Comments of abstractseaweed (81)

Comment on post LOST thoughts:

I felt like the episode overall was too *busy*, with many disconnected stories going on and just about every mystery we have seen so far included in some way. I kind of agree about the Temple -- we just met these new characters Ilana and Brahm and haven't gotten to know them much yet, so I feel like it's too soon to introduce yet more new mysterious characters. Although it was cool to see the stewardess at the Temple; I'll be curious to learn more about why she's there.

It was a little disappointing to learn that there is this alternate reality. One thing that I really liked about Lost's implementation of time travel was that it seemed so different from other stories like Back to the Future where past events can be altered. But it could be interesting going forward, and I am curious to know what happens in 2004 and how they get back to the island in 2007.

Comment on post solar panels on the roof:

Very cool. One of my "wish list" criteria when choosing a house will be to choose one in an area where the HOA doesn't prohibit panels (many do, unfortunately).

I also noticed in the Statesman that there's a "Climate Protection Conference and Expo" this weekend, which might be interesting.

Comment on post Avatar:

Dang, Regal's a ripoff. Alamo Drafthouse tickets were more reasonable.

Comment on post stuck at work links:

Judging based on the aesthetics of the competing websites, without actually investigating the issues, I vote that Time Warner's website is prettier. Fox has too much flashing, distracting, and moving stuff, and way too many links.

Comment on post links so I can upgrade to Firefox 3.6 and don't want to lose my open tabs!:

The destinations in this proposed route (UT and the airport) make more sense for a first route than Leander does. Houston did rail fairly well by first connecting high-volume, close-distance areas, and then expanding to the suburbs later. Austin seems to have it backwards, and could use a giant "undo" button right about now.

Comment on post NY same-sex marriage bill defeated, life goes on:

I have those same concerns, and was going to make a similar comment. Private companies don't grant the privileges to civil unions that they do to marriage unless they specifically make an effort to spell it out. Requiring companies to be more verbose in order to grant equal benefits doesn't seem like the best option long-term, but it could be a stepping stone.

I was heartened to see the following example of verbosity in a travel insurance plan: "Immediate family members are: spouses or a person you’ve lived with in a spousal-like relationship for at least 12 consecutive months..." Without all those extra words it would just say "spouses", which would not include civil unions. So companies CAN be fair, but without full marriage rights it requires extra effort on their part.

Comment on post health care optimism?:

But I want freedom, dangit! Whether it's effective at reducing costs isn't the issue. If my only option is to pay less, and I have no choice, then that's un-American!

Comment on post a lotta links:

Haha! Big Ben on twitter is awesome.

"...temperatures in part of the LHC's circuit climbed to almost 8 Kelvin..." dang, that's really cold. Very impressive that they maintain 1.9K as the normal operating temp.

Comment on post election day!:

I'm also watching Houston's mayoral race. If Parker wins she'll be the first gay mayor of a major city, which is progress in its own way. She also happens to be a Rice graduate, which would make her the first Houston mayor from Rice in a half-century. Recent polls have suggested a December runoff before her and Brown.

Comment on post early voting happening now:

Houston Chronicle also agrees with "yes". Since Houston has no zoning I imagine this would affect them more than other parts of the state.

Comment on post early voting happening now:

Out of curiosity, what's your thought on #2? If I were voting I think I'd vote yes, but the Statesman editors disagree.

My thoughts: "Highest and best use" from a strictly economic/tax base perspective is not necessarily the best use of land from a holistic city planning perspective. Having residences near commercial property can be beneficial by reducing transportation demand, so it's short-sighted to penalize those homes with higher taxes. Furthermore, even if an individual property could be further economically developed, it doesn't mean that the market would support all such properties being developed in that way at the same time. Yet the taxes would be collected as if they were.

Comment on post A few late Friday links:

But I am on Google Voice, Google Talk, Google Calendar, Google Groups, Google Docs, Google Reader, etc. They are slowly but surely taking over my online life.

Comment on post A few late Friday links:

I signed up for Google Wave a while back but haven't gotten an invite yet. If I get one I'll let you know.

Comment on post Rice pictures:

Thanks for sharing the pictures. Will Rice looks so... I think "invisible" is the right word... without New Dorm. Someone is posting pics of Newer Dorm here but it's nice to get a good side-angle view.

If Left(NewResidentialBuilding.Name,1) == "M"
Then IsColonyOfWRC := True

McMurtry has only freshmen this year (if I understand the arrangement correctly), so WRC can teach them how to be good colonists while they're still impressionable.

Comment on post Games database:

Just realized I haven't been logged in to livejournal. "Anonymous" was me, in case you were wondering.

Comment on post filllllings...nothing more than fillllllings...:

One issue conspicuously left off is adoption. Not 2nd-parent adoption, but adoption of a child by a gay couple that has no prior relationship with the child. Many states (including California) allow it regardless of marital status, but since "save the children from gays!" is a major argument against gay marriage I'd be curious to see where adoption falls in the spectrum of public opinion.

Comment on post other odds and ends:

Thanks for the tip about that Firefox addon. I noticed it in my addon list the other day but since it was disabled didn't follow up on it. Now I know.

Comment on post Hello New York friends!:

Ooh, I didn't realize 538 was active during the non-election season. I'll have to check that site more often. Lots of good info there.

Comment on post Email to Time Warner re bandwidth caps:

I don't understand their logic in choosing Austin as one of the first places to do this. Austinites tend to be tech-saavy. With such a large portion of the local population involved in computer-related industries this won't exactly go unnoticed.

Comment on post gay marriage in iowa!:

Now what we need is for gay couples from all over the country to flock to Iowa, get married, revitalize Iowa's tourism industry, and help lift them out of recession. That'll show 'em.

Comment on post gay marriage in iowa!:

Sweet! Middle of the country, not one of those "liberal" states.

Now fingers crossed for Vermont. Looks like Tuesday's vote will be close.

Comment on post dentistry and cable bandwidth caps:

I don't get it. TV networks are finally in a position to recoup advertising dollars lost because of Tivo by providing video on their own websites with ads that can't be easily skipped. Now they'd rather have people go back to the Tivo and skip commercials instead of visiting their websites? If I were ABC or Fox I would not be happy with Time Warner on this issue.

Comment on post weighty thoughts:

I like that ColorBrewer's instructions say exactly what will happen if you use the browser's Back button. Most sites simply say "Don't use the broswer's back button!" but without an explanation of why, the user is left wondering.

Comment on post adieu genetic Mona Lisa:

It's ironic that her turn-off is "Men who wear shorts with white socks and black shoes." Classic nerd attire.

Comment on post the advantages of living in a medium-sized city:

I don't know how I didn't know this before (I'll just say I forgot) but I recently learned that Austin is in the top 20 US cities by population. I always think of Austin as small because in my mind I'm comparing to Houston or San Antonio, but it's actually quite populous.

Comment on post obama's speech and an embarrassing memory from my past:

First the Republicans run Alaska governor Liz Lemon, now they're running Louisiana governor Kenneth Parcell. Just going down the 30 Rock cast list, it seems.

Comment on post *insert witticism here*:

Oddly enough, just today we watched an episode of "The Big Bang Theory" during lunch. I had never seen the show before, but I find Sheldon's character to seem a bit more realistic than the others.

Comment on post book review: First, Break All The Rules:

We had a similar system when I worked at Berwanger, with an additional third track for sales. It makes a lot of sense since managing people, schmoozing with clients, and being a technical expert all require very different skillsets.

Comment on post attention world:

Also, in your case there's the added advantage that most of your family lives within driving distance. Months and months of advance notice for travel probably isn't as much of an issue as it is for some couples.

Comment on post attention world:

I've never planned a wedding so I can't speak from experience, but you will surely be stressed out about it until it's behind you. Even if you put it off with the intention of being lazy, it'll still be a nagging source of stress. So there's certainly an argument to be made for doing it sooner.

Comment on post my problem with "Fringe":

I just finished watching the three most recent episodes, and I have to revise my assessment. They are getting better about tying in past events, and I am intrigued by Olivia's recent development with Jack's memories. Bringing in an old female friend of Peter helps a bit with his character development, although I still feel like the Peter Bishop character is most lacking. I would classify episodes 1 though 9 as the "little hill" that they needed to get over before it could really take off. Now I'm looking forward to more.

Comment on post this week in corruption:

or like a corrupted version of "corruption". I was too slow to come up with that earlier. I'll stop now.

Comment on post this week in corruption:

corrpustion? yeah, it's a new word, kind of like corruption but misspelled.

Comment on post this week in corruption:

I'm glad to live in a country where corruption is punished. Greedy people can exist anywhere, but our system is reasonably good at preventing the widespread, entrenched corrpustion that some other places have.

Comment on post $1 coins!:

As few as possible. I have a boney butt, so I don't like to sit on anything more than I absolutely have to. Metal round things would be most uncomfortable to sit on.

Comment on post $1 coins!:

Agreed. As it is, since we have bills, it's the norm to carry cash in a wallet. Men are not allwed to carry purses without getting strange looks. If there were no bills, then men would not be able to carry cash in wallets and small bags could become socially acceptable for men to carry.

Comment on post my problem with "Fringe":

Yep. It might not be so bad if the acting made up for it, but the character development is mediocre. In particular I find Peter Bishop's accent to sound contrived. Maybe it is his real accent (I've been intending to watch some of his other films) but whenever he says "sweetheart" I cringe because it sounds so scripted. I am, however, intrigued by the Nina Sharp character and I'll probably keep watching to see how the company's role in everything develops. So far I would agree that there has been very little progress in that story.

Comment on post what's on my mind:

Apparently somebody logged me out of LJ. It's me :)

Comment on post ok, not quite over the election yet:

Some are speculating that Palin could join the senate in place of Stevens. That would make for some interesting senate politics.

Comment on post still up watching results:

I'm curious about how California's location in the Pacific time zone could affect Prop 8. If Californians feel like they don't need to vote because it's already over, then those who are more moderate and don't have strong feelings on prop 8 might not vote. Not sure which side that would help more, or whether it's even enough of an effect to consider.

SFGate and LATimes both show "Yes" leading, but with only 26% of precincts reporting. It'll be a long night.

Comment on post where's lunch rolls on:

There I go again, making logical jumps without explaining what I'm talking about. I was referring to this list of the largest Texas counties, which was linked from the one Greg posted.

Comment on post where's lunch rolls on:

It's notable that the border counties -- El Paso, Hidalgo, Cameron -- have signficantly lower percentages. I wonder if that's because of a language barrier or if there's some other reason. It'll be interesting to compare the final numbers on voting day.

Comment on post politics, whereslunch, magazines: an entry in three parts:

I like the idea of letting people rate the restaurants, including how long it takes to get food during peak lunch hour. I'm generally against any site that requires "yet another password" to be able to do something. As long as it has the same search functionality that Google Maps normally has, it should be sufficient. Defnitely set the default zoom to as close as it can be, since restaruants tend to be clustered and the dots would not be very useful when they're on top of each other.

Comment on post two quick politics articles:

They're ignoring the 2nd commandment, "Thou shalt not take the Lord's name in vain." Invoking His name for political purposes doesn't seem right, yet the right does it all the time.

Comment on post incoming nasty debate?:

I'm a good Democrat: I look at 89.2% chance to win and interpret it as an 89.2% chance that the projection will be lower tomorrow.

I do find it interesting that there is such a huge discrepancy between the projected chance to win and the projected popular vote count. It would be sweet payback for 2000 if Obama wins in a landslide while losing the popular vote.

Comment on post vp debate wrap:

Yay for rail! One advantage of Austin's quirkily elongated north-south shape is that people tend to travel within a predictable corridor in a predictable direction so there don't need to be as many different routes for the train to actually be useful. Houston would have quite a challenge building commuter rail since it has large suburbs and substantial commercial districts surrounding it in just about every direction.

Comment on post vp debate wrap:

I would support prop 2 if I were eligible to vote for it. The issue is similar in philosophy (though not as extreme) to the case of Kelo v. City of New London: using local government to give preferential treatment to one private entity over another. The Domain is already eminent; if there is truly demand for it then it will do fine without subsidies.

Comment on post mildly interesting politics quiz:

Agreed. "Are professional atheletes paid too much money?" Well yes, I think they are, but that doesn't mean I think it's the government's role to step in and "fix" that.

Comment on post seriously, guys, $700 billion is a lot of money:

The whole approach seems backwards. Instead of asking "what do we need to do" and then figuring out how much that would cost, they've decided that $700b is a good number and now they're figuring out what to do with it.

Now McCain is threatening to cancel his debate appearance unless the deal is completed by then. Sounds like an entertaining week in politics.

Comment on post Ike:

The official rule is that if you stay during a mandatory evacuation, you're on your own. Hopefully they follow that and spend their limited manpower and resources on fixing problems that could not have been prevented.

Comment on post Ike:

Last night on the local news they mentioned some guys on a fishing boat near Galveston who planned to ride it out on the boat. Their logic was that the boat would float on top of the storm surge so they wouldn't get flooded. It really is a case of natural selection.

Comment on post best TV shows quiz:

My television habits tend to be deep rather than broad. I don't watch many shows, but I really get into the few that I do watch. For the bolded ones I've seen every episode at least once and I've seen many episodes twice.

Comment on post best TV shows quiz:

The Wire
Friday Night Lights
30 Rock
The Daily Show
Battlestar Galactica
The Sopranos
Arrested Development
Studio 60
South Park
Veronica Mars
Six Feet Under
Hard Knocks: Training Camp with the Dallas Cowboys
The Colbert Report
Mad Men
The West Wing

Comment on post things that, upon further reflection, really piss me off and have come up recently:

Abstinence-only education is analogous to not teaching kids about the dangers of intoxicated driving. Kids under 21 shouldn't be drinking, so we must assume that they won't drink, and it would be irresponsible of us to teach them anything that could imply that they might drink.

Comment on post why is my laptop crashing?:

You've probably already found this, but just in case here's a similar sounding issue.

Have you tried other characters or accounts?

Comment on post why is my laptop crashing?:

How frustrating! If carrots can't fix it, hopefully apple can.

Comment on post linxplosion:

I found humor in the link to the representative that Tevis will be "retiring". At first I thought it was a joke, but no, that's his actual photo.

Comment on post Acceptable prefixes for local businesses:

Bayou City
Gulf Coast

Comment on post gay marriage in california!:

Although either way, Texas is second.

Comment on post why yes, I am a little depressed:

I think Hillary might actually have a better chance of winning. Looking at the county breakdown for Ohio and Texas, it is pretty clear that Obama won the cities while Clinton won the rural areas. The rural areas are where there is bigger competition for the less liberal voters. Democrats in big cities who voted for Obama are probably fairly liberal and would not vote for any Republican. Rural areas tend to be more conservative, but the Democrats there supported Hillary and it is those moderate voters that will really determine the results.

Comment on post some interface complaints:

In one program I use at work there is a report that is intended to report all items before a user-entered end date, but it also includes an unnecessary drop-down for a start date. Since the drop-down has to have years to choose from it arbitrarily limits the earliest date to 1950. Thus, reporting anything earlier than 1950 requires bypassing the interface entirely and writing a custom query directly from the back end.

So yes, I completely agree that drop-downs for years are annoying.

Comment on post i dunno, stuff and such:

Interesting grammatical point. I am now quite curious, but it's probably one that there is no universally agreed answer to. If it were not a proper noun it wouldn't have the second "s": "Those boys' album was bestial." However, since "Beach Boys" is the name of a single band, and we are not referring to a collection of boys as multiple individuals, it is perhaps correct to treat "Beach Boys" as a singular noun. In that case it would be no different than something like "Max's album" or "James's album". That leads to further confusion because some people insist on leaving off the second "s", while others insist that as long as it's pronounced it should be written.

Comment on post The wonderful game called Tsuro:

Neat! Thanks for posting this, I was curious. While I was lying in bed one morning I came up with 7*5*3 = 105, much like djedi did, but I didn't account for all the symmetries. It really is a fascinating game.

Comment on post back in the cold:

Also interesting is that nobody selected only one option. While radio buttons strictly enforce at most one option, it appears that checkboxes implicitly suggest at least two.

Comment on post back in the cold:

This was fun! I vote "yea" on interactive journal posts.

Comment on post progress on the netflix front:

It basically starts with random guesses as to the best solution, then generates new random guesses in the vicinity of the best ones plus some new completely random guesses, and in that way "hones in" on the best solution.

A couple links:

In my experiment I'm starting very very very simple, stripping out most of the complexity in Settlers. The goal is to choose the best place to build after the appropriate resources have been obtained to do so. At first there will be no upgrades to cities, no robbers, and no ports. I'll gradually add in complexity after I get the basics working.

Comment on post progress on the netflix front:

I took a look at that challenge, and it's really intriguing. I've wondered about that type of computation before, like what Yahoo Launchcast uses to determine which songs you might like. I will have to add this to my list of math-type topics to explore.

My current mathnerd project involves a using a "Bees" algorithm to find the best Settlers of Katan strategy. Just starting it, but I totally know what you mean about having it on your mind.

Comment on post Officially announcing auctioneer lookup:

WoW, I'm impressed :)

Comment on post (no subject):

I love that phase diagram! Makes me nostalgic for CENG classes.

Comment on post a few links:

As someone who spent half of my Rice time with the servery system and half without, I attest that the serveries severely damaged the culture of the colleges - Wiess and Hanszen worst of all, but all of the others to some extent as well. (Brown and Jones were spared by the fact that they had little distinguishable character to begin with, and their mutual identity was strengthened by the common servery.) With serveries there is much more interaction between people of different colleges, but a weaker social network within each college.

Comment on post a few links:

While I provide an additional "pah" to the general idea of growing the student body, I do approve of the Lovett/WRC/SRC servery. The detriment to the college system that resulted from only half of the colleges having serveries will hopefully be rectified. Will Ricers won't feel the need to dine at Hanszen, and Hanszenites can reclaim their commons from the masses of foreigners.

Comment on post fun with juries!:

Cool! I've been called twice, and I think it would be an interesting experience, although I have yet to actually be available (the first was during Rice and the second was in Travis county while I was living in Harris county.) The legal system is oddly fascinating, with all of its rules and traditions and pink paper.

Comment on post driving quiz! and character encodings:

While it's true that one should not angle their car until actually making the turn, at most intersections it is appropriate to at least pull forward into the intersection while waiting. If the light changes while you're in the intersection then you can complete the turn, so at least one person gets to turn left each light cycle. In this case it sounds like the driver stayed back and waited for 2 or 3 whole light cycles before going.

Comment on post driving quiz! and character encodings:

In Houston there's a particular intersection where turning left requires careful attention because the oncoming traffic is coming up from a hill (hard to see from a low vehicle). I have once been honked at while waiting to turn left there; I was waiting because I could see oncoming traffic but apparently the person behind me could not. Had I responded to their impatience, it could have ended very badly.

In general I tend to give people the benefit of the doubt - I am not where they are, I cannot see what they see, and I do not know how their car handles, so if they consider it best to wait then they probably have good reason.

(Now if the light turns protected green and they just sit there, that's a different story - I'll honk to wake them up.)

Comment on post Fun with google:

Why? That word doesn't appear anywhere on the page

Comment on post Election 2005: not good, but not horrible:

At first glance it appeared that Austin had relatively high voter turnout, so I plotted [% in favor] vs [% voter turnout] to see whether there might be a correlation. Would have been interesting, but there doesn't appear to be. Austin is very clearly an outlier.

Comment on post quick update, since there have been lots of posts today:

Most Houstonians aren't weird enough to appreciate events in the style of Austin's Alamo Drafthouse. They tend to be more "traditional" urbanites rather than the quirky folk living in Austin. Rice students/alumni are the exception.

Comment on post Rice trip and other things:

Just last night I was thinking about how it would be neat if there were "diseases" introduced into WoW, as a study of epidemiology. WoW is a simulator of sorts, which could be used to model disease spread in an actual population. Some diseases would target certain races more than others, and there could be different methods of disease spread (some spread by trading, some by whispering, others simply by being near someone). The diseases could be introduced from specific point sources, such as a specific copper vein, or contracted from some of the wildlife or NPCs in a particular area. I was envisioning diseases that don't do much to affect gameplay, just acting as a tag on the character to track disease spread. I wonder what the social consequences in the game would be, even if the diseases did nothing.

Comment on post play, WoW frustration, and so on:

I agree about the rounding off thing. At first glance, before I think about the numbers, "$7" seems less than "$6.99" because it's fewer digits and without big numbers like "9" in it. Kudos to Freebirds, for both including tax in the listed price and rounding to the nearest quarter.

Comment on post And now I am smart...I mean tired:

finished 1-3 using Excel, Access, and Textpad, respectively (cheating perhaps, but those are the programs I know best). Looks like I might actually need Python for #4.

Comment on post And now I am smart...I mean tired:

yay, I got past level 0! I think this will be fun.

This backup was done by LJBackup.