Thursday, February 20, 2003

Carnegie Mellon called about a week ago to let me know that I had been admitted to their computer science Ph D. program. I was so shocked and happy that I took 8 people out to dinner and blew $120 dollars.

This week Harvard sent me an email saying that I had been accepted to their Ph D. program for AI and computational linguistics. This means I have to make a decision, one that will probably color my perspective in computer science for the rest of my life and flipping a coin won't do. Bleh.

posted by Alison 2/20/2003 11:58:00 PM : (0) comments : splink

Sunday, February 16, 2003

I will admit it, I went to Katsucon this weekend. I spent a lot of money on things I didn't need and a lot of time getting nothing done, but it was supposed to be a mini-vacation. I figured it would probably be the last time that I would ever be able to put on a school-girl uniform with and not get arrested. Actually, I have to thank Laura for making matching shirts for us and spending a Saturday pretending to be eleven.

On Sunday there was a huge snow storm. We slogged through a foot and a half of snow for 20 minutes just to get the three blocks to McDonalds. We could see National Airport from our hotel windows and except for the lights in the terminals it looked like the whole place had been abandoned. The streets looked the same way during the shuttle ride to Crystal City and it seemed like everyone had fled the DC area. All hail our new cockroach and Twinkie overlords.

posted by Alison 2/16/2003 10:57:00 PM : (0) comments : splink

On Wednesday I went to Ace Hardware in Bethesda with Carolina. We just needed to buy a pipe, but the store was crammed with middle-aged people buying plastic sheeting and duct tape. The news is great for turning a trickle of trepidation into a flood of anxiety. There were even cameras from the BBC filming people as they paid for their dozens of batteries and painters tarps.

I think this is the 21st century equivalent of those school drills where you crawl under your desk in order to survive a nuclear blast. Even if the duct tape won't keep out the VX and smallpox, this is DC and people need those things to make them feel safe. I can't help but be skeptical of a system that can't tell people what they are preparing for. I understand why the terror alert system can't be transparent, but I find the lack of information to be quite disconcerting, especially when you see how much it affects people.

posted by Alison 2/16/2003 10:56:00 PM : (0) comments : splink

Wednesday, February 05, 2003

Today I went to the Freer Gallery for a special appointment. The Freer is a Smithsonian museum devoted to Asian art and it has a great selection of Japanese pottery. One of the features of the Freer's endowment is that the public must be allowed complete access to all pieces, that means being allowed to handle the pieces, even the ones not on display. One of my professors offered me a deal where I could take his class and instead of attending regular lectures I could teach a class on Japanese ceramics. My task would be to research traditional Japanese ceramics and then make similar pieces in a way that would be closest to the way in which the originals made. I made an appointment at the Freer Gallery to go through the Japanese ceramics collection. The collection is huge and I was allowed to hold pieces that were over 5,000 years old and feel the wall thickness of bowls made by the master Kenzan. I spent an hour and a half violating the standard museum 'do not touch' rule. I'm just glad I didn't drop anything.

posted by Alison 2/05/2003 05:51:00 PM : (0) comments : splink

Saturday, February 01, 2003

Contact has been lost with the space shuttle Columbia. My hope is that nothing has happened, but after watching the video with the multiple trails, chances are not good. If this has happened I pray that NASA can recover.

posted by Alison 2/01/2003 09:51:00 AM : (0) comments : splink

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