26 July 2009

Montannesotigan, here I come

by Cecily
Big Northern M State destination of the day is Minnesota. That is the one in the middle, of the three, for those of you who have trouble keeping track. It is also the one with Chris and Kate and Trisha and Emily and this guy. Hooray! Friends!

I'll be there all week. The weather is supposed to be much less gross than DC, which is a surprising but pleasing turn of events.

23 July 2009

how everything in DC functions*

by Cecily
Remember when I went to France for that workshop? Well before I went, I got a travel advance because my fellowship was paying for stuff. But then I didn't spend the whole travel advance because I am so thrifty and responsible. When I got back, I owed the school $208.43. So I wrote them a check.

They deposited the check. The funds were withdrawn from my account.

Then last week I got an email saying this:
Your request for reimbursement has been approved. You will receive a reimbursement in the amount of $208.43. This paperwork will be walked to Accounting on 7/21/2009.

When I emailed our secretary to find out what happened, I got an out-of-office reply and haven't heard anything since.

And today I got an email from the Cashier's Office saying my check is ready to be picked up.

I'm not sure what the best course of action is, here. Should I pick up the check, and deposit it, and wait for someone in accounting to notice that they added instead of subtracting? Should I ignore the check and hope someone else deals with the paperwork?

What I do not want to happen is this: I don't get the check (or get it but don't deposit it) and then someone charges me $208.43 anyway.

Chris showed up yesterday when I was in the middle of complaining about this story to Alyssa. He said "It sounds like you are having a codependent relationship with someone." He is right. Stop letting me enable you, Gallaudet!

*For certain values of "function".

19 July 2009

The actual value is probably closer to 3/5

by Cecily
The dumbest idea in Peter Singer's piece today in the NYT magazine is the idea that the value of human life and health can be ascertained via polling.
If most would prefer, say, 10 years as a quadriplegic to 4 years of nondisabled life, but would choose 6 years of nondisabled life over 10 with quadriplegia, but have difficulty deciding between 5 years of nondisabled life or 10 years with quadriplegia, then they are, in effect, assessing life with quadriplegia as half as good as nondisabled life... If that judgment represents a rough average across the population, we might conclude that restoring to nondisabled life two people who would otherwise be quadriplegics is equivalent in value to saving the life of one person, provided the life expectancies of all involved are similar. [my emphasis]

Really? What about if we asked people if they'd rather be a man for 50 years or a woman for 100? If people have trouble deciding, does that mean men are worth twice as much?

16 July 2009

05 July 2009

jiggety jog

by Cecily
We're all in DC again, me and Jocelyn and Ben. Man, I am bored of jet lag. I have spent way too much of the past two months having no idea what time of what day it might be, or where I am, or why I am still awake.

Good night!

04 July 2009

Some Families Play Cribbage

by Jocelyn
This family plays Bridge.

Sometimes when we play Bridge, there are cards and bidding and tricks.

Sometimes, there is just Bridge. Or, you know - a lack of bridge, and some earthworks to fix the situation.

The brave vehicles waiting for their "road".

(note from Jocelyn: the events pictured took place on the way to the beach, after the trip with the rowboats but before the trip to Kruger. I am a lazy blogger, hence the delay. Also this post is written from the Johannesburg airport and there are problems uploading pictures; so the pictures showing the triumphant success of the vehicles crossing the earthworked bridge will have to come later.)

03 July 2009

Here are some photographs of fauna and megafauna that we have recently seen

by Cecily
That's right, I said MEGAfauna. 'Cause they're BIG.

all photos: Mark LoParco


water buffalo

rhinoceros, baby rhinoceros


cheetahs are easily bored



more are at flickr now, and more to come.

02 July 2009

Oh internet, I missed you so

by Cecily
We spent the past five days at Kruger National Park, just over the border in South Africa. The same Kruger as in this famous piece of internet:

We didn't see anything quite as exciting as this. We did see lions and water buffalo and crocodiles, but not all at once and not doing their behaviors in such a dramatic way. Also there were a lot of warthogs and hippopotomi and elephants and monkeys and baboons and guinea fowl and kudu and impala. And so many birds.

My favorites were the little baby warthog piglets. My least favorites were the Go-away birds, who sat in the tree over the deck and screamed at me and threw things at my head. Until eventually I went away to drink my beer and glare at them scornfully from a safer vantage point.

Now we're back in Maputo; pictures eventually.