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Monday, October 16th, 2017 08:41 am
I listened to American Icons: One Flew over the Cuckoo's Nest as i drove home from Charlotte yesterday evening. I was unfamiliar with the novel & movie: i'm glad to have picked up a bit of American culture by listening. The interview with the actress who played Nurse Ratched was interesting. I felt certain i recognized her voice, especially as she spoke of her interpretation of the character, a woman with power, doing what she believes is the right thing (and apparently doing something horrible). It turns out she's the actress who played Kai Winn / Vedek Winn on Deep Space Nine.

An interesting reprise, i should think, then.

--== ∞ ==--

Carrie watching the Crufts 125th Dog Agility Championship


Last night, after deciding that a second episode of Dirk Gently (2010) (of the Holistic Detective Agency) would bring no joy, i decided i'd put on something Carrie would like. So, here's Carrie watching the Crufts 125th Dog Agility Championship from youtube. She was riveted while the dogs were on the course. She'd lay down her head after the competitor left the field, but when the next one took the course, she was back at full attention. Watching the dogs weave through the slalom poles was amazing. Carrie definitely has a deep streak of border collie in her.

With respect to Dirk Gently i feel like it's "Sherlock was a big hit, let's try to do something else." I am wrong about this, apparently, as it came out the same year as Sherlock began. Something about the visual language of the deductive process seems so similar. Now that i think about it, there's a little bit of overlap, too, with the portrayal of the second detective in Death in Paradise. Perhaps there's a limit to how many British produced mysteries one can consume.

--== ∞ ==--

This week i trusted in the worship process and i trusted that it isn't my job to make sure an hour is filled. Having a half hour for waiting worship is just fine: that's just me. I gave the message yesterday, and was well supported after. The most flattering and sweet thing was someone telling me they were surprised i'd only been attending for a year and a few months. It's lovely to know i've fit in so well.

I do need to write a letter to transfer my membership.
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Friday, October 6th, 2017 02:08 pm
Are We Living in a Computer Simulation? Scientists Prove Elon Musk Wrong

While i am all for proving Elon Musk wrong, i can't say i'm satisfied that the our experience of reality can't be a computer simulation because keeping track of all the particles would require more particles than is in the universe. It seems a particularly uncreative analysis, and it certainly isn't thought out like someone who would program a simulated reality. In a simulation, occom's razor doesn't work out the same way. It's not the simplest solution to keep track of every atom in my sofa. And the subroutine IfPhysicistIsLooking can introduce the atoms at time of need.

I'm sure i'm missing something. Maybe Elon Musk believes the simulation began with the big bang?

https://science.slashdot.org/story/16/10/06/1352205/tech-billionaires-are-asking-scientists-for-help-to-break-humans-out-of-computer-simulation
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Tuesday, October 3rd, 2017 02:25 pm
Today in my NYTimes reading, twice, the word "haimish," which i don't recall ever seeing before.

From Wikipedia: Haimish (also Heimish): Home-like, friendly, folksy (Yiddish היימיש heymish, cf. German heimisch)

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elainegrey: Inspired by Grypping/gripping beast styles from Nordic cultures (Default)
Thursday, September 28th, 2017 10:23 am
No comment is made in this article on the irony of the organization "Man Group" fostering an AI

At least, i didn't find it on my skim.

H/T Matt Levine's Money Stuff newsletter, which is filled with adorable snark about blockchain and silicon valley.
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Tuesday, July 4th, 2017 07:50 am
http://blogs.sciencemag.org/pipeline/archives/2017/07/03/cryptic-natural-products-appearing

When i was listening to the biology & genetic lectures a few years ago, i was astounded by new realizations. The key has to do with how DNA is NOT a blueprint, a description of the final structure. It's much more like computer code, with all the cruft that developers often leave in a great big system, code that used to do something important, but the output is no longer needed. Somehow activate that code path, and the code can still execute. On the other hand, since the system has evolved away from that need, it the code does execute, it's not necessarily going to behave as it did originally.

DNA doesn't execute in a vacuum: chemical and physical signals affect what segments of the DNA will be activated. The embryonic environment has a huge impact on the gene expression in a developing organism -- i can't find a recent article i read about how poverty-stress of a mother can be expressed in the cognitive pathway development of the child, thus providing a physiological basis for poverty changing the way one literally thinks.

(In Butler's Wild Seed, one of the characters could "examine" the DNA of a creature and then express the creature. My awareness of how gene expression works triggered a momentary collapse of my suspension of disbelief.)

So, i pondered, what if an organism was exposed to primordial compounds, compounds that don't exist in the oxygen rich environment of today? What parts of the "junk" DNA might be activated? What might happen next? (Could an alternative being be in the DNA that could be expressed with the right primordial signals?) Keyword for more research: epigenetics.

" It’s for sure that there are many biosynthetic-looking gene clusters found in these species that don’t seem to be turned on most of the time, which makes one think that under the right conditions you could perhaps elicit some “break glass in case of emergency” structures that might be well worth seeing."

Derek Lowe, July 3, 2017


Why, yes, exactly.

[The group] ran all sorts of stress experiments on the organisms to see if any of these caused some activity. As it turns out, exposure to etoposide and to avermectin, both quite toxic to the organisms, caused some of these biosynthetic pathways to turn on, and several new compounds emerged, including one with antifungal activity and some that appear to be cysteine protease inhibitors.


Hint: Wikipedia relates that "Cysteine proteases... are enzymes that degrade proteins."

Organic chemistry and genetics are so incredibly amazing to me. I envy nascent scientists -- so many of these discoveries have been since i was in school. To be entering the fields with this landscape as a foundation....
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Sunday, July 2nd, 2017 12:29 pm

It is a bit ironic, perhaps, that it's more likely for Donald Trump to be removed from office that it is for him to be removed from Twitter.



I made an excellent potato bake casserole last night, all things considered. (TVP is not the most delightful of vegetable protein sources, but whatever.)

Overnight, Carrie ate one of my flip flops. If i could walk around barefooted i would, but between Achilles tendonitis and plantar fascitis.... pfft.

Spending a bit of time thinking about posting photo galleries (and blogs) to Amazon S3. I have discovered an Evernote blogging platform, Postach.io. Here's my naturalist notebook transformed through their interface. Essentially, you create an account on their site, give their system access to a notebook, tag notes with "published", and boom!, it's been posted to your postach.io blog.

I've found another flow that can depend on evernote notebooks as well, both more flexible and more technically demanding. I'm not sure i have an argument for blogging (beyond here) any time soon.
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Thursday, June 29th, 2017 01:48 pm
Before tags, journal entry titles were pretty important to me, but since ....

Christine just showed me some video of a child in a New Zealand zoo kissing the glass separating her from a male lion. The lion sat back on his haunches and rapidly beat on the glass with his front paws. (The girl, unfazed. Some adult, "I think he's asking you to step back.") The caption described this as the lion "freaking out" with which i take exception. Cat owners know what a cat freaking out is like: this was not that.

So i muttered my exception, then i muttered about click bait titles, and then i declaimed THE WORLD IS COMING TO AN END.

Why do i care about click bait headlines? What offends me so? Maybe i should try titling my entries with click-bait style. There's no commitment to keeping the subject and the entry aligned with clickbait style titles, right?
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Monday, April 17th, 2017 11:13 am
My brother in law told me about a research paper on making tea. In the microwave.

I'm happy to see this is about green tea. Although what is this "bag" they speak of?

".... Dr Quan Vuong, a researcher at Australia’s University of Newcastle, is the primary antagonist here.

Back in 2012, he actually looked into microwaving (green) tea and what it would do to the compounds inside the leaves. Based on careful chemical analyses, Vuong’s study concluded that the method above extracted far more nutrients than any other. The actions of Tennant’s fictional detective just brought the paper to light again." -- http://www.iflscience.com/health-and-medicine/best-way-make-tea-microwave-according-science/

official site - http://doi.org/10.1016/j.jfca.2012.06.001 - http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0889157512000828

available at https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Quan_Vuong2/publication/257273267_Improved_extraction_of_green_tea_components_from_teabags_using_the_microwave_oven/links/541c0e6c0cf2218008c4e3f4.pdf

I'd also found a related paper, Efficient extraction strategies of tea (Camellia sinensis)
biomolecules, http://doi.org/10.1007/s13197-014-1487-3 -- but this paper tut-tuts the value of caffeine. Harumph.


Meanwhile, Zotero, where most content like this is now being recorded, isn't working with the browser plug in to automatically generate the citation record. Harumph.
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Friday, April 14th, 2017 08:42 am
Luigi is standing in the door to the front room, hissing and yowling at the sleeping dog. I guess i should open the bedroom door so he can hang out with sleeping Christine. (Who was up late working on a project.)
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Thursday, November 24th, 2016 07:36 am
A weapon against gerrymandering has been found! Courts may use the 'efficiency gap" to measure just how biased a redistricting plan is. Hallelujah!

The very problematic Duke Power is actually experimenting with some solar energy solutions,
demonstrating both environmental sensitivity and cost effectiveness can work together.

And, from Harvard Divinity School, Casting out fear.

Finally, i pulled out the instruction manual for the oven, learned that the oven can actually be divided in two, and realized the divider had been incorrectly placed in the warming drawer (making the warming drawer far too shallow to be useful). (So glad i found the divider, because i suspect a replacement part would have been a bit pricy.) I pried the divider out successfully: now witness the firepower of this fully ARMED and OPERATIONAL stove! And a warming drawer! No figuring out how to juggle broiling tomatoes AND cooking the casserole!
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Thursday, October 27th, 2016 03:08 pm
My mind wandering. A comic references Wuthering Heights. I read Wikipedia for a plot outline. Musicians have songs inspired by Wuthering Heights. I'm not sure why this surprises me. I linger on my surprise, realize i assume an inspiration of immediate passions and pains like my high school poetry, realize looking up from personal angst doesn't mean silencing, ponder what makes for my daily inspirations and wonder how forced a poem about connecting to teleconferences would sound. I think about my poetry professor in college, the horror of his metaphors of contemporary technology and how they grated on my sensibilities. ("Disk drive of the universe" floats in with a shudder.) Surely, new technology has made its way into poetry without being forced. How long did poets restrict themselves to candles after other forms of light? Surely street lights were met with a prompt poetic response? The painters certainly reveled in the new atmosphere. How would i search for an answer: "critical response poets artificial lights"?

I find http://homepages.wmich.edu/~cooneys/poems/Clark.artificial.light.html -- a lovely poem.
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Saturday, July 30th, 2016 10:03 pm
Church sign somewhere between Sanford & Southern Pines: "Whom God Loves He Disciplines. Do you want God's Love?"

The first sentence is clearly Biblical: http://biblehub.com/hebrews/12-6.htm

However, the question right after....
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Monday, January 4th, 2016 07:04 pm
http://panampost.com/adriana-peralta/2014/09/04/galts-gulch-chile-libertarian-paradise-turned-nightmare/

TL;DR? Group tries to create a libertarian paradise by selling land they had no right to sell. Buyers sad and hope to regroup and move forward.

So, is this really the libertarian response to getting scammed? Oops, i should have known better. Oh well, lesson learned? My responsibility.

I'm kinda admiring the consistency.
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Tuesday, December 29th, 2015 10:02 am
So, Amazon has Muse's Resistance for ~$10 as MP3. OR ~$5 for the CD PLUS the auto rip (which means the MP3s).
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Sunday, December 27th, 2015 07:02 pm
Please, someone update this song so that she feels she can't stay because she needs to be on a video conference at 7 am the next morning. He can offer to let her wear one of his ties and claim to have decent wi-fi. She can want to give in, but she'll have to install her VPN.

Please.
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Wednesday, November 18th, 2015 07:05 pm
I am at the wrong hotel.

I'm just going to go die of embarrassment somewhere.

Oh my.

Really really....
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Monday, November 9th, 2015 06:01 am
Once a very very long time ago Christine and i were in one of the early coffee stores in Raleigh, a place where you could buy flavored coffee. One was labeled as flavored with the exotic Southern Pecan.

Pecans are native plants to the south east -- perhaps more the Mississippi valley than the Atlantic coast, but they are far less exotic than say, English walnut. We giggle about that to this day.

Recently we were looking at houses in region around our families in North Carolina. "A rare brick ranch" began one description. We looked at each other and completed the sentence: "With an exotic Souther Pecan." I swear, there is nothing rare about brick ranches in the area. Many date back to the 50s through 70s, as this one did. Rare! Pfft!

Apparently, i'm not going to be able to look at a listing for a brick ranch without rolling my eyes thinking about that listing, for a while. (Can't find it any more - must have been fixed.)

--== ∞ ==--

My 7 am meeting was cancelled, and i found out before dashing around to make it. Yay!

--== ∞ ==--

Posting a full work day after writing. Oops!


Thinking about subtle shifts in mood, energy, and health )
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Thursday, October 29th, 2015 06:26 am
I'm just having a moment as i realize that my remembered indignation at the green card lottery Usenet post is old enough to drink legally. Commercial spam is 21 years old.

The houses Christine and i find ourselves liking have front porches on which we could set up our rocking chairs. Yup, not too long before i'm out there with a cane telling the kids to get off our LAN.
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Thursday, October 15th, 2015 08:54 am
I have been very ... laissez-faire with music on my phone since the synchronization with my laptop has become so painful. Essentially, if i want to listen (usually while commuting) i use the voice recognition asking for a song. Voice recognition then presents a list of songs unlikely to resemble my request, and i stab blindly at the list. Then i get music in alphabetical order.

This morning's randomish selection started with asking for "Macho Man." What i really wanted was "Macho City" by Steve Miller Band. Thank HEAVENS there's no Village People in my collection. What i got was "Bad Man" by Juicy Bananas off the Repo Man sound track. That scratched the same itch, remarkably. The following Bad Man's Blunder (Kingston Trio), Bad Reputation (Joan Jett, both studio and live), Ball and Chain (Janis), Baloney Again (Knopfler), Bank Job (soundtrack from Ordinary Decent Criminal) all just had a great bluesey thread, despite all the different styles.
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Thursday, September 17th, 2015 12:53 pm
Perplexing things

* Weatherunderground has calculated a 2% chance of rain for this evening with 0% cloud cover.
* Is this dress navy blue or black with a blue cast?
* Does anyone ever notice when one wears black sweater and shoes with a really dark blue navy dress?

From the wikipedia page on Navy Blue, 'The Canadian Forces Dress Instructions specify that, " 'navy blue' is a tone of black".'

* Received a confidential email message that included a link to verify my identity. After a couple of clicks the system lets me know that the server that i was connecting to has an untrusted certificate. (This is apparently the Microsoft cloud email solution's active directory rights management software.) I was grabbing screen images of the cert which mostly looked legit when i received a new message from the same sender prefaced with "Resending without restrictions to enable viewing."
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