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Science kudos for Obama December 21, 2008

Posted by Sarah in science.
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US President-elect Barack Obama has been appointing some excellent people to advise him on all things scientific during his presidency. His latest appointment, John Holdren, to the post of director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, has been met with particular joy from the scientific community, as Holdren is a physicist and leading expert on climate change. Hurrah!

Read more in The Guardian here, or the New York Times here. Phil Plait has some opinions on Obama’s appointments and the future of NASA under his administration.

UPDATE: Obama’s weekly address on YouTube of 20 December was actually about his science policy and appointments, watch it below. Sounds good!

The Big Vote November 4, 2008

Posted by Sarah in random.
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It’s a day like any other: we all got up this morning, went to work, are having coffees at the office and bitching about meetings – only it’s not quite the same here in the US. It’s election day! I’m a total outsider and it’s very exciting to be able to witness this “historic” election from inside the country. To know that the whole world is watching feels pretty special.

On a lighter note, I found this great blog called the Twitter Vote Report. A number of software developers used Twitter as a platform to collate news about the election today. One cool feature is that it creates tables of waiting times in various cities, with the information coming from the actual voters standing in line. Or you can view maps of voter tweets from individual states.

Anyone can contribute to the Vote Report in the following ways:

  • Twitter: include #votereport and other tags to describe the scene on the ground
  • SMS: Send text messages to 66937 (MOZES) starting with the keyword #votereport plus other hash tags
  • iPhone: We have a Twitter Vote Report iPhone app in the App store!
  • Phone: Call our automated system at 567-258-VOTE (8683) to report about conditions, using any touch-tone phone

They also have a telephone line with a human being on the line to record your experiences. So call: 1-866-OUR-VOTE, Tweet, text or get the iPhone app!

IPhone mystery illness October 25, 2008

Posted by Sarah in me.
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Since arriving in the US last week my IPhone hasn’t been working properly and it’s really been bugging me. Since a couple of days I’ve figured out what the problem is – but I haven’t heard about it before and I’m sure it’s not supposed to happen.

Essentially the screen goes white and the phone reboots itself – irrespective of whether I’m actually using it at the time. Sometimes I could use it for half an hour before it would reboot, sometimes just 10 seconds. Very annoying!

I tried everything I could think of: a full factory reset, losing my applications, restarting etc all to no avail.

Now I’ve discovered that it works perfectly in airplane mode, i.e. without its phone funcionality but with wifi. So the problem is clearly related to the US mobile phone networks. I’m happy that I can use my phone again, albeit as an iPod touch, but I’m very curious about this problem. Anyone have any similar experiences or ideas?!