l33tminion: (Mad Scientist)
This week at work: All Flights Summit, a team event for everyone on the broader Flights team. Unfortunately, this lacked one key element of an offsite for those of us in Cambridge, but it was cool to see more of our Mountain View and Zurich colleagues in person, and maybe we'll get a farther-away offsite next time. Still had a lot of interesting talks and fun team social events.

This Saturday evening, went to BAHFest, a science comedy event organized by Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal comic artist Zachary Weinersmith. Contestants compete to put forward the best (and funniest) ad hoc evolutionary bio theories, supporting their hypotheses with a quantity of SCIENCE and quality presentations. The winner receives a trophy of a skeptical-looking Darwin saying "I guess so?", among other prizes. The winning hypothesis this time was that brain development in humans originated as a way to mitigate the negative effects of alcohol, setting off a virtuous cycle as more intelligence made it possible to obtain more alcohol. Others included the theory that the evolutionary benefit of prominent nipples is to act as eye-spots that intimidate predators, that fish whose larvae grow up far from the parents improve their fitness via this adaptation mainly because fish are terrifying (and cannibalistic!) parents, and that sleepwalking evolved as way of providing prehistoric endurance hunters (and stressed-out modern humans) with some additional nocturnal exercise.

Also managed to get in a brunch under the grapevines at Neighborhood before things get cold and their patio is closed for the winter.

Paperwork marathon continues. If all goes well (and we're really getting to the point where all had better go well), I will officially have a new place to live come Friday. Have started in on the earliest stages of pre-moving chores.
l33tminion: (L33t)
I really liked the sci-fi/horror short-story comic Apothecia, and now that it's finished, I can point to the whole thing.
l33tminion: (Default)
Anime: Japanator's top 50 for the decade. An interesting selection. I've watched all of 22 of those and touched on 6 more.

Clothes: Ties! Also, the other kind of ties! umbrellas! Blue shoes! Double monks!

It occurs to me that I've gone from two pairs of shoes (running shoes, black oxford dress shoes; three if you include beach sandals) to seven (running shoes (which I still wear at least 95% of the time), black oxford dress shoes, cheap old wingtips, moar better wingtips, thrifted fringe loafer, cheap blue canvas sneakers (CVOs), casual slip-ons (I like the idea of using those as beach shoes much, much more than sandals, which I hate)). Basically, if I ever win the lottery I'm in danger of becoming this guy. (Not really. I hope.)

Education: Here's a method of learning phonetic alphabets (like Japanese kana): transliterate random things.

An interview with the Olin College president. I find the answers both interesting and disappointingly moderate.

A Wellesley student discusses Wellesley's admissions office's discrimination against transgendered students. Yet another "the writing is on the wall for Wellesley as women-only" story, there were several others during my Olin days. A good example of how overt, allegedly acceptable discrimination leads to covert, obviously shady discrimination.

An MIT researcher turns his house into a (self-directed) panopticon, with interesting results. I discussed this at length on my other blog.

A discussion of the World Peace Game, an educational game of global politics played by fourth graders.

Random Interesting: Broken lottery scratch-off games and their relation to security, math, and crime.'

Overthinking It analyzes Rebecca Black's "Friday", which must be the most successful vanity video of all time.

Playing video games while blind.

A bit of randomly interesting math: What is the highest value of n for which the decimal representation of 2^n has no 0s?

An article on a handbook for overthrowing dictators, which has evidently been quite influential this year.

An article on the psychology of (media) overabundance.

Better libertarian rhetoric with regard to "anti-privilege" liberals. Good stuff.

Dinosaur Comic's take on polyamory. Read the extra title text. I love that brand of subtle snark.
l33tminion: (Anime)
Two weekends ago: Dinner at Journeyman (fantastic) with DJ and Zach (sp?) (DJ's friend), BarCamp Boston (I did go to the second day after all).

One weekend ago: Saw The Dark Crystal (there are many good thing about this movie, but that doesn't change the fact that it's overall pretty terrible) and Labyrinth (awesome) at the Brattle Theater. Thrifted some vintage clothes to attend Michelle's "Totally Rad Party" with Tara and DJ and others. Saw the first episode of "Game of Thrones" with Amarley et al (people who I know from medieval dance and the local anime meetup group).

This weekend: Anime Boston, which I'm not really as into a PAX East and so on, but it's still fun. Was excited to see all the people cosplaying Homestuck characters (in other news, MS Paint Adventures is awesome, and Homestuck is probably the most bizarre piece of postmodern fiction I've ever read). Got in a dinner at Eastern Standard with DJ and Michelle. That place deserves it's reputation for exceptional drinks, and the dessert was also fantastic, but everything else, while not bad, didn't seem at all like a good value.

Looks like Saam will be moving out post-graduation at the beginning of June. With luck, Zach will be replacing him. (Without luck, we'll be housemate-searching on Craigslist again.) It's been good, but not nearly long enough since the last time the residents of this house changed. Can't be helped, I suppose.

This week is the Boston Independent Film Festival. Weekend after that is the International Steampunk City in Waltham.
l33tminion: (Default)
The past week has been pretty good. Bouldering (still stuck mostly at v0+), dancing (Squares!), crazy-hard endurance circuits. Electric Six concert last Thursday, and have a date this Thursday with Jess, who I met at the concert. Went to the Massachusetts Independent Comics Expo on Saturday (local opening band Mighty Tiny also worth a listen), went to Psyforia/FWD Saturday night, enjoyed the late-night walk home. Sunday was epic: Brunch at Neighborhood, hanging with Ames and Owen, watching Catfish with Film Club (highly recommend that movie, though it was highly (intentionally?) mis-advertised).

I ordered all of Scott Pilgrim when it was heavily discounted on Amazon (got the entire series for ~$25 shipped free via subspace highway). Opened that package this morning, am already at the end of Volume 4.

I will be in DC for the rally October 30, plans have been made.
l33tminion: (Default)
Back home after a rather fantastic NYC trip.

Saturday: MoCCA Fest was awesome, Topatoco had a booth, so I got to meet some of my favorite webcomic artists, got a book signed by Ryan North and an original sketch by Jeph Jacques, bought the first anthology of The Fakeheads (Emmett's group) and a few other cool things. Afterwards, wandered around Brooklyn, went for dinner at a fancy French restaurant, hung out at a cool neighborhood bar (the Lucky 13 Saloon; heavy metal, old horror B-movies, cheap beer, interesting crowd, and a good sense of humor).

Emmett's looking for work, so I'd be amiss not to do a little networking for the guy: Here's his website, he's a great filmmaker and animator, if you know of any paid work or have contacts in that field, let him (or me) know.

Sunday: Wandered around Central Park most of the day. Beautiful weather.

The hostel I stayed at, Wanderers Inn West, was great, if spartan. Megabus was great for the ride down, but for the ride back the bus was over-booked (?), and a full busload of people ended up on an extra, not-as-comfortable bus, run by a different company (?!), which initially went to the wrong T stop in Boston before taking us where we were scheduled to go.

Am still worried about Markos, but less so than on Thursday. Unfortunately, there was an intermediate period of being very worried indeed.
l33tminion: (Default)
(Home sick today, and consequently awake now because I was asleep most of the day. Will try to sleep again in a bit, but first, some links.)

Amazon vs. Macmillan: Last week, Amazon briefly stopped stocking Macmillan books when the publisher demanded the ability to set the retail price on their ebooks. Previously, Amazon paid Macmillan a fixed price for each ebook sold (same as physical books, one-half recommended retail price) and then charged customers whatever price they wanted. Amazon was selling ebooks at little to no profit (presumably as a loss leader to push Kindle sales). Macmillan was presumably worried that low ebook prices would reduce customer expectations about what books should cost. Eventually, Amazon capitulated. I think [livejournal.com profile] bradhicks is right on this one, Amazon was in the right, the retail price of books being set by a few publishers instead of lots of retailers is bad for customers, probably bad for authors, and certainly a dangerous trend for retailers. However, none of the authors whose blogs I read seemed to view it that way, though none of the posts in question conveyed a clear understanding of why Amazon was so panicked. Failure to communicate with authors was a large part of why the situation was a PR disaster for Amazon. But they were in a losing position either way. If they just capitulated it was likely (and even now it's possible) that other publishers would also demand to control ebook retail prices, taking a firing squad to Amazon's iPod-esque business model for the Kindle.

Obama vs. the Republicans: Did you guys see Obama's post-SOTU speech and Q+A at the Republican Retreat in Baltimore? Was pretty amazing. Wish the guy had been playing politics like this a year ago. Will he actually be able to push some Republicans into negotiating in good faith on significant policy disagreements instead of opposing everything? We'll see.

Google vs. China: How the heck did I miss talking about that one? Basically, the Chinese government's corporate espionage against Google prompted Google to reverse their earlier stance that it's better to work within the law in China than not to work within China at all. This is evidently part of a long-running internal conflict within Google. Will be interesting to see how this plays out. It's sort of interesting that large corporations now need their own foreign policy. Ultimately, I think that one was the right choice, better to take the losses now than be faced with an even worse moral dilemma later. The more entrenched Google got, the more leverage the Chinese government would have.

Bonus Videos: The best educational video on economics I've seen to date, a demonstration of the fundamentals of modern newscasting, one on traffic signals, one on B-roll, one that was the result of crazy car review show Top Gear being asked to review something practical, one on the dangers of hitchhiking.

Finally: If You Are Sleepless
l33tminion: (Why Me?)
Saturday, got a new exercise routine at FT, then spent some time with Ames. Also started playing Persona 4, which is a nifty game once you get past the slow start (and addictive, which has meant quite a few late nights for me since).

Went to the healthcare reform rally on Monday and marched with SEIU and others. After, rewatched The Girl Who Leapt Through Time with Xave.

Yesterday, wrapped up one of my major bugs at work.

Today, life is a drag. I'm trying to figure out a new bug at work but still in the high confusion stage.

Now, taking a break and going to the gym before I get hungry for dinner.

On an unrelated note, have a comic:
l33tminion: (Conga!)
Pi-Con was good and relaxed as usual. There were a few hiccups with the new hotel, but the beds were comfortable, the rooms were huge, and although the convention space was mostly off of narrow hallways, which made it seem a bit confined, the actual function rooms were quite good. I played a few games, went to a few panels, heard Rob Balder (who wrote Erfworld) sing (did not get to meet Jeffrey Rowland, though), listened to some random filk, met a bunch of nifty people for the first time, saw some friends and acquaintances I hadn't seen in a while, and watched a showing of Repo with a shadow cast.
l33tminion: (Default)
l33tminion: (Colbert)
Watching the economic situation is stressful, but actually being the ones who destroy the economy is way stressing. Which is why executives at AIG spent hundreds of thousands on a spa vacation. The resulting outrage caused them to cancel their second vacation (a weekend at the Ritz), but not the third (golf retreat) or fourth (hunting trip in England).

In other news, McCain's recent attempt to reboot his campaign sounds suspiciously familiar. His campaign is imploding. McCain points out that he's not Bush, but he's Bush's best buddy, and when he's not like Bush he's like Herbert Hoover (not good news). In lieu of actual concrete policy suggestions, McCain is dredging up levels of fear and hatred that shock even him. On an added note, any morons who think McCain is still pro-choice should look at this: Evidently, all this stuff about women's health is just a liberal lie (Obama's expression from the clip reads, "I am ashamed to be on stage with this man," and for good reason).

Bonus links:
l33tminion: (Default)
I know I've posted too much on the bailout situation, but Wondermark has the best take on it yet, so good that I had to share it:

l33tminion: (Cory Doctorow)

On Yardwork

May. 6th, 2008 03:22 am
l33tminion: (Conga!)

l33tminion: (Default)
Homework-wise, things have changed completely, although things are still hard. In the ICB, we've moved on from OpAmps and Bottle Rockets to motors (we're using lego motors). In Software Design, we're starting on projects, and I'm helping a teacher design a graphical user interface for viewing and calculating graduation requirements. In Design Nature, we've transitioned from the Hoppers (mine jumped, but barely, while others were really impressive), to suction climbing toys based on animal motion. Our team is building a window climbing scorpion. This project is much more open ended. The teams are responsible for all the design work, plus we have to work out our own design schedule and research and purchase materials, working within a $50 per team budget.

My latest webcomic du jour (in what is becoming quite an addiction) is "A Softer World", a photo comic that is very unusual... )

Otherwise, things are pretty good, although I have nothing of particular interest to mention. Oh, well.

Also, my support request was handled (by the developers, the problem was server-side), and I can now log in to livejournal properly again. Yay!
l33tminion: (Default)
Interesting. Keenspace is bringing the magic of webcomics to print, by offering a full page of comics to newspapers for free.
l33tminion: (Default)
Well, I've finished reading the back issues of Real Life Comics and now I'm on to reading Count Your Sheep. It's a witty, cute, clever comic, that's sort of like Calvin and Hobbes. )

No Need for Magic, by the same author, is good, too, but appears to have been abandoned by it's creator, which is a shame... it had real potential.
l33tminion: (Default)
... is the strangest video game ever. It is also awesome. As an added benefit, I now understand this.
l33tminion: (Default)
... when you celebrate working by playing all day.

Yeah, so today was an unproductive day. The OPEN (Olin's equivilent to the GSA) brunch was fun, though.

And I finished reading the back-issues of Sinfest (which is brilliantly hillarious, although some parts of it may be offensive to some people (although it is probably technically work-safe)). And candidates really are like this:

Politics... )

Oh, and Sinfest is on livejournal, too:
Fan Community: [livejournal.com profile] sinfest
Syndicated Feed (the daily comics): [livejournal.com profile] sinfestfeed
l33tminion: (Default)
Yesterday, we visited the president of the institute at his home for afternoon tea. It was really great. I had been feeling increasingly stressed, but the afternoon tea totally restored my sanity.

Today, we are finishing our final report and presentation.

We leave for the Ein Gedi Field School on Friday (for those of you who do not know, Ein Gedi is an oasis and nature preserve in the Judean Desert near the Dead Sea), and we will return next Wednesday. I won't have internet access while I am away, but I will take notes and write about my trip when I get back.

I'm reading back-issues of random web-comics. (I love having a good internet connection...)

Been feeling somewhat less social than usual (what is now usual, anyways) lately. I wonder why...

I'm keeping my lists updated. I do want comments on those, so, if you have something to say in that regard, please do.

I made this Magic deck: Ironworks and Nail

In conclusion, they forgot AKGPD. :-)

Another Magic Deck: Feel My Rath
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