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Roundabout Revolution Sweeping US

Al Dimond Re:Pedestrian problems? (1173 comments)

That's great, except for the extra distance you have to walk just to continue straight down a street.

Given where our energy situation is going in the west, any idea that forces people to walk farther to improve car traffic flow is plain stupid.

more than 3 years ago
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Has the Industrialized World Reached Peak Travel?

Al Dimond Re:Travel time maxes out (314 comments)

I moved to Seattle pretty recently. I've lived in Chicago for longer. Chicago has many "crosstown" bus routes, going north-south along major streets like Ashland, Damen, Western, etc, and not through downtown. So you can get from, say, Pilsen to Wicker Park really easily. You can also get east-west in straightforward ways.

Seattle's situation is totally different, though. The hills and waterways have a major influence on how major roads are laid out. Even in a car most cross-town trips take you on 5 or 99, either near or through downtown. There's already a minor cross-town type route on 23rd/24th Ave. It's not super-long like the Chicago ones, but those aren't necessarily all that useful -- often it's faster to take the L and transfer downtown than ride the Western Ave bus for 10 miles (I used to do this every so often and timed it out at different times of day). I don't think you'll find a place where it's the norm to make long cross-town trips on mass transit without transfers.

more than 3 years ago
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Peter Sunde Wants To Create Alternative To ICANN

Al Dimond This is sort of a lousy article posting. (276 comments)

The link on the text "lost a domain" points to Mr. Sunde's Twitter feed, providing me with one sentence in his own words stating exactly what the summary did. That's pointless. The whole reason I'd click a link is to get more information about the situation described, preferably from a neutral source (or one that acknowledges its bias). Similarly, a link on the text "suspicious of ICANN for a long time" suggests a resource indicative of that long time, not one stupid tweet.

I actually sort of like Twitter, but you're using it wrong, /. blurb writers!

more than 3 years ago
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TSA Saw My Junk, Missed Razor Blades, Says Adam Savage

Al Dimond Re:The "enhanced" procedures are useless (609 comments)

I have a feeling bombing a store on Black Friday wouldn't stop people from shopping. At the Wal-Mart in suburban New York where the doors were literally "busted" and people trampled to death (this was Black Friday 2008 IIRC) the shoppers just kept shopping. The police tried to clear the store for an investigation and were unable to do it. Not one of humanity's brighter moments.

Point being, if one of those crowds was bombed it probably wouldn't even stop people from shopping at that store. Enterprising family members of the dead would be out in the parking lot auctioning off their newly-unneeded vehicles. Black Friday is a scourge more evil, and more powerful, than terrorism.

more than 3 years ago
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Microsoft Losing Big To Apple On Campus

Al Dimond Re:LINUX rounds numbers fine (764 comments)

Modern Linux desktops have no problem with WPA. But instead of actually showing people the connection settings they need they tell them to log onto some unencrypted network and then run some binary blob, then tell them (incorrectly) they can't connect with OSes the blob doesn't run on. In this particular case you can't blame Linux. It offers a perfectly reasonable way to enter the parameters but the admins won't tell you the parameters.

more than 4 years ago
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Chevy Volt Not Green Enough For California

Al Dimond Re:The leaf is not a hybrid (384 comments)

I don't know for sure, but I've thought about this a bit and I'm pretty sure you're exactly right about this -- unless there's some other reason the Volt pollutes more than the plug-in Prius it should probably be treated the same.

more than 4 years ago
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Electric Car Subsidies As Handouts For the Rich

Al Dimond Re:Taxing Nerves (589 comments)

Let's see exactly how much gas that is. $12k buys you about 4,000 gallons of gas where I live today (Seattle). That's probably about 120,000 miles in a Civic (it's about what I get in my 2000 Focus). And that's about a vehicle-lifetime.

If the electric vehicle had no fuel-related costs then the two vehicles would have about equal total costs. Now clearly grid power does cost something (this varies place to place), and today's electrics may require more costly maintenance over their lives, and they have various disadvantages -- lots of space taken up by battery packs, limited range, long charging times. So currently in the US market gas cars are a better deal.

But, you know what, given the relative maturity of the technologies, I've got to give the electric vehicles some credit -- they're getting pretty close. Hybrids are already a straight-up good deal for some people. Just imagine if our economy didn't suck at dealing with externalities. We'd all (we being people in the market for new cars) be looking pretty seriously at electrics. And these are the first mass-market vehicles. So although electric cars can never be a total solution to any real problem, I think they're already more than just a statement, and I'm pretty impressed with that.

more than 4 years ago
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IEEE Looks At Kevin Costner's Oil Cleanup Machines

Al Dimond Re:Go Costner! Boo on BP! (289 comments)

I agree. We need to be better at preventing this sort of thing. But it has done us some good. BP's financial strength has meant that instead of going bankrupt and leaving the government with the whole cleanup bill it's actually covering some of the costs. It probably won't cover them all. But it will do better than a smaller company would have done.

more than 4 years ago
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Chevy Volt Not Green Enough For California

Al Dimond Re:The leaf is not a hybrid (384 comments)

Obsolete? The engine can still pollute more on a cold start, and the Volt is likely to have to cold-start often. It's hard to determine what overall emissions of the Volt will be, and that's really what CARB is concerned with.

And, really, that's as it should be. The air is the public good they're concerned with. The societal costs of energy production ought to be baked directly into energy costs.

more than 4 years ago
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Frustration and Unhappiness In the Games Industry

Al Dimond Re:Read the article comments (422 comments)

Problem: in game design you get to ignore all sorts of real-world constraints you can't ignore in the design of an economy.

For example, yeah, it's incredibly hard to get a business started. If, in an RPG, to get a character past level 1, you had to out-compete all the established characters, a lot of people would fail in the early stages. It's hard to find a fair way around that in the real world. Things like economies of scale and interest weren't designed into the economy. They developed for good reasons and have helped us become more prosperous and use resources more efficiently.

It's true that there are some cheaters, people that use their powerful position to influence the admins and change the rules. And there are some rules that hurt small businesses beyond what's necessary. Employer-based health insurance, for example, benefits large employers over small ones to a stupid degree. But I think you could fix all the problems that can really be fixed, and even simplify some laws, and it would still be hard to start a business.

On the other hand, seriously handicapping large enterprises in some industries might have awesome consequences. I'm thinking agriculture and mining here, with the consequences being more local agriculture and more efficient use of the land that's currently wasted on exurban subdivisions.

more than 4 years ago
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IEEE Looks At Kevin Costner's Oil Cleanup Machines

Al Dimond Re:Go Costner! Boo on BP! (289 comments)

Typically you guard against this by instituting a capitalization requirement, ensuring that companies involved in drilling have the money and/or the insurance necessary to pay likely claims in case of an accident. This is, in fact, practiced in the oil industry. As far as BP is concerned, it passes this test with flying colors. It has been and will be substantially hurt by the spill (its stock price has lost half its value and it's had to suspend dividend payments -- that's an indication of the magnitude, although I think the market has overreacted, I don't think BP's lost nearly half its value over this incident).

more than 4 years ago
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BP Robot Seriously Hampers Oil Spill Containment

Al Dimond Re:Kindra Arnesen's speech (264 comments)

I agree that seizing BP is the wrong approach. I do think that BP the corporation must be held financially responsible for the damage. That's the only way for the market to correctly price in the cost of disasters.

For what it's worth, BP is a massive company that makes a ludicrous amount of money every year. I've heard estimates that the total economic impact of the spill will be on the order of $100 billion. The spill *should* wind up costing BP more than this, because there are non-economic impacts that can't be recovered through the legal system that also need to be baked into the risk calculus. It won't, but that's another story. BP's market cap before the spill was $200 billion. But it will pay out claims, fines, and damages gradually, and it will continue to profit elsewhere in the meantime. The spill will seriously impact the company and its shareholders but it won't kill it. And that's fine.

more than 4 years ago
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The worst I've ever been in trouble w/ the law ...

Al Dimond Re:34% totally clean? (957 comments)

I got a ticket for that, too. I even tried to wait for the light, but my bike wasn't tripping the sensor, so I waited through several cycles of "cross traffic goes, then oncoming traffic has green and left arrow" before realizing I'd have to dart through during the oncoming left arrow after the turners had gone through. Cop riding a moped got me. That was in Santa Clara, CA.

I feel I'm likely to be ticketed for jaywalking here in Seattle. Apparently there's some kind of jaywalking crackdown. I'm a long-distance runner from Chicago -- I can't just not jaywalk. And, frankly, I cross streets illegally more safely than most Seattleites cross them legally.

more than 4 years ago
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Gulf Oil Leak Plugged?

Al Dimond Re:in other news, cementing the BP CEO has started (611 comments)

It is almost impossible to have your hands "clean of oil". Food production and transportation uses lots of fossil fuels. Especially meat.

But it is possible, as a society, for us to decide we don't want offshore drilling. In fact, I suspect that if oil companies were made to pay fair damages to everyone affected by accidents, and pay real penalties to governments (Federal, a handful of states, and possibly countries like Mexico and Cuba) for ecological damages, they would not find offshore drilling worth the risk. Instead, just watch as lawsuits against BP don't come close to making the affected parties whole. The court system will protect BP as long as they've followed some basic safety regulations. As if the damage sustained by all these other parties was akin to an "act of god".

My point is that it's absurd to say that nobody can oppose offshore drilling if they participate in the economy in any way. You just have to be willing to live with consequences of stopping it (a somewhat reduced standard of living across the board due to higher prices on just about everything; less economic activity in the Gulf region; more oil importing and less oil exporting; but also less pollution everywhere; more economic incentive for energy efficiency; less sprawl).

more than 4 years ago
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Oil Arrives In Louisiana; Defense Booms Inadequate

Al Dimond Re:Just so you all know. (359 comments)

That sort of holds them responsible. It doesn't do anything to raise money to pay for the disaster. It leaves the owners of BP holding a lot of equipment and buildings they can't use, so they'll sell the company to a liquidation type company that will sell all that stuff to other oil companies.

As far as I can tell BP didn't do anything illegal or unusual in setting up their offshore well, and offshore drilling was and is legal. So legislating a corporate death penalty would be a pretty arbitrary form of punishment. Now that the disaster has occurred the only thing left to do to BP is make sure that litigation against them has a fair chance of success. That includes litigation from affected large businesses, from classes of affected people and small businesses, from the Federal EPA, state EPAs, and probably from Mexican and Cuban concerns as well. If BP can survive fair payouts to all these parties it lives -- if not, it goes the way of SCO.

If BP can't survive fair payouts to all affected parties then it was not sufficiently capitalized and/or insured to undertake offshore drilling. So we'd do well to increase the requirements for capitalization and insurance for offshore drilling to a level ensuring they could probably make fair payouts.

This sounds like common sense. Parties harmed by another party's actions should be compensated, and capitalization/insurance requirements should be sufficient to ensure that this is possible. That's the basic theory behind corporations and limited liability (shareholders are protected personally against litigation and in exchange the corporation must be sufficiently capitalized or insured to handle litigation it might reasonably expect to face). But actually following that would be a radical change from what our government does. How can we know this? Because lately we've seen so many businesses having to be bailed out by the government because they weren't sufficiently capitalized to handle the risk. Even the US automakers, under their bankruptcy settlements, got to essentially write off billions in liability, and they didn't even cause a catastrophic disaster (other than the rise of the American car culture, that is). *Unwilling* creditors were left behind so the *willing* creditors on Wall Street could be paid. To be sure, doing the basic and obvious right thing would send shockwaves through the market. How did we get here?

more than 4 years ago
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Oil Arrives In Louisiana; Defense Booms Inadequate

Al Dimond Re:Just so you all know. (359 comments)

The key here is the quotes around "fix". This disaster can't be completely fixed, so paying the costs of cleanup is far from being held responsible. Meanwhile plenty of people and groups have incurred costs because of the oil spill: people will see their property depreciate, companies will lose business, and institutions like the government will have spent plenty of money studying the spill and helping with cleanup. And, as GP says, these groups won't be able to recover their costs from BP because the courts will protect them.

If businesses are not held fully responsible for their damages then these damages aren't correctly valued in the economy, and thus there are incentives to take the sort of risks that cause oil spills.

more than 4 years ago
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A Contrarian Stance On Facebook and Privacy

Al Dimond Re:Tim wants us to tell him why he's wrong (160 comments)

There are some companies that act as if they have this sort of duty. Really, I think we'll find that keeping users' interests in mind at least a little will help ensure long-term success; I don't think Facebook cares. It exists to make money as fast as possible. And that comes straight from the top. There are few tech entrepreneurs I respect less than Zuckerberg.

more than 4 years ago
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PETA Creates New Animal-Friendly Software License

Al Dimond Re:FLOSS software? (356 comments)

1. The need for the "strictest animal welfare laws in the country" say a lot about standard practices in animal agriculture. The people that have designed them are not farmers, they are industrialists. Their portrayal of themselves as farmers, with a connection to traditional methods of raising food and care for the land, allows them to get away with many things they couldn't otherwise. But they sure aren't living out there and seeing the consequences.

2a. The standard for whether poultry and egg operations are humane is not standard industry practice. The standard is humanity. The birds are still packed in far denser than they can handle. This has serious consequences for their social development. Many turn to fighting and even cannibalism -- this is why they're often de-beaked (a truly fun and wholesome procedure for everyone involved, to be sure... similarly, pigs in tight conditions often have their tails removed to prevent behavior like tail-biting). Similar to grain monocultures there are poultry monocultures; both the "roasters" (birds raised for meat) and "layers" (birds raised for eggs) have been selectively bred to the point that they can hardly live healthy lives under the best of conditions. But even if you don't care about animal welfare at all, consider the problem: where does all the manure go? It's shoveled into giant, foul-smelling pits in the earth. And how about the spread of diseases among these birds? It's rampant. The manure pits become havens for bacteria and pollute the nearby water and air. Sometimes when there's not enough space in the pits they just spray it into the air. So (a) that's why you have to handle poultry so carefully and (b) that's why the incidence of asthma is so high near factory farms. In any other industry the pollution and disease potential would be regulated. But the lobbyists put on their overalls and say, "Aw, shucks, we don't know nothing about pollution except that we can't afford to prevent it." Meanwhile most of their neighbors don't have the money or clout to do anything about it.

2b. So in this case, what might disgust you, the crowding, the fighting, the smell (apparently it's so nauseating up close that it's caused workers to pass out, and then fall to their deaths in manure pits), is actually an indication that something's wrong. This is so obvious that operators of concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs; this abbreviation is used by some because "farms" is really a misnomer) are extremely secretive about what actually goes on there. You can't just get a tour of the Tyson plant. Based on your comment, I'm assuming a neurosurgeon has consented to let you watch a surgery multiple times. The "disgust" here is just squeamishness.

3. So what, exactly, is the great advantage of the modern industrial omnivorous diet we have? It's not the welfare of animals, nor the welfare of workers. It's not the environment, local or global. If you count the subsidy dollars and various tax breaks it's probably not even a cost-efficient source of nutrition. Especially when typical consumption of protein and fat, at least in the USA, is far beyond what's necessary and health. So it's not our health, then, either. I'm a pretty fast runner (just ran 37 minutes for a hilly 10k above 5,000 feet altitude) and I dabble in the other triathlon sports -- point is I have greater nutritional needs than most people. I've been eating vegetarian for almost 6 years and I haven't had any problems fueling my body; I've set plenty of PRs in that time. I don't really see a great advantage to eating meat at all, certainly nothing that outweighs the destruction it causes. It's just convenience and tradition.

more than 4 years ago
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PETA Creates New Animal-Friendly Software License

Al Dimond Re:FLOSS software? (356 comments)

You may like to think that animals that are slaughtered for food suffer as little as possible but that's really not true. Their suffering is limited to the extent that it affects the final product. Actually, not even to that extent all the time. Reportedly factory-farmed pork suffers significantly in quality because of stress to the animals.

My understanding is that it's basically possible to eat beef from cows that have lived fairly decent lives (if not full ones -- even grass-fed cattle that wander huge and beautiful ranges are killed young). The majority of cattle raised in the US eat lots of grain, don't have enough room to graze, and don't get to form normal family and social bonds, but some do (you have to look for it). Here in Wyoming you can go to meat markets that will tell you which ranch your beef comes from and where it is. In some cases you can knock on the rancher's door and get a tour. This is what people tell me, at least (I eat vegetarian). Every ranch is different, obviously, but to some degree ranching practice is still passed down through family and community ties, and many ranch owners live on their ranches and do some of the physical work (this gives the decision makers a stake in the conditions affecting workers and the local environment that just doesn't exist for the people that set many intensive agriculture practices).

It's much harder with pork. If you want to eat pork that wasn't raised in sickening conditions (for the animals, the workers in the feed operations, and the environment) you really have to look hard. You'll have to pay a lot of money for the little pork you do eat. With poultry you're SOL unless you personally know the farmer. All the bullshit greenwashing you see on packages at the supermarket is simply that: bullshit greenwashing. "Cage Free" and "Free Range", as they affect poultry raising, are basically meaningless. All the big poultry operations are major corporations that will tell you anything to sell you something.

On the other hand, beef supposedly has a very high carbon footprint and unquestionably has an enormous land-use footprint. This means that it contributes enormously to habitat destruction and the loss of native grasses (so places like Wyoming and Texas used to have far more diverse meadows than they do now). The environmental consequences of intensive agriculture generally are pretty bad. Read about manure disposal practices on poultry and hog farms. Read about streams running red with bloodworms. Read about groundwater contamination. It's plain gross, and materially affecting the rural parts of our world. Then there are monocultures, unintentional gene patent infringement, and chemical runoff coming from grain agriculture.

It's just like a lot of our other conveniences that have nasty consequences. We have to weigh whether this convenience is worth it. The car culture has its conveniences, and it has consequences that are just reaching the shores of Louisiana. The transaction between a consumer and a corporate chicken producer, or between you and a car or oil manufacturer, will usually be mutually beneficial, but has externalities. Animals suffer, the environment is damaged, in many cases people suffer, too (have you ever lived next door to a modern hog feeding operation... or even driven through Iowa on a stuffy summer day?). If we could properly measure these externalities (including risk factors for things like oil spills) we could pay them as we manufacture, building in their costs. This would create an incentive for responsible behavior. Instead the government subsidizes and bails out the people that fuck up (subsidies and environmental allowances for factory farming practices, whether meat, dairy, eggs, fish, or grains, are criminal -- and we all know who ultimately foots the bill for oil spill cleanup, bank failures, etc.). This creates an incentive for irresponsible behavior. It needs to be fixed. Even the way we measure our economy is corrupt, as if all activity is equally good; making, taking, and breaking are all counted as one. It needs to be fixed.

I'm not going to be high and mighty because I'm a vegetarian that doesn't drive much. Those are pretty tiny sacrifices, and I will admit that I act selfishly all the damn time. I certainly won't insist that you eat vegetarian -- that would be hypocrisy -- just that you understand the facts. People will usually not go far out of their way for causes as remote as native grasses in Wyoming or wildlife of the Gulf of Mexico. We just won't. Hell, we don't know how to do that when the consequences of every commercial action can be so dire. So we must radically change how we account for externalities so that they show up in the bottom line.

more than 4 years ago
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Scientists Question Safety of New Airport Scanners

Al Dimond Re:Issue not with the passengers (357 comments)

Small-town airport with 3 flights a day? Could you be talking about Cody, Wyoming? Well, if you are, you may know that a couple years ago someone tried to board a plane in Cody carrying a wrapping paper tube he'd filled with toys for his kids or something. Security thought it might be a pipe bomb and shut down the airport and all roads within a mile of it. That includes the main route into town from the east and south.

So... that indeed sounds like a pretty big gap between treatment of passengers and employees. I also saw a woman wearing a TSA uniform enter an employees-only area by just reaching over a half-height door and flipping a latch (like you'd do to get a baseball out of the neighbor's yard).

Despite this gap, I've never heard of a terrorist plot by an airport employee and we've all heard of plenty of plots by passengers. Maybe they really screen their employees well enough that they can be trusted.

more than 4 years ago

Submissions

Al Dimond hasn't submitted any stories.

Journals

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My day.

Al Dimond Al Dimond writes  |  more than 9 years ago

Another really bad exam today. Oh well, I'll cram for the final. Went running, ate too much, stomach killed me throughout exam, for which I was not adequately prepared because of spending like 30 hours over the weekend on an MP...

MP due today in 398. Group MP. I thought, after I got out of the exam, "My code is already perfect, so I'm going to go home and sleep so my stomach feels better." Get home and receive a call from the group. A fix of a bug somewhere else completely hoses my stuff. (pretty good find by the group, at any rate). So I run over to the lab. Can't figure out what is going on. We hand in with stuff broken. Then I figure out just about everything else that was broken and how I would fix it were the MP due tomorrow.

Boo.

River to River coming up.

Yay.

River to River (rrr.olm.net) can make you forget all your troubles.

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Highlights and lowlights

Al Dimond Al Dimond writes  |  more than 9 years ago

Two days ago I ran halves with Nick and Brent, and ran really fast.

Yesterday I took an exam and didn't do so hot.

Got another one tonight, should be better.

George W. Bush won the presidential election.

Jon Stewart makes the point that people arguing on either side of any political debate will make points they know are misleading or that they don't believe, because it will help their candidate or their point of view that they do believe in; they believe the ends justify the means.

I don't think that the ends ever justify the means. The means should determine the ends.

But then again, I'm also a bit aimless, so maybe that's not the right way of going about things.

Time to brush my teeth.

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The Good, the bad and the trivial

Al Dimond Al Dimond writes  |  about 10 years ago

I ran a race today. Got 7th. Ran something like 17:35. Need to be about 2 notches faster, particularly in the speed department.

My ceiling is leaking water right onto my bed (noticed this at about 1am last night). I'm sleeping in the living room. The apartment people better get their asses on this one quick...

My wrists are killing me again. Well actually just the right one, like usual.

I'm trying to figure out who I am and what the hell I'm doing here.

Thst just about covers it.

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An airbag saved my life

Al Dimond Al Dimond writes  |  about 10 years ago

Today I was involved in a three-person accident. Nobody was hurt, and all of the damage was reparable by hand. This because two people were on bike and the third on foot. People make stupid mistakes in traffic whether driving, biking or walking (in this case, the walker stepped right in front of me on the bike path, I ran into her, and then got hit from behind). When there aren't cars involved those mistakes don't have nearly the cost.

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Movies!

Al Dimond Al Dimond writes  |  more than 10 years ago

Last night in Paxton I watched Rocky IV and Rocky III. True think pieces, them. For example, the fight between Rocky and the Lips d00d in Rocky III. The Rocky movies make heavy use of staged fights, and here was a staged fight, staged to look staged. And, because it was between Stallone and an actual pro wrestler that stages fights for a living, the staging was as convincing and sometimes more convincing than the staging of the other fights.

That fight leaves some uncertainty as to the nature of the fight in the movie world. However, its effect was no different than any of the other fights. It showed that Stallone had lost **THE EYE OF THE TIGER** just as his first fight against Clubber Lang did, and the second one showed how he regained it.

And Rocky IV... what a brilliant soundtrack. Particularly the song playing as Rocky's plane landed in the Soviet Union. That and the remarks from Rocky and Drago in their opposite corners, respectively: "He's a human" as Rocky gained confidence in his ability to hurt Drago, and "He's a piece of iron" as Drago gained respect for Rocky's toughness. A testament to the superiority of technology over weak fleshy humans.

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The weekend.

Al Dimond Al Dimond writes  |  more than 10 years ago

So I was sick, all weekend. Saturday I was pretty bad and Sunday was awful. Jessica really took care of me, which was awesome. I'll have to do something nice for her this week :). Because our relationship is based on exchanges like that :-P. But thank you so much, you rock...

Then this morning I went over to McKinley to make sure I didn't have strep or the flu or Sudden Student Death Syndrome and I nearly passed out due to fatigue in the waiting room. But I've been getting my strength back through the day, my fever is gone and I should be able to make it through classes tomorrow.

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Sickening

Al Dimond Al Dimond writes  |  more than 10 years ago

So the gods of running somehow found out I was planning to race this weekend (bastards must be reading my e-mail), and gave me this shitty cold.

I was planning to go to a toga party last night, but that kinda didn't happen due to extreme fatigue and blowing my nose every 15 seconds. Strangely, before that, I ran speedwork, which went very nicely. Maybe that explains the fatigue.

So today will be a day of resting, and studying like a fiend, and I should buy some produce, and maybe watch some C-Span.

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Cookies of Mass Destruction

Al Dimond Al Dimond writes  |  more than 10 years ago I have hard evidence that Al Dimond is harboring cookie programs... programs for cookies of mass destriction. And since I can't post images in here, I'll just have to link to the image:

Linky (ya 'know, for some reason, the picture just doesn't get across the kind of chaos that went on in that kitchen while these beauties were being pulled out of the oven...)

I later put them into bags to take home, and after that realized that the recipe I used (a self-modified version of a recipe that makes nice self-contained cookies) would probably work nicely for bar cookies. So maybe next time I do this recipe I'll do it in bar cookie form. Stay tuned for the next exciting episode of "Delicious Disasters from the Den of Dimond".

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... happpppy ...

Al Dimond Al Dimond writes  |  more than 10 years ago

So clarinet is all good.

Jessica and I have been together 10 months and we celebrated that today.

I had a nice relaxing day.

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I CAN'T DO ANYTHING!!!!!

Al Dimond Al Dimond writes  |  more than 10 years ago GAH! The clarinet studio people won't give me a damn e-mail to tell me if I can be in that shit this semester or not. So if not I need to take another mother fucking class... so I hear about this other class I might want to take that involves building an electronic music system for children with disabilities, sounds like something I could do and good experience and stuff, and it's supposedly got open spots left, but it doesn't have open spots left. SO maybe I'll have to wait and see about clarinet and if not then start ECE 390 2 weeks late.

Outside of academics, I'm enjoying life tremendously. I think I'm going to do some Time Cube chalking on the quad tonight. Hey, it sure beats all the bullshit Greek system crap that's written there now.

And yeah, OMG the football team matched last season's win total this week at one. Next week they'll be going for their first win over a I-A team since 2002. Me, I'm hoping that we match last year's accomplishment of getting more Nobel Prizes than football wins. But next week's game is University Library Day, and we all know the whole community rallies around the football team and gets fired up for University Library day. So maybe the footballers can pull off another win.

I ran 800s this morning. Only 4. In 2:40. I'm in worse shape than I thought. Maybe I won't run under 17 next Sunday. Oh well.

OK, time for some homework.

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Muzak History

Al Dimond Al Dimond writes  |  more than 10 years ago

I had an amazingly fun night last night with someone. But that's not the point of this post. I keep a reasonable separation of webjourno and romance here. Not enough separation not to mention that I baked some pretty hilarious looking cookies last night that will be pictured here in the future.

OK, so in Music History class today I was just continually reminded of how fucked-up ancient religion was and how it really is like that today too... I'm short on time, so just one example, we're in the 4th-9th centuries now (not much happened musically then because the church supressed people trying to do anything interesting), and in the Mass of that time there's a section called Credo. Which is Latin for "I believe". A section whose exact text was debated among scholars and then made immutable for the rest of time. And this is the section of the mass with the fewest different tunes to it, apparently because its text is the most immutable.

In ancient times ideas almost never survived to today on their merits, but rather on the military strength of those pushing them. Sometimes ideas conducive to military strength, and thus survival/spreading could go on. Now ideas often survive based on their commercial applicability or in politics on their ability to be made popular... which people as a whole at least have some control over. It doesn't always produce the best, most enlightened ideas, and often creates frustrating ones, but in perspective, it's a hell of a lot better than it used to be.

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My day.

Al Dimond Al Dimond writes  |  more than 10 years ago

I woke up at 8:00 in the morning. Took a shower, ate some breakfast. Went to ECE440 (Semiconductors). Talked about valence bands, conduction bands, and the forbidding gap. Went to Econ 103 (Macro). Talked about society like the point of it was to produce goods and if it didn't do that it was failing. Went home. Ate some lunch. A crunchy soynut butter and jelly sandwich. And some spinach. Turned on C-Span. Barbara Bush was on. Turned it off. Went with Matt and Kyle to voice a few complaints to our landlady. Jumped to Music History (antiquity for now). Returned a book, bought another one (both on signal processing). Bought 3 Power Bars, ate 1. Did a bit of homework. Went to DSP class. Talked about... DSP... came home, changed, went running with Jason Razo. It was fast. Stretched, iced my ankle. Went to the fridge, grabbed my box o'spinach, and turned on C-Span. Barbara Bush was still on. Turned it off. Showered, ate some Carribean corn chowder. And the second Power Bar. Went to Engineering Career Services meeting. Learned Power Verbs for my resume. Didn't learn where to put the accent marks. Went to an improv comedy show. Left (it was over).

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ARE YOU READY? (for hte next exciting episode of Al's Bike)

Al Dimond Al Dimond writes  |  more than 10 years ago

... So last night I got really drunk in my sleep and PARTYED HARD, and I'm so clever that to remind my future morning self of what I'd done, I took all the bottles from the 10 Corona Extras I downed and put them in my bicycle basket.

I must have been so drunk I didn't even remember to be hungover!

(That or some dipshit just used my bike basket as a garbage can. Least s/he didn't use it as a toilet.)

And then of course riding down the bike path on Wright street trying to get to class I nailed someone who walked right out in front of me without looking. It's not all *that* hard to be alert, and it's not like I'm flying around campus on my circa 1930 2-speed Schwinn.

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So, so proud.

Al Dimond Al Dimond writes  |  more than 10 years ago

Today walking home I heard some frat boys chanting, "One... Two... Three... Four... Five... Six... Seven... Eight... Nine... Ten... Eleven... Twelve... Thirteen... Fourteen... Fifteen!"

Their mothers must be proud they can count so high.

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how much luck do i have?

Al Dimond Al Dimond writes  |  more than 10 years ago

I crashed my bike. On those damn old railroad tracks that are completely dismantled except for the portion that crosses First street. There are just rails crossing the street in the middle of randomness, and my front tire went into the groove, which carried me into the curb, which threw me off the bike.

On the plus side, I got to work on my mean baseball swing yesterday; center field bleachers, watch out! Or maybe not so much "center field bleachers" as "little kids playing on the playground beyond the field". And by field, I mean a tiny backstop at a tiny park 4 blocks from my house. And they should watch out for the tennis ball that I'm smacking around with my surprisingly well-constructed wiffle ball bat. I never managed to get it to the playground (that woulda been a deep drive to the power alley in left), but I hit the sled hill (a home run to the short porch in right) and my brother hit three cars (watch out for foul balls). For all those who are familiar with the greater west side of Elmhurst area, the park was Ben Allison. The park that spans about one suburban block when it's feeling mighty. But yay for tennis ball batting practice.

The rest of today will consist of packing the rest of my schtuff to go back to college. Will be glad to be away from "home" and back to a place that really feels like home.

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knees and ankles.

Al Dimond Al Dimond writes  |  more than 10 years ago

Finallly got my knee surgery scheduled, December 20th. Which means that if the typical four-months-before-running thing holds for me (and I assume it will), River to River will be four days too early. Damn.

Turned over the left ankle playing frisbee. Does it never end?

At least the wrists are better. As long as I don't type too much. Doctor says I have a ganglian cyst, and I'll have it removed after I'm back walking after the knee surgerey, in the forseeable but not immediate future.

At least the shoulders and elbows are working.

Well the ankle is swelling up, so it must be time to take an advil and go to bed.

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I'm an air-conditioned gypsy; that's *my* solution

Al Dimond Al Dimond writes  |  more than 10 years ago

So driving to a laundromat there was a store going out of business and for some reason the sign was apocalyptic. It looked like it was an Evangelical Christian bookstore advertising the end-times as the real reason that they'd soon be out of business. Can't remember the wording of the black-on-yellow signs, or it'd be repeated here.

And then on each of the the quadruple-load commercial washers was a panel labeled, "More buttons". Except that it was actually "Mode buttons". D looks like R.

The Who do a lot of plagal cadences, yup.

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Work

Al Dimond Al Dimond writes  |  more than 10 years ago

Work has been exceptionally boring.

All I do is go on /.

On the rare occasions that my "hey, is there anything for me to do?" questions are *responded* to, I do something that takes me 15 minutes.

Then I send of another e-mail requesting work.

Then I'm back on /.

I am your tax dollars at work, damnit.

And if I could only waste them at home where I can at least be productive to myself... (well I suppose that's what I'll be doing once school starts up again, so... yeah...)

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