austin_dern (austin_dern) wrote,
austin_dern
austin_dern

You're as pretty as a picture

While waiting for the bus home I watched a taxi stop at the bus stop's entry point -- not just blocking the bus lane, but also the regular traffic lane, a great parking achievement. Out of the taxi came a photographer, a man in a (jacketless) dinner outfit, and a woman in a bridal gown. They posed in front of the bus stop and got multiple pictures taken. Bridal pictures aren't rare -- pretty much any weekend I can find some couple getting pictures taken, but usually around more tourist-friendly spots like City Hall, the River, or Merlion Park. There are more photogenic spots on campus, too, overlooking woods or giving dramatic views of appealing buildings. My theories are therefore that either they first met at this bus stop, or they were eager to have the only guy in Singapore with a beard in their background. If they'd warned me I would have been glad to brush my hair, which doesn't put it in order, but makes it a less unappealing mess.

When I woke up -- yesterday, but I was busy talking about the arrows then -- and retrieved my e-mail, I wandered off to take care of something while letting it download. When I saw the e-mail total ring up past 100 new messages I got nervous and turned on BBC World to see what major news event had happened to bring so much chatter my way. (One of my mailing lists is quite in tune with world news.) Happily the ``volume of e-mail'' measure had one of its unreliable days as an index for unpleasant news. It was just a particularly thick spam cloud. That's not pleasant, but it is certainly better than having something happen that prompts memorials and heartfelt tributes and mediocre documentaries every November 20.

Trivia: AT&T tested its electronic switching system in Morris, Illinois, in November 1960. Source: Telephone: The First Hundred Years, John Brooks.

Currently Reading: Eniac, Scott McCartney. As its [ the Mark I calculator's ] public unveiling neared in 1944, [ Howard ] Aiken began clashing with IBM. Thomas Watson, now the company's chairman, wanted to make a splash with his investment. So he commissioned a designer to spruce up the look of the machine, and it was fitted ... with a shiny cabinet of stainless steel and glass with the IBM livery. Then, at the dedication ceremony ... Aiken took credit as the sole inventor of the calculator. He acknowledged neither IBM's underwriting nor the contribution of the firm's engineers ... Watson was said to have been shaken with anger and became determined that IBM would undertake its computing research without Harvard. I'm reminded of that Sam Moskowitz description of early science fiction fandom politics, ``The membership, which never exceeded the original five, soon split into two factions ...''

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