asterroc: (xkcd - Fuck the Cosine)
This isn't going to be a riddle, it's going to be my real life experience. Because it includes potentially triggering discussion of sexism, and lengthy descriptions of asthma (which I guess could be a medical trigger), I'm going to put stuff behind a cut for people reading on their LJ/DW friends page - if you're came here directly, each section begins with "My discovery of" and it's asthma first and sexism next.

My discovery of / description of living with asthma… )

My discovery of / description of living with sexism… )

Originally posted on Dreamwidth. comment count unavailable comments there. Comment here or there.

I passed!

Jan. 23rd, 2014 07:42 am
asterroc: We Can Do It Sinfest - Up Yours (We Can Do It Sinfest - Up Yours)
Realized I updated lots of other places but not here. I passed my quals!

Next step is my thesis proposal, called prelims here.

Originally posted on Dreamwidth. comment count unavailable comments there. Comment here or there.

Uric Acid

Jul. 24th, 2013 12:43 am
Originally posted by [ profile] zandperl at Uric Acid
Got some bloodwork done on Kappa last month. My vet isn't avian certified (the closest AAV certified avian vet to me is more than 2 hrs drive away), but I've had good luck with VCA Animal Hospitals in the past, my vet does do birds, and she's been consulting with other vets to make sure she learns more as needed. She told me after the bloodwork last month that she needed to consult with other vets on Kappa's uric acid test. We finally talked on the phone yesterday, and, well, let's start with this: partway through the conversation I felt the need to ask her right out "Should I be concerned or panicking?" and she replied "Concerned." I'm not convinced she's right.

Kappa's uric acid (which tests kidney function) is at 17 (I didn't catch the units, but for this test in humans the units are mg/dL). Normal healthy birds are supposed to be in the range of 2-10. Kidney disease is diagnosed if it's at a level of 20. The vet recommended two things: since Kappa's currently boarding with them for a week and a half anyway, they're going to give her sub-cutaneous fluids daily; and although I already give her Sunshine factor (palm fruit oil, for the Omega-3 fatty acids), she recommended I apply it to her veggie mix daily rather than when I make the mix. They're also going to take two more blood samples: a tiny one partway through her stay and do a test in-house on the hematocrit (I think it was), which tells about her red blood cell levels, which can tell if she's having problems rapidly; and another full blood panel at the end of her stay (which needs to be sent away) to see if the sub-cu fluids have made any significant change.

Basically, the vet was talking about extending Kappa's life, that in some cases something like this can be fatal quickly, or it could only shorten the bird's life by a year. I'm trying not to be devastated (my first cockatiel passed away from kidney failure). I'm definitely worried. Kappa's only 6 years old (if I'm counting right), and dusky conures have a normal life expectancy of 25-30 years. I got her after I lost two cockatiels in a relatively short time span, and I picked her species partly due to the longer life span than 'tiels.

*sigh* Anyone else have experience in this situation, where you have warning signs of a disease and have to manage it for the rest of the bird's life?


May. 31st, 2013 09:28 pm
I started a new series on AO3, The Yeti Union, "A series of vignettes about the Professional Association of North Pole Yeti and their shop steward Phil." First one's a really short snippit introducing us to Phil, while the second takes the form of a mediator's decision about a grievance the Yeti brought against North for the change of work conditions in the leadup to Easter. You can tell I'm drawing heavily on my own experiences here. :-P I guess that union work's gotta be good for something.

And EEEEEeeeeee! I got a bunch of comments from someone whose work I like! *fangirl* She's (gender assumed, not known) only like the second person to ever comment on any of my stuff on AO3 too, making it even awesomeer!

Okay, deep breaths, back to writing working writing.

Originally posted on Dreamwidth. comment count unavailable comments there. Comment here or there.
Just saw a nice set of slides about Impostor Syndrome, and per the suggestion of a slide therein, let's celebrate Monday today (or maybe Tuesday by the time people read this) by bragging about ourselves.

What's one thing you've done lately that you're proud of?

I want us all to see them all, but feel free to post anonymously.

Here's mine )

Originally posted on Dreamwidth. comment count unavailable comments there. Comment here or there.
Just watched the last Space Shuttle launch, Atlantis, on TV.

In my entire life I have now watched a grand total of three Space Shuttle launches (all on TV):
* Challenger, 1986
* Discovery, 2005
* Atlantis, 2011

According to my recollection, I was in third grade when my teacher decided that we would all crowd around the little 10" classroom TV to watch the first teacher go into space. We all know how that ended. I remember the entire classroom being silent for a long time before my teacher said anything.

For nearly two decades after that I was mostly against human spaceflight. It cost too much money, there was too little return on investment, and it was too risky, said the emotional side of me. The intellectual side said that others found it inspiring so we should continue human spaceflight to drive funding of real astronomy, and I also thought it was important to someday colonize other places than Earth so we must start that somewhere.

2005 was Discovery's "Return to Flight" mission, after the 2003 Columbia disaster. That summer I happened to be teaching astronomy at a nerd camp, so my TA on his own initiative arranged to have the class crowd around a TV screen. He and I stood in the back of the classroom chanting to each other, "I hope we don't traumatize them, I hope we don't traumatize them." Thankfully, we did not.

In 2008 the first teacher to actually go into space, Barbara Morgan, originally a backup for Christa McAuliffe and actually flew on Endeavour in 2007, addressed the National Education Association in Washington DC. I remember little of her speech, other than that it was inspiring.

Today I watched Atlantis launch on TV, the last ever Space Shuttle mission. My heart was in my throat and tears in my eyes, hoping that this would not be another disaster. Atlantis did launch successfully at 11:29am (EST). More than an hour later now, I'm not sure if it's already in orbit, or if it's still climbing.
Your job, should you decide to accept it, is to help me to not get another bird, one in particular named Doobie.

parrot rambling )
asterroc: (xkcd - Fuck the Cosine)
Less than 1% of oiled birds survive. Somebody want to explain to me why? What actually kills them? Is it predators? Ingestion of oil (and if so, is the oil toxic or does it disrupt normal digestion)? Temperature regulation? Insufficient buoyancy? What?

Edit: The correct answer is, (E) All of the above.


Apr. 19th, 2010 09:19 am
Oh that's right, the rest of the world doesn't get today off, it's a state holiday. (And yet I woke before 9am.)

And I work from home Tues too, so it's a 4-day weekend for me, yay!
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.
asterroc: (doll)
I realized today that it's been more than a year since I got my first cup. To celebrate I just ordered myself a large orange LadyCup. :-D

Using a cup for the last year has given me such freedom, it's really been unexpected - what I thought would happen would be that I'd be using this reusable product to save the Earth, and either it'd be a hassle and I'd stick with it, or it'd be a hassle and I wouldn't stick with it.

Some reflections on menstruation and cup use )

Thanks for all your help here ladies. I can't wait until my OrangeCup gets here - orange is a particularly liberating color for me. I'm half Chinese, and throughout my childhood wearing orange made me look jaundiced as it does many Asians. As an adult now and bolder in what I wear, orange is actually flattering on me. So here's to self-confidence, growing up, cups, menstruation, and orange!

X-posted to [ profile] menstrual_cups
"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.
Read "An Economic Case Against Homosexuality" by self-proclaimed conservative librarian Bert Chapman. Among the head explodey:

* The AIDS epidemic is caused by homosexuals worldwide, and heterosexual promiscuity in Africa (note: Africa exclusively).
* Homosexuals are criminals, as evidenced by the high rate of homosexual rape in prison.
* Domestic partner benefits and other forms of progress for homosexuals has come at the expense of us poor heterosexuals and this is ruining the economy.
I hate how stress causes skin flare-ups for me. (I have hidradenitis suppurativa if you've missed the other PSAs.)

Sources of stress )

Results of stress (a cyst) )
asterroc: (xkcd - Fuck the Cosine)
I am looking for a reliable source to explain to a non-mathematician why drawing conclusions from a sample size of 3 is ridiculous.
My current list of Summer Projects. Enumerated for convenience, not priority.

  1. Organize photos. My high school photography instructor told me the secret to good photography is to take many photos and only show the best ones. With the advent of digital photography I have perfected the former, but need to work on the latter. My goal is to take the best photos from my anonymyzed Flickr account and upload them into my personally identifiable account (for those of you who know my real name, that Flickr username is first initial last name, no spaces or punctuation).

  2. Record singing - I have enjoyed singing since at least 5th grade, which makes it 20 years now. My singing voice is somewhat soft, but I have good relative pitch. I also play guitar though a bit crappily. My goal here is to record guitar and vocals for a few covers (Indigo Girls, Dar Williams, possibly Sarah McLachlan) and one or two of my own, using Garage Band. I will need to get something to plug in my guitar (it's got a jack) to a USB port ([ profile] kelsin, got anything like this I could borrow, or that you could recommend I buy?). I am not adverse to collaborations.

  3. Road trip to Philly - one of the two surviving Galileo telescopes is out of Italy for the first time ever and is on exhibit through Sept 7 at the Franklin Institute. Along with this I may visit nerdcamp.

  4. Visit the crater photography exhibit at CLAMPART in NYC; open through July 6.

  5. Learn programming

  6. Inbox 0 - a lifestyle change in which I treat my email Inbox as a To-Do list, and remove everything I've completed, so that my Inbox stays perpetually close to 0 items.

More items may be added in the future, but generally 3-5 items is a good goal and I achieve 2-3 of them.

Edit: Added programming, I knew I was missing something.
asterroc: (doll)
In a year and a half of my super long commute, I am now up to my third harrowing experience driving - first was the blizzard 13 Dec 2007, second was my flat tire 18 Nov 2008 (which I apparently never blogged), and this third one was a truck losing a wheel right after I drove past. I did see the aftermath of a dump truck that lost a wheel over the median around a year ago, but that didn't directly affect me.

Today I was driving on my nice long drive home and on a long straight stretch I noticed a red van driving in the breakdown lane with its hazards on. He was driving a little fast for the shoulder, and he wasn't entirely in it, and I couldn't tell what was going on, so I preemptively moved into the left lane. The highway wasn't that crowded, it was around 4:30 in the afternoon which is before main rush hour, so as I passed there was no one in the right lane between myself and the van, and the other cars in the right lane were a ways ahead of us and the semi truck in the right lane was aways behind myself and the van. As I passed I watched the van and found myself thinking that the two wheels on the left seemed like they were tipped so the bottoms were pointing outwards more than they should. I was just wondering if that was the issue when I looked back at the van in my rear view mirror and watched the front left wheel come off and the shaft throw off sparks as it hit the pavement.

I quickly threw my eyes back at the road, taking note of the mile marker as I passed it, fumbled for my cell with my right hand, and 911 transferred me to the state police just as I pulled off at the rest stop. I was pulling off because I realized I was shaking. These (mental) near-misses always get to me - "mental" because the van was never physically close to me, I never had to adjust my driving, but in my head was the realization that if things had been timed differently I could've been involved. Surprisingly the van did not seem to swerve when its axle hit the pavement, and for the tiny bit I watched I didn't see any other cars hit it, so perhaps everyone was okay in the end. Just realized now I was shaken up enough by it that I didn't remember to put my cell out of emergency tracking mode; I usually do that a bit after completing the 911 call.

If you've never called 911 for a fellow motorist, here's what to expect )

I'd managed to push today's incident out of my head for a while (I made pizza!), but watching a car chase in Numb3rs with a large red SUV brought it back, and after telling T$ I was still shaking so I typed it up here, and now I'm still shaking, so I think I will go do something relaxing instead of shaking or trying to work. Or maybe work will drive it out.



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