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April 2014




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Apr. 1st, 2014

Repost: Anami's Love Cookies

Repost from http://anami.livejournal.com/20240.html so that I can find this easier.

1 cup butter
3/4 cup dark brown sugar
3/4 cup sugar
1 egg substitute (3 Tbsp hot water to 1 Tbsp ground flax seed)
1 t. vanilla
1 1/2 cup flour
1 t. baking soda
1 1/2 cup oats
1 cup dried cherries
6 oz. milk chocolate chips (or ghiradelli 70% dark)
1 cup chopped pecans

1) cream butter and sugars together
2) add egg replacer; as well as the vanilla
3) add flour and baking soda, then oats, cherries and chocolate chips and the pecans
4) mix gently with your all-powerful KitchenAid stand mixer. by hand the batter is so thick you'd break a wrist (in which case you also don't have anami's permission to make these cookies, sheesh people)
5) drop teaspoon sized balls onto a linked baking sheet.
6) bake at 350 for 10-12 minutes
7) share approximately 3 dozen cookies with as many friends as possible

May. 23rd, 2013

sports and success (for eekim)

"Remember that in sports there are no failures, only results. If you fall off the first move of a route, it is a result of not paying attention to the move, not because you are a worthless individual. The results might not be ideal, but they do contain hints for improvement. Take these clues and resolve to persevere despite setbacks; you will grow to become an uncommonly successful climber." - Eric J Hörst, How to Climb 5.12, Pg. 90, Falcon, 2003

Apr. 3rd, 2013

Class2Go to merge with edX

So by now it's around the web, though less accurately reported some places than others, that Stanford and edX have reached an agreement whereby the Stanford team-formerly-known-as-Class2Go will adopt the edX platform, becoming core contributors on it, and edX will finally (after long promising to) open source their platform under the AGPL. Formal announcement here.

I'm pretty excited. For one thing, I feel like my time at INSPIRE taught me how to do the distributed open source community collaboration thing, and I feel like I'll be able to help both teams talk to each other well. For another, edX is a richer platform than Class2Go, with a larger base of users (both at the institutional and the student levels), and to have it finally available as free software will mean that the community can explode. The Class2Go team has started thinking about the features we'll need to port into edX from Class2Go, and about what we should call ourselves, but a lot is waiting to get hammered out until the Class2Go team gets back from Boston next week.

(Usergroup posting from our fearless leader on google groups)

Dec. 7th, 2011

Living in the future

You know, I'm so happy I live in the future. I think my life would fucking suck if I lived in the past. For one thing, I'd be dead now. For another thing, I probably would have died terribly young, thanks to some horrifically painful disease that comes from not eating enough fruit or something. Not to mention that I'd be unable to function in my surroundings because of my allergies and I'd be functionally blind.

This morning a dude in a not particularly large sedan fell asleep on El Camino Real with his foot on the accelerator. He got up to around 70 before he swerved off the road, through a lamp post, bounced off my neighbor's F350, and went head to head with my neighbor's son's F250. His impacts had enough kinetic energy to spin the F350 around and send it careening horizontally to destroy two garage doors, move my car a meter, take out a support pillar, crush a Subaru and snap the axle on a Prius.

And the driver of this kinetic energy delivery vehicle left the scene of the accident upright, in a police car and not an ambulance. He was fine.

We have *that*.
And we have *vaccines*
And we have *email*.

The future is GREAT.

Dec. 22nd, 2010

Technology is not neutral.

"Technology is not neutral. Technology has properties -- affordances -- that make it easier to do some activities, harder to do others: The easier ones get done, the harder ones neglected. Each has its constraints, preconditions, and side effects that impose requirements and changes on the things with which it interacts, be they other technology, people, or human society at large. Finally, each technology poses a mind-set, a way of thinking about it and the activities to which it is relevant, a mind-set that soon pervades those touched by it, often unwittingly, often unwillingly. The more successful and widespread the technology, the greater its impact upon the thought patterns of those who use it, and consequently, the greater its impact upon all of society. Technology is not neutral, it dominates."

--Norman, Donald A., Things that Make Us Smart, Perseus Books, 1993, p. 243
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Oct. 12th, 2010

Inspire ß, Day 1

Today was the first day after the widespread publication of beta for Inspire, the thing I've been sweating over for the past year or so. Go try it out.

I'll blog more about it soon. Right now I'm too tired. You see, I woke up and checked my email and found that one of the example searches right on the front of the homepage was broken. So I spent the last 11 hours fixing it.

$ git diff beta-day1-bugs --stat
modules/bibformat/lib/bibformat_utils.py | 1 -
.../websearch/lib/search_engine_query_parser.py | 133 ++++++++------------
.../lib/search_engine_query_parser_tests.py | 104 ++++------------
3 files changed, 75 insertions(+), 163 deletions(-)

I can't decide how I feel about these numbers. But at least I know the query parser is (more) correct (than it was this morning).

Oct. 11th, 2010

panacea's back

The router that Panacea's plugged into lost the port that Panacea's rack is on, so that rack was out of commission for a few hours. They found it and moved the rack to another port, and everything is back now. Nothing else seems affected.

So far, all signs point to the new hardware being more reliable than its upstream. So that's something. :)

Oct. 9th, 2010

out of communication for a bit

Hi folks,

My cell battery has died and it won't hold a charge, making it useful pretty much only when tethered - which means it's not really a very effective component of my mobile lifestyle. So until the replacement battery comes (due in a few days) I'll be calling less.

Feel free to email though.

Sep. 10th, 2010

investing time

Today I spent the day alone, for the first time in I don't know how long. Maybe a year, maybe more. I woke in the middle of the night, jetlagged and bleery and put the dog out because she farted, and then sat in bed and wondered why I wasn't sleeping. Hours later, I put the laptop aside and passed out, to wake again around noon.

Despite the late start, I had good enough intentions. I made a list. I would do the laundry. I would wash the dogs. I would eat healthy lunch and have dinner with friends at a good restaurant. I would go to the bank, and visit the post office.

Instead, I called my sister, and my mother, and I read Michael Ondaatje's "Running in the Family". It's a short book, that unpacks itself an epic. This feeling, this disconnection and detachment and longing after... what? Understanding? Absolution? This desparate desire to know the unknowable. He wrote, "In my mid thirties I realized I had slipped past a childhood I had ignored and not understood." Simpatico.

So today I walked the dogs, and I fed them, and I drank tea from Ceylon and read a book about a childhood there, amidst the floods and the jungles. And when I broke between the bite-sized chapters to put the kettle on or unlock the garage for the neighbor who locked her keys in, I thought about "The Empire of Tea", and Iris MacFarlane just across the Bay on the Subcontinent, with her own steaming, sprawling epic unfolding. And I thought about the Insurgents that Ondaatje writes about with such warmth, and decide that this book could never be written today.

During one particularly long break between sections, I managed to get to the library ten minutes before it closed. I got six books either in, or on, French. A friend in Switzerland is teaching himself German by working his way slowly through Goethe's "Faust". Disgusted by my own lack of independence abroad and inspired by his methodical example, I checked out "Cyrano de Bergerac" and "Candide". I read them
both in English translation years ago, and have high hopes that Voltaire will be funny enough to translate through Webster's New Concise French Dictionary. Maybe this time next year I can successfully make change, or eat a meal without needing an interpreter or my Epipen. Six books is a little much. I suspect that once again my enthusiasm will outstrip my discipline. A common theme in my life, and in my family.

Recurring themes are what "Running in the Family" is all about. While I read about the Ondaatjes' introspection and their alcoholism and their wild exhibitionism and their grim determination, I came to feel like I knew this family. Like they were part of my neighborhood. For all of their brown skin and banana leaves, they could have been. I wondered, in the novelization of my family history, what would be uncovered. Time and again as Ondaatje writes about his parents, I think about a photograph I saw of my parents at Christmas, a year or two before my eldest brother was born. They were so young. Far younger than I am now. I wondered if I met them today, how I'd get along wit those kids.

Some day I'd like to make a similar pilgrimage. To spend time with all my family, recording and transcribing and arranging their stories, and to make my own "gesture", as Ondaatje called it. I would be surprised if I ever do, but the pull has always been there - a gentle tug that I could ignore until Ondaatje pointed it out.

Some day I'd like to visit Sri Lanka. Where tea trees grow from the jungles and Sir Arthur C. Clarke installed the first satellite dish. I want to see the plantations and feel the heat and spend time among the temples of a place where Buddhists have lived for so long that their history is littered with monks taking lives. Because familiarity breeds contempt, even for dharma.

I wonder how I should feel in such a place, being Buddhist, but also being American. I was discussing with my mother this afternoon how in Europe, they deal with the issue of peoples' religious freedom by simply never discussing it. It's like putting entire populations in the closet. Everyone's dignity is saved by asking everyone to subtly deny who they are. But on the other hand, it seems to mostly work;
while it doesn't help prevent prejudice, voicing or acting on the prejudice is so tacky. It's just not done. If simply not talking about religion is such a noticeable change for me, how might I react when I'm steeped in a single faith? Even if it's my own, I can only imagine chafing. But then, the English and the Dutch have been in old Ceylon long enough that that is probably not an issue; I imagine a cultural backdrop even more riotous than the one I come from. And perhaps this is why it appeals to me. My enthusiasm outstripping my sense?

So today I did not do the laundry. I did not wash the dogs. I ate mostly buttered toast and drank tea and stopped answering my phone when people called. The bank and the post office were forgotten. My list will have to wait until tomorrow.

But I still count my day as a success. C.S. Lewis wrote, "We read to know we are not alone." And indeed, I feel like I've spent my day in conversation with a great friend; one who listens and understands. Not so alone after all.

Sep. 8th, 2010

Stuff I've been reading

I've been at CERN for the last ten or 11 days, and I brought a lot of stuff with me. The latest copy of Asimov's and my laptop and my cell phone (which isn't useful as a cell phone, but makes an OK pocket web browser), and my running kit and all kinds of stuff. It's really kind of ridiculous how much I have to entertain me. Mostly I've been reading in bed on my cell phone though

Just skim the list. Click things that interest you. I've been careful to make sure the links work. Then? Reply back to start a conversation about something you've chosen to read.

There are a lot of these, so I've only put a subset in this blog post; I'll post more sometime later. And then the books.

* Clarkesworld Magazine - Online Science Fiction and Fantasy : Night, in Dark Perfection by Richard Parks
* Clarkesworld Magazine - Online Science Fiction and Fantasy : The Border between Writing and Life: A Conversation with Marly Youmans by Jeremy L. C. Jones
* Secret of AA: After 75 Years, We Don’t Know How It Works: being a very short summary of the history of AA, the neurobiology of addiction, and why it's hard to do comparative analysis.
* Why Johnny can't code: argues that line-oriented computer programming a la BASIC is the best way to get a feel for how computers really work. Then panics because decent BASIC systems are very hard to come by.
* From Habit to Process: Matt Taylor wants to sell you something. He wants to tell you how creative people act, then get you to pay him to make you act that way, without voluntarily ruining your life. But if you're very clever, reading how creative people act is probably enough data for you to figure out how to act yourself.
Lincoln's Great Depression
: Abraham Lincoln was seriously depressed most of his adult life. This article deals frankly with the fact, and argues that maybe he was such a great man because of the way his suffering shaped him.
* about "The Myth of the Super Programming Language"
* Lawmakers Hear Arguments for and Against Open Access to Research - Research - The Chronicle of Higher Education: Oh, you have no idea. I could choke.
* Early flaw brings on muscular dystrophy: Summarizes recent findings related to the genetic underpinnings of facioscapulohumeral MD.

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