Aliens and Space Baby Mobile

Mixed media: paper mache, plaster of paris, wire, felt

This was my latest long art project.  It’s a baby mobile for Deepa’s baby with aliens, clouds, stars, planets (and a UFO of course).  (The extra string needs to have the excess cut, but I left that up to Deepa to do).



Here are the pieces:

A computer engineer tries to find an e-mail with an attachment in Lotus Notes

Lately I have found myself often having to use Lotus Notes.  Soon I won’t have to anymore, so I can make my complaints more public.  A lot of things are horrible about Lotus Notes’ e-mail client.  And not bad in that way that I wish Outlook was more like Gmail, but bad in that way like “I am not Apu getting his phD in computer engineering in the 60s!!!” sort of bad.  It’s hard to explain HOW bad without being there.  It’s like you can’t really understand childbirth until you’ve birthed a child (so I hear).  So here is an example of an everyday functionality you would think would be possible without enlisting the help of a computer programmer: finding an email with an attachment.

I sent an email to someone in January and it had an attachment. Now I would like to find said e-mail.  So I go to the search bar and type the name of the person who I sent it to.

At a quick glance, none of the results seem to be the e-mail I’m looking for (and no it did not include the big black blob…)  I try to click the attachment field to sort by attachment, but only because I temporarily forgot that you CANNOT SORT YOUR SEARCH RESULTS.  Well you can, but only by relevance, last modified, or first modified.  Oh and to even get these “extra” options like sorting, I had to click on that more button you see beside the search field.

Upon inspection I decide that what I want to do is add a “Condition” and out of the condition options, it is the condition that the “Field” attachment is set to true.  My computer engineering education put to use!

I click Field…..

This is not looking promising.  What is an AbortGracefully field and why would I want to search my email based on THAT instead of Attachments????  I’m determined, though, to conquer the search functionality in Lotus Notes.  I click down to find the “Attachment” field.  It is not between “Assistant” and “AudioVideoFlags”.

I spend a long time scrolling up and down and I wish there was a way to screenshot the hundreds of fields I looked through.  Here are some.

This story ends pretty anticlimactically.  Once again, Lotus Notes has won and I resorted to recreating yet another document that Lotus Notes refuses to help me find.  I shouldn’t complain, I guess, after all…how many people ever want to search for e-mails with attachments?

How to optimize subway seating

If you could force people to stand and sit on a subway car when you decided they should, what algorithm would enable everyone to optimize the amount of time they get to sit down on a subway car?  I guess…by ensuring everyone gets an equal percentage of time sitting based on their total ride time.  Any thoughts on what the algorithm would be?

Americans believing crazy weather is due to end-of-world

There goes the hope that Hurricane Sandy and other crazy weather events will finally wake people up to climate change…

A new study shows 4 in 10 U.S. residents say recent extreme weather events, like Superstorm Sandy, is evidence the world is coming to an end.

The survey, conducted by the Public Religion Research Institute and the Religion News Service, showed Americans are almost equally split whether the Biblical end of times or climate change are to blame for recent extreme weather.

Extreme Weather Study

  • 4 in 10:  Extreme weather is evidence of “end times”
  • 6 in 10:  Extreme weather is evidence of climate change

Meaningful Dates

I don’t know how I missed this one before…


So why are the first of most months really important except poor February 1?  Also I wonder how to scale the numbers are… like is September 18th and basically the 11th of every month really THAT less important than every other date?  Also why are people saying October 31st instead of Halloween?  Like with December 25th I can only assume it’s not huge because most people say “Christmas”.  So I googled the dates that stood out to me:

  • January 10 – nada
  • January 15 – pretty much nothing. That airplane did land in the Hudson river then but in 2009 so I’m not sure how many books would be written about that yet
  • March 21 – it’s one of three possible first days of equinox?
  • April 9 – the national day of unity in Georgia?
  • April 15 – tax day…sometimes
  • May 1 – May Day, but also according to a random website “May 1st, often called May Day, just might have more holidays than any other day of the year. It’s a celebration of Spring. It’s a day of political protests. It’s a neopagan festival, a saint’s feast day, and a day for organized labor. In many countries, it is a national holiday.”
  • June 1 and 4 – No idea
  • June 30 – Well in 2012 there was a “leap second” on June 30….
  • July 1 – I will assume is because of Canada Day, although we don’t call it “July 1st”..
  • August 1 – It is the name of a Malayali movie
  • August 15 – India’s independence day
  • November 1 – All Saint’s Day or the Day of the Dead
  • December 6 – Nothing…unless people were writing about what happened the day before Pearl Harbor Day?

It took me a while to notice this but look at the huge disparity between the summer months, and the rest. I guess we like to imagine things (and therefore write about things) in the summer rather than the boring winter. This is making me really want to write a book that takes place entirely on February 11th.


Have you ever noticed there’s a “u” in us but no “i”?  I think us should be changed to ui

Mr. Dressup and other favorite Canadian shows

Today’s logo:

Mr. Dressup, who passed away in 2001, would have turned 85 today. Casey and Finnegan were his puppet boy friend and puppet dog!

Here’s a long 10-minute clip of the show if you feel very nostalgic. It starts out with the Tickle Trunk!


ok now this just has to become a post of a bunch of Canadian (I think?) shows for kids.

Fred Penner:


Polka Dot Door….imagination day!!!! (This is the show that had the Polkaroo)

Here’s the Polkaroo on imagination day


You Can’t Do That on Television

Breaker High…before Ryan Gosling was hot, he was the high school nerd (PS I looooooved this show)


Eric’s World (this clip doesn’t have Eric Nagler in it OR the kid next door who ended up being my Frosh when I was a Frosh leader, then went overseas with EWB and then went on to get his phd in Economics from Princeton)

The same kid was also in Are You Afraid of the Dark.

Oh and then speaking of actors that were really young and are now…totally different and famous in the US. I loved Flipper (it was about a dolphin!!!) which is Jessica Alba fame (she worked at the aquarium but had a very special relationship with the dolphin)

And Elisha Cuthbert on Popular Mechanics for Kids

ok I’m done.

Declines in Home Equity Shrink Charitable Donations

Latest in the Harvard stats emails:

Households increase their gifts to charity by nearly 1% for every 10% increase in home equity. That’s about 10 times the effect of increases in other types of wealth such as stocks and bonds, say Chau Do and Irina Paley of the U.S. Treasury. The finding may be ominous for charities: A long-lasting 20% decline in U.S. home equity would mean a $52-per-homeowner decrease in donations, or about $3.8 billion less for charities nationwide, the researchers say.
Source: Altruism from the house: The impact of home equity on charitable giving

Earth Day moves from March to April because the US rules the world

From Wikipedia:

The name and concept of Earth Day was pioneered by John McConnell in 1969 at a UNESCO Conference in San Francisco. He proposed March 21, 1970, the first day of spring in the northern hemisphere. This day of nature’s equipoise was later sanctioned in a Proclamation signed by Secretary General U Thant at the United Nations. A month later a separate Earth Day was founded by United States Senator Gaylord Nelson as an environmental teach-in first held on April 22, 1970. While this April 22 Earth Day was focused on the United States, an organization launched by Denis Hayes, who was the original national coordinator in 1970, took it international in 1990 and organized events in 141 nations.

Africa for Norway

You’ve probably all already seen this.. but it’s great.  A spoof charity video making fun of the sort of development-porn version of aid.