Archive | September, 2011

Being Social: the Weekend of 09.30.11

30 Sep

October is upon us! Be sure to wear layers if you go out this weekend: it’s meant to be chilly!  Warm up at any Oktoberfest celebration you choose (more here), and/or attend some of the below events:

Friday

11am-11pm
In a continuing tradition, Truckeroo will again be held at the Navy Yard.  Expect a ton of good food, live music and beer.  Free admission!

7-10pm
Urban Evolutiion is hosting another Sasuke (Ninja Warrior) themed nights.  $25 will let you join in the parkour event madness.
730pm
At Kings Dominion, there will be an attempt to break the world record of ‘Largest Gathering of Vampires’.  It’s a bit early for Hallowe’en, but I won’t complain!  Costumes required, and have to follow strict wardrobe guidelines, but they also provide a discount admission of $19.99.
8pm-3am
Get ready for Naughty School Girl Night at Town Tavern in Adams Morgan! This is their third year of hosting such a saucy event, and it shows so signs of  stopping! Plus there’s an open bar for $10 from 10-11pm if you dress up.  Too bad I already have plans!

Saturday
10am-5pm
Crafty Bastards is being held in Adams Morgan. This is a giant bazaar/festival of crafts and shinies. Bring cash. Lots of cash.  Also the DC ‘state’ fair will be held in conjunction with this event, as Hurricane Irene caused them to delay their festivities.
12-5pm
The Royal Thai Embassy in Georgetown is hosting a free Thai Village Experience.  There will be THAI MASSAGES AND FOOD, as well as music and cultural exhibits. (via The District)
11am-4pm
The Taste of Bethesda will provide even more great deals on awesome food. Tickets are sold in bundles for $5 and are used in various quantities to try said food.
 
6pm
OMG MADDEN12 TOURNAMENT! The Town Tavern is full of awesome this weekend, isn’t it? First schoolgirls, now geek football games? FTW, I say! (via Metromix)
Sunday
10am-5pm
Takoma Park is having a street festival, but it will have to square off with the next entry:
11am-7pm
The Turkish Festival returns to DC, proffering more food, music, vendors and cultural exhibits. 
4pm
Michael Moore will be at comes to Sixth and I Historic Synagogue (600 I Street NW) to discuss his book Here Comes Trouble: Stories from My Life.  Tickets
are $12 each, or buy the book for $27 and receive two free tickets.
(via DCist)

How Bitcoins are related to AIDS Research

27 Sep
This is yet another reason why geeks will rule the world.
According to the Sydney Morning Herald, gamers have solved the structure of an enzyme of an AIDS-like retrovirus that had thwarted scientists for a decade.   With this solution, researchers can develop drugs that target areas of these enzymes (i.e. ‘finding a cure’ for AIDS).   Said scientists’ computers were unable to determine the structures of the amino acids that made up this disease’s enzymes, as computers’ spatial reasoning skills are not yet as advanced as humans’.    (via the Daily What)
 
In this case, people were asked to help solve the retrovirus enzyme’s structure through playing a  game called Foldit, where gamers competed to determine the amino acid structures in a puzzle-like approach. “To the astonishment of the scientists, the gamers produced an accurate model of the enzyme in just three weeks,” SMH reported.  The gamers won this game so quickly that they were given actual scientific citation credit in the research paper.   This may have been ‘the first time’ that gamers have solved a ‘long-standing scientific problem’. It makes me proud to be a geek, and I’m sure we’ll see more research like this in the future.
 
Harnessing the power of geeks reminds me of the old screen-saver program, SETI@Home.  Have any of you used it?  The goal was to find alien life by using distributed computing to analyze of packages of radio noise collected from space.  This program was an early attempt by the University of California at Berkley, and was renowned for being able to utilize downtime on computers.  I don’t think it ever worked, and it sounds like the program might be shut down this year.  However, I do remember that I got a digital certificate for my work, and I was able to ‘donate’ my computer’s computation hours toward my High School’s total.  I don’t know if it got my school any prizes or recognition for the effort, but it was worth a try.
District Geek

But I got a shiny certificate!

I believe there are screen-savers that still work on solving problems like finding a cure for cancer and calculating prime numbers to the bazillionth digit.  I’m not sure how much effort is going toward such work nowadays, as it seems computation power can yield profit, as shown through Bitcoin mining.  Called the future ‘digital currency’ by some, Bitcoins are a new form of digital cash that can be used to purchase goods or services.  They can also exchanged with other real and virtual currencies, such as the US dollar and the Linden Dollar.  Bitcoins can -only- be generated through winning a race to process blocks of ‘Bitcoin transaction logs’ which verify Bitcoin purchase, ultimately rewarding the processor with 50 of their own Bitcoins for the effort.  Unlike Seti@Home, these packages are so complex that it would take years for a home PC to solve one block.  Instead, massive computer farms are dedicated to ‘mining’ Bitcoins.
Ok, it’s an 8-bit coin

I italicized -only- above because this process for ‘minting’ Bitcoins is under scrutiny; there is no centralized authority for this currency.  Instead, Bitcoin is underwritten by a peer-to-peer network akin to file-sharing services like BitTorrent, with certificates and public-key encryptions that are signed during transactions ‘to prevent duplication’.  Those blocks of transaction logs that are used to generate more Bitcoins are the only way to verify if the Bitcoins themselves are forged. (Thanks to the Economist.) However, Bitcoin currency exchange systems can be hacked, and many are unsure whether it is worth investing in.  Do any of you mine or trade Bitcoins?  If so, how has the experience been?

UPDATE 9/29: Thank you to all those that commented on this post.  My research on Bitcoins security had holes, and I hope that the edits to the above section correctly address these issues.  Also, now you can buy ‘real Bitcoins‘!

 Tangential economic musing aside, the progress made by gamers and tech geeks alike is impressive.   We’re kicking ass and solving the world’s problems, one win at a time.  Game on.

 

Being Social: the Weekend of 09.23.11

22 Sep
I return, after a pretty crazy past month.  But now we can get back to weekly events update!
It’s the Autumnal Equinox Friday!  Set an egg on its top and enjoy the cooler weather.

(via Beer Tripper)

Autumn also means Oktoberfest: There will be literally hundreds of celebrations, so please don’t take my listings as inclusive, and if you find any that look great, please let me know!  This week’s highlight will be the Oktoberfest at Old Europe, which hosts a party reminiscent of one in Munich.   Beer can be purchased at $5 for a stein, $7 for a half liter and $13 for a liter. Their menu includes lots of wursts and other German specialties.  I think I may need to check this out.  Anyone?
 
If Oktoberfest wasn’t enough, keep in mind that the Ren Faire is still going on.  In addition, the National Book Festival will be held this weekend on the Mall.  This event hosts tons of authors (including graphic novelists!)  as well as sales, readings, autographs, and a ton of things to see and do.  Hopefully it isn’t rained out!  Finally, it’’ also DC Fashion Week, for those of you that care about higher beings’ clothes choices.

Euro-pean ahhahahah

Friday
630-1130pm
Euro Night 2011 at the Embassy of France will occur, where all the European nations show off food, outfits, and music of their homelands.  Admission is $35 and it’s a bit out of the way, unless you are a Georgetown student ;P (Via Metromix)
 
Saturday
11am-7pm
Tour de Bierre will be held at the Wonderland Ballroom, Room 11, Red Rocks, Meridian Pint and the Getaway.  If you like draft New Belgium beers, you can get a beer passport, visit the checkpoints, and get a stamp when you order any New Belgium draft. If you catch them all, you could win fabulous prizes!  Or else, just enjoy the beer.  I don’t know all of these, but Meridian is meant to be pretty good.  I’d say it’s worth a venture! (via WaPo)

(via United Nations of Beer)

12-6pm
Das Best Oktoberfest at the National Harbor claims to be a blowout party.  Look for all the normal stuff, as well as a daily ‘Best Beer Belly’ competition and free beer if you dress the part.  Tickets range from $25-85.  Choose wisely. (via Metromix)
2-10pm
Yep, Blacktoberfest, held at the Navy Yards Park.  Apparently it was also held last year, but I don’t recall it being a big deal.  This year boasts more music and a Nats game after party.  Unfortunately, it’s also a pay-to-attend party with tickets costing $10-$30, while VIP passes are $40-$80 (looks totally not worth it).  (via Metromix)

Yes, I'm a football geek, too

Sunday
Football is back, and a lot of bars are hosting happy hours. If you’re looking for a place to root your home team, there is a bar for every one!  The 51st State Tavern is great for NY teams such as the Giants and the Jets, and there is a small faction of Bills Fans in the upstairs bar.  My Bills buddies hang out at the Laughing ManBayou is host to Saints fans, and 49ers can meet at the Town Tavern in Adams Morgan, to name a few.  And if you’re unfortunate enough to be cheering the 2-0 Redskins, any bar in DC will have their games on.
 
Other than that, I have no idea what Sunday will bring.  Good speed!

It’s a…

12 Sep

snack!  Meet the Ack Bar.  Total geekiness to the max. ❤

Destroy the Empire of hunger!

There is so much awesome at welovefine.com.  I literally had to make myself stop browsing the site… still have a little more work crazy to go!

If you find any wicked shirts, feel free to share in the comments below!

Windows, the Opera

8 Sep

Okay, it’s just an awesome song made with Windows sounds.  But I love it nonetheless.

Work training is still keeping me busy, but it will only last for another week. Regular posts will resume at that time. :3

Bowser Pirate Sets Sail

2 Sep

It’s Labour Day Weekend! Get out and do something! Go to the Ren Faire or geek out on vigigames like League of Legends!  (I’m a LoL newb, so if you play all weekend you can kick my butt.  Note me for my summoner name!)

I’ll fill you all in on my weekend adventures on the flip side, but for now, this art adorns my bedroom wall, along with CatbusSlimu pwns!