First Games of Fall

Sunday, September 24th, 2017 11:25 pm
flwyd: (black titan)
[personal profile] flwyd
It's been an eventful summer. It felt like I had something scheduled (even if it was nominally restful) every day from the middle of July through the middle of September. Phew.

Now that the sun has slid past the equinox and the sky has filled with rain, it's time to turn our attention indoors. I'm therefore declaring this Saturday, September 30th, my first game day of fall. And hey, it's just a couple days after my birthday, so that's fitting.

As usual, bring games, friends, food, kids, drinks, and other things that might be fun. I've accumulated a few games over the last year or so that haven't gotten much play, so I'd love to give them another whirl. I've got a bunch of recently-brewed maple ginger spruce ale, so if you're not a fan of hops, you might enjoy this beer. I'll also have some kind of food going. RSVPs help me know how to plan accordingly.

My house is in the usual place. If you don't know where that is, send me an email (and join my games mailing list, where I include more details).

A very merry unbirthday to you!

September 24--Watercolor Mook

Sunday, September 24th, 2017 10:17 pm
zyzyly: (Default)
[personal profile] zyzyly
Malida's company had their company picnic at the big park near our house today, so we went over. It was kind of boring, and the food was so-so. She gave me the ok to take off, so I went out and played Ingress for a while and did the shopping.

She called me about an hour later and asked to be rescued, so I came and picked her up, and we went home.

I made some baby back ribs for dinner with some Brussels sprouts and some potatoes. It was delicious. After dinner Malida went back to binge watching Game of Thrones, and I watched for a while with her. I only made it through season 1 when I tried to watch it, but she is in season 6 now. It looks kind of interesting, and I may watch it down the line before the final season starts.

I spent a good part of the evening reading about the construction of a tunnel, which morphed into looking at a Google map of the US and Canada, and retracing my driving trip across both back in 2005. It culminated in looking for my barracks building on the base in Idaho where I ended up my military career.

Lots of meetings tomorrow, a few of which are scheduled at the same time.

watercolor took

My eye exam

Sunday, September 24th, 2017 11:55 am

Interesting Links for 24-09-2017

Sunday, September 24th, 2017 12:00 pm
andrewducker: (Default)
[personal profile] andrewducker

September 23--Flamingo babies

Saturday, September 23rd, 2017 09:55 pm
zyzyly: (Default)
[personal profile] zyzyly
It was the perfect day for sleeping in. The overnight weather was cool, and it felt good to not get up. The cats tolerated it until about 9, then it was them meowing for crunchies and Malida meowing for coffee. So I got up.

It was supposed to be 5 degrees warmer today than yesterday. My phone has started telling me this sometime in the evening. I'm not sure why, but I like it. I enjoyed my coffee with the windows open and the music on, and read the news of the day. I was again baffled and dismayed by the complete lack of self-control the President seems to have.

We decided to drive out to the big Korean market to have lunch and do some shopping. The place is enormous, and has much more than just asian stuff. There is a large Eastern European and Russian community in the area, and their needs are well met here. We had lunch in the excellent food court and bought a bunch of stuff.

I received a package yesterday that contained a new band for my step counter watch thing, and two little garden flamingos. I put the flamingos out this morning. They are about 1/3 the size of the normal ones. I was prompted to buy them after I saw a little boy stop to look at my other flamingos the other day while he was on a walk with his mom. He seemed fascinated by them.

flamingo babies

(no subject)

Saturday, September 23rd, 2017 08:08 pm
randomdreams: riding up mini slickrock (Default)
[personal profile] randomdreams
I was working on a small machining project for work in my workshop, another situation where the commercial version is available with a two week lead for $1K or so, and thirty minutes of work on a scrap piece of aluminum in my workshop will have us the equivalent on Monday. Which is great, when I get paid to run a lathe, until I dropped a tiny setscrew, bent over to pick it up, straightened up, and smacked my head into one of the handwheels on the mill. I am not exaggerating in the slightest when I say I pulled a crescent-shaped chunk of skin off the handwheel once I stood back up. Now I'm sitting in front of the fireplace with a pounding headache.

I had been intending to make a speedometer cable adapter for the Spitfire next, but I think I'll put that off until later.

I don't think the Senate wants to repeal Obamacare

Saturday, September 23rd, 2017 09:43 pm
andrewducker: (Default)
[personal profile] andrewducker
I've been paying attention to the many attempts to repeal the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare)* and what's been really obvious in the last year is that the Republican majority don't actually want to repeal it.

There seem to be three different groups:
1) Republican Senators who can see that Obamacare is actually about as right-wing a way to have universal healthcare as you can get**, and don't actually want to get rid of it.
2) Republican Senators who may or may not be in favour of Obamacare, but can see that their constituents are now attached to their healthcare, will be furious if they lose it, and only have a slim majority which they are terrified of losing at the next election.
3) Republican Senators who really are against Obamacare.

The problem here is that all three groups need to pretend that they're in category (3), because they've spent the last decade telling their supporters how terrible Obamacare is, to the point where there are voters who support all of the individual parts of the bill, and even the "Affordable Care Act" but will be will be against Obamacare.

And the longer the ACA exists, and the more that voters understand about it (as is happening the more Republicans talk about it) the more popular it gets. To the point where a majority of the public are now in favour of it***. But the Republican Party now has a central point of belief that "Obamacare is bad".

Which means that in order to be against it, but not actually remove it, we're left with a few Republican Senators taking it in turns to vote against repeal, on various largely spurious grounds. Being very careful to say "Oh no, I hate Obamacare as much as the next person. But I can't vote to repeal it this time, because of a minor provision. Maybe next time." - and then the next time a _different_ Republican Senator can do exactly the same thing.

None of which means that Obamacare is safe. It's balanced on a bunch of senators believing that if they repeal it they'll lose their jobs. So every time a repeal bill is put forward they have to be persuaded _again_ that the public still cares. And I am very grateful for my US friends who are involved in getting people to phone their representatives every time it comes up.

But I am moderately hopeful that we'll make it through to the mid-terms without it being repealed. Because I don't think that a majority of the senate actually wants it to be.****


*There were over 50 of these between 2011 and 2014, goodness knows how many we're up to now
**Not surprising, as it's very similar to RomneyCare.
***But only 17% of registered Republicans. It's the swing voters who have moved.
****But don't trust me. This is just my impression from what I've read from, frankly, a long way away.

Colorado Energy Freedom Tour

Friday, September 22nd, 2017 11:32 pm
flwyd: (1895 Colorado map)
[personal profile] flwyd
Last November I was really disappointed with the election. Not so much the results, but the way the whole year and a half had gone. People weren't listening to each other. They were shouting to their friends and painting folks they didn't know as terrible people. I managed to mostly avoid the commercial media, but the ads I did see were almost universally against an opponent rather than in support of a good idea.

So I decided that after I got healthy, I was going to be the change in political discourse I wanted to see in the world. As a left-leaning Boulderite who rides in technolibertarian cirlces, I wanted to come to a better understanding of conservative points of view and then find some conservatives to have some non-confrontational conversations with.

Since I was still moving slow from my year of illness, I realized that I shouldn't put the bulk of my energy in an imminent fight like health care or immigration. So I turned my attention to climate change, a systemic problem that doesn't require action tomorrow, but definitely requires action soon. It's also a problem that's not rooted in liberal or conservative values: every human has a stake in the outcome.

I connected with Citizens' Climate Lobby a non-partisan group focused on both national climate change legislation and cooperation across party lines. I realized that waiting for Democrats to take all three houses of power wasn't an effective strategy for addressing climate change. Not only would it delay action until the 2020s, it would be an easy target for repeal when the winds of change shift in Washington. CCL's carbon fee and dividend proposal is structured to be attractive to members of both major parties and therefore stands a chance of remaining on the books as people come and go from Capitol Hill. Plus, with the revenue generated from pricing carbon going to households, it could become a widely popular program, meaning constituents will speak up to keep it in place.

For the last few months I've been working with several other CCL volunteers to organize the Colorado Energy Freedom Tour. Following an outreach model that CCL has used from the Gulf Coast to Kentucky to Alaska, we're visiting a handful of towns in eastern Colorado. We'll be giving presentations in Erie, Fort Morgan, Greeley, Parker, and Sterling (and hopefully more to come). But more important than the information we're sharing, we'll be having conversations with folks about climate change, energy policy, and engaging with our elected representatives to ensure that Coloradans voices, whether urban or rural, are heard.

If you know anyone who lives near these towns and is interested in energy, climate, or market solutions, we'd love to see them at one of the presentations. We're also hoping to meet with organizations like city councils, newspaper editorial boards, chambers of commerce, and growers associations. Tell folks to check out Colorado Energy Freedom Tour on Facebook or on our website.

September 22--Takotsubo syndrome

Friday, September 22nd, 2017 10:26 pm
zyzyly: (Default)
[personal profile] zyzyly
In our post-conference one of my students mentioned that she took care of a patient with an interesting syndrome--Takotsubo Syndrome. It is a condition brought on by stress, which looks like a heart attack, but isn't. The left ventricle balloons out, and the heart resembles a Japanese octopus trap.

It is also known as broken heart syndrome. It is almost always seen in women, and can occur as the result of a severe stress event, such as the loss of a husband. As soon as my student mentioned it, I recalled reading about it about 12 years ago. I got to talk with the patient a bit and asked what had happened before she was admitted. She recounted that she was shopping, and that was about it.

Today was Mercy Day, which recalls the founding of the Sisters of Mercy, who also founded the hospital I have my students at. They had a nice breakfast buffet set up in the outdoor patio and everyone came out to get something to eat. I ran across someone I had never met, but had sent a bunch of emails to. I introduced myself and told her I was the nursing instructor. To myself I said, "I sent you a whole bunch of emails that you never responded to." In spite of never responding, she was very complimentary toward my students and told me how much they enjoyed having them in her department. Ok then.

I received a Hello Kitty wearing a Boise State t-shirt from one of the people in my doctoral program. She asked how my project was going. I guess I have to tell her.

hello kitty gang

The Hello Kitty gang with their newest member.

This evening my Second Life friends and I had a rockabilly party. One of the newer people to stumble into our little group asked us to play some rockabilly songs, so we all dressed up and someone put together an awesome rockabilly set. We had such a good time that we decided to take a picture. One of our group is a SL photographer, so spent some time getting us all in order. I took this picture while she was still setting up. Hers is better, but mine isn't bad.

attic rockabilly

I'm the tall guy in the middle. I have been fooling around with my avatar lately, and not sure how he ended up so tall. He looks nothing like me in RL.

I've been having out with most of these people for about 5 years now. I was going to say something about how interesting it is that you can make friends with people you have never met in RL, but I don't need to do that here. You know.

Misc

Friday, September 22nd, 2017 11:14 am
rebeccmeister: (1x)
[personal profile] rebeccmeister
I had a randonneuring dream last night, where [personal profile] scrottie and I were riding a 200k permanent, but I needed to pause and do something else in the middle for about 5 hours, and could then resume and try to complete the ride. My dream mental-math indicated that it would be possible to pull this off if we had 13 hours of time in total to complete the permanent. But we would only manage to barely squeak by. I think the dream has to do with my brain trying to track a lot of logistics and time constraints, what with job applications and beyond.

I didn't make it out to row yesterday morning, because I wound up staying up late Wednesday evening to have a late dinner with an invited speaker who studies evolutionary physiology. Water time is becoming increasingly important in the run-up to the Head of the Charles, so I decided to try and get out to row this morning. It was nice to have the water almost entirely to myself, even though I had to rush to meet up with [personal profile] sytharin and [personal profile] slydevil afterwards for our usual Bike-Friendly Fridays coffee date.

The time we went and stayed with the ducks

Friday, September 22nd, 2017 06:37 pm
andrewducker: (Default)
[personal profile] andrewducker
Jane and I went up to Nethy Bridge, near Aviemore, and stayed at the Lazy Duck in one of their Eco-Lodges. Which is a cabin built for two, with electricity, gas cooking, and (distant, wobbly) wifi, right next to a large duck pond full of a variety of different species of ducks.
Loads of photos and four videos )

Interesting Links for 22-09-2017

Friday, September 22nd, 2017 12:00 pm
andrewducker: (Default)
[personal profile] andrewducker

September 21--Actual Size, or, Wingtips to a Wedding

Thursday, September 21st, 2017 08:40 pm
zyzyly: (Default)
[personal profile] zyzyly
I woke up about 5 minutes before the alarm went up and made some coffee and gave the cats their treats. I got ready for work and left before the sun came up. Tomorrow is the autumn equinox, and the days will continue to get shorter. Ok with me.

One of the nurses on the cardiac unit told me that my student would be taking care of a guy with a brand new really small pacemaker. I had heard about it a few weeks ago, but hadn't yet read anything about it until today. It is really really small. See Picture Below. It is implanted via a catheter through the groin, into the right ventricle of the heart. It has a battery life of up to 12 years. Pretty amazing, considering my phone battery can't even last a day.

Micra"/

While I was hanging out at the hospital today, I thought of something interesting to write here, but now I have forgotten it. I guess it wasn't that interesting after all. What could be more interesting than a picture of my thumb?

Signs of improvement [crickets]

Thursday, September 21st, 2017 11:15 am
rebeccmeister: (cricket)
[personal profile] rebeccmeister
We are finally seeing signs of improvement in our cricket stocks. I think most evidence points towards a problem with the wheat germ I picked up to tide us over until our order from our usual supplier came in. It came from SunRidge Farms, which is a bulk foods supplier used by a lot of the area grocery businesses. Poking around, I learned that it's pretty hard to find actual organic wheat germ, apparently because the process used to create wheat germ is pretty specialized and only carried out by a small handful of wheat mills. Even Bob's Red Mill doesn't sell organic wheat germ - just "natural" (which is a meaningless marketing term). In Texas, I used Bob's Red Mill wheat germ without having any problems, so I just have to suppose their supply chain is separate from the supply chain from SunRidge.

I mean, if I really wanted to demonstrate that it's the food, I could rear a separate set of crickets with more SunRidge wheat germ. But that would be yet another side project.

So now I think I have a 2-week window before I'll descend back into circadian madness again. And then I REALLY hope to be finished collecting data.
zyzyly: (Default)
[personal profile] zyzyly
I finished up my lecture this morning and we played an hour of Fluid and Electrolyte Jeopardy. I love when I have the time to do this, and the students enjoy it as well. The great thing about it is it gets them to put down their pens and really think about the information rather than simply taking it down.

I break them into groups that correspond with their clinical groups and start the game. Everyone always goes for the $500 questions first, which are the most difficult. I love hearing the small groups figuring out what the correct answer is--it shows critical thinking. It is also interesting to see the group process, and who takes the lead in problem solving. I have more of these scheduled, and the time to do them.

I took them to the hospital after that, and sat outside reading their journals. It was another beautiful day--in the low 70s with a breeze. My favorite kind of weather. By the time I was heading home, clouds were rolling in, and there was some rain to the north and west of us.

I tried to take a nap, but wasn't tired enough, so I watched the last half of the final Harry Potter movie, then made an early dinner.

insurgent cat

"What are signs and symptoms of Hyperparathyroidism?"

Cricket updates

Wednesday, September 20th, 2017 11:26 am
rebeccmeister: (cricket)
[personal profile] rebeccmeister
As of yesterday, we are still getting a lot of adults with deformed wings, like so:

Crickets with deformed wings

I am reading the tea leaves pretty hard, but think I am seeing a small improvement, which means I could be up and running again in another week and a half or so, at the soonest. If my tea leaf reading skills are terrible, it will be longer than that, which would push back completion of the lab circadian experiments to sometime in late October, if I'm lucky and this disaster actually comes to an end. When I dissected the above crickets, their innards looked completely normal, and their fat body (analogous to the vertebrate liver) looked fine under the scope. My labmate has found someone who knows the relevant procedures for testing for deformed wing virus, so that's next on that agenda.

Meanwhile, time to make progress on the thousand other fronts that deserve attention. One project that has been fun has been figuring out how to estimate cricket ages for field-caught crickets. I'm trying to work out the logistics for a method from a paper published in 1987, where a famous cricket biologist would take a cricket leg, slice a thin cross-section of it, and then would view it using a phase-contrast microscope to count the daily growth layers of chitin. My mentor in Nebraska suggested setting up a simpler polarizing light microscope, but for various reasons it has taken me a while to figure out how to do that. Finally, I found this tutorial, and watched the linked video, and finally got that part sorted out. Very satisfying!

But now I'm stuck on the cross-sectioning method. The author of the 1987 paper described a process of wedging the cricket's leg in a chunk of potato (to stabilize it), then cutting thin slices with a hairdresser's razor. My attempts to replicate this method have been comically bad so far, and I have no idea what I'm doing wrong. So I'm still scratching my head over how to proceed, and hoping that I don't wind up having to go through the arduous and tedious steps involved in more conventional tissue sectioning methods.

I feel like a mighty redwood tree

Wednesday, September 20th, 2017 12:53 pm

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