Betsy Devine: Funny ha-ha and/or funny peculiar

Making trouble today for a better tomorrow…

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Entries from March 2009

Newton, wisely, did the thought experiment on “forever voyaging”

March 28th, 2009 · Comments Off on Newton, wisely, did the thought experiment on “forever voyaging”

Newton in Trinity College antechapel

Originally uploaded by betsythedevine

But isn’t a week of prelude to tardy springtime, really, worth any amount of jetlag?

In Cambridge (UK, not MA) we visited Isaac Newton’s apple tree; in Copenhagen, we wandered the house of Niels Bohr. More images, and perhaps more coherent writing, on my Flickr photos. I am so jetlagged that I am now almost as pale as Trinity College’s marble Newton, the statue that Wordsworth described in his Prelude, Book 3:

And from my pillow, looking forth by light
Of moon or favouring stars, I could behold
The antechapel where the statue stood
Of Newton with his prism and silent face,
The marble index of a mind for ever
Voyaging through strange seas of Thought, alone.

Newton voyaged alone, true, but his notes on his experience have let many others of us follow after him.

Tags: England · Science · Travel · Wide wonderful world

High tech, high Ada-Lovelace-quotient Lisa Williams

March 23rd, 2009 · Comments Off on High tech, high Ada-Lovelace-quotient Lisa Williams

These boots were made for Austin

Originally uploaded by betsythedevine

Ada Lovelace Day has arrived!

Picking just one “woman excelling in technology” is a bit hard, because there are quite a few whom I admire, e.g.

But I pick tech-trepreneur Lisa Williams aka blogger Lisa Williams, and not just because I have a photo of her wearing SXSW cowboy boots.

Lisa started with major computer-geeky creds and then built up and out, to test and evangelize (6 years at least worth of) new good stuff such as RSS and Bloggercon and podcasting. She has a good eye for what will be exciting, and she puts lots of skill and energy into making good things happen.

Lisa also writes about life in the geeky-young-mom lane, e.g. annotating her desk and giving advice to panelists e.g. “Bring one story to tell” but also “The best panelists are the sharpest listeners.”

More recently, she turned her tech skills to creating H20town, a hometown online newspaper. Being Lisa, she then branched out to find others like herself and built Placeblogger, mixing high-tech with low-tech can-do in equal proportions. Now she and Susan Mernit are teaming up, so who knows what the future holds for all of us?

In conclusion, I’m wishing a Happy Ada Lovelace Day to all of you high-tech high-flyers of every gender, but especially to Lisa Williams.

Tags: Boston · geeky · Metablogging · Wide wonderful world

Frank Wilczek with hat and universe

March 6th, 2009 · Comments Off on Frank Wilczek with hat and universe

Frank Wilczek with hat and universe

Originally uploaded by betsythedevine

The Foundational Questions Institute (FQXi) is sponsoring a conference on Grand Cayman Island, an excellent way to lure a lot of intelligent and very busy people to come spend some time together talking about foundational questions. They also have a truly interesting blog.

Furthermore, the beach at night is a good place to think about cosmological mysteries, even though it can be very windy, as Alan Guth discovered!

If you use Twitter, I strongly suggest that you start following LaBlogga, aka Melanie Swan. I just started, and I already feel more intelligent than I was yesterday.

Now, off with my computer and back to the fresh air! (Since I’m not invited to this particular conference, getting some beach time is the most intelligent thing for me to do here.)

Tags: Frank Wilczek · Science · Wide wonderful world

Not just because he wants to use my photo…

March 3rd, 2009 · Comments Off on Not just because he wants to use my photo…

Leonardo’s helicopter

Originally uploaded by betsythedevine

…of Leonardo’s helicopter — John Graham-Cummings’s The Geek Atlas sounds like a fascinating travel guide. To quote its description at O’Reilly Books:

With this unique traveler’s guide, you’ll learn about 128 destinations around the world where discoveries in science, mathematics, or technology occurred or is happening now. Travel to Munich to see the world’s largest science museum, watch Foucault’s pendulum swinging in Paris, ponder a descendant of Newton’s apple tree at Trinity College, Cambridge, and more. Each site in The Geek Atlas focuses on discoveries or inventions, and includes information about the people and the science behind them.

Woo hoo, sign me up for the entire tour!

Tags: geeky · Science · twitter · Wide wonderful world