Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Nate Silver on the Odds of Airborne Terror

Nate Silver on the Odds of Airborne Terror: "

Nate Silver:

You could board 20 flights per year and still be less likely to be the subject of an attempted terrorist attack than to be struck by lightning.


Thursday, December 24, 2009

Yeah, um... boooo FileVault.

I kept trying to deactivate FileVault, but if OS X failed to decrypt any corrupted files, then it would abort and refuse to deactivate FileVault. So, I had to manually decrypt the files (mv them out of my home directory) before OS X would allow me to deactivate OS X.

My conclusion: Do not use FileVault.

Friday, December 18, 2009

IO-related freeze

My Macbook Pro is misbehaving. Every few minutes, it will freeze for about 10-15 seconds while accessing the hard drive. I recently enabled file vault for my home directory. I have run the disk utility on both the hard drive and the sparse image of my home directory. Not sure what is going on here. I guess I will create a new account that doesn't have file vault and see if it behaves the same way.

org-mode speed keys

I use org-mode in Emacs, and today I discovered "speed commands":

org-use-speed-commands is a variable defined in `org.el'.
Its value is t

Non-nil means, activate single letter commands at beginning of a headline. This may also be a function to test for appropriate locations where speed commands should be active.
So, when you put your cursor at the beginning of a headline, then many commands are accessible by a single key.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Traveling with Baby

Portland --> Minneapolis --> Kansas City -> Lawrence -> Cole Camp, MO --> Columbia, MO --> Wichita --> Kansas City --> Cincinnati --> Bluffton, OH --> Cincinnati --> Portland.

I'm scared.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

The 7 Foods Experts Won't Eat


A really good list to pay attention to. Sounds just like everything Erinne's been telling me about these foods for a while now (except for the one about salmon).

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

The Myth of Complete Protein

Most people I know have heard of complete protein, that meat contains complete protein, and that those who do not eat meat must combine things (e.g. rice and beans) to get a complete protein. Lies!

The "complete protein" theory is a myth.

Of course you don't believe me. So do a Google search. Read the history of this erroneous theory, how it became accepted as truth. You will be quite surprised.

Sunday, November 29, 2009


I have started putting recipes and other food tips in a shared folder in my Google Documents. A public read-only interface is available here. I would like to give write access to as many people as possible so that they can contribute to the list.

My new headphones

A friend shared via Google Reader Giving Experiences, Not Things, This Holiday Season.

I've wanted a nice pair of headphones for a long time, and decided they might as well be wireless, but was always overwhelmed trying to figure out what to get. Erinne's gift to me for Christmas is a pair of Motorola S805 headphones. Her real gift is the time and effort she spent finding me the ideal headphones at a very nice price.

They have all the controls you need for playing music and making calls. They have an invisible microphone. They work very well with my phone. They sound awesome. You can plug them in and use them in to any device as wired headphones without using the batteries.

They have a significant amount of static and hissing when I pair them with my Macbook Pro or with Erinne's Macbook, but they sound absolutely wonderful when I pair them with Erinne's G1. What's up with that?

Monday, November 23, 2009

More baby pictures

This existing album has been updated with more pictures and videos of Ada.


We have encountered this phenomenon before, and Erinne encountered it again today. Something happens when you combine these three things:
  • Old women
  • Your baby
  • Grocery stores
When Erinne took Ada to the grocery store today, an old woman (see what I am getting at?) approached her and asked "yours or your mom's?" (i.e. is that baby your daughter or your sister). And then, realizing she had offended Erinne, she said, "uh, I like her hat" and walked away.

So, I understand having a baby makes people act strange around you. Also, the grocery store is one of those places that Erinne goes without me a lot, so I can understand that that contributes to questions related to her being alone.

But, why old women? Why?

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Frickin' Awesome Barbecue Sauce

I copied and pasted from here: http://www.theveggietable.com/recipes/bbqsauce.html

  • 2 T sesame oil
  • 1 c onion, diced
  • 4 T ketchup
  • 3 T Dijon mustard
  • 2 T soy sauce
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 t molasses
  • ¼ c balsamic vinegar
  • 1 t salt
  • ½ t pepper
Directions Heat the oil over medium heat, add onions, and sauté until golden brown, about 5 minutes.

Stir in remaining ingredients and cook, stirring frequently, for 30 minutes.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009


Eight Ways In-Vitro Meat Will Change Our Lives

A quote from the article: ...a cheaper, healthier, "greener" protein...

As if we don't have this already!?

So, it's actually easier to spend a ton of effort and resources figuring out how to mass produce healthy, economical, green meat than to just convince people to consume other sources of protein?? This follows the trend of technological solutions to problems that should be solved with policy and changes in behavior. This is so stupid. Stupid. And it keeps happening.

It's stupid.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Vegetable Juice and Stock

We bought a juicer off craigslist today. $180 brand new, and we got it for $40. Erinne had carrot and apple. I had carrot, apple, beet, celery, and whatever else I could find. It's a centrifugal juicer, which isn't as efficient as the other kinds, so we had a lot of pulp leftover. I decided to learn how to make vegetable stock, and here's what I learned...

When you cut up a vegetable, there are always inedible parts that you throw away. Don't. Save them in the freezer to use for vegetable stock later. Celery leaves, the ends of carrots, onion peels, basically everything is useful (don't use potato peels, they make it starchy)! The ratios are not important. Cook everything for, I don't know, about an hour, then strain. I might not ever throw away vegetable scraps again!

EDIT: Ok, technically I will still be throwing away the scraps, but only after I've used them.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Today we had Chipotle... twice

On Halloween, Chipotle gives you a free burrito if you dress up as something off the Chipotle menu (most people wrap themselves in aluminum foil), but they only do it from 6 pm until close. We wanted to go to the Farmer's Market this morning, which would be pretty exhausting, so we weren't sure if we'd be up for a second trip later that evening; each trip is over a mile of walking, and that can be pretty tiring when you're caring a baby and produce. But we really really wanted some Chipotle burritos.

So, I had this brilliant idea... we buy a couple burritos on our way home from the Farmer's Market, and then if we feel up to it we can go get the free burritos later. See, this way we at least get to eat some Chipotle, and maybe we also get free burritos. Win-win.

I'm very full right now.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Elimination Communication

We decided before Ada was born that we wanted to try Elimination Communication. We went into it with no expectation of catching all or even some of Ada's pees and poops. It's fun to try, and it's far less stressful to try this out now than potty training will be a year or two from now. There's no notion of success or failure, and there's no pressure on Ada to perform.

We've recently seen some unexpected results. In the past couple of days, Ada has pooped/peed in the potty 3 times. She has also been staying dry while sleeping.

We haven't noticed any visual cues for when she needs to go, we just take her and hold her over the potty after the following situations
  • When we change her diaper. Babies sometimes don't like go in a diaper that's already messy, so they hold it until they encounter the fresh air.
  • When she wakes up. The need to poop can wake a baby up, so we take her to the potty when she wakes up.
I say "we", but really Erinne has done everything and I just write about it.

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Friday, October 09, 2009


While browsing a few Wikipedia articles, I discovered that Valve has hired IceFrog, who has been developing and maintaining Defense of the Ancients (DotA) since 2005, and that we may see Valve produce a DotA title...
Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Sunday, September 27, 2009

99% sure??

When someone says they are 99% sure of something, they probably don't mean that. If they were 99% sure, then they would be willing to bet on it with 99-to-1 odds. That is, they'd be willing to bet $99 for the chance to win $1.

Fradulent Data

This article references the Gambler's fallacy and Benford's Law, which I thought were fascinating when I first learned of them a few years ago. The article continues with a really interesting and somewhat shocking discovery, that a polling company has been producing fraudulent data for several years.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Spanking makes kids dumber

From an NPR article here.

This guy has conducted two studies (published here and here) that suggest that not spanking leads to higher IQs. There have been other studies that demonstrate the connection between spanking and lower success rates as adults.

It's often difficult to make conclusions from statistical data like this; it could simply be the case that kids are poorer and dumber because their parents are poorer and dumber, and that poor and dumb people just happen to spank their kids more often. However, he claims he was able to adjust for socio-economic factors, indicating that the relationship between spanking and the child's IQs is causal.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Video Game Nostalgia

I had Thunder Force III on Sega Genesis when I was a kid. I tried over and over to beat it, then I watched a friend beat it, and after that it was easy. The greatest part about this game is the ending. Hilarious.

In a flash the planet of ORN
disappeared completely.

ORN could no longer control
the huge amount of energy
that had accumulated
after he lost his owner.

The Emperor ORN
had been disturbing
the Union of the Milky Way
for a long time.
What was his true character?
It was a huge bio-computer which
had been made in the beginning
of the space age.

Besides,his computer brain was
developing extraordinary,and he began
to have his own will.

He denied the existence of human
beings and finally he exercised
a program to kill
the whole human race.
It was evidently human beings
who had given him this idea.
Therefore human beings should
think of the meaning deeply.

Anyway the war was over.

And a peaceful time came soon.
It might be for a short time.
Human beings,think about
what you have done.

After the important mission was
completed,STYX turned over
his airframe to the base
fellows waiting for them.
Jean and Sherry,you might aware of
the real meaning of
"true peace"

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Some more none-of-your-business

When Erinne was still pregnant, we saw a woman on the train hit her toddler. It was about 11pm, the woman was on the phone with an ex-boyfriend trying to get back together with him, and her child was in a stroller crying for attention, so she smacked her for being annoying.

Why didn't we say anything? Why didn't we do anything? First, It was not on obvious enough case of abuse to call the police. More importantly, if a mother is in the habit of hitting her child, then she's not going to stop just because some stranger on the train suggested it to her. Furthermore, anything we say to her is more likely to cause more harm to the child. I'd bet (and give you 2-to-1 odds) that if we had said something, she would have only become more angry at the child and been even harsher to her when they got home.

Which brings me to my story from today...

We went to the farmer's market. Erinne fed Ada at home before we left, and then again at the market before we left for home. On the streetcar, Ada got a little fussy. We interacted and played with her to keep her in a good mood. Apparently she just needed a change of scenery, because once we got off the streetcar she stopped crying.

However, while we were on the streetcar, a woman with a very concerned look on her face asked us if our child was hungry. I told her that we just fed her. She then said that our baby is cute, but by that time I had turned away and stopped responding to her.

Then, another woman made faces with Ada, and I turned Ada to her and let them interact. Then, she slipped in "Oh, do you want mommy to feed you, huh?".

I've already explained in a previous post that comments like this are inappropriate. But they are also pointless! If we were indeed neglecting the needs of our child, a comment from a stranger isn't going to correct our behavior. It is analogous to the woman who hit her child.

So, here's the conclusion that I am getting at. It does not matter if the parent is in fact doing something wrong (assuming it is even possible to make that claim objectively), because their behavior cannot be fixed with advice from a stranger on the train. Best case scenario is that you have no effect. Worst case is you piss off the parent and they take it out on their child.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Unsolicited parenting advice

I'm shocked by the things people say to us. It's like having a baby suddenly makes it OK for people to say all kinds of things to us that would otherwise be inappropriate. You wouldn't go up to a stranger and tell them that you think their clothes are ugly. You would not point at a couple across the street because they look adorable. And, you wouldn't call your mother/father/sibling just to tell them that they need to do the dishes more often. But, you would tell someone to their face that they're not doing the right thing with their baby?

First, let's distinguish between what is appropriate advice and what is inappropriate advice. It is certainly OK for someone to give advice when it is requested, or when it helps solve a problem we are having. It is not OK to give advice that contradicts our current actions or parenting style. So, for example, when Erinne posts a status update on Facebook and asks for suggestions on getting our baby to sleep, the responses that we get are appropriate. When someone points to us and says, "your baby cannot breathe in that wrap," or when a friend says that we should not feed our baby whenever she wants to eat, that is completely inappropriate.

The most offensive thing about these comments is that they presuppose that we are incapable of making good decisions for our child. We researched extensively and came to a conscious decision about how we want to raise our child, and it is not OK to tell us that that is wrong.

OK, I'm done talking about why some things are inappropriate. Next, I want to give some concrete examples of things people have said to us and why these things are incorrect, not just offensive.

"Your baby can't breathe in that wrap! Your baby is too hot in that wrap! Your baby is cold and needs a blanket!" We have had these things shouted at us. We have had a nurse roll her eyes at us because she did not believe us when we said our baby is fine.

I usually try to respond to these comments by providing as much information about the subject as I can, to show that I have educated myself on this and that I know what I am doing. Do people really think I don't know if my child is suffocating? Perhaps if I looked older and dressed better, I would appear more responsible and people would not do this to us?

Then, there's the advice we get from people regarding how to raise our child. If you find yourself giving us parenting advice that you know is in contrast to our chosen method, you might want to stop and ask yourself if your belief actually comes from a rational study of the facts, or if that's just what you believe. Also, don't assume you know more about this than we do; having raised a child yourself does not make you more qualified.

Rather than finish this article with examples of parenting advice that people give us inappropriately, I will follow it up with an article that talks about our particular parenting strategy and the advice that people sometimes give us that contradicts our strategy.

Monday, September 07, 2009

The School Speech

Conservatives (ok, just the ignorant ones) are going ape-shit over Obama's speech that he will give to schools across the nation tomorrow.

Check out the woman in this video.

Holding back tears, the mother says, "Thinking about my kids... in school, having to listen to that just really upsets me." When asked what she is concerned the President might talk about, she pauses for a few seconds and says, "Socialism. Indoctrinating my kids with what he believes."

You can't see it in the video, but during that pause before she answers, in her head the woman is going "derrr, doot doot doot I have no idea", and then like a parrot she just repeats what others have been spouting.

Fortunately, every concerned citizen with Internet access can view the exact and entire content of the speech at whitehouse.gov. Read it. Read it and show me the part where he attempts to indoctrinate kids into his socialist agenda.

Sunday, September 06, 2009

Things just disappear...

I had a sushi mat. Yesterday I realized that I had not seen it in over a year. Where did it go?

Monday, August 31, 2009

Delicious Chicken Fingers

Original source: this webpage

This is ridiculously easy to make. Here's all you need to know:
  1. Combine beaten egg, honey, and mustard.
  2. Crush corn flakes; add pepper.
  3. Cut up chicken; dip in mixture; coat in corn flakes.
  4. Bake 450 F for 12 minutes.
There's no point in listing any measurements. Do what feels right.

This would be good over rice or quinoa that is flavored with chicken or vegetable bullion (or something better).

Note the absence of butter and oil. Some brands of corn flakes (not Kellogg's) come without high fructose corn syrup. Just make sure you get some vegetables on the side.

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Friday, August 28, 2009

iTerm and Terminal

One of the first things I did after getting OS X (It was an iBook G4) was to switch to iTerm, an alternative to the Terminal.app that ships with OS X. One of the main reasons for doing this was support for tabs.

I kept using iTerm, from that iBook G4 to a white Macbook, to a unibody Macbook Pro.

But iTerm has disappointed me too many times over the last few months. It tends to crash every now and then. More recently, I've noticed that when I hold down a key, the key repeats without refreshing the screen. That is, I don't see the result until after I let go of the key. This is unacceptable.

Apparently Terminal.app has come a long way, including adding support for tabs (though I cannot select a specific tab with a keyboard shortcut like I can on iTerm). It also seem much smoother, both in the rendering of fonts and in the response time to my input. So, I am giving it another try.

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Wireless Security

WEP has been deprecated and insecure for a long time. Cracking WEP is as easy as this.

But now researchers have demonstrated a way to crack WPA in just one minute (here).

It only works on TKIP, so switch your wireless access point (typically your router) to use AES.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Tabs or Spaces!

I use Emacs. My coworker/boss uses Vi. Actually, he uses a Vi mode inside XEmacs.

I use spaces. He uses tabs. Our other coworker is the guy in red as shown here.

EDIT: Fortunately, we all use OS X.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Verilog Woes

As a language, Verilog is decent. It's a little too low level for my tastes, which is why I used to use Cryptol and now use my employer's fork of Cryptol called Quattro. Cryptol/Quattro allow us to write much more abstract, generic, and parametrized code, and to do so usually with no loss in performance.

Then there's the inconsistencies between simulation and synthesis tools, especially if your tools come from different companies. A language construct might be supported by your simulation tool but not your synthesis tool, or vice versa.

And then there's the case where your tool just does something batty. For example, lets say that I have an integer parameter P in module A, and I a string parameter P in module B, and I want to instantiate B inside A and have A's parameter determine B's parameter. So, I have something like this:
defparam B_inst.P = (P == 0) ? "TRUE" : "FALSE";
Fine and dandy right?

For whatever reason, my Verilog simulator decided that the two branches of the expression, the two strings, had to be the same length. So, it padded "TRUE" with a space at the beginning to become " TRUE". I did a lot of experimenting to verify that this is in fact what is happening. For example, if I change "FALSE" to a string of 4 characters when P is 0, it works fine.

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

When to automate, abstract, generalize?

When you have a repetitive task to perform, at what point is it worth it to write a script to automate the task? When is it appropriate to abstract away the details? When should you write one highly parametrized function, and when should you write several specialized functions?

More importantly, how should you go about answering these questions beforehand so that you don't go down the wrong (i.e. inefficient) path?

At a conference a couple years ago I attended a talk that addressed some of these questions, but I do not really remember much about it...

I found myself dealing with all of these questions today. I had written some highly parametrized Verilog modules, but it was very tedious to support each variation. Furthermore, I ran into a bug in the simulator (described at the end of my next post), and I decided to circumvent the bug by splitting each module into a few specialized modules. I was then faced with the tedious task of factoring each module into its specialized variants, so I decided to write some elisp to do it for me.

So, in the end I found that I had made the wrong decision to implement parametrized modules, though I could not have predicted the ridiculous bug that I ran into and so was justified in the decision. I feel like writing the elisp to automate the rewrites of each module saved a lot of time, but I cannot really be sure.
Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Sunday, August 23, 2009


I was sick of that fixed low width template. This one isn't so great, but at least it has a variable width.

Friday, August 21, 2009


It has always been difficult for me to fall asleep at night or nap during the day, even when I am extremely tired from missing sleep the previous night. So it is frustrating for me that everyone around me falls asleep effortlessly (my dog, my cat, my wife).

Here I am, one month into fatherhood and with all the exhaustion that comes with it, especially because of the last two nights that have been nearly sleepless for me. Ada is finally asleep, the room is at a very comfortable temperature for this time of year, and I am so tired that the shadows on the wall are moving. No, really, everything looks like it is expanding in place. It is one of the most realistic tricks my eyes have ever played on me, and the only reason I know it's not real is because the shadows have not consumed the entire room.


Thursday, August 20, 2009

News Sources

It is hard to find good sources of written news (And televised news? Ha!). I'm talking about online sources, of course; does anyone still read printed materials??

Here are some brief points to help explain what "good" means (and does not mean) in this case:
  • Quality of writing - It is a formal publication. If it is littered with grammatical errors, for example, I will lose confidence in the source.
  • Bias - An absence of bias is not necessary. I like opinions. I do not criticize the presence of bias alone. See next point.
  • Integrity - This word is overloaded, so it means a lot of things. Think ethics and objectivity.
So, for example, I do not despise Fox News for being biased, I despise them because they are devoid of integrity.

Now, why is it difficult to discover sources that meet the aforementioned requirements? Well, I'm glad you asked, because I was just getting to that.

The mainstream news sources all produce identical stories. A while back, I started using Google Reader to aggregate my news sources. I selected several different news sources, but instead of being provided with any variety, I was subjected to duplicate articles. It was worthless. The Daily Show often illustrates this point with a sequence of clips that show a bunch of newscasters all saying the exact same thing. It is hilarious and frustrating at the same time.

The Internet is huge. And you expect me to spend all day browsing it to find what I want? No thanks. I'm sure there are a ridiculous number of small websites that publish some really great articles, and I'm sure I will never discover most of them.

Fortunately, there are a couple sources that we feel we can trust. I wouldn't have expected it, but Slate and Rolling Stone produce very well written, high quality articles.

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Emacs 23

Emacs version 23.1 is now stable. I have deployed it on several Linux machines and on my Macbook Pro. Emacs 23 natively supports OS X [1] (support for the NeXTstep APIs was integrated into CVS in July 2008 [2]), so building on OS X gives me an Emacs.app that runs as a Cocoa app.

Emacs 23 adds support for daemon mode (via "emacs --daemon"), which is like Emacs Server in that you can connect to it and open files using emacsclient, except that you do not have to have any frame open. I use the following shell aliases to send files to the daemon, run Emacs commands, and open new frames:
# start a windowed frame
alias ec="emacsclient -n -c -a emacs"

# start a terminal frame
alias em="emacsclient -t -a emacs -nw"

# do not start a new frame
alias ea="emacsclient -n -a emacs"
I also set EDITOR so that most programs use the daemon to open files:
export EDITOR="emacsclient -t"
I use daemon mode like GNU Screen, though I also leave Emacs terminal frames open inside Screen windows.

Cup Feeding

Cup feeding is an alternative way to feed a baby. More information and instructions are here.

Parents resort to bottle feeding (either formula or pumped milk) for a variety of reasons, some of which are the following:
  • Mother does not produce enough milk
  • Baby has trouble latching and sucking, such as when Baby is premature
  • Mother's nipples hurt too much
  • Mother cannot always be available to feed Baby
  • Convenience
In some of the cases above, parents may desire to return to breastfeeding once the problem has been fixed. However, it is difficult to return to breastfeeding after a baby adapts to bottle feeding. Eating from the bottle is easier and Baby will learn a new way to latch and suck that will not work for breastfeeding. Fortunately, Mother has another option.

One can cup feed Baby by holding a cup of liquid up to and below their lower lip and letting Baby lap it up with their tongue. It is particularly useful if breastfeeding is not currently an option but Mother wants to try breastfeeding later after the problem has been fixed. For example, one can cup feed a premature newborn until their latching and sucking abilities have developed.

We use the cup feeding technique to give Ada water that has been soaked in barley and fennel, a remedy for indigestion.

Starcraft 2 (Tower Defense)


Fun times.
Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Y2k (Fear and the Media)

I do not watch news programs that contribute to a culture of fear (so basically I only watch the Daily Show). It is a despicable practice.

Thanks to the media, ten years ago computer illiterate people everywhere were panicking about the Y2K bug. I found the following quote on Computer Stupidities: Y2K from a TV news program.
You open your eyes, slowly waking up. It's Saturday, January 1st, 2000. What time is it? You look at your bedside clock, but it's blank. Is the power off? You check your digital watch. It's blank, too. The coffee maker, which runs on computer microchips just like your wristwatch, doesn't work. The same for the microwave oven and the stove. Your three-year-old computer-controlled car won't start.
You cannot excuse that as ignorance.

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Farmer's Market

Today Erinne and I went to the farmer's market with Ada. She is 22 days old today, and this was our biggest outing with her so far. We bought peaches, basil, garlic, prunes, tomatoes, and a half flat of berries.

I was absolutely stunned to find heirloom tomatoes for $1/lb. That is filthy cheap. We bought 2.5 pounds; we should have bought more.

Ada slept in the wrap for the first half of the trip. We were nervous about nursing Ada in public, but Erinne was able to find some steps to sit on and nurse discreetly.

On the way home, I dropped the box of berries and they spilled all over the sidewalk and dirt! We picked up most of them, abandoning a few of the blueberries.
Reblog this post [with Zemanta]


I had no idea pesto was so easy to make until I tried last week. It was so delicious that we decided to make it again today. We bought the basil and garlic from the farmer's market this morning. I bought 3 types of garlic from a stand that had about 10 varieties. For the pesto, I used some garlic that was advertised as being good raw and in salads. This garlic was strong; it burned under my fingernails when I scratched off some of the skin.

There's no "right" ratio of ingredients for pesto; you do what tastes good. Erinne and I like extra garlic. I look forward to experimenting with the ratio of garlic and basil.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Friday, July 24, 2009


The postpartum experience is analogous to this.

Baby Ada

Baby Ada was born 7/23, 10:43 PDT. She weighed 6 lbs 14 oz and was 20.5 inches long. I think her head circumference was 13.5 inches.

Erinne started having strong, frequent contractions at 11pm Monday night. From 11pm to 7am, her contractions were consistently 5 minutes apart, and we did not sleep Monday night. We were very disappointed when the contractions died down Tuesday morning. Erinne napped Tuesday. I slept a lot Tuesday night, though Erinne barely slept due to the contractions. On Wednesday night the contractions got even stronger, and Erinne was in significant pain. At 2am (Thursday morning) one of our midwives came to our apartment to check Erinne's progress. At 7am the same midwife picked us up and took us to the birthing center.

The labor was awful; Erinne had a hard time dealing with the pain. We spent a lot of the time in the tub. While in the tub, Ada's head started to show. It was difficult to get her past Erinne's pelvic bone. Erinne got out of the pool and started using a birthing stool. Ada shot out like a rocket. All three midwives and I screamed when it happened; we were not expecting it. There was something about the position she was in (not having her chin tucked down?) that caused her to come out all at once. At the beginning of the final push, all we could see was the hair on Ada's head, and then she came out all at once.

She has been very mellow in the first few hours of her life. She is quite active and alert, and can crawl on our tummies looking for food. She was able to latch onto Erinne within the first 10 minutes after being born, though she did not suck. The second time we tried to feed her, she latched on easily again and started sucking. We believe she was able to get some colostrum this time.

Monday, July 20, 2009


Is it just me, or has anyone else noticed the tendency for cranky old women to bother you in the grocery store, and usually in some sort of judgmental way?

Today my very pregnant wife (she is due tomorrow) was at a local grocery store with the baby that she nannies. A cranky old woman spotted her, the big belly and the baby in the stroller, and she said "Don't you know what causes that?".

Erinne is very polite to people in public. If I were there, I'd have told that woman that oxygen is wasted on her, and that she should hurry up and die so a more deserving being can have some.

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Couple loses kid for being uncooperative

Here is someone's blog entry that summarizes the case:

The original article is here.

This makes us really appreciate our birthing team!

Monday, July 13, 2009

iPod Touch Bluetooth

Dear Apple,

I bought the OS 3.0 update for my iPod Touch because you advertised stereo bluetooth support. However, my first generation iPod Touch has no bluetooth support at all. I am disappointed. I hate you. You make me cry.

- Philip

Friday, July 03, 2009

Breastfeeding in third world countries, and why we boycott Nestlé

The information below comes from this Wikipedia article, this web site, and research that Erinne did (some articles reeked of stupidity).

In less economically developed countries (LEDCs), using infant formula over breast milk contributes to health problems and deaths in infants for three major reasons:
  • Loss of natural benefits from breast milk.
  • Formula mixed with contaminated water.
  • Formula over-diluted in order to save money.
Nestlé makes infant formula, and campaigned heavily to promote it in LEDCs as superior to breast milk. Mothers were duped. In just one generation, many towns were converted from being fed almost exclusively by breast milk to being fed almost exclusively by formula (this is something Erinne learned when researching this problem, but I do not have a citation).

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Microwave Popcorn

Those bags of microwave popcorn are gross, especially the ones with artificial butter flavor. They're also not very cost effective.

But you don't need to buy those bags of microwaveable popcorn. Just put ordinary kernels in a brown paper bag, and microwave. It works very well! I like to season with butter, sea salt, and sometimes nutritional yeast.

EDIT: The seasonings go in after microwaving, and the bag is totally reusable.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

My terrible terrible memory

I seem to have a problem with long-term memory, short-term memory, and attention span. Here, let me provide a few examples:
  • I started boiling eggs, forgot about them, and then went to class. They exploded all over the kitchen before my roommate found them and turned them off.
  • I frequently forget that I am making tea within seconds of starting, even if the tea is sitting right in front of me. It sometimes takes 30-60 minutes before I realize it.
  • I'll turn on the stove, put a pan down, and walk away.
  • There are many discrepancies between my brother's memories and my memories of events when we were younger.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Unconditional Parenting


Most parenting guides begin with the question "How can we get kids to do what they're told?" -- and then proceed to offer various techniques for controlling them. In this truly groundbreaking book, nationally respected educator Alfie Kohn begins instead by asking "What do kids need - and how can we meet those needs?" What follows from that question are ideas for working with children rather than doing things to them.

Sunday, June 07, 2009


I have mixed feelings about receiving and giving gifts. First of all, I am really bad at picking out gifts for other people, and it is often stressful for me. Secondly, a gift that you never wanted can be quite a burden.

On the other hand, there are so many things that I have received that I did not realize I wanted until they were given to me, or things that I wanted but not enough to pay for them myself.

My parents-in-law gave us an electric kettle, an iron tea pot, and a calphalon wok. They are now some of my favorite items in the kitchen.

Erinne's friend gave us a baby toy that plays music. It has been surprisingly effective at putting Dorie to sleep (the baby that Erinne watches).

My manager at Galois insisted on getting us a KitchenAid mixer as a wedding present. We never would have shelled out the cash to by this for ourselves, because we never realized how valuable it is.

There are of course many other things, but these are the ones that stand out.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Effective Interrogation

People make all kinds of arguments regarding interrogation and torture. Americans can all agree that a major goal is to protect the United States, but many people also consider other issues, such as human rights and the effect that our actions have on our relationships with other countries. However, we can eliminate every single other issue and only consider the goal of protecting America's interests, and the answer is still that we should not torture suspects.

Torture is not effective. Interrogation experts insist that the way to get information out of a suspect is to pretend to be their friend. Here is a wonderful example of this truth:


So why is it so hard to put our personal feelings aside and do what's right for America?

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Marinara Sauce

Use sea salt to grind oregano and basil in your hands. Add to sauce. Repeat every 10-15 minutes.

Tuesday, May 05, 2009


My mom is not a fan of your typical sandwich. She feels that the ratios of price to nutrition and price to fullness are too high. But Erinne and I do not make typical sandwiches.

In the past I have made a number of large sandwiches with many ingredients. If I recall correctly, during grad school I earned a small reputation for this. But it was always so difficult to pile everything on without the sandwich falling apart.

I recently realized that there is one ingredient in the sandwich that does not really need to be there. An ingredient that wastes space and does not provide as much flavor as everything else.

Last week we went on a picnic with some friends. Everyone brought their own sandwiches. The vegetarians brought some sandwiches that looked very delicious. Last night I went to the grocery store to pick up some deli meat to make lunch to take to work. Nothing was on sale, and nothing looked particularly delicious. And then I realized that the meat is totally unnecessary!

Here are things we like on our sandwiches:
  • Cream cheese
  • Avocado (Philip only)
  • Sprouts (alfalfa, bean)
  • Nuts (pecans, walnuts)
  • Marinated and grilled mushrooms
  • Grilled red onion
  • Peppers
  • Eggplant (Erinne only)
  • Spinach
Your typical lettuce is worthless on a sandwich. It takes up too much space and does not provide flavor. Darker, leafier greens are better, such as spinach or radish leaves.

We buy bread that is high in protein, and along with the cream cheese and nuts, this gives us as much protein as we would get from a meat sandwich. Plus we get lots of other nutrition that you would not get in a plain sandwich.

Monday, May 04, 2009

Russian Pancakes

This is all you need to know make some deliciousness:
  • 1 egg, 1 cup flour, 1 cup milk.
  • Use a large, shallow, greased skilet.
  • Tilt the skillet to spread the batter around and keep it thin.
  • Top it with every wonderful thing you can find
Tonight we topped our pancakes with strawberries, bananas, pecans, and maple and agave syrup. It was basically the best thing ever.

We have a 2.5-hour birthing class on Monday nights. We take the bus back halfway and walk or take the train the rest of the way, so we don't get home until around 9:30. On the bus ride home, we spent a while thinking about what we would like for dinner (basically trying to remember all the recipes we knew but hadn't made in a long time), when I remembered these so-called "russian pancakes" from More-With-Less. Stopped on the way home to grab some toppings, and by 10:00 we were stuffed and happy. Ada must have liked it, too, because she is doing jumping jacks.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009


A BBC article Bed sharing 'risks babies lives warns against co-sleeping with your baby. Here's a quote from the article:

"We need to make all parents aware that the most comfortable place for them to sleep is the most dangerous place for their baby."

I think the true purpose of this article is to scare the reader.

The article does not back up this claim. The article does not provide evidence that sudden infant death occurs more often when co-sleeping than when not co-sleeping. The evidence simply shows that smoking, drinking, and premature birth are all risk factors for SIDS, regardless of whether co-sleeping is practiced. To conclude from this evidence that co-sleeping is a risk factor would be like concluding that driving is dangerous simply because drunk driving is dangerous. No, driving is dangerous because you are more likely to die while driving than while not.

The article cites a statistic that out of 50 cases of infant death, "31 were found to have been sharing a bed or sofa with a parent". So, 62% of deaths occurred while the parents were sharing a bed or sofa with their baby. This statistic is useless unless compared to the percentage of parents that regularly share a bed with their baby. If 80% of couples co-sleep with their baby, but only 62% of sudden infant deaths occurred while co-sleeping, then what would you conclude?

There is in fact evidence that co-sleeping decreases the risk of SIDS. Erinne found this article, which dives into the statistics in much greater detail and shows that co-sleeping is less than half as risky as sleeping in a crib.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Obama Proposes High-Speed Rail System For the US

I stumbled on this Slashdot article a few minutes ago.

We do not own a car and we take a lot of public transportation, so we very enthusiastically support this idea.

Sunday, April 19, 2009


I was on the way back from a business trip the other day, and wanted to get some dinner at the airport. Sometimes I get a craving for a hamburger, and since Erinne and I never eat beef at home, I took the opportunity to get some while I could.

I need to learn from my mistakes. Out of the handful of times that I have had hamburger over the last couple of years, a majority of those times have resulted in me having an upset stomach. Steak and other beef seem to be ok, but hamburger is usually a problem.

So, those two Whoppper Juniors exited from my body even more violently than when I scarfed them down earlier that day.

Thursday, April 16, 2009


At this stage, the baby's central nervous is developed enough that she starts hiccuping in the womb. When it happens, it is very rhythmic.

Saturday, April 04, 2009


There are a number of things that Erinne and I do that define our lifestyle, particularly in the way of consumption. According to Wikipedia, lifestyle also includes social relations, entertainment, and dress, but I have only noticed interesting patterns in our consumption habits, so that's what I will talk about below.

I suppose many people have an overall philosophy that dictates their consumption habits. On the other hand, I've noticed that our consumption habits seem to follow a pattern of healthiness, naturalness, sustainability, and thriftiness, and that our philosphy can be derived from that.

Here are just a few of the things that we do:
  • We do not own a car. This saves us money, makes sense in the dense neighborhoods that we prefer to live in, and keeps us healthy by forcing us to walk everywhere. We often take public transportation, and we sometimes rent a car by the hour.
  • We do not eat a lot of meat, (especially Erinne). We prefer to get our protein from healthier sources.
  • We try not to waste. I don't like to throw things away. It's more about being thrifty than it is about being environmentally friendly, although both are somewhat important to us.
  • We will use cloth diapers for our baby. This is a combination of thriftiness and environmentalism.
  • We use a lot of natural cleaning and personal care products. This can be very convenient because you can replace almost all such products with just a few: castile soap (e.g. Dr. Bronner's), baking soda, and vinegar. We use Dr. Bronner's for cleaning dishes, the kitchen, the bathroom, etc. We use baking soda for shampoo and apple cider vinegar for conditioner. Conventional shampoo is bad for your hair!!
  • We do not use toilet paper or tissues. I'll keep the details to myself.
  • We don't like to spend money. We like to go to the mall just to look at things without buying.
  • We're willing to pay more for local and organic food.

Stupid Google

A few days ago I created a virtual portfolio on Google Finance, and I gave myself $100,000 to play around with. Today I sold some shares, and then noticed something odd. Although the "market value" column is correct, the "cost basis" and "gain" columns are, well, see for yourself:

Friday, April 03, 2009


Today crept up on me, and I didn't even realize the significance of the day until it was half over.

It has been one year since my friend died, and I still regularly dream that he is still alive, usually that he played a trick on everyone or that it was a mistake and he was OK the whole time. I don't really understand why, but that is the content of every dream that he is in.

Baby update

The baby has been squirming and kicking a lot over the past month. Her movements have been getting noticeably stronger each week, and she is now starting to cause Erinne some discomfort when she wiggles around in there.

Although the ultrasound technician said that the baby is definitely a girl, she wrote "probably girl" on the documents that she sent to our midwives. We have a lot of pink clothing that we are prepared to use, even if the baby turns out to be a boy!

Ultrasound pictures from several months ago are here.


I am going to make an effort to post here more often. I especially want to share the following:

- All things baby related
- Geeky things, especially related to emacs
- Maybe some various political things

We'll see if I can stick to it.