Maker Faire

This weekend I went to Maker Faire. It has been held 2007, 2008 and 2009 in San Mateo. There was also a Maker Faire this year in Newcastle, UK. Austin, Texas has had Maker Faires in 2007 and 2008.

Maker Faire has everything from large Tesla coils and Flame exhibits to robotics and do it your self electronics to exhibits on spinning wool into yarn and making costumes. Maker Faire has some art projects that have been at Burning Man as well as groups such as Flaming Lotus Girls. There are several hands on things; as well as inexpensive classes and also children's activities. I spent most of the day Saturday there. It was a load of fun. Plus I bumped into many friends there.

I recommend Maker Faire.


Prop 8

It was announced today that the California Supreme Court has upheld Proposition 8; the ban on same-sex marriage.

I was disappointed when I heard the news. It made me feel sick inside. It seems that people never stop wanting to use government to create special privileges for one group at the expense of another. In this case it is gays and lesbians that are being discriminated against. I wonder who it will be next.

When will people realize that some things are just too important for government to be messing with them? In addition to separation of church and state I think we need separation of marriage and state


Weekend, Baycon and etc.

I spent a lot of the weekend doing various personal errands. And there was the work emergency due to a server not working; this resulted in my cell phone going off at about 6:00AM Sunday morning with an alert. I jumped out of bed to deal with it and another person from work called me about it so we worked on it and got everything working again. Unfortunately I was tired Sunday and Monday due to the sleep interruption.

When I was not working or running errands I spent some time Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday hanging out at Baycon; a local SF convention. It is a good place to get together with friends. The art show was good and I bought a couple of inexpensive pieces. Baycon was held in the Hyatt Regency in Santa Clara. The Sushi restaurant is good. I had the buffet in the restaurant on two occasions; on Saturday it was OK; on Monday Lunch is was better than average with Poached Salmon; steamed vegetables, rice pilaf and a few other items. The salmon was very good; not overcooked. I avoided eating any of the several cakes; looked like too much gooey sugary frosting more my taste.

I bumped into someone I worked with years ago who is now running a new book company called HappyAbout.info. Appears that they are using ebook and online sales.


Signs in Chinese and English

I happened upon a page of Chinese/English signs. The URL is:


I particularly enjoyed the No Smoking sign. Sometimes changing the wording on a common phrase in enough to get people's attention.


Science and politics

Something that bothers me is the tendency by some people to improperly entangle two different spheres of activity; science and politics. I get annoyed when people try to link a political theory to the debate on a science question.

Of course the issue most prominent today is Climate Change. It makes no sense to me for someone to say that having a Republican, Democrat, Green, Libertarian or other political theory or position then necessarily indicates a how a person stands on Climate Change questions except to say that any study should be done with openness, transparency and integrity. Climate Change covers may questions ranging from the magnitude and direction of change, the role of human activity, the role of volcanic activity under the Artic, the role of solar activity, ocean chemistry and currents, cloud and rain patterns and so forth. These are topics to be studied by meteorologists, climatologists, physicists, chemists, vulcanologists, geologists and similar disciplines. There is no more a Whig, Tory, Republican, Democrat, Green or Libertarian, etc. position on Climate change than there is a Whig, Tory, Republican, Democrat, Green, Libertarian, etc. position on String Theory.

Bay Area Skeptics Meeting

Over the weekend I went to the Bay Area Skeptics meeting. The gathering was held at the Gordon Biersch Brewery Restaurant in Palo Alto. The building is a old high and stately structure with a high ceiling and was originally the site of the Bijou Theater. The restaurant opened in 1988 and was the first of the Gorden Biersch Brewery Restaurants. One downside to the building is that it does not have air-conditioning and last weekend had higher than normal temperatures.

The meeting was a simple unstructured get together. There were between 12 and 15 people in the group as people came and left. Generally the conversation was interesting. There were a couple of cases of people who thought they knew about something but generally someone else was there to give them the proper information. Overall it was interesting and I might attend more of these get together meetings.


New Star Trek Movie

After visiting the San Jose Museum of Art I went to the AMC Mercado in Santa Clara and bought a ticket for the new Star Trek movie. They have an IMAX screen and I decided to see it on IMAX. Now this is not the large curve screens that is the image that many people have of IMAX. It is just a larger flat screen. But is it larger so I spent the $13.75 to see it. I got my ticket a couple of hours in advance because I expect the showing to sell out (it did according to what I heard). Then I grabbed by computer from my car and went to the World Wraps restaurant near the theater ate a very tasty Thai Chicken wrap while reading a couple of novelettes on my laptop. The two that I read are Hugo award finalists.

The movie was better than expected. In my opinion the story of the young Kirk just did not hold together well and I think could have been better written; it was just a bit too much over the top. However once the movie shifted to Star Fleet Academy the writing seemed to get tighter and better structured.

I will not give away any of the key points of the movie. One thing which the movie did well was demonstrate a sensibility to the original Star Trek series and to Roddenberry's vision. I recommend the movie.

Warhol Exhibit

I went to the San Jose Museum of Art to see the Andy Warhol exhibit; it was great. The exhibit had works from the Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh, While many of the images have been reproduced in books, magazines and online; seeing them full size is great.

The exhibit is generally well done with good thematic positioning of the works. The exhibit runs through May 31, 2009. I recommend seeing it if you can.


Restaurant and Lounge Recommendations

On Friday my friend Nancy took me out for dinner. We went to Bodrum Cafe in Mountain View at 383 Castro St. The food is excellent Mediterranean cruise. Very tasty. Great Service. Definitely a place worth a return visit.

Saturday night at the Hedley Lounge to relax and listen to some live jazz. The Hedley Lounge is located in the DeAnza Hotel in downtown San Jose. The DeAnza Hotel was upgraded and few years ago and is very nice. The Hedley has a fine staff and is a great place to spend an evening.