I haven’t written anything for a while, but here’s a quick list of things that I think are interesting:
- In case you didn’t know, I defended. I am now Dr. Kulkarni (well, technically, I’m ABD until the end of August, when I really graduate). I will now insist that everyone call me either Dr. Kulkarni. Or Dr. Doom. Your pick.
- If I lived in Kansas, I would totally be voting for this guy.
- The iPhone 3G is by far the coolest gadget I’ve ever owned. It was definitely worth the 4.5 hours I stood in line on Saturday to get it.
- A partial list of places I’ve traveled to this year, with more to come: Yorktown Heights, NY. Santa Clara, CA. Seattle, WA. Ithaca, NY. Munich, Germany. Paris, France. Birmingham & Lincoln, England. Snowbird, UT
A little while ago (ok, a year and a half ago), I wrote about Pandora, a music jukebox that used information from the Music Genome Project to find music similar to music that you like.
I bring this up because today I found Jango, which seems to be really similar. I think it’s more like Last.fm, in that it sets up your radio station based on what other people with similar musical taste like (rather than using some heuristics based on musical attributes). It’s got a fairly cool interface, and, uh, some other stuff.
Ok, the real reason I wanted to write this post is that Jango created this snazzy jukebox widget for me:
I present to you the greatest first sentence in Wikipedia history: “Joshua Milton Blahyi, also known as General Butt Naked, is a Liberian warlord-turned-preacher.” Followed later by this gem: “Blahyi is now the President of the End Time Train Evangelistic Ministries Inc., with Headquarters in Liberia.”
In fact, just perusing the various articles on Liberia reveals several “stranger than fiction” moments. For example, from the article on Charles Taylor:
After the official end of the civil war in 1996, Taylor became Liberia’s president on August 2, 1997, following a landslide victory in July, in which he took 75 percent of the vote. Taylor’s toughest competitor, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, only collected 10 percent of the vote. The election was judged free and fair by some observers, although Taylor’s victory has been widely attributed to the belief that he would resume the war if he lost. He famously ran on the slogan “He killed my ma, he killed my pa, but I will vote for him.”
And now back to doing actual work.
I’m going to be at this conference in March. The astute reader, who bothers to click on links, will note that it’s in Seattle (speaking of which, Ferris — are you going to be around on the 5th?). The astute reader, who also understands that it takes a day just to drive out of Texas, will realize that to get to a conference in Seattle in any reasonable amount of time necessitates flying.
So I take myself over to Kayak, my current choice for finding flights (as it searches individual airline sites, including those that don’t usually show up on Orbitz), and note that there are flights from AUS to SEA for $208 dollars on American! Since I usually can’t even fly to Houston for less than $300, this was a fantastic deal. If I was actually able to get it.
I clicked on the first flight that was $208. “We’re sorry, the flight you selected is no longer available.” I clicked on the second flight that was $208. “We’re sorry, the flight you selected is no longer available.” Repeat ad nauseam. At this point, I was faced with two possibilities: (i) everyone in Austin is flying to Seattle in March, and was buying tickets at the exact same time, or (ii) I managed to attempt to buy a ticket right when American was changing its fares. Turns out it was the latter: I wound up getting a ticket for the exact same flights, but for $310. In the span of 5 minutes, the price I had to pay to get to Seattle went up by $100*! For a flight that’s more than a month away!
A little transparency in airline pricing would certainly be nice. Punks.
* There was still a $208 flight available that left Austin at 6 in the morning. Since I refuse to acknowledge the existence of time before 7 in the morning, that was a non-starter. Plus, who knows, they might not have let me buy that ticket either.
After struggling to fit half of an extra-large pizza into my fridge, I was trying to figure out why it (the fridge) was so full. Turns out my fridge is full of dairy products:
- Milk (2%)
- Part-skim mozzarella cheese (mostly finished)
- Part-skim mozzarella cheese (can’t run out of mozz)
- Sliced cheddar cheese (Boar’s Head sharp cheddar — Best. Cheddar. Ever.)
- Mexican cheese mix (for the occasional tostada)
- Sour cream (also useful with latkes)
- Cottage cheese (leftover from lasagna)
- Ricotta cheese (ditto)
- Shredded parmesan cheese (I probably go through parm faster than any other cheese)
- Grated parmesan cheese (from the Department of Redundancy Department)
- Gorgonzola cheese (spinach + walnuts + cranberries + gorgonzola + vinaigrette = only salad worth making)
- Some sort of spreadable garlic cheese (don’t ask)
Just thought I’d share.
Long ago thought it was, as well as politics in general:
From xkcd, entitled “Wikipedian Protester”
Peruse, if you will, the Wikipedia entry on the color “lime”. It starts out as a nice overview of various colors which may be appropriately (or inappropriately, but commonly) called “lime.” So far, so good. Very encyclopedic, quite informative (and brings up the question: what genius decided to call #00FF00 “lime,” instead of “green”? Why not call the other color “forest,” or something?)
Then things go off the rails, in the “Lime in Human Culture” section, where we are treated to this gem:
The flavor Lime is very popular among Hispanics…
which is possibly the most retarded thing written on Wikipedia (and I know that’s a sweeping generalization, but, come on, look at it!)
First, it is completely irrelevant to lime qua color. Second, it’s not at all encyclopedic. If you want to make a statement like that, wouldn’t it be better to write something like “The flavor of lime is very popular in Hispanic cooking”? So, what does Joe Random Wikieditor do when confronted with this statement? Decide that a citation is needed.
Postscript: I’m just about to go fix this, because it offends my sensibilities. But rest assured that it was actually there.
Skimming through the NY Times this afternoon, I came upon this gem:
The people who are warning that New York is losing its dominance as a global financial center because of overregulation make up “a chorus of Cassandras,” James Surowiecki writes in the latest issue of The New Yorker. The article’s skeptical stance echoes Jenny Anderson’s Insider column in last week’s New York Times, in which she suggested there was some “undue panic” over the flight of companies to overseas markets.
While I perhaps agree that there’s no need to panic over the possibility of NY losing its preeminence in the global capital markets, that’s not what I found interesting about this passage. Apparently, James Surowiecki feels that, in order to convey skepticism about calamitous predictions, comparing the nattering nabobs of negativity to Cassandra is the necessary metaphor. Which, of course, is precisely the wrong one, seeing as how Cassandra was always correct, but no one believed her. Maybe Surowiecki was making an ironic statement which the Times merely misapprehended. I doubt it.
Time to brush up on your Mythology.
So I’ve been in Austin for about three weeks now. I’m only really now feeling settled in.
I think it finally stuck last weekend. Nick (friend from Cornell), Meghan (new friend!) and myself went out on the town for my birthday. It wasn’t so much the birthday celebration that made me feel at home (although it was definitely fun). It was the feeling that I could definitely be happy hanging out with these people. That’s what it takes to feel at home: friends…
On a completely unrelated note, stores in Austin sell Mexican Coca Cola! This is truly awesome for two reasons:
- Glass bottles
- Sugar instead of corn syrup
I bought a whole case of it, all excited, only to realize that I didn’t have a bottle opener. I clearly don’t drink enough. Anyway, easily remedied, and this post is brought to you by the sugary-caffeiney goodness that is Mexican soda!
You know, considering all the words that get tossed around in the National Spelling Bee, doesn’t ursprache seem rather easy to spell?