Today was good. Mostly. The work part of today went really badly -- my experiment did not adapt well to the new server, dying several times before I gave up on the new version. I risked the old server (which the tech warned me was dying) and the old version of my experiment, and got through 20 minutes of having my subject sit in the darkness before he mentioned that he wasn't seeing anything, and a good bit after that we finally got started for real. I felt really bad for him -- he had close to 40 minutes of wasted time in there.
The rest was good. In the morning, I had breakfast with Dmitriy, who has been too busy to hang out for the last 3 or 4 weeks. After work, I went to get some .. fun stuff at REI, and bussed back home, spending a good amount of time trying to recall where I had seen this girl sitting nearby before I realised that she used to hang out at the Coffee Tree back when I was a regular there. (Remembering this reminds me of how, long before then, I hung out at Starbucks while desperately trying to build a social life in a strange town after my first breakup with Debb). I then had a good talk with myself.
I resolved a few issues. I need to do my best to turn my empathy (the you-feel-it-and-therefore-I-feel-it) way down when it comes to certain situations, because it clouds my judgement. I can do this if I focus on it, although it doesn't come naturally -- I'm emotionally impressionable at times. Secondly, I worry way too much, and am inclined to far too much formal, gentlemanly, old-fashioned ideals in relationships. My generation doesn't work that way, and I send really bizarre signals to people looking as young as I do but playing so conservatively. Likewise, I miss out on many of the opportunities that the old-fashioned behaviour, in proper context, was designed to provide to people through respect. I will still lean towards the conservative side of things, but will scoot closer to how I see other people acting. These things together helped to lift my heavy heart a great deal.
I then joined Lizza, Brewer, L's family, and a bunch of other folk for a trip to Abay (excellent Ethiopian food), bringing some of my favourite wine for everyone to share (the bottle didn't go very far given how many people were there). We then helped Lizza move, and then retired to her new apartment for a bit of Eiswein and chatting. I am presently, having had a cold shower in the dark (which is an occasional ritual I do that I don't fully understand), relaxing on my couch, perhaps to read for a few hours or just think.
Tomorrow, hopefully the new hat Baruch ordered for me will fit. If it does, I promise pictures.
I am very happy to see that African languages, specifically Swahili (apologies for the registration-needing NYTimes link) are beginning to ramp up in their usage on Wikipedia. There is a circular effect when it comes to the minor encyclopediae -- they countries that probably need them the most lack the technology and/or the culture and/or the educational levels to lead to their contribution. Wikipedia, like any other educational or collaborative instrument, enriches life and culture, and changes the dynamics of knowledge production/maintenance. Not all these changes are positive, but by and large I believe it to be a powerful tool for improving all the societies it touches. It is unfortunate that countries such as China choose to deprive their people from this -- neither humanity nor the revolution are served by limiting projects like this.
Some more news from Persia -- another nuclear facility is online, and they claim that noone need fear their access to nuclear power, even Israel. This is slightly reassuring, although the risk is sitll high. BushJr said something curious about the security council.. "There must be consequences if people thumb their nose at the United Nations Security Council. We will work with people on the Security Council to achieve that objective". Is this the same BushJr that's been incredibly hostile to the United Nations, pushing NATO as its much-preferred alternative?
ALF wins. A researcher doing imaging research was harassed to the point of ending animal research by animal rights activists. I believe the right thing happened -- the kinds of experiments done regularly on nonhumans in psychology are horrific. Haven taken some classes from people who do such things, I've heard and seen things that would probably cause me to react in ways that would be my ticket to jail -- imagine holes drilled into a cat's skull to force it to hold still while undergoing six or more hours in the scanner, and then having it killed after the research is done. Further horrors are not uncommon -- I believe such research methods should be forbidden, and stopping them to be an act of heroism.
I am full of pleasant tiredness.