The Divided Brain (I’m Busted!)

My friend, jamming budding, personal Excel oracle, and (former) blogger-extraordinaire, John Walkenbach, sent me this to post on the new blog. It pretty much exposes me as perpetrating a long-held science myth on my science writing and science site. Gee, thanks, pal!

Next, I’ll have to dig out the piece exposing the myth that Machiavelli was Machiavellian.

I’m posting this from my iPhone. Wish me luck.

Left Brain Web Design

I’ve been doing a lot of reading and watching video tutorials lately on WordPress site design.  In part, this crash course is for the legitimate goal of learning how to build my site.  I have to confess, though, it’s also because learning how to do something is a lot less daunting than going out and actually doing it.

Today marked a turning point.  I opened the hood of my WordPress default theme and got some grease and grit under my fingernails.  Yes, I suffered some scrapes and bruises, but it was a pretty thrilling first ride out with my souped up site.  OK, it may still look like a Chevette, not a Corvette, but I’m making progress.  So far, I’ve narrowed the vertical space in the header, moved the title and tag line onto the banner photo and added a drop shadow so that they don’t disappear in the graphics, added many more banner photos (all, my own, by the way), and added a contact form, in addition to a few invisible back-end enhancements.

What I didn’t expect was that web design, which I’d always thought of as a mostly “right-brain” endeavor, would be so “left-brain”—not so unlike the worm genetics experiments I used to do in the lab!  For example, there was this pesky 2-pixel border line persisting above the banner, which I could not get rid of.  I found the CSS rule, modified it, and nothing changed!  After more experimenting, without really knowing much about the structure of the WordPress parent theme my site is based upon, I deduced that the 2-pixel border was under control of a different, and relatively hidden, style sheet from the one controlling the bulk of the site.  Further, I realized that this hidden style sheet always reigned supreme.

Classic epistasis! (for you genetics nerds)

Ultimately, with my new found insight, I was able to obliterate that 2-pixel border by inserting ten additional characters into my style sheet: important!

Ha!  Web design—I can do this!

MIT Media Laboratory: The Human Speechome Project

Apple Science Profiles

When Deb Roy and his wife, Rupal Patel, learned of their impending bundle of joy, they did what many first-time parents do: They got a video camera. Actually, they bought 11 video cameras and 14 state-of-the-art microphones. Then they built a temperature-controlled data-storage room in their basement and loaded it with, among other gear, five Apple Xserves and a 4.4TB Xserve RAID, backup tape drives, and robotic tape changers. No, Roy and Patel hadn’t instantly become the world’s most doting parents; instead, they had hatched a plan to record practically every waking moment of their son’s first three years.  iTunes Podcast

Wake Up Susan

Last night’s edition of our twice-monthly Tucson Old-Time Music Circle attracted a bunch of old friends from far as Wickenburg, Sierra Vista, and Yuma.  Here are my Yuman friends (they used to be half-Yuman, before settling year round), Dan and Jennifer Levenson, playing one of my favorites.

Hmm…what should I post here?

“Science” is the last section of my new blog needing an entry.  In fact, my main motivation for this post is just to get rid of the dreaded Nothing Found default entry.  It’s not that I can’t think of anything to write–there’s too much to write!  There’s so much science and technology news to talk about that I haven’t quite figured out what I’ll focus on for this space.  My inclination is to dig out weird and wonderful stuff.  Stay tuned.

What the heck is “Old-Time”?

Old-time, on this blog, anyway, refers to old-time music, which is arguably the most purely American form of music.  I got interested in old-time music by way of bluegrass banjo.  I tried playing bluegrass, or “3-finger,” or “Scruggs-style” banjo for a few years, but could never get those rolls rolling fast enough.  Even worse, that heavy resonator banjo gave me terrible backaches.  So I got an open-back banjo and started learning the old-time clawhammer style.  Well, before long, I caught the fiddle bug.  After all, clawhammer banjo and old-time fiddle go together like peanut butter and jelly.  I’m not good at either banjo or fiddle, but I have fun anyway.  I have friends who are really good.  Here are a couple of them.

Still Working on those Photos

I chose the NextGEN Gallery plugin to organize my photos on this site, but I still have a lot of learning to do before it all comes together.  In the mean time, you can take a look at some of my pictures on my other web album.

A couple baby bobcats born and raised in my parents’ backyard planter.

Retrieving Lost Memories

HHMI Bulletin | November 2007

“Every morning we took a short walk to the local market for groceries. One day, on the way back, there was a thunderstorm, so we took shelter in a little shed. After the rain, I said, ‘Let’s go home now.’ I looked at my grandmother’s face and it was completely without expression. ‘Home?’ she asked. ‘Where is home?'”  read in full issue (pdf)