get this tune stuck in my head. Its not a tune I've ever heard before, and the words that seem to fit with it are something I also have never thought of, or even thought of writing. This being my first node, I am rambling incoherently, but the next node, I will surely include the lyrics and maybe even a bit of the music that will go into my "punk symphony of sorts". Afterall, its 12:20, and that means its time to get my mind spun bliss off to a 4 hour early start.

It started out as a dream; a far-fetched idea to move to another country and another continent with Venk, leaving all our Ottawa-related woes behind.

The plan changed after I met Jessica, and I realized that I didn't want to leave so much anymore, not without her at my side. Instead of Holland, we chose Toronto. A tangle of neon skyscrapers and city lights, an urban sprawl slick with enough fantasies to put most anything to shame.

In Toronto, I had work doing what I loved, we had a large, clean apartment with a large, clean kitchen, and enough money to have a night out on the town, whenever we needed it.

After the fire in the apartment, I lost my job, and Jessica and I had to return to Ottawa for some time, to try and rebuild.

We made it back, after some time. We crashed in the living room of Venk's one-bedroom apartment, and saved enough money so that we could get a bigger place, with Venk's cousin Naveen. I started working, and Jes started going to school.

After signing a lease on a house, and moving in with Naveen, things went downhill again. It might have been the fact that Venk had some serious money issues, or that Jessica was unaccustomed to living with people she didn't know. Whatever the case, things were far from well and good. Venk made plans to move back to Ottawa, and the constant stress over money and social dynamics took its toll on my relationship with Jessica.

With Venk gone to Ottawa (and Naveen soon to be leaving to Quebec), Paul and Gav moved up to try and make a run at Toronto themselves, but the constant change at the house, and ever-present money worries make it quite difficult to be able to sit back and enjoy ourselves.


I'm not making the money I need to live here.

I'm not doing the work that I enjoy, and excel at.

My relationships with Paul and Venk are being strained by house-related problems.

My relationship with Jessica is suffering.

Jessica is in school, and cannot make a break for another city, nor can she 'do without' for a few months, if we were to try and change our living situation.


There is a solution here, but I do not know what it is.
I write so I can get things out of me. Once they're out, I can let go, I can move on. When I wrote this letter, it was to get my emotions on paper, outside of me. When I posted it, it was evidence that I had set it aside and left it behind. The closure I wanted so desperately finally came, and although it didn't come in the way I expected it at the time I wrote this letter, it came in the right way, and I'm glad for it.

Hopeful Desperation: The Last Letter


There is so much I wish I could tell you, but considering the uncertainty of current circumstances, it wouldn’t be terribly appropriate. But I have a few free minutes here at work, and I don’t want these things lost forever, so I thought I’d write them down. Hopefully, someday soon I’ll be able to show this to you.

I was going through the personal stuff I have saved on my computer at work, organizing it and deleting what I don’t need to keep. I ran across a document I made when I left MHAIC last year consisting of the few emails I saved on their server. I cut and pasted them into a Word document so they wouldn’t be lost. Three of them were concerning Paul and his death; letters from his mom and from Brian updating me on what was happening with the family and the trial of the man who hit him. One was an amazing article written by one of the men from Delirious? on modern worship. The last one was an email I sent to Robyn the day after you and I took that walk in the woods behind your house. Ironically enough, the timestamp on the email was March 22, 2001, which means the walk took place a year ago tomorrow.

I thought about that day last year, how it was warmer than it is right now. I was wearing my only pair of Gap jeans and the Nike sweatshirt I got in Chicago when I went with the girls over Memorial Day and the weather got colder than we’d expected. I think it’s strange that I can recall what I was wearing that day. You normally remember that sort of thing, not me. I remember being nervous about it because I couldn’t guess what you were feeling or thinking at that time and I was afraid to be very optimistic about us. Nevertheless, I excitedly rushed out of that useless guitar class to meet you.

I was so glad you brought up the unspoken thing that was tickling both our minds. Who knows when, or if, I would have worked up the courage to address it. I was even more glad that you felt the same way I did. Some of the lines you drew that day I wasn’t sure I’d be able to handle. Some things you said made me respect you even more than I already did. Others simply warmed my heart.

And now, a year later, I realize that being with you is what I look forward to. When you are in a room, it feels like home. Your smile is contagious and getting you to display it as often as possible is a challenge I accept readily. I want to help make your life easier and happier in whatever way I can.

Now that we’re entrenched in this fairly difficult spot, there are certainly times when I get weary and begin to wonder why I’m still hanging on. But then some smell will remind me of you, or I’ll see that glint in your eye that I used to see regularly but now only see intermittently, and I am reminded of what you mean to me. And my hope is renewed. You and I have been so careful with one another, careful to be honest, careful not to move too quickly. All that is good. I’m glad for it. But now here I am in this place I’d really like to be out of by now and because I’m here, I’m unable to tell you exactly how I feel now that I am certain of it. So I’ll write it so that when we are beyond these dry spaces, I’ll be able to print this out and you’ll know I felt this way all the while.

I love you.

back to The two-hour hug

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