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John Carter
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Today was very interesting.  I was called to jury duty this morning in downtown Austin, which is unusual but not usually very interesting.  What made it interesting is the fact that the jury for which I was impaneled was for the high-profile murder of Julie Ann Gonzalez back in March 2010.

As you should be able to surmise by the fact that I'm posting this today, I was not selected to serve on the jury---they did not get as deep into the jury pool as my number.  But after coming back home and doing a bit of Google-fu, the circumstances of the case are almost exactly what I would have predicted based on the battery of questions coming from the DA and defense attorney over ~5 hours (she disappeared, no body was ever found, circumstantial evidence suggests that her estranged husband most likely did the deed, etc.).  Seems pretty clear that the case will boil down to how strong of a case based on circumstantial evidence the prosecution can make.  Might come down to something like the OJ trial where it seems extremely likely that the accused did it, but perhaps not "beyond a reasonable doubt".  (Annoyingly, there is no clear cut definition of what that means, at least in the State of Texas.  Each juror needs to decide for themselves what it means, but it cannot be "beyond a reasonable doubt" (too high of a bar) or "clear and convincing" (too low)).

Presumably the defense will argue that she up and went into hiding, changed her identity---a scenario that both sides probed in depth ("Do you think you could disappear and start a new life w/o anybody finding you even if they looked really hard?").  The prosecution, on the other hand, will focus on how unlikely that scenario is and try to prove that the husband killed her and then disposed of her body.

Since the jury is not supposed to be doing any Google-fu on this case, I assume it's ok for me to post this.  If not, somebody let me know (and why).

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Becky's brain child goes live!    FRC arenas are BIG, so very few schools have the space or budget to create a full-size practice arena.  The article implies that ATX STEM Park is for LASA (Alex's school), but it's actually intended for all FRC robotics teams in the Austin area.  This should make them all more competitive.

The article doesn't mention her, but Becky conceived the idea, did all the work to get the space donated, lined up donations, made the website, did all the PR, and more.  You go, girl!

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Stile's Switch BBQ is celebrating the Twelve Days of Smoked Meat with some great daily specials.  Why settle for (slow roasted) Partridge in a Pear Tree or (braised) Geese A'Laying when you can have bacon-wrapped smoked quail or brisket meatloaf?!?

http://www.tmbbq.com/12-days-of-smoked-meat/

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Very cool (to me anyway) visualization of the airspace over the UK on a typical day.

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Funny!  But I shudder to think how easily something like this could have gone out with my name on it.  I know I've had similarly snarky comments in early drafts of papers (inserted by my students and co-authors, of course cough cough) and probably even in post-acceptance, pre-publication revised drafts, too.  The author of the article assumes that all final copies get a thorough additional round of reviewing, which is not the case, at least in the CS/EE community unless you are publishing in a glossy magazine venue like ACM CACM or IEEE Computer where they do the final editing and layout.

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Google Fiber finally announces a go-live date for Austin, but makes (almost?) all us IBMers cry by debuting only down south.  C'mon, those folks already have Grande -- they don't need another good alternative to TWC/AT&T!

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IBM named this year's most LGBT-inclusive employer in the world by Amsterdam-based Workplace Pride Foundation.  IBM has a proud history of being socially progressive going back to the beginning of the last century, including T.J. Watson's famous Policy Letter #4 in 1953 that laid out IBM's policy of equal opportunity in the face of substantial pressure from southern governors to sign on to a "separate but equal" policy.  IBM typically stays far out of politics, but I'm glad they didn't that time.  I would not have predicted IBM would come out on top of the LGBT-friendly list, but am not surprised either.

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First publicly available non-IBM POWER8 server is a single-socket 2U from Tyan... for an introductory price of only $2753 + S&H.

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Great video of a great city...
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