Mister Eclectic (howeird) wrote,
Mister Eclectic

Thereby Hangs a Nail

The reason I have my nails armor plated is they split, and never grow strong enough to grow much of a nail past the finger tip. Little shards of hangnail keep pushing out. Right now I am armor-less because the last two manicurists mangled what little nail tips I had when they removed the armor to make a new set. And then with the move most of the armor from the last go round came off, and I soaked the rest in acetone and eased them off too. So now I have 10 nakes nails and they look horrible and some of them hurt, some of the keep tearing, and I have no nails to open a foil-wrapped liqueur-filled dark chocolate bottle with. And 3 lbs of pistachios which I can't pry open.

I need to get something on them soon.

Team meeting at work had some fun moments. Can't go into detail, but I made boss' boss laugh out loud from the irony of some bureaucratic red tape which I have been fighting for months.

We got some long-awaited new equipment for one of the features I am working on, I had some fun setting up its configs.

Lunchtime was a trip to the car audio shop, to get the alarm re-programmed. It got set back to defaults when they disconnected the battery Saturday to install the audio unit. That took way too long. From there to the long Monday line at the PO, where I mailed a book to my sister, a broken GPS unit to China and my NatGeo DNA test kit to their labs.

After work I drove to Saratoga (opposite side of town from the theater) to Christa McAuliffe school for a presentation "The Science of Doctor Who", which was at a middle school level. Very entertaining, and even educational for me. (Ms) Alex Larkin, Research Associate at the Stanford Medical Center and Matthew Rowley, Stanford Graduate Student in Particle Physics at SLAC were the presenters. Alex is a natural, Matthew is not, but he managed well enough. I got there 20 minutes before the published 7 pm start time, and there were maybe 6 people there including a couple of BASFA members. At 7 there were maybe 20 people, then all of a sudden the place was flooded, and they hauled out all the chairs they had in the back room. I counted more than 100 people. Maybe one parent for every 5 kids.

They had easy to read slides, very well done, somewhat mitigated by Matthew's propensity to stand between the projector and the screen. There were a few clever demos, one which illustrated camouflage by refraction using a couple of liquid-filled glasses and glass stirrers. Everyone had a strip of white paper with a post-it tip which we used to make a 2-D circlet and then a Möbius strip. The Möbius strip was used to show how a wormhole might work. Someone in the audience asking a question confused a wormhole with a black hole, but instead of just pointing out the difference, Matthew described how a wormhole also might have a gravity-sucking event horizon. Both presenters were amazing with the kids, who had some pretty off the wall questions, all of which were taken seriously and answered seriously.

The biggest response came when Alex showed a slide of six of the alternate life forms of Doctor Who. Almost every kid in the place is a real fan, and they recognized them all. Alex described each one and had the kids help guess what kind of planets they came from. They all knew the story behind Daleks and Cybermen, but also the adipose adipose blobs. The biggest boo came when one of the girls up front, prefaced her question by saying she had never watched Doctor Who. She had a good question, though. Three actually.

Matthew gave a good explanation of how we live in a 4-dimensional world (time being the 4th) and how the Tardis "bigger on the inside" might be 5th dimensional.

Lots of questions at the end, and many kids and parents stayed after to ask more.

Very touched that Christa McAuliffe's memory is being honored so well.

Listening to the OBC recording of Brigadoon, and surprised at how many standards are in there. I may have to audition for this after all.

Plans for tomorrow:
Computer History Museum talk with Rick Rashid, who bailed from CMU when I was his support guy at HP to head the Microsoft NT team. That didn't last long, he soon became, and still is, head of research there. 
Maybe I'll get the nails done at lunch time. Or not. 


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