Archive for March, 2006


I have cravings, just like everyone else. Unlike most people, though, I don’t seem to crave much in the way of sweets. Oh, I like my ice cream, and I enjoy candy, but what really gets me going are fat, salt, and spiciness. Mmm! For instance, olives, pepperoni, smoked salmon, szechuan sauce, barbecue sauce, and salsa are some of the foods I enjoy the most. Each of them has at least two of the tastes I love. (And pepperoni has all three. No wonder I love that so much.)

Now, Kate and I try to eat pretty healthy. We cook with fresh vegetables, don’t use too much fat, and so on. But while I have a diet that’s high in nutrients (good) and low in calories (good), I get a whole buttload of salt. And it’s not just that I eat these ultra-salty foods. Salt seems to come in everything. For instance, two slices of bread (about a sandwich) contain 1/6 of your daily recommended salt allowance! And canned tomatoes (which we sometimes use) contain an ungodly amount. And eating out is surely bad.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I think I’m doing pretty well compared to many people. But I have relatives on both sides of the family who watch their salt intake, so I need to be careful. If only it didn’t taste so good! My fervent hope is that by getting some exercise, I’ll sweat out enough salt to let me keep eating what I want.

In related news, this site says all the “salt is bad for you” stories are complete myths. You should eat as much salt as you like! The site belongs to the Salt Manufacturers’ Association, but seriously, who believes them? I can’t believe they’re even maintaining a pro-salt website.



Kate and I ate a lot of garlic last night, and it’s slowly passing through my system. It’s a good thing I’m not going to be in any elevators today; my farts are garlicky enough to kill people trapped in an enclosed space.

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No NSF for me

I got rejected for the NSF graduate fellowship a second time. I’m disappointed because I really thought that this time I wrote a good application, worthy of a fellowship. I’ll get to see the scores on it in a month or so. I’m curious to see what they didn’t like.

In the end, it’s not such a terribly big deal because I’ll still be able to attend school. Still, it’s sad that our income will decrease when my fellowship runs out, and it might mean hassles if my advisor lacks funding.

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Union organizer

I’ve signed up to be a union organizer. In the coming weeks, I’ll man a union voting booth and help to try to sign up CS grad students. I’m kind of excited because I think it’s a good thing to do. I’m nervous because I think I may suck. And I’m worried because I don’t want to make myself too busy. Still, getting grad students to appreciate the value of organized labor should be rewarding in itself.


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Ruth’s grad school

Ruth just found out that both she and Todd have been accepted to UC Irvine, so she’ll be living just 7 hours away from us next year! It’s excellent news for her, since that was her top school, and I’ll get to see her more often than now. Excellent news all around.

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For future reference for Linux scanner use

This is terribly boring stuff to most people, but I wanted to put this online so that when someone else searches for information on getting their scanner working, they will have my experiences to draw on.

I had trouble getting my Artec e+48u scanner working with my laptop under linux (using sane). I would run scanimage and get responses like this:

scanimage: open of device artec_eplus48u:libusb:002:004 failed: Invalid argument

I eventually discovered that I needed the device’s firmware. I copied Artec48.usb from somewhere online (I already had it on my other computer, it turns out) into /etc/sane.d/firmware/ and also linked it into /etc/sane.d/. This made it magically work. sane needs a better error message in cases like this!

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Another random person

A middle-aged Eastern European woman came into my office just a few minutes ago. She’s apparently returning to Eastern Europe in the next year, and she wanted some advice on buying a cheap but fast laptop. I recommended Apple, but she said she didn’t like all the icons, so I then pointed her to the cheap section at Circuit City. She talked quickly and said she was busy, and she was gone in a few minutes. My officemate was highly amused by the strangeness of it all. Certainly it was rather unusual.

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Earthquakes, whee!

There’ve been two small earthquakes today. I didn’t feel either one, but I saw motion in the blinds and heard creaking in the building. I’m all excited about it, even though small earthquakes could predict bigger earthquakes. Kate’s somewhat excited, but she’s more inclined to be scared, I think. But I’d never been in an earthquake before, and now I have!


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