asterroc: (Astro - H-alpha)
Post copypasted from Tumblr b/c I'm just that excited.

OMFG I’m so excited! New Horizons flew by Pluto about 2.5 hours ago. It’s going to remain pointed at Pluto for another 5 hours or so to get as much data as possible, and then the craft is going to slew around and spit back all the images and other data to Earth, and then it’s going to take another 5 hours for the signal to get here.

Among the amazing discoveries so far, we already have that Pluto is larger than previously thought. We knew that Eris was the most massive Kuiper Belt Object - mass is easy to get when an object has moons, and Pluto has five (Charon, Nix, Hydra, Styx, Kerberos) and Eris one (Dysnomia).

Read more... )

How exciting is that!?

Originally posted on Dreamwidth. comment count unavailable comments there. Comment here or there.
asterroc: (xkcd - Fuck the Cosine)
I sympathize with those of you talking about Racefail and other instances of racial minorities in SF fandom. My own issue along these lines is women/girls in gaming, especially as it has many parallels to women in science.

Waaay back in 2006 I went to PAX (a con for video gamers) (back when it was only in Seattle) and had some quite uncomfortable experiences (REDACTED IDENTIFYING INFORMATION, summaries available to my friendslist here and here) including both blatant sexism from employees/volunteers working the con, and from other women/girls attending. (My point being that sometimes when the atmosphere is the most sexist, women respond by becoming our own worst enemies.) Well I'm going again now that there's another one in my neck of the woods, and Jonathan Coulton is one of the musicians playing and the tickets for the whole thing were the same price as a Coulton concert usually is alone.

In case you are not familiar with it, PAX is a gaming con centered around three or so things: (1) webcomics and specifically the Penny-Arcade webcomic and its creators nicknamed Gabe and Tycho (PAX stands for Penny-Arcade eXpo), and any panels with Tycho and Gabe have a are HUGE audience; (2) the keynote speech is always some hugely famous geek, Wil Wheaton being this year's and a previous one as well; and (3) another major draw is the concerts, one held on Friday night and one on Saturday night, of "nerd-core" and other geek-centric music, this year MC Frontalot is the star of Friday's and JoCo is the star of Saturday's. These three events are majorly important, like (if I'm getting my analogy right) Arisia's Masquerade is majorly important to that con.

When reading through the schedule for PAX East this year, I was happy to see that there's a panel on girls in gaming:

Girls and Games: The Growing Role of Women in the Game Industry
Manticore Theatre
Friday, 8:00pm

According to the ESA, more than 43% of video gamers are female, making women the single largest untapped market segment in the gaming industry. Look at the milestones crossed and the hurdles to come as developers and publishers reach out to this previously overlooked demographic. Are current strategies effective? What does this mean for the game industry as a whole?
Panelists Include: Brittany Vincent [Editor-in-Chief, Spawn Kill], Julie Furman [Founder, SFX360], Jeff Kalles [Penny Arcade], Alexis Hebert [Community Relations Manager, Terminal Reality]

When I first saw this, I was relieved to think that PAX had apparently made some progress from their gaffes of 2006. And then I realized something I'd missed on the previous line.

Friday Night Concerts!
Main Theatre
Friday, 8:30pm

Break out your cell phone and handheld gaming screens to welcome our musical acts to Boston! The Protomen, Anamanaguchi, Metroid Metal, and MC Frontalot will all be rocking for the first night of our Nerdcore Concert Series. The first 4,000 attendees at PAX Friday afternoon will receive wristbands for guaranteed entry, with the remaining seats being distributed on a first-come, first-served basis.

Yes, the Girls and Games panel is running against the Friday night concert, not only guaranteeing it a low turnout and showing that the people who made the schedule don't give a shit that it'll have a low turnout and revealing that they don't give a shit about the plight of women/girls in gaming, but also guaranteeing that anyone who attends the Girls and Games panel is unable to attend the concert and showing that the people who made the schedule don't give a shit that we can't attend the concert and revealing that they don't give a shit about including women/girls in the larger gaming community.

This pisses the hell out of me. Am I overreacting?

Edit: If your response is "yes, you're overreacting" and you're not yourself a member of a minority within a fandom please first (1) try viewing it from my point of view, then (2) if you still think I'm overreacting I'd appreciate it if you explained your viewpoint but be prepared for me to not respond. As usual, my rules for my journal are no bashing or insults or expressions of anger. Any such comments will be frozen at a minimum or potentially deleted.
"Doctor of Thinkology" (MIT Mystery Hunt 2010) had a bunch of questions about bizarre things, often things that didn't -couldn't- even exist. In each one, there was a single misspelling.

In my six years of participating in the MIT Mystery Hunt, this is the first time that I've worked on a puzzle from start (unlocking) to finish (correct solution submission), and I am very proud of my work. It also exhibited excellent layering of the puzzle, which T$ helped me to achieve on "Pining for the Fjords" (GUTLove 2010 practice puzzle) when he rewrote it for me.

Spoilers )

Like I said, this was the first puzzle that I was involved with from start to finish. It's really beautiful and elegant to see the whole thing work like this, how each small part fits neatly together to come to the end. For those of you not familiar with the Hunt, as you read over the summary above, you may have noticed that there were something like 4 major steps, each taking a leap of logic/faith. Usually when I'm involved with a puzzle I do one step only, then I get stuck, put it down, and when it grabs someone else's eye I summarize what I did for them and they move on from there. When they solve that step, they put it down, summarize for the next person, and for the previous person. Repeat until final solution. As a result, I only ever fully understand a small part of any puzzle that I touched. Understanding every last step in full excruciating detail is a new pleasure for me, and I'm quite proud of the work that I (and Foxtrot, BL, and DM) did on this puzzle. :)

The puzzles are not back up yet, I'll link to this one when it does go up. And right after I posted this I saw that the puzzles are in fact back up, so I linked this one above and here.
This weekend I played through the entirety of Beatles: Rock Band with a few friends in a cabin in the middle of nowhere, Vermont. There's an achievement to complete the entire game in 24 hours, and we did it in two sittings: 1.5 hours on Sunday evening, and another 1.5 hours on Sunday after a hearty breakfast of apple chocolate chip pancakes. Since I'm a vocalist primarily, and the vocals are what's supposed to be new about BRB, that's what I focus on here.

Full review )

In final conclusion I'm not a Beatles fan and I'm only a casual gamer, but I still think it was worth my $60 due to the harmonies. If you're not a Beatles fan and harmonies don't do it for you, then save your money. If you're a rabid Beatles People, then $60 would be a steal for you. For most gamers, the best balance is to have a friend who's willing to buy it, or consider chipping in together and buying it as a group, or wait a bit and pick it up used. And if your parents or grandparents already have a system (they all have the Wii, right?) then it'd make a great Christmas gift for them.
asterroc: (Astro - H-alpha)
I have an invite for a Google Voice number, which would allow me to link my personal (cell) and work numbers together, and I can select which phone rings when specific people call me, or have neither ring at all. I would give this number out to people who know me personally, professionally, or even through teh intartubes only. I've got a few ideas and I'm wondering what others think of them, or if you have other suggestions for me that aren't already taken.

[Poll #1444709]

For Xtina

Jun. 29th, 2009 11:00 pm
(and other geek feminists wanting to help men get with it)

Since you're not on Twitter:


Jun. 18th, 2009 11:04 pm
asterroc: (doll)
Went to trivia today for the first time since I think 2005 at nerdcamp, and quite likely the second time in my life. Unlike that time, I actually made a valuable contribution to the team in the following questions.

3) Determine the numerical values of the following boxes, and give the final answer. Each box represents a single digit from 0-9. (Boxes were colored, letter indicates the color of each box, and were presented as one above the other.)


11) The word "hydrosphere" describes the surface of the Earth covered by water. What is the word that describes the equivalent of land?

12) In the year 1483, the first mass was held in this place named after Pope Sixtus the Fourth.

19) This question was introduced to us as both geometry and literature. What geometric shape served as narrator in Flatland?

24) We were asked to identify the TV show for which a song was played. It was rhythmic, no lyrics, in 4/4 time, with pronounced percussion/bells on the 1st, 2nd, pick-up to 4th, and 4th beats of each measure.

Socializing, solutions, and answers )

The End!

I may do it again. I'm still not a huge fan of trivia, but I like the socialization, and being slightly more successful than usual was nice. We got I think 18 out of 30, winners got 23 and third place got 20, so we did pretty good. Admission was $5/person and 50% of the proceeds went to a local food bank, with the rest being split between first, second, and third in some proportion. Drinks and snacks paid for the space.

Sleep forever!

Thanks to [ profile] the_xtina for the linkage.

Edit: When is the picture from? I feel like it's pre-inauguration, so it might be even better if it were a picture during the ceremony itself.
I'm going to start chronicling some of what went on at the Hunt. Rather than having a single absurdly long post, or else lose steam and never post it (like happened last year), I've decided to do it in installments. This one is about the spaceship competition, and a bit of team history.

Spaceship Competition )

Team History )

More Spaceship )


Nov. 10th, 2008 09:49 pm
Just for [ profile] sclerotic_rings - oh wait it's [ profile] txtriffidranch now - :

Look, it's sleepy! ^_^

Man, I wish I knew more about what's going on. A fantasy finance league sounds like it'd be a lot more fun than fantasy sports.
If you think you've seen good disappearing tricks, check out this small parrot (an Indian Ring-Necked parakeet), and this cockatoo in the comments.
asterroc: (xkcd - Fuck the Cosine)
xkcd - click for original comic and alt-text

I love that I now have an LHC tag.

DanJosef (in case you're following this now via RSS): This could be our last night on Earth! And Dan's too! Twice!


Sep. 9th, 2008 02:58 pm
Just for you [ profile] meleah, it's the Large Hadron Rap. Show it to your kids - I'm probably going to show it to mine tomorrow.

Yet another good time wasting game I just discovered: Bubble Tanks. This one has a gameplay similar to Geometry Wars, plus upgrades along a tech tree where you can go for fast but weak, or heavy tank.
Kappa's trying to learn to say "good girl!" She doesn't really have consonants or vowels yet, just a bit of a growl in the right rhythm, but it's definitely the right rhythm and she does it in unison with me whenever I tell her she's a good girl, like after giving me a kiss, or stepping up, or going home. It's just so mumbly still, I hope someday she starts adding consonants, but I guess those are hard ones for her to do.

This morning after giving her skritches I put her back on the cage ("go home") and I forgot to say "good girl" after, so she mumbled it for me. ^_^



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