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If you're in the Ottawa area, come meet with me and the other co-curators of this amazing exhibit that showcases the world-class work done by early women scientists in Canada. The careers of the five featured women spans almost 200 years, from the early 1800s to the 1970s, and many of the artifacts are unique and on public display for the first time. If you can't make it out on October 17, then you can still see the exhibit at the Carleton University Art Gallery any time before it closes December 3, 2017.

Tuesday, 17 October, 7:00 p.m.

Please join us for a tour of HERbarium, an exhibition that sheds light on several women who made formative contributions to the field of botany in Canada, including renowned Ottawa mycologists Mildred Nobles and Irene Mounce.

HERbarium was co-curated by students enrolled in "Representations of Women's Scientific Contributions," a women's and gender studies seminar taught last winter by Dr. Cindy Stelmackowich.

The students, from such departments as chemistry, physics, art history, and women's and gender studies, worked collaboratively and across disciplines to produce HERbarium.

ADMISSION is free and everyone is welcome! CUAG is an accessible space, with barrier-free washrooms and elevator.

PARKING We'll sell discount parking passes ($4.00 flat rate) at the tunnel entrance from 6:40 to 7:10 p.m.. Details are at this link:

Image: Cinnamon Fern specimen collected by Catharine Parr Traill, from the Canadian Museum of Nature's collection
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Sadly, at this point, it's all a blur. The week itself turned out to be mostly an intense learning curve amidst a fine bout of jet lag, punctuated by an occasional meal out with a pint here and there (okay, maybe more pints than that). On the Sunday after I arrived (I got there on a Saturday), I found out that there weren't really any breakfast places in the neighbourhood that opened in time for me to go to them on my way to work, so I went to that little shop near me (which was actually surprisingly useful and of fairly good quality... it's on Woodstock Road in a little mall with a dry cleaners place, etc.) and purchased some eggs, milk, vegetables, cheese, ham, pesto, and some apple juice so I could eat before leaving. I had forgotten to buy butter, so the first omelet I had was fried in cheese and pesto. It was good, but probably not so good for me. I bought tea, butter, and bread Monday evening ;). The guy I was working with has to take his child to school so did not get in until 9:30AM or so (quite civilized as far as start times go, imho) and that meant that I needed to be on the 8:40AM Science Transit Shuttle to RAL from Oxford. I pretty much needed to be up at 6:30AM Oxford time to shower, eat, and get to the stop on time. The project was successful! He met me when I got there, so it worked out pretty well and he got me a temporary visitor's pass to enter. I got a proper pass a little later in the week, so I could then let myself in and out of the facility. That also means I can add the Diamond Light Source as another particle accelerator facility I have been to (so far, the list is TRIUMF, Fermilab, and DESY). I didn't have time to try to get a tour (much less go on one), but I do hope to be back in the future and will plan ahead if that happens.

As reported in an earlier post, the food there was pretty hit or miss, with more misses than I would have liked. As such, I started buying ingredients to just cook in my flat and made a lovely vegetable-heavy chicken marinara-inspired sauce that I had with penne and a piece of that bread (which was just Tesco in-store bakery bread, but it was very dense but still quite soft... quite yummy) with butter and some wine (which is sold everywhere along with bottled beer). I did try and check a bunch of things off my "food to do" list while there, so Monday I went to a thali restaurant at the end of George Street and had an enjoyable meal with curry and lots of other yummy, tasty foods (that was a hit). As an aside, it irks me that not more Indian places have thali plates... it is just kind of wrong for one person to go in and order a full plate of one thing (like palak paneer), much less more than one thing, plus rice. Even with a couple of people, having a mixed plate makes for a nicer meal I find, since doing a set of full plates and sharing is best for four people and up. Just my opinion anyway. My other success that week was going into a pub called The White Horse in Oxford on Broad Street (just next to the famous Blackwell's Books, more on that in a later post). It definitely felt the most "British Pub" to me of all the places I'd been to that point, and I understand it was often featured in the show Inspector Morse as a setting for a pint (for example, in the episode "The Dead of Jericho"... I've set the clip to start in the pub, it's only a few seconds, fyi). I got another "food check mark" as well as I ordered Toad In The Hole there (along with a couple of pints). The dish was basically a giant Yorkshire pudding bowl filled with potatoes, peas, sausage, and broccoli with a pot of their onion gravy on the side. I had never had such a Yorkshire pudding presentation before and it was just the right amount of crispy and was fluffy in the right places, absolutely a delightful meal! The ales I had were also delicious and were made locally and poured using hand-driven pumps set into the bar (another first for me). The temperature was absolutely perfect (below room temperatute, but definitely not cold) and the bubbles were small and refreshing and made the brew a tasty and easy to drink experience. I'm now a big fan of properly brewed and served ales, and will have to wait to cross the pond again because I've never had it anywhere else in the world I've been to (and I hear that pubs are endangered in the UK... several were pointed out to me in the UCL area in London as either being torn down to redevelop the area or were bought out by yuppies and turned into wine bars or something... definitely a tragedy because it is unique to there it seems). Note: the fucking terrible meal I had at Browns Brasserie & Bar was on Tuesday I think... definitely before the meal at The White Horse (which I think was Thursday), so the latter event definitely redeemed the possibility of UK restaurants to me. As a final aside on this part of the tale, there is also a White Horse Brewery in Oxfordshire which, gasp, has beers available in The White Horse pub. The brewery's slogan is "We brew beer to drink & what we have left we sell". Lol! They definitely do more traditional tasting beers, which I really appreciated, as so many small breweries are doing IPAs that are overwhelming in their flavours (North American style as one co-worker put it). These were flavourful, but balanced (although they do make IPAs as well... not ones to balk at a market for their products, heh).

As for productivity, I was able to see every phase of the testing that needed to get done: from changing the wafers, to aligning and setting the height on the probe station, to running the tests and adapting as things went, to making enhancements to the software driving the probe station and running the tests. I finally got a chance (once things were running semi-automated) to do the first real deep dive into the data acquisition code for the system and learned its architecture. Fyi, my job there was to decipher what is needed to test the integrated circuits on the wafers at the lowest level so that I could take just the part that tests the chips and duplicate it on the systems at the company we are partnering with here in Ottawa. Basically the company is a traditional integrated circuit test house whereas the folks at RAL are physicists that have put together their own system and process... the two are inherently incompatible. Again, I need to learn what is being done in the physics labs and turn that into a process that can be run on industry standard equipment (and again, that involves understanding the test software and hardware down to the level of when and how to set each bit, what commands to send, and what measurements to take). By the end of the week, I had a pretty good idea of how to do it and was at least able to start asking precise, and useful questions that could then be answered by the experts on the system. If you want to read up on the ATLAS experiment ITk (inner tracker) upgrade project, there is a good introductory presentation here (PDF). I am learning how to test the ABC130 front-end integrated circuits while they are still on the wafer, before it is diced into individual chips for assembly. Note that because of the unique constraints of building an inner detector, as little material as possible must be used to minimize the chances that particles from collisions will interact with the non-sensor parts of the system. As such, the chips are never packaged: they are glued and wire-bonded onto a thin kapton printed circuit board, which is then glued to a huge silicon sensor where the chips are then bonded directly to the individual channels of the detector. This is a very strange configuration and it's weirding out anyone in the electronics industry we talk to about it ;). One negative comment I have to make about the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory is its cafeteria is absolutely atrocious... I will never forget the half fat and grissle pork chop plopped on a plate of grey beans in a flavourless grey "sauce" as long as I live (seriously, we're talking concrete grey here)... and that was the best option they had that day at the 8 or 9 stations they run... although it was still better than that meal I had at Browns (remember, it was in the top 3 worst meals I've ever had... doubly so because of the price).

Finally for this installment, that week I finally managed to finish the book "Antarctica" by Kim Stanley Robinson (of Mars Trilogy fame). Good lard, that man needs to get over himself. It was probably the most pompous and long-winded book of "fiction" I have ever had to slog through... this is a guy who loves to hear his own voice and wanted to make sure that you were exposed to every little bit of data he had and research he had done on the subject of Antarctica. If you poked him with a needle, he would fweeeeeeeee around the room like that gas bag beach ball alien in Dark Star (as an aside, the fact that they managed to give a beach ball that much personality is an amazing cinematic feat, see below). Go ahead, ask me how I felt about reading it over the months it took me... ugh. Here is an actual sentence, one sentence, from page 2 (page 2!)... and I'm not making this up, it is verbatim: "And so there you are riding in the enclosed cab of a giant transport vehicle, still thinking about that girlfriend, ten thousand feet above sea level, in the dark of the long night; and as you sit there looking out the cab windows, the sky gradually lightens to the day's one hour of twilight, shifting in invisible stages from a star-cluttered black pool to a dome of glowing indigo lying close overhead; and in that pure transparent indigo floats the thinnest new moon imaginable, a mere sliver of a crescent, which nevertheless illuminates very clearly the great ocean of ice rolling to the horizon in all directions, the moonlight glittering on the snow, gleaming on the ice, and all of it tinted the same vivid indigo as the sky; everything still and motionless; the clarity of the light unlike anything you've ever seen, like nothing on Earth, and you are all alone in it, the only witness, the sole inhabitant of the planet it seems; and the uncanny beauty of the scene rises in you and clamps your chest tight, and your heart breaks then simply because it is squeezed so hard, because the world is so spacious and pure and beautiful, and because moments like this one are so transient —impossible to imagine beforehand, impossible to remember afterward, and never to be returned to, never ever." There are 651 pages of that and I'm glad there is nothing high for me to jump off right now. As with his other books, it is technically brilliant and researched in a manner that only Robinson can and does (he, in fact, spent a season in Antarctica in 1995 as part of the National Science Foundation's "U.S. Antarctic Program's Artists and Writers' Program and you really do get to see the sense of wonder he felt at being in such an alien place on our own planet). Where it falls down heavily (writing style aside) is that the characters are completely forgettable, if not unbearably annoying (and not because that's part of their character, they're just badly written). If this had been presented as the diary of a "personal journey" (a work of non-fiction), I am sure I would have enjoyed it much more, but trying to hammer every bit of knowledge and feeling he had into a thinly hung together plot with hollow characters did his experience there a great disservice... it was also one of the "whitest" books I've read in a while (and that is not a snow reference). I don't know if he needed a better editor or what, but this book is definitely never going to cycle into my "hmmm, I should read that again" pile (his Mars trilogy does fall into that category, so... it was because them that I persevered on this one). After that, I turned to Becky Chambers' book "the long way to a small angry planet" which proved a wonderful palate cleanser and was as much of a page-turner as Antarctica was a page-dragger (I'm still glad I read it because it's interesting seeing other people's visions of such a strange place, but ... 'nuf said). More on that later as I think I need to wrap this up now. Thanksgiving dinner is nearing completion and I should get back to it... yes, I picked up my car yesterday evening after my flight (it was parked at Carleton while I was gone because they were paving where I live... it's done now), went to the grocery store and wine shop on my way home, and am making a big dinner today (well, okay, Beep and Happy are doing the vegetable stuff and I'm doing the meats... a cured pork shoulder steamed in apple cider to be served with pineapple, a Quebecois meat tourtiere, and a pre-cooked chicken since they were out of turkeys at the grocery store I went to).

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Holey Shamoley, two weeks, come and gone, zow, baff, piff! Just finishing packing up and going to return my keys to the hidden, mysterious, and presumably omnipotent Lodge Porter of St. John's College (I think I remember which part of the wall had the secret door...). Then, it's off to London for some sightseeing, then it's off to Gatwick to sleep in my funky pod hotel room (it's right in the terminal, and it's relatively cheap... let's see if the latter is for a good reason, heh). I had hoped to post actual blog entries about the trip as I went, but I have either been in transit, working, or asleep the entire time I've been here — it has been quite the couple of weeks. Maybe I'll have some consciousness in my pod tonight to do an entry... there's also a three hour layover in St. John's (what's in a name?), Newfoundland and Labrador where that might be a fun thing to do. We shall see... I do know that I'm not going to have a moment when I get back to Canada either: I am attending CAN•CON 2017 (an event I co-founded back in the 90s, and it's so good to see it doing so well, it's going to be an amazing event and I had nothing to do with it... it's all grown up and does its own thing now, yay!). All the while I'm working on a presentation at Gender Summit 11 in Montreal, which is over the day before I fly to China for two weeks to visit!


Sep. 24th, 2017 05:08 am
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Twitter user @astrokatey (Katey Alatalo) just posted this in 22 parts, which I will present in bullet form here. I have heard these sorts of stories from fellow students (as a student) and from professional scientists (as a radio inteviewer). Science (and STEM in general) is supposed to be a meritocracy, and it does best when it is, but it is also a human endeavour and wrought with all the failings and successes of all human activities. As soon as privileged thinking enters the picture, the quality of the science goes down because those with privilege know they don't have to try as hard to get the same recognition of their work or careers. It just so happens that most of those with privilege are white and male (and often in the latter part of their careers). It is hard to make space for others not exactly like ourselves, but that is (imho) one of the defining aspects of civilization and civil society.
  • This article (NYT "Push for Gender Equality in Tech? Some Men Say It’s Gone Too Far") has made me super angry. Do you want to know what it is like trying to be a woman in a scientific space? Let me tell you.
  • Your teachers will start telling you when you are young that you are “not ready” for advanced math.
  • I was just lucky my mother stood up for me with that teacher. Otherwise I would not have been in calculus in high school.
  • In college, you will be in classes where your male classmates will tell you how easy the homework was. You’ll doubt yourself a lot.
  • Only to find out they were scoring Cs while you were getting As. Be ready for them to also say things like “women aren’t naturally scientists”.
  • Those same men will look at you like a possible person to date, when you just want to do your work. You learn to close yourself off.
  • Then, if you’re lucky, the president of Harvard will give a speech about women being biologically inferior in science.
  • And you’ll get to listen to your peers repeating that all around you. You get into top grad schools, are told it’s because you’re a woman.
  • You go. Then your advisor makes you uncomfortable by staring at your chest [she linked to this article: "How Sexual Harassment Halts Science"].
  • You make it clear they made you uncomfortable. So they isolate you, insult you, and try to drive out of science.
  • When it is too much, you report it to the chair. Who tells you that you are overreacting, or lying. And threatens to throw you out.
  • You put your head down and try hard as you can not to “rock the boat” after the chair did you the “favor” of letting you switch advisors.
  • The stress of merely surviving saps you of the creative energy you needed to write and advance academically.
  • AND that ex-advisor is using his platform to denigrate you and your science.
  • MIRACULOUSLY you make it out. You graduate, you get your Ph.D. and you get a postdoc.
  • You work your BUTT off to catch up to peers. Build the networks your advisor usually helps you build and manage to get good science done.
  • YOU DID IT! You got a fellowship!! You talk about your struggles. Many don’t believe you.
  • Every day, articles like the one in the New York Times come out to remind you your voice matters less than a spoiled white boy’s.
  • And those classmates and those harassers come back to your mind. And you wonder…
  • Was the cost of having the audacity to want to be an astronomer while also being a woman worth it?
  • Most women in science I know share some of my narrative. Do most men? No. They were assumed from kids to be sciencey.
  • When the day comes that vast majority of science women DO NOT have a tale like mine, then, New York Times, we can talk “biology”.

It is the two lines "the stress of merely surviving saps you of the creative energy you needed to write and advance academically" and "you work your butt off to catch up to peers and build the networks your advisor usually helps you build and manage to get good science done" that, to me, highlight why action needs to be taken to address sexism (and racism, and classism, and ableism, and...) in the sciences. Societies have huge problems with discrimination and building those walls doesn't protect it, it makes it weaker and has a huge opportunity cost (imagine if all of those people that are interested and good at things were the ones given the opportunities instead of those who are meh about the whole thing but do it because it's easy because they are privileged... that is lost opportunity for all of us). This is also why professional organizations need to up their game when it comes to taking active measures to reverse the historic inequities that exist in their respective fields: the way the system work is that no matter how well someone does in their formative years, if they are part of a marginalized group they were not permitted to do as much as their privileged peers (I am, at the moment, quite frustrated with the Canadian Association of Physicists... they are doing a poor job at addressing the institutionalized discrimination in the field of physics in Canada). Again, we are all poorer for it. If we can't get this to work in the sciences (remember? supposed meritocracy?), then what chance do we have of sorting this out in society as a whole?

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I realized how tired I was when I got to to the airport here and decided that my initial plan to take a bus tour of London was not such a good idea, and I wisely decided to head straight to Oxford. Took the Hogwarts Gatwick Express train to London's Victoria station, headed to the London Underground where I was disappointed to learn it was not a political movement (cues rimshot) and headed from Victoria Station to Paddington Station, and from there caught a train to Oxford. Definitely a good idea because I was having trouble keeping my eyes open by the time I got here. I pretty much caught all of my connections and it still took about 4 hours of travel... ugh.

The situation was not helped that in order to find where I was staying I needed to go to the Porter's Lodge at St. John's College in Oxford. This process was impeded by a complete and utter lack of any signage or guidance. I was reasonably sure I was close to it, but to find it I basically pushed open a massive fortress door (which was mysteriously unlocked, and which I saw people occasionally wander out of as I stood on the sidewalk trying to get my UK phone plan to works... note: that remains a work in progress) and wandered into an empty courtyard and meandered into another courtyard and randomly went into a doorway to another area where I saw an open door to something that looked like an office and went in... and there it was (there were a lot of other possibilities for where I could have gone, it was extremely lucky that I "zen navigated" my way to the right place... if nothing else, I would have asked anyone I found for help). I paid for my flat (in advance... thank goodness my Canadian bank card worked, it is supposed to work like Visa debit card and did) got the keys and fobs and set out to find the place, dragging my luggage behind me... it was walking distance, but further than I expected by a little bit. I got in (hauled everything up three flights of stairs). You walk in the door and there is a vestibule with a light switch and two doors leading off of it in opposite directions. In one direction is a living room with a chair, a small couch, a foldable dining table, wall shelving, a desk, a small cabinet, and what was a fireplace (now sealed up). Off the living room is another door that leads to a small kitchen with stove, small fridge, microwave, toaster, sink, cupboards above and below with plates, cookware, etc.. Going the other direction from the vestibule is the bedroom with a queen sized bed, bedside tables with lamps, and a little closet with an ironing board, iron, vacuum, etc.. From the bedroom is another door and a fairly large bathroom with toilet, sink, and shower. It is far from luxurious, but it is certainly more spacious than a hotel room (or hostel room, which is where I was originally supposed to be staying... there is a private hostel for visitors to the facilities in Harwell, but it was full so one of the physicists from Oxford was able to get me this flat I am in now).

It was late afternoon, and I went out for dinner. A lot of the places nearby that looked promising were actual British pubs, and by that I mean I could get beer, but not really anything in the way of food from what I could see (none of the customers had anything but pints). I ended up going to what looked like a chain restaurant ( because they had what looked like decent food and had a menu out front. They were serving mid-afternoon tea with the trays of goodies and such, it was fun to see. Their regular menu was also available. I ordered what turned out to be a micro-brew IPA (my friend in China needs to come here and teach English... I can't understand a thing they're saying... seriously, and lol, they can't understand me one whit either!) that was very strong and bitter (I liked it, most people I know would not have) and their "Slow cooked salted pork belly" which was came with savoury apple pie, buttered green beans, mash, crackling, and red wine jus. It was better than I expected from a chain type restaurant (not a large chain, they have about two dozen locations, but still). They had a very European attitude toward bringing the bill (I had to flag my server down and make air-scribbling motions), but I was falling asleep at my table and had to get out. The good news again is that I was able to use my Canada Post prepaid Visa to pay for my meal (so that works too, which is good). I have some UK currency in my pocket, but my bank in Canada gave me 5 Pound notes that aren't accepted as currency here anymore, sigh, which is about 40% of the cash I had on me. I should be able to trade them in for valid UK currency, but will probably need some help with that because only banks will do it.

From there, I came back home (home is where I hang my hat) — via a convenience store where I bought vegetable samosas and an orange juice for a snack later — and pretty much fell asleep. I just got up am going to try to go back to sleep again soon (had a samosa, it was pretty good, and the juice) but will try to repair my shoe again with the glue I got (and brought), see if Virgin Mobile can fix the issue with my local phone plan in the UK which doesn't seem to be working, and maybe put my clothes away (and maybe even take a shower, which would be a public service at this point I'm sure).

If I wake up early enough, I might do the London hop on/hop off bus tour thing tomorrow but I'm not going to set an alarm. There is also the possibility of just doing a tour of Oxford (they have open topped double decker buses and lots to see here as well, it's quite the tourist town). I also need to figure out where to catch the private shuttle bus from Oxford to the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory Monday morning (I need to be there by 9:30AM, which seems quite civilized). Two shuttle tickets were waiting for me at the Porter's Lodge that had been sent by mail by my contact. The address was "Phelonius Friar, c/o The College Porter, St. John's College, St. Giles, Oxford, OX1 3JP"... seriously, this place has no actual address... you either know where it is, or you don't! Fyi, I found a little medieval door to the street (short, and studded with iron things) that is the door the area where the Porter lurks, err works that I can go to in the future if I need to. It allows access to one of the courtyards I had wandered through earlier, and has a doorbell that will summon the porter 24/7 from what I was told. It is unlocked, I was also told, until 11PM. There is absolutely no indication on or anywhere near that door or the buzzer as to what might lie behind it or what it's purpose is. I am thinking I will have to leave quite early for the shuttle bus as well... they indicate a location, but I suspect it is also a "you know where it is or you don't" sort of thing... and I don't ;).

I imagine that this is the sort of thing that goes on inside these mysterious institutions in Oxford:

EDIT: Well, because of some sort of massive failure at Carleton University, I have been without an Internet connection for several days (I was using Eduroam, which was working perfectly, but because it authenticates at the user's home institution, and mine was a flaming dumpster fire, I could not get access). No biggie, but it did mean that I could not update here. I wanted to update in specific to this post though... I went back to Brown's for Sunday dinner as I was very tired and it sounded nice. It was very disappointing instead, and quite expensive. Most concerning is that I decided I would go out for dinner again tonight and went back to Brown's and had one of the three worst meals of my life (and I have eaten in a lot of places around the world). I am never going back, and would have to recommend that if anyone else gets the chance to eat there that they consider my warning. I will have an update shortly on my trip.
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Having worked on a CubeSat design team myself (I was working on the scientific payload), I know what a huge job it is. This is some pretty amazing work and some even more amazing troubleshooting and problem solving since it has been in orbit.

Space oddity: U of A satellite survives mission mishaps to capture super solar storm

Fyi, the Ex-Alta 1 website:

Note: As I have written about before, we never finished our CubeSat (it was an entry to the first Canadian Satellite Design Challenge and Carleton did not win)... just so you don't think I've actually built a satellite: I have not. Worked on one, yes; built parts of one, yes; finished one, nope.

Warning: video contains drug use and tattooed nuns in lingerie, somewhat NSFW I would say... but I found the video to be very creative and the cover version quite passable and as heartfelt as you get from these guys.

Mind you if you want to go full NSFW with The Flaming Lips, watch the video they did for their cover of The Beatles' "Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds" with Miley Cirus and Moby (really). I happen to think it's one of the most creative and transgressive videos I have seen this year (although it came out in 2014, I just saw it for the first time a couple of weeks ago), but it's pretty messed up in so many ways. It's on YouTube at the moment (but not The Flaming Lips' site, huh), but I don't know for how long given its content:
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I have discovered today that Aurora Award trophies can also be used as earthquake detectors (the metal panels click together to make a very distinctive sound)!

While there was no actual earthquake, there is local shaking as they run steamrollers along the access road to where I live. As I could feel the subsonics rippling through the house (it resonated pretty well and actually kind of hurt my ears and definitely generated a feeling of discomfort... plus freaked out the cats), a weird clicking, almost glass-like sound would kick in a few seconds after the shaking started. When I went to investigate, the shaking would subside and the sound would stop. I finally had a long enough "run" of shaking just now to track down the source of the noise. A slight bend and the clicking sound was no more... for a while... as I write this, the shaking is so intense that it has started again. Oh, well.

Note: I have never received an Aurora Award, however I administered the awards in 1995 (at CAN•CON) and as such have a sample (unplated) award on the mantle in my living room [I was nominated for one, however I had to decline the nomination due to my involvement as a key administrator of the awards that year... too much ethics for my own good sometimes, heh].

P.S. The Aurora Award trophy is amazing... as you can see from the photo if you look through it sideways there is a maple-leaf cutout through all three panels that align. Also, from the side the tops of the panels look like the sweep of an auroral display (the photo does not show that very well). As a final wow, if you look at it from the top, the three panels form the letters "SF".
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"Cassini, in some ways, represents the best of humanity. It's really a testament to our endless curiosity, our collective passion to continue exploring the world and the solar system we live in."
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I also just found out today (after the previous good news email already reported on) that I will be issued with a work visa for the UK "by way of ancestry" (my grandfather was British and moved to Canada after the war, and Canada is still a Commonwealth country). It's a 5 year multi-entry visa with quite liberal requirements for working in the UK (as long as I can support myself for a reasonable period of time, I can even go to look for work rather than having to have a job in hand at the border). My employer, Carleton University here in Canada, is going to pay for my travel, lodgings, and other expenses while I'm there (along with my salary, of course), so I will just be shifting money to the local economies in the area in return for hands-on experience. It is going to be used over the next few years (presumably) to spend a few weeks at a time at the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory (RAL) near Oxford (in Oxfordshire) to work on the Phase II upgrades to the ATLAS detector at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at CERN due to be installed in 2025 (at which point it will become the HL-LHC or High Luminosity LHC). Heady times! I'll be staying in a flat for visiting scientists at St. John's College at Oxford and I'm already crazy excited at just the prospect of that (I'm easily contented apparently)! It also looks like I will have a couple of days in Oxford or London to do a bit of touristy type stuff... now I just have to figure out what to do with that time... hmmmm. I'll be spending my birthday there (on a Saturday yet), which will be a marvy way of marking my having survived another year and a fine excuse to treat myself with something fun.

Without the work visa, I could not have so much as picked up a paper clip to contribute to the project (RAL is a government institution and is very strict about such things), and I would only have been able to go and observe which would have defeated the main purpose of my going there (to learn how to do this stuff so we can help going forward since it's too much work to do in one place). I was, to be honest, stressed out of my mind about the whole thing because the non-refundable airline tickets are already purchased and the UK embassy in New York has my passport as part of the application process (which could have presented a travel issue if it was not returned in time, which could have happened if the application took longer than it normally does, which is a possibility in these sorts of things). So my stress level has dropped by orders of magnitude to say the least! So, I leave for Gatwick from Ottawa on September 22 and will be returning here on October 8.

If you're in the London/Oxford area then, I'd be happy to go for a pint (or a cup of tea of that's more your speed) while I'm there :-).


Sep. 12th, 2017 09:12 am
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We have received your application to graduate from Carleton University in November 2017. Your eligibility to graduate in November 2017 will be based on the published calendar requirements for the degree program stated below:

CURRENT DEGREE: Bachelor of Arts Honours
Major 1: Women's and Gender Studies

You should confirm that the status of your application to graduate indicates "PENDING" in Carleton Central. The status of PENDING will remain until Senate meets to award degrees. After Senate meets to confer degrees on October 27, 2017 the outcome of your application will be sent to your Carleton email account and the result will also be updated in Carleton Central.

At this time, your audit report should say "ALL REQUIREMENTS COMPLETED -- IN-PROGRESS COURSES USED" or "ALL REQUIREMENTS IDENTIFIED BELOW HAVE BEEN MET". If your audit does NOT show one of these statements, then there are problems to be resolved and you should review this with your departmental advisor right away.

And I just checked and my audit does, indeed, say "ALL REQUIREMENTS IDENTIFIED BELOW HAVE BEEN MET" :).

I must say that this has been quite the wild ride! This is heaven.

pheloniusfriar: (Default)
Goodbye Cassini. With a final kiss goodbye from Titan, you will soon leave nothing but memories (and data, lots of wonderful data).
pheloniusfriar: (Default)
sed 's/\/></\/>\n</g' file.xml | m4 macros.m4 - |
    sed ':a;N;$!ba;s/\/>\n</\/></g' > file.out
But it worked... ick.

GNU m4 wasn't doing the specified (simple) macro substitutions on its own. I am wondering if it is because the XML file was just one big long line (26411 characters)? I didn't think line length was an issue for GNU m4, but it works fine when I break it into one line per XML statement (-ish). I can't be arsed figuring out what is going on right now so I will use this, ick, workaround for now (maybe some day... well, probably some day... I hate not understanding why things fail like that so I don't use the tool for something similar in the future and hope it works). Sigh.

(recommended by Lipps Inc. themselves as "possibly the BEST version of Funkytown ever")


Sep. 7th, 2017 04:39 am
pheloniusfriar: (Default)
I find it funny that whenever I type "fucking" into my phone, its heuristics kindly (and almost always correctly) suggest "autocorrect" as the next word.

pheloniusfriar: (Default)
Found an image of a 1951 Jeppesen Airway Manual ("MANUAL VOL.1 6011")... it is 7 rings!

I found a reference that Day-Timer (the company that started with the Lawyer's Day planner/log) started in 1947, but I have no images yet of what it looked like then.

Although I did find a reference to the prototype for the Lawyer's Day system from 1951, and it only had 3 holes!

This was pre-production, so I don't know if that means anything.

I've gone back a decade from where I had reached previously, but I'm still not seemingly at the point where the 7 ring binder was first introduced (and where, and why).
pheloniusfriar: (Default)
Well, I have received some emails back from some of the organizations I have written to trying to track down the origins of the 7-ring binder system. Both answers were quite sincere and very helpful in their own ways. The first was from Jeppesen:

Unfortunately, after speaking with my colleagues and management, we were unable to come up with an answer as to where one would locate history of the 7 ring binder system. There’s also no one within the company that we were able to speak with that would know who/where to answer the questions.

It is pretty cool that they asked around! The second was from the Curator at the Canada Aviation and Space Museum:

I must say I have no idea of where one could find information on the history of binders.

They did, however, suggest a couple of potential avenues for further research:

So maybe I'm not at a dead end, but I was hoping for a "oh, it was developed for the biffletron program of the US worms in space initiative of 1937... everybody knows that" answer ;).

A friend pointed out to me that these posts are public and I may be known in the future as that nutbar guy and the 7-ring binder thing. History can be so unkind, lol.

I played this on my show yesterday instead of the Cohen original (the song had been requested by my guest, Dr. David W.O. Rogers, a medical physicist specializing in making sure the models used for radiation treatment of cancers correspond to the way it really affects humans when used). I got his go ahead for the substitution before I did it, although he commented that the visual image of a 7 foot clown singing a song so powerful and doing it so well was troublingly incongruous. Fyi, all my shows are available "on demand" for about a year after they air.

Edit: Heh, just visited the nacacollectors site... I was thinking National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA, which became NASA), not the North American Collectibles Association. Oh, well, NACA (the NACA/NASA one) may very well be the source of the system... who knows. I will check out the collectibles societies, they may have a subject matter expert on binders ;).
pheloniusfriar: (Default)
It is likely a HIStory given the domains and time frames; however, if anyone knows different, please let me know.

Specifically, I wanted to trace the history of the 7-ring binder. The original ring binders were 2 or 3 rings, with the 3 rings along the spine variation being mass produced in the US around the turn of the 20th century and becoming the de facto standard worldwide (give or take a bit, there's a lot of variation for sure).

What I want to know is where the 7 ring binder originated from. I can find no clues anywhere! Well, maybe a few clues... they may have been used by Boeing for flight operations manuals and checklists (specifically, I can find reference to 737s, which first went into service in 1968). They are popular amongst those who make planner products, but I have a hunch that's not where they originated from, but were rather adopted there. But I am wondering if Boeing maybe took the 7-ring system from some earlier aviation or aerospace or ... what? dunno ... source. Conversely, I found this reference to a 7-ring Day-Timer planner in the January, 1967 edition (Vol. 53, p. 13) of the American Bar Association Journal, so maybe my hunch is hooey... So I know it goes back to at least 1967, and the fact there is no "new and improved" slogan on the binder implies to me it goes back farther than that.

The advantage of 7 rings is plain paper pages don't tend to rip like they do in 3 ring binders, so it is a real advantage when doing things like mission critical checklists or planners that are going to be leafed through many times a day.

Any thoughts? Hints? Breadcrumbs?

Edit: found another reference to the Day-Timer's "Lawyer's Day" time planner in the American Bar Association Journal. This time in the July 1961 edition (Vol. 47, p. 656). So, I think my 737 hypothesis is well and truly dead now. Maybe it's stationary for lawyers where it became "a thing". It also precludes, I think, NASA since it was only founded in 1958. So, I've gone back 6 years more, and still no clue as to where it originated (although I think I found out where it gained traction as a product format).

Edit: Okay... maybe another breadcrumb... Day-Timer started as the "Lawyer's Day" product it seems by "Morris Perkin (1909–1976), a successful Pennsylvania attorney". Ah, a legal profession connection. It still doesn't necessarily imply that the 7-ring system was invented for this application though (correlation does not imply causation, right?). I found another reference in the ABA Journal, this time in the July 1960 edition (Vol. 46, p. 702). The advertisement here is that is is a system by a lawyer for lawyers, it does explicitly state that is a 7 ring binder system, but it still doesn't do anything other than state that's what it uses (again, implying it's a big meh, and isn't any sort of innovation at this point).

Edit: Found reference to "handsome 7 ring binder" in an advert for Jeppesen flight planning pages in the November 1962 edition of FLYING magazine. There may still be an aviation connection... or maybe it's military in origin? The fact that both the legal/planner and aviation instances are co-existing (and make no mention of the "gosh golly wow new" of the 7 ring system) seem to imply that both are based on a technology developed earlier.
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I have so much I want to do, so much pent-up desire (and sometimes need) to accomplish so many things after eight years as a "mature" (or at least elderly) undergraduate student. So many business ideas, so many technical ideas, so many geekly fun for myself ideas, so many social ideas, but I remain mired in making it from one day to the next. I really should have taken some time off to get my head straight, but it just didn't work out that way (in fact, I had negative amounts of time off because I started working for the university part time months before my semester was over, and was full time before my finals were written). With all that said, the reason was the bane of my hopes to accomplish the things I want: opportunity. The chances to work on things too cool for school (if you'll pardon the phrase as I am still, for all intents and purposes, at school) was too much to resist. It comes at a cost though for sure.

So where are things now, well, as stated, I am working on some truly amazing projects right now. These include both the Phase 1 (New Small Wheel muon tracker/trigger [not actually very small, fyi], in particular the small-wire Thin Gap Chamber, sTGC, sub-project that I did the testbeam at Fermilab for a few years back as a student research assistant and got authorship on a peer-reviewed journal article by working on) and Phase 2 (silicon inner tracker, ITk, in particular the end-cap strips sensors sub-project) upgrades for the ATLAS experiment at the Large Hadron Collider at CERN (which will be upgraded to the High-Luminosity Large Hadron Detector with the replacement of the inner tracker system in 2025).

If all goes well, I just applied for a 5 year work visa for the UK (by way of UK Ancestry... my grandfather was born in Measham), and if I get it I will go for two weeks in mid-September (I've never been to the UK) to help test 48 wafers of a new batch of ASICs (integrated circuit chips, 450 per wafer) for the ITk project as part of a plan to start testing wafers here in Ottawa. There are hundreds of thousands of ASIC chips and thousands of sensors to be tested for the final detector, and we need multiple sites to do it at... Canada built the forward calorimeter for the current incarnation of ATLAS, and is working on the gas-filled detectors, the sTGCs, but this is the first time we've done silicon trackers like these, or at least on this scale. Anyway, if the visa thing works out, I might be going to RAL in the UK periodically over the next few years to work on this particular aspect of the project. I was supposed to make a side trip to CERN for the "ITk Week" where physicists from all over the world working on that project get together (I've never been there either, but I have been to TRIUMF, Fermilab, and DESY), but we're not sure when the wafers are going to be in, so it's kind of up in the air right now whether or not I make it to Switzerland (which I've never been to either).

I am also working on the Cryogenic Underground TEst facility (sorry, a PDF is all I could find that was public... slide 2 is worth checking it out for), CUTE (yes, CUTE...), which is an experiment that is part of the search for dark matter that will be installed at SNOLAB, 2km underground, early next year. It is going to use a 1kg chunk of ultra-pure germanium as its main detector element (huge for something like that, and crazy expensive). I have heard rumours that I may be asked to spend 6 weeks underground (well, heading underground each day... 5AM, ugh, but this will be for science!)... the first two weeks training (it's an active nickel mine in Sudbury, so there are real mining dangers on top of the danger of just being that far underground), and the next four weeks actually doing work. I had a chance to visit SNOLAB a couple of years back (I never got around to properly posting about it, which I am sad about), but I did post a couple of pictures I took while there. It really is like a villain lair from a Bond film or something... it's pretty surreal.

The other cluster of reasons why I am still not even close to being recovered from my undergraduate degrees is moving... and not even me. Firstly, my partner (we've been dating for a few years) could not find full time employment (much less anything with benefits) here in Ottawa (due to the way the federal government outsourced language training to a cartel), so had to move to Shanghai, China (teaching English as a Foreign Language) to get a living wage and extended medical insurance (we have universal health care, but it doesn't cover everything... like prescriptions and glasses and dental work unless they are outrageously expensive treatments or emergencies, for instance... I wouldn't trade it for the world having lived the alternative for a suffiently long time, but that's another story). She moved mid-June and that effort just about killed me dead (international moves are big things, I've done them before, but she didn't have a lot of resources, so sweat replaced money for a lot of things that had to get done). I did a radio inteview with her the week before she left that you can listen to here about her path through life that led her to where she is now. Her contract is for 15 months, but I am going to go visit her in Shanghai for two weeks in November! I've never been to China, so I am very, very excited (and Shanghai is a good introduction without going too deep, although I do hope to do one trip into another part of the country while I'm there). I was just starting to recover from that crazy process and my eldest daughter Beep finally decided to move out with two of her friends into a relatively nearby apartment. That happened last Saturday and it is still a work in progress (although 99% of the move is done now). It went relatively smoothly, but she had a lot more stuff than she thought she did, and it was a really hard job (moving hide-a-beds up from the basement here left some amount of injury, but nothing that's slowing me down too hard... I'm just freakin' exhausted). I'm heading over once I post this to her place for her housewarming party, and will be bringing a couple of serving spoons (she only has a ladle at the moment since her and her roommates didn't coordinate "stuff bringing" particularly well, heh), and a homemade vegetarian pizza to cook (I'm just waiting on the dough to finish and will bring the prepared ingredients in bags to assemble there). Her two roommates are effectively vegetarians (one will eat meat, but only if ethically sourced from personally known farmers), and I think that will be good for Beep (she's a whiz with vegetarian foods, we have always eaten a lot of vegetarian meals at home here). She is also continuing at college (Algonquin) in their Culinary Management programme, where she is learning to be a chef and to be able to run a kitchen or even restaurant. It's a good portable (almost universal) skill to have, and could open up a lot of doors for her all over the world if that's what she decides she wants to do. She is also talking about taking a degree in antropology at university eventually, and that would pair very nicely with a background in food... could be interesting, but we will see. Tuition is now free for low income families in Ontario (that'd be us, give or take a bit), so it is financially easier to go to school for both of them too (I completely missed out on it as it is only starting this fall). Happy had planned to move out at the start of the summer, but didn't quite get around to it, and for many reasons, has decided to stay with me for at least another year of school. She is going into her second official year in the psychology programme at Carleton (with minors in Women's and Gender Studies and Sexuality Studies... she has grown up around a broad spectrum of gender representations, so she is well placed to make contributions in those fields, imho). School starts for both of them in a week, so that's going to take a lot of effort on my part as well (if history is any indication). I do have to say I'm not looking forward to Carleton being packed to the rafters with people again soon, summers are so nice there...

My radio show, The Passionate Friar, is still going pretty well: an hour of feminism/social issues, physics/science, and music... news, reviews, interviews, ideas, engaging audio, and the Oxford comma! I've managed to up my game with interviews this summer and hope to keep the momentum going forward (I need to get more lined up for September now, but I think I will try more phone interviews, so it opens up a lot more possibilities). The shows are available "on demand" for somewhat over a year, so there is lots to listen to if you want to hear the people behind the physics (and science) and feminism (and social issues) you may hear/read about and benefit from. The list of shows to choose from is here on the CKCU web site. It's a long-form show (an hour), with some music for good measure (so it's not an hour of just talking). It gives a chance for people to warm up and share the stuff they are really passionate about and have devoted at least the current part of their lives pursuing. Some recent stuff includes: Ryan Couling and Matthew Johnston about their research into social media reactions to the Jian Ghomeshi trial; the writers for, and the editors and publishers of, the new young adult anthology Brave New Girls: Stories of Girls Who Science and Scheme; Lori Stinson on her research which ranges from patterns of pornography consumption, to corporate manslaughter and homicide laws, to the changing federal family violence initiative; Alex Nuttal on disability tropes in comics and Barbara Gordon /​ Batgirl /​ Oracle; S.M. Carrière about creating characters or talking with/​about people that don't share your lived experiences (e.g. LGBTQA+ if you're not, women if you are a man or visa versa, etc.); neuroscientist turned social worker Dr. Elaine Waddington Lamont; an interview with Canadian new wave synthpop band Rational Youth; an interview and live music with Xave Ruth on the intersection of math, music, and comedy; Dr. Michael Windover, historian of architecture, design, and material culture on his research, exhibits, and book on early radio in Canada; outgoing Carleton University President and Vice-Chancellor Dr. Roseann O'Reilly Runte about her French poetry, writing, and research; theoretical physicist Dr. Thomas Grégoire; science education innovators Martin Williams, Ian Blokland, and Mats Selen (2015 US Professor of the Year); Cindy Stelmackowich on the history of Canadian women in science, engineering, technology, and mathematics (STEM); etc., etc., etc..

Needless to say, every Wednesday morning, my mind is totally blown and I can be excited about life and everything in it all over again. It's good to be The Passionate Friar!!!

Lastly, and on the topic of "mind blown", if you're in Ottawa September 11, please come out to the Carleton University Art Gallery for the vernissage of the art gallery exhibit I helped to curate and produce! It's an amazing collection of artifacts from early women scientists in Canada and tells both the story of the tremendous contributions they made, and the forces that were arrayed against them simply because of their gender. It has been an indescribable privilege to have participated in such a unique exhibit. From the CUAG list of upcoming exhibits:

11 September – 03 December 2017
Curated by Josie Arruejo, Chelsea Black, James Botte, Brigid Christison, Michelle Jackson and Sharon Odell; in collaboration with Dr. Cindy Stelmackowich.

So, what is a “herbarium?” and why is she the focus?

A herbarium is a collection of dried and preserved pressed plants or fungi that are stored, catalogued and arranged systematically for study.

In highlighting the “her” within
HERbarium, this exhibition focuses on the highly skilled and too widely unknown women who contributed to the collection, identification, illustration, production and distribution of early scientific knowledge within the field of botany in Canada.

Because of the accessible nature of botany close to home, and a national pursuit and desire to see, describe and classify flora and fauna species that were distinct from Europe within a then-young Canada, botany was the first natural science formally practiced by Canadian women.

With examples of path-breaking contributions by Catharine Parr Traill, Lady Dalhousie, Faith Fyles, Dr. Irene Mounce and Dr. Mildred Nobles, this exhibition looks back at an important and underrepresented history. It also includes a copy of the “Privy Council Letter, 1920 – Women, Marriage, Employment” which outlines the federal policy in effect until 1955 that prohibited a woman upon marriage from continuing her career as a federal employee. The exhibition also looks forward at the continuing need to encourage women to pursue careers in science, where they face ongoing discrimination on the basis of intersections of gender, race, sexuality, dis/ability and class.

This exhibition has been developed for the Carleton Curatorial Laboratory in collaboration with Dr. Cindy Stelmackowich as part of her seminar “Representations of Women’s Scientific Contributions” offered through the Pauline Jewitt Institute of Women’s and Gender Studies at Carleton University.

If you're there, come say hi! I'll be the old, fat, bald, white guy standing awkwardly in the midst of many very cool and diverse young women ;). I do have to say that it was one of the most amazing courses I have ever taken... when I saw the title of the course, I knew there was no way I could not sign up; however, I had assumed it was going to be more research and essays and maybe classroom discussions. I was wonderfully, wonderfully wrong... it was many, many excursions to the hidden collections of Canada's national museums, practical hands-on work with many brilliant classmates, deeply engaging conversations about women in science (both historically and today), and working far outside my comfort zone on so many things. It was an absolutely magnificent way to cap my B.A. Honours degree in Women's and Gender Studies.

If that doesn't work, and you're here on October 17th... to the best of my knowledge, I should be there for this as well (see above re: potential travel to the UK or maybe even SNOLAB):

HERbarium: Exhibition tour with the curatorial team
Tuesday, 17 October 2017, 7:00 p.m

Please join us for a tour of the exhibition HERbarium, which was co-curated by Josie Arruejo, Chelsea Black, James Botte, Brigid Christison, Michelle Jackson and Sharon Odell, in collaboration with women’s and gender studies professor Cindy Stelmackowich.

Admission is free and everyone is welcome! CUAG is an accessible space, with barrier-free washrooms and elevator.

It does run until December 3, 2017 and I'd be happy to pop by if you get a chance to see it (just let me know a day or two in advance). I will be going in right after my show on Wednesday (August 30, 2017) to lend a hand or two in helping to set up the actual exhibit. It's delightful that we were actually able to get some amazingly rare artifacts to (safely) put on display, including Lady Dalhousie's 18th century personal herbarium, a first edition of Catherine Parr Traill's groundbreaking 1865 book "Canadian Wild Flowers" (a limited print run of 500 units, each with 10 colour plates, hand watercoloured by family members, it was the first "coffee table art book" published in Canada), amazing botanical artwork and science by Faith Fyles, and mycology (mushrooms and fungus) samples and other work by the pioneers in the categorization and study of fungi Dr. Irene Mounce and Dr. Mildred Nobles from the mid-20th century. The reproduction of the “Privy Council Letter, 1920 – Women, Marriage, Employment” (which was the "smoking gun" for so much of what we were trying to document regarding the limitations imposed on women) is just jaw dropping to read.

Just writing that, I feel like I need to go back to bed...

For a video today, hmmm... I think I need to repost something I seem to post every once in a while. The first video, "I Tak Bez Konca" by Polish musician Karolina Kozak is the United States I remember fondly and saw as the possibility of the place. Filmed in Savannah, Georgia, it often brings a tear to my eye (I actually know the people in the coffee shop from when I lived in North Carolina... it's a small world). The second video is the United States that we see on the surface and is the one the world is carefully watching: "I'm Afraid Of Americans" by David Bowie and Trent Reznor (Nine Inch Nails)... which will ultimately win, and at what cost? This is another place where a tremendous amount of my energy is going these days, just wondering if I'll have time to realize that nuclear war has broken out before me and my children and friends are all dead (we live in a national capital). I lived through the 70s and 80s, and I had hoped these days of fear were behind us. They are not, and I think it is even more dangerous (and possible) today than it was then given the multi-axis instabilities and extremism (and by that I mean established governments, not non-governmental groups) we are seeing all over the world. The Bowie/Reznor video sends chills down my spine when I watch it.

If that's too depressing... how about this song from Zepparella's original lineup (I have serious respect [and other feelings] for the drummer, she doesn't mess around when it comes to playing those things):

So much to live for still, let's get our shit together.
pheloniusfriar: (Default)
What. The. Actual. Fuck. ??????!!!?!?!!!

KFC is making a futuristic VR horror experience where you make fried chicken...

If there is any question here, I am reasonably sure the answer is no!

pheloniusfriar: (Default)
I am forced to use Windows 8.1 for some of the work I do at Carleton (if I use Windows at home, I have either Windows 7 Pro or Windows XP, which I need for some of the stuff I have to run... it just won't run on Windows 7). Today, I just spent half an hour trying to change my password. Seriously. What the actual fuck? Went to Control Panel and Users and ... all kinds of settings all of which I don't give a rat's ass about, but none of them (including a hopeful sounding one about updating credentials for windows) allowed me to do a simple change of my password. Okay, go to Google... article after article about how to recover passwords (including youtube videos), but nothing about how to actually change the password. The solution? Cntl-Alt-Delete. Seriously. What the actual fuck? Cntl-Alt-Delete is the uninterruptable keystroke and in the past has been reserved for exceptional system level functions, not day-to-day administrivia like changing one's own password. If I wasn't running Classic Shell on the system to at least give myself a tolerable Start menu, I would be on here ranting about how much Windoze sucks 24/7 (or at least until I passed out from exhaustion in my own vitriol).

You can thank the lucky stars for Classic Shell.

Okay, now back to emailing a document, which I had to do from Windows on my dual boot system at work (it's on Windows because the software I had to use for the project only runs on Windows so it made sense for me to leave my files there... although I should mount the Windows file system on Linux so this doesn't happen again... this is the first time I just needed files from my Windows partition rather than having to run software on Windows so it didn't occur to me until just now... be assured it will be done this afternoon!).

Ugh, so much productivity wasted.

Speaking of which (although I consider musical and artistic experiences to be an important time sink rather than a waste of freakin' time like Windows)... and to provide some "value" so my posts aren't a total waste of your time.

Russian electric balalaika and beatboxing?


Aug. 7th, 2017 03:14 pm
pheloniusfriar: (Default)
Going through some old digital photos looking for something and ran across this... it was taken with my camera, but it seems it was taken by Happy. Yes, that's an elephant. I don't even know ;).


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