astroaztec: (mostly harmless)
Boingboing pointed me to Adobe Photoshop

I needed something like that.
astroaztec: (Default)
Saturday night I was driving younger daughter to a sleepover. I put on NPR and we heard someone reading a selection from a biography of Carl Friedrich Gauss as an 8-year old in school. Under threat of corporal punishment the teacher assigned the students to sum all the integers from 1 to 100. I commented to my daughter that was easy. I was thinking n * (n + 1) / 2, but with me driving the storyteller got to the answer before I did. Upon arrival at the sleepover we sat for a moment in the car listening to how the teacher handed Gauss the most advanced math text he owned, and the next day Gauss returned it, read, and comprehended. When I picked up younger daughter the next morning we discussed more about Gauss.

Today I encountered a search string from the http referrer logs (and that's a related but already flogged horse)

how+many+leap+year%27s+have+we+had+since+1975

or, stripped of the http-ism

how many leap year's have we had since 1975

Hmmm, the infamous grocer's apostrophe. Little surprise that it shows up within a query that is answered by trivial effort.

It's not the first time I've seen search strings like that. Alas for how common this sort of thing is. Alas for what that level of personal initiative portends.

Before I was born Asimov had already foreseen what might happen Someday.
astroaztec: (gumby)
lest my viewpoint be unclear

Todas las mujeres son lindas.
Cada una.

Es verdad.

May Day

May. 1st, 2010 10:17 pm
astroaztec: (ribbons bells)
Of all the May Days at Lighthouse Point, of all those when we saw the sun at all ...

Today's sunrise was one of the best, if not the best -- as good as outdoor sex.

Kudos to the White Rats for joining us again.

(And despite dancing in the street and distracting traffic, we didn't get arrested.)

pathobiont

Apr. 26th, 2010 10:49 am
astroaztec: (mostly harmless)
An organism "somewhere within the evolutionary spectrum between pathogen and symbiont".

Compare and contrast with the larger world of relationships:
chemical secretions = diplomats, ambassadors
etc.

On reflection it's amazing that this sort of relationship wasn't recognized long ago.
astroaztec: (mostly harmless)
a condition whose symptoms include
  • scanning through the morning e-mails and reading the subject line as "pricks" when what it actually said was "picks"
  • being relieved to find that the content was a URL to images on flickr
astroaztec: (mushroom)
At the 2010-02-08 faculty meeting professor Kim Border indicated that Caltech freshmen are treated akin to the kidnapping and brainwashing of Patty Hearst.

Dragon!

Apr. 3rd, 2010 10:48 pm
astroaztec: (gumby)
How to Train Your Dragon was great!

Okay, Anne McCaffrey has done the meet the dragon story, and Avatar has done the photorealistic version, and cartoon characters with photorealistic hair and cloth were the trademark of Rankin/Bass stop motion animation, and 3-d conceits are being exploited routinely ...

but this movie put them all together very well, and more ...

these are cartoon characters that breathe!

They breathe as they speak, and they breathe as part of expressing their emotional state, and it's amazing that a cartoon can evoke cognition of how important reading those signs are when dealing with real people.

It's a good story, too, with good orchestration and some amazingly artistic flight scenes.

obey

Mar. 20th, 2010 06:54 pm
astroaztec: (mirror)
No.
astroaztec: (mushroom)
Today's LA Times reports that mixed-gender dorm rooms are gaining acceptance.

Gosh that's such a relief.

Oh, wait, you mean it's not 1979? Where have I been since I first saw that?

devices

Mar. 13th, 2010 10:08 pm
astroaztec: (Default)
The computer the girls use is a Mac. I carry around a Mac laptop.

Underneath the shiny of Mac OS X is unix. As of Leopard it is a fully standard compliant unix. That's good enough to make those the machines of choice, for they can do almost everything. As of this winter they can even run almost all of the Keck software infrastructure.

But Mac OS X does not do everything. Apple does not support all the filesystems. Vendors of old USB devices will not bother to create drivers.

That's why there is also an ancient, dinky machine running Linux. It can talk to the ancient printer. It can talk to the ancient scanner. It can read all the filesystems.

And it's also why I have an Ubuntu DVD on hand. When there is something that the Macs can do, but won't do -- that's when I stuff in the DVD. Suddenly the Mac is not limited by what Apple wants. It lives up to its full potential, and it does what I want, what I need. It's my device.

I will not be owning an iPad.
astroaztec: (Default)
A few weeks back Younger Daughter's class was studying space. I stopped in to give the 3rd and 4th graders a talk about what I do. That turned out to be good practice, for last week Elder Daughter reported that her geometry class was studying parallelograms. My software has milled something like a million parallelograms in the past decade. I contacted that teacher, she pointed out that she avoids homework over long weekends, so thanks to the presidents I spoke to the math classes during the past two days.

Showing a class pictures of myself inside the world's largest telescopes is fun. Handing the class objects to pass around, pieces which have been in the Keck telescopes, is fun. Presenting a piece of the Keck telescope to the teacher at the end of class is more fun. Showing a class the results of a life based on working with math -- the effects of that won't be known for years.

Younger Daughter and Elder Daughter were both in their classes while I spoke.

The immediate result from speaking to Younger Daughter's class manifested at the school skate night. In the adult race I came in second place, and I had to endure a challenge from one of the 4th graders insisting that I "should have cut her off". My thoughts were that my brother is the hockey player, and he's a goalie not a linesman.

The later result was the girls ruminating that I might show up at their schools to dance the morris. I heard the response to that -- "I would be absent that day."

Oh well, at least I'm good for some things in their sight.
astroaztec: (Default)
livejournal admits the existence of downtime, announces scheduled downtime, and usually provides a page indicating that they are down

facebook, right now, is serving very broken snips of HTML
astroaztec: (G'Kar)
Evolution crawls to imperfection.

much too slowly for the purposes of defense, thus they justified modifying the genome of others...

Enter the US Department of Defense and its "tamper proof" cells with a kill switch.
astroaztec: (mirror)
Recent alumni correspondence randomly strayed into mention of a personal makeup product.

Raise your hand if this also brings you to recall the last word of Charles Foster Kane.
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