February 23, 2008

Hell hath no fury like a women scored, or insulted, or dishonored, or actually I’m not really sure what I did, but I did get a memento to remember it by.


Well this will be the third post in the last week, am I feeling extra creative? Nope, I am supposed to be working on my thesis. It has been a marathon session all week, the thesis has to be done by Monday so my thesis committee has time to review it before I defend, so here I sit.

I went to a talk by the author of PhD comics a few weeks ago. He says he talks to a lot of grad students that tell him, “I am so stressed, I have so much to do, I am only sleeping like four hours a night!”.  He blithely responds, “Wow, you must be working like 20 hours a day”.  They then inform him, “No, I’ve been reading the news, or surfing the internet, or going out with my friends”.

So needless to say this last week I have read a lot of news, wrote a lot on my blog, and actually started rock climbing again. Deadlines are great.


February 21, 2008

My quest to get a good picture of the lunar eclipse continues. About six months ago I got up at around 3:00 in the morning to stand on the roof with my tripod to try and take pictures of the lunar eclipse. About the only thing that trip produced were some fun conversations with Phil and these pictures.


Sheridan Apartment

None of the moon pictures turned out because I only had a 55mm lens. This time I was armed with a 300mm monster and I thought for sure I would get good results. Unfortunately, after an hour in the 15 degree weather with a nice breeze my hands and toes were numb and I wasn’t quite satisfied. This time it was my crappy tripod that let me down. It was unable to keep my camera (and large manly lens) from shaking so I had to keep the shutter speeds pretty short. Oh well, maybe by 2010 when the next eclipse is I will be able to afford a nice tripod.

Moon Eclipse

I self medicate by drinking

February 19, 2008

I’m having a hard day, I am down, I can’t concentrate, I can’t deal with all my problems or everything I need to do, a couple of mugs later I am positive, and relaxed.  I get what I need done and don’t melt down from stress.  It is a way to cope, sure it might be addictive and there is a real chance I could become dependent on it, but if it lets me get through one more day I think it is worth the risk.

Besides even if I do get addicted, having a cup of coffee every day isn’t going to kill me.

Thumb Screws

February 10, 2008

I read a really good article over at ars-technica about the music industry. Sales of CDs are dropping and they are desperately seeking something to staunch the flow of lost revenue. For some reason none of them have come up with the revolutionary idea of offering their customers the option of downloading CD quality music for a slightly reduced cost (as there is less overhead). Instead their approach has been to erect larger and larger barriers to keep people from pirating, the latest of which is apparently filtering internet traffic. The article has a great quote:

the real issue is that filtering won’t work until the thumbscrews are so tight that blood is pouring from people’s hands. Should that day ever come, the revolucíon won’t be far behind

The article goes on to say that they need a different business strategy not tighter thumbscrews.

This is turn reminds me of the circus that is airport and border security. The Washington Post has a great article talking about the search and seizure of electronics at international borders. Right now your laptop can be seized without a reason given, held indefinitely, all of your data copied, and you can be forced to reveal all of your passwords. To me this doesn’t seem much different from them holding you in the airport while the police in your home town do a thorough search of your home and office. I’m not really sure what they are hoping to accomplish; maybe that a randomly selected business traveler will somehow turn into a terrorist and keep all of their plans and Osama’s home address on their laptop? The above quote is just as true here as it is with the music industry, it isn’t that this might not help, it’s that for it to help we have to surrender all of our civil liberties. The police/intelligences agencies/military/homeland security don’t need less restrictions, they need a new strategy.

Those who would give up Essential Liberty to purchase a little Temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety

-Benjamin Franklin (or perhaps Richard Jackson)