Sunday, July 11, 2010

The Rhythm of my Coffee

Each morning, I wake up slowly. I walk groggily toward my alarm, managing to find the off button after ten minutes spent recovering from being so rudely ripped away from my dreams and rest. My mind begins to come to terms with another waking day, and I begin my routines.

My day always remains a routine until I have my first, and almost always only, cup of coffee. It can be a sip from the coffee made before I leave the house, deposited into my travel mug. It can be the cup from Starbucks when the work morning is too busy to go farther. It also may be the far more delicious cup from the Intelligentsia on Broadway street that I biked a couple of miles to get to on the weekend.

I try to make each day's coffee as exceptional as possible. I don't use the drip coffee maker anymore, because I prefer the oils that are left intact by the French press. I almost always would take Intelligentsia over Dunkin' Donuts coffee; although the Dunkin' Donuts coffee really isn't a bad alternative.

The process of acquiring exceptional coffee helps make it into my daily ritual, and I've found that for me, it helps me reset the rhythms of my day into what I prefer. It gives me a moment to just relax and let my existence move at the rate it wants to, rather than the rate that the world around me is demanding from me.

Join my cult of coffee.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Disingenuous IT workers, incomplete tech knowledge

Ars Technica reported on the trial of substitute teacher - rather, former substitute teacher Julie Amero, and Alex Eckelberry's attempt to save her from fraudulent charges and accusations.

To bottom line it, the case came about because Amero had porn popups ravage her classroom's computer, and didn't turn off the computer immediately, instead running to the teacher's lounge for help. Her lack of sense in leaving the computer running is overwhelming, I'm still surprised by this sort of lack of ability in today's world, but I can hardly fault her for it. Some teachers are simply from a different generation and haven't felt the need to learn even basic computer knowledge.

What makes me angry is the dubious testimony of the school's IT manager, and the misuse of information by the prosecution. The school's IT manager was by all accounts extremely lazy - outdated virus software, expired content filtering on the network, Windows 98 in the year 2004? Seriously?

And then to have the prosecution mislead a technically ignorant jury into a false conviction is just pathetic. Unfortunately, jury members are usually chosen, rather than dismissed, for their ignorance. Why can't the prosecution be expected then, to get their facts straight before sending an innocent women to the proverbial gallows? They were just doing their job, right? I've heard too many stories about teachers taking abuse at the hands of parents and their mindless, uninformed rage.

A tired, overstressed substitute teacher takes a fine to just get the trial over with, even though the conviction was overturned due to new evidence from Eckelberry, and a lazy IT worker doesn't get the bad attention and discrediting he deserves. Thanks, justice system.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Comedy and wordplay

So many great plays on words in this clip:

Thursday, November 20, 2008

The Linguists!

Do yourself a favor - go to and watch the trailer!

Never mind that the percentage of linguists that do anything resembling field work is exceedingly small. Let the glory of documenting near-extinct languages wash over you!

Sadly, I had no idea about this film and missed the one Chicago screening of it, I'll have to wait til February to see it.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Achievement Unlocked: Take the GRE and not bomb it!

Another step taken on the road to (hopefully) grad school. I don't think I did badly, but we'll see when those analytical writing scores come in!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Cliché alert: Yes We Did!

Election night at Grant Park was nearly overwhelming. The reaction of the huge (125k people strong) crowd, the exceptional speeches by both McCain and Obama, and the step forward socially made for an unbelievable night.

I allowed myself to be positive and optimistic for one night, but the next day I was reminded that America is still only taking baby steps. While some bigots, such as Elizabeth Dole, were replaced, many others were not, such as Michelle Bachmann. Let's not forget the most depressing, telltale sign: proposition 8 was passed in California.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Where creationists have already lost the battle

Excellent set of two posts at NeuroLogica Blog about materialism, and how it's "under attack," here and here.

Materialism, for those that haven't heard the term, is the philosophy that the natural world around us has only a material aspect; there are no non-material causes present in the physical world. Novella here refers to the opposing side as anti-materialists, although I prefer the term Dualism: the belief in non-material causes in the natural world.

Intelligent Design proponents, creationists in disguise, have been trying to drive their ideological, religious wedge wherever they perceive a weak spot in scientific theory. The materialist philosophy in neuroscience is one of those perceived weak spots.

Novella does a great job of pointing out why it isn't a weak spot, and then goes on to comment on the general strategy of ID:

But the anti-materialists (really anti-naturalists) want to resurrect this fight, and since they cannot win it in the arena of science they want to fight it in the arena of public opinion and then the legal and academic realms.

Materialism and philosophy of the mind are fascinating subjects, and there will be posts to come about them, but in this post I wanted to talk about ID strategy.

I just can't understand why creationists and Intelligent Design proponents refuse to see their strategies as deceptive and flawed. They've been swatted down by courts frequently; their approach is fundamentally flawed in regards to science. So they appeal to public opinion with selective circumstantial "evidence." They hide religious ideology under a rug: the nameless Designer. I find the idea - trying to slip a deity into our science classrooms under the cover of night - extremely discomforting. Why are the Ken Hams and Kent Hovinds of the world so ready to deceive in the name of their faith, when confronted with the reality of their own bad science?