danalwyn: (Default)
So in python, if you want to copy a file, you can use a function called shutil.copyfile()

But if you want to copy a directory, you use a function called shutil.copytree()

Although this explains how I just spent serious time trying to figure out why python was telling me that there was no such function as shutil.copydir(), I have to ask: How does that make any sense?


Aug. 27th, 2009 08:32 am
danalwyn: (Default)
Somebody send help!

I am trapped in mandatory online sexual harassment prevention training, which, despite the fact that it could be completed in thirty minutes, is required by law to take two hours. And I am currently lacking an appropriate means of committing suicide. Somebody please come shoot me and put me out of my misery.

Maybe if I strangle myself into unconsciousness with the strap on my laptop bag...
danalwyn: (Default)
I have come to the unfortunate conclusion that I'm going to become fat and lazy.

This is because everyone around me seems to find something in physical activity that I don't. I mean, all the other people at work go out and have fun playing tennis, or running 50k, or going on day long bike rides (although why you need a Mountain Bike in Illinois is beyond me. Don't they have a Prairie Bike or something?), whereas I have enough trouble doing a regular exercise routine at all. Part of it seems to be that while they get a rush out of all this, as do some people on my FList, whereas if I run for an hour, I just get tired. I think things would be so much easier if I could say that "I feel good" afterwards instead of just "I'm tired and I hurt".

This is clearly not fair. Obviously I need to sue somebody, but I'm too lazy to figure out who. And find some place to work that's not filled with health nuts.
danalwyn: (Default)
Today is "watch the LHC on the Daily Show" day, also known as "watch John Ellis get discomforted on the Daily Show" day at work. Also, it's "make fun of ATLAS because their detector still looks like it's in pieces" day.

Well, we didn't get off so well either, but what the hell. We laugh at ourselves all the time.

But the hardhats are still ridiculous.

Still sick

Apr. 13th, 2009 11:21 am
danalwyn: (Default)
I think I'm still a bit sick, after four weeks or so of this. I'm beginning to get tired of this.

I'm timing my recovery by how out-of-breath I am when I make it to my new office. Today I was gasping pretty hard at the end, although I did manage to make it up all twelve flights of stairs without stopping. Hopefully this will get better over the next week or so.

Day Two

Oct. 17th, 2008 07:41 am
danalwyn: (Default)
So, the second day of me writing my thesis now dawns. I am inspired, after many long years, to write a paean to my feelings on this momentous occasion, which I shall now post for your reading pleasure:

[deep breath]

Bored bored bored bored bored
Bored bored bored bored bored bored bored
Bored bored bored bored bored
danalwyn: (Default)
One of my work associates had to take Sexual Harassment training today.

"Isn't that Sexual Harassment Awareness training?" I asked.

"No," he said, looking at the paper, "that's not what it says."

So he is now fully trained in Sexual Harassment.

Which means that either I:

A) Pay too much attention to inconsequential wordings.
B) Am probably going to have to demonstrate my grasp of applied violence in short order.

Not My Day

Aug. 6th, 2007 08:46 pm
danalwyn: (Default)
So despite the assurances of the Computing Division, this morning's power outage resulted in the entire critical floor of the Feynman Computing Center crashing, ensuring that the entire day would be spent in recovery mode. It got so bad that they called in everyone, including retired people like me. So I have to start working on fixing other people's mistakes.

So then, after debugging the startup of several dozen Linux systems, I go to talk to the rest of the team. So I'm sitting there, I lean back and stretch, and find a funny bump on my arm. I try to brush it off, but it doesn't move. Wondering what the hell I've done to myself this time I take a closer look and find that the bump is vaguely round and has six legs. What it doesn't have is a head, because that's already buried under my skin and is busy removing nutrients.

Since I can find neither the bottle of rubbing alcohol nor the pair of tweezers we keep for this sort of emergency, I have to walk through ninety degree heat and extremely high humidity all the way to Wilson Hall to the nurse's station to have the damn thing removed before it gets nice and fat.

So no sooner do I get back then I go back to the rest of the team and try to continue the same conversation. Whereupon one of them points out that there's something moving on my shirt.

Which is how I got tick guts all over my shirt. I sure as hell wasn't going to let the second one get anywhere near exposed flesh.

The next time I'm going into that office, I'm bringing a flamethrower.
danalwyn: (Default)
There are five people active in my group - not counting my advisor, who is busy elsewhere. That includes two post-docs, two graduate students and an undergrad.

Over the next week we will be producing three new results, and updating three old results, so we will have six publishable results in time for a conference at the beginning of August.

That's right. Over the next week we will be producing more publishable results than there are people working on them.

I can feel my brain melting.
danalwyn: (Default)
1) MiniBoone says that LSND is totally wrong. Details are still forthcoming.
2) Nobody has found any evidence of supersymmetry, technicolor, multiple Higgs, extra-large dimensions, warped dimensions, or any other BSSM phenomena, meaning that, all-in-all we're still waiting.
3) There is still no interesting physics in the CKM triangle.
4) Anybody and everybody with an APS membership can present their research at this conference. However, cranks and other pseudoscience wonks are now confined to the Poster Sessions.
5) This place has the lowest concentration of women on Earth.

The last point is somewhat striking, considering all the effort that has gone into recruiting female physicists over the past twenty years. It's also present in my home institution, but the relative size of the undergraduate population lessens the impact. It really strikes you when you go into a large lecture and can count members of the female gender on the fingers of one hand. I always feel bad for them, as if guilty by association with their lack of companions, but that never helps. Fortunately, our own field has a strong female contingent, and there were several presentations in my section that I looked forward to from them (and were well worth the wait).

On the other hand, why aren't women attracted to a field where they get buried in unnecessary work as an undergraduate, then treated like a slave as a graduate student, working twelve hour days in the lab where they are underpaid, underappreciated, and their work gets no lasting praise, whereupon they then take their highly valuable technical skills and drudge through two different post-docs, all in the hopes of finding an underpaid job in a tenure-track position, whereupon they will spend the next five years, their social life, and their health in a vain attempt to get tenure, at which point they will be too old and bitter to do anything but complain and unleash the full fury of a ruined, shattered life upon helpless undergrads?

Obviously, it's because women are crazy. Who wouldn't want a job like that?

(I sometimes have to restrain myself when, inevitably, someone asks the question "Why aren't there more women in physics?" from giving the obvious answer: "Because most women are smart". And I'm in physics.)

APS Start!

Apr. 13th, 2007 08:23 am
danalwyn: (Default)
I'm off to APS to give a talk on someone else's result. Go me!

Who knows how this will go...


Mar. 16th, 2007 06:53 pm
danalwyn: (Default)
Number of 14 hour days worked to prepare for Status Report in past two weeks: 8
Number of days remaining until pre-Blessing: 14
Chances of actually finishing analysis: 0.1%

Some days it really sucks being me (most days actually).
danalwyn: (Default)
In half an hour, CMS will begin lowering the Yoke Barrel 0 segment down into the pit at CERN and into position. The entire operations team is probably crapping bowling balls at this point.

To give you an idea of what's involved, this piece took essentially ten years to design and build, and represents millions of dollars of hardware and manpower at work. This particular chunk weighs 2,000 tons, more than eight Statue of Libertys put together, and will have to be winched down 100 meters, a process that will take over ten hours. If even one cable twitches or snaps, that's ten years of work, millions of taxpayer dollars, and a lot of thesis projects, gone down the drain. It's half the future of particle physics, dangling on the end of a taut cable in midair, in the hopes that physics really does work and the entire thing won't just plunge to the floor below.

I don't plan to watch and chew my fingernails. I have a backup thesis after all. But it feels odd to sit here, knowing that on the other side of the world, the cumulation of some people's lives is beginning the most dangerous part of its journey. Hopefully, when next I check, it will be firmly in place.

Else I get a lot of vacation days ahead of me.

Pictures )


Feb. 9th, 2007 06:22 am
danalwyn: (Default)
I've been busy, although what with I don't quite remember anymore.

Sometimes it bothers me that I'm a fourth year graduate student and, for the first time, I now know how to do an analysis. There should be a class where they teach you this interesting, and practical, stuff. But there isn't, so I guess we just pick it up on our own.
danalwyn: (Default)
If I see the words "Floating Point Exception" one more time, in any context, I will not hold myself responsible for my actions.
danalwyn: (Default)
I think all particle physicists should start living in Zulu time, so we don't have this problem that whenever we need to set up a meeting, some poor sorry bastards (like us) have to drag our ass in at seven in the morning, or three in the morning, in order to make the call. It would make our lives all a lot easier.

ETA: Maybe Tokyo time would be better. Then we would piss off absolutely everybody.
danalwyn: (Default)
There are many ways to protect your workplace computer from hackers.

There are, however, very few ways to protect it from people with a truck and a pair of bolt cutters.

I foresee several fairly non-productive days at work in my future, and another equipment bill to charge to Uncle Sam.
danalwyn: (Default)
Of some interest:

I was listening to some of the Lattice QCD guys today at work. They've been having some problems, since Lattice QCD has some problems that are ridiculously computationally intensive (think in terms of hundreds of years on a regular computer). To do them, they need computer clusters that can do a large number of brute-force calculations in a second. Such processors are not commonly available as CPUs, but they do exist, and the cluster they've built uses common, commericially available components.

The next generation cluster may run entirely on PlayStation 3s.

There are days when I love physics.
danalwyn: (Default)
So I came into work this morning and found my computer system in the process of being hacked.

This was a bit puzzling to me since this doesn't usually happen to me. So I went outside to get a drink of water, and then came back in and tried poking around. It took me all of sixty seconds to trace the system probing at my computer system to the Security Scanning group, which meant that Security had decided to take a few hours of their time and probe the entire farm looking for weaknesses. It's their job, but I wonder what I should have done while I was sitting there watching them.

So, a question to my readers. What's your favored approach?

1) Ignore them. Only tell them if they did manage to break in and leave them to do their job.
2) Inform them that you were watching so that they know your security systems and procedures do work, and that they were detected.
3) Blow their ass off the 'net.

I took option 1, but I was increasingly tempted throughout the day to execute option 3, even though I have no hacking skills and probably could not have managed more than a temporary distraction. Besides, it feels wrong to harass people who are doing their job.

On the other hand, it took me some time to assure myself that it was really the security people hacking into me. Time that could have been spent reading internet articles on boarding schools or in other wasted pursuits. So maybe it was good that they did it.

Other news (sort of unrelated, and not like anybody cares):

1) I found a used copy of Suikoden I in the local GameStop on Saturday so I picked it up. Now I only need a PS2 to play it on. Now if only I could blunder into a copy of Suikoden II so easily.

2) I have now one three games in a row on Yahoo Go against stronger rated players. This just presages the inevitable fall as some little 30 kyu newbie kicks my ass.

3) FTP really, really sucks.

4) I am working on my first GAFF review since spring. It's going to take some editing, because I'm really have some funny problems here, but I will endeavour to do my best.


Sep. 10th, 2005 06:46 pm
danalwyn: (Default)
Today I worked shift. This is not a good thing. It does not make me happy. Probably because I'm the useless guy, and nothing I do is very essential or very interesting. Things break, I write email, and nobody cares. If I have to check the monitors one more time...

I did see a praying mantis today. I don't see them very often so I stopped to watch as it stood there. It was, very obviously, trying to hide, and I was all like "Dude, you're a brown bug. This is a blue staircase. You sort of stand out" but it wouldn't move. So I nudged it with my foot, and it still didn't move. So I left, and when I came back later it was standing patiently somewhere else. Hence my conclusion: bugs are stupid.

I am now going to avenge my boredom by inflicting it upon you. Beware, there are pictures behind this (hopefully).



danalwyn: (Default)

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