I'm Alex Kearney, a PhD student studying Computer Science at the University of Alberta. I focus on Artificial Intelligence and Epistemology.

When I'm not playing with robots, I hang out with the indieweb community, drink tea, and scubadive.

Hat For Matt

I recently made a hat for Matt. I used some super-soft alpaca yarn that I picked up from an industrial-revolution era wool spinner located in Alberta. I managed to find a colour which was close to the alpaca logo he uses on his site to keep it on-brand.

The pattern I ended up using was a free japanese pattern. I wasn't quite sure how to read the ribbing section, so I used a slip-stick to give it a slightly elongated stitch to match the faux cabling.


Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial


Walking Around Washington

I had a chance to walk around Washington for a few hours with Johannes.

Lincoln Memorial

We first visited the Lincoln Memorial, which was shockingly smaller than I had expected. You grow up seeing all these monuments in art and movies; when you finally see the real thing, it's a bit weird.

It's this uncanny valley that you wander into. You're so familiar with the monument as media short-hand for some idea, that the real monuments seem somehow incomplete. There's these grand larger-than-life expectations of iconic monuments, and then there's the reality of wandering up to the monument which looks largely the same as any other statue.

There's several minor monuments around the perimeter of the mall. This one was one of my favorites, because it's been transformed into a roundabout.

When I die, I want my legacy to be immortalized into a neo-classical traffic circle.

MLK Memorial

The MLK memorial was strange. It's much newer than I expected---completed in 2011. To get to the plaza, you emerge from between a mountain split in half into a plaza. The plaza is wide open space looking over a lake with what looks like the peak of the mountain hurled into the center.

When you approach the slab from the other side you're greeted with MLK's likeness looking off into the corner. The concept is neat. The statue itself seems a bit stern.

"Out of the mountain of despair, a stone of hope."

Vietnam War Memorial

The Vietnam War Memorial is probably one of the most influential monuments on popular culture---It seems to be referenced the most. It's relevance makes sense: it's the most recent war monument. Many people have immediate family who fought in the war.

It's simply a chevron of names cut into the ground. What was truly interesting was the collection of volunteers manning the monument.

These volunteers seemed to predominantly be Vietnam vets. They stood around the monument, helping visitors find the names of loved-ones. They even had cards and a step-stool to take rubbings of the monument, allowing people to take the name home with them.

Jefferson Memorial

The Thomas Jefferson Memorial is almost feels more impressive than the Lincoln memorial.

The statue was placed in the centre of a circular room. Inscribed on the walls were a selection Jefferson's quotes.

Interestingly, there was this quote on constitutional inerrancy which I thought was strikingly poignant, especially with the discussion of restricting gun ownership in the wake of numerous mass shootings. I guess certain legislation gets enshrined as being beyond criticism, even against the intent of those who influenced it.

Tidal Pool

Johannes and I continued around the park, wandering around before grabbing a bite. As the morning shifted into the afternoon, the mall came alive with numerous charity events and political marches.

White House

Before heading to lunch, we made an obligatory visit to the White House. Again, it was much smaller than I imagined it would be. I'm fairly certain it's smaller than the albertan provincial legislative buildings.

Examining the roof-line, there is a hint of grey concrete which seems out of place with the neo-classical mansion. There's what looks like a reinforced bunker on the top of the building. On closer inspection, there was someone standing on the roof with some kind of gun, surveying the surroundings.

People-watching in front of the White House is fascinating. A number of protestors were lining the pavement where tourists were taking photos. A man was pacing back and forth across the length of the White House Lawn with a sign imploring republicans to stand up to Trump.

When I was crossing the border, the homeland security officer gave me recommendations for Washington. One of them was Old Ebbit Grill.

This place is my aesthetic. It has a nice, quiet warmth to it. Wood paneling and dim lighting; hunter green velvet couches; walls mounted with trophies rumored to be shot by Teddy Roosevelt.

After lunch we wandered around town, spending the last couple of hours taking in the streets on the other side of the mall and lamenting the fact we didn't get to visit any of the Smithsonian museums during our trip.


Tam For Dawn

My aunt took me out to Stoney Plain to hit up Jo's Yarn Garden: one of the best yarn stores in Alberta. As a thank-you I decided to make her a cabled tam.

I used some ice-blue yarn with a white heather that my cousin got for me from Iceland. I was looking for something simple, but with cabling to add some visual interest. I opted for the Bramble Beret, which felt appropriately Scottish.


Grad-CRAW San Francisco



Solar Eclipse 2017

I talk about my weekend trip flying down to Wyoming to see the solar eclipse.


Walking in Toronto


Looking for Yarn

I spent my first weekend in Toronto looking for two things: coffee and yarn.


Hogmanay

I went back to Edinburgh for hogmanay this year and it was pretty excellent.


Passau

My last stop on the Danube: Passau, Germany. It's a tiny town which is notable for it's gothic and baroque architecture.


Melk Abbey

The sight I was most excited about: Melk Abbey. It's *very* baroque.


Vienna

The most imperial city of my trip: Vienna.


Kloster Nurnberg

An austrian monastery established in 1114.


St. Stephen's Cathedral, Vienna

A gothic cathedral in Vienna. It's got a really good clock.


Imperial Treasury Vienna

The Viennese treasury. Filled with ridiculous things: The Holy Roman Empire's Crown, one of the largest emeralds in the world, etc.


Budapest

Unexpectedly fun city of the trip: Budapest.


Belgrade

An odd foray into Serbia: It's a weird city with sad history.


Iron Gate Gorge

This is the first lock I went through down the danube. It's got a fairly interesting history.


Tarnova, Caras-Severin

A stop in Romania to say I stopped in Romania. Went to see an oddity: a church built in the 1970s.


Vidin

My last stop in Bulgaria before getting on a boat and heading down the Danube.


Sofia

Day one on my trip down the danube: Sofia, Bulgaria. I walked around some of the popular sights, seeing orthodox cathedrals, Serdician ruins, and an actual yellow-brick road.


Anna and I went to pekoe tea the other day. For the first time I was able to sit down and enjoy tea there. We both had a couple of green oolong teas which were served gong-fu style.


I Graduated With a BSc in Artificial Intelligence and Computer Science

This year I completed my Undergraduate studies, graduating with a first in Artificial intelligence and computer science from the University of Edinburgh.

Unfortunately, due to refurbishment I didn't get to graduate in McEwan hall. As a result, the only time I've been able to appreciate McEwan was during my second year Probability exam. It wasn't really a good occasion to be staring at the murals on the ceiling.

As a surrogate we used Usher hall, the venue most of the symphony and chamber music events are held in.

Given how diminutive the informatics class is, we got bundled up with the school of Engineering. As a result, we had two honorary degree speeches. I forgot what the engineering guy did. The Computer Science speaker got the deal to develop minecraft for the X-box.

I guess that's vaguely interesting.

One of the quirks of the University of Edinburgh is that we don't wear mortarboard cap. Instead all graduates share the same hat. When walking across the stage, the vice-chancellor bops each student on the head.

Fun-fact: Piers Sellers offered to take the hat into space. Given space-ships occasionally explode (and the hat is sort-of important) a university emblem was taken to space and later sewn on the hat.

I got booped on the head with a space-hat.

I was fortunate enough to be able to get enough tickets for both my parents and grandparents. My family came over a couple weeks prior and we traipsed across Ireland and the highlands together.

I had one ticket left-over and Jammy had a free-morning. As a result, I was able to get Jam-Jam, father of polar bears, first of his name, to come along to my graduation.

Through Jammy's coaching, I was able to get booped on the head and collect a degree without falling in front of everyone.


Albums!

Here's an example of a collection of images, or an album. So I've started this as a means of collating a group of related items.

I wanted the extension to be as minimal as possible. As a result, I treat a collection post the same way as any other post: there's no additional information or details associated with a collection. I manage this by making albums that are simply 'responses' to other posts on the site with the in-reply-to field. This lets me give all the individual images additional information, by letting them be their own posts. It's a bit of a hack and I'm kind-of using in-reply-to fields for something other than what they were originally intended for.

It's just a mock up, really, but it does what I need it to do. I still need to figure out what the most sensible way to display all this is. :/