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Oct. 7th, 2009

Not-so-daily poem: Michelangelo, Madrigal CIX 13

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Nov. 23rd, 2008

Daily poem: Hugh MacDiarmid, In the children's hospital

In the children's hospital

'Does it matter? Losing your legs?' Siegfried Sassoon

Now let the legless boy show the great lady
How well he can manage his crutches.
It doesn't matter though the Sister objects,
'He's not used to them yet', when such is
The will of the Princess. Come, Tommy,
Try a few desperate steps through the ward.
Then the hand of Royalty will pat your head
And life suddenly cease to be hard.
For a couple of legs are surely no miss
When the loss leads to such an honour as this!
One knows, when one sees how jealous the rest
Of the children are, it's been all for the best! —
But would the sound of your sticks on the floor
Thundered in her skull for evermore!

by Hugh MacDiarmid


Aug. 25th, 2008

SSH tunnel humor

We name servers after types of animals. I see the following a lot, but for some reason this evening, I really registered it and it made me laugh:
ysth@cat:~$ logout
Connection to elephant closed.

Jul. 22nd, 2008

Registering at OSCON

I wanted to register tonight, if I could, to save time tomorrow; arrived about 7:45pm (just after the Tuesday Evening Extravaganza started). Big signs saying registration outside exhibit hall D.

Went there; big sign saying "Attendee & Press Self Check-In START HERE". Next to the sign, a row of ~15 laptops closed.

I open the nearest; it says enter your confirmation code; I do so; it says my badge is being printed - proceed to materials pickup #1.

I go to the materials pickup #1 sign across the room. This guy gives me a puzzled look and says "can I help you"? Turns out the laptops being closed was supposed to indicate registration wasn't open. (He was busy fiddling with the printer cables, but very friendly.)

I suggested they take the "start here" sign down. But they didn't. (He did print my badge and give me swag anyway).

(A friend comments: "That's good at least. I imagine if they have enough people like you they will fix their signage")

If they'd had regular monitors, turned off, I never would have dreamed of turning one on. But for a laptop to be closed seems to me a natural state, not necessarily indicative of being out of use.

Jul. 6th, 2008

Leap second

I've always been enchanted by the interaction between time and people. I get all excited when, as the result of long term trends:

in an extremely chaotic system, we all get to make seemingly arbitrary changes to our clocks. Such a change is coming at the end of this year.

Leap seconds occur on average every 2-3 years, due to the long-term slowing of the earth's rotation and the canonical second being based on astronomical observations that calculated an extremely accurate value - for the late 19th century "second". Oops. The presence or absence of a leap second is announced toward the beginning of January or July for the end of the following June or December, though provisions are made to allow "emergency" leap seconds being introduced at the end of March or September. They are decided by the International Earth Rotation Service (recently renamed the International Earth Rotation and Reference Systems Service, but still known as the IERS.)

Jun. 6th, 2008

no subject

Normally haiku
Has one more line than this does

Mar. 12th, 2008

Daily poem: Petrarch, Sonnet 104

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Mar. 11th, 2008

Daily poem: Rabi'a al Basri, Reality


In love, nothing exists between heart and heart.
Speech is born out of longing,
True description from the real taste.
The one who tastes, knows;
the one who explains, lies.
How can you describe the true form of Something
In whose presence you are blotted out?
And in whose being you still exist?
And who lives as a sign for your journey?

by Rabi'a al Basri, from various sources, translator unknown


Mar. 10th, 2008

Daily poem: Spanische Tänzerin/Spanish Dancer, by Rainer Maria Rilke

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Mar. 4th, 2008

Daily poem: Nicholas Boileau, The Grateful Debtor

The Grateful Debtor

In want (and what's a greater curse?)
He was indebted to my purse.
I made a man of him anew,
And yet have not received a sou.
And though his all to me he owes,
His meat, his drink, his very clothes;
He can with ease my presence bear,
Can at me, without blushing, stare:
Was ever gratitude so rare?

by Nicholas Boileau, translated by Richard McLaughlin and Howard E. Slack
taken from Music of the Mind: 1000 Years of European Poetry, edited by Richard McLaughlin and Howard E. Slack


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