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User Journal

Journal: I have a freak!

Journal by beeplet

My latest posting on Slashdot earned me 2 fans and a freak. I guess that's still a net positive... I could probably have been even more inflammatory - pinko commie Canadian that I am - but I restrained myself. :P

In other news, I have a pregnancy journal, complete with uncensored pictures of my tummy, inside and out. :) Morning sickness is finally starting to ease up - yay!

User Journal

Journal: OMGWTFPREGGERS!!11 4

Journal by beeplet

Yay! I am pregnant! I couldn't be happier, except maybe if morning sickness would actually end at noon instead of making me feel wretched all day... but it's always morning somewhere, I guess.

I'm so excited, I just want to spend all day in the store looking at baby stuff. Only 8 months of incubation left to go!

User Journal

Journal: The Boston annual festive holiday branch

Journal by beeplet

Just thinking, since the Boston Christmas tree is getting so much publicity these days, I find it sad that the news stories hardly ever mention the origin of the tree. The Boston Christmas tree is an annual gift from Nova Scotia as a thank-you for the help sent after the Halifax explosion. (On December 6, 1917, two ships - one full of munitions - collided in the Halifax harbour. The resulting explosion levelled most of the downtown.)

By unfortunate coincidence, December 6 is also the anniverisary of the Montreal massacre, when 14 women were killed at the Ecole Polytechnique. (In addition, one man who witnessed it later committed suicide over guilt about not being able to intervene.) I have a pin that commemorates it, but since I can never actually find it on Dec. 6 (it usually resurfaces sometime in January...) this journal entry will have to do.

On the upside, at least one can feel thankful for being from a place where that's the worst violence to happen in many years...

Ximian

Journal: evolution: u no love it!?

Journal by beeplet

Next week we are installing a cosmic ray detector at some christian elementary school. They specifically asked us not to mention the e-word while we were there. (After all, it would take them hours to remold the kids' malleable little world-views, should we accidentally drop a phrase like, say, "fossil evidence".)

Of course we assured them that, as Caltech scientists, we would never exclude "alternative viewpoints" simply because they have no scientific merit... It's a good thing that I had religious sensiblilities instilled at an early age by my father, who told me the bible was a collection of nice stories made up by a bunch of old guys with nothing better to do. Tolerance of other people's inane ideas is important in this day and age.

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By the way, does anyone know where I can get my hands on some 200 copies of "The Origin of Species" on short notice?

Linux Business

Journal: Prologue

Journal by beeplet

Here biginneth the Book of the Tales of Linux

Whan that Linux with his shoures sote
The droghte of WinME hath perced to the rote,
And bathed every gig in swich licour
Of which vertu engendred is the OS;
Whan Gentoo eek with his swete breeth
Inspired hath in every dir and heeth
The tendre files, and the younge sonne
Hath in the Ram his half-cours y-ronne,
And smale beeplets maken melodye,
That slepen al the night with open ye
(So priketh hem Nature in hir corages):
Than longen folk to goon on reinstalls
And geeks for to seken straunge distros,
To ferne halwes, couthe in sondry londes;
And specially, from every website's linke
Of Slashdot, to gentoo.org they wende,
The holy blisful martir for to seke
That hem hath holpen, whan hir box were seke.

The Courts

Journal: Miscellaneousness....

Journal by beeplet

The slashdot gender bias bothers me. Not the fact that slashdot readers seem to be 95% male, but the fact that there are so many negative comments about women. Especially when they get modded up as "insightful"... I also read forums where the gender ratio is reversed, and there are nowhere near as many negative comments about men on those boards. So what gives?

One thing in particular I don't understand is guys who complain of the "ditziness" of their wife/girlfriend. It's ok to like someone who isn't a geek (obviously) but you should respect her enough to not make fun of her behind her back. I've also seen women flamed about feeling uncomfortable in certain MMORPGs or saying they couldn't wear the latest tech accessory to work. In the case of the latter, people didn't seem to understand that it isn't just vanity that makes women "dress up" for work. There are plenty of unwritten rules that put much stricter constraints on women's dress than on men's. I recently read Naomi Wolf's "The Beauty Myth," which really drove the point home.

There's also the eternal question of whether men are inherently better suited to tech careers than women. I don't believe that there's anything in the work itself that can't be done equally well by either sex. I just think it is very hard for women to break into fields that have been traditionally male-dominated. I'm in astrophysics, at seminars and talks I'm frequently the only female in the room. Once an older male professor saw me in the library, and asked if I would make coffee, since the secretary was out that day... Often I feel like I have something to prove, when I'd hoped that as a society we'd be long past that.

I'll bet a lot more women read slashdot than most people realize. A lot of them probably just don't post, because who wants to open herself up to that kind of scrutiny and criticism? This is how negative stereotypes perpetuate themselves.

I was just thinking about this today because someone replied to one of my posts and referred to me as "he". Now, I can understand making the assumption based on the slashdot demographic, but really I'd hoped my .sig would be a clue...

Short of going around flaming people who post sexist jokes, I'm not sure how to improve the atmosphere here. For now I guess I'll stick with trying to contribute something intelligent once in a while. Not sure if this counts... if not, I blame the vodka... unfiltered... :P

Editorial

Journal: On Electronic Voting... thoughts from a Canadian :)

Journal by beeplet

Reading the comments on the electronic voting story today was interesting. After reading them, here's what the kind of electronic voting system I would want:

1.) Voter selects a candidate from a menu (including write-in option).

2.) For write-in votes, the voter can enter the name from a keypad or touchscreen.

3.) A paper ballot with a unique ID is printed out for the voter to verify. (The ID or serial number could be printed on the paper in advance, therefore having nothing to do with the individual machine, and no correlation with an individual voter.)

4.) The voter can choose to accept or discard the ballot. If accepted, the ballot is fed back into an optical scanner. The machine uses the serial number to confirm that the ballot being submitted is the same as the one most recently printed, and checks that the selection of candidates is the same. If the serial number or selection does NOT match, the vote would not be counted, and the voter would have the option of starting again.

5.) If the voter rejects the ballot, he or she puts the ballot in a shredder. The vote would not be counted, and the voter would have the option of starting again.

6.) A separate optical scanner, preferably made by a diffent supplier, would scan and count all the ballots in the ballot box. This would provide a quick way to check whether the voting machine is keeping an accurate tally. If the numbers don't match, a hand recount would be required.

I think voting machines have a lot of potential if done right. They can be made more accessible by adding braille keypads and audio output. If there were a well-tested system that worked like this, I would probably trust it more than random people counting by hand...

I wonder what it would really take to build and market an electronic voting system? Also, if everyone is so gung-ho about open source voting machines, why not start an open source project to develop them? Funding would be nice, I guess... Any takers? :P

The Internet

Journal: Have spork, will travel...

Journal by beeplet

The cats are restless... I wish I could let them outside. It's sad to have to explain over and over that because they weren't evolved to recognize cars as dangerous, they are just going to have to pass the time by posting to slashdot. It's a tough life, but if it's good enough for me, it's good enough for them...

Space

Journal: Send me to Mars please... 2

Journal by beeplet

If NASA wanted to send someone on a one-way mission to Mars, I would go. Just be sure to hook me up with a lifetime supply of junk food and an internet connection, and I'd be set. I'd take Teaser and Firecat too, of course. They're leash trained - how much harder could it be to get them in a space suit?

And if Mars is to far, just send me to Canada. :)

User Journal

Journal: A week in the life of a beep 4

Journal by beeplet

Thursday - I pass my candidacy exam. I'm wearing my size 4 red skirt and it's loose. Life is good.

Friday - Inexplicably hungry. Stop by the burrito joint on my way home, spend the rest of the evening wondering if my stomach will pop.

Saturday - Repeat.

Sunday - Worried because I've been spending the weekend eating burritos instead of working. Go to the store to buy healthy food, come home with two bags of junk and eat it.

Monday - My clothes are tight. Grr.

Tuesday - Even my bra is tight. Argh. For some reason, eating a jar of kimchee for dinner seems like a good idea.

Wednesday - At 3pm, when my perl script fails to run properly, I put my head down on my desk and cry. It takes a cup of coffee and a chocolate bar before I'm ready to try facing it again.

Thursday - Period starts. Suddenly it all makes sense. Sort of.

No wonder guys just don't understand...

Role Playing (Games)

Journal: First aid for cats 3

Journal by beeplet

Poor Firecat had a cut on his neck today. At least he didn't object to my putting neosporin on it. I hope that's all it needs since I can hardly afford a trip to the vet...

./\/\
( *.*)
  ~~
( _ _)~~^

Maybe I should start trimming their claws again so that they can roughhouse safely. On the other hand, I think it's good that they learn to play gentle. So far that approach seems to be working - I got woken up this morning with a very gentle paw tap on my nose, and when I didn't get up, Firecat put his paw on my cheek and pulled my face toward him. What a sweetheart. When Teaser wants to wake me up she just tosses a toy mouse on the bed and pounces on it repeatedly, eventually landing on top of me. Fortunately my automatic reaction to this (tossing the mouse as far away as possible) is exactly what she usually wants.

Yay cats. :)

The Courts

Journal: Meta-meta-moderation 1

Journal by beeplet

Hmm - I moderated a post in my own Journal as "interesting" and it got meta-moderated unfair! I don't think that makes sense... It's my journal - shouldn't *I* get to decide what's interesting or not? If I find the offer of a titanium spork interesting, that's my business.

Do you hear me?!

Education

Journal: T minus 5 days...

Journal by beeplet

Candidacy Proposal

Abstract:

For my thesis project, I will operate and maintain the California HIghschool Cosmic ray ObServatory (CHICOS). Over a period of 3 years, I will be able to accumulate a data set of tortured acronyms suitible for comparison with other cosmic ray projects such as the Akeno Giant Air Shower Array (AGASA) and the Sydney University Giant Airshower Recorder (SUGAR). My analysis tools will include AIRES (AIRshower Extended Simulations) and CORSIKA (COsmic Ray SImulations for KAscade). Through the careful analysis of these acronyms I will contstruct a newer and more efficient dictionary with world translation functionality (i.e., NAMED:WTF).

I think this will have great appeal to the populace, based on my focus group surveys of slashdot.

To be awake is to be alive. -- Henry David Thoreau, in "Walden"

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