29 April 2007


She Was a Punk Before You Were a Punk

This is for those few who were grousing at the A.V. Club not too long ago when someone reviewed Aretha's "Live at the Fillmore West" (I still have the Record Club of America vinyl) complaining about her covering of Bread's "Make It With You," and other popular songs of the time. For those who'd complain about Sid's singing "My Way." For those who think that somehow a song can be so full of intrinsic goodness/badness that any performance of the song can bring neither disgrace nor redemption to that piece, a point of view that sometimes seems pervasive, if not perverse.

For those who think that way, here's your sign (courtesy of Matt Welch. And you really need to go there for "the rest of the story"):

Let's hear it for Patti Smith, an American original, a universal (and I don't use that word lightly) treasure.

For myself, the trick is deciding what you like on your own terms, having been open-minded enough to know that those terms are honestly yours, not someone else's or what someone else has told you to think. That trick is the trick of freedom.

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22 April 2007


A Reasonable Man

Here's an interview, from Reason and by Nick Gillespie, with Jonathon Rauch of National Journal. From the intro,
No doctrinaire libertarian, Rauch's thought nonetheless is deeply rooted in the classical liberal tradition. The particular appeal of America, he says, "has a lot to do with this being a society that's creedal rather than ethnic fundamentally and that the creed is life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness."

Some highlights:

Good stuff.

21 April 2007


Thought for the Day

If the Bush administration wasn't prepared to hear people like Senator Reid say that Iraq is lost, maybe they should've adopted policies that wouldn't have made such a mess of things there. Starting with real security for the occupied country.

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20 April 2007



I survived the PE exam. Felt about as empty afterwards as you do when you've prepped for a colonoscopy. Total reamage!

Actually, I think it went okay, but there were two particular areas I felt I should've been better prepared for. (And for the EEs out there, those were power factor and transmission lines.) Live and learn.


Happy Birthday, Iggy Pop

Mr. Iggy Pop is 60 tomorrow, SAT 21 APR 07. Send him b'day greetings here.

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19 April 2007


Update, 20070419

An update on the recent catch-up post:

In other news, I wouldn't watch the Virginia Tech killer's video if you gave me a million zillion dollars. Ugh. I think that'll go on the list with the 9/11 videos as things I can do without seeing.

You probably know a Hoakie. Keep them in your heart.


14 April 2007


Christmas Letter in April

Dear Readers,

I've been busy, as you might have noticed. Got back from Louisville on Tuesday a week ago. That Wednesday, we had our semi-annual Faculty Assembly (photos here). Thursday night, thanks to ERAU's Kevin Snyder, we hosted two outstanding speakers with a program about their coming out stories and LGBT+ acceptance. Spent the weekend catching up on things at home, as well as getting started on some long-overdue grading. (My weakest attribute as a college prof is how long I take to get around to grading some things, usually homework-type assignments. I'm pretty good on getting exams turned around quickly, but homeworks have been known to sit weeks waiting to be graded.)

Had a Faculty Senate meeting this past Tuesday night, where I had to present about some of our meetings last month at our Prescott campus. Wednesday, I got a Facebook group up for faculty and staff to support a new student Gay-Straight Alliance that's forming on campus. (I have been the adviser for GALBA, the campus gay student group, but student involvment there has gotten minimal. The new group has over 100 members already, which is excellent.) (Also, I have no idea how Facebook links will work externally.) Finally got finished with the grading started above on Thursday.

I've been teaching three courses this semester. One, Signals and Systems, is a revision of a class I'd taught previously. It concerns signal processing, filtering, Fourier transforms, spectral analysis, and the like—material near and dear to my heart—so it hasn't been too much trouble.

The other two are what we call "new preps." One, Computing in Aerospace and Aviation, is a new course with no text. I hope to write a text for it after it's been offered a couple of times. This is not exactly material that I'm expert with, so I have to do a lot of research and preparation for each class. I'm learning a massive amount, from how the aerospace industry was pretty much the private consumer for computers in the early days, to details of how safety-critical systems like fly-by-wire implement redundancy, to the communication, navigation, and surveillance schemes proposed to replace radiotelephony, radionavigation, and radar in the air-traffic systems. Good stuff, but, man, my brain is getting full, and the stream of constant deadlines has been challenging.

The third class, Certification of Unmanned Aviation Systems, is a grad class. I figured it'd get a few people and would be offered as a seminar. Instead, since all the grad students in our Master of Software Engineering course need electives to finish their program, I ended up with close to 20 students. We've been reading and discussing papers related to unmanned vehicles and what it'll take to get them flying in the National Air Space. My research work this past year has been looking at propulsion systems aspects of unmanned systems (go figure) for the FAA Tech Center, so my selfish motive in offering this class has been to create a stable of grad students who know something about the issues and could go to work on projects in this area. We'll see how that works out if I can get additional funding from the FAA, who've been dealing with operating under a continuing resolution instead of having a real budget. I've put a lot regarding operation of the class onto the students taking this class by assigning papers to the class, then having teams of students present summaries and commentary on those papers to the entire class, but I have to read the papers, too. The group turned out to be a little too large to have effective discussions, and the seminar style doesn't mesh well with many students' expectations to be able to sit back and have the material handed to them with little active participation on their part.

In both these new courses, I've learned a bunch. I hope the students have, and I hope they can trust that the next times these courses are offered, they'll be delivered better.

Next week, we do project review for the FAA research, and we have some other FAA people in town to talk about unmanned systems. I have my usual courses to teach. But Friday, I'm taking the PE Exam so I can be a licensed engineer in Florida. Not quite sure what bug got into me to do that, but by this time next week, I hope to have passed those eight hours of tests.

Semester ends the week after that. There's a chance I'll be working at Boeing this summer. I'm an alternate for one of their Welliver Fellowships. If someone else drops out, I get to go. Still waiting to see whether the promotion to full Professor comes through. Ought to know by the end of the semester.

At some point this semester, I joined the Board of Directors for NOGLSTP, the National Organization of Gay and Lesbian Scientific and Technical Professionals. (Just need to throw in an 'E' for "Engineers" after Technical!) I hope to advocate for LGBT+ students in engineering and the sciences, see if we can't get some scholarships set up, etc. Also working to facilitate devleopment of a social network for LGBT+ staff and faculty at ERAU. That's separate from supporting LGBT+ students. We had one get together at a colleague's place and hope to do more. I need to set up a mailing list for that using our web site.

Things are great with Mack and me. He got a chance to do a good deal of inspection work on flood-control structures in South Florida earlier in the year. He's been working for Malcom Pirnie for over two years now. We went canoeing on the Wekiva River last month: Gorgeous. Saw five alligators and beaucoup turtles.

We'll have been in this house for two years in July. We'd like to put in solar hot water and solar electric generation, but don't have the capital right now. With the housing market as cool as it is, we might not have the capital any time soon. That's kind of frustrating, but at least we can go ahead and make some plans.

Enough. Hope all is well with all you readers. Thanks for reading and for thinking about us. I appreciate it.

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The Creative Branches (2)

My nephew Sam, who created this rotoscoped image of me, is putting together http://www.samdrawsyourmom.com/, a web site featuring his artwork. It's not really there, yet, but it's got a cool front page.

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The Creative Branches (1)

Mack's sister Tammy, jasperroz on Flickr, is having one of the photos from her Red Shoes photoset used as the cover of a book.

Congrats to Tammy!

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08 April 2007


Where Ya Been? Again.

Last weekend at this time, I was in Louisville, Kentucky, getting ready for the ASEE Southeast Region conference. I was presenting my paper on how the outcomes assessment process we use for our Computer Engineering and Software Engineering undergrad degrees work. Our senior design students won the poster competition for upperclass multidisciplinary design for the third year in a row!

I hadn't been to Louisville since 1982. Used to go up there as a roadie for Actuals, then Factual, (Nashville bands of the time) back then. Much like Nashville, the downtown seemed to have been revitalized by selective building and rezoning. New ballpark, new downtown entertainment zone (Hard Rock, etc.).

It had escaped me completely back then what a sin city Louisville is: You've got your tobacco, your booze (the conference reception featured a bourbon tasting—yum!), your gambling (horse racing). Told one of the conference hosts that all they needed was a "hooker hall of fame," and they'd have the sin market cornered. (His reply: "We're working on it.")

Hit one of the gay bars the Saturday night before. It was bear night. Nice crowd, nice guys.

All in all, seemed like a really nice city.

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