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KSR is one of the more thought-provoking SF writers currently writing, IMO; for example, he's one of the few authors that really delves, in a meaningful way, into how science, politics, economics, ecology, and culture interact. (See, most especially, the {Red, Green, Blue} Mars trilogy.) This interview is long, but worth reading.
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I've had an LJ for some time, but LiveJournal, as an organization, has been becoming progressively more annoying over time. So I've got the analogous Dreamwidth account now. I may not make the leap immediately, but I expect to start posting on Dreamwidth in preference to LJ eventually. For now I expect I'll crosspost.
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[Screw chronology; I've edited the post date so that it shows up as now.]

This is part 2 of the 'trip report' I started earlier.

Boston )
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Liam, in my experience of newborn babies, is unusually (and precociously) engaged in looking around him. As in, he was doing this less than 10 minutes after exiting the womb. He does cry when he's cold or hungry or objecting to being poked at, but unlike other babies I've known, he spends a nontrivial amount of time simply checking things out. I've seen him do this for half an hour at a time.

This is particularly odd when you consider that newborn babies generally can't focus on anything more than about ~20 cm away. Regardless, I wish that I could understand what's going on in his head as he does this.

Side note: due in part to the folds of skin below his eyes, and in part to his eye color--typical newborn Caucasian dark blue--he looks strikingly like Ian McKellan in this mode. I find this hilarious.
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I am proud to announce that as of 12:48 PM PST, 16 August, Megan and I became the parents of Liam Alan O'Madadhain.

For those who want the stats: Liam weighed in at 3.6 kg (7 lbs. 15 oz.) and 51.5 cm (20 in.). Dark hair. Somewhat prominent ears.

For those who want pictures: http://picasaweb.google.com/joshua.omadadhain/August2010#

For those who want name etymologies: Liam is an Irish Gaelic name meaning "stalwart defender", and Alan is a Breton name which may mean either "little rock" or "handsome".

Both mother and son are doing fine; we'll likely be heading home from the hospital Wednesday or Thursday. The other kids have visited twice (Megan's mom is looking after them while we're here), and they seem pretty excited about the whole thing.
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At 12:48 PM yesterday, Megan gave birth to a 3.6 kg (7 pound, 15 ounce), 51.5 cm (20 inches) boy, with dark hair. Megan and child are both fine.

We have not yet decided on a name; I'll post when we have. (At that time there will probably also be pictures.)
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Megan and I are at the hospital, waiting for noon. More when there is more.
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A week and a half ago, I flew out to the East Coast to attend my 20th high school reunion, see some friends that I hadn't seen in quite some time ([livejournal.com profile] fdmts, [livejournal.com profile] fenicedautun) and meet a colleague of mine that I'd been working on an open-source project with for several years.

details )
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Alaska Airlines, at least on this flight, is now offering free wifi.

I find it amusing that my emotional reaction, despite what I might have expected it to be, is one of "oh, there's that inconvenience taken care of--now where's my power plug?"

We so easily grow accustomed to the current state of affairs, and yet always aspire to more.
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Due to a combination of circumstances that I could have done a better job of controlling, I once again have let my birthday pass without making a specific (social) occasion of it.

I'm getting, and have gotten, some pretty cool presents, though.

My brother-in-law and his girlfriend got me a signed (!) copy of Sting's memoir broken music. I haven't finished it yet, but it's interesting, and fits firmly in the category of "things that I never would have bought for myself but which I find intriguing". They also surprised me with a cake a couple of weeks ago when my family was in Portland for a visit, which was very cool. (My BIL also deserves continuing kudos for being the friend through which I met Megan.)

[livejournal.com profile] amnesiadust got me signed (!) copies of the first two PhD comics compendia. Which he's apparently had since I was still at UC Irvine (that's Irvine, 'Dusty', not Riverside :) ) but it's still much appreciated.

Megan got me a copy of Symphonicities, a reimagination of some of Sting's music in vocalist-with-orchestral form. It's not entirely musically successful (IMO) but a couple of the pieces are very moving. (Sadly, "Synchronicity" nor "Synchronicity II" are not among those so rendered.) Also a copy of Manna in Heaven, just about the last of Roger Zelazny's works that I didn't already have, and one I've been wanting for some time.

My son Corwin made me a small notebook, with a carrying handle, and a decorated envelope.

The twins (and Corwin) have given me many hugs and spontaneous wishings of "Happy Birthday, Papa!".

I am now sitting in the Seattle airport, about to fly out to my 20th (erk!) high school reunion and subsequently to see [livejournal.com profile] fdmts and [livejournal.com profile] fenicedautun in Boston. (Also, hopefully, to meet someone with whom I've been working on JUNG for about 5-6 years, yet never met.) This also counts as a present from Megan because she's 8.5 months pregnant and is taking care of the kids solo this weekend and Monday.

My friends rock.
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(I don't know anything about the book, but I am amused by the title...and the concept is one that I suspect I can get behind.)
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A nice presentation (from Googler Paul Adams) on designing for the social web, focusing on some common practices, why they're problematic, and some options for what to do instead. (I'm personally very happy that he included the observation that 'friends' is a term that is very badly (over)used in the context of social networking sites.)
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Maybe not:


A very funny "review" of World War II which emphasizes the repeated failures of realism from a narrative standpoint. E.g.:

Not that the good guys are much better. Their leader, Churchill, appeared in a grand total of one episode before, where he was a bumbling general who suffered an embarrassing defeat to the Ottomans of all people in the Battle of Gallipoli. Now, all of a sudden, he's not only Prime Minister, he's not only a brilliant military commander, he's not only the greatest orator of the twentieth century who can convince the British to keep going against all odds, he's also a natural wit who is able to pull out hilarious one-liners practically on demand. I know he's supposed to be the hero, but it's not realistic unless you keep the guy at least vaguely human.
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An intriguing short story by Benjamin Rosenbaum. Especially of interest to those who have read _Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom_ by Cory Doctorow, or who otherwise have an interest in topics relating to currency and economics.

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Last Friday and the following Tuesday, I served on a jury for the local municipal court.

the details )

Questions welcome. It was an interesting experience; I'm glad that I was able to do it, although it would have been nice if the second day of jury duty didn't overlap with my employer-granted holiday. :P Given some of the things that some of the other jurors had said before we started deliberating, I was gratified that we came to a consensus so quickly.
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A really interesting and thought-provoking article that explores the different kinds of satisfaction that people get out of having kids, and some related topics.
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Probably the funniest "our company just got bought out!" letter-to-employees that I've ever seen. I hope it works out for them.


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May 2011

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