Showing posts from November, 2016

Site of Global Seed Vault sees shockingly warm temps near thawing point

Svalbard, site of the Global Seed Vault (also called the "doomsday vault") is suffering from record warm temperatures near the freezing point -- aka the thawing point. Svalbard was chosen as the site of the Global Seed Vault for a variety of reasons, but one critical factor is how cold it is:

"...Svalbard offers almost perfect conditions: it is remote and thus safer than other possible locations and it is naturally cold. We wanted to have a facility that would stay naturally frozen without the aid of mechanical freezing equipment. Inside the mountain in the permafrost, we get steady below-freezing temperatures. We mechanically lower the temperature further to about minus 18 C [0 F], but this is much easier to accomplish when you start at -5 C [23 F] rather than above freezing."

If the electricity goes out or the refrigeration fails, the seeds will also still stay cold due to their location.
Associated Press put out an article today about the "shocking"…

Imperfect Reflections Pt 2: The Women of Aflac

American Family Life Assurance Company -- AKA Aflac -- was founded in Columbus, GA in 1955. I was born ten years later in the same city.

After a brief detour to Germany at an early age, I returned to Columbus. The summer I turned 3 years old, my father bought a house there and retired from the Army. I graduated high school with some of the same kids with whom I had attended kindergarten.

A couple of weeks before high school graduation, I got romantically involved with a classmate. I married him about 18 months later and he then joined the military.

In the years that I was a military wife, I sometimes visited family and friends in my home town -- sometimes even for weeks or months at a time -- but I did not really live there again until I got divorced. At about age 40, I returned home and I got my first full time paid job at Aflac when I was 41.

Aflac is a Fortune 500 company and at that time it was supposedly the largest employer in Columbus, GA. So it is no real surprise that so…

Imperfect Reflections Pt 1: My Sister

Indian Soldier: Are you the Lord Buddha?

Dalai Lama (adult): I believe I am a reflection, like the moon on water. When you see me, and I try to be a good man, you see yourself.

-- Lines from the movie Kundun This multi-part series is not about reincarnation nor Buddhism. It is about women who cause me to reflect upon my life due to me seeing something similar about us, highlighted by differences in detail and outcome.

In some cases, these are women who have enough in common with me that it evokes that idea of "There but for the grace of God go I." Though I certainly don't mean it as a put down of them. I just don't know an equivalent phrase that lacks the unfortunate subtext. In other cases, these are women who have walked a path I want or wanted to walk (in some sense) but haven't.

I consider their lives to be good food for thought for my own journey. It is a somewhat rare opportunity to think in a meaty way about both the road taken and the road no…

When Women Need Support Post Election, Huff-Po Gets It Backwards

So, I was doing Bing searches and tripped across this article: The Great Female Post-Election Libido Crash

The title is not terrible. It made my short list of stuff to click into and check out.

The opening is not bad: As a sex educator and body empowerment coach for women, the results are in. Female Libidos have taken a big hit post election; my guess is that women are not alone. The reports that are coming in from between the sheets is well —-not much. With over 400 reports of violence since the election; the nation’s unrest has become the reason for a lot of "Not tonight Dear, I have a headache." Part of what the next paragraph says is In warring nations, one of the first things that usually happens is an attack on the opposing sides female genitals. Between the nation’s apparent dismissal of “Grab her pussy” and the threats against a woman’s reproductive rights — many women are feeling that fear deep in their DNA right now. Then that paragraph ends with a bunch of clap…

My Three Biggest Epiphanies in Life

I was molested and raped as a little girl. Unsurprisingly, I spent my teens and early twenties saying all kinds of ugly things about ALL MEN.

I got married at age 19 (to another 19 year old). A couple of days before our second wedding anniversary, I learned my birth control had failed and I was pregnant. We already knew we wanted kids, we just thought we would have them a little later.

So, the day after my 22nd birthday, I gave birth to a bouncing baby boy.

I really liked kids and I was happy to be a mom. It did not take me long to figure out that if I wanted him to grow up to be a healthy adult, I needed to stop spewing poison about ALL MEN.

Even if it didn't twist him up his first 18 years, the day he turned 18, he would legally be a man and he would have spent 18 years hearing what his mom thought of ALL MEN. It couldn't possibly be good for the kid.

So, that was my first big epiphany.

I had already done therapy in my teens and returned to therapy in my mid twen…

Compliments at work: Not too hot, not too cold, just right

I was one of the top students of my high school class. It helped isolate me socially. People were intimidated or whatever. So, at an early age, I got in the habit of using self deprecating humor to try to put other people at ease. When I was in my forties and working an entry level job at a Fortune 500 company, I ran into the highest ranked woman from my department in the bathroom. She made some remarks that had me going "Whoa! With all your success, your self esteem is still in the toilet?!" Then I suddenly realized she was probably doing to me what I had done to so many other people over the years: Using self deprecating humor to try to put me at ease. That's when I suddenly realized that doesn't read at all like I thought it did and I needed to find a new tactic.I asked around and a career woman I knew suggested complimenting other people instead of putting myself down. But, that didn't seem to really work either.My experience has been that when I compliment o…

Getting started in open source as a non-programmer

Yesterday, I got some really good answers to my questions in this HN discussion (thank you to the people who gave me those good answers) and I began compiling information on a page of this site called My Sandbox. That page is currently linked at the top of this site -- for my convenience, actually, but feel free to make use of it. That page includes direct links to the questions I asked and a short version of my two main questions.

I have been a member of Hacker News for some years. It was clear to me other people were figuring out how to make connections there and collaborate and so on, but, for the longest time, it largely escaped me. A recent watershed moment for me was setting up the Google Group Blind Dev Works.

I tend to be both quite sociable and very helpful. I have struggled for a lot of years with how to hit the right balance there.

Unfortunately, it is all too common that if you are helpful to other people and good at dealing with emotional and social stuff, people wil…

My "Agenda" for Hacker News

Years ago, I showed up on Hacker News wanting to engage people in conversation who are smart and interesting and talking about interesting things.

I showed up there as a divorced single mom with an entry level job I could not get myself promoted out of and I was all "Yay! A forum big enough and full of enough smart, accomplished people that no one will pay a lick of attention to little ole me. I can just TALK to people! As much as I want!!!! And no one will care at all!!!! This is totally awesome to the max!!!!"

I was pleased as punch.

And then things went sideways. It took me a really long time to figure out that I was "prominent" for a woman there and this was the source of a lot of the drama I was experiencing.

Now, it just so happens that I have a substantial skillset that left me unusually well equipped to combat the subtle sexism that was getting in the way of me being able to simply talk with people like I wanted to. I have spent a lot of time and effort…


If you just want contact info: talithamichele is my primary handle on both gmail and twitter and I now have a github account with that handle. You can call me talithamichele and I will respond to that, but if you want to shorten it, it is better to shorten it to Michele. Practical, busy people who just need to know a) how to contact me and b) what to call me can stop here.Folks who need to understand why for some reason can read on.This post is inspired by two recent events. For one, I started a new Github account because I could not remember the login credentials of my little used existing account. I ended up with the handle talithamichele because, of course, Michele was taken and the other thing I tried was taken and I figured I could easily remember talithamichele because it is my email address and I did not want to spend all day on setting this up, so I lazily went with that. The other thing that occurred is that a total stranger emailed me and opened the email with "Hi Talit…