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Top posts in the last 50 posts

Most comments: 8

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2016-07-09 03:42:48 (8 comments; 0 reshares; 14 +1s; )Open 

So this is my latest project -- turning the flat, weed-infested front yard, behind the retaining wall, into something interesting. I dug down about 6-10 inches, put in gopher wire, piled dirt back on, put in retaining terrace board, filled it back in with a mix of the original sand and planting soil, and made it mounded. Then I placed the 5 remaining redwood rounds in strategic locations and dug in a "river" bed for the Blue Lake river rocks to meander through it. Now that the main infrastructure is done, I just have to set up the main drip irrigation line and get some plants!

That's about 1.5 tons of river rock, by the way. Most of it I wheeled down the driveway in the wheelbarrow, 10 rocks at a time. Because it's heavy. Also pretty.

Also, just before that I made a mulch pathway with both gopher wire and landscape fabric below it. Which means I now have new... more »

Most reshares: 5

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2015-01-15 16:50:14 (6 comments; 5 reshares; 27 +1s; )Open 

Whether you’re deciphering a sign in Rio de Janeiro or negotiating with a shop owner in Berlin, Google Translate can be your guide. Starting today, you can instantly translate signs using your phone’s camera and the Translate app, available on Android and iOS: http://goo.gl/lVse9T

Most plusones: 32

2014-11-02 04:58:14 (4 comments; 0 reshares; 32 +1s; )Open 

On picking up older daughter from her sleepover, seeing her with the laptop balanced on her lap (with Minecraft open) and typing into her phone at the same time:

Me: "Why are you texting and playing Minecraft at the same time????"
Her: "I'm not! I'm using Google Translate so I can chat in Japanese to this guy in Minecraft! "
Me: "Hmmm. Okay, well then. That's a good answer."

Kids these days.

Latest 50 posts

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2016-07-11 16:52:44 (3 comments; 0 reshares; 10 +1s; )Open 

And now there are plants and trees!

The lower bed is now all mulched in too, so I'm declaring this project "done" for the time being. Sort of. I still have to get the water needs for the plants established, so there will be a bunch of watering / measuring soil moisture going on over the next few weeks. Still.

Next up - someone else is going to need to fix the driveway, because I can't do that myself (or to be clear, without renting a lot of large equipment and taking more than a month to do it). After that, there will be some cleanup edging/planting and so forth, but that's just mop-up work, really.

And now there are plants and trees!

The lower bed is now all mulched in too, so I'm declaring this project "done" for the time being. Sort of. I still have to get the water needs for the plants established, so there will be a bunch of watering / measuring soil moisture going on over the next few weeks. Still.

Next up - someone else is going to need to fix the driveway, because I can't do that myself (or to be clear, without renting a lot of large equipment and taking more than a month to do it). After that, there will be some cleanup edging/planting and so forth, but that's just mop-up work, really.___

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2016-07-09 03:42:48 (8 comments; 0 reshares; 14 +1s; )Open 

So this is my latest project -- turning the flat, weed-infested front yard, behind the retaining wall, into something interesting. I dug down about 6-10 inches, put in gopher wire, piled dirt back on, put in retaining terrace board, filled it back in with a mix of the original sand and planting soil, and made it mounded. Then I placed the 5 remaining redwood rounds in strategic locations and dug in a "river" bed for the Blue Lake river rocks to meander through it. Now that the main infrastructure is done, I just have to set up the main drip irrigation line and get some plants!

That's about 1.5 tons of river rock, by the way. Most of it I wheeled down the driveway in the wheelbarrow, 10 rocks at a time. Because it's heavy. Also pretty.

Also, just before that I made a mulch pathway with both gopher wire and landscape fabric below it. Which means I now have new... more »

So this is my latest project -- turning the flat, weed-infested front yard, behind the retaining wall, into something interesting. I dug down about 6-10 inches, put in gopher wire, piled dirt back on, put in retaining terrace board, filled it back in with a mix of the original sand and planting soil, and made it mounded. Then I placed the 5 remaining redwood rounds in strategic locations and dug in a "river" bed for the Blue Lake river rocks to meander through it. Now that the main infrastructure is done, I just have to set up the main drip irrigation line and get some plants!

That's about 1.5 tons of river rock, by the way. Most of it I wheeled down the driveway in the wheelbarrow, 10 rocks at a time. Because it's heavy. Also pretty.

Also, just before that I made a mulch pathway with both gopher wire and landscape fabric below it. Which means I now have new gopher holes popping up everywhere I haven't yet touched in the front yard because they little vermin are freaking out. Muah ha ha.___

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2016-04-03 17:34:24 (0 comments; 0 reshares; 7 +1s; )Open 

This was way more fun than anticipated :). Also, why not!

This was way more fun than anticipated :). Also, why not!___

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2016-03-31 01:44:07 (0 comments; 0 reshares; 3 +1s; )Open 

Shootaround at the Santa Cruz Warriors' last home game of the regular season!

Shootaround at the Santa Cruz Warriors' last home game of the regular season!___

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2016-03-26 01:11:24 (0 comments; 0 reshares; 3 +1s; )Open 

Machine Learning. For not really the win.

Machine Learning. For not really the win.___

2016-03-12 18:49:55 (4 comments; 0 reshares; 8 +1s; )Open 

I admire bloggers. Like +Patricia Elizabeth especially, but bloggers as a concept as well as individual people.

Why? They are braver than I am.

Saying what you think. It's something people generally think I do, and that's true in some contexts. Like work. But not all contexts.

Saying something makes it less avoidable, because now it is Out There.
Saying something means that things will probably change, due to it being harder to avoid.
Saying something means risk.
Facing that risk takes bravery.
Bravery is easier when you have a support base. But not necessarily a lot easier, because it's still a personal action that friends can't take for you.
Bravery. Hmmmph.

I admire bloggers. Like +Patricia Elizabeth especially, but bloggers as a concept as well as individual people.

Why? They are braver than I am.

Saying what you think. It's something people generally think I do, and that's true in some contexts. Like work. But not all contexts.

Saying something makes it less avoidable, because now it is Out There.
Saying something means that things will probably change, due to it being harder to avoid.
Saying something means risk.
Facing that risk takes bravery.
Bravery is easier when you have a support base. But not necessarily a lot easier, because it's still a personal action that friends can't take for you.
Bravery. Hmmmph.___

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2016-02-27 21:53:35 (0 comments; 0 reshares; 2 +1s; )Open 

Cats, of course, would react to this article with a "well, so what?" look. Beware their influence.

It's not just getting schizophrenia from your cats. The flu virus may make you socialize more.___Cats, of course, would react to this article with a "well, so what?" look. Beware their influence.

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2016-02-15 22:20:01 (1 comments; 0 reshares; 10 +1s; )Open 

This is how I spent my long weekend:

Saturday: Try to find a place to re-use the old (and, as it turned out, rotting) old half-barrels we used to grow things other than weeds in up on our deck. Have first barrel fall apart. While moving all the pieces and other barrels to the side of the house, realize that there are quite a few leftover segments from the pre-engineered concrete retaining wall we had put in the front yard a few years ago tucked away in Spiderville (underneath said deck). Wondered how it was I hadn't noticed/remembered they were there. Realized that while there weren't enough for an actual retaining wall for the treacherous and soft hill in our back yard, I could probably use them as reinforcements. Maybe terraced or something. Immediately change plans for the afternoon and put in 4 blocks after digging up some old screening to use as a weed-and-gopher blocker.... more »

This is how I spent my long weekend:

Saturday: Try to find a place to re-use the old (and, as it turned out, rotting) old half-barrels we used to grow things other than weeds in up on our deck. Have first barrel fall apart. While moving all the pieces and other barrels to the side of the house, realize that there are quite a few leftover segments from the pre-engineered concrete retaining wall we had put in the front yard a few years ago tucked away in Spiderville (underneath said deck). Wondered how it was I hadn't noticed/remembered they were there. Realized that while there weren't enough for an actual retaining wall for the treacherous and soft hill in our back yard, I could probably use them as reinforcements. Maybe terraced or something. Immediately change plans for the afternoon and put in 4 blocks after digging up some old screening to use as a weed-and-gopher blocker. These things are heavy but no worries, I just have to carry them to the top of the hill and then I can end-over-end them down.

Sunday: Put in 8-9 more blocks (I'm not really sure). Get plants and plant mix soil from the local nursery with Younger Daughter's help (she gets to pick the plants). Also watch the All-Star game (basketball) because, you know, priorities.

Monday: Put in the rest of the blocks, minus one. Why not that one? Because now I have a pattern going and there's no way to fit in that last block without it clearly not actually belonging there. I'll have to find a place to use it later. With the kid's help, plant the plants and seeds.

Now, I just have to finish the laundry and all of the other chores I was supposed to be doing instead of this, but I decided that what with me having the long weekend, I was going to get to be creative with it :)

I am wondering, though, how heavy those things actually are. I'm not nearly as strong as I remember being (a situation unlikely to ever change), but I'm pretty happy with myself for not actually breaking/straining anything seriously during this project.___

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2016-01-15 05:34:37 (0 comments; 0 reshares; 7 +1s; )Open 

These seats are so good we got to see Riley too!!!! #whatanxmaspresent #gowarriors

These seats are so good we got to see Riley too!!!! #whatanxmaspresent #gowarriors___

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2016-01-15 02:21:49 (0 comments; 0 reshares; 6 +1s; )Open 

Curry warming up is pretty amazing...

Curry warming up is pretty amazing...___

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2016-01-15 02:19:19 (2 comments; 0 reshares; 4 +1s; )Open 

Made it just in time to get one of the bobbleheads and see the shoot around!!

Made it just in time to get one of the bobbleheads and see the shoot around!!___

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2015-12-22 23:27:20 (4 comments; 0 reshares; 10 +1s; )Open 

I made a new (to me) thing... Crescent rolls with the poppyseed filling that was extra from a cookie recipe. Super yummy!!!!

I made a new (to me) thing... Crescent rolls with the poppyseed filling that was extra from a cookie recipe. Super yummy!!!!___

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2015-12-19 07:12:15 (0 comments; 1 reshares; 4 +1s; )Open 

And the second trailer. More details. More awesome!!

Yes, there is some squeeeeeing going on here.

And the second trailer. More details. More awesome!!

Yes, there is some squeeeeeing going on here.___

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2015-12-19 07:07:11 (1 comments; 0 reshares; 7 +1s; )Open 

Oh boy oh boy oh boy...

Oh boy oh boy oh boy...___

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2015-12-18 04:25:40 (1 comments; 0 reshares; 4 +1s; )Open 

Help Beethoven arrange his masterpieces in today’s #GoogleDoodle

Great job, Google Doodle team! You're just setting our expectations higher and higher :)

Help Beethoven arrange his masterpieces in today’s #GoogleDoodle

Great job, Google Doodle team! You're just setting our expectations higher and higher :)___

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2015-05-03 01:55:49 (1 comments; 0 reshares; 11 +1s; )Open 

I made these cupcakes for my mother-in-law's birthday, then tweaked them until they were quite a bit more tangy. Add to the flour mixture:
At least 2 tsp ground ginger,
1 tsp cinnamon
Zest of one orange

Enjoy!

I made these cupcakes for my mother-in-law's birthday, then tweaked them until they were quite a bit more tangy. Add to the flour mixture:
At least 2 tsp ground ginger,
1 tsp cinnamon
Zest of one orange

Enjoy!___

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2015-05-01 01:13:11 (3 comments; 0 reshares; 5 +1s; )Open 

I may have a new favorite author. I'll have to read his books to see if they're any good compared to the awesomeness of his emails.

I may have a new favorite author. I'll have to read his books to see if they're any good compared to the awesomeness of his emails.___

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2015-04-21 04:17:29 (3 comments; 0 reshares; 2 +1s; )Open 

___

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2015-04-14 14:09:53 (1 comments; 1 reshares; 8 +1s; )Open 

Another round of account hijacking attempts, this time with correct grammar. 2-factor authentication isn't really optional anymore.

It's scary how many people I know have had their gmail account hi-jacked recently. The attackers are getting smarter and play on your emotions.
For example, the email I received last night (from a close relative) was along those lines: "I'm in trouble, don't tell others since I don't want to worry them but I need your help. I can only be reached via email". The email was in my relative's native language and well written. I could have fallen from it if I wasn't aware about this type of attack. 

Here's what I have been doing for a while (and you can easily do the same to protect yourself and those you know):

1) I enabled 2-step authentication on my google account: https://www.google.com/landing/2step/ (If you have a smart-phone, it's extremely easy, it won't get in your way and will make it a LOT harder for hi-jackers to get access to your account. Even if you don't have a smart-phone, it's a very good security to add.)
2) Whenever I receive an email that is even a little bit suspicious (for example: asking for a password or for some money is definitely suspicious), I copy a sentence from that email and do a Google search for that exact sentence under "quotes". Most of the time, Google will show web pages where people at talking about similar emails they also received. Just because you don't see any results doesn't mean the email is safe but that search often helps to confirm that the email is un-safe.
3) Whenever I receive an email from someone/a company I know which is a bit suspicious (see 2), then I contact that person (if possible via another mean than email) to check whether they actually meant to send that email and to let them know their account may have been hijacked. (That's what I did just last night and it was indeed a hi-jack.)
4) It's easy to copy images, just because you see a logo doesn't mean the email is official!

Be safe and vigilant. That's your best defense. ___Another round of account hijacking attempts, this time with correct grammar. 2-factor authentication isn't really optional anymore.

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2015-03-15 01:32:41 (1 comments; 0 reshares; 20 +1s; )Open 

Pie day.

Pie day.___

2015-03-08 04:15:12 (2 comments; 0 reshares; 21 +1s; )Open 

Her: "Mom, I believe in reincarnation now. I was reading something on Reddit asking..."
Me: "You know what Reddit is??"
Her: "Yes, yes, it was asking about what the creepiest thing that their child ever said to them was, and...."
Me: "How about, 'Mom, I was reading something on Reddit??!!!'"

Her: "Mom, I believe in reincarnation now. I was reading something on Reddit asking..."
Me: "You know what Reddit is??"
Her: "Yes, yes, it was asking about what the creepiest thing that their child ever said to them was, and...."
Me: "How about, 'Mom, I was reading something on Reddit??!!!'"___

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2015-02-26 04:50:53 (1 comments; 2 reshares; 2 +1s; )Open 

In further news, the US House of Representatives has continued their plans to bring about the Apocalypse, passing a bill (on almost exactly party lines) to effectively ban scientists from being on the EPA's scientific advisory board. Under these new rules, anyone who has done research on anything which the board studies is considered to have a conflict of interest, and therefore cannot sit on the board. Fortunately, simply having a financial stake in the matters which the board studies does not constitute a conflict of interest, so the scientific advisory board continues to be open to corporate public affairs officers, demented preachers, or roving madmen off the street.

The bill now proceeds to the Senate, where it has been referred to the Committee on Environment and Public Works. This is the committee chaired by Sen. Inhofe of Oklahoma, author of The Greatest Hoax: How the Global Warming... more »

In further news, the US House of Representatives has continued their plans to bring about the Apocalypse, passing a bill (on almost exactly party lines) to effectively ban scientists from being on the EPA's scientific advisory board. Under these new rules, anyone who has done research on anything which the board studies is considered to have a conflict of interest, and therefore cannot sit on the board. Fortunately, simply having a financial stake in the matters which the board studies does not constitute a conflict of interest, so the scientific advisory board continues to be open to corporate public affairs officers, demented preachers, or roving madmen off the street.

The bill now proceeds to the Senate, where it has been referred to the Committee on Environment and Public Works. This is the committee chaired by Sen. Inhofe of Oklahoma, author of The Greatest Hoax: How the Global Warming Conspiracy Threatens Your Future and other light classics, in which he tells us that because of the existence of God, the "arrogance of people to think that we, human beings, would be able to change what He is doing in the climate is... outrageous." So in all, it's a good year for public affairs officers, demented preachers, and roving madmen off the street in all aspects of our government, and I forecast excellent career opportunities for each of these categories going forward. 

h/t +Peter da Silva for the link.___

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2015-02-25 15:18:15 (0 comments; 0 reshares; 3 +1s; )Open 

This is pretty cool: the authors attempted to prove the correctness of a common sorting implementation and discovered it was in fact flawed.  Seems an input has to be rather carefully crafted to trigger a failure, though.

This is pretty cool: the authors attempted to prove the correctness of a common sorting implementation and discovered it was in fact flawed.  Seems an input has to be rather carefully crafted to trigger a failure, though.___

2015-02-23 16:49:07 (7 comments; 0 reshares; 12 +1s; )Open 

Well, it's been an eventful week, in a mixed good thing / bad thing way.

My stepfather passed away last Monday. Complicated relationships with parental figures aside, it was very much a release for both him and my mom. Alzheimer's is a terrible disease, and it does a terrible thing: it slowly strips away everything that we work to achieve in our personal relationships, leaving a person with frustration, and anger, and no clear understanding of what is going on. His death released him from all that, and also reunited my siblings and step-siblings for the first time in a long time. My brother and sister and I supported my mom, both with around-the-house chores and simply by being company with whom she could converse.

My mom is Orthodox Christian. The memorial and burial services are both simple and moving. Forgive the departed for their sins, both voluntary and involuntary.... more »

Well, it's been an eventful week, in a mixed good thing / bad thing way.

My stepfather passed away last Monday. Complicated relationships with parental figures aside, it was very much a release for both him and my mom. Alzheimer's is a terrible disease, and it does a terrible thing: it slowly strips away everything that we work to achieve in our personal relationships, leaving a person with frustration, and anger, and no clear understanding of what is going on. His death released him from all that, and also reunited my siblings and step-siblings for the first time in a long time. My brother and sister and I supported my mom, both with around-the-house chores and simply by being company with whom she could converse.

My mom is Orthodox Christian. The memorial and burial services are both simple and moving. Forgive the departed for their sins, both voluntary and involuntary. Remember them eternally. There's more, but that's the bits I'll mention here.

So - I suppose that his passing at this point was a good thing, as his life here had been stripped away. It's harder on those left behind, and if there was one thing I really learned over the last week, it was how much he made my mom feel loved. Really, truly, loved. He himself was a man in turmoil for most of his life, but boy, did he ever love her.

So there was that.

I was totally not helpful for at least a day or two last week, because I also ended up in the hospital, unable to properly breathe and dizzy and all that. Not really the first thing on my list to have happen; we had a lot to do last week. I've been working my way through the set of things that are going wrong with my body over the last few years, and this particular issue was pretty much next on my "list of things to get to", but sometimes the body overrules the brain and informs it that Now is the time. The good news is that the hospital tests showed nothing dire. I was put on interim meds to get through the remaining days for the funeral and my travel back home, and today I see my "regular" doctor (if you can call someone you haven't seen in 2.5 years "regular"). I've got an inhaler now, and have fully realized that Prednisone is a horrible, horrible drug with side effects that are not far different from what sent me to the hospital in the first place. Ick.

So. I'm now sitting here, trying to breathe normally and work through the tingling in my arm and the tightness in my chest (could be Prednisone, could be asthma+allergies, could be ...), thinking that honestly, those who are important to me would survive anything happening to me, and they'd be fine. That's a reassuring thought. I think all of us are somewhat insecure about the strength of our connections to people, about how strong our friendships really are. No one gets to know how many people will come to their funeral, but then, funerals are more for the living than the dead.

I've tried three or four times now to wrap up this post, and I just start rambling about time, and priorities, and friendships. I'll cut to the chase, though.

Thank you.

Thank you, because the best part of my life is interacting with each of you. I may not get to do it a lot, but I love that I get to do it at all.

Thank you.___

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2015-01-21 07:41:25 (0 comments; 2 reshares; 2 +1s; )Open 

I spent much longer reading this than I expected to, given that I know none of the modeling terms used (but probably need to learn quite a few of them soonish). It is truly that well written.

Some of you have heard my tirade about the overuse of k-means in scientific papers, where the ramifications of the assumptions on the data distribution and variances are never discussed.  Misuse of ML is beginning to become a concern in systems conferences, as "big data" and "classification" become more fashionable topics.  (anecdata: at the last systems conference I was at, a speaker talked for 30 minutes about how he "used machine learning" to split his network data.  He had used Weka's SVM with default parameters, and had no idea what that meant, or whether his data had any expectation of non-linearity.)

 This guy says it better, and includes pretty pictures.  Please think about this next time you read or review a paper that clusters their experimental data with k-means without telling you anything about their prior assumptions or how they chose k.___I spent much longer reading this than I expected to, given that I know none of the modeling terms used (but probably need to learn quite a few of them soonish). It is truly that well written.

2015-01-19 07:25:05 (4 comments; 0 reshares; 5 +1s; )Open 

Why am I posting so many pictures, so many weeks after the holidays?

Because I am waiting for paint to dry, and G+ reminded me I hadn't shared my photos yet.

(yes, I'm changing more of my hated light-white-beige-flat-walls to walls with actual color on them).

Why am I posting so many pictures, so many weeks after the holidays?

Because I am waiting for paint to dry, and G+ reminded me I hadn't shared my photos yet.

(yes, I'm changing more of my hated light-white-beige-flat-walls to walls with actual color on them).___

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2015-01-19 07:23:10 (0 comments; 0 reshares; 4 +1s; )Open 

After the big storm last December, I had some time to go down to the path by the beach and attempt some pictures. G+'s auto-awesome helped a lot. That cypress tree had significant damage; I'm pretty sure it was about 50% larger the previous week.

After the big storm last December, I had some time to go down to the path by the beach and attempt some pictures. G+'s auto-awesome helped a lot. That cypress tree had significant damage; I'm pretty sure it was about 50% larger the previous week.___

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2015-01-19 07:17:35 (0 comments; 1 reshares; 12 +1s; )Open 

Natural Bridges, December 2014

Natural Bridges, December 2014___

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2015-01-19 07:15:29 (2 comments; 0 reshares; 8 +1s; )Open 

Over the winter break, the family went to Wilder Ranch, just north of Santa Cruz. It was my first time there, which is absurd but true. The older kid and husband went off ahead, because the younger one snagged my phone to use as a camera, and she's very much of the take-a-picture-every-4.2-meters type.

It's days like this one that makes people think it never rains in California. Well, that and the ongoing drought, but days like this around the New Year's aren't actually all that uncommon in this area.

Over the winter break, the family went to Wilder Ranch, just north of Santa Cruz. It was my first time there, which is absurd but true. The older kid and husband went off ahead, because the younger one snagged my phone to use as a camera, and she's very much of the take-a-picture-every-4.2-meters type.

It's days like this one that makes people think it never rains in California. Well, that and the ongoing drought, but days like this around the New Year's aren't actually all that uncommon in this area.___

2015-01-19 07:00:31 (0 comments; 0 reshares; 1 +1s; )Open 

In today's "Times Sure Have Changed" category:

Walking into the Safeway today, I noticed a decal sign on the door that read "Need Dry Ice? Ask for Assisstance!"

I could have sworn it was much harder to get dry ice than to go to the Safeway, but then again... times change :)

In today's "Times Sure Have Changed" category:

Walking into the Safeway today, I noticed a decal sign on the door that read "Need Dry Ice? Ask for Assisstance!"

I could have sworn it was much harder to get dry ice than to go to the Safeway, but then again... times change :)___

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2015-01-18 06:26:12 (2 comments; 1 reshares; 8 +1s; )Open 

+Kelly Ellis​ nails the response.

I wrote this in response to an essay titled, "Why Women Shouldn't Code."___+Kelly Ellis​ nails the response.

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2015-01-15 16:50:14 (6 comments; 5 reshares; 27 +1s; )Open 

Seriously awesome.

Whether you’re deciphering a sign in Rio de Janeiro or negotiating with a shop owner in Berlin, Google Translate can be your guide. Starting today, you can instantly translate signs using your phone’s camera and the Translate app, available on Android and iOS: http://goo.gl/lVse9T___Seriously awesome.

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2015-01-14 17:20:04 (1 comments; 0 reshares; 6 +1s; )Open 

Keep in mind, folks - know the provenance of anything that plugs into your USB. Then check where it was made. Then check the Internets too see if there are reports of the spyware being installed before your device / charger gets to the store. And above all else, "found" items go right to the eWaste.

This is getting much too easy.___Keep in mind, folks - know the provenance of anything that plugs into your USB. Then check where it was made. Then check the Internets too see if there are reports of the spyware being installed before your device / charger gets to the store. And above all else, "found" items go right to the eWaste.

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2014-12-31 03:10:37 (0 comments; 0 reshares; 5 +1s; )Open 

Perfect. Perrrrrrrfect.

http://www.boredpanda.com/doctor-who-squirrel-feeder/

Doctor Who-themed squirrel feeders!

"A huge Doctor Who fan Emma Young created a funny squirrel feeder that turns cute visitors of her garden into the Time Lord’s nemesis, the Cybermen. She made the feeder from an old shower radio and filled it with tasty nuts. Emma patiently waited for squirrels to come and then snapped some hilarious photos."___Perfect. Perrrrrrrfect.

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2014-12-20 05:21:20 (4 comments; 1 reshares; 15 +1s; )Open 

For all those who instantly realized that this is the perfect shirt for me, please understand that I will only wear it if it comes in non-white colors. I don't wear white t-shirts. They make me look ... oh, I don't know, vaguely not there. Green, Blue, Grey... all fine.

because yeah, this is a more than daily thing.

Preach it, sibling. If I hadn't forsaken graphic tees, I'd be sorely tempted. ___For all those who instantly realized that this is the perfect shirt for me, please understand that I will only wear it if it comes in non-white colors. I don't wear white t-shirts. They make me look ... oh, I don't know, vaguely not there. Green, Blue, Grey... all fine.

because yeah, this is a more than daily thing.

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2014-12-16 04:47:24 (2 comments; 0 reshares; 7 +1s; )Open 

I think our seats are close enough to the stage...

(Charlie Hunter & Scott Amendola)

I think our seats are close enough to the stage...

(Charlie Hunter & Scott Amendola)___

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2014-12-12 03:06:53 (2 comments; 0 reshares; 6 +1s; )Open 

When you have a long rainy day at home with children, this sort of thing happens. You're welcome.

When you have a long rainy day at home with children, this sort of thing happens. You're welcome.___

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2014-12-11 18:06:22 (5 comments; 1 reshares; 9 +1s; )Open 

I think the yellow/red part of what the radar was showing just got to us.

I think the yellow/red part of what the radar was showing just got to us.___

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2014-12-11 17:04:42 (0 comments; 0 reshares; 5 +1s; )Open 

Steady-state view of the wind outside one of my windows. Does not include any gusts, which so far amplify the effect about 3X. The actual view is definitely Weather Channel worthy.

Steady-state view of the wind outside one of my windows. Does not include any gusts, which so far amplify the effect about 3X. The actual view is definitely Weather Channel worthy.___

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2014-12-09 19:20:54 (0 comments; 0 reshares; 0 +1s; )Open 

For those of you who can't handle the grocery stores, department stores, or really any sort of physical store-playing-christmas-music already, just put this one in your head before heading in. Amazing work.

___For those of you who can't handle the grocery stores, department stores, or really any sort of physical store-playing-christmas-music already, just put this one in your head before heading in. Amazing work.

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2014-11-11 06:02:11 (0 comments; 0 reshares; 2 +1s; )Open 

Phase 3 at Kuumbwa: Guitar Trio Mashup Mania!

Phase 3 at Kuumbwa: Guitar Trio Mashup Mania!___

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2014-11-11 05:58:19 (0 comments; 0 reshares; 5 +1s; )Open 

Phase 2 of night at Kuumbwa: California Guitar Trio. They also did some originals and some Radiohead.

Phase 2 of night at Kuumbwa: California Guitar Trio. They also did some originals and some Radiohead.___

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2014-11-11 05:52:42 (0 comments; 0 reshares; 4 +1s; )Open 

Phase 1 of the night out at Kuumbwa in Santa Cruz: the Montreal Guitar Trio. Their Tom Sawyer cover is also awesome :-)

Phase 1 of the night out at Kuumbwa in Santa Cruz: the Montreal Guitar Trio. Their Tom Sawyer cover is also awesome :-)___

2014-11-02 04:58:14 (4 comments; 0 reshares; 32 +1s; )Open 

On picking up older daughter from her sleepover, seeing her with the laptop balanced on her lap (with Minecraft open) and typing into her phone at the same time:

Me: "Why are you texting and playing Minecraft at the same time????"
Her: "I'm not! I'm using Google Translate so I can chat in Japanese to this guy in Minecraft! "
Me: "Hmmm. Okay, well then. That's a good answer."

Kids these days.

On picking up older daughter from her sleepover, seeing her with the laptop balanced on her lap (with Minecraft open) and typing into her phone at the same time:

Me: "Why are you texting and playing Minecraft at the same time????"
Her: "I'm not! I'm using Google Translate so I can chat in Japanese to this guy in Minecraft! "
Me: "Hmmm. Okay, well then. That's a good answer."

Kids these days.___

2014-10-10 02:26:05 (4 comments; 0 reshares; 11 +1s; )Open 

Achievement Unlocked: I enabled the trackpad on my daughter's Windows computer with no mouse.

The problem: Dad took his mouse back when he went on a trip, thus making it impossible not only to play Minecraft, but to launch any program at all.

The realization: Even though I don't have a screen reader installed on her computer, Microsoft has been working with Freedom Scientific for a very long time, and it was just possible that I could use Tab, shift-Tab, arrow keys, and Enter to do everything I wanted. If, that is, I was Very, Very Lucky.

I was Very, Very Lucky.

Muah ha ha. I applied stuff learned at work to home. Also, Hat Tip to Microsoft for making it possible to use an input method possibly put in only for Accessibility reasons without needing to install anything else first.

Achievement Unlocked: I enabled the trackpad on my daughter's Windows computer with no mouse.

The problem: Dad took his mouse back when he went on a trip, thus making it impossible not only to play Minecraft, but to launch any program at all.

The realization: Even though I don't have a screen reader installed on her computer, Microsoft has been working with Freedom Scientific for a very long time, and it was just possible that I could use Tab, shift-Tab, arrow keys, and Enter to do everything I wanted. If, that is, I was Very, Very Lucky.

I was Very, Very Lucky.

Muah ha ha. I applied stuff learned at work to home. Also, Hat Tip to Microsoft for making it possible to use an input method possibly put in only for Accessibility reasons without needing to install anything else first.___

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2014-09-19 06:30:07 (1 comments; 0 reshares; 5 +1s; )Open 

Esta es mi canción favorita ahora....

Esta es mi canción favorita ahora....___

2014-09-14 04:12:05 (2 comments; 0 reshares; 3 +1s; )Open 

How did Clara know he was going to come back to that barn in his future?

If you don't know what I mean don't worry. I just saw Listen.

How did Clara know he was going to come back to that barn in his future?

If you don't know what I mean don't worry. I just saw Listen.___

2014-09-10 16:09:47 (0 comments; 0 reshares; 2 +1s; )Open 

I can't help but wonder if this "Great Internet Slowdown" protest/fundraiser thing isn't really a scam to get people to crowdfund virus development and install system backdoors everywhere.

Hmm


I can't help but wonder if this "Great Internet Slowdown" protest/fundraiser thing isn't really a scam to get people to crowdfund virus development and install system backdoors everywhere.

Hmm
___

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2014-09-10 15:58:16 (0 comments; 0 reshares; 2 +1s; )Open 

I know I'm sheltered from a lot of this because of how I limit my online interactions, but I see it happening. It is real. I love this idea, turning the hate into art; in the meantime, I'm reposting to help shine the light in.

Turning Hate Into Art

If I got an unending, constant, vile, hate-filled stream of death and rape threats, I'm not sure what I'd do. My friend Amy Davis Roth turned it into art.

http://www.slate.com/blogs/bad_astronomy/2014/09/10/amy_davis_roth_turning_misogyny_into_art.html___I know I'm sheltered from a lot of this because of how I limit my online interactions, but I see it happening. It is real. I love this idea, turning the hate into art; in the meantime, I'm reposting to help shine the light in.

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2014-08-30 01:36:44 (0 comments; 1 reshares; 3 +1s; )Open 

If you're not already subscribed to +Andreas Schou's Detailed Disquisitions on Disparate Denominations and Designations, here's a sneak peak at something he's sharing for free that would take most of us several weeks and a lot of research time to even begin to figure out. Check out his older stuff if this level of detail is of interest to you.

So, I hear that ISIS / ISIL / The Islamic State is attempting to commit genocide against the Yezidi. What's a Yezidi?

Uh, that's a good question. The short answer: they're a Kurdish religious minority. Probably.

What sort of religious minority?

Uh. That depends on who you ask. They're either (a) adherents to the Kurds' ancestral religion, (b) a weird sort of Ismaili Shi'a, or (c) holdovers from Zoroastrianism.

Or they're not even Kurds. (This probably isn't true, but some Yezidi believe this, so I probably ought to mention it.)

Wait, what? Why don't we know something so simple?

So, this area of the world  -- northern Mesopotamia, southern Iran, parts of Syria, and eastern Anatolia -- has historically been a refuge for religious minorities. Under the Parthians and Sassanids, it played host to dissident Zoroastrianism. Until the Mongol invasion, it was the homeland of the Sabians of Harran. The strongholds of the Assassins were built here. And other syncretic faiths like the Druze and Ahl-e-Haqq were founded in the same region.

In short, if mainstream Islam didn't approve of it, it was probably invented somewhere around here. And there's been a lot of cross-pollination since. For more about that, see here: http://goo.gl/Ct2lCI.

Can't we just ask them?

Sure! We could do that. For a relatively small, persecuted religious minority, they're surprisingly open about their religion. It's just that... well... asking them doesn't make it clear.

Why not?

From one perspective, Yezidis look a lot like Sufis. They worship at the tombs of Sufi saints. They even maintain some of them. They use Sufi religious terminology (Murids, Sheikhs) to describe their caste system. They have a round of obligatory daily prayers. They claim that their name comes from the Caliph Yazid, who officially sanctioned their religion.

And periodically, the ruling authorities have decided that they're Ismaili Shi'a and decided not to persecute them. 

So, they're a kind of Muslim?

From another perspective, they're ... uh ... the exact opposite of Muslim.

They venerate Satan in the form of a peacock. Their most valuable religious artifacts are brass peacock idols. They tend to pray toward those (or the sun) rather than toward the Kaaba. And they certainly aren't religions of the book: if they actually have a book (and this is unclear), it's in Armenia and no one living has actually read it. 

And they've periodically had prohibitions on literacy, although this -- like most other religious rules -- are not particularly common. 

So, they're Satanists?

Uh. No, not that either. 

You see, after refusing to bow down to mankind, Melek Tawus reconciled with God. He and the other angels are back to being agents of God on earth and in Heaven.Because God eventually wrote off this one little sin, it's not fair to call Melek Tawus "Satan" in the normal sense.

In fact, the angels in Yezidism are really more like the Yazatas of Zoroastrianism -- which is a much more sensible origin than the name of a very unpopular (but perfectly orthodox) Caliph. 

So, they're, what, Zoroastrians?

Uh.

They're nothing like modern Zoroastrians, at least. After going through a very long phase where it was a lot like Hinduism, and a somewhat shorter phase where it picked up Platonist ideas, modern Zoroastrianism ended up with fairly strict dualism and fire temples. In other words, if Yezidism is anything like Zoroastrianism, it's like a type of Zoroastrianism which is very poorly documented.

Then, of course, there's that thing with peacocks.

What thing with peacocks?

In Zoroastrianism, they're a symbol of transcendent evil. After Ahura Mazda creates every living thing, Ahirman creates the peacock -- just to demonstrate that evil can create things of beauty, but that it refuses to. 

It seems pretty unlikely that Yezidi would have gotten another thing about the most common local religion exactly backwards. If their religious dissent dates all the way back to the era where Zoroastrianism was the most common religion, they were likely dissidents back then, too. 

Jesus. They could not have engineered their religion any better to make their neighbors uneasy. At least they're part of the broader Kurdish community, though, right?

Yezidi usually believe they're Kurds. 

Unfortunately, relations between the Yezidi of Sinjar (who were recently stuck on top of a mountain with no water) and the rest of the Kurds are tense. Because Sinjar Yezidi do not by any means believe they're Kurds, and want to remain separate from them. This means a number of things.

First, there weren't many Sinjar Yezidi in the peshmerga. That meant that rescuing Sinjar was a relatively low priority. Second, that meant that Sinjar Kurds had, until recently, been raising a huge political ruckus about getting parliamentary representation separate from the larger Kurdish block.

What can the rest of the world do about it?

Fortunately for everyone (except the Yezidi still in Iraq), there has been a large Yezidi diaspora to more friendly countries. Most of the world's Yezidi population lives in Iraq, but an increasing number are immigrating to Germany and the United States. 

Lincoln, Nebraska has a large Yezidi population, and they seem to be doing fine. In fact, it seems like -- in general -- the Yezidi do fine everywhere but home. And there are only half a million Yezidi worldwide: enough for the West to happily take on as a diasporic population.

Which we kind of owe them.

When the US moved in and conquered the country they live in -- in the process, making it completely unsafe -- a huge number of our translators were ethnic Yezidi. We may not be able to adhere to we break it, we bought it with respect to the catastrophic, immoral war that shattered their tenuous peace, but we can at least adhere to it in bringing them to a safer place. We've done it before, with the Hmong, and we can do it again.___If you're not already subscribed to +Andreas Schou's Detailed Disquisitions on Disparate Denominations and Designations, here's a sneak peak at something he's sharing for free that would take most of us several weeks and a lot of research time to even begin to figure out. Check out his older stuff if this level of detail is of interest to you.

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