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March 19, 2012 / Dr. Toad

Recommended tonight — Seattle’s Nerd Nite* at Lucid Jazz Lounge from 6:30pm with Semih Tareen and the viruses, and the mind-reading Ross Maddox. $5 cover. Talks start at 7:30pm.

* I too object when ignorance-celebrating pols say ‘nerd’ when they should mean ‘expert’ (starting at 4.20-ish), but the self-labelled Nerd Nite rules.

March 18, 2012 / Dr. Toad

Public static void

“Public static void: gazillions of chunks of program code written in Java include that cryptic sequence. The words carry specific technical meaning. But I’ve always heard them as a bit of machine poetry, evoking the desolate limbo where software projects that begin with high spirits too often end up.”

– Scott Rosenberg, Dreaming in Code

Weirdly, the unraveling fabricated story of Mike Daisey and the Apple factory (the link points to the exemplar retraction by NPR’s This American Life) led me via Scott Rosenberg’s piece on truth and stories to this wonderful quote.

class HelloWorld {
   public static void main (String args[]) {
      System.out.println ("Hello World!");

Show of hands, please: who has independently parsed “public static void” as a public static void? In close to 15 years of programming, I hadn’t. This is a beautiful piece of noticing.

March 1, 2012 / Dr. Toad

Polar Science Weekend

I’ve been extremely delinquent in blogging and keeping the calendar. In my lame defense, it’s due to a still somewhat new science job that I’m really happy to have.

But I’d love to give you a heads up about the Polar science weekend coming up this weekend at the Pacific Science Center. It sounds all kinds of awesome not the least because it features, at 11am today (Thursday) and Saturday, my great friend and Seattle’s Greatest Glaciologist (according to me) Kat Huybers who we previously met when she was camping out in the Pensacola Mountains of Antarctica.

Go see it!

February 20, 2012 / Dr. Toad

Nerd Nite tonight!

Seattle’s Nerd Nite comes back tonight with nerd burlesque and the science of attraction. Doors at 7:30pm, talks at 8pm at LUCID Jazz Lounge in the U District (map). $5 cover. Highly recommended!

I was away for a week skiing (yay!), hence no posts, and came back to find the first issue of the very excellent Nerd Nite Magazine in the mail. Also highly recommended!



February 7, 2012 / Dr. Toad

Tonight at 7:30pm Kevin Larson of Microsoft talks informally about the optical illusions that make some fonts easier to read and more generally about the art and science of reading at the Queen Anne Science Cafe in T.S. McHugh’s, while you drink and ask questions. Free.

January 30, 2012 / Dr. Toad

Tonight and tomorrow night at 7:30pm at Benaroya Hall, Brian Skerry‘s Ocean Soul is part of the National Geographic Live! series. Tickets $17-$35 (students $12-$15).


January 30, 2012 / Dr. Toad

Charles Moore — Plastic Oceans

Last Wednesday, Captain Charles Moore was speaking downstairs at Town Hall. The event was sold out, and when I showed up about fifteen minutes before the starting time, there was a line of people outside in the wind and rain who, like me, hadn’t thought to buy a ticket in advance and were now listening to a nice young lady telling them/us that “it’s not looking good”. An anoraked girl looking about twelve years old stood patiently in line in front of me as her parents waited in a car parked nearby, darting out occasionally to give her a hug. I wondered what that scene meant for the question of the engagement of the younger generation with science and environmentalism. But I couldn’t dwell on that too long because we were told again that there weren’t any seats left, and then a woman behind me tapped on my shoulder and gave me her ticket because her date didn’t have one, and they opted to spend the evening together not listening to the sad story of plastic garbage circling in our oceans. If I were a decent human being, I would have passed my new treasure onward to the little girl in the anorak, but I hesitated only for a moment before a couple of convenient excuses (I only had one ticket, they were three in that family; I was going to write about it) propelled me firmly through Town Hall’s doors and into a filled room of about 350 people (very rough estimate).

Read more…

January 26, 2012 / Dr. Toad

Recommended today — Jan 26, 2012

Tonight at 6:30pm there’s an opening reception for the Particles on the Wall exhibit at the UW Odegaard Library, including readings and a program at 7:30 where artists, poets and scientists will share their inspiration in Hanford. Free.

Photo by Tobin Fricke

Also tonight at 7pm, Life on Ice — a slideshow by Bretwood Higman from his observations on North America’s largest tidewater glacier. Free.

For details of these and other events, see the calendar.

January 25, 2012 / Dr. Toad

If there are clear skies above you tonight, check out the aurora!

January 25, 2012 / Dr. Toad

Tonight — a water-themed double bill at Town Hall, with UW graduate student Jessica Rohde kicking off the new Science Now! series at 6pm with a talk about coho salmon migration patterns, then Charles Moore on how we can battle the Great Pacific Garbage Patch that he discovered in 1997 at 7:30pm. $5 on brownpapertickets or at the door.

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