A former coworker, Brian Marick, complained about a lack of creative commons licensed photos of refrigerators. (He wanted an image to illustrate the concept of “code smell.”)
I happened to have a free moment, so I grabbed this quick snap of our refrigerator, and posted it it to flickr under an attribution license.
Now, first of all, it turns out that Brian was wrong. Apparently there’s a whole genre of refrigerator interior photos (see the pool “fridge fetish“) and mine is not the only one with a creative commons license.
But what’s struck me is that people seem drawn to the image. It’s already picked up 2 favorites.
It just goes to show that one is a poor judge of one’s own work. I have other photos that I spent a lot more time on—photos where I was trying to make a point or capture the beauty in a scene or document a moment in time—and how well I think I succeeded doesn’t really predict whether other people seem to find the image interesting or not.
It’s a lesson that I need to apply more to my writing. Just because I’m not sure a story is my best work is no reason to stick it in a drawer. That’s not to excuse slipshod work, but once I’ve done the best I can I need to be a little more willing to get the story out to editors. Maybe they’ll be drawn to it.
Several miles of the Illinois Marathon course run quite close to our apartment, so I thought I’d wander over and watch some of the elite runners go by.
The people who win a marathon run at about a 5-minute-mile pace. So, with the nearest point along the course being roughly mile 18, I figured they’d come past about an hour and a half after the start. My figuring was just about right, but I was a little slow getting out of the house, so the first two runners went by while we were still a block away.
We got to see the rest of the top men go by. They were pretty spread out—it doesn’t look like this is going to be a tactical race at all.
It was a grey, cool day. A bit windy for anyone hoping to get a great time, but otherwise perfect for running a marathon. It was, however, just a bit chilly for standing still. We watched runners go by in ones and twos until we saw the first of the women go by, then headed back home.
[Update: Checking the results, I see that the woman in the picture is Lucie Mays-Sulewski who went on to finish first among the women (and 24th overall) with a time of 2:52:54.]
This picture shows just the power stations—all the space between these units will, over the next few months, be filled with rack after rack of water-cooled POWER7 modules. (A big part of the building houses cooling towers to dissipate that heat).
There are a couple of supercomputers already installed at the other end of the room, including the EcoG, designed and built by students to enter into a contest for energy-efficient supercomputers. (It took 3rd place overall , and was declared the “greenest self-built cluster.”)
It was build on ordinary commercial-grade racks, which turned out not to be quite strong enough to support all the hardware they were installing—you can see where they braced it with two-by-fours.
A week earlier, we’d attended a tour of the NCSA’s Data Visualization Lab, where we’d been treated to a bunch of 3D videos (shown on a very large, very high-res screen) produced on various supercomputers. It was pretty cool, but I didn’t get any photos worth sharing.
Because I’m a big geek about security and related topics, I was particularly interested in the facility’s secure entry. Employees need to swipe a proximity card and submit to an iris scan. Only after the cylinder closes behind them does it open in front—and it won’t do that if a weight sensor suggests that there’s more than one person in the cylinder.
Those of us on the tour just walked in through a door next to the secure entryway.
I was trying to come up with a word to describe the degree of progress they’d made toward finishing the landscaping here. The dirt is there, so it isn’t landless-scaping, and the contours are in place so it isn’t land-scapelessing. With only one remaining word fragment to work with, all I could come up with is landscape-ingless.
(I blame English for using “landscaping” to refer to both the changes made to the land itself and to features like sculptures and plantings.)
Every since they first tried to sell the community on turning Scott Park into a detention pond by claiming that “anyplace else it would be considered a water amenity,” Jackie and I have been using the term “water amenity” for any feature constructed to deal with the runoff from development.
There’s nothing like calling your ditches, impoundments, detentions, and retention ponds “water amenities” to class up the joint.
A week of warm weather melted almost all the snow. But now it’s back below freezing. The puddles are just starting to freeze, beginning with little rings of frost on and around individual blades of grass.
We had two January thaws this year, one in December and one in February.
The December one was pleasant, and not very dangerous. We could enjoy a few days of mild weather without any risk of thinking that we didn’t have a full three months of winter ahead of us.
When you get your January thaw in February, though, you have to be careful. It’s easy to hope that you have seen the last of the winter weather. But that hope is a dangerous one—the sort that’s all too prone to be crushed under ice and snow and brutal cold.
Preferring to keep my hopes uncrushed, I’m trying to remember that it’s still a month until spring.