redaxe: (Default)
::crosses fingers, presses thumbs, holds breath::

Alzheimer's sucks.

Full article here.
redaxe: (Bookgasm - in color)
Ray Bradbury is dead. I am not a big fan of his, but his impact on science fiction and fantasy is undeniable. We need more like him, in that regard.

redaxe: (Angry Marvin)
I'm told that a closer translation of the Biblical phrase often rendered "thou shalt not suffer a witch to live" is "kill poisoners [of wells]". There are days when I'm willing to ignore the bit about wells, and extend the principle to the atmosphere. Specifically, I'm thinking of the folks spewing nicotine, tar, and other poisons into the air beneath the window of my home office, and often into my air.

I mean, I'd rather blight all tobacco rather than kill the users, though I suspect that the economic ramifications would be equally monstrous.

But damn, that stuff is nasty, especially drawn in by a window fan (I'm on the second floor, overlooking the area set aside for smokers, as designated by an ash fixture emplaced well after I moved into the building). There are days when I dream of a Super Soaker filled with rubbing alcohol.

I won't do it. I'm not quite that criminally antisocial. But it makes a nice counterpoint on days when my clothing and the inside of my nostrils stink.

(Today the A/C is on in the apartment. But I encountered a smoker earlier, while moving the car to a spot that will be legal for the rest of the week, and it reminded me of this.)


May. 22nd, 2012 12:09 pm
redaxe: (Flat panel)
The 500GB PATA drive for the current desktop has been delivered.

A notice has come in email that the new-to-us system is being shipped.

I see lots of Windows (and app) installation happening in the next couple of weekends.
redaxe: (Flat panel)
Home computer problems may (knock wood) be solved by next weekend. Waiting on the PATA drive to become the boot drive of the current main desktop, which will be replaced by the new-to-us Core2Quad I bought from eBay last night. It'll need a couple of upgrades (from the 250GB main drive, for example, and eventually adding a discrete video card and bumping the RAM from 4GB to the 16GB (I think) that is its max), but those can largely wait. Should, I hope, make life noticeably easier (especially when both machines boot reliably).


May. 7th, 2012 01:19 pm
redaxe: (SCIENCE -- Doing it right)
Lollipops to cure hiccups! They seem like they could be awfully handy, especially if she can get the formula to taste a bit better and to be more shelf-stable.

When I read about them, I flashed on this comment in Making Light from 2005, in which Diane Duane describes the cause of hiccups and their cure, and in fact, it sounds like the young lady's lollipop solution has these things handled.

[voice="Thomas Dolby]Science![/voice]

(The title comes from an episode of a sweet cartoon series called Kipper called The Bleepers, in which aliens are stranded on Earth, and Kipper helps them get home. "Lodleposh" is the aliens' pronunciation of "lollipop". The series was a favorite here when the kids were less than knee-high, and remembered fondly even now.)
redaxe: (5-String Viola Scroll)
I love "The Dutchman", written by Michael Smith, and most often covered by the late great Steve Goodman. Recently I got kicked in the pants, with other people noting that they didn't know Steve's version, but knew the song via, for example, Liam Clancy. That got me thinking, and today I found this video, by Michael Smith, talking about the song, its origin, its meaning, all interspersed with the song, in pieces. Considering that I have been feeling wistful today anyway (possibly because it's a gray day outside, it's one inside), this fits perfectly.

Eleven minutes of awesome )
redaxe: (Default)
Pete Fornatale, longtime DJ in the New York airwaves, died this morning at approximately 11:30 AM.

Pete's long-running show, "Mixed Bag", was one of the all-time best things ever on the radio. He introduced or featured more artists to whom I still listen than perhaps any other single influence on the air. From WNEW-FM to WFUV-FM, he was one of the great constants in life, and losing him is the unfortunate answer to the question "what could be even sadder than losing Dick Clark and Levon Helm?"

I think I need to go listen to the collected Easter shows that he did with Steve Goodman ("it's a tradition, right?").

Rest in peace, man. You earned it, and then some.
redaxe: (Top Chef logo)
Wheee! Why didn't anyone tell me that there was a new season of Top Chef Canada? I guess the good part is that since they're seven weeks in, we get all the preliminaries and big gang cooking out of the way, and should be almost at Restaurant Wars by the time I catch up.

Just finished the first show, and really SHOULD just take the rest to work later, since I have to wake early today to witness my daughter's final honors as what her school designates as a Rising Star (monthly award, one or two students from each class).
redaxe: (SCIENCE -- Doing it right)
Fascinating. I suspect that there have been stories about rogue waves as far back as the beginning of seafaring. Now we have proof that they really do exist. Funny how many things the sea has been reputed to include that were pooh-poohed turn out to be real.

Mad Men

Apr. 16th, 2012 07:06 am
redaxe: (Cthulhu-Thumbs Up)
Okay, after this last episode (s05e05) of Mad Men, I am now officially a Kenny Cosgrove/Ben Hargrove/Dave Algonquin fan. It might even have a little to do with his living in my current neighborhood :-)
redaxe: (DaddyS)
There is exactly zero justification for any child being allowed to go hungry, in the US. Saw this documentary last night on the Food Network (and knew about it because one of their partners is the excellent WhyHunger, which used to be World Hunger Year). The entire forty-one or so minutes is online (though you'll have to sit through a fifteen second commercial first). Yes, this is me urging you to watch it, then donate (either to WhyHunger or a local food pantry or a second harvest/food rescue group, or some other organization working to solve the issue of hunger, especially for kids). Their goal of no kids going hungry inthe US by 2015 is laudable, and might even be achievable, if we actually work to make it happen.
redaxe: (Newsboy - Schoolhouse Rock)
Three links that I posted earlier today on Facebook, worth reposting here:

1. Anyone who knows me knows that I'm firmly pro-liberty (some would say, pro-choice). And yet, having the choice doesn't make it easy. Today's 9 Chickweed Lane utterly nails it.

Actual comic back here. May be triggery along a woman's rights axis )

2. A federal court has ruled on the relationship of code, trade secrets, companies, and patents. Their status? It's complicated.

3. A progressive Democrat has gotten certified for the Republican primary for the Wisconsin gubernatorial recall election. If he wins, Governor Scott Walker (the union-busting jerk and probable criminal) is out. The genius of this is even greater, given that Wisconsin runs open primaries, in which people who cast ballots need not be registered for the party in whose primary they're voting (they do only get to vote in one, if there's more than one for the same office). I would LOVE to see everyone who wants to get Walker booted out come out and vote for a really GOOD candidate (the presumptive Democrat is okay, but this guy seems excellent, from my admittedly left-wing POV).

Plus one more:

4. Slashdot readers had the opportunity to ask questions of fusion power experts from MIT. (This is a summary at DVICE, which has a link to the original.) The short of it is that we can expect working fusion reactors within about twenty years that produce positive energy, and we should have them on the grid in approximately 35-40 years. This timetable could be shortened by an infusion of money (they estimate it will take approximately $80 billion total to get on the grid, which translates to about 40 years at current levels), but not to shorter than a decade. I do hope I get to see it in my lifetime; it's one of those promises for the future, along with flying cars, that we who grew up in the 1960s and 1970s were given.

Link Salad

Mar. 25th, 2012 02:39 am
redaxe: (Default)
Three links on education, more or less:

1. 'A Test You Need to Fail': A Teacher's Open Letter to Her 8th Grade Students: A teacher discusses a standardized test, its shortcomings, and the deceptions used in implementing it and presenting it to students and teachers.

2. What Happens When A 35-Year-Old Man Retakes The SAT?: Done as a stunt, the writer goes back and retakes SATs. Of course, they've changed since he was in high school (there are now three parts, not two, with a proportionately higher maximum score), and much is still the same (he still hates it, and can now enumerate and detail the reasons, most of which haven't changed). It's an interesting perspective, not least because of his description of how problematic it is to write the essay longhand, a skill which so many of us have abandoned in large measure.

3. How to Write Like a Scientist: Fascinating look at how to dehumanize one's writing, because "Science succeeds in spite of human beings, not because of us, so you want to make it look like your results magically discovered themselves." Makes me twitch, at the same time as I'm nodding, recognizing the writing style described.
redaxe: (Filk fandom seal)
Home from Lunacon. Nice con, but very small compared to previous years (and they were pretty clear that their existence is imperiled). Filking went well; I didn't really sing, because I haven't been in far too long. Must remedy that so I can be more active at Concertino.

As with many cons, saw folks, had fun, could have done more, but enjoyed the time.
redaxe: (DaddyS)
I am extremely proud of my son. He was selected for, and accepted, a place in the Brooklyn Latin School starting in 2012-2013. I didn't know much about the school until he was accepted, but now that he has been, I'm quite pleased.

The school is modeled after the Boston Latin School, which is rated as one of the best in the country annually. Brooklyn Latin has only been around for six years, but has an excellent record of preparing students for, and getting them admitted to, good colleges and universities (>91% rate). The workload is going to be far beyond what Z has been used to, but he says he's prepared for and welcomes it (we shall see). They grant an International Baccalaureate (IB degree), which apparently focuses on depth of knowledge rather than breadth (I'm reminded of Chaim Potok's The Chosen here). It will be something of a logistical hassle (the school is a 45-minute train ride, plus several block walk on each end, from home), but Z's been doing a good job of waking up for school this year, even before he's poked by one of his parents.

In all, quite an achievement, and one we celebrated last weekend in conjunction with my and M's birthday dinner. Now we cross our fingers and wait to see if T got into the honors middle school, as well. If she did, I think I might break my face smiling (because I'm close, with this, already.)
redaxe: (Wow!)
Angry Birds: Space!

Coming March 22. Which is good; it's over a week before my fantasy baseball league's auction, so I'll have a chance to get it out of my system beforehand.

Really looking forward to it because of this:

You'll be lobbing birds on entirely new planets while contending with zero gravity, leading to new gameplay elements like slow-motion puzzles and "lightspeed" destruction. And just like with other Angry Birds games, expect those outer-space physics to be dead on.

"We think fans are really going to love it because we've already gotten amazing feedback on the physics of our games," Andrew Stalbow, GM of Rovio North America, told Yahoo! Games. "They're so accurate and easy to grasp that some teachers use Angry Birds in their lessons about projectile motion."

::drums fingers impatiently::
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