A health nerd is a happy nerd
Aug 24, 2012
We have been pushing so long and so hard to keep our marvelous site running while also building the foundations for tomorrow's bigger, better, more awesome Guide. Field Researchers Limited is now a reality, a part-owner, and a promise kept to the h2g2 community.
In far too many ways, I've been living like a college student since we first came together to save h2g2. Instead of working on a thesis, though, I've been working with my fellow researchers on h2g2 itself. Volunteering for h2g2 in one capacity or another has eaten all of my spare time, my exercise time, my rehearsal time, a shameful amount of my family time, and most of my housework time.
I've had an earache for days; each time I swallow, I wince. The first available medical appointment is Wibble, unless I want to pay a whole lot more money. (Can't wait to get me some of that full-strength Obamacare in 2014.) Come Wibble, the doctor will probably scold me about my weight and blood pressure, both of which have risen over the past 18 month. But if he does scold, I can cup my hand around my achy ear and say, "Eh?"
Not that I'm complaining, well not much. I've learned a lot in the year and a half it has taken us to get this far. h2g2 is a ing awesome website, but just a website, after all. There is such a thing as a work-life balance, and I need to restore mine.
And that's were you all come in.
HN: What did I learn today and did I have fun?
Apr 19, 2012
At his memorial service, we learned a lot about the man. We are his son's age though, and I don't remember meeting the man until about 12 years ago. He used to ask his kids every day when they came home from school, "What did you learn today?" and then he'd listen. The next question was, "Did you have fun?" He did this the whole time they were growing up, and even after they were done with college.
What did I learn today and did I have fun?
What did I learn today? I need to define clear boundaries.
Did I have fun? Well, I guess that depends on how you define fun. But overall I feel better about a position that had become a large and unwieldy mess.
Keeping it fun
Feb 3, 2012
I've been looking into gamification lately.
Gamification is a term that covers a wide range of concepts designed to encourage certain behaviors by making them more fun, more game-like.
Lots of activities are drudgery from start to finish. Some are interesting at first but then become tedious.
And who better to learn from that the masters over at Institute For The Future: http://www.iftf.org
Starting a year ago today: The Evolution Of The Comms Team
Jan 24, 2012
A year ago today, I found out that the BBC were planning to dispose of h2g2, probably a few hours after everyone else did, due to the time zone.
Not wanting to accept this fate quietly, I began tweeting links from some of my favorite Guide Entries from my own twitter account. I also signed up for the same google group as two hundred other people did. Within a few days, I was using two twitter accounts and a newly created Facebook page to help keep the researchers calm and focused on the task at hand - saving h2g2.
Then of course there was the bid, then the contract, then the move, then the relaunch, and through it all we promoted h2g2, the Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy, Earth Edition.
The Comms Team's remit evolved over the past year to keeping researchers informed through the Announcements and social media and promoting h2g2 as the ever-expanding Guide to Life, the Universe and Everything to the general public through traditional and social media.
Thank you to all the current and former hard-working members of the Comms Team, your work promoting h2g2 has helped expand it even as we faced an uncertain future.
Thanks to those of you who volunteered but then were scarcely heard from again. It's hard to be hoopy enough for the Comms Team, and you can always reapply once you have had a and found your .
And thanks even to our "detractors", you know who you are. You couldn't kill us, you made us stronger.
Pumpkin Soup & a Tequila Sunrise
Jan 21, 2012
I'm done with work for the day and the week. So it is suppertime!
Want to guess what's for supper?
Merry Christmas (2011)
Dec 24, 2011
Mr Nerd and I wish you and yours a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.
And to 2legs,
The chez Nerd Thanksgiving Day Special
Nov 24, 2011
We're up, have had a long, leisurely breakfast, and have split a bottle of local bubbly. It is time to wrestle the bird into the oven. Of course I really ought to change into something more appropriate; currently I'm dressed as Arthur Dent.
Shameless Plug: Buy Nothing Day is back in PR
Nov 18, 2011
At long last, Buy Nothing Day A78788074 is back in PR.
The entry originally went into PR on Christmas Day, 2010. Then came this long bout of activity to save h2g2 and then move h2g2. I didn't have any time left to write.
Well I did have some time, but I ended up using it to write Announcements A85834173 and such from U14914070.
So here finally is Buy Nothing Day A78788074 plus its new comment thread: F48874?thread=8285481. The original PR comment thread is at the bottom of the entry.
Please have at it.
Good News From the Cat House
Nov 7, 2011
Smiley was adopted today.
A mom and daughter came in to look at cats and kittens. The young lady fell in love with Smiley.
Smiley is a marmalade tom (neutered) with ... no teeth. He was found as a stray and we aren't sure of his age. I don't know who named him Smiley; it sounds a bit like a schoolyard taunt that stuck.
Even as the girl carefully looked at all the other cats and cooed over the kittens, Smiley stayed close and looked up at her until she couldn't help but pick him up again. He sealed the deal with some nuzzling and kitty kisses, the clever fellow.
Time to point fingers, tentacles, wings, flippers, and other appendages
Nov 6, 2011
Brave New Foundation wants our help in naming names. They say,
"We have just two criteria: they have to be in the wealthiest 1%, meaning a net worth of over $9 million, and they have to be using their wealth and power to keep down the other 99%."
So who is it going to be? The Koch brothers, the Walton family? You can name the mega-wealthy miscreant here:
Incidentally today was Move Our Money day. If you haven't moved your money from an abusive Wall Street bank to a local bank or credit union, please do so at your earliest opportunity. For more information, please read:
There's no place like Chez Nerd
Nov 5, 2011
I drove three hours to the office, spent about 2 hours briefing and being briefed by the boss, tidying up my eamil, making appointments, and then went home.
So glad to be home. Mister Nerd set a bottle of bubbly to chill for my arrival.
HN's last h2g2 NaJoPoMo - Day 3
Nov 3, 2011
h2g2 was down last night when I tried to post my journal entry, so I'm officially out. I posted when h2g2 came back up, which for me was after midnight.
In other news, I'm waiting for my friend to get done with an MRI. He was savagely beaten with a baseball bat.
HN's h2g2 JoPoMo - Day 2
Nov 3, 2011
The contraction 'JoPoMo' may sound like patois one might hear along the route of a New Orleans Mardi Gras parade. To my ears Pomo sounds like my neighbors. The indigenous people of this part of northern California are Pomo.
Whether they are aware of it or not, nearly everyone around here knows a few words of one or another of the Pomoan languages. Quite a few places, plants and even animals have kept their traditional names despite dwindling numbers of native Pomoan speakers.
Of the seven Pomoan languages, three are extinct, meaning there are no living speakers of that language. According to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), these are the numbers of speakers of the four living Pomoan speakers:
- Northern Pomo: 3 speakers
- Kashaya (alternate names: Kashia; Southwestern Pomo): 24 speakers
- Central Pomo: 3 speakers
- Southern Pomo: 1 to 3 speakers
It isn't like people are too lazy to learn languages. Consider the large number of Klingon speakers. Perhaps we can all lend a hand to keep a language alive.
Yokayo means deep valley.
Day 1, Journal Posting Month Sweeps the h2g2 Nation
Nov 1, 2011
All across h2g2, researchers are posting to their journals as part of National Journal Posting Month, sponsored by Create (U14992038).
What nation, you might ask? Why, the h2g2 nation, of course. The merry band of knowledge explorers, researchers who build their own frontier, one entry at a time. And it isn't too late to join NaJoPoMo, as long as it is still November the 1st when you start.
For the demented few who are simultaneously participating in National Novel Writing Month, meet me over at the Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy Researchers' Lounge:
Now today I have a busy day that won't end until I check in the hotel far, far away.
My last journal entry before the madness begins
Oct 31, 2011
The madness will be National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) with a daily dose of National Journal Posting Month (NaJoPoMo).
If you have been bitten by the same writing bug or would like to be, visit and befriend Create (U14992038).
Welcome to the Restaurant at the End of the Universe (HN's journal)
Oct 16, 2011
Yay! My first journal entry in the new h2g2!
At this writing, we've only opened the door partway, only volunteers and a few researchers at a time. We had a hiccup today: a bug showed up, or as Z called it, a dinosaur. Pastey's put a patch on it. But soon we were able to let volunteers and a few beta testers in again. If all continues to go well, we should be able to open the door wider and wider.
Moving h2g2, saving h2g2, has been hard, time consuming. I've learned a lot. I've been working outside of my comfort zone for the better part of a year in one way or another, and I've learned a lot.
Closer to home, my new job started two weeks ago, the same day h2g2's move began. Back to being a systems engineer, a common enough job title for a mathematician who doesn't teach. The other job title tends to be something-or-another analyst. Just a fancy way of saying .
And in our backyard, summer has turned to autumn. Walnuts are falling from the tree, and the remaining tomatoes are stubbornly green. Mama Nerd suggested making green tomato chutney but I canned a lot of peach and mango chutney already.
So Long And Thanks For All The Fish
Oct 2, 2011
Friends, Researchers, Cherished Lurkers,
Tomorrow morning London time, a BBC technical will make arcane gestures over a keyboard and free the h2g2 website from its moorings.
Our Technical Team will guide h2g2 to its new destination: http://www.h2g2.com. The journey is expected to take a couple of days.
Once it arrives safely at its new destination, h2g2 will be docked and serviced, cleaned and spiffed up, brass polished and tanks topped off. The will be put on ice, and all will be made ready for Researchers and Readers alike.
Once everything is in order, we'll receive a message over the SubEthaNet that we may follow h2g2 to http://www.h2g2.com.
My Comms Team members and I will be blasting the message out on all channels. But you really only need to bookmark one page: http://www.h2g2.com.
I'll see you on the other side.
Pegging the irony-meter
Sep 3, 2011
News Corp. may be embroiled in a phone hacking scandal, but that hasn't hurt media baron Rupert Murdoch in the wallet. According to News Corp.'s annual proxy filed Friday, Rupert Murdoch's 2011 compensation package is valued at $29.4 million.
In other news, a 24-year-old Cincinnati father died from a tooth infection because he hadn't the money to purchase antibiotics or dental care.
T minus 29 and counting: Our last month with the BBC
Sep 2, 2011
What an amazing ride. We went from thinking the lights might go out, to having some hope we could run it ourselves on a shoestring, to actually developing a plan to realize that hope, to meeting Robbie, Aly and Brian, to forming an alliance with them in order to win the bid, to several back and forth contractual things, to forming Not Panicking Ltd and signing the contract.
It makes getting a mortgage and buying a house look positively simple.
Now we have 29 days, well 28 and one-half days, till Auntie Beep says, "You don't have to go home but you can't stay here."
I'm supposed to be managing the comms, like Uhura in original Star Trek. Nichelle Nichols looked amazing in a miniskirt, so I'm going to go buy myself one today.
Who broke the Internet this time?
Aug 30, 2011
The SubEthaNet isn't working very well, and I don't know what is wrong. I can't seem to use gmail, skype or twitter. Reassuringly h2g2 still works, I think.
I hope it is just the lousy internet service we country bumpkins are supposed to be ever so grateful to overpay for. I'll head into town in a bit and sponge off of the library's WiFi.
Can't wait to get real internet service, but that will take our government growing a spine, enforcing FCC rules, and maybe even breaking up a monopoly. I hope I live long enough to see it.
Praise St Beloit, I couldn't make this stuff up if I tried
Aug 25, 2011
Beloit College, in St. Beloit, Wisconsin, claims to be noted "for its passionate engagement with ideas and the world."
The college just released its yearly Beloit College Mindset List, which is alleged to be a "look at the cultural touchstones that shape the lives of students entering college this fall."
The list is supposed to help other faculty members be aware of dated cultural references. An eighteen year old incoming freshman might have studied the Persian Gulf War in her American History class, but she's certainly not going to remember it unfolding in the news as her professors might.
This year, I wasn't able to get past item number four on the Beloit College Mindset List before throwing my head back and laughing so loud, I woke up a snoozing kitty cat. Good news, Beloit College, the kitty is back asleep, as some members of your faculty must surely have been while compiling the list. Here is the amusing item:
"4. The only significant labor disputes in their lifetimes have been in major league sports."
Beloit College is about a 55-mile drive from the Wisconsin State Capitol in Madison. As everyone recalls, with the except of the Beloit College faculty and staff who compiled this year's list, Madison Wisconsin has been the site of a lengthy labor dispute with enormous political ramifications since last winter.
The Wisconsin labor disputes over Gov. Scott Walker's push to remove collective bargaining rights is a battle that has moved from the capitol building and nearby streets to the courts and ballot boxes, but which isn't over yet. The liveliness of the twitter hash tag #wiunion attests to the public awareness of the significance of today's labor disputes.
Here's a link to the list which caused cat-awakening mirth:
h2g2, Mother Jones, Bullies, Trolls and Internet Rage. And a beer.
Aug 18, 2011
I read an article today that made me so mad, I nearly posted in anger. "Tom Philpott," I did not say, "you made numerous factual errors in your Beer Charts of the Day article, two in the following sentence alone."
Then I didn't point out the mistakes in that sentence*, nor any of the others in his article appearing in Mother Jones. I did not express my sudden doubts as to the veracity of all of Philpott's articles. I did not share my suspicions of the quality, nay, the very existence of fact-checking at Mother Jones. I managed to restrain myself, under the calming influence of a quality craft brew.
Of course nothing in what I would have posted could remotely be considered trolling or bullying. My scathing criticism would have included no personal remarks nor calls for violent action. There would have been no campaign to carefully comb through Philpott's other articles for errors upon which I could pounce, no hounding him through the lonely stretches of cyberspace. Who has the time?
Oh yeah, that's right, trolls and bullies do. They go through every post in every thread to see what they can find and twist into something that makes their target look bad. They follow their target from one forum to the next, derailing conversations, making threats and vile accusations.
Some of my fellow researchers and I have been discussing this side of human behavior in light of Tim Adams's recent article entitled 'How the Internet created an age of rage'.
The article suggests that trolls and bullies behave deplorably because they feel safely anonymous. But this would mean that hatred and bile were unheard of prior to the Internet age and outside of a cloak of anonymity, and we know this isn't true. Sure there are some cowards who wouldn't dare put their name to the bile they spew, but there are plenty who do. Numerous talk radio hosts come to mind. This ugly behavior has always been going on, just not in an easily distributed electronic print format. Until the advent of search engines, a person or group often had no way of finding out who was spewing bile about them, unless the bullies and trolls were issuing their hate-filled messages through some form of distributed media.
My exasperation over Philpott's article seemed out of proportion to his errors, as numerous as they were. (Quiz: Can you find them all?) Sure, h2g2 has spoiled me. I'm used to reading better quality online journalism and writing for the Guide and the Post, both of which expect fact-checking and references. But the guy was talking about beer; he wasn't giving out erroneous health advice. What was the real cause of my vexation?
And then it struck me. I found his article because I followed a Twitter link. Mother Jones promotes its contributors through social media. h2g2 hasn't just doesn't have the same kind of promotion. Philpott's stuff is seen, because Mother Jones makes sure to promote it.
For all the promotion we give ourselves and each other, we might as well have written less, turned off our computers, and gotten a little more fresh air over the years.
Can we build a h2g2 social media marketing machine or will we leave Radox the Green to plug away at Twitter all by himself?
* The offending sentence: "Note that breweries plunged to zero in 1930, in honor of that ignoble experiment, Prohibition, and then recovered for a few years after."
Prohibition began and the number of brewing establishments went to zero on 16 January, 1920 - not 1930. (A29019369) Once prohibition was over, only half as many breweries were able to reopen. The number steadily dwindled until there were fewer breweries than states in the US. The number of breweries did not recover a few years after as stated - it took decades.
Tron and other flashbacks
Aug 11, 2011
I just finished watching the original Tron and the new one back to back. An enjoyably nostalgic imagining of the affairs of the programs we write. I've been working with, in, and around computers since the first Tron, and unless a meteor hits the site of my potential new place of employment, I shall be back in the game in about two weeks.
This comes as some relief to me, given the wretched state of the economy. As a recap I used work at a very secure, well-paid job that had the huge disadvantage of being extremely far from my home with my husband. When the contract came to an end, I declined the opportunity to stay with the Company and get on another contract that would be just as far or even farther from my husband.
After that, I worked as a lab tech for a few months and then as a chemical analyst for about a year and a half; all in all just under 2 years. Then I quit to try and ultimately fail to open a chocolate shop in what has turned out to be the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression. The candy-cane nail in the chocolate coffin was catching whooping cough through the holiday season. When I should have been making truffles, I was rather disgustingly sick instead. (I did manage to complete 3 EGEs.)
When it because painfully obvious that I would, and in fact already did, fail I began trying to find a job in the Great Recession. Like every other time in my life, one sneaked up behind me and tapped me on the shoulder while I was job-hunting elsewhere, volunteering to save h2g2, combing kitty-cats at the shelter, and helping out at the radio station.
So the new job should start in about 2 weeks. There still should be time to give all the kitty-cats at the shelter a weekly grooming and help out the radio station's engineer once a week or thereabouts. I also need to bone up on java and a set of open source tools specific to the job.
This probably means I'll have less time for h2g2, or at least, I shall have to use my hootoo time extremely efficiently. I'm a bit amazed that I ended up on the Comms Team rather than the Tech Team, but it is allegedly this sort of working outside one's comfort zone that's supposed to build character, or some such nonsense.
In the meantime, I have quite a few things to wrap up, both online and in Real Life, whatever that is.
Chuck Lorre Productions #212
Jun 10, 2011
I believe that the voices of fear, both from without and within, can only be dispelled by trusting the voice that comes from the heart. Be still and listen to it. If it speaks of love and compassion for others, for the world itself, it just might be the voice of God -- or a reasonable facsimile. If, however, it snarls with fear of the unknown, fear of losing what you have or of not getting what you want, then it just might be the voice of Rupert Murdoch -- or a reasonable facsimile.
After the end credits of the television show Big Bang Theory.
All News Is Local, But Just Where Is Here, Exactly?
Mar 23, 2011
Our local public radio station's news director gave notice, and I shall be helping to fill in starting Monday.
I'm torn between doing the Snoopy happy dance and running away screaming.
All of you are welcome to listen to me stammer my way through Mendocino County local news by streaming http://bit.ly/ei9127
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