Ball Sq Pathways

With the Red Line shut down north of Kendall for repairs I've been walking to the Green Line at Ball Sq. It's definitely a slower commute, but it's not bad. Except for 150 painful feet.

Here's how I walk to the station (240ft):

And here's what I want to do (90ft):

Krona Compare

Cross-posted from my NAO Notebook.

When trying to understand how metagenomic samples differ I often want to drill down through the taxonomic hierarchy, comparing relative abundances. I've tried several tools for this, existing and custom, and haven't been all that happy with any. For most purposes, the tool I like most is Krona, which shows an interactive chart. For example, here's Krona showing the results of running the NAO's v1 metagenomic sequencing pipeline on the unenriched Hyperion Treatment Plant samples from Rothman et al. 2021:

Turning Your Back On Traffic

We do a lot of walking around the neighborhood with kids, which usually involves some people getting to intersections a while before others. I'm not worried about even the youngest going into the street on their own—Nora's been street trained for about a year—but we have to be careful about what signals we send to cars. Someone standing at an intersection facing traffic looks to a driver like they're waiting for the opportunity to cross.

Waving drivers to continue doesn't work well: they tend to slow down significantly, and many of them will wave back in a misguided attempt at "no, you first" politeness. Instead, what seems to work well is turning your back to the street:

Stacked Laptop Monitor Update

In the spirit of coming back to things once I have more experience with them, I've continued to be very happy with my stacked laptop monitor. I just got back from a week of touring and then vacation with Julia's family, and I used it almost every day. Being able to use my laptop comfortably nearly anywhere is pretty great.

Child Handrail Returns

When our oldest was a toddler they were too short to reach an adult-height handrail, so I made a small one:

Comparing that picture to the one from seven years ago, you'll notice that I've added small bits of wood running from the top of each section to the wall. These are "returns", and make it less likely someone will get caught and trip. This wasn't in response to anything going wrong, just noticing that often handrails have returns and that the need for them is stronger the lower down they are. It would be even better to have them on the bottom of each section as well, but tripping down stairs is enough worse than tripping up that I didn't get around to that.

Spark in the Dark Guest Spots

A few months ago I wrote about how it's hard to get started playing for electronic ("techno") contra. If all the events are bigs special things and organizers only want groups who can carry a the whole evening, how do you get to where you can do that?

Julie Vallimont (Double Apex, Delta Wave, Cosmic Echo, Firecloud, Buddy System) pioneered this livetronica contra style, and resolved this question by putting in an absolutely absurd amount of effort before playing her first Double Apex gig. But, despite there being a lot of people who would enjoy dancing to this kind of music more often, we can't just will talented and dedicated musicians into existence. There need to be opportunities for people to try it out: is this something I enjoy doing? How does the crowd react to my various ideas? What works well in this context?

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