unbibium: (Default)
ok, i got internet in my hotel room and I don't know for how long

I'm in DC and having an OK time. People remember me.

I participated in some research, and might sign up for some clinical trials.

They keep having late night get togethers at loud bars. I think I'll put my foot down and not go to any on Saturday night.

Apparently in DC, hotel rooms have all kinds of obscure news channels, like NHK World, and RT. But they have the normal ones. I'm starting to think that HLN is almost worse than Fox News. Apparently Lindsay Lohan's outrage over going to prison counts as "Breaking News" after midnight.
unbibium: (r-pentomino)
So yesterday afternoon was spent in North Phoenix at a local NOAH meeting. Albinism isn't very common, so local meetings are small, and this one consisted in just a bunch of people meeting in someone's house.

I was the only person with albinism over 20 there. There were two boys, aged 6 and 12, and four girls, ranging in age from 8 to 18, and their parents. And one baby who showed up after I left. The six-year-old was hyper, but he's six. Everyone else was OK, and seemed a lot more well-adjusted than I was at that age. The teenage girls were all in band, and had large-print music sheets, which I didn't know existed.

The mainstream media I've been absorbing lately would lead us to believe that kids are rotten, that the Jonas Brothers are turning our girls into Britneyized purity-whores, that reality TV is turning our boys into scheming douchebags, but the ones I seen were OK. Or it could be that albinism turns you into a square, and that's why I got along with them so well.

But I was able to impart my wisdom of how to survive four feet from the sun, and how they're already probably doing better than I had, just by getting a monocular before the age of 24. I'll probably be seeing them all again at the Bowl-a-thon that we're finally going to have in June.

I will say that I wish that, instead of getting out of my P.E. credit requirement, I had instead taken a band class to meet that requirement.
unbibium: (Default)
Sunday morning, after breakfast, there was one table full of people who stayed a little longer than everyone else. And they were discussing the problems people with albinism are having in Tanzania, a country of 39 million people.

Not only are they having the usual trouble African countries have with availability of sunscreen, and the usual developing-countries problem of not enough hospitals for treating skin cancer, but every albino living in the country is living under the unique threat that some witch doctor may attempt to harvest their body for medicinal purposes.

I listened for as long as I could, but as the description of the problem became clearer to me, I became more aware that the problem is cultural, and therefore difficult to solve effectively. We can attempt to build a support network, like we have in the United States, which they certainly need, and I'd like to help with that. But as long as the people of that country are susceptible to both the belief in that kind of medicine, and the willingness to take lives to obtain it... well, that's a grim situation.

And I got Standard Skeptic's Frustration, much like every skeptic gets when they see how long faith healers and psychic surgeons can operate prosperously here in the United States. Except it's not just the patients that are dying.

The other science-minded person at the table, a doctor that studies genetics, is familiar with the problem, and his proposed solution is a memetic one: write a folk song that turns a martyred albino into a sympathetic character, or at least a human one, and hope it spreads. I don't know if an American can write the Tanzanian equivalent of Chocolate Rain, but I wish that cause luck.

This probably contributed to my post-conference bum-out.

red eye.

May. 9th, 2007 11:29 pm
unbibium: (Default)
My picture with Penn.  At least the red eye removal in iPhoto worked, a little.

I have no skill for posing for pictures.  I usually don't even smile.  And look at the ridiculous angle I cocked my head at for the THEM formal dinner picture.  I guess I know that the picture will probably be ruined by albinism-enhanced red eye, and don't bother actually trying to look good when cameras are around.  By contrast, look at [livejournal.com profile] thesawg who's in front all the way on the right.  He could use this for an online personal ad, if it weren't for the 30 other people in the picture.

What I really need is some way to put some extra distance between the lens and the flashbulb.  This is the only way I can avoid red eye, and it also has the side effect of casting the light at a better angle, so people don't get that moon-faced look.
unbibium: (Default)
When normally sighted people play a card game like Munchkin or Chez Geek, how often do you find yourself scanning other players' face-up cards during the game?

What such games require the least amount of this sort of thing?

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