Thursday, March 31, 2011

News flash

Oh yes, it occurs to me that I should mention this: On Monday, I submitted my dissertation. That's it - I'm graduating in May.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011


The mandatory every-so-often linkdump:

Worried about not getting that journal article accepted? Save yourself the worry by submitting it somewhere you know it won't get in - The Journal of Universal Rejection.

It seems like there are a million different kinds of soft drinks available, but in fact the vast majority are owned by a very few companies. (Via Tobias Bucknell.)

Uh, I've been collecting this set of links for a while, it seems … If someone bought me this, i would marry them. Like, right then and there. (Via the Fug Girls.)

In academia, people tend to beat themselves up for slacking, and then vow to be super duper productive to make up for it. That doesn't work. What works better: Sucking less. (Not that this is unique to academia, but few lines of work are as self-directed. The opportunity for slacking is greatly reduced on an assembly line.)

Yeah, it's a good song, but the video is what's really awesome. (Via Fall.)

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Capoeira website

A quick plug: Our capoeira group now has its own website.

Three random facts about me

  1. I almost always have a pedicure but not a manicure.
  2. I like all of Joss Whedon's oeuvre except for Buffy.
  3. I have never cleaned an oven.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

On top of Frozen Head

Amazing view
Originally uploaded by TheTurducken
This photo is from Sunday's hike to the top of Frozen Head. We hiked up the North Mac trail and down the South Mac and Judge Branch trails. (All the Mac trails go up Old Mac Mountain, yet none of them go all the way to the top - the North Mac trail gives you a view of the peak as you pass by.)

Frozen Head is definitely my favorite state park in Tennessee. It's a real hiker's park, with lots of challenging trails, beautiful campsites, and not many other activities. There is some irony, certainly, in the top of the namesake mountain being this.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011


Latest OK Cupid Trends report.

No, not the report itself, at least not more so than anything else about dating. It's the comments:
  1. White people trying to convince themselves they're not racists ("I 'just happen' to only be attracted to people of my own race").
  2. "I don't want to stereotype, but ..."
  3. A few white people willing to frontstage their racism with pride.
  4. White people showing off their willingness to date other races, as long as they're races the media fetishes as appropriate for someone of their race and gender.
  5. Total nonsense ("I don't see race, as a white girl who likes black men").
  6. Minorities pointing out that when you're the only black kid at your high school, you date other races or nobody at all.
Come on, folks!
  1. You know how people develop tastes for new kinds of foods? They're willing to try them with an open mind.
  2. Then don't.
  3. I recognize the ad hominem fallacy, but seriously? Check your spelling and grammar before telling me how you're awesome by virtue of your race.
  4. Oh look, a white nerd who likes anime and Asian girls!
  5. I liked "Twas brillig and the slithy toves" better, myself.
  6. Fair enough.

Cumberland Mountain hike

Mountain man
Originally uploaded by TheTurducken
This past weekend I took a spring break moment and went camping out at Frozen Head. We did a short hike Friday and longer ones Saturday and Sunday. This photo is from our Saturday hike, a scout of the Cumberland Mountain segment of the Cumberland Trail. It's the northernmost segment and rather challenging; there are several steep climbs and rock scrambles. If you get an early start, you're probably OK, but we didn't, and of course if you're coming from Nashville, it's a long drive plus car shuttle to even get to the trailhead. We'll test it out again weekend when I lead a Meetup hike on it.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Stop talking to me

It wasn't that long ago that our notion of computers of the future involved talking to them: "Print this document, Jeeves." I haven't heard as much about this in the last few years, perhaps because typing is becoming a fundamental part of literacy and doesn't seem as onerous as it once did.

Perhaps we've also realized that it would be really darn annoying. I just moved offices (one door down) and am now in a room that has five to eight people working in it at any given moment. It's never silent, but it would be a whole lot louder if we were all dictating our writing, telling Excel to do sums, and hollering at Word not to screw up mail merge.

The notion of speech-based interaction with computers hasn't entirely disappeared, but it tends to be relegated to science fiction where the computers have a personal relationship (not to mention a personality) with the protagonist - think Kevin Spacey as the computer in Moon. It's worth noting that in Moon there is no one else around to be annoyed by the chatter; in fact the computer is an important social support for the protagonist.

This is one of those cases where predictions about the future got it wrong not because the technology couldn't be developed but because the basic technology was too successful. Talking to computers makes sense when they are important but rare; in a world where the average iPod is more powerful than HAL, we can't have everyone going walking around and mumbling, "Play Maroon 5."

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Personal goals at the moment

  • Give up the using words "sweet" (except referring to sugar) and "lame" (except referring to Verbal Kint) immediately
  • Be able to au into a handstand and hold it by August
  • Turn in my dissertation by the March deadline
  • Get a job that pays better than being a graduate student by graduation
  • Be more fabulous on days ending in "y"
  • Learn how to say the Portuguese equivalent of "I have good news and bad news; which would you like first?"
  • Submit our book proposal by the end of the month
  • Finish my current writing project
  • Consume 100% less television on Netflix