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Below are 38 journal entries, after skipping by the 50 most recent ones recorded in Diane Heaton's LiveJournal:

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Monday, June 19th, 2006
8:02 am
A couple days ago, aaangyl told me I should post on LiveJournal more. She also told me that I sometimes seem mysterious, which surprised me a little.

Anyway, I decided I could kill two* by clearing up mysteries about me, on LiveJournal. If there's something about me that you find mysterious, leave a comment asking about it, and I'll either answer or explain why I'm not answering. Or I'll give an unhelpful response.

*Clever idea: people should say "kill two" instead of "kill two birds with one stone." This saves a lot of time.
Wednesday, May 24th, 2006
1:00 am
My underwear was stolen from underneath a car today, but instead of writing about that, I'm posting a retrospective of the last semester, as promised in the previous post.

This retrospective will be in fortune cookie form. Although I just thought of doing this recently, I've been preparing for it since January. Whenever I got a fortune cookie with Chinese food, I saved the fortune, just in case it would come in handy. Now I'm going to consider each fortune in regards to the last semester, and rate it right, wrong, or uncertain.

Eleven fortune cookiesCollapse )

So that's 3 right, 5 wrong, and 3 uncertain.
Monday, May 22nd, 2006
10:52 pm
I think I've graduated from the University of Rochester, and I'm back in Palo Alto. I'll post a retrospective of the last semester tomorrow.
Tuesday, April 25th, 2006
11:13 pm
Naming variables
Imagine you're dealing with a formula which has a special type of variable in it. This variable is specified at the outset as being not equal to zero, which is good, because you need to divide by it as part of using the formula. However, the variable does get arbitrarily close to zero. In fact, you're pretty much taking the limit as it goes to zero. And at the end of this, when you get a result that involves this variable, you'll want to treat it as though it's equal to zero so that you can cancel out some terms. But despite this, the variable is by definition nonzero.

So the variable has an interesting and complex relationship with zero, and it's important not to add in any more confusion regarding this. Bearing all that in mind, what letter would you use to denote the variable?

If you said "the letter O," you have what it takes to be an 18th-century mathematician.
Friday, April 21st, 2006
12:48 pm
+ --------- copy from here --------- +

Dear Friends,

I have just read and signed the online petition:

  "Back to the Future NIKE sneakers"

hosted on the web by PetitionOnline.com, the free online petition
service, at:


I personally agree with what this petition says, and I think you might
agree, too.  If you can spare a moment, please take a look, and consider
signing yourself.

Best wishes,

Ben Heaton

       + --------- down to here ---------- +
Tuesday, April 18th, 2006
9:13 am

I really like ct and st ligatures, the ones where the top of the t curves back to end on top of the letter before it. It's a pretty jarring effect these days, and therefore much cooler than the relatively commonplace f* ligatures.

Unfortunately, Unicode doesn't seem to have a ct ligature. This is for a sensible reason; Unicode is meant to be about characters, not glyphs, and in theory shouldn't be encoding such things. But st made it in anyway, as "character" 64262, and it's too late for them to remove it now. (They probably wish they could.) I'd like to start using it in my LiveJournal posts, but without being able to provide ct ligatures as well, it just looks silly and inconsistent.

Addendum: I prepared this post in TextEdit, and when I used the Find command to search for "st," I found that it correctly counts "st" as a match. That's both pleasant and surprising.
Wednesday, April 12th, 2006
11:26 am
Here exists something I'm thinking of trying out: replacing "is" with "exists" in situations where humans normally wouldn't do so.

Example: "Bob's in the kitchen" becomes "Bob exists in the kitchen."

You'll notice that this doesn't work for cases like "The book is red." It also doesn't work for "There is a negative natural number," because "There exists a negative natural number" is a perfectly normal sentence, though it happens to be false. But when it does work (mostly when "is" is followed by a locative predicate, I think), the effect sounds kind of interesting.
Sunday, April 2nd, 2006
9:50 pm
Today I made a forum for people who are interested in time: http://www.timefan.com/

If you have questions about time-related issues, or you just want to discuss time with some people who share that interest, go check it out.
3:10 am
Happy Daylight Saving Time!
Daylight Saving Time is here! I "sprung ahead" five of the clocks in my suite that don't adjust themselves (the bird clock, the binary clock, my alarm clock, the 8-Bit Theater clock, and the microwave clock), and went on AIM to boast to Pacific Time people that I'm now four hours ahead of them, instead of the usual three.

The really exciting part of this is that for the first time in my life, all of Indiana will be participating! Most of the state is already on Daylight Saving Time as I write this, and the parts in the Central time zone will be following shortly.

My suite seems to have a shortage of time geeks, because nobody here was properly excited when I tried to involve them in celebrating the occasion. Oh well. Anyway, enjoy this 23-hour day. You only get one a year. Well, unless you move around to take advantage of the different time change policies in different countries. But that's cheating.
Friday, March 31st, 2006
8:48 am
I'm feeling kind of proud of what I've done to Mike's LiveJournal. Or maybe ashamed. I get those confused sometimes.
Monday, March 27th, 2006
11:58 pm
I was going to do that LJ thing where you take 20 songs at random from iTunes, post their opening lines, and let people guess what the songs are in the comments. But by the time I'd written out the first ten, I realized that my list was going to be boring. For one thing, there were some really easy ones, but even the obscure ones were mostly songs with opening lines that look uninteresting out of context. And then there were a few where the opening line was the title, which seems to be defeating the point.

So I've gone through and picked out songs which I think have interesting opening lines. Feel free to post here and say which ones you can identify. This way of choosing songs doesn't seem to lend itself to the whole guessing thing as well as the random way, but Google could still probably identify most of them for you, if you happen to be a cheater.

The ones that have been guessed already are in bold, because they're special.

1: "4-Aminobiphenyl, hexachlorobenzene"
2: "Alberto hits his brother on the back of the head"
3: "Ariella, 7:30, I don't want to get up yet"
4: "Ben Ben Ben Ben Ben Ben Ben Ben Ben Ben Ben Ben Ben Ben Ben Heaton"
5: "Found a job at the local high school"
6: "I don't care about the mutant chickens"
7: "I don't like Led Zeppelin anymore"
8: "I, man, am regal, a German am I"
9: "I saw a werewolf with a Chinese menu in his hand"
10: "One more young writer slid away in the night"
11: "Sausage, for example, gets a lot of attention from the government men"
12: "She runs in the shadow of a motorized race"
13: "She's a periodic table of the elements"
14: "The first nickel I ever earned"
15: "There's antimony, arsenic, aluminum, selenium"
16: "This must be the biggest K-Mart in the world"
17: "We're a band of vicious pirates"
18: "Your reflection is this equation in the other direction"
19: "You're sending me tulips mistaken for lilies"
20: "You're wearing your squeaky shoes"
Wednesday, February 1st, 2006
8:22 pm
Sort of a cross between cheese and caramel. Deep brown with an oily surface and smooth texture. Distinctive rich flavor, sweet and somewhat sour. Very good in thin slices.
Sunday, November 13th, 2005
3:18 am
Monday, October 31st, 2005
12:36 am
Basque Deux Laits
(As requested by jrpseudonym)

Nice mild taste, creamy and nutty. Has a strange blue-cheese-style aftertaste, somehow. I like it.
Wednesday, October 12th, 2005
9:10 pm
Dictator/Sitcom Meme
Be a dictator/sitcom character! Go to http://www.smalltime.com/dictator.html, answer the questions as they would apply to you, and post the results!

It guessed: Ross from Friends
But I was: Ben Heaton from University of Rochester
So I added the question: Do you have long hair?
Thursday, October 6th, 2005
1:34 am
Midnight Moon
Made from Dutch goat's milk. Rich and thick, fairly similar to Gouda. The woman at the grocery store checkout warned me that she thought it cost more than it was worth, but I did not end up regretting my purchase.
Wednesday, February 16th, 2005
10:20 pm
Monte Enebro
Strong goatish taste, rich and somewhat walnut-like. Covered in ash.
Sunday, September 26th, 2004
10:17 pm
Buttery and kind of salty. Made from Romanian sheep's milk.

I bought too much, because it was cheap, and ended up throwing out about a third of it.
Saturday, July 3rd, 2004
4:00 am
I bought this because the bright green rind looked interesting. It's Welsh cheddar with chives and shallots.
Monday, May 31st, 2004
7:00 pm
White Stilton with Lemon Peel
Blue Stilton didn't prepare me for this at all. It tastes like cheesecake. Crumbly.
Sunday, April 4th, 2004
2:50 pm
Looks very much like a small cantaloupe - orange interior, rounded shape, even the same sort of rough-surfaced rind. Tastes like cheddar, but nutty and drier.
Thursday, March 11th, 2004
2:17 am
Semisoft, with a bright orange washed rind. Tangy, creamy, and pungent.
Wednesday, February 18th, 2004
4:07 pm
Smooth and distinctive. Coated in a thin layer of ash, apparently for preservation reasons. Truffle oil gives it a rich aftertaste.
Wednesday, February 11th, 2004
7:53 am
Soft and creamy, with a hard white rind.

I heard once that it's supposed to taste like apples, but it didn't.
Saturday, January 31st, 2004
8:54 am
Crumbly and white, with greenish-blue streaks in the interior.
Sunday, January 25th, 2004
9:09 pm
Bel Paese
Semisoft and buttery, with an interesting aftertaste. I think it would have been good melted over something. Maybe I'll try that later.
Monday, January 5th, 2004
3:39 am
Soft and smooth, with a very subtle rind. Tastes a bit like Gouda, but without holes.
Tuesday, December 23rd, 2003
5:20 am
Sort of like a sandwich, using Double Gloucester as bread and Stilton as filling. The different textures work well together.
Monday, December 8th, 2003
2:36 pm
Soft, with large green patches. It's salty and has a crumbly, uneven texture.

Very honest, in that it doesn't even pretend not to be mold. Tasty.
Friday, November 28th, 2003
1:05 am
Soft, almost springy texture. Mozzarella-like taste, sharp and creamy.
1:03 am
The taste and odor are both strong and moldy. Lesser people feared it, but they were missing out.
Friday, November 21st, 2003
11:34 pm
Very rich, kind of buttery. Pale white with a soft crumbly texture. It's oddly citric.
Sunday, November 16th, 2003
3:12 am
Crumbly and soft, with blue veins. Very tasty, but not as kingly as I'd expected.
Friday, November 14th, 2003
9:11 pm
Habanero Jack
Firm, with a strong spicy taste. Keeping a supply of water around was essential.
Monday, November 10th, 2003
12:55 am
Smoked Gouda
Soft and tangy. It had sun dried tomatoes and some cheddar added, which worked pretty well. From Herkimer County.
Thursday, November 6th, 2003
11:51 am
Very rich taste. Thick and creamy. Kind of springy, due to small holes throughout it.
Saturday, November 1st, 2003
11:51 pm
Armenian Style Braided String
It's salty, and pulls apart nicely.
There are black caraway seeds in it. I don't think I eat food with those often enough.
3:29 pm
Cave-Aged Emmenthal
Hard, with few holes. Strong, well-developed flavor. Tastes a bit nutty.
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