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Andy Dillon
Lived in Atlanta
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Andy Dillon

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Lamb

The reason for the season. Since I don't eat typical Easter candy anymore, lamb keeps me interested. But then, any excuse for lamb interests me. This time, with some rosemary rubbed into the red wine reduction. That's good jous!
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Andy Dillon

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Fried Cheese Bacon Dogs
No bun required

My best friend is coming over for Game 3 of the Yankees/Red Sox series, tomorrow, so naturally I was picking up some brats, when I came across jalapeno hot dogs. Which is the reason I'm watching Game 2 of the series, trying out those hot dogs, flayed, wrapped in bacon, and fried up in a pan, with cheddar added near the end to get a nice crisp on. Not bad. Oh, and home made ketchup.

And please don't mention the score - I'm watching a delayed feed. Screw it. I'll just forgo g+ till I'm done. :)
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Those look great.  They also look like a heart attack on a plate.
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I recently changed my tagline to I'm here to be humbled. I didn't know that when I jumped into the g+ beta, but it became clear early on. With mostly googlers and other scientists in my circles, humbled became the rule of the day. Or at least one rule of the day. Humbled. Enlightened. Excited. But not all by everyone. Some are certainly smarter than I, but offer only occasionally interesting perspectives, if at all. Some are wonderfully articulate and make me try on a different perspective. Some serve to keep me off balance, so that I can avoid the feedback loops that are the bane of a tightly filtered internet or other closed society. Thank you all.

Some are simply better than I. Brilliant, thoughtful, and above the fray, while shining a light on it. Throughout the almost three years that I've been a part of this social network, those some are +Yonatan Zunger, who will likely blush on reading this; and for that, I apologize. I can cite a handful of others that match him in one or more categories (and you can find them all in my circles), but day after day, his posts and commentary set the aspirational standard across the board.

Wow. That took an unexpected turn.
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No reason to apologize -- I'm just surprised. And feeling rather humbled myself. That's not what I expected today.
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Minorities & Me
          a brief history

I mentioned yesterday that I used to subscribe to the meritocracy I was told was the way of the US. Along the way, my encounters with minorities were few. Here they are.

As a young boy in Ohio, I was friends with the only black man I had met, a garbage man I saw once a week. In the minute or so (a long time at that age) he had to talk to the little kid who tagged along as he worked his way down the block, he happily chatted about this and that, and once gave me a rubber alligator that I cherished.

While attending day care in the evening at a large military base, we were served ice cream cups with the little infinity-esque wooden spoons. My friend, a black kid from my class, told me, as he enjoyed his chocolate ice cream, that he loved it. I told him he ought to, he was made out of it. I laughed. I honestly don't remember if he did. When I got home, my sister told my mother about it, and my mother tanned my hide. I didn't get it. I later used one of those spoons to help me draw a naked woman. My mother found that drawing in the laundry. But the expected hide tanning was set aside as she asked my why I hadn't drawn her arms. My mother is an artist. And I was unfamiliar with Venus de Milo at the time, so I didn't have a suitably smartass response.

A few years later, I returned to Georgia in the summer, embedded in a neighborhood filled with god fearing Baptists. As good Christians, they let me know how niggers were inferior to whites. I fought them tooth and nail. But then school started, and for the first time, I was thrown together with a mixed population. While I spent time every day for a couple weeks teaching a challenged white kid, a bully to some, to read a wristwatch, I was increasingly hassled by a black kid. I had never been one to back down from a fight, so when he knocked my books off my desk when we came back from lunch, I jumped up, put him in a headlock, and began bashing his head into the wall. He bit my hand, I let him go, and then I broke my hand, punching him in the head. I got a cast and a hatred of niggers. I had been converted. I was a fifth grader.

The next year, I insisted on going to private school because I wasn't going to go to that school another year.

Eighth grade put me in high school (for some reason, there was no middle school at the time). A new program (M to M Transfers) was in place to bus inner city kids to the suburban schools. I was once again in a mixed population. I had, by this time, largely shaken off my fifth grade experience, and was now great friends with a black kid name Tony Dorsey. We had gym class together, and he and I, and Jeff Puckett, the other member of our triumvirate, always horsed around before coach Flannigan started class. While we horsed around, a group of black kids would almost daily grab a white kid, drag him into the showers, and beat him up a bit. One day, this same group decided that Tony shouldn't be hanging around with white kids. And just like that, one of my best friends joined that group and the first kid they dragged into the showers was that third member of our triumvirate. And my hatred of niggers was rekindled. I got in a scrap or two after that, namely with Gino Baker, who hassled me in art class.

And just like after 5th grade, I refused to return to that school. My parents moved me to the all white Parkview HS, where I finished my high school years in racial purity.

Once, in my senior year, some friends and I were rolling back from the mall, when we passed a black guy in a nice leather jacket. Fully entrenched in the racist, tobacco chewing subset of my school, at this point, and the most accurate tosser of things from moving cars around, I nailed this guy in the back with a cup full of tobacco spit. Even then, as my friends laughed and congratulated me, I felt sick. And whenever I think about it, I feel sick. I feel sick now.

That same year found me rolling burritos at Del Taco. After I'd been there a few months, we got a new manager who was a lot of fun and amazingly fast on the line. He taught me some new techniques and soon I was faster than he was, rolling burritos one handed faster than my crewmates could with two hands. And then one day he hugged me. I was completely flustered. I was pretty much unaware of homosexuals outside of me and my friends calling each other gay for this or that reason. So, out of ignorance and discomfort, I pushed him away and called him a fag. Even as I felt bad for doing so, I never let him know I felt bad, and I never treated him as a friend, again.

The next year took me to downtown Atlanta, on the corner of Techwood Homes, the first federally funded public housing project in the US. I would often walk down Techwood Drive with friends on our way to see the $1 movie at the CNN Center, nee Omni. We were regularly accosted by drug dealers, but to no ill result. Once again, I had cast off my hatred and made friends with a couple of black guys from my dorm.

The night before my first quarter History final, we were watching tv when we heard a banging on the entry doors. We rushed out to find two white guys with bullet wounds bleeding outside. We brought them inside and were told how a couple of black guys had accosted them on their way back from the laundry. Since they didn't have any money, one of the black guys made them strip down and tried to make them have sex. Then he shot them. As easily as it would have been to revert to the race hatred that I had embraced twice before, it didn't happen this time. It wasn't their blackness. It was that they were assholes. As horrible as this was, I seemed finally free of the racism that had owned me off and on for half my life.

My prejudice toward homosexuals took longer to fade, hopefully because I was rarely exposed to it.

Even as I hated or at least undervalued the other, I felt I was a good person. And in many respects, I was. So too are many bigots. But that is no excuse. But it does offer hope. People can change. I did.

These experiences, while giving support to the claims of guilt that some use as a bludgeon to lessen my support of some issues, are not the experiences that gave me insight. Those experiences came from personal relationships with minorities, both racial and sexual. I turned my back on my prejudices, but it was friends and strangers that gave me a glimpse of what it's like on the other side.
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Edward Law's profile photoRoy T's profile photoAndy Dillon's profile photoJay Gischer's profile photo
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It wasn't peer pressure. Rather, it was taking on their racist persona, in part, as my own, in response to the actions of an individual or small group within a larger group. It was lazy and irrational.
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Andy Dillon

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Yet Another Google+ Complaint (YAG+C)

Why does google+ ruin your videos by turning them into jerky abominations that not only crap all over your cinematic aspirations, but pollute your stream with the worst stereotype of animated GIFS? You can't disable it. You can't turn it off. You can't apply any artistic sensibilities, real or imagined.

Funny that youtube videos aren't treated with the same lack of respect.
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Mz Maau's profile photoScott Maxwell's profile photoAndy Dillon's profile photoBrian Holt Hawthorne's profile photo
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For the ancient developers, if any in this thread, YAG++CC is forthcoming.

Not really, but YACC was the inspiration for this graphic/meme.
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Andy Dillon

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How Well Do You Know Time Travel Movies?

Fun quiz at http://goo.gl/LF6iYL

H/T - neatorama
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Time travel
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Have him in circles
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Andy Dillon

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Sometimes, you've just got to be proud of your home state. Here's Georgia's GOP front-runner for US Senate. Just in case it's not obvious, as I'm sure it's not to a lot of the target audience, this is a fake phone call.
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In case you were going to play the trailer rather than read +Brian Koberlein's piece below, it's against the pseudo-science pushed in this upcoming documentary.
 
Engage

As I write this, it’s 10pm at the end of a long day.  I have an 8am class to teach tomorrow, and I would much rather be reading a book or watching Game of Thrones than writing yet another post on astrophysics.  So why do it?  Because it matters. Because if scientists don’t tell the story of science, someone else will.  With the rise of online media, it is increasingly easy for anyone to present scientific ideas in ways that are entertaining and engaging. This can lead to TV shows like Cosmos, and it can also lead to documentaries such as  The Principle.  If you haven’t heard of it, The Principle claims that we live in a geocentric universe.

By geocentric universe I really mean the idea that the Earth is the center of the universe and doesn’t move.  The idea that Galileo demonstrated was false 400 years ago.  This is not just a YouTube video someone edited in their bedroom.  The film was funded by Robert Sungenis, author of the book Galileo Was Wrong The Church Was Right, where he argues in favor of geocentrism. It features Michio Kaku and Lawrence Krauss, and has a slick trailer narrated by Kate Mulgrew.  Krauss and Mulgrew have issued statements that they disagree with the geocentric claims, but already the trailer has gone viral.

You might argue that such an incredulously ridiculous film should just be ignored.  Don’t feed the trolls, as it were.  Unfortunately it isn’t alone.  There’s the electric universe, young Earth creationism, anti-evolution, anti-vaccines, global warming skepticism, ancient aliens, mermaids are real, and the list goes on.  Presented to you by talented and beautiful people, often enhanced with slick computer graphics.

Central to all of these is the claim is that what you have been told about the universe is wrong.  That scientists don’t really know.  They don’t really understand the universe.  All they have is just a theory.

There are lots of things scientists don’t know, but there is a great deal we do know.  We know, for example.  That the planets do not move around the Earth.  We know from the phases of Mercury and Venus that they orbit the Sun (http://goo.gl/oirGkJ).  We know from a simple experiment you can do at home that the Earth rotates on its axis, and can even measure the rate of rotation with a simple pendulum.  We know that there is a universal law of gravity that holds the Earth and other planets in orbit with the Sun (http://goo.gl/6HU7Y8).  We know that the Earth moves around the Sun because we observe the parallax shift of nearby stars.  We know very, very clearly that geocentrism is wrong, and we’ve known this for centuries.

A recent study by the National Science Foundation found that 25% of Americans think the Sun moves around the Earth.  That’s 1 in 4 Americans. It is easy to write off more than 50 million people as just being stupid, but as the documentary A Private Universe demonstrated, even Harvard graduates held the misconception that the seasons are caused by Earth moving closer to and farther from the Sun, rather than being due to the tilt of Earth’s axis. Scientific ignorance can’t be blamed on a lack of intelligence. It is due to misconceptions that haven’t been broken.  Misconceptions that are fed by The Principle and other pseudoscience media.

Every time I see a slick pseudoscience video I’m reminded that scientists need to up their game.  We need to be more active in communicating science. We need to engage with the public and make it clear that we really can understand the universe.  We need to convey the wonder and awe of scientific understanding, and demonstrate how science can bring out the best in humanity.

So at the end of a long evening I’m writing a post about geocentrism and how it is provably wrong.  And about why communicating science clearly and honestly matters.  Because if scientists don’t tell the story of science, someone else will.
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Auto-play ads are wearing out my mute key

Who'd of thought that pop-up ads could be displaced as the most annoying, counter-intuitive, internet marketing ploy ever devised? Do the purveyors of the current rash of unpausable, unstoppable, unmutable, auto-play ads imagine anything other than backlash from an enraged, or at least mildly annoyed, public? Of course, maybe they're paid for by competitors.
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Dinyar Rabady's profile photoAaron Wood's profile photoSteven Flaeck's profile photoAndy Dillon's profile photo
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Thank goodness I haven't encountered that species, yet. I might be moved to breaking something.
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Notes on Eich Stepping Down

From a private discussion:

I have no problem with Eich voting his conscience. Just as I have no problem with his toes being put to the fire for his conscience being pro-oppression. While there are plenty of C-level bigots across the board in industry, if one can be called out to effect, I don't have a problem with that, either.

I will err on the side of minority rights, given the chance. When I was younger, I decried the reverse discrimination evidenced by the Bakke case. Why? Because as a member of the privileged class, I couldn't see the reality beyond the meritocracy I was taught to believe. As I came to know more people not of the privileged class, I came to realize that that meritocracy is bullshit, a game stacked in favor of white males. Everything, and I mean everything, is weighted in our favor. So when a white male spends money to deny rights to a minority, I don't give a shit what happens to him.

In this case, you may feel you have no skin in the game. That's fine. I certainly don't. After all, I'm a straight white male, so it doesn't affect me. Except it does. Because if I only care about the rights of others so long as it's something I care about, then I should have no expectation of others caring when my rights are compromised.
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Scott Maxwell's profile photoStephen Yuan's profile photoAndy Dillon's profile photoBrian Holt Hawthorne's profile photo
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Well said.

As far as pet peeves, I gave them up and just got a puppy. Far more enjoyable than peeves!
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Have him in circles
429 people
Stephen Yuan's profile photo
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Former developer. Current designer of things.
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I'm here to be humbled.
Introduction
Meatspace is too limiting. Here are my peers and my betters. It's a good place to be.

Notes


References to my better half are denoted by an asterisk because it's not my place to expose her to the masses. If a couple hundred people qualifies as the masses.
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