jedusor: (music)
I don't tend to write a whole lot of music recs, since I don't have much of a vocabulary for them. I just know what I'm into and what I'm not into, and saying "I'm really digging band X right now" is more of a microblogging sort of sentiment than a topic for LJ. But I've been waiting to pimp this album to you guys for years. This is the album that [livejournal.com profile] imagines listened to on repeat instead of talking to me for the entire train ride we took together from Boston to New York City in summer 2009, because Wes had said I could play that version of the album for people but not share the files, and I did not blame her one bit. It's been in my own regular music rotation since Wes first started sending me rough cuts and asking for opinions about three years ago, at which point I kind of jaw-dropped and put "Run Like Hell" on repeat for approximately forever. (iTunes claims I've listened to that particular song a total of 79 times across the three versions of it I have, but I didn't get this computer until after I'd had the first version for a few months, and anyway that doesn't count all the times I've played the burned CD on my stereo and in the car.) My other favorites are "Sensitive" and "Something Sometime," but the whole album is fantastic.

Wes sent an official copy of the physical CD back from Hunt with Mike for me, and it looks awesome. If you want one of those, either order it here or bug [livejournal.com profile] thatwesguy to make other arrangements. (I bet he'll sign it for you with a tasteful cover-art-complementary colored gel pen if you ask him nicely.) If you're satisfied with an electronic copy, go forth and download. It's a pay-whatever-you-want deal, and you can stream the entire thing just by clicking the play button below, so you have no reason whatsoever not to give it a try.


jedusor: (i have a cat)
The marshmallow study continues, with now-middle-aged participants still reflecting their four-year-old willpower. (PDF download of the study.)

I'm told that when I was about four, I participated in a study at the local university. The researcher asked me a series of questions, and I was supposed to answer them while playing with toys as some sort of distraction. Partway through, I put down the toys and asked to see the clipboard with the questions on it. The researcher bemusedly handed it over, and I read through and answered the questions, explaining that it was easier for me to process them when I read them myself. My mother sat on the other side of a two-way mirror, making a valiant effort not to piss her pants laughing. I have no idea what the study was about, but I'm pretty sure my data were excluded.

It makes me wonder how I would have handled the marshmallow test, had I been a participant at the age of four. I would have earned my second marshmallow easily, because I would have spent the fifteen-minute wait lecturing Dr. Mischel about his choice to use a candy containing gelatin and demanding to know whether he was aware of the processes involved in producing that ingredient. I would have then stormed away in a huff, possibly after destroying both marshmallows in a display of symbolic protest.

These days, I just criticize the experimental design and try to figure out the point of the study before debriefing. I am a terrible subject for scientific studies. Really, really awful.

Blog recs

Aug. 8th, 2011 10:01 pm
jedusor: (this is cool)
A list of themed blogs I enjoy, half by people I know and half randomly stumbled across on the intertubes:

Letters of Note
Interesting letters with interesting stories, and occasionally with startling insights into history and celebrity culture. Favorites: Lee and Herring, Bill Watterson, John Lennon, Geoffrey Boothroyd.

Reading, Writing, Revising
Advice and information for writers, with often excellent writing- and reading-related links.

thx thx thx
Thank-you notes to everything. Favorites: Dear Friendship Bracelets, Dear Meeting, Dear Melancholy, Dear My Identity, Dear Future, Dear Boobs in General.

That Is Priceless
Re-captioned works of art. Favorites: #219, #24, #69, #211.

(The Customer Is) Not Always Right
Hilarious stories from the retail trenches.

Embarrassingly Enough
Tales of an awkward person.

PostSecret
Everyone's heard of PostSecret, I'm sure, but I'm including it just in case somebody's been living under a rock.

The Most Beautiful Things
Essays on the most beautiful members of various categories. Favorites: The Most Beautiful Flavor Enhancer, The Most Beautiful Typo, The Most Beautiful Psychological Defense, The Most Beautiful Reason To Support Gay Rights.

Effectivism
A scientist's look at activism, and how to actually make a difference.

Puzzle Links
Consolidated puzzles from constructors around the web.
jedusor: (motorcycle zan)
GUYS GUYS GUYS! Jesse just turned [livejournal.com profile] gomichan into a fiction archive, so all his stories are in one place instead of scattered around on six different websites! Here is the masterlist with all the links, and here is an explanation of his adorable little chibi warning system.

I would tell you where to start reading, but I cannot actually pick the best story, because they are all the best. Jesse is my all-time favorite author, has been since I discovered him ~6 years ago. All I can say is just read everything. And don't just look at the "homosexual relationships" warning and dismiss it as original slashfic--I personally know at least two straight dudes who started reading "The God Eaters" under duress and then couldn't stop once they got into the story. Jesse writes about boys kissing, but he also writes a lot of fantastic action/adventure and he is a master of plot.

...I might have to go reread the one about stormchasers now. omnomnom actual well-researched science. ♥_♥
jedusor: (super-hyphen)
While doing this quiz...

Me: A lamppost? Narnia?
Mike: That's "Singing in the Rain."
Me: Ah. What's the rest of that movie about? The part that's not the three minutes he's singing in the rain?
Mike: You know, I've never bothered to find out. My guess is hardcore pornography.

Mike: That's a saw, probably from the movie "Saw."
Me: *clicks through to the next one*
Mike: That's a tiger...
Both of us simultaneously: ...probably from the movie "Tiger."

♥ my boy. Sorry, I know a lot of this blog lately has been "haw haw isn't my boyfriend funny," but my boyfriend is fucking funny, okay.
jedusor: (seattle gay pride)
I'm pretty happy right now. Today was a good day. I didn't actually do any writing, but I did a lot of pre-writing thinking, and that always makes me feel like I've accomplished something. I like accomplishing things in my own head. It's like when I used to cozy up with a friend for a sleepover and share secrets late at night, except without the complications of social interaction.

I talked to Gerry on the phone for a while. Life has been hurling giant balls of manure at his head, as usual--seriously, the guy has just about the worst luck of anyone I've ever known--but he was just as cheerful and wisecracking as always. I don't tend to spend much time missing people because my friends are so widespread that it would result in a lot of misery if I did, but I actually miss the hell out of Gerry, so it was great to connect with him.

I got stopped by two different groups of religious folks on the way to the grocery store, which was weird since I've only ever seen that happen downtown since I moved here. The first group was the standard "hey, how you doing, ever heard of Jesus?" type, but the other guys were awesome. They weren't spreading the word, they were accosting people on the street for a trivia quiz about Aurora Avenue, which they asked permission to film and put on their website as part of an effort to clean up the neighborhood. I only missed one question (I guessed that "aurora" meant "light," not "dawn") and won four dollars and fifty cents in quarters. Yay, bus money.

I spent the afternoon curled up under a blanket making icons, which I haven't spent much time doing lately. Seashore is not as awesome as Photoshop (sadly, Dr. K resisted my attempts to persuade her to put the copy she bought for the lab on my laptop instead of her desktop) but it's good enough for most of the basics. [livejournal.com profile] lisaecksteincom linked to this three-part series on characterization, and that led to more pre-writing thoughts. I have this crazy notion in my head to write a screenplay for a musical based on Jonathan Coulton songs. It's been a while since any original characters have grabbed my attention like this. I'm not at all sure it will go anywhere, not least because I have zero experience with playwriting, but I'm having fun with it.

I've been working on making my sleep schedule more sane, and I have commitments outside the house every day this week. I think both of those things are contributing to my good mood. I always forget how much of a difference the sun makes, even though I hate it while I'm out in it.

Organ Trail

Feb. 3rd, 2011 02:16 am
jedusor: (badass geek)
I've played Oregon Trail a total of one time, when I was maybe eight. I died because I refused to shoot any animals, and never touched the game again. Until just now, when I discovered Organ Trail, a fully playable zombie apocalypse version of the game. While I still wouldn't want to play a game that simulated hunting animals, I'm totally fine with squelching zombies, so I gave it a shot.

I spent a somewhat embarrassing amount of time playing, and I realized: this game is just like life. The inexorable plodding of time, balancing priorities, dwindling supplies, random surprise benefactions and equally random surprise emergencies, panic as a resource that was just fine a second ago is now completely gone, reluctant acceptance of unfair deals (that other survivor wants HOW many bullets for one muffler?)... it's a perfect little microcosm of adulthood, minus all the awesome.

Everyone else played this game endlessly during childhood and then had this revelation in the other direction, didn't they?
jedusor: (writing)
[livejournal.com profile] selinker came up with this awesome idea: write a novel in a minute. I gave it a shot, and here's what I came up with:

Napping With The Fishes

“I’d like to be your friend, Billy, but friends don’t do this to one another.” Madison eyed her terrified victim coolly. “Friends don’t promise each other fruit snacks they can’t deliver. I’m sorry, Billy.” She gestured to her henchmen. “Boys… tickle him.”


A minute, it turns out, is not very long! (I watched "Brick" a few days ago, which might explain a lot here.) If you want to participate, check out [livejournal.com profile] selinker's Wired Decode post.
jedusor: (badass geek)
Okay, so mirror neurons (neurons that fire the same way when you engage in a behavior and when you observe others engaging in the same behavior) might be involved in empathy. There's not a ton of research supporting that yet, but I think it makes a lot of sense.

I also think it makes sense for mirror neurons to be integral to the phenomenon of contagious yawning. (Apologies in advance as everyone reading this starts feeling that urge.) Kids develop theory of mind around age 4, and start yawning in response to videos of yawning around age 5. Tons of potential third variables there, I know. Just a thought.

Now I really want to go find some sociopaths and yawn at them to see if they yawn too. Or autistic people, I suppose, but there are even more potential third variables in that population.
jedusor: (agatha music)
In that last post, I picked Muse for the "favorite band" question, which reminded me that I had some Muse in my iTunes that I hadn't really listened to, so I went and listened to it, and I found "Undisclosed Desires."

This song makes me want to cry, and spin poi, and have sex, and curl up on the floor with my friends in a dark hot room talking about nothing. It makes me lose myself in vague, disconnected thoughts about thalamic function and neural rhythm patterns and the limbic system. It makes me wish I had a really good sound system and no neighbors. It makes me really, really want to see Muse in concert again.
jedusor: (food: coffee cake)
Animals may use sweet taste to predict the caloric contents of food. Eating sweet noncaloric substances may degrade this predictive relationship, leading to positive energy balance through increased food intake and/or diminished energy expenditure... We found that reducing the correlation between sweet taste and the caloric content of foods using artificial sweeteners in rats resulted in increased caloric intake, increased body weight, and increased adiposity, as well as diminished caloric compensation and blunted thermic responses to sweet-tasting diets. These results suggest that consumption of products containing artificial sweeteners may lead to increased body weight and obesity by interfering with fundamental homeostatic, physiological processes.

--from the abstract of a study conducted in 2008

I've never liked artificial sweeteners; I think not being exposed to them much as a kid made me sensitive to them. I didn't pay much attention to the topic until I started in Dr. Kennedy's lab, where we use artificial sweeteners in our research. They're supposed to stimulate the same cascades as regular sugars, but they don't taste the same to me, and there's some weird crap going on with regards to pleasure responses. It's possible, based on that research, that I'm actually experiencing the same subjective perception but also a negative emotional response. Which would be awesome in terms of understanding the brain, but just adds to my aversion to artificial sweeteners in my own diet.

And now it looks like in addition to that, they screw with caloric homeostasis. I don't think that would be different in humans than it is in rats. And if that's the case, I can't think of a reason (apart from diabetes etc.) to eat artificially sweetened foods.
jedusor: (?!)
Here's me, if you have any questions. So far, people have asked about a) my open relationship and b) salt.
jedusor: (pintsize duct-taped)
Most of you know that someone who was very important to me, Ava Garcia, died in 2008. Ava was a writer, in my opinion an excellent one. Although she was only eighteen, she was fairly prolific, and I have a good-sized store of her writing on my computer.

Back in October, just after what would have been her twentieth birthday, I made an LJ with the intention of posting her writing for others to read. It stayed there untouched for a few months, and now I think I'm going to start updating it.

So, if you'd like to read: [livejournal.com profile] what_ava_wrote

I've posted a few things already: a piece she wrote about herself as an introduction, an original short story, a Harry Potter fanfic, and a poem. I don't know how often I'll update it, but it shouldn't be too spammy--not more often than once a week, I expect.
jedusor: (*hug* doesn't cut it)
[livejournal.com profile] shoutingboy linked to an Abstruse Goose comic on Facebook, and I clicked through and ended up reading the whole archive. It's very xkcd-esque (although here's what the creator has to say about that). It's more math-oriented, so there's a slightly higher percentage of strips I don't get than in xkcd, but I've been enjoying it anyway.

A few of my favorites:

SETI Finally Receives a Signal
LiveCommentJournal
What's in a Name?
Family Reunion
Alice and Bob (all together now: n'awwwwwwwwwwww)
Electromagnetic Leak
Traveling
Artificial
jedusor: (?!)
I really enjoyed this article. It's about the relationship between money and happiness, and how people are happier when they spend money on social interaction and experiences than on material things. I'd very much like to hear what others think of it.
jedusor: (ventromedial prefrontal cortex)
HOLY POPSICLES I WANNA GOOOOO

Yo-Yo Ma performing music based on an "exploration of human consciousness" written by Antonio Damasio, one of my current top choices for grad school advisor. And then a discussion moderated by Jonah Lehrer. And tickets, before they got completely snapped up, were only $25. If it wasn't sold out, I swear I would make the trip to New York on Sunday just for this, screw my final exam the next morning. And yes, I checked eBay already.

God, I hope there'll be video.
jedusor: (obama/biden)
Everybody's been crowing about Vermont all day, but did you guys see this? It's not as good as actually legalizing gay marriage, but it's certainly a step in the right direction.

Goddammit, California. :/
jedusor: (billy heart)
1. Ucaoimhu wrote an AWESOME cryptic crossword based on my weird-ass dream.

2. [livejournal.com profile] vito_excalibur wrote an AWESOME poem dedicated to Randall Munroe and entitled "I Fucked Your Mom."

Give them a hand, for they win at life.
jedusor: (riverdancing)
I recently reconnected via Facebook with someone I used to know when I was teeny-tiny. His mom and my mom have been friends since before I was born, I think. His name is Dara Yazdani, and he's currently involved with this quirky little online series.

Adventures With Seth

Yeah, the name is lame, and it's got other flaws too, but I kinda like it, especially the wacky coloring. The episodes are short, so you don't really have anything to lose by checking it out. I'm pretty much never attracted to people I met before I hit puberty, but if I were, I'd point out that Dara shaped up nice, and the suit does not hurt. (He's James, the main character.)
jedusor: (badass geek)
Pi time!

Yes, it is 3/14, which is Pi Day. In honor of the occasion, I'm reposting that video of Sophie's a cappella quartet singing pi. If you didn't watch it when I posted it a few months ago, you should now. And if you did, you should watch it again, because it seriously rocks.

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