Haven’t updated in a long time

January 11th, 2013 No comments

As you can tell, I haven’t updated this site in a long time. I don’t know know what I’ll use it for at the moment, so you can safely disregard it until further notice.

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Thanksgiving webcam up!

November 25th, 2010 No comments

It’s that time of year again.

As we are once again out of country for Thanksgiving, I thought it would be fun to share the day with those of you who can’t join us.  Click here to view the webcam.

Nick, if you’re watching, Daniel is of the Buzatu clan that brought us placinta!

Categories: Cooking, travel Tags:

U.S. government bombs Guam with frozen mice to kill snakes

September 30th, 2010 1 comment

Ah, Guam.

This tiny island just next to the Marianas Trench has had trouble with snakes for a long time.  When I was a Boy Scout there, my dad fitted a machette to my camping pack, half for clearing the jungle, half for tackling these little buggers.

Always look before you sit (particularly on toilets) and always zip up your tent.

Well, it looks like the latest effort to rid the island of this invasive species is to bomb the forests with frozen dead mice laced with acetaminophen, also known as Tylenol… are we trying to kill the snakes, or just help them get over their headache from the last power outage they instigated?

As for how they will actually “bomb” with mice, here’s this little jem from the article:

Initially mice were tested with a variety of ‘delivery systems’ until researchers with the National Wildlife Researcher Center in Fort Collins, Colorado settled on a streamer attached to cardboard on which the mouse is affixed via glue. This contraption is meant to catch in the tree tops: perfectly positioning itself for hungry brown tree snakes. Researchers want to make certain the mice don’t make it all the way to the ground where they could threaten local wildlife such as crabs and lizards [PDF].

Categories: A little something Tags: , ,

The comic life of grad students

September 10th, 2010 No comments

Ah, the comic life of grad students.  I’d say it’s no longer true, but somehow the three-letter difference between “post-doc” and “pre-doc” isn’t as big as it was made out to be.  Wait, who made it out to be big?  Perhaps that was only, “in my mind.”*

And if you are a grad students and haven’t discovered PhD Comics yet, you are definitely missing out on the humour that comes from realising you are are in a weird situation. . . just like every other grad student.

* This is a reference to an Eddie Izzard sketch that I have failed to find on YouTube…

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Climbing all over New College

September 9th, 2010 No comments

I wish I was in the UK right now so that I could watch this BBC2 programme on Climbing Great Buildings.

Alas, I’ll have to settle for the view behind the barrier, my memories, and comments from those of you on the inside about how the show is! :-)

Categories: Oxford Tags: ,

The Islamic center and the midterm elections

August 17th, 2010 2 comments

I’m not sure why I am getting so worked up about this issue.   Maybe it’s because of the supposed separation of church and state in America.  Actually, though, I think it’s because of politician’s desire to feed intolerance in order to garner more votes.  The New York Times is running an article today about how some Republican Congressional candidates (and some Democrats) are positioning themselves in opposition to the Islamic center (called Park 51) being proposed in downtown New York.

This seems to be the same old tactic of playing fear politics.  The politician’s role, apparently, is not to play to people’s better natures, leading the way in demonstrating how to live by the principles on which the country was founded.  Instead, his or her role is to fester divide in an already divided country, to play to the basest of human needs (security) and argue that those needs are being undermined by propagating a common misconception about a part of the population they don’t feel they need votes from.

Why is this considered good politics?  Why fester dissent and ignorance?  I understand that the easiest way to power is to construct an all-powerful and fearful “other” that you can rile the populace into a frenzy over, then convince them that you have the answer on how to defeat them.  But that’s the easiest way.  It doesn’t lead to an enlightened public, to a public that can engage in the process of government.  It leads to a military state, and has more in common with a dictatorship than a democracy.  Why would current-day politicians in what should be a leading (not fear-mongering) democracy want to walk down this line?  I welcome your thoughts.

Categories: Politics Tags: , , ,

Zakaria on NYC Muslim center

August 9th, 2010 2 comments

I have been watching Fareed Zakaria for the last few weeks in my endless pursuit for news worth watching.  I have been generally impressed with his analysis (shocking!  Actual analysis!) and the eloquent expression of his opinions.  His interviews with high-level personalities are thoroughly based in a deep understanding of global issues.  While the program can be a little dry, its such a refreshing change from most of cable news’ 24-hour mumbo-jumbo-in-your-face-constant-non-news-worthy-coverage. Below is a recent clip about the proposed Muslim center in New York City.

What other shows have you found that provide useful insight into global affairs?

Categories: Politics Tags: , ,

What is the worst case scenario?

June 2nd, 2010 2 comments

Worst Case Scenario I am often bemused by people’s desire to believe that there is always a more sensational world out there than the one we live in. Today’s xkcd strip is a good tribute to that. I’d also point out the preponderance of statements like “this is the hotest day since. . .” or “this is the lowest the market has been since. . .”, even if the sentence is finished with “yesterday.” That doesn’t give any context, nor does it provide any analysis. But then, perhaps I ask too much of 21st Century media. . .

Categories: Uncategorized Tags: , , ,

Visit to Aunt Anne’s

May 23rd, 2010 No comments

DSC_0050 After a conference in Pheonix, Naomi and I headed south near the Mexican border for a few days to relax at Crooktail Ranch, home of my mom’s best friend.

It was a wonderful time, mucking out stalls, being amused by the goats (Bert & Ernie), hiking in canyons, lounging the the pool, and even playing a little Wii.

I look forward to getting back there soon!  Thanks Aunt Anne and Uncle Jim for a great few days.

Categories: travel Tags: ,

Moving over

May 23rd, 2010 1 comment

Here’s my new blog!  It’s going to take me a while to get things working, so it will be a bit minimalistic for the moment.

I am testing out facebook for hosting some photos.  There is limited resolution and it’s a bit harder to download them.  Let me know in the comments here if that will be a problem for you.

You can find the old Ponderingmind.org here.

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