A bit of a cheer-me-up

Posted by barb on Jan 23, 2006 in Memes, Etc.

Found this through Cheeky Prof.

I can tell you that #5 is definately not true, #6 might be true, and #9 gives me good reason to never visit Paraguay.

Ten Top Trivia Tips about Barb!

  1. Peanuts and Barb are beans!
  2. Barbology is the study of Barb.
  3. Barb can usually be found in nests built in the webs of large spiders!
  4. The Asteroid Belt between Mars and Jupiter is made entirely of Barb.
  5. Barb can’t sweat.
  6. It’s bad luck to whistle near Barb.
  7. The pharoahs of ancient Egypt wore garments made with thin threads of beaten Barb.
  8. Abraham Lincoln, who invented Barb, was the only US president ever granted a patent!
  9. Duelling is legal in Paraguay as long as both parties are Barb.
  10. Barb can be very poisonous if injected intravenously!
I am interested in – do tell me about



More fun on the internets

Posted by barb on Jan 17, 2006 in Memes, Etc.

MyHeritage.com has a fun flash app that uses face-recognition software to tell you which celebrities you most resemble. My top five results (based on my original passport photo):

Using a different photo with me and Sweetie, I get Edith Piaf, Britney Spears, Karl Donitz (ack!), Anastasia Myskina, and Norah Jones (with Viggo Mortensen there, too, at #7 or so). Sweetie comes up as Annette Bening, Justine Henin-Hardenne, Laura Dern, Rajneesh, and Zhao Ziyang.

A quick note on the site — the flash app crashed Camino on me, but worked under Mozilla. If it crashes for you, try a different browser…



Cyborg Me

Posted by barb on Jan 16, 2006 in Memes, Etc.

Biomechanical Artificial Repair Being

[via Mushi]

BTW: Hopefully I’ll have some more meaningful updates soon — I’ve been very busy with the AAS meeting last week and DDR this weekend.




Posted by barb on Jan 4, 2006 in Memes, Etc.

This is a good one!

In the year 2006 I resolve to:

Make as many people hate me as I possibly can.

Get your resolution here [Link is gone – 1/2014]

[via Feministe]



Only between friends…

Posted by barb on Dec 19, 2005 in Memes, Etc.

Your Elf Name Is…

Stubby Fruit Cake

[via Pharyngula]



Book Catch-Up

Posted by barb on Nov 24, 2005 in Books

I haven’t been reading as much as I usually do, but I’ve read more than I’ve blogged here. Here are the books I’ve finished in the last few months:

The Annals of the Heechee
by Frederik Pohl

I had been looking forward to this, the last installment of the Heechee books (well, at least the last featuring Robinette Broadhead). Sadly, the book did not live up to my expectations. Not even close.

I found myself often annoyed with the constant harping on the fact that Robinette is now digitized — not a “meat person”. We get explaination after explaination that he moves at higher speeds and that the speeds of “meat people” is way too slow for him. I didn’t need it beaten into my head.

The story does wrap up (sort of) the questions of what the Heechee are hiding from.

The Chronoliths
by Robert Charles Wilson

In early 21st century Thailand, Scott Warden witnesses the sudden appearance of a 200-foot stone pillar inscribed with a military victory of “Kuin”…16 years in the future. The novel follows Scott over the next 16 years as he joins the team investigating these events and whether or not they can be reversed.

The story idea is compelling; however, it’s told from Scott’s “future” self. Annoyingly, he keeps forshadowing how much worse things are going to get. After the third or fourth time hearing “little did we know” or “that was only the beginning”, I was ready to toss the book. However, the story intrigued me enough that I wanted to finish it.

Dooms Day Book
by Connie Willis

In the future, the best way to study history is to go back in time. However, several eras are off-limits as being too dangerous. Kivrin was determined to go to the early 14th century, but it has been declared off-limits due to the plague and plague-related histeria. When the history board starts to open up a few decades in the 14th century, Kivrin leaves for the past as soon as she can.

When she gets there, though, she finds that the drop site had drifted in time more than any other drop had drifted, and suddenly she’s in one of the un-approved decades. In the meantime, back in her own time, an epidemic hits London, and no one has the time or energy to see that she is not where she should have been.

As usual, Willis weaves an interesting and intricate story.

The Best American Science and Nature Writing 2002
edited by Natalie Angier

Another great collection of science articles. A few noteworthy ones:

  • “Violent Pride” by Roy F. Baumeister – This article blows apart the premise that violent people have low self-esteem. This piece of “common knowledge” had not really been rigorously tested, and when a group does test it, they find that the agressive group actually has high self esteem.
  • “Welcome to Cancerland” by Barbara Ehrenreich – Ehrenreich examines the pink world of breast cancer after she is diagnosed with it
  • “As Good As Dead” by Gary Greenberg – This piece examines the fuzzy line between life and death and the ethics involved in declaring someone dead enough to harvest their organs.
  • “Why McDonald’s Fries Taste So Good” by Eric Schlosser – Interesting article on how flavorings are made and used. It’s surprising how flavorings are really the heart of the food industry, not the foods themselves.
  • “Shock and Disbelief” by Daniel Smith – This piece is about electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) and how it has changed in the last 20 years. It also touches on the controversy and highlighted how today’s ECT is far removed from the horrors that most people have in their minds.

There was also one annoying piece, “Sound and Fury” by Garret Keizer, and I skipped at least one other piece after reading the first few pages. However, all-in-all, this was a better collection than the others I’ve read.

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
by J. K. Rowling

It’s Harry Potter’s fourth year at Hogwarts, and by far his most dangerous so far. As he is forced to compete in the triwizard tournament, a dangerous tournament between the top three wizard schools in Europe, he faces challenges that test his skills as a wizard beyond what he was ever prepared for.

This is the best Harry Potter book so far in the series, and the darkest. I can hardly wait to read the next one to see where things go next.

Man With Farm Seeks Woman With Tractor: The Best and Worst Personal Ads of All Time
by Laura Schaefer

This is a collection of personal ads through history. Unfortunately, the best one was the one used for the title. All of the rest paled by comparison. It also seemed that Schaefer picked many ads from the same paper on the same day or week, leading me to believe that her research was a bit lacking. This collection is not worth the time or money.



Weekend Movies

Posted by barb on Nov 13, 2005 in Movies

Went to a couple movies this weekend:

  • Dreamer
    3/5 stars
    Cute feel-good movie, though no surprises if you’ve seen the trailers
    [IMDB link for Dreamer]
  • Good Night, and Good Luck.
    4/5 stars
    As Andrew said after the moive, “TV was sure different back then.”

    In 1953, Edward R. Murrow, a respected CBS newsman, chose to broadcast a couple shows dealing with Senator McCarthy and his communism witch-hunt. Needless to say, at that time it was dangerous for anyone to speak out against McCarthy, and there were lost of white knuckles in the CBS newsroom.

    The film was very well done, and one of the first with George Clooney where I felt that he wasn’t just recycling Dr. Ross from ER.
    [IMDB link for Good Night, and Good Luck]

We also spent our evenings this weekend re-watching the Harry Potter movies – I am sooooo looking forward to The Goblet of Fire next weekend!!



What Graduate Text Are You?

Posted by barb on Nov 4, 2005 in Memes, Etc.

If I were a Springer-Verlag Graduate Text in Mathematics, I would be Frank Warner’s Foundations of Differentiable Manifolds and Lie Groups.

I give a clear, detailed, and careful development of the basic facts on manifold theory and Lie Groups. I include differentiable manifolds, tensors and differentiable forms. Lie groups and homogenous spaces, integration on manifolds, and in addition provide a proof of the de Rham theorem via sheaf cohomology theory, and develop the local theory of elliptic operators culminating in a proof of the Hodge theorem. Those interested in any of the diverse areas of mathematics requiring the notion of a differentiable manifold will find me extremely useful.

Which Springer GTM would you be? The Springer GTM Test

Tags: ,


Mega Movie Round-up

Posted by barb on Oct 18, 2005 in Movies

More for myself than anyone else, here’s the movies I’ve seen over the last month, but not blogged:

  • Must Love Dogs
    3/5 stars
    Cute romantic comedy. Not much else to it, though.

    [IMDB link for Must Love Dogs]

  • A Sidewalk Astronomer
    3.5/5 stars
    This documentary did not get a wide distribution (and, in fact, is only available to theaters on DVD). It is about John Dobson. Dobson, for those of you unfamiliar with amateur astronomy, invented a widely used mount for telescopes that is simple for anyone to construct. This mount allowed almost anyone to build larger and larger telescopes without putting out large sums of cash (I remember being at a star party with Melissa and being invited by a drunken telescope owner to climb a ladder to look through his telescope). Dobson is revered by amateur astronomers for this accoplishment.

    Dobson has also brought astronomy to the sidewalks of San Francisco. He brings a telescope to a street corner, points it toward the moon or planets or, during the day with a appropriate filter, the sun. Then he invites people to look through the telescope. Some people look and leave, while others choose to look and learn (fewer of the latter than former, unfortunately).

    I don’t want to diminish the accomplishments of Dobson – both the telescope mount and the outreach are incredible achievements. The film, however, goes on to show Dobson lecturing on his view of cosmology. He’s a steady state guy &#150 the universe has always been, with no beginning. Sigh. In his cosmology, Dobson is a crack-pot. Oh well, two out of three isn’t bad.

    [IMDB link for A Sidewalk Astronomer]

  • Top Hat
    3.5/5 stars
    Cheeky comedy featuring Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers. One night when Astaire demonstrates his moves in a hotel room for the producer of his next show, an annoyed downstairs neighbor, Rogers, complains. The two immediately hit it off, but complications arise as Rogers belives that Astaire is the married producer rather than a single dancer.

    [IMDB link for Top Hat]

  • Just Like Heaven
    3/5 stars
    Cute romantic comedy. Reese Witherspoon is upset when Mark Ruffalo moves into her fully-furnished apartment. However, there’s not much she can do about it, since she appears to be a ghost, and only Ruffalo can see her.

    [IMDB link for Just Like heaven]

  • Serenity
    3.5/5 stars
    I’m not a Firefly fan, but went along to this with Andrew and a couple who recently moved to the area, all of whom were Firefly fans. It was fine, as far as sci-fi flicks are concerned – better than much of the crap that’s come out recently – but Joss Whedon is not a god to me.

    [IMDB link for Serenity]

  • Swing Time
    2/5 stars
    Another in the series of Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers movies that the local theater is playing. As usual, plot is secondary to music and dancing; however, this one had even less plot than normal, and it seemed to have less dancing. Astaire plays a lucky dancer who goes to the city to earn a fortune in order to gain the blessing to wed the woman he loves. While in the city, however, he stumbles into Rogers, and falls for her.

    [IMDB link for Swing Time]

  • Proof
    4/5 stars
    Excellent film! Gwyenneth Paltrow’s character is a math student who drops out to care for her ailing father, Anthony Hopkins, who was a brilliant mathematician before falling ill. We join the story after Hopkins’ character has died, but see the dynamic that grew between father and daughter. More, though, is that this film shows math and mathematicians in a realisitc light. (Yes, they really do talk like that &#150 like physicists, they’re geeks!)

    [IMDB link for Proof]

  • The Matrix: Revolutions
    0.5/5 stars
    Total waste of time.

    [IMDB link for Matrix: Revolutions]

  • Bend it Like Beckham
    3/5 stars
    Cute flick about an Indian girl who wants to play soccer against her parents’ wishes.

    [IMDB link for Bend It Like Beckham]

  • Secret Window
    2.5/5 stars
    Predictable thriller about an author confronted by a pschotic fan claiming the author plagiarized his work.

    [IMDB link for Secret Window]



In honor of Halloween approaching…

Posted by barb on Oct 17, 2005 in Memes, Etc.

Your Monster Profile

Mad Enigma

You Feast On: Bananas

You Lurk Around In: The Empire State Building

You Especially Like to Torment: Priests

[via Cheeky Prof]

BTW, I’m having blogging-motivation problems…not sure when I’ll pick back up again, but things will likely be light for a while…


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