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Catharine Eastman
Works at Stanford University
Attended Yale University
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I've been Sorted

Inspired by +Wil Wheaton , I went and joined Pottermore, J.K.Rowling's site all about the world of Harry Potter.  After registering and picking out a pet (black cat) and getting a wand (four slightly nonsensical questions which got me a "10-inch quite flexible acacia wand with unicorn hair at its core"), I took the Sorting Hat test.

A few of its questions make sense: they work out to "what characteristic is of greatest value to you."  (Would you rather be liked, feared, trusted, imitated, or one of a few other things I can't remember?  If you were making a potion for yourself, would you make one that granted love, wisdom, power, or some other thing I can't remember?)

Others, not so much.  Which of five or so different magical creatures do you want to study most?  Which of four interesting-sounding options in an enchanted garden will you check out first?  At an intersection, do you go left towards the seashore, forwards towards the forest, or right towards a castle?

The next to last question made very little sense to me.  It was simply
"Moon or stars?"

The final question?  Much simpler, and may help the system decide if you're split between a 'good' house and an 'evil' one: "Black or white?"

The Sorting Hat told me what I've kind of suspected all along: I'm a Hufflepuff.  (I had been wondering whether I'd end up in Ravenclaw; I was all for the wisdom potion.)  It's kind of nice, actually; I'd always wondered where the Hufflepuff dorm was and what it was like.  Now I know J.K.Rowling's thoughts on the subject.

The site itself seems to be a mix of community, hidden-object games (sort of), probably some other minigames I haven't explored yet, and a fair amount of extra material about the Potterverse.  You wouldn't believe how many different wand woods there are, and of course they've all got their strong points so nobody will think they got a lousy wand.

Aspects of the interface could stand to be redesigned.  After you've bought an object (pet, book, wand, whatever) you can't just close the window with the "you just bought this object" message.  Instead, you have to look around for the internal Back button to return to the rest of the store.  Very clunky.
I'm not sure I'll stay terribly long, but it's entertaining to poke at.
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Catharine Eastman

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Seen on my walk this morning!
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Used to be parked at the old @home building in RWC. =)
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Found via +Rebecca Enzor .  It looks real, though the creators note that if you're in a threatening situation, calling 911 really should be your first resource if at all possible.  Share this around.

(Homepage for the foundation and the app: https://www.whengeorgiasmiled.org/the-aspire-news-app/#.U0bv61cvl8F)
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Catharine Eastman

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Thank you, PG&E.  I had no idea that there was such a thing as a National Safe Digging Month.






... Now I am minded to go on a treasure hunt and dig up a safe.
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Catharine Eastman

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xkcd: Choose-your-own-adventure comic!

(Well, choose your own dialogue bit, and see what happens next, anyway.)
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What a surprise.
 
According to a new study, America is an oligarchy, not a democracy.  Or perhaps more accurately, a plutocracy.  They analyzed 1779 policy issues to determine what factors actually influence government policy.  They concluded, "[E]conomic elites and organized groups representing business interests have substantial independent impacts on U.S. government policy."  In contrast, what the majority of Americans want is completely irrelevant.  "When the preferences of economic elites and the stands of organized interest groups are controlled for, the preferences of the average American appear to have only a minuscule, near-zero, statistically non-significant impact upon public policy."

Of course, this shouldn't be much of a surprise to anyone.
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Exactly. Democracy didn't fail. It was abducted.
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So this is how the Heartbleed bug works.  (Not a techie, but this is a great explanation.)
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Catharine Eastman

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An article about how fights on the Internet seem to go and why certain stances are unhelpful.  It's about a video game in this case, but the main points could apply to any subject that tends to incite flame wars. 
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There was a double rainbow earlier this evening!
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It's spring in our yard!  All these photos - yep, all of them - were taken earlier this evening.
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We have white ones and classic lavender ones in our back yard. When they bloom, I lie on the couch in our back porch and just breathe.

And we usually try to get to the Arboretum on Mother's Day. They have an incredible variety of lilacs there.
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In her circles
1,152 people
Have her in circles
333 people
Michael Abbott's profile photo
Elli St.'s profile photo
Sionna Neidengard's profile photo
Baron Arnold's profile photo
Esther Huibers's profile photo
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Molecular biologist
Employment
  • Stanford University
    LSRA 2, present
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Gender
Female
Other names
Catharine Lombard
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Singer, lab rat, and lover of cats
Education
  • Yale University
  • University of California, Santa Cruz
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We visited Toyota 101 on Black Friday (11/23/12) to buy a car. The servicepeople were knowledgeable and friendly. They had posted an excellent price on the 2012 Priuses that they had in stock, and they stood by their price - no bargaining, hemming or hawing about it. Similarly, they were very up front about the (lowish) price that was the best they could do on our trade-in, and frankly advised us to sell it ourselves, as we'd get a better price for it that way. Black Friday was a very busy sales day for them, so we had to wait quite some time while the purchase was processed, but that was the only point against them (and hardly their fault). I would strongly recommend them to anyone in the area who wants a reasonable, no-nonsense approach to car buying and selling.
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Public - a year ago
reviewed a year ago
Service was initially a little slow, but the server made up for it by being super-friendly and chatty throughout the meal. Really really tasty Persian specialties; haven't tried the other cuisines yet. Live music and good bellydancing Saturday nights. Price similar to Max's Opera Cafe.
Public - a year ago
reviewed a year ago
3 reviews
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Food is passable - it's student-level cheap Indian food. The lamb in my curry managed to be kind of dry and overdone and not very interesting. There's better places to eat, both on California Avenue and amongst other Indian places in Palo Alto.
Food: Poor to fairDecor: GoodService: Very good
Public - a year ago
reviewed a year ago