From the infirmary


I’m in quarantine right now because I’m displaying symptoms of a “flu-like illness”.  Luckily, Tom brought me my laptop yesterday, so I don’t have to be incredibly bored during my stay.  However, this means that I also have to do schoolwork.

“Bop bop bop” is the title Duncan suggested for this post…

Last night I ate dinner with an astrophysicist (and Duncan and a cool senior). It was a very, ah, mind-expanding experience. This astrophysicist fellow works with dark matter detection experiments and is, as far as I can tell, extremely intelligent. He talked about these crazy things called “twistors” and other awesome stuff. It seems that in many of the better formulations of physical laws, space and time are emergent phenomena of something more fundamental. Which makes me feel really weird when I think about it — since space and time are pretty important to me as a biological entity. It’s a strange thought: All that I am and will ever be is contained in a mass of breathing, feeling flesh, but it’s somehow not really what it seems to be. Well, I suppose this is what happens when paradigm shifts happen; damn smart men have come before me and laughed at the idea of the atom.

I’m trying out this experiment where I get a lot more sleep than usual. It is making me feel better about life most of the time (I am much, much more coherent, speech-wise, when I’m well-rested) but it has the unintended side-effect of not leaving me much time for homework. I’m running into a self-limiting situation.

Also: We’re logging our sleep hours in a google spreadsheet. Some awesome plots are coming your way, after we collect some weeks’ worth of data.

Here’s a silly video to wrap things up:


Thanks to Justin S for this!

Please don’t hurt me

I’m pretty sure that I violated some taboo today.

Internet Explorer in Ubuntu using the Unity feature of VMWare Workstation:


Unity works with multiple monitors now!


Funny things can happen when you’re the moderator for a mailing list but don’t have the password.  You would think that  I would be able to post emails to the list, but I am required to approve my own messages.


Birthday post

Hey guys.  My birthday was this weekend, but thanks to great roommates and the band, it sort of lasted the entire 3.5 day weekend.  I had a good time on the noisy [read: something else] bus on the way up, and there was a really fun party once I got to Cornell.  Actually, part of it was really confusing.  This one guy in the Cornell band wanted me to play this game called “lumberjack”, a mercy game.  It wasn’t going so well, because he really wanted to hit me hard, and I didn’t have much feeling in my hands, so the game wasn’t going anywhere until they wanted to get a bunch of Harvard bandies to play this game called “Three Man”.  Here are the rules:

I’m pretty sure they were making these rules up to screw with us.  Also, they didn’t tell us the rules ahead of time, they just yelled at us when we didn’t know them.

Anyway, on a more wholesome note, when I arrived back home on Saturday night at 10:30, the rest of the blandfill greeted me with a Razmatazz birthday cake from Finale, and we ate it while watching an episode of Firefly and the newest episode of the Office.  I think the most exciting part of the weekend was last night, when we all went out to an Ethiopian restaurant, called Adis Red Sea.  It was fantastic; Tom found it over the summer from the Unofficial Guide to Harvard (who knew it was useful?).  They didn’t really have plates, in the traditional sense; the food was placed on pieces of bread that could be used to eat the food in lieu of utensils.  It was also surprisingly filling, considering the food seemed to be all contained in bowls the same size as small cereal bowls.  I’m a bad food writer, clearly, considering that’s all I can think of writing.

Right now we’re waiting for Tom to come back so that we can eat the birthday cake my mom ordered for me while we watch the next episode of Firefly.  Life is good.


Sometimes when I’m not using my giant CRT monitor, I put xclock on it. (Okay, so I’ve only done it once before today.) Today I decided that that was boring, so I remembered xeyes:

They stare into your soul.

They stare into your soul.


Journalists should stick to using Macs

I was reading an article from the LA Times about Windows 7, and it seems that no articles about Microsoft can be unbiased.

I don’t know what consultant (probably a committee) advised Microsoft that everything had to be tinged with baby blue, but it gives Windows 7 a vague, messy look.

The other color choices, if you can find them (Windows 7 does not make changing the appearance easy) are just about as wishy-washy.

Apple’s Mac OS X operating system, by contrast, has a crisp, architectural look that’s much more pleasurable to view hours on end.

Note that despite what was claimed, getting to the appearance settings in Windows 7 takes only two clicks: right-click on the Desktop, then click “Personalize”.   Since Macs don’t have right-clicks, I guess the author really had no idea what to do.  The author also calls the screen design “ugly” in another section of the article.

I wouldn’t mind this if it were an editorial article lambasting the aesthetics of Windows 7, but an article in the Business section of a paper shouldn’t have Apple fanboy undertones.

Oh, goodness,…

#628630 +(7628)

<samsim> I heard about this guy who broke into a lion’s den at the zoo
<samsim> and got mauled
<samsim> and people were talking about how there should have been better defences put up to prevent people getting into the cage
<samsim> a friend of mine suggested setting up some kind of deterrent
<samsim> for example, putting some sort of fierce animal in the cage, which would attack anybody who climbed in