Archive for April, 2006

Eclectic Mix

Posted in Uncategorized on April 28, 2006 by stephenhuey

I just burned about a thousand photos from my March/April trip, so I’m
in a photo-posting mood (but these are random other ones I found on my
hard drive).  Plus, I need to get past my geeky Slashdot
post. 

Everything sure is bigger in Texas.

Yes, my nails are a wee bit dirty. 

Didn’t know my S400 could take closeups like this till my lil’ bro showed me how. 

Taken from Hilton hotel room window in Abuja, Nigeria.  Schoolmates of mine met Clinton beside that pool. 

Ages ago.  We love our cousin.  Oh, and she’s moving to Houston!!!

After getting back from Esperanza (a Rice formal). 

Guess we had fun. 

Earlier during our guys vs girls scavenger hunt at the Galleria. 

Phil and me.  Galleria. 

See With Your Tongue, and a Tribute to Slashdot

Posted in Uncategorized on April 25, 2006 by stephenhuey

How’d you like to have eyes in the back of your head?  Soon, U.S.
soldiers may be able to “see” through their tongues by attaching
microelectrodes to the underrated organ.  Electrical impulses
could then be sent to the brain “to give elite soldiers superhuman senses similar to owls, snakes and fish.”  They say it makes your tongue feel like you’re eating Pop Rocks!  You can see pictures of the plastic devices that are the culmination of  research begun about half a century ago. 

They say it’s like you feel the shape of an image.  I’m sure that
might sound to you like it wouldn’t be much, but apparently blind
people have used these devices to see doors and people and even catch
things, so apparently they’re pretty effective.  Users have said
it’s unlike anything they’ve ever experienced, so it would be hard to
put into words.  In the past, other parts of human skin were used,
but none were as effective as the tongue–it provides a much more
direct connection to your brain (or faster, I suppose).  So a
camera might be aimed behind you, and it would send signals through
your tongue so you could essentially process information about the
objects to your rear.  Or you might be hooked up to an infrared
camera for night vision and be able to see in the dark without bulky
nightvision goggles.  Other information could be sent to your
brain as well, so Navy SEAL divers might not have to lug around an
underwater compass or sonar device anymore. 

Someone posted the article on Slashdot,
an immensely popular website for geeks.  It’s so popular that when
all these Slashdot subscribers visit the websites that are being linked
to, the smaller websites tend to temporarily crash under the weight of
all the traffic.  When a site gets overloaded like that, they say
the website has been slashdotted
Dozens of technical and scientific news topics are posted on Slashdot
every day, and each topic usually gets either hundreds or even
thousands of comments from Slashdot subscribers.  I won’t bore you
with the details, but from a sociological perspective, it’s fascinating
how the system works because some comments are voted more worthy than
others through an elaborate system of temporarily making some
subscribers moderators for a few days, and these moderators are kept in
check by meta-moderators.  It would cool to see more
communities like this for other topics besides just technical and
scientific articles, because you can get so much more
from this system than from merely reading just a CNN or BBC news
article about something like euthanasia or smoking pot or the mating habits of koala bears. 

The reason I think it would be interesting is because, believe it or
not, you can often learn quite a bit from the more insightful
comments.  Granted, a lot of the comments on that particular
article were
“modded” as Funny because no self-respecting geek is going to resist
joking about other uses for the tongue, and besides that, plenty of
them are excited about using this technology for better video
games (e.g. virtual reality a la the Matrix).  But on other
topics, you’d be surprised how much some of
these geeks know about any sort of topic under the sun.  For
example, when some U.S. laws came into question, plenty of people
foolishly failed to hide their ignorance, but plenty of others gave
excellent explanations of the nitty gritty confusing aspects, and many
would compare the letter of the law here to what it is in other
countries. 

Ok, I know this might sound boring…Slashdot must be experienced to be
understood.  But I realize that could make you a bit more geeky,
so go easy…

Posted in Uncategorized on April 24, 2006 by stephenhuey

A novice said to a master, “I want to be a great man. What is the first thing I should do?”

The master answered, “Forget about being a great man.”

Party?

Posted in Uncategorized on April 19, 2006 by stephenhuey

This will be my first pictureless post in a while.  Too bad I
didn’t take a picture of the accident that happened outside my house on
Saturday morning.  From the balcony, I could see this 
shirtless white guy who was completely tatted all over shouting at this
crying middle-aged black lady, so my roommate and I went downstairs to
check it out, and just as we were walking up, the guy zoomed off in his
car.  Some tall white dude was now standing next to the lady
calmly writing down the guy’s license plate number, and we noticed the
H from his Honda was lying on the ground, so I expect they’ll get
him.  The poor lady said it was her first accident and was really
shaken up.  Seems like the guy had a pretty good reason for not
wanting to stick around, because both the lady and the tall man said
they saw the guy grab a crack pipe that had fallen on the ground before
he took off in the car. 

In other news, somehow I got an evite to a big birthday party for
someone I don’t know.  At the end of May, Yolanda Jefferson is
having a party for PNUT (Donald) in Bellville.  Anybody know who
this is???  I haven’t yet recognized anyone else on the
evite!  And it was sent to my Rice alum email address…

Listening to Editus right now…love this stuff.  Can’t find the
album online–instrumental with lots of guitar and violin.  They
might be Costa Rican, but I’m too lazy to find out for sure. 

Back home

Posted in Uncategorized on April 3, 2006 by stephenhuey

Yesterday morning I woke up a little after midnight Texas time in
Ireland and didn’t want to leave.  I began the long journey home
with a flight from Belfast to London (sat next to a young Irish
singer/actor going to audition for Les Miserables–he’d just finished
working in the musical Chicago and goes home to his family as much as
he can) and then a 10-hour one from London to Houston (sat next to a
chatty Rice alum whose husband works for my company).  Today, work
was ok. 

As you can see from my pictures below, my final days in Ireland were
spent visiting some amazing places, but I also enjoyed the lovely
people.  When I met up with some old friends who went to school
with me in Nigeria, I got to hang out with their relatives and heard
one of them in his upper 80s play the fiddle for us beautifully despite
his fingers shaking because of Parkinson’s.  I wish I could
capture the old lady who met me at Yeat’s grave and recited the poetry
on his monument and his headstone, as well as Longfellow and If
by Rudyard Kipling.  She explained all the things mentioned in the poem he wrote about his burial, and I asked her if
she were a professor, and then an angel, and she laughed both
times. 

I thought that the ceasefire from a few years ago meant that everything
was hunky dory in Northern Ireland, but the tension and segregation
didn’t just disappear and is in fact still a major problem.  I
also heard that in some areas of Belfast, business owners are still
threatened into paying off local militia groups who maintain regional
control over certain neighborhoods.  And half the population likes
to leave town during the summer marching.  It seems that many of
the younger generation from either religious background would be game
for a united Ireland, but in order for that to happen, some older folks
would still need to die off. 

Bunglass Cliff in the Slieve League mountains of west Donegal. 

Bunglass is the highest sea cliff in Europe, and a Bavarian guy named
Stefan hiked to the summit with me (his friends stayed behind with the
car). 

Nothing much between here and New York. 

That little lake in the distance is where our cars are parked.  
The 10-kilometer hike afforded us ample time for conversation. 

Eventually, I met an old friend on the north Antrim coast.  There she goes up the pillars…

40,000 pillars make up the Giant’s Causeway, so-called because a
hospitable Irish giant laid them down to invite a Scottish giant across
the water for battle. 

Or maybe they’re volcanic.  Most are 6-sided…they’re incredibly surreal. 

Climbing the ridge overlooking the Giant’s Causeway.  We started
talking to an American couple out there, and crazily enough, the guy
grew up as a missionary kid in Zimbabwe, had visited the guest house in
Accra that my parents are at right now, lives in Texas now, and his son
almost went to the same university in Tennessee that my friend studied
at! 

Taking it easy in Ballintoy harbor, a place whose strange beauty is difficult to capture without an aerial view. 

Basically, it’s got a lot of funky rocky islandy stuff going on. 

I know I just walked across some rope bridges in Ghana, but I couldn’t
resist Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge as well.  We could see Scotland
off in the distance. 

Not so lovely–a mural in Belfast by the Ulster Freedom Fighters, one
of the groups that’s on the opposite side from the IRA.  We saw
plenty of memorials to martyrs on both sides. 

We also saw an international wall with murals concerning a wide variety
of things, including the ETA fighters in the Basque country of Spain
and the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.  By the way, in every single
country I visited, at least one person responded with “Bush country”
when I said I was from Texas. 

Made it back to Houston just in time for some birthday fun at oatwoman’s place!