Thursday, November 30, 2006

Today my post on CommerceNet's blog: email standards waves. A capsule summary:
  • Internet-scale delivery, addressing and use of domains.

  • Standards to access email on the server, and to use multimedia and non-ASCII characters within the body of the email.

  • Security

  • Internationalization, mobile access, and more security.

Monday, November 27, 2006

New on my knitting page today, a poncho designed by a 7-year-old girl, which I knit (and crocheted) out of the yarns she and her mom provided. It was fun filling in the necessary details within the strict design parameters she provided.
Peacock kid's poncho.
So much fun knitting for girls -- frills and waves and sparkles and fuzzy fringes!

Friday, November 17, 2006

Yesterday on the CommerceNet blog I ranted about the concept of "HTTP compliance", one way in which that's a very weak concept, and how worrying too much about compliance can limit a protocol design team from making needing improvements.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

I finished another baby blanket a couple months ago, but I didn't want to post it until I'd given it away. It's my own simple lace design and was fun to make -- much of it got done during a long-weekend visit to my parents'.

Next up on the needles: lace socks, lace poncho commissioned by young friend, and lace reproduction 1920s baby bonnet. So much lace!

Monday, November 13, 2006

A while back I posted about whether "feminist" was a dirty word, asking who considered themselves not to be a feminist because of the connotations of the word. I was sort of thinking at the time that surely most people I knew approved of the advances made so far under the name of feminism so why reject the label? Since then, I polled a few friends and colleagues informally (not as many as I intended; I've been busy).

I didn't ask men this question directly -- I don't think there's much downside when a man to call himself a feminist. Nonetheless I appreciate the input I got, and that all the men who commented here or in-person describe themselves as feminists. Thanks guys! Of course this isn't a universal, but probably an artifact of who volunteered this opinion. I didn't mention it in my original post but it was a male family member who (despite having very liberal, equality-oriented views himself) strongly objected when I said my views might be feminist! He likes me personally and was distressed when I labelled my views -- which he agreed with -- with this nasty word.

Of the women I polled, several said they do indeed consider themselves feminist (I can't remember them telling me this before though I've known many of them for years), and a couple said so quite strongly. Perhaps defensively re-appropriating the label? It's hard to tell. Of course they had good reasons for calling themselves feminist and some interesting discussions ensued.

Finally, three female friends did *not* call themselves feminists. I found their answers the most interesting.

M: "I don't know. I never really thought about it."

L: "I don't think it describes my positions well. I think of myself as somebody who believes all people should be treated equally, rather than that women in particular need different treatment."

S: "The people I know who call themselves feminist talk about issues all the time, and are obsessed with little things like who cooks dinner each night."

All these women have active tech careers, I think they're all pro-choice, and I think maybe S. does cook dinner each night. Anyway, I appreciated their answers and didn't have anything to particularly convince them of but it sure led to a few interesting conversations around the water cooler and in friends' living rooms.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

How do you wash grapes?

I got food poisoning a couple weeks ago, during an otherwise lovely trip to Portugal. While it's probably pointless to try to figure out how, I do wonder about a bunch of things.
  • Generally, how long before food poisoning takes effect? Must the cause have been the same day I got sick? The day before? Within a couple hours? The meal I was eating when I started feeling sick was a hotel buffet. Nobody else got sick.
  • I drank local water, because locals do; I drink a lot of water and it's not always easy to buy a new bottle while it is often easy to refill. How likely is it that local water is fine for locals but not for visitors who may not be adapted to the local endemic bacteria? Is it possible that the rainstorms and small floods during my week in Portugal (apparently the only week of rain the whole year) may have worsened the water supply during my visit? I had been drinking local water for a week before I got sick.
  • I shared from a plate of steamed clams a day or two before getting sick, and the first one I bit into clearly had ice crystals. How did one "steamed" clam stay half frozen? Did they toss it on at the end? Nobody else who shared the clams got sick.
  • I bought some grapes from a small fruit stand. I washed them all and kept them in my hotel room for a few days. I certainly didn't get sick on the first bunch of grapes I ate. Is it possible that I didn't wash them well enough and the bacteria grew over time? How do you wash grapes?
Somehow it's that last question which bugs me, seeming so simple. How do you wash grapes? They're fragile and nearly impossible to scrub or even rub individually. Should one soak them? Spray them from several angles with a decent pressure spray? Put them in a colander and allow water to run over for a longish period of time? Most search hits for "how to wash grapes" say simply to "wash carefully" just before eating (rather than before storing), but a few food sites mention "cold running water" or "gentle spray". Is this any good at all besides rinsing out a bit of grit?

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