Wednesday, February 17, 2010


The water dispenser outside my lab has a cold spigot and a hot spigot. The hot spigot dispenses water which is actually quite hot. However, I couldn't figure out how to use it at first... until I realized that you have to put the handle in a certain position, which is not its natural low-energy gravity-ordained position, and then press it. It's a safety interlock! Good thinking! *makes tea*

I drove in snow for the first time recently. Well, not snow, but there was some kind of sleet-like substance on the roads and falling (slowly) from the sky. It was also the first time I ever skidded (a small amount). I've been on a skid mat, but it was a while ago and I remember it very poorly. I think the problem with the skit mat was either that I was unable to actually skid, or that it made no sense out of the context of a street and the slight hazard of hitting parked cars. There's no spatial reference on an infinite frictionless plane, after all.

Plates of fermenting bacteria on a phenol-red containing medium have this wonderful tendency to grow into miniature sunrises (although they do develop a rather off-putting smell).

Figure 1: Like viewing the sunrise from a mountaintop outhouse.

I just reread Terry Pratchett's Going Postal, and I really liked it. He gives the sort of lovely far-off impressions of the world of the clacks towers that I want to go there but that might destroy the mystique -- you know, the same thing people always say about why the Silmarillion is written in such a dreamy mythic tone. And if Thief of Time is the Discworld's The Matrix, then Going Postal is its Jargon File.

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