My web site!

Posted in general interest on May 25, 2007 by estiller

Welcome to my web site.  My web site is dedicated to exploring the wonders of NH.  I call this image, "Dreaming of NH". Dreaming of NH

This site will showcase three regions of the White Mountains in terms of recommended hikes.  The hikes will be categorized as easy, moderate and difficult.  Other topics will also include hiking safety and what to bring for backpacking.   I plan to provide useful feedback on trail conditions and other aspects of hikes such as views and water accessibility (don't forget to filter your water!).

One of my favorite hikes is Mt Washington.  There are many trails  to ascend the mountain.  My favorite trail is the Tuckerman Ravine trail.  The Jewel trail is a good one to hike if you like to ascend from a different side of the Mountain and possibly take the Cog Railway down the mountain.  However, on busy days  it may be difficult to find an empty seat going down the mountain.

The URL of my site is:

Happy Halloween!

Posted in German Culture on October 31, 2006 by Blog Admin

While listening to North German radio station NDR2, I discovered that Germans are now celebrating Halloween. In listening to random snipits of the NDR braodcast, I discover that Germans say "sweet or sour" as opposed to "trick or treat". I'm not entirely clear if the German phrase means "if you don't give me something sweet I'll become sour (angry)", if you don't give me something sweet, I'll make you sour (again, angry)", or whether people may give sweets or sour things away. I'm sure the latter would make dentists happier. To make things even more confusing, I find out that there is a movement to designate October 31st, Martin Luther day, the day that he nailed his 95 theses to the Wittenberg door.

In thinking about trick or treating in this coutry, I am often reminded that when I was 3 years old, and did not speak English yet, I refused an apple handed out by a kindly neighbor women. I told her in German that I only accepted sweets. "Ich nehme bloss Bonbons."

The new Budweiser crown

Posted in Industry watch on October 26, 2006 by Blog Admin

Because Budweiser made up the vast majority of the roadside trash that I gathered in my neighborhood (see previous posting), I thought I would honor them with a new crown. In fact, if you add up all the Anheuser-Busch products (Natural Ice, Natural Light, Michelob, and Bud Extra) the total trash items goes from 33 to 40 items. Considering that I picked up 79 pieces of trash total, that means Anheuser-Busch made up over half of all the trash that I found in my neighborhood. It makes me wonder why that is. Are drinkers of other brands of beer more conscientious? Is there something about the brand that attracts certain people? Is there something in the Budweiser message that communicates, "drink me and then throw me out your car window". Well, that brings up yet another disconcerting idea. Given that I haven't noticed any pedestrians carrying beer cans, why are all these people drinking beer in their cars? Is it just my neighborhood? What does your litter look like?

And the winner is..... Budweiser the King of Trash!

Posted in Industry watch on October 22, 2006 by Blog Admin

As a follow up to my previous posting, I walked approximately 1.5 miles in my neighborhood and picked up the trash I saw along the way.  Here are my counts:

Budweiser and Bud light. Beer: 33 cans/bottle.
Dunkin Donuts: 5 cups
Coke: 5 cans
Milwaukee's Best: 4 cans<br />Pepsi: 4 cans/bottles<br />Natural Ice Beer:  3 cans<br />MacDonalds: 3 cups<br />Michelob Beer: 2 cans<br />Chilla Thrilla (Irving): 2 cups<br />The following are all single items: Natural Light beer can, Power Aid, Garcia Vega Cigars,  Coor's Beer can, Coffee Zone cup, Red Bull, Poland Springs, Twizzlers, Buggler Tobacco, unknown beer bottle, NestTea, Minute Maid bottle, Welches grape drink, Sunkist, Spiralbound notebook, Titleist golf ball, Motor oil can, BE (Bud Extra).</p><p align="center"><img hspace="0" src="" align="baseline" border="0" /></p><p /><p />

Budweiser: king of beer or trash?

Posted in Industry watch on October 15, 2006 by Blog Admin

As I was going for a glorious fall bicycle ride, I was ascending one of New Hampshire's many brutal hills, going at a suitably slower pace, when I couldn't help but notice the trash at the side of the road.   As I inspected the discarded remnants of our lives, I was annoyed by the idea of turning this into <a href="">&quot;art&quot; by encasing it in plastic cubes</a>.  I started thinking about how many civic organizations adopt sections of highway for the purpose of trash clean up.  Why are organizations that already work for society's betterment picking trash?  Why aren't the corporations who manufacture the items picking up their products?   Corporations should be assigned a percentage of highway based on the percent of garbage they produce.  This lead me to wonder, &quot;who is creating the most trash?&quot;.  Based on my bike ride, Budweiser is the king of trash!  I'll do a more scientific study of my neighborhhod trash and give you the statistics, so check back.

To blog or not to blog

Posted in Media Watch on October 5, 2006 by Blog Admin

<p>As someone who has conducted research in artificial intelligence, I have been interested in the human construction of meaning in order to find inspiration for creating better artificial systems.  I look to philosophers like <a href="">Ludwig Wittgenstein</a> to help me understand how we come to understand the meaning of a word.  I understand Wittgenstein to say that <u>the meaning of a word is in its use</u>.  What does this have to do with blogging? </p><p><font style="BACKGROUND-COLOR: #000000" color="#ffffff">As a new member of the Communication and Media Studies Department, I am interested in the social construction of reality, given our increasing reliance on Internet-based communication.  I view this as a large-scale version of Wittgenstein's perspective.  Society's meaning (reality) is in its collective communication.</font></p><p><font style="BACKGROUND-COLOR: #000000" color="#ffffff">If we wish to construct a healthy, realistic, and inclusive view of reality, the more democratic our forms of communication, the better.  In this age of intense concentration of media ownership (very few corporations own the means to communicate), it is critical that the world's citizenry have a voice, and blogging is an important way for individuals to express themselves to the world.  I want PSU graduates to play their role in creating our collective reality by being heard on par with other individuals.  Please invest in our students' voices.  It's the best investment you'll ever make!</font></p>

Reviving the Overlooked Voices of the ENIAC Programmers

Posted in Women's Voices on March 7, 2006 by Blog Admin

The recent <a href="">resignation of Lawrence Summers as Harvard President</a> has prompted much discussion in feminist circles.  There is an unfortunate editorial in the March 5, 2006 <em>Boston Sunday Globe </em>by John Silber defending Lawrence Summers' track record.  Silber suggests that creating The Stem Cell Institute, digitizing library holdings, and making curricular reform should override Summers' open bigotry to women and his hostility to <a href="">Cornel West</a>.  I and many women strongly disagree.  The academy cannot tolerate the small-minded bigotry of Lawrence Summers.  Prejudice is a trump card that overrides any accomplishment in the academy.  When this no-tolerance policy is no longer true our society will be lost.  No one expresses better the harm Lawrence Summers has done than <a href="">Jean Bartik</a>, one of the original ENIAC programmers.  I highly recommend you listen to <a href="">her oral history</a>. Enjoy!  Thanks Jean!

Happy Women's History Month

Posted in Women's Voices on March 1, 2006 by Blog Admin

<p>With my first blog entry in March I would like to reflect on the past 12 months.  During that time we have lost at least three icons of feminist and civil-rights activism.  We lost <a href="">Rosa Parks</a>, <a href="">Coretta Scott King</a>, and <a href="">Betty Friedan</a>.  While the world is greatly diminished by their departure, I would like to share some voices that are new to me, and may be new to you as well.</p><p>I am a woman in a traditionally male profession and a feminist, and I recently made a revelation in women's history that greatly moved me. I recognize that women are sorely under-represented in my field (computer science), and consequently always look for affirming information that might encourage women to enter this field.  Despite my interest, I am shocked that I only recently realized this very important piece of women's history.  The first <a href="">ENIAC</a> <a href="">programmers were <strong><font color="#ff0000">all </font></strong>women!</a>  The move to programming was a natural progression for the women who would become the ENIAC programmers, because they had the position of <em>computer</em> prior to that.  You read correctly, these women were computers.  Prior to the existence of computing machinery, people carried-out computational tasks, so one could find large rooms full of (mostly) women calculating things like actuarial tables and missal trajectories.  You may guess that these women were not highly-paid, despite having high skill-levels.  During this time analytical thought (useful for computing professionals) was attributed to the realm of women, and therefore not highly valued.  My how things have changed!  Are you listening grrrrls?  You can do this.  Together let us make this a friendlier field. </p>

Lawrence Summers resigns!

Posted in Sexist pigs on February 23, 2006 by Blog Admin

<p><font style="BACKGROUND-COLOR: #000000">A bit over a year since his inflammatory remarks about women's possible innate lack of ability in mathematics and science, </font><a href=""><font style="BACKGROUND-COLOR: #000000">Lawrence Summers</font></a><font style="BACKGROUND-COLOR: #000000"> </font><a href=""><font style="BACKGROUND-COLOR: #000000">announces his resignation as President of Harvard University</font></a><font style="BACKGROUND-COLOR: #000000">.   The fact that these remarks were made at a conference that focused on increasing women's and girls' participation in these areas, simply made the remarks that much more outrageous and damaging.  Though Summers' sexism is outrageous, let us not forget that Lawrence Summers began his bigoted behavior by hassling </font><a href=""><font style="BACKGROUND-COLOR: #000000">Cornel West</font></a><font style="BACKGROUND-COLOR: #000000">, </font><a href=""><font style="BACKGROUND-COLOR: #000000">causing the prestigious African-American studies scholar move from Harvard to Princeton</font></a><font style="BACKGROUND-COLOR: #000000">.  </font></p><p><font style="BACKGROUND-COLOR: #000000">Women who work in traditionally male fields like many sciences and technology are subjected to enough hostility and doubt.  We don't need a university president proclaiming his bigoted views.  I belong to an email list for women in technology called </font><a href=""><font style="BACKGROUND-COLOR: #000000">Systers</font></a><font style="BACKGROUND-COLOR: #000000">, started by </font><a href=""><font style="BACKGROUND-COLOR: #000000">Anita Borg</font></a><font style="BACKGROUND-COLOR: #000000"> in 1987.  One woman who wrote a message on the list was one of six <a href="">original people who programmed the ENIAC</a>.  What her professional life must have been like!  I can't begin to extrapolate from my experience the insults and injustices that she must have experienced.  Here's to all the science and tech women who persevere to pave the way for our future Systers!</font></p>

Press Freedom and Responsibility

Posted in Press Freedom on February 13, 2006 by Blog Admin

It is not a sign of a civilized society when organizations or individuals act simply because they can.  We are a civilized society because we understand power dynamics and show restraint.  We are a civilized society because we watch out for the underprivileged.   We feed the hungry.  Well, we used to.  We like to think of ourselves as doing so.  Many Muslim nations are not as materialistic as many Christian  nations are.  We are often viewed as greedy bullies, stomping on poorer nations and imposing our &quot;values&quot; (or more accurately our economic structure)on them.  So when the newspapers of Denmark, Italy, France, Germany, and the Netherlands <a href="">cry &quot;freedom of the press</a>&quot; in regards to their portrayal of the prophet Mohammad as a terrorist, it rings hollow.  Especially for France's Soir to publish these images, given France's national intolerance for Muslim culture as expressed through their ban of <a href="">headscarves in schools</a>, it seems like a taunt.   We should fight for &quot;freedom of the press&quot; only to defend words that illuminate oppression and defend the oppressed, not to further empower the powerful.   The powerful already have a significant voice.   I am ashamed that anyone would cry &quot;freedom of the press&quot; to unfavorably portray a Muslim prophet. Pick on someone your own size!