This morning I had a lab for my class in hearing and perception of sound, at the Research Laboratory of Electronics on the MIT campus. We were doing a lab on “perceptual audio encoding”, which required us to take measurements in soundproof chambers. The place seriously looks like it hasn’t been changed since the 60s. Just when I was thinking, “Hey, this place couldn’t be more outdated even if it had a slide rule!”, I found a slide rule. Here is that slide rule:
And here are some other great futuristic items from the 60s!
“Lay-tex”, “Lay-tek”, “Lah-tek”, … I dunno, for some reason I thought LaTeX and LaTec (I think I made this one up) were pretty much the same thing. Like maybe LaTec was the open source version of LaTeX, or something. I mentioned this to Brent the other day (he’s writing his thesis in LaTeX), and we looked it up, to settle it once and for all! And here is what the always-correct Wikipedia says (now):
LaTeX is usually pronounced [ˈleɪ.tɛk] or [ˈlɑ.tɛk] in English (that is, not with the [ks] pronunciation English speakers normally associate with X, but with a [k]). The last character in the name comes from a capital χ (chi), as the name of TeX derives from the Greek τέχνη (skill, art, technique); for this reason, TeX’s creator Donald Knuth promotes a /tɛx/ pronunciation (that is, with a voiceless velar fricative as in Modern Greek, or the last sound of Scottish “loch” or German “Bach” or Arabic “خ”). Lamport, on the other hand, has said he does not favor or discourage any pronunciation for LaTeX.
So they are one and the same! My mind can be at ease once more.
I’ve been remiss in posting because I went to Seattle from Wednesday to Monday (photos). It was an awesome trip, a really fun time with Ian and family. Susie’s wedding was just right in so many ways. And… we ate a lot of food. Yummy food!
Here are some (!) of the places we went:
- Cold Smoked Salmon with Hearts of Palm and Arugula Salad, Lemon Chive Vinaigrette
This was going to be good because there is no part of it that was even remotely questionable in its deliciousness. And it was very tasty, although a little lacking in the texture department… slimy and a little cold-tasting.
- Ricotta Tortellini with Nutmeg, Roast Abalone Mushroom and White Grape Onions
YUM. The best part of this was the abalone mushrooms, which, when I first bit down on a cube, I thought were nuggets of pure fat. Nothing like mushrooms that taste like pure fat!
- Chocolate Pot au Crème with Espresso Geleé and Chocolate Tuille
“Pot of cream”!!! This was so delectable that it made me really sad that it’s rude to lick your plate at nice restaurants :(
Blue C Sushi (in University Village)
Great conveyor-belt sushi, and not expensive. They charge by the subway-line-coded plates. This place is super Tokyo-d out, with videos of Shibuya and Roppongi Hills flyovers projected onto the walls, authentic subway announcements audible from the bathroom stalls, and even those special high-speed hand dryers they have in Japanese restrooms! (boingboing post about those dryers) I had two cream puffs for dessert the first time we went there.
Trophy Cupcakes made the cupcakes for Susie’s wedding. They have peanut butter and jelly cupcakes and, for St. Patrick’s Day, Guinness cupcakes with green Bailey’s icing. And they have normal flavors too. The cake is super-moist and even the huge amounts of icing are highly appetizing.
When I showed Jennifer the Fresh Flours website, she could immediately tell that the baker was Japanese. (“I know my Japanese muffin papers!”) Ian and I split a chocolate croissant and a red azuki bean bun, and I had an Earl Grey with the fattest (hand-packed!) tea bag I’ve ever seen.
Tutta Bella Neapolitan Pizzeria
Big family dinner here. My favorite was the Lasagna pizza (“Pomodoro San Marzano, rosemary ham, fresh ricotta and mozzarella, fresh basil, Grana Padano.” Pomodoro Grana… molto buccismo… TASTY!)
I had a phase when I hated crépes, but I think that was because I had some that tasted like puke when I was a kid. Now, I like them! I had “[something] d’oeuf”, which was a huge crépe with two eggs sunny-side up, Gruyére, and spiced potatoes on top. Also had the best coffee I had in Seattle (from Vivace), served in a French press, with cream in a little glass jar.
These fine cheese people have an open view to their cheese-manufacturing bonanza along the side and back of the shop.
Pike Place Market
All I ate here was dried strawberries and a sample of the pickled asparagus (for Bloody Marys). And I saw a little fish-throwing.
W-H-E-A-T-S-T-O-N-E… bridge!! Wheatstone bridge.
Simple, and very useful!
Wilco has a new album coming out on May 15. I was lucky enough to hear it today; I really like it.
One more thing: my votes paid off.
Things I learned while shopping, mostly to do with hosiery:
- In Calvin Klein hosiery, a 5’2″, 150-lb woman wears the same size as one who is 5’9″ and exactly 115 lbs.
- Hanes makes “Anti-Cellulite” hose, which “Improves circulation, reduces appearance of cellulite” by, yep, being tight, and covering more of your thighs with the thick panty layer.
- Hanes also has a “Revitalizing” brand, which is “Enhanced with natural extracts that refresh legs”.
- You must not always expect a “Nude”. The closest match might be called “Buff”, “Little Color”, or “Le Beige Bare”.
- Flexibility may be required.
- You can get a “multifunctional” bra with convertible straps. This means you can transform it into a halter with just one strap over the neck, or “criss-cross style”, or you can opt to wear it “conventionally”.
My impression of “V” from V for Vendetta:
(Thank you, Ian, for taking this lovely picture of me!)
There is a great video on that page: Joe talking to a balloon, and then two balloons talking to each other.
By far the best thing I learned today was from watching Mark Feldmeier show me how to get my scope to do what I want. I’ve been twiddling knobs on these things for months now, and for some reason only just learned how to get the scope to:
- measure the frequency of a signal
- measure the voltage (peak-to-peak or avg or rms) of a signal
- limit high-frequency noise on a signal
I had always thought that turning the dials on the scope just changed the display parameters, but Mark told me that it actually affects the accuracy of the readings, since you are indeed adjusting gains inside the scope itself! The lesson: If you want to measure values from your signal, make the signal as big as you can on the screen.
I also learned what a Butterworth response is, yeehaw!
If you saw my previous post on Yoplait Whips!® yogurt, you might be wondering if it was just a weird container I got, or if it’s always like that. I was wondering that, anyway.
Today I had my second one — KEY LIME — and it had the exact same consistency as the last one, but probably much less gross since it wasn’t also brown:
And, oh dear, it was SO tasty. No kidding. Like candy you can breathe. Highly recommended.