wintersweet: Main character from Yokohama Shopping Project: Just being alive means you've made a clear profit. ☆ 人生、生きちょるだけで丸儲け. (Default)
I reckon Obama's going to be no exception there. I'll be happy if there's just one appointee who sounds actually cool, honestly. Sigh.

Anyway, if you're actually interested in science and want to see this administration take it seriously--unlike Bush's administration who just wrote everything off to corporate interests--please read this Science Blogs post and then contact Obama to let him know he needs to get more serious about his appointees.
wintersweet: Main character from Yokohama Shopping Project: Just being alive means you've made a clear profit. ☆ 人生、生きちょるだけで丸儲け. (potc-droppedmybrain)
This morning I had a non-standard headache (that is, a headache that didn't feel like a migraine, which is my standard headache). I took my temperature: 98.9. I took it again, because my temperature is never right the first time. 105.9! Gah! I took it again a few minutes later: 102.9! Yeah, time to go thermometer shopping. Now I have one that takes a reading in just a couple of seconds, with a nickel-sized, round display that lights up green, yellow, or red according to (conventional standards for) whether you have a fever. And my temperature is 98.7, thanks.


I think this is important: http://sharp.sefora.org/
They've sent science questions to congressional candidates (and Obama and McCain). Relatively few candidates have answered, but you can encourage your local candidates to fill out the form. Let them know that science is IMPORTANT.


Financial blogger is shocked that snacks at the movies are really expensive and turn an already pricey outing into a ridiculously expensive 120 minutes. Duh. Yes, if you're trying to be frugal, don't buy food at a movie theater! Sheesh.

Actually, I'm just redirecting my real outrage--the real reason I'm upset is that Portland apparently has at least 5 discount movie theaters. The Bay Area only has one that I know of, and it's far enough away that I'm not too interested in going. I would if I lived closer, because I've heard nothing but good things about it from [livejournal.com profile] mactavish and others. Milpitas used to have one--we went there once before it "closed for relocation" and never reopened. Sigh. A matinee here is around $8 and an evening movie is at least $10.

*checks Portland community college math/CS-teaching positions again*


Speaking of, um, other states: WSJ report on a study on personality trait distribution in the US. Yeah, I'm sure people will be punching holes in it ASAP, but it's kind of interesting. Click on the Interactive Graphics tab at the top for details (I have a feeling the resulting tables aren't screen-reader-friendly, sorry!).

Via [livejournal.com profile] geographile.


Via [livejournal.com profile] pegkerr: http://books4barack.com/
Authors can donate books to the fundraiser; readers who donate $250 to the Obama campaign will receive 5 books. Creative, I guess!


So tomorrow we're driving to Pasadena, leaving around 9:30. Of course, we'll get stuck with the horrible dilemma of WHERE TO HAVE LUNCH ON I-5. I imagine we'll get hungry somewhere north of Bakersfield. Sigh.

We'll probably have dinner in Alhambra or Pasadena. Our motel is in Alhambra, but we're thinking of going to the Pacific Asia Museum in Pasadena unless someone else has a better suggestion about how to entertain ourselves. We discussed trying to venture into LA proper and decided against it. We're also going to go to the Famima, of course.

If you have suggestions about where to eat around Alhambra or Pasadena, please let me know. Pasadena, not surprisingly, seems to have a lot of very good and very expensive restaurants that we can't afford (according to my stroll through Yelp).
wintersweet: Main character from Yokohama Shopping Project: Just being alive means you've made a clear profit. ☆ 人生、生きちょるだけで丸儲け. (Default)
Really cool from Science Blogs:
http://scienceblogs.com/aardvarchaeology/2008/09/radiocarbon_dating_ancient_gre.php

Carbon dating using grease left in ancient pottery--a lot easier to come by than actual food chunks stuck to pottery, which is the current technique, I guess.

LA quake

Jul. 29th, 2008 11:52 am
wintersweet: Main character from Yokohama Shopping Project: Just being alive means you've made a clear profit. ☆ 人生、生きちょるだけで丸儲け. (Default)
Click here if you felt it (help science!): http://pasadena.wr.usgs.gov/shake/ca/

Hope everyone is OK and nothing got broken...haven't seen any actual news reports yet.
wintersweet: Main character from Yokohama Shopping Project: Just being alive means you've made a clear profit. ☆ 人生、生きちょるだけで丸儲け. (Default)
Hey, [livejournal.com profile] cleolinda mentioned that Victoria magazine is back, which I thought would make some of you happy.


Someone elseweb mentioned the Nemi comic strip, which is Norwegian but published in the UK's Metro in English, and ... has an LJ feed! [livejournal.com profile] daily_nemi is full of goth giddiness, cynicism, snark, and random weirdness. I think it's a lot of fun. Go check out the archives at the first link!


Students respond negatively to red ink--to the extent that they'll miss one more question on a short test if it comes to them with a number or label in red on it. More about why this might be tomorrow.

This is not the same study that my advisor cited, so there's more than one bit of evidence for it.

Don't use red ink. It (probably) freaks people out subconsciously. Really, would it kill anyone to switch out colors once in a while?


[livejournal.com profile] assaultdoor's second interview is tomorrow! Thanks for all the good wishes already!
wintersweet: Main character from Yokohama Shopping Project: Just being alive means you've made a clear profit. ☆ 人生、生きちょるだけで丸儲け. (Default)
Today was the fifth anniversary of our engagement. We celebrated with, among other things, self-heating cocoa, because we are silly geeks.
wintersweet: Main character from Yokohama Shopping Project: Just being alive means you've made a clear profit. ☆ 人生、生きちょるだけで丸儲け. (Default)
I keep forgetting to post this, but if you're American and registered early on for the Do Not Call list, you need to renew it.


This says playing video games may reduce gender gap in spatial ability, but where's the evidence that things like video games aren't what cause the gender gap in the first place? Hmm. Interesting either way.


Hmm, [livejournal.com profile] m_cat's typist claims to be at work, and yet here's a post recruiting for Jaffa. Yes, as in Stargate. Oh boy. Kitten in your tummy, anyone?


I guess what a friend of mine calls "brain farts" are real. I think we all suspected that, though. ([livejournal.com profile] saucernews posted about it in exactly the same way, haha)
wintersweet: Main character from Yokohama Shopping Project: Just being alive means you've made a clear profit. ☆ 人生、生きちょるだけで丸儲け. (Default)
If you got your degree(s) in science/engineering, did you ever use your fancy graphing calculator after you graduated? How often and for what? EDIT: Did you use it to do anything a regular cheap calculator can't do?

There is a debate going on, and [livejournal.com profile] assaultdoor requests your input.

P. S. This song has awesome 8-bit melodies.

兒~~~~!

Sep. 19th, 2007 02:08 pm
wintersweet: Main character from Yokohama Shopping Project: Just being alive means you've made a clear profit. ☆ 人生、生きちょるだけで丸儲け. (unknown-pirate-me)
I went in Michael's today. That Martha Stewart Halloween stuff is rather nice, and elegant. (I've always preferred Gorey-esque, vaguely Victorian or gothic Halloween style compared to either cartoony or horror-movie style.) A bit pricey, though. I might buy one or two things if I get the Sunday coupon, and I suspect they'll have stuff left over after the holiday. They also had this year's Good Things/Bad Things magazine. I just wish it were all Bad Things! I loved that half so much more. I guess my gothic inclinations are showing again, oops.

Tons of make-it-yourself stuff on her Halloween website: http://www.marthastewart.com/halloween


[livejournal.com profile] bobsutton writes about IQ and the effects your beliefs about it have on you. One of the studies he mentions is something [livejournal.com profile] assaultdoor is interested in, related to stereotype threat and so forth. Excerpt from Sutton's post (edited for length):
When talent or IQ is believed to be fixed, this assumption can cause people to believe that it just isn’t worth trying hard because they ... are naturally smart or not, and there is little, if anything, anyone can do about it. BUT raw cognitive ability isn’t nearly as difficult to enhance as many people think. When people believe they can get smarter, they do. BUT – and this is very important – when people believe that cognitive ability is difficult or impossible to change, they don’t get smarter. ...There is strong evidence that many African-Americans are subtly brainwashed to believe that intelligence is fixed and they have inherently lower ability than members of other races. ... These stereotypes undermine academic performance even among [high-achieving] African-American students. Some fascinating research shows, however, that if you can convince them that smarts come from what people do, not what they were born with, performance improves markedly. [In a study,] randomly selected students were persuaded to believe that intelligence was malleable rather than fixed. Two months later, they reported being more engaged in and taking more pleasure from the academic process than students in control conditions. Most impressively, students persuaded to believe that smartness was malleable got better grades the next term, especially African-American students.


This is important stuff.

It is different from the often empty, rah-rah "you can do anything!" pep talks that K-12 teachers were encouraged to give when I was a child, so don't dismiss it as feel-good nonsense. Go give the studies a read. (Although I have a feeling I'm going to object to the Kaplan vs. ETS article in the post-postscript.)


The KGO news announcers were talkin' like pirates this marnin'. 'twere great. They even told a downright terrible joke.

News swab: "What rating were the Pirates of the Caribbean movies? PG, PG-13?"
News wench: "I think they were PG-13."
News swab: "Shouldn't they have been rated R?"
News wench: "Arrrrrr!!!"

Me other old favorite, with a tip o'the tricorn to me librarian friends, is
Q: "Where does a pirate captain keep his old ship's logs?"
A: "He'd be keepin' 'em in the arrrrrrrrchive!"

And by way of the bonny [livejournal.com profile] pegkerr, we've "Hey, It's Can(n)on", a song about Hermione Granger, the Pirate Queen, the pride of Gryffindor. (Link leads to page with background, words, and link to the mp3--no autoplay, so ye scallywags can safely check it at work.)

(Ooh hey, flickr's logo has a little Jolly Roger today!)

Finally, here be a picture of me from the Faire, tryin' on a hat (sorry, only me crew--that is, me LJ friends--can view it):


Sadly, I can't talk like this with a straight face, yarrrr. So this is all ye get. Now scurry on out of here before I sing the "Dead Gerbil" song what I heard at the Faire.

(EDIT: [livejournal.com profile] truepenny alerts us that the Northwestern bloody Passage is there now, "thanks" to global warmin', which is a lot bigger problem than any pirates, seafarin' or digital, could ever be. Though I guess the Last Saskatchewan Pirate will be happy. The rest of us ought to be tremblin' in our boots.)
wintersweet: Main character from Yokohama Shopping Project: Just being alive means you've made a clear profit. ☆ 人生、生きちょるだけで丸儲け. (Default)
Here is a great deal of what is wrong with humanity: The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently issued a flier to combat myths about the flu vaccine. It recited various commonly held views and labeled them either "true" or "false." Among those identified as false were statements such as "The side effects are worse than the flu" and "Only older people need flu vaccine."

When University of Michigan social psychologist Norbert Schwarz had volunteers read the CDC flier, however, he found that within 30 minutes, older people misremembered 28 percent of the false statements as true. Three days later, they remembered 40 percent of the myths as factual.

Younger people did better at first, but three days later they made as many errors as older people did after 30 minutes. Most troubling was that people of all ages now felt that the source of their false beliefs was the respected CDC.
(Washington Post)

This is a problem for teachers, too. There's a famous study of med school students that essentially found (IIRC) that they tended to enter with one set of faulty beliefs about the operation of the heart, took classes where they learned otherwise, held onto that information for a year or two, and then reverted to their original, incorrect notions. (Maybe with a slight alteration; I don't remember the details, but still, the end result was as error-filled as before.)

Several other studies are referenced in the Post article, one of which at least has a little bit of a suggestion about what to do about this problem: Mayo found that rather than deny a false claim, it is better to make a completely new assertion that makes no reference to the original myth. Rather than say, as Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.) recently did during a marathon congressional debate, that "Saddam Hussein did not attack the United States; Osama bin Laden did," Mayo said it would be better to say something like, "Osama bin Laden was the only person responsible for the Sept. 11 attacks" -- and not mention Hussein at all.

Really, it just reinforces the general message that I took away from Stumbling on Happiness (which I am going to review here sometime), which is that as a species, our brains are just broken when it comes to, y'know, THINKING.
wintersweet: Main character from Yokohama Shopping Project: Just being alive means you've made a clear profit. ☆ 人生、生きちょるだけで丸儲け. (iono-sama-eeee!-me)
7-11s turned into Kwik-E Marts. One of the 11 stores to be totally converted into a Kwik-E Mart is not far away, in Mountain View. We might have to go. ([livejournal.com profile] pixiebell620, there's one in Dallas, too.) Exact locations are supposed to be up on July 2.

The Science that Matters feed ([livejournal.com profile] stmfeed) hiccuped and is working now. It's pretty interesting. Among the hiccuped-up posts is one that claims the oft-repeated "ideal waist-hip ratio of .70" is unjustifiable, and another one that says the famous Pygmalion effect doesn't exist, at least not as claimed (children randomly ID'd as intellectually ready to "bloom" were supposedly found to do better by the end of the year).

I have a tic, I guess, in the muscle between the base knuckle of my index finger and the webbing of my thumb. It's causing my index finger to twitch visibly and very, very irritatingly (and sometimes my thumb does, too). It's been going on for a few days and it's really driving me nuts.

Also, random new icon, from a very odd manga called "Iono-sama Fanatics."
wintersweet: Main character from Yokohama Shopping Project: Just being alive means you've made a clear profit. ☆ 人生、生きちょるだけで丸儲け. (Default)
Rudy Rucker is at SJSU?
Why doesn't anyone tell me these things?

( http://www.cs.sjsu.edu/faculty/rucker/index.html )

I only found out because of a post to the excellent [livejournal.com profile] scienceblogsrss, which you should be reading if you enjoy any aspect of science, even as a hobby. It's good stuff.

What other hidden gems are at SJSU? Should [livejournal.com profile] siderealengine (CS) and [livejournal.com profile] jenniferward (business and/or pre-library-science) look at going there in addition to or instead of CSUEB? (CSUEB is their backup in case Berkeley says no.)

EDIT: Okay, so Rucker's mostly retired from teaching. Still, coolness.

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wintersweet: Main character from Yokohama Shopping Project: Just being alive means you've made a clear profit. ☆ 人生、生きちょるだけで丸儲け. (Default)
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