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Bridget Spitznagel
Works at Google
Attended Carnegie Mellon
Lives in Pittsburgh
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Bridget Spitznagel

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would add more, but she said it all.
 
TURN OFF YOUR GOD-DAMNED PHONES WHILE YOU ARE DRIVING

That includes headsets, hands-free, whatever.  Do not smugly assume you can keep using a phone because you do it hands-free.  TURN OFF YOUR PHONES AND PAY ATTENTION TO THE ROAD, because otherwise this sort of nonsense happens:

http://happyplace.someecards.com/distracted-driving/driver-who-ran-over-three-teenagers-was-videotaping-her-son-in-the-backseat/

You are NOT better than everyone else.  Your conversations are NOT MORE IMPORTANT THAN SOMEONE ELSE'S SAFETY.  You are NOT a better driver.  You CANNOT "handle it just fine".  It's NOT "okay this one time".  It's NOT "only for a second".

If you are engaging with your phone in any way, you are AN ACCIDENT WAITING TO HAPPEN.  Yes, some activities are worse than others (like this moron who was videotaping her kid in the back), but they are all increasing your risk of an accident.

http://www.distraction.gov/get-the-facts/faq.html

Smarten up, especially those of you with kids.  Does it terrify you that they'll one day be texting and driving?  Then model better behaviour FFS!  Are you sick of your teens being addicted to their phones?  Then show that you're able to put yours down when required!

I am closing comments because I do not want to hear a bunch of entitled people explain why it's so important for them to put other people's lives at risk.  Peo and I were in a Civic crushed between two SUVs because of someone who was on her phone.  I have separately been rear-ended by someone on a phone.  I don't want to hear why you're so much better than those people who thought they were driving safely as well.

If my father-in-law could pull over to take calls when he was an on-call pediatric hematologist working with very sick children, you can pull over to take your calls too.
It's time to put down the phone while driving. I'm telling myself, too. That can't help your premiums. (via KATU) This hasn't been a great week for stories about moms behind the wheel. Don't let it
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Good information from a comic source - again

It seems more and more frequent that good reporting is found in places that are at least ostensibly focused on making people laugh rather than making them think. But hey, if humor is an effective way of slipping useful information past our usual defenses of being too busy or too uninterested or too focused on our preconceptions, I'm all for it. 

This piece is a particularly helpful one for those dealing with the wilds of the Internet... which would be everyone here. It offers ways to help clear the nonsense from the sense, ways that are especially helpful because they don't demand a huge amount of specialized skill. Basically, the author is recommending that we treat information encountered online or in other media as we'd treat it if we heard it directly from another person. It's especially helpful that this article is designed to help us understand statistics, which, at least in my anecdotal experience, is one of the most despised, most underestimated, and most often flunked required courses in the basic undergraduate curriculum. 

Here's a good introductory quote: But stats are a mathematical crowbar: a very useful tool in the hands of smart scientists, but one which also can be misused to hurt people and take things and get into positions people shouldn't.

The author also gets major points from me for invoking Sturgeon's Law. 
Behold, eight math-free ways to work out which numbers to ignore.
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Bridget Spitznagel

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http://www.wired.com/2015/03/google-builds-new-tablet-fight-ebola/
which can be dipped in bleach for minutes at a time O.O
Jay Achar was treating Ebola patients at a makeshift hospital in Sierra Leone. He needed more time, and he needed better tech.
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#ItsHappening
#TheFootprintsOfAGiganticHound
#TurnLeftAndStraightOnTilFarthing
I consulted a few timelines and Harriet Potter Watson crossover looks reasonably plottable.
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OK, next up please write the one where Mulder and Scully investigate Death Eater attacks because come ON internet this is supposed to be what you're good at. 

If you want a beta reader/plot brainstorming partner I am THERE.
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Bridget Spitznagel

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Cf. "Safe At Any Speed" (Larry Niven) wherein roc swallows car.
 
Amusing read, but I also have some serious commentary.

1) When I was on the volunteer fire dept, I saw this firsthand.  late-model cars are incredibly safe in crashes.  Old cars are not.  That 80s suburban, while heavy, is NOT what you want your teenage kids driving.  You really want something with 2nd gen airbags, ANYTHING with 2nd-gen airbags is probably better than a hulk from the 80s.

But the number of crashes that were non-events simply amazed me.  I saw the result of a Mini going 45mph through a telephone pole and into a 1m dia redwood.  Redwoods of that size don't move.  Car was totaled, clearly, but all the glass was intact.  Driver was knocked around, but basically fine.  The only excitement on that call was the fuel tank was ripped open by the base of the telephone pole, and the downed power lines set the fuel on fire.

The car had bounced back off that tree (at least a foot), and he was fine (yes, redwood bark is a bit spongy, a similar sized Oak would have done a bit more damage, I think).

2) We're certainly deep into the diminishing returns.  For frontal collisions.  Side-impacts are getting better, too.  But side-impacts are inherently hard to deal with, there's no room to absorb the energy, other than the nose of the other vehicle (sideways into a tree is a bad day, period).

I want to see further work on the reinforced space-frames.  I.e.  an integrated roll-cage that's just part of the car's structure.  And that's where I've see a lot of work happening.

On the FD, we took a class every year on cutting up cars.  With real cars, and our real equipment.  It was a blast.  But it was also very serious, and we talked with the teachers about where modern cars were going.  Apparently, later-model Foresters ('06?+, memory is hazy) have a 120Kpsi steel in their b-pillar (between the front and rear passenger doors).  Most steels are about 30Kpsi (that's 30,000 pounds per square inch to shear through them).  Most jaws-of-life type tools just gnaw on that 120Kpsi steel like a dog, but never actually cut through it.

Cars are designed to survive crashes, not be easy to cut apart during a rescue...

Those high-tech steels allow the cars to retain their shape better in a wreck, letting the external portions of a car absorb the impact, while creating an inviolate space for the occupants.

Until we're up to race-level degrees of safety, I'm happy for the auto manufacturers to keep pushing for better car structures.
Understand this: We will never be completely safe in our cars. But driving today is about as safe as it can get. So, in simplest terms, we decided to crash a car with a writer inside.
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woohoo!
 
This is the open-sourced version of the build system that my colleagues and I use at Google. One of the high points of working at Google is having a really excellent set of tools to work with, and this is one of those.
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Brushing off my car
(It snowed); I'm filing a bug
Against that groundhog.
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This was delightful. 
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Bridget Spitznagel

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https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/sailorhg/bubblesort-computer-science-zines (via a friend)
if you like Cartoon Guide to Physics / Cartoon Guide to Statistics, might want to take a look.
sailorhg is raising funds for BubbleSort: Computer Science Zines on Kickstarter! Zines about computer science! Each zine focuses on one concept & is filled with comics, diagrams, stories, examples, and exercises.
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Field Trip Flashback: Back to the Future

While the time between the completion of shooting and the film's release was just ten weeks, it has remained a longtime classic. Check out Marty McFly's house then and now with SCENEPAST! (Google+: http://goo.gl/vNGP5q).

Download Field Trip today to find more ways to celebrate #ThrowbackThursday
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I dimly recall the author of HPMOR making a big deal about how people should not be judging whether the opus is feminist/unfeminist/anti-feminist until we read the ending (I think this was after SPOILER.)
I don't see anything in the ending that would change anyone's mind vis-à-vis agency unless "tell, don't show" appeals to you. Harry Potter and the Natural 20 is better in all dimensions... pun might be intended.
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I was pleased that a certain authorial declaration came true in a more or less literal fashion.
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Bridget Spitznagel

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Oh, it must be March.
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IF NOT DUFFERS WONT DROWN
Introduction
If you know me even slightly or in an on-the-internet way, feel free to say hi; I'll be happy to hear from you.  You might want to remind me how we know each other, because I am a ditz.

Can't place the quote that's under my name?  It's from Swallows and Amazons.
Bragging rights
Younger than Ewan McGregor, shorter than Martin Freeman. That's my story and I'm sticking to it.
Education
  • Carnegie Mellon
    computer science
  • MIT
    computer science
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drsprite, TI 37921
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software engineer
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    software engineer, present
  • Xerox
    intern
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Pittsburgh
Previously
Palo Alto, CA - Cupertino, CA - Cambridge, MA - St. Louis, MO
Bridget Spitznagel's +1's are the things they like, agree with, or want to recommend.
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Friendly, gentle, thorough routine dental cleanings (I've never needed any other kind of dental work so that's all I know about.)
Public - 2 years ago
reviewed 2 years ago
Surely you already know what to expect from Chuck E. Cheese: noise (on the weekends), a system to make sure kids leave with the adult they came with, expensive food, token-operated toddler rides, a lofted tunnel/slide that kids can climb to (like a fast-food indoor playground), and games of chance-or-skill. The staff at this one care about whether your birthday kid has a good time at the party (which is vital if you have a kid who will be crushed not to catch the 1000 ticket in their new-ish "blows tickets all over your kid" booth), and you are not cleaning up, and no one will lose their kid on your watch, and at the end of the day that's what matters. Would I set foot in it other than for a party? Pretty much no, but your mileage may vary.
• • •
Food: GoodDecor: GoodService: Very Good
Public - 2 years ago
reviewed 2 years ago
3 reviews
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I went there looking for sock yarn - they have a great selection and friendly staff.
Public - 4 years ago
reviewed 4 years ago