Saturday, October 25, 2008

BCI research stops here

In fact, the mass suicide depicted here would not have brought BCI research to a halt. But it would have been a setback, and all future conferences would be slowed down by some brief eulogy and testament to us. Why did they do it? Were they that devoted? Theresa Vaughan would start some noble effort like a memorial lecture series. All BCI conference proceedings would include a suicide hotline. It would be pretty awkward. All because a BCI did not work.
So fund us, bitches!!

This video is from the Graz BCI conference in September. The first night, several of us went to a nice mountaintop retreat. It was gorgeous, with a fine view of Graz. I was told that the other side of the mountain has the Govenator's home village. Surely he could survive autoevisceration! Then again, he could stab himself with far greater force. We'll have to leave that to speculation.

After a nice dinner and remarkably little drinking, the discussion turned to harakiri (aka seppuku), as we had two Japanese colleagues present. Christoph, always prepared and technically ept, orchestrated the video. This video should allay any reputation that we scientists are overly stuffy, formal, and humorless.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

The buck stops here

The buck stopped about two blocks from here, at a wild apple tree near the corner of Fifth Ave and Fifth Street. The buck was locking horns and fighting with another buck, as good male friends do.

They saw me and the smaller buck slowly backed away. The larger buck did not seem too concerned with me, especially since I was then squatting and looking off to the side to avoid looking suspicious. The buck then occupied himself trying to eat from an apple tree, with frequent glances in my direction.

It probably would have ended there. I wanted to get closer to the buck, but he was on the verge of bolting. He could not get any of the high apples and was about to give up. Then Sam showed up. Sam and the buck are friends; they rub noses in the morning. I called Sam, who showed up and purred while I petted him. (I refer to Sam the cat, BTW, not Sam Ramji the human.) The buck watched intently for several minutes. I inched closer and went for my closest buckshot yet.

Then I very slowly got up and pulled down an apple branch, rich with 4 apples, from the top of the tree. I held it out to the buck, with the cellphone cam in the other hand. Mmmmmmmm....

The buck had made the very brave move of coming out from behind the tree to check out the apple branch. The buck was healthy, and not starving or desperate. He was just brave, as far as he knew. In fact, that tree would have been little help against a hunter, and the buck was a much greater threat to me than the reverse. He slowly approached and then started eating.

After this, I fed him more apples, then slowly walked away. It followed me until it saw a paved road and cars, then walked away while still looking over its shoulder at me. I wonder if I will ever have a buck eating out of my hand again.

In other news involving my wondrous 1.3 megapixel camera, I hiked to Chief Ouray Mine on Wednesday.

The weather remains remarkable for late October. Snow on the mountains, but most days are sunny, warm, and dry. Great hiking weather. David Leland and Adrienne Dorig (and their much better camera) were here for a long weekend, so more pix of my Colorado trip should be forthcoming.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

October Festival

What will Sarah Palin's imminent granddaughter be called? Sarah has kids named Trig, Truck, Willow, Piper, and Bristol. What better first name than Folksy? Folksy Palin. How bout other ideas? I doubt she would go for Michael, who mocked Jesus more than once. She's not funny enough for Nilap, Richard Milhous, Adolf, Barack, Gerwin, or Churchlady. Folksy Palin. She'll choose another name. Her loss.

You may have heard that the national debt clock in New York was inadequate to post our growing debt, and that they plan to add 2 new numbers so it can track a national debt up to a quadrillion. This would correspond to an average family debt in the millions. One wonders how they decided on 2 numbers, instead of 3 or 4 or 9.

Colorado is a battleground state. The phone rings 10 times a day with ads for either party and pollsters who try to hide their phone numbers. The usual ads for cars, drugs, and beer are now in the minority. Most of the ads are political, with a few plugging Race for the Cure. We have the best and worst of humanity, and a lot in the middle, in the TV medium.

Last Saturday, I got to play kegmeister at Oktoberfest. Oktoberfest was originally held in Ouray, CO, and then some selfish Krauts stole the idea. Just to spite Americans, they then renamed their city Muenchen to confuse the American tongue (they also did this with Koeln). The Munich people also developed (or stole) this odd notion that there should be multiple beers at Oktoberfest, such as those produced by local brewers. In Ouray, there were two beers available: Sam Adams and Sam Adams Oktoberfest. I was told that the local microbrewer, Hutch, was approached, but did not have enough kegs available. The local microbrewer told quite a different story and was quite annoyed at being excluded. Ah, smalltown gossip. So the Germans need to learn beer from Americans. Don't have variety at Oktoberfest; it will just confuse people. Just supply two beers: the Hofbrauhaus main brew, and that Czech Budweiser they stole from Anheuser Busch. Now that they were bought out by a Belgian company, they came out with the new Budweiser American Ale. Good move! People are easily distracted.