baratron: (pokemon scientist)
Oh man, I have a doozy of a First World Problem today. See, Pokemon X and Y are due to be released worldwide on 12th October, i.e. tomorrow. In an attempt to get it as early as possible, I ordered the download version of Pokemon X even though I prefer physical cartridges. I thought "It'll probably be available at 11pm on Friday night since Nintendo's European servers are in Germany, and at the worst case it'll be midnight - that beats waiting until I've managed to drag myself out of bed in the morning." Yeah.

And then I woke up today to find out that GAME, the beleaguered British video game chain, had been given permission to start selling it early. And Kingston has gone from three branches of GAME to zero, making my nearest one in central London. And I was way too sick to drag my arse into central London today.

And now it's late enough for me to try downloading Pokemon X, and I can't, because my SD card is too small. The game won't fit even if I delete EVERYTHING. Argh!!
baratron: (rainbow chemistry geek)
Who wants to buy me this for Christmas/Yule/Newtonmas?
baratron: (test tube)
NASA finds Cookie Monster on surface of Mercury. Awesome :)

Parody of anti-gay pamphlets offers detailed, behind-the-scenes view of how liars misuse real citations. Very interesting, and Relevant To Our Interests.

Sexist bastardJames Watson on The Double Helix and his changing view of Rosalind Franklin. I still want to spit at him, but I suppose he comes across as slightly less objectionable when all the evidence is considered. Bah.

More than you maybe needed to know about the echidna. Warning: Contains echidna penis. Once seen, can never be un-seen!

Protein art. This is also Relevant to My Interests.

OMG, baby octopodes! *hyperventilates with Teh Cute!*
baratron: (introspection)
There is a lot of debate on my friends list relating to an incident at ReaderCon. Details and many people's opinions can be found in the links in BC's post. The most salient part is that the con has a so-called "zero tolerance" sexual harassment policy, which a few years ago caused a "smelly", extremely creepy man to become banned for life, yet this year caused a well-known fan to be banned for only a couple of years, for what I assume was similar behaviour. As ever, I like [livejournal.com profile] xiphias's analysis.

Now, I wasn't at ReaderCon, and am unlikely to be at any science fiction conventions in the near future, but I did wonder what exactly the anti-harassment policy said. So I went to their website, and the best I could find was this:
Readercon has always had a zero-tolerance harassment policy.

Harassment of any kind — including physical assault, battery, deliberate intimidation, stalking, or unwelcome physical attentions — will not be tolerated at Readercon and will result in permanent suspension of membership.

As always, Readercon reserves the right to strip membership at its discretion.

Do you see the problem with that? I sure do. Especially when it's compared to the BiCon Code of Conduct (here's 2012's):
No Means No.

No-one at BiCon should be put under any pressure to join in with things they do not want to do.

This includes:
* any sexual behaviour
* hugs or touching
* taking part in a activity
* disclosing information
* or even having a chat.

It is fine to ask someone once if they would like to do something. For example, “Would you like a hug?”. If they refuse, continuing to ask is pestering them and will be viewed as harassment. If someone asks you to leave them alone, do so.

In public, “no”, “stop”, “don’t do that” or similar words and phrases will be taken at face value by the BiCon organisers and volunteers regardless of context.

The BiCon policy goes further, also defining what sort of behaviour is acceptable in public, respecting differences (with specific details about gender and race), confidentiality, and how the team intend to deal with any complaints.

What's the difference? Well, the ReaderCon policy assumes that everyone is on the same page and at the same level of cluefulness. It only includes what one might call "obvious" and deliberate harassment - things that are done intentionally to harm another. Indeed, the official ReaderCon Board of Directors statement even states "When we wrote our zero-tolerance policy in 2008 (in response to a previous incident), we were operating under the assumption that violators were either intent on their specific behaviors, clueless, or both." Whereas the BiCon policy explains, in simple English, how something you might intend in a friendly manner could come across as intimidating or scary to the person you're interacting with. It helps people who are nervous around other people, and/or have weaker social skills understand what exactly counts as acceptable behaviour (and perhaps offers pointers for how to chat someone up without freaking them out?).

This sort of detailed, yet easy to understand, policy is something I'd expect to see in place well before any discussion of "zero-tolerance". And I would urge all conventions to move towards a policy of this kind - something clear enough that there's no wiggle room of "I didn't mean it".

Go, IUPAC!

Jul. 7th, 2012 05:01 pm
baratron: (science genius girl)
If you're a certain kind of geek, this is awesome: the new, 2011 definition of the hydrogen bond. Turns out all those school definitions involving a hydrogen covalently bonded to an oxygen, nitrogen or fluorine atom forming a second, weak bond with the lone pair of electrons on another oxygen, nitrogen or fluorine don't go anywhere near far enough...
baratron: (rainbow chemistry geek)
[11:17] <baratron> i never understand how so many stupid Mac users have their machines open when they're staying in a hotel
[11:17] <baratron> i can see 9 other Macs here
[11:18] <baratron> and since the default name for a computer is Firstname Lastname's Mac, i know who owns them
[11:18] <baratron> *mine* is locked down so it doesn't appear on public networks
[11:18] <DysTuvai> good grief, the apples are metastasing. >>
[11:18] <baratron> and is in any case called Praesodymium
[11:19] <DysTuvai> ... that is an awesome name for a computer.
[11:19] <baratron> Macs have to be named after f-block elements *nods sagely*
[11:19] <baratron> Silicon Graphics machines have to be named after d-block elements
[11:20] <DysTuvai> ... that's... an interesting way to look at it
[11:20] <DysTuvai> XD
[11:20] <Teapot> you're such a scientist. :p
[11:20] <DysTuvai> I'm not quite sure what is the connection
[11:20] <DysTuvai> But it's just another one of those awesome HL things
[11:20] <DysTuvai> ^^
[11:25] <baratron> it's how the computers at college were named
[11:25] <baratron> we did not have PCs
[11:26] <baratron> i suppose they'd have to be s- or p-block elements
[11:27] <DysTuvai> All I can say
[11:27] <DysTuvai> Is that this degree of geekery is pure unrefined awesome. XD
[11:27] <Teapot> And also quite likely to make a Mac's trendy aluminium head explode. ;D
[11:28] <baratron> the lecture theatre we had for our final-year lectures had each seat named after an element, in order
[11:28] <baratron> i usually sat in Copper or Cobalt
[11:28] <Teapot> that is brilliant
[11:28] <baratron> the building does not exist any longer :(
[11:29] <DysTuvai> It was too awesome to exist.
baratron: (angry)

US SIM card not all that helpful. Reception in the house is flaky at best. Yesterday it took me a full 3 hours simply to post (a) one message to a web forum giving the people I'm supposed to be meeting up with my address & US phone number, & (b) one LJ private message with the same details. ARGH!

I have no idea whether any of these meetings are actually going to happen, as I haven't heard back from anyone yet.

Also, this SIM card is locked down somehow so I can't use my phone as a WiFi hotspot for my computer, like I do at home when away from a modem. So it's tiny screen phone internet only.

And just to add insult to injury, T-mobile, in their infinite wisdom, have decided to put a "Web Guard" on my phone. This blocks access to LiveJournal & deadjournal, but not *actual* dubious content - I had no trouble viewing the NSFW webcomic Menage à 3!

Currently I am sitting in the sun outside the Walmart on the 192 at W Vine St and Oren Brown Road (feel free to look it up on Google Maps if you want to stalk me in the next half hour). I got so "claustrophobic" in the house that I had to get out, even though it meant trundelling along the grass verges of main roads. Claustrophobia isn't really the right term because that's a fear of open spaces, and there's nothing BUT open space here. But I felt totally trapped and panicky in a place where you need a car to get anywhere.

It's bloody weird here. Apparently Floridians don't believe in pavements/sidewalks. They exist, but only in actual housing estates. You go along the pavement & suddenly it vanishes, to be replaced with a naked grass verge. WTF? This happens over and over again down the length of a road. I have no fucking idea why, because the weather is so glorious here that walking or cycling in the outdoors seems a way better option than being stuck in a metal box, but go figure.I am also having severe environmental rage, all the time.

They don't recycle here. At all! EVERYTHING goes into the normal dustbin for landfill. ARGH! What a waste! Just add all the overpackaging issues (e.g. tons of disposable plastic bags, handed out like sweetie, even for things like 1 gallon drinks bottles WITH THEIR OWN HANDLE), and you can see why it's making me angry.

Anyway, going to try unbarring my phone again now. Hopefully will be able to read LJ again soon.

Edit, 22:06 Couldn't get my phone unbarred since T-Mobile's system was "being upgraded". However, I am now in HOOTERS of all places, using their free internet :D

Posted via LiveJournal app for Android.

baratron: (gaming)
So many posts I "need" to write. Will get round to it when I've finally recovered from BiCon. (Still sleeping way too much, glandy & snotty. Yay!). This is a post of little interest to almost everyone who'll read it, but important to me. So deal :P

I realised on the train home on Sunday that I'd left my Nintendo DS in Leicester. I knew exactly where it was - in the drawer of the bedside cabinet. I remembered putting it there because I was worried about falling over it on the floor, and thinking "Is this a sensible place to leave it? Will I forget it?" - and convincing myself that it was perfectly safe since I would see the DS charger plugged into the wall immediately above it, and that would remind me. HOW WRONG I WAS!

After a great deal of faff, I managed to get through to someone competent in the security lodge, who found the DS within minutes. Also [livejournal.com profile] skibbley, who lives in Leicester, very kindly agreed to get it and post it back to me. I kept saying to everyone how I wasn't even bothered about the DS, it's 6 years old - I just wanted the game back because I'd spent so long playing it!

Well, it turns out that I haven't spent 150 hours of my life playing Dragon Quest IX. I've spent 228 hours of my life playing it! And I'm still nowhere near finished! Honestly, best value for a game EVER if you like turn-based RPGs, dungeon crawling and cute monsters :)

Tonight I'm not even playing the game. I am copying the positions of high level Grottos from my old Dragon Quest IX map (which has run out of space due to the many low-level Grottos which I no longer care about) onto my new map. Yes, I'm a dork. I remain in this context not as geeky as my friend [livejournal.com profile] meeping, however. He has a spreadsheet.
baratron: (science genius girl)
Do any of my friends want to go to the massive nerd tour featuring Robin Ince, Dr Ben Goldacre of Bad Science, the very pretty Prof Brian Cox, and ex-Imperialite Simon Singh? I'd want to go to the London date.

And yes, I know this clashes rather with my last post where I'm complaining about a total lack of spare energy to do anything social, but I'm rather hoping my chronic fatigue will have f'ed off again by May.
baratron: (octopus!)
Killing myself laughing at the Merriam-Webster "Ask the Editor" feature on the plural of octopus (which I would link to, if I could find a way to do so). Apparently, if you say "octopuses" you are correct; if you say "octopi" you are sorta correct, but have no grounds for telling the people who say "octopuses" that they're wrong; and if you say "octopodes" (which the girl has pronounced most unlike the classical Greek that I was taught at school), you have to "be prepared to deliver this spiel at a moment's notice and in a British accent". Funnily enough, those are both things I specialise in... ;)
baratron: (rainbow chemistry geek)
Two HSP90 ligands I found today: NP4 and NP5.

What's wrong with them? Well, "normal" sizes for rings in organic chemistry are 3, 5, 6 and 7 carbon atoms. 3 carbons form a triangle, which is thermodynamically unstable because of the strain in the bonds (carbon atoms with all single bonds usually have bond angles around 109.5 degrees, and in a triangle they're closer to 60 degrees) - but common in nature, especially if stabilised by some other rings adjacent. 5, 6 and 7 carbon atoms are stable because there is no ring strain, and form very easily because it's a relatively small number of carbons to have to wrap around to form the ring. As the number of carbon atoms increases, the probability of ring formation decreases, because it's too far for the first and last carbons to "find" each other.

By the time you're up to a single ring of 13 carbon atoms, the molecule looks quite ludicrous. It looks to me like a normal molecule with two 6-membered rings, where someone's taken one of the rings and pumped it up with a cycle pump!

Muahahaa!

Jun. 14th, 2010 07:35 pm
baratron: (science genius girl)
Currently, I am sitting in my office at college, with the big shiny computer in front of me, and my MacBook Pro next to me :D

I have GOLD running on the shiny computer, and PDB searches & journal articles on the MacBook. Grabbing articles from the college internet when I'm physically here is so quick that I barely even notice a delay - whereas the hassle involved to authenticate from home is unbelievable. Here I just click the link and the PDF is there. From home, it takes minutes for each article, and having to enter usernames and passwords multiple times (even using the Virtual Private Network, which is supposed to remove such obstacles).

Now, if only I could find a second browser that I like as much as Windows Opera or Linux/Mac Firefox, I'd be all set. (Mac Opera seems quite nasty in comparison, really nothing like as neat as it is on Windows (also, I feel Opera 10 is a downgrade from 9, on Windows too), and Safari is SO SLOW. Haven't tried Google Chrome yet.) I want a second browser so that I can have two livejournal sessions running from different accounts (this one and my sekrit squirrel anonymised fiction-posting account).

Hmm, I think I'm in the slightly manic phase of my mood cycle. Well, whatever :D Work is happening, for once.
baratron: (baratron again)
The last time I used a unix-based command line in earnest was 2001 or so. Since then, if I have been asked to do something that requires use of the command line, I have panicked and asked Richard to talk me through it.

Yesterday I sat down in front of a big shiny molecular graphics box running SuSE (which I've never used before, but I get on well with lizards). And all my unix filesystem knowledge came flooding back. I was impressing Philip by knowing all the commands and arguments. I was impressing myself by knowing all the commands!

So apparently my unix knowledge is highly context-specific. It exists only in the context of chemistry research. Who'd have thought it?
baratron: (Default)
Three snippets of recent conversation:

Richard (getting dressed & pulling clean underwear out of a drawer): "I think these pants have had it. Look at the elastic! It's not elastic any more, it's undergoing plastic deformation!".

Me: "Hooke's Law in action!"


Tim (coming into our room as we were getting up): "Oh, you've got the big bear in bed with you!".

Richard (rolling over sleepily): "This is my bed! I always sleep here!".

Tim: "Perhaps I should have said 'the big bear (white)', to distinguish him from any big bears (brown)".


Peter (talking about somewhere they'd eaten recently): "It's quite a smart pub. They have games. We drank a bottle of wine and played Scrabble."

Tim: "Only the pieces were muddled up like they came from several different sets."

Peter: "So you could draw a Q and put it on the board, and then draw another Q."

Tim: "There was one tile which was the same size as a normal Scrabble tile, but had letters on both sides. And another one which was 1/4 of the size of a normal Scrabble tile, with the number 4 on it."

Richard: "For all of those words with a 4 in, obviously."

Tim: Maybe it was from a set of Chemistry Scrabble!

Richard: "You could have double and triple atom score, and double and triple bond score..."

Tim: "But would you be allowed free radicals? That's the question."

Me: "I don't think so. Anything can be a radical - CH3 dot would be too cheaty. It would have to be actual molecules and compounds only."

Richard: "You'd be screwed if you drew helium, though."

Me: "I guess it would have to be no Noble Gases."

Richard: "It would be even better if it used organic notation with all those zigzag lines. You'd be able to add a benzene ring to the end of any atom on the board!"
baratron: (gaming)
Wondering why I said to Richard, with all wild optimism, "If I'm better this weekend we should tidy the house" when LEGO Rock Band is out tomorrow. We'll be wanting to spend the whole weekend in front of the Xbox. Hmm.
baratron: (rainbow chemistry geek)
Analgesics (painkillers) that I have personally taken - with bonus educational bits! Big image. Read more... )

Molecules!

Mar. 20th, 2009 02:37 am
baratron: (science genius girl)
I have ChemDraw! The standard price for ChemDraw Pro is £640.00, but students can buy it for £90. Yay.

To celebrate this, I have drawn the structures of every psychoactive drug I have ever taken. Big picture )

When more time exists, I will draw the structures of every painkiller and antibiotic I've ever taken. Opioids have incredibly weird structures which will test my understanding of the software. (I think they're a bit beyond me today.)

Yay hexagons!
baratron: (lego)
Here follows an End User License Agreement from a piece of software that I was installing this evening (the computer connectivity of my Olympus digital voice recorder). I believe it was translated from Japanese to English using a machine and then not checked by a native English speaker, as it makes virtually no sense. I have bolded my favourite parts.

*** The use consent contract of the Olympus software product ***
Read more... )

Also...

Nov. 18th, 2008 01:48 am
baratron: (richard)
One of my current lecturers looks like Richard will in 25 years time, and I have to constantly fight the urge to hug him. It's not that I have a crush on him or anything like that (thank $deity that I'm mostly too old for that sort of thing except when it comes to synthpop bands), just that he's so fluffy and beardy and geeky and jumper-wearing and softly-spoken and tea-drinking that I feel like I already know him much better than I actually do. He is always smiling and very enthusiastic about what he teaches, to the point where I find myself wanting to nod and agree with all of it simply because he's so nice.

Must remind self. Hug family wuzzies because they're mine. Do not traumatise lecturer wuzzies by trying to hug them. That would be cruelty to wuzzies.
baratron: (black)
Cut for mention of female anatomy and clothing to cover that part. Also contains engineering. )

I hope I am not inundated with weird spam and comments as a result of this post. Oh well. I can always repost them for us all to laugh at.

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