lux, baby, bringer of light

White House "open for questions"

President Obama has decided to hold a "town hall" meeting on Thursday and is asking for the public to submit questions (using Google's relatively new "Moderator" product to decide which ones make it into the town hall).

I ask: "Mr. President, would you consider starting an "Apollo Program" for clean energy with the goal of having every sector powered by 75% renewable resources within 20 years, launching a new manufacturing industry around solar airships, electric cars, etc?"

You can ask questions of your own or agree with my question by going to:

To find my question, try searching for "apollo program clean energy"
lux, baby, bringer of light

40 Weeks

According to LiveJournal, I haven't posted to this journal in 40 weeks. Wow. Life goes by fast, especially when one is once again studying. In any case, it must be time for an update. As LiveJournal also managed to get me to pay another year of subscription, I really ought to post more often and will attempt to do so in the future.

My last post was a video of Midsummer Night's Dream. It seems like yesterday that I was doing that, but I noticed the other week that HRST was soliciting directors for this years shows already, so in reality it has been about a year since I started that process. I was happy enough with how the show turned out, though certainly the project also had a number of disappointments (and as director I shouldn't really bother differentiating between those that are more internal or external to my influence--they are all my responsibility). Anyway, THANKS so much to my wonderful cast and crew for making everything possible with their tireless effort and contributions above and beyond what should normally need to be asked. We put up a very impressive show when you consider the (low) amount of time and resources we were given. I hope the HRST season made money and that this year people will have to worry a little less about money and a little more about being organized. Best of luck to everyone who is proposing a show for this summer!

This reminds me, I still have the two-camera video of Midsummer in raw format somewhere... not sure what I've done with it after the move, but I'll look for it and see if I can get that posted soon.

Speaking of the move, I live in another country now, and have for... counting them... about 34 weeks now! I am a D.Phil student in Statistical Genetics at the University of Oxford in England. I've already learned a great deal more about both Statistics and Genetics and feel like I've contributed a lot to the group here at the Wellcome Trust Centre for Human Genetics where I have my studentship. I've been involved in analyzing data for many projects based in Oxford as well as for several international collaborations, and already have a half dozen papers on my CV. Not bad for 6 months! I have a few first-author papers in the works as well, but I probably won't be ready to publish anything until summer.

I spend most of my time working on the computer, manipulating large data sets, using existing analysis tools, and fairly frequently writing small scripts or programs to do something special. I have also setup a couple of pipelines for automating data analysis for quantitative traits, one of which is now being used by others at the Centre for their analyses. Yay.

My mom, brother, and sister came to visit me in Oxford for Christmas and I made a Christmas goose, and it actually came out pretty well (I did make a practice one with friends first, but actually that one came out very well also).

I have also been doing some theatre over here. I co-designed the lighting for "Alice: Through the Looking Glass" in the Oxford playhouse, which was both successful and fun to work on, though the incredibly short amount of time they give designers to work in this country is rather appalling. I also designed lights for a couple of shows over in Ireland (both in Limerick and Galway), and am now working on both the set and lighting design for another Oxford playhouse show--Agamemnon, the Oxford Greek Play. Plans are also in the works to do some Edinburgh fringe festival shows. Oh, and I am now the President of the Oxford Technical Theatre Society, which is called TAFF.

A few weeks ago my youngest sister Erin had her new baby girl, Leila. So now I am an Uncle! While I was in Sweden at a Symposium on disease genetics (I work primarily on the Genetics & Genomics of Complex Diseases & Traits), I videoconferenced with her and she was so cute! I want to go see her in person as soon as I can! As of a few days ago she joined facebook--one week old for her first video call and two weeks for her first social networking site. Hrmmm. What a life you'll have, Lily.

This week has been a bit unusual as I've been spending my time at the lab in the actual lab, wearing a lab coat and gloves and everything (usually I sit in the front rooms where I have a desk and a computer, working on the computer all day). I am helping out on an RT-PCR experiment and it seems to be going pretty well so far. I really wanted to learn how to work in the lab, mostly so that I can understand where the data I am always working with is coming from, but also so that I'll have the ability to do some real experiments if I need to. Exciting!

Anyway, I'm still alive and I've been working hard on my studies and research work. Hopefully I'll get a chance to come visit people soon--planning on being in the states for a course towards the end of June and will hopefully stay over there for a bit longer before or after.
lux, baby, bringer of light

pancake tuesday

I was in Ireland for a few weeks there, mostly to design a show (Glengarry Glen Ross), but also to just hang out. It was nice having a house to stay in (Aoife had an extra room), rather than staying at hotels and hostels as in my last trip. It was also great to get to know the cast, which included genuine Irish people as well as some Australians and some Americans. The whole experience was just a lot better when I was with people who I knew, or at least, was getting to know. Though, Galway is so awesome I very well could have had nearly as good a time there just hanging out with strangers, because they are all so nice!

Anyway, Ireland was great. But the best part was possibly the day before I left. The Tuesday before lent, known in some parts of the world as "Mardi Gras" and in others as "Fat Tuesday," it is known in Ireland as "Fat Tuesday." And, it is possibly the best idea ever. I went to a Pancake Tuesday party held by Eoghan(pronounced owen) and Brid(pronounced breedj), both members of the Glengarry cast. The main idea of Pancake Tuesday is basically that they just start making pancakes -- delicious pancakes -- and don't stop until everyone present is totally stuffed. They mostly made full-pan pancakes that were more like crepes and were wonderful. I filled some with Nutella, others with sugar, and still others with maple syrup. They also made "small pancakes" which are what we Americans would normally think of as pancakes. They were delicious as well.

Eoghan also made some kind of punch-bowl drink called "woo-woo" or "wa-hoo" or something along those lines. It was good... kind of syrupy, but still fairly light, and definitely alcholic... in any case, it went well with the pancakes.

Mmmmmmm, Pancake Tuesday.

Hooray for awesome Ireland.
lux, baby, bringer of light

The Non-Suspicious Devices

I'm going to skip ahead to the part where we now have possession of two of the "suspicious" devices formerly on Boston/Cambridge buildings. It really doesn't look suspicious at all.

The artists who put these up and who were arraigned this morning in Charlestown district court could _maybe_ be responsible for _littering_, but I can't imagine finding them guilty of anything beyond that. The devices have magnets on the back so they can easily be stuck to a steel surface, and the magnets even have little cloth protective covers over them so they won't scratch the surface they are stuck to. This is modern high-tech graffiti that doesn't do any permanent damage, so it really can't even be called vandalism.

Take a look (Ignignokt from Central Square):

If it isn't clear in the photo, it has:

  • LM2585S-12 3A, 5V flyback regulator

  • 12F629 PIC Microcontroller

  • IRF530 Power MOSFET

  • 105 Blue LEDs

  • 80 Green LEDs

  • What appears to be a photoresistor

  • A few electrolytic caps

  • A bunch of resistors

  • A 4-D cell battery holder

lux, baby, bringer of light

Boston's "Suspicious" Objects

There were 5 news helicopters hovering over the Charles River Basin for much of the day today. The police have apparently detonated several "suspicious objects" under bridges, under the highway, and at various other places.

Observe the "news":

Now check this out:

It seems to me that some kind of guerilla/viral marketing campaign for Aqua Teen Hunger Force. I guess, count this one as a success... 5 helicopters and national news coverage is a lot of free advertisement. But I expect there may be some kind of bill coming from the Boston police department for having to send the bomb squad all over the city...

Not to mention the traffic being stopped/slow on I-93, two MBTA lines being shut down for a while, all kinds of people being late to work, etc...
lux, baby, bringer of light


My old MIT email address is now getting an average of 800 messages per day, approximately 0 of which are real messages. I can no longer withstand not using automated spam filtering. Sadness.

I hope everyone in the world understands that email was never a guaranteed means of communication, and that it is becoming less and less reliable as the noise level rises. Also, no one should ever be upset if someone sends multiple messages because previous ones didn't get a response. Getting no response is meaningless, as no communication can be certain to have occurred unless both parties have taken part in it.

If you write me an email and I don't respond, don't assume I hate you. The most likely thing is that I didn't see your message, since if it even got through it is surely surrounded by 20+ spam messages, and it is possible now that I have to resort to filtering that it didn't even get through at all.
lux, baby, bringer of light

No accent!?

What American accent do you have?
Your Result: The Midland

"You have a Midland accent" is just another way of saying "you don't have an accent." You probably are from the Midland (Pennsylvania, southern Ohio, southern Indiana, southern Illinois, and Missouri) but then for all we know you could be from Florida or Charleston or one of those big southern cities like Atlanta or Dallas. You have a good voice for TV and radio.

The West
The Inland North
The South
North Central
The Northeast
What American accent do you have?
Quiz Created on GoToQuiz