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throwback technology predictions [Nov. 1st, 2012|03:05 pm]
"Servo-mechanisms are the future."
- What my great-uncle said to my dad in the 60s or 70s.

My great-uncle told me this over the phone last week, and I didn't even know what servo-mechanisms were. (It's a mechanical device that has built-in error correction systems, using negative feedback.) In hindsight, he lamented that he didn't see the oncoming growth of software. I'm amazed and proud that my great-uncle, at age 92, still reflects on technology and innovation, and evaluates the accuracy of predictions he made 30+ years ago. Cool.
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(no subject) [Mar. 15th, 2011|11:46 pm]
My stereotypes just got so shattered it feels like someone turned my brain upside down. When one stereotype you hold gets broken, you experience a little "hah! neat." and move along. When three major stereotypes you hold get broken down, you mind swims around in a sort of free fall that lands you on a welcoming cushion of expanded knowledge.

1. First of all I assumed Matisyahu was black. And caribbean. So the first blow was finding out that this character was more similar to me than I'd realized (white and jewish). This knowledge drop ended with the pleasure you feel from finding out someone is actually a little bit like you.

2. Then he turns out to be a Jewish guy who's into black culture (namely reggae). This combination is and always has been an entertaining (and usually failing). Think Andy Samberg in "Are you there Jah? It's me, Rasta Trent". those guys are always laughably white and incompetent at creating anything quality out of the black cultural elements they steal. But Matis ACTUALLY makes awesome music. He has succeeded in making me think he's black, despite being of the whitest subtype of whites.

3. Then (get this) he's hasidic. Hasids listen to music? And it's hip-hop/reggae/GLITCH-STEP?? AND they MAKE this music? And it's good?? Basically everything I thought I knew about Hasids has been scrambled with a whisk, on a tilt-a-whirl, in a wood chipper.

(I literally thought, "omg, he's actually Hasidic" upon seeing this picture.)

4. He pulls off Hasidic-appropriate hipster attire. (If you've ever seen hasidic families in Brooklyn, you'll know this is not the norm. Who knew the orthodox were allowed to look so friggin' dapper?)

Basically, when you come across something you like the sound or look or feel of, and then find out that the creator behind is someone you never thought you'd like, you're forced to question your subconscious and your beliefs. You can find ways to avoid questioning yourself and rearranging your beliefs, or you can embrace it and thank the universe for enlightening you and expanding the associations you have between things. Every time those associations get expanded in your mind, you'll feel that pleasure of being stretched and humbled and one step closer to understanding the world.
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trains! [May. 17th, 2010|02:50 pm]
Apparently there are train you can take from Beijing through Moscow through as much of europe as you want. Ian did this a few winters ago and it's way cheaper and less crowded in winter, and perfectly toasty inside the train, with 30 minute stops in various cities, cheap food along the way, free water on the train, decent sleeper cars... I really want to do this next winter or the next. Ian said it's best to book the ticket through the central chhinese travel agency (cheapest, I assume). And most of the expense is in getting visas for all the necessary countries. It sounds like a great and cheap way to see central asia and spend it cozily inside a nice old fashioned train.
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a quick review of Duplicity [Mar. 24th, 2009|11:42 pm]
I don't watch many crime thrillers, because they usually turn out to be not remotely believable or personal, but Duplicity was a pleasant departure from the stereotype. It was really more of a romantic comedy (-ish dramedy, even) within the structure of a crime thriller. The two lead characters were actually pretty believable, aside from their supernatural cockiness that you kind of have to expect from spies in a spy movie (although I was sad that we got so little background or history on either character). Their troubles definitely weren't common, but they were easy to sympathize with, somehow. On top of that, it was delightful and kind of thrilling to see how their relationship was built. (The movie put together their history piece by piece, rather than giving it to us chronologically, which I generally think is a more fun way of witnessing a story.) The other big part of what made this movie so fun was that the objects of our spies' investigation was a couple of skincare corporations! Finally, we get to see tactical drama surrounding something other than a casino, a bank, or a government. Something like a cosmetics company is mundane enough that it becomes fun to play with in the context of large-scale crime drama. Even our favorite CEO's nerdy remarks ("Well, it's a common misconception that "lotion" and "cream" are the same thing") are kind of endearing and bring you back to the fact that this could be an actual corporation run by actual business nerds. So yes, safe to say that this movie was worth watching, and had me walking out of the theater wishing I was a spy. Go watch it.
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words [Feb. 9th, 2009|09:32 am]
Writing is an important skill, and it's one of those things that I think gets more fun the better you get at it. Aside from a 10-week-long (intense, granted) course in persuasive writing at the end of college, I've never really been subjected to a rigorous writing program, or been required to do tons and tons of writing and analysis of my writing to actually get better at it. (I don't know if Hum 123-124 counts; I don't really count it.) This is something I feel would be valuable at any stage of life. And it's a skill I want to have. Now.

So: I'm looking for writing courses to take. Expository writing. (I'll want to give creative writing a whirl at some point, but I want to feel a lot better about expository writing first.) Preferably a super rigorous, structured, hardcore, frequently-meeting course.

I'm sure I could check out what's offered at Stanford, USF, SFSU, CCSF. . . But I wanted to put the feelers out: Have you taken a writing course in the bay area? An awesome one? Will you tell me about it? Thanks!
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slop recipe #204958: Tomato-Tahini-Quinoa slop [Feb. 1st, 2009|04:08 pm]
This is perfect as a snack. (Makes 2 servings.) You'll want to 1.5x or 2x the recipe to make a dinner out of it.

2 cloves garlic
1 large tomato, diced
1/3-1/2 cup tahini (the basic, pure sesame plain kind. they sell some at Smart & Final.)
1 lemon (any variety--I prefer Meyer)
olive oil
~2 cups cooked quinoa (protip: cook lots of quinoa at a time and keep it in the fridge to use whenever)
goat cheese
pine nuts (if you have/like them)
salt (to taste)

- heat some olive oil (~2-3 tbsp) in a pan
- crush/mince the garlic and throw it in, cook it for a lil bit.
- throw in the diced tomatoes
- cook down the tomatoes for a while, ~4 minutes
- pour in the tahini
- squeeze all the juice from the lemon into the sauce
- stir it up good, turn off the heat
- pour it over the quinoa
- each serving can be salted to taste
- add goat cheese to taste (about a 1-inch blob per serving) and pine nuts.

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abbreves... sweepin the naysh [Dec. 24th, 2008|02:21 am]
The title of this post is stolen from a Facebook group of the same name, which I joined sometime in the past year. We've all probably (usually ironically, sometimes just out of habit) used abbreves like totes, ridic, "the usu" (/youge/), and "what's the sitch" in the past couple of years, with this sense that, even though the act of abbreviating things has been around forever, abbreviating things comes from young people using the internet. Or just young people being young people. (We can remember people in the '90s referring to their "'rents" or saying that they were going on vaca.) Something that reminded me that abbreves are not just for teens and twentysomethings was a convo I had with my dad after his flight got in from Denver:

Jess: "Did they say why there were delays in Denver?"
Dad: "No, no, they didn't say. The weather was fine, there was no precip."
Me, to Jess: "Did you hear that abbreve??"
Dad: (stares at us)
Me: (to Dad) "Abbreves... sweepin' the naysh."
Dad: "... I see what you mean."

What struck me about his reaction was that it was basically saying, "yeah, I definitely see abbreves everywhere" and I'm sure he's never heard anyone say the word "obvi" or "deece" or "croosh". The professional world has been riddled with abbreves for decades. "Get that to me asap." "Check your schedj and let me know." Or even words like "admin", "fax", and "cell" (as in phone). Those are all totes abbreves. Go old people! They're just like us, except they're not laughing at themselves over their choice of lang. If I made a Facebook group called "Abbrs... sweeping the nation" (for celebrating old-timey abbreves), would you join?

Related materials:
Facebook - Abbreves... Sweepin the Naysh
The Onion - WaMu files for ChapLev
The Onion - Bro, You're a God Among Bros
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best SMS confirmation ever [Aug. 15th, 2008|01:17 am]
"To confirm you want to rcv NBC Olympics alerts, you must rply OK to this msg. 20-40 txts/mnth. Othr chrgs may apply."

I like how they just took out all the vowels instead of, say, replacing "you must" with "please". And why not go whole-hog and say "u" instead of "you"? Are their notifications are filtered through some 14-year-old-ification filter? "Othr chrgs". . .
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plugging away [Apr. 17th, 2008|05:27 pm]
I love to use Google to tell me things about language, people or the world by searching for phrases and not really using the search results themselves... such as using Google to figure the correct wording of an idiom (we've all heard someone say something like "oh, I'm just pulling your rib, don't worry about it," and no one wants to be that guy).

Just now I second-guessed myself as I was answering a Facebook message and almost said "just chugging away at user emails." 'Chugging away'? Am I guzzling them down? Wtf am I talking about? Maybe it's 'plugging away'? But that doesn't sound right either, it doesn't involve electricity or any other type of 'plugging'.... Time to turn to Google for some advice. I did searches for the three possibilities I could think of:

"chugging away": 69,600 results
"chugging along": 310,000 results
"plugging away": 553,000 results

Apparently the last option is the one I was looking for. To be fair, "chugging away" gave results that were talking about wine reviews and trains, while "plugging away" gave a result from the Idiom Dictionary, which sealed the deal. But the numbers were telling. I don't want to be all sewed up in horse pies.
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In which our hero, Coffea arabica, achieves world domination [Mar. 15th, 2008|06:07 pm]
[Tags|, , , ]

I recently started drinking coffee again.* After at least 8 years of being a daily coffee drinker (including about 2 or 3 years of being an extreme coffee fiend), I quit caffeine cold turkey in October 2006. It wasn't as hard as I thought it was going to be; you just have to go into it knowing you'll be in withdrawal for at least two weeks. The payoff was a slightly less jittery life, fewer mood swings, a little less stress, and just a more easygoing outlook on things in general. The downside is that you don't feel as sharp & witty & fast as you used to. So now that I've chilled out a bit, I've welcomed caffeine back into my life with open neural pathways arms, and have been enjoying the daily (borrowed) energy boost for a couple of weeks now.**

Along with regaining my desire to drink the stuff, I've had time to realize how different life would be if none of us had ever known the joy of coffee at all. Coffee is unique in that you can find it in almost any country in the world now (it's almost a staple of culinary life everywhere). Most other such staples that we still enjoy today (chocolate, beer, wine, butter, sugar, salt, garlic) have been in use by at least some humans somewhere in the world for thousands of years, but coffee was only discovered about 1000 years ago, and only made it to the Middle East around 1500 AD. Pretty modern. This boggles the mind, since it seems like Turkish coffee would have been around at least as long as, say, hummus (which has not surprisingly been around for thousands of years).

The fact that coffee has only been around for 500 years and yet has somehow made its way to every continent in the world (and molded to the particular culture in each place) can only mean that either coffee is truly a blessing unto mankind, or that our species is seriously whipped by our mistress Coffea arabica.

* Apparently this, also means that I've started posting in LJ again.
** Yes, my emotions are almost as bitter as the drink itself, because caffeine as a stimulant is only an imperfect solution to the problem of not having as much energy as one would want to. Some people bounce off the walls and accomplish a lot, without the assistance of any stimulants, and often despite other factors that could be bringing them down. And in the long-run I aspire to be one of those people.
*** Kombucha post on the way.
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(no subject) [Oct. 26th, 2007|02:26 pm]
answer these questions using song titles from a given artist.
my artist of choice today: Air

1. Are you male or female?

2. Describe yourself:
Space Maker

3. How do some people feel about you?:
Playground Love

4. How do you feel about yourself?:
Somewhere Between Waking And Sleeping

5. Describe your girlfriend/boyfriend/interest:
New Star in the Sky

6. Where would you rather be?:

7. Describe what you want to be:
La Femme D'argent

8. Describe how you feel about your family:

9. Describe how you live:
The Vagabond

10. Describe how you love:
Hell of a Party

11. Share a few words of wisdom:
Le Soleil Est Pres de Moi
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neurogameback [Sep. 4th, 2007|11:01 pm]
So video game companies are getting ready to put out some of the first brainwave-controlled video games (allegedly as early as 2008). The idea is you stick brainwave-reading electrodes to your head, the computer reads the signal, and translates it into action in the game world.

Direct Brain-to-Game Interface Worries Scientists

This part is pretty ludacris though:
"Emotiv CEO Nam Do declined to explain how his company's technology works, but denies it's a form of neurofeedback... 'There is no two-way interaction, and the technology does not require the user to train their brain to get into a predetermined state in any way.'"

If you use your EEG signals alone to change things on a computer screen, then it's neurofeedback. This guy is claiming that if it's not done in a clinical setting, then it's not neurofeedback; he's wrong. You're still using your brainwaves to go in a certain direction (which actually IS a two-way interaction). That's all neurofeedback is. I trust that Emotiv and NeuroSky will do whatever controlled clinical studies the FDA makes them do, but the fact that they don't consider EEG-based video games to be neurofeedback is a little worrisome. Then again, no one ever did any clinical studies on the neurological effects of TV watching.

This is like a commercialized version of the neurofeedback games that were at the NASA party back in April, which were basically just move forward & move backward by collecting blood in the front of your brain and then calling it quits when you started to get a headache. Since it's nearly impossible to deliberately do anything complicated with EEG signals, I'm not sure EEG-based gaming is ever really going to take off. I'm interested to see where this goes though.
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Am I excited about Facebook? I'm excited about Facebook. [Aug. 28th, 2007|11:40 pm]
A friend said to (via a Facebook message, ironically):

I think honestly when they opened up all the new applications, basically Facebook and MySpace became somewhat the same. But eh, people can do whatever they please I guess.

My response:

I say this with the utmost feelings of admiration toward my company: You totally underestimate the utility of fb's platform. To be fair, tons of users have muddied up their profiles by adding all kinds of crap like fortune cookie, horoscope... glitter text, etc. But those useless fads are only temporarily obscuring the more useful tools that the platform has allowed to come into being, such as iLike (which shows you which of your favorite bands are coming to town), Scrabulous (lets you play scrabble with ANYONE), TextMe (lets someone send you a text message from a box in your profile), and Causes (which lets you tout and share which charities you're into and get friends to join WAY more easily than you would by promoting a charity in any other way, and gets more people to donate because the payment process could be completed by a monkey... and it displays the top 5 donors and recruiters for each "cause" which helps the cause spread like a virus).

Basically, MySpace lets you connect with other users by putting a more elaborate image of yourself out there, by personalizing and tweaking every little iota of your profile page, while Facebook lets you connect with other users by making every possible avenue of electronic communication available between your Facebook profile and the world. MySpace gives 3rd party developers access to the profile of the user who has added their widget. Facebook gives 3rd party developers access to the entire graph of connections.

I have no doubt that fb platform will be basically the first real web-based "operating system" and will more or less own social internet communications within 5 years.

I should append this by saying: no, I don't think I was exaggerating.
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now facebook apps are being acquired [Aug. 17th, 2007|08:29 am]
The 2.3 million-user Facebook app "Where I've Been" was acquired for $3 million by TripAdvisor. It's like real software is running on Facebook! It's like we're enabling other businesses to make multi-million dollar deals! Go platform.

"[T]his acquisition marks a major step toward validating the value rapidly being created by Facebook platform developers."
- insidefacebook.com

"Where I’ve Been was recently included [at #3] on the TechCrunch interns list of favorite Facebook apps."
- techcrunch.com
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lolworld [Aug. 6th, 2007|01:41 pm]
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mac photo editing freeware? [Aug. 6th, 2007|10:18 am]
I'm looking for some simple, free photo-editing software for the Mac. Any ideas? Is there a The Gimp for Mac OS X?
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happy bday! [Jul. 26th, 2007|11:57 am]
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Free Pownce invites [Jul. 26th, 2007|10:39 am]
I have six Pownce invites left, free for the taking, just comment on this post or email/message me for more info.
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(no subject) [Jul. 19th, 2007|12:58 pm]

It has come time for me to acquire a new digital camera. Good old Broken Screen has gone kaput for good. I'd like to take recommendations on brands and models, and any general opinions. In an ideal world, under $200 will be spent on said piece of equipment. Your words will be received with much joy and interest.


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our context [Jul. 3rd, 2007|07:37 pm]
Humans translate into conscious thought and decisions the impulses that are common to most mammals: sex, food, parenting... We view these thoughts and decisions as being the products of our own volitional thought processes (and in some ways they actually are), but we often arrive at the same decisions an animal would make. Procreate with the most viable mate we can find, eat the tastiest food, do what we can to make sure our offspring make it to adulthood.

When we see animals making such "decisions" and taking actions like caring for their offspring, we say to ourselves, "aw, how cute, the mommy wants her baby to be strong and happy someday, just like what we want for our children." But it's not that the animal is similar to a human; it's that the human is actually still an animal.

"Dad, what do you think about all the time? You're always thinking all the time."
"Ohh, all kinds of things."
"What about?"
"Oh, about the rain, and about troubles that can happen, and about things in general."
"What things?"
"Oh, about what it's going to be like for you when you grow up."
"What's it going to be like?"
"I don't know. It's just what I think about."

Animals mindlessly eat and hunt and have sex and run away from predators and protect their young. The only reason why evolution made it so that we eat and hunt and have sex and run away from predators and protect our young is because our genome wants us to create another copy of it that will do the same. And that fact doesn't make our lives sad or any less meaningless; it is what creates the context for us to be happy and seek meaning in our existences.


The above quote is from Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance (Robert Pirsig), page 202 of the 1984 Bantam edition.
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Tonight's retronyms [May. 24th, 2007|01:00 am]
A retronym is a set of words you pick retroactively to be represented by a word or acronym that has already existed. For example, "squid" becomes "Superconducting QUantum Interference Device". Or...

MUNI becomes:
  • Migraine Until Not Inside
  • Might Undulate Near Intersection
  • Making Urban Nearness Intolerable

  • Build A Ridiculous Tube
  • Beeping At Random Times
  • Bitches Ain't Real Tardy

  • Ummmn... Packages? Sure!

  • Step Over Meth Addicts
  • Slums Outside My Apartment

  • Newly Over Priced Apartments

  • Hippies And Indigent Get High Together

  • Can't A Simple Tranny Receive Oral?
  • Coveting A Supple Twink's Rear Orifice

And the winner is...

  • Mexican Immigrants Still Squatting In Our Neighborhood
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life in super-zero climates [Apr. 12th, 2007|09:51 pm]
Every time I step outside at night to take out the garbage, lock the door behind a departing roommate, etc., I'm always surprised (or at least reminded) of how not freezing the weather is. I mean sure, it's often cold in the morning, and sometimes I'm even reminded of the fact that I still need to go buy mittens, but I still appreciate that you can't even really see your breath even on a bad day here unless you really try.

Today was the first day of my neurofeedback sessions. The guy I'm seeing for it is really intelligent and laid back, and he's located not too far from my house. I'm really excited to be doing this on a regular basis now. And I'm still toying with the idea of acquiring the equipment and software to do it at home, but for now it's good to be working with someone who knows what they're doing.
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(no subject) [Mar. 21st, 2007|09:00 pm]
What do you call hipsters and scenesters in the administrative fields?

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(no subject) [Jan. 20th, 2007|09:56 pm]
I am indeed stealing this from someone else's livejournal, but I had to post about it.

This guy makes shrunken coins:

It's like shrinky-dinks, but with metal. Isn't it cuuuute! Idn't it!! awwwww
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is not Chicago [Jan. 11th, 2007|03:35 pm]
[Current Location |Ritual Coffee, Valencia St, SF]
[Music |obscure indy stuff I've never heard]

I arrived in SF around midnight last night, and it's sunny and beautiful and pleasant and full of people and liveliness and good smells. Jesse dropped me off at Ritual Coffee this morning so I could use the internet there and see all the hipsters. I spent the morning de-cluttering my inbox (since I went about 3 days without internet, being on the train) and job-hunting. I only sent out about 4 or 5 resumes, but I already have an interview for tomorrow morning at a public accounting firm in Brisbane (which is just south of SF). I did a little walking around the Mission, and ate... something... on mission street. I think it was Phillipino chicken soup with rice. Well, I know it had chicken and it had rice, and it was indeed soup, I'm just not sure what ethnicity it was. I'd never seen ANY of those words that were on the menu. I asked the girl working there what a few of the things were, but I didn't want to exhaust her by having her describe everything on the menu, so I just ordered something that I recognized and sounded like it could be good-- chicken arozcaldo. It was garlicky, which was good, but the pieces of chicken were sort of gross and had huge chunks of bone.

Anyways, tonight is the sflickr meetup, then tomorrow down to Brisbane and then more job-hunt, if necessary. I'm looking forward to Sunday, because I found a place with free swing/lindy dances in the city - in Golden Gate Park every Sunday from 11 to 2. I don't know why early afternoon in a park would be a preferable setting for swing and lindy, but hey, it will still be fun.
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is Chicago [Jan. 5th, 2007|01:23 pm]
I was supposed to fly out of Midway this afternoon, and arrive in Oakland, CA, this evening. But now I'm not allowed to fly for 6 weeks, because my middle ear got super-clogged when I flew back from NJ last week. (Thankfully I saw an ear-nose-throat doctor the other day to figure out why my hearing was muffled and how to fix it; otherwise I would have gone through with flying today and probably would have damaged my ear drum.)

So now I'm leaving Chicago on Monday (an extra 3 days in town), and I'll be taking the Amtrak to California. Only 53 hours in transit, that's not so bad, right? I just hope I smell too disgusting when I get to CA, since I don't think I'll have access to a shower on the train. And I plan to run around outside when the train makes stops for longer than 2 minutes. Or even for less than 2 minutes. (Because hey, 90 seconds of exercise is better than 0 seconds of exercise.) I hope the ride is at least as "interesting" and "fun" as I've heard it can be.
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(no subject) [Dec. 16th, 2006|08:36 pm]
Okay, I really try to avoid these memes, but I tried this one out and it made me laugh out loud:
(it's also surprisingly representative of my interests)

On the twelfth day of Christmas, ashleyisachild sent to me...
Twelve dilettantes drumming
Eleven genetics piping
Ten pirates a-leaping
Nine physics dancing
Eight aesthetics a-milking
Seven ergonomics a-swimming
Six linguistics a-laying
Five be-e-e-en folds
Four talking heads
Three cognitive sciences
Two physics limericks
...and an atheism in a biopsychology.
Get your own Twelve Days:
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(no subject) [Dec. 16th, 2006|10:23 am]
What's worse than seeing mouse-sized bites missing from your food?

Seeing a mouse on the ground when you look down to find out what you stepped on that made a crunching noise.
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The oft-celebrated subtlety of punctuation [Nov. 27th, 2006|09:58 pm]
There are about 1,000 examples floating around out there that illustrate how meaning changes dramatically with the placement of one extra comma or semicolon, and I just wanted to bring another such example. Tomorrow on campus there's a computational neuroscience talk entitled, "Modeling learning and memory in REM sleep." It amuses me to imagine what this talk would be like if it were instead called "Modeling, learning and memory in REM sleep." It would perhaps be about dreams such as the one I had a few months ago where I was on my way to a photo shoot with Gwyneth Paltrow and Paris Hilton. That example is almost as good as the time Aaron and I saw an ad outside a quick-mart that said, "Good for you food!" and we wanted to change it to say, "Good for you, food!"
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(no subject) [Nov. 6th, 2006|09:07 pm]
I love how my block always smells like the Renaissance Faire. The wood-burning stove at Ribs'n'Bibs is probably the main reason why, but the other 3 fast food places on the block (especially Hyde Park Gyros) certainly help too. Mmmm, meaty and smoky....
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(no subject) [Nov. 5th, 2006|03:21 pm]
This weekend started with the relief of finally putting my coworker's laptop back together, and the disappointment of missing Java Jive as a result. I still feel like I'm learning something with every Lindy lesson I go to, and when I miss Java Jive, I always notice at the next lesson that it's been a whole week since I've danced. It's hard to remember how to hold your posture, how to keep your feet under you when you need to, where in your back to hold your weight, when it hasn't been reinforced in your memory often enough. Being a talented follow seems like it would just feel better and more fun than being a mediocre follow, even though it requires a lot more effort and focus.

With the laptop episode (my coworker's laptop's AC adapter plug cracked off of the laptop's body, and she asked me to try to fix it for her), I think I'll be remembering an old lesson from now on: don't force a piece of machinery to move if it doesn't want to. My dad always repeated that to me whenever we were tinkering with things when I was a kid. But I forgot it this time, and during one step in the disassembly of the laptop the other day, I ripped a LIF connector (the one that connects the touchpad to the motherboard) off of the motherboard. The contacts/wires just came clean off, and you could see the spots on the board where they'd been soldered on. I ended up just gluing the body of the connector back on to the board, with the wires hopefully in contact with their partners on the board, but since I didn't manage to get the AC adapter back on correctly, the laptop couldn't turn on to let me see if the touchpad connector was connected. I feel horrible that I left her laptop potentially worse off than it was before. If she needs to have it repaired, I'll reimburse for it. But yeah, from now on: don't force it.

I can't forget to mention that I've discovered yet another variety of apple that gets ranked above most others in my book: Ambrosia apples. They're pretty similar to Honey Crisp, but they're smaller, and you can get prepackaged bags of them! What I love about both Honey Crisp and Ambrosia is that they're crispier and juicier than most other types (macintosh, red delicious, even gala, often end up being too mealy), and they're really sweet but don't have an overwhelming flavor. Thanks to Dmitry and his roommates for buying groceries right before their party last night.
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(no subject) [Oct. 19th, 2006|10:00 pm]
I started learning Perl today!
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makin' time [Oct. 11th, 2006|12:37 am]
- flew out to the Bay (MDW to OAK, landed at 2pm)
- napped
- went to the birthday party of a woman who the Friedmans (Friedmen?) know, at her and her wife's amazingly swank house

- brunch at the Decompression pre-party
- De com pres sion
- dinner break then more decom
- sushi in SF
- crash at Chris's place in Outer-Inner/Inner-Outer Sunset

- streetcar from Sunset to downtown
- coffee & Apple Store downtown
- walk to Haight-Ashbury (includes getting chai at paradise-like Katz's Bagels)
- wander around Haight-Ashbury until evening (includes eating maple crepe and then massive burrito)
- bus to downtown
- more Apple Store, plus hang out in Cody's Books
- crash at Abbie's parents' place in Pacific Heights

- took BART to Berkeley
- did campus tour
- lunch with John (includes stealing apples from his apple tree)
- wander around Wurster
- went to Cancun, the burrito place, with Jesse
- Sufjan
- here I am (back at Jesse's "place" in Oakland)
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(no subject) [Sep. 16th, 2006|12:33 pm]
During a discussion on the merits and dismerits of Myers-Briggs personality type:

Jon: "Yeah, right... there are 16 types of people in the world."
Nikki: "... Those who understand hexadecimal and those who don't."


Ikea product or Lord of the Rings Character?
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(no subject) [Aug. 1st, 2006|06:48 pm]
What does it say about these two cities that San Francisco has only 1/4th as many people as Chicago*, but on Craigslist** there are 4 times as many resumes posted?

*I did a Google search for populations, and it told me that Chicago's population is 2.8 Million, and SF's population is 744,230.
**On Craigslist's main SFBay page: 7484 resumes. On Craigslist's main Chicago page: 1715 resumes.
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(no subject) [Jul. 27th, 2006|11:49 am]
Taken from the Women in Science Washington Wire:

AWM Petition Regarding the National Mathematics Advisory Panel

On April 18, President Bush created the National Mathematics Advisory Panel, a group designed to advise the President and the Secretary of Education on research relating to mathematical pedagogy. As vice-chair of the panel, Bush has appointed Camilla Benbow, a scientist known for her hypothesis that there is an intrinsic disparity between men and women at the highest levels of mathematical achievement. The Association for Women in Mathematics (AWM) has approved a petition citing concern that Dr. Benbow’s presence “signals – in perception or reality – a bias against women and girls” and urging her removal from the panel. To find background information on Dr. Benbow’s research, criticism of her work, and the AWM’s case, visit: http://www.awm-math.org/benbow_petition/background.html.
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(no subject) [Jul. 18th, 2006|11:34 am]
I just bought a one-way plane ticket from MDW to OAK.

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a good overheard [Jul. 15th, 2006|08:30 pm]
I just found a scrap of paper where I'd written down a good overheard in May 2005 on University ave:

"I want to be a wife, I want to be a mother, I want to fucking take care of them."
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(no subject) [Jul. 13th, 2006|08:20 pm]
Okay, try doing a Google search for a string of nonsense letters from their Welsh page--

Y We

Doedd eich ymchwiliad - flkuylihun hilunyhliuv - ddim yn cyfateb ag unrhyw ddogfen.


  • Gwnewch yn siwr fod y geiriau wedi eu sillafu'n gywir.

  • Ceisiwch ddefnyddio allweddeiriau gwahanol.

  • Ceisiwch allweddeiriau mwy cyffredinol.

  • Ceisiwch gyda llai o allweddeiriau.
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(no subject) [Jul. 10th, 2006|01:55 pm]
I finally like green peas!
But so far, only in the context of panang* curry.
w00t nonetheless.

*Or should I say... "ppeennaanngg curry"... No, I shouldn't, because I mean in the style of the region, not the restaurant.
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(no subject) [Jul. 7th, 2006|02:11 pm]
WHO needs a place to stay for the school year and wants to live near campus?
Email me if you do or someone you know does.
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(no subject) [Jul. 6th, 2006|03:30 pm]
Okay, I'm finally a fan of everything2.com.
They use the Pythagorean Theorem to calculate urban distances (which, of course, is way easier in Chicago, but Chicago's systematic numbering scheme makes it look funner) --

"Applying the Pythagorean Theorem will give one the distance between any two points. Note the following story problem:

You are at the corner of State and Lake. How far away is Sheffield and Belmont?

State is 0 E/W and Lake is 200 N. Sheffield is 1000W and Belmont is 3200N.
Total distance north = 200 + 3200 = 3400
Total distance west: 0 + 1000 = 1000
Apply Pythagoras, and we see that the two points are roughly 5.5 miles apart."

-from the Chicago Grid System page.

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(no subject) [Jun. 22nd, 2006|10:34 am]
Over the past month or so I've meeting (or noticing) more and more UChicago students or alumni who are starting up their own companies, or organizing projects, or are otherwise exercising this really enterpreneurial spirit. This struck me as somewhat paradoxical, given how theory-oriented UChicago is. (And I figured it was possibly just an anomaly, given how common it is for uchicago students/alumni to take the theory-oriented approach as an opportunity to sit on their asses and say that they understand a given principle/phenomenon in theory, and they don't NEED to do anything to exercise it in practice in order to be recognized as a genius.)
But last night Max (who's a good uchicagoan and reads up on university history) told me something that made this paradoxical UChicago entrepreneurialism make complete sense. When John Rockefeller and William Harper were deciding on what the college's cirriculum / educational appraoch should be, they narrowed down their options to two approaches for their undergrads' educations: the "practical" education, or the "academic" education. Upon hearing this, I said, "geeeeee, I wonder which one they chose." But it turns out that they chose the "practical" approach. If they'd chosen the "academic" approach, we'd all be learning ancient Hebrew and translating Bible passages. But they chose the "practical" approach and designed the core and the quarter system to produce future entrepreneurs more effectively than any other university! The quarter system forces you to be on your toes and get you used to diving into a topic within a shorter amount of time, and the core gets you to be able to observe and describe / explain all sorts of different phenomena and principles of the world which diversifies your range of understanding how the world works. I think this is really effective towards producing people who think on their toes, solve problems on short notice, and can understand (and feel relatively confident about) solving problems in a wider range of areas. I almost wish I could go back and do a lot of it over with my new-found appreciation of the core and the university's roots.
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(no subject) [Jun. 3rd, 2006|04:25 pm]
Does anyone know of some basic photo editing software (crop, resize, maybe adjust brightness & contrast) that I can download for free somewhere, that would only take up like less than 1 Mb?
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(no subject) [May. 24th, 2006|08:11 pm]
Funniest Google search ever:

It gives results like:

File Format: PDF/Adobe Acrobat - View as HTML
PPEENNAANNGG GGEETTAAWWAAYY. from just. 33 ddaayyss // 22 nniigghhttss."

File Format: PDF/Adobe Acrobat - View as HTML

[PDF] iinnttrroodduuccttiio onnttootthheeaaddvvaa nncceeddmmeerriittddi i
File Format: PDF/Adobe Acrobat - View as HTML
ddaallaatt iinntteerrnnaattiioonnaall sscchhooooll. ttaannjjuunngg bbuunnggaa 1111220000 ppeennaanngg mmaallaayyssiiaa ...

[PDF] service engineer
File Format: PDF/Adobe Acrobat - View as HTML
((bbaasseedd iinn ppeennaanngg)). Responsibilities. The successfulcandidates willbe required toprovide customerswithaftersales Service activities ...

[PDF] Emotional Excellence for Relationship Building
File Format: PDF/Adobe Acrobat - View as HTML
aanndd DDeevveellooppmmeenntt. IInnssttiittuuttee ooff TTrraaiinniinngg aanndd DDeevveellooppmmeenntt’’ss HHQQ. PPeennaanngg,, MMaallaayyssiiaa ...

purefuture :: View topic - Anyone like eating at Penang in ...
Good to know . Personally I didn ' t even try the place because I didn ' t like the sign outside : PPEENNAANNGG. Back to top. Express Power Elite ...
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osix [Apr. 25th, 2006|09:57 pm]
Right now I'm using MacOS 9.
OS 9, OS 9, lalalalala....
Don't ask me why they have OS 9 on the macs in this lab in the GSB, but they do.
So yes, for several hours a week for next couple of weeks I will be running subjects in the GSB! This is exciting because the GSB building itself is like the antithesis of the hospital building. The hospital is the most poorly laid-out, pieced together, dysfunctional, depressing building ever. And I guess the GSB is confusingly laid out too, but it's so much prettier and nicer, and was all built at the same time.
Anyways, yes, OS 9. Very quaint.
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(no subject) [Apr. 10th, 2006|06:46 pm]
Apparently fluoride makes rats hyperactive and inattentive and have worse memory.

And I learned about this on Google Video:

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(no subject) [Apr. 10th, 2006|12:10 pm]
holy crap.

It's just like Google Earth but NOT EARTH.

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a very scattered post roughly about HCI [Apr. 8th, 2006|04:19 pm]
My new favorite interdisciplinary field: Human-Computer Interaction.

I just went to this panel discussion talk thing which was part of a conference at I-House held by Mephistos (Medicine, Philosophy, History, Science, Technology, and Sociology), the panel was called "Smart, Fun and Healthy in a Material World." It was pretty much really awesome. The last guy who spoke in the panel had a degree in HCI (the other 3 people had other focuses), and he talked about his project designing more accessible and useable consumer health information systems.
... Should I consider going into this? Am I being too fickle and changing my mind too much? There are too many scattered things that I'm interested in, and that I could work on for some limited amount of time before getting more interested in something else and wanting to move on to that. This is what worries me most about entering with any depth into any one field. And maybe academic research isn't actually the only or the best way to discover truths of the world....

I can't wait until keyboard designers stop making such HUGE FUCKING SPACEBARS. The other day in the Maclab, I turned to Steven and asked, "why are spacebars so big?" He looked at his keyboard for a second and said, "so you can press it with either of your thumbs." The next day at work, I looked at the (communal) computer I was on and noticed that there was a shiny spot on the spacebar right below the N and M keys. And I noticed that I NEVER press the spacebar with my left hand. And I'm always frustrated that I have to reach so far over to the left just to press the freaking Ctrl key, which I use ALL the time. Hhhmmmmm...... Also, what ever happened to the function key?? We could do so much more with keyboards if there were more function keys, to create "layers" of commands that would be reachable without craning your wrists.

So yeah, I think HCI (or at least HCI-related stuff) has been more interesting to me lately than neuro.

On that note, I'm just using Google Earth for the first time, and holy shit, this program is brilliant, beautiful, and awesome. That's all I can say. It still has the same funny leaning/slanted skyscrapers downtown (which look even funnier when they stay plastered to the ground when you change the tilt aspect), but the program itself fucking rocks.

(EDIT: Okay, I just discovered the 3-d buildings feature. Holy crap.)

I decided today that even though currently software and websites are designed and programmed by the same person (I think), there will eventaily be a division of labor in programming and design that you see in most other fields (fashion designers and people on sewing machines; furniture designers and carpenters; etc), which I think is a good thing. Not all programmers have an intuitive esthetic sense of what kind of appearance would be best for a program, and not all people designing programs have an ability to code efficiently and cleanly. Maybe I'm just being hopeful because I want to design stuff and not put in the time and effort to learn all the languages necessary for creating the things I want, but I think things will eventually go in that direction if they're not already.
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(no subject) [Apr. 8th, 2006|10:27 am]
Last night the swing dance was fun. I showed up alone but managed to dance with several people. Including one old old old short balding man. And several tall foreign guys. It's all short old men and tall foreign guys. Although there was this one guy who was sort of hot. He looked like a cross between a construction worker, a math major, and an Abercrombie model. I think I'll call him the Abercrombie Math Construction worker. I wanted to ask him to dance at one point but before I got to him TWO girls simultaneous asked him. He like didn't know what to do.

Anyways, I just signed up on assbook.com and they randomly assigned my default photo to be a photo of a person in a full Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle costume, which is weird because there was somehting about Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles in my dream last night. My dream also involved first noticing one of my friends wearing my crazy goth armor ring, and then noticing he was wearing every ring I OWN, and me being like "hey, give those back now!" It also involved riding the drunk van with several of my friends and my neuro professor (!). I don't remember where we were going. Some party I'm pretty sure. I forget the rest.

In other news, I finally found my math for physics text book. I thought it was lost / gone / stolen / lent out forever. I remember it has really good explanations of dot products and cross products.
AND! I got my new cognitive neuro text that my parents bought me. It is pretty.

I'm so out of it today, I don't know if it's because I only slept for 6 hours or because I drank last night, or because I haven't had coffee yet today.
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