Dear lovely readers and commenters: Yes, I am logging your IP addresses. Anonymous commenters: Your contributions are just as valuable as comments from people who have LJ accounts. But I would really love it if you could sign with some kind of name, especially if you're a regular visitor. If you have a pressing need to tell me something while remaining anonymous, don't comment here, because I get your complete IP address. Make an anonymous email account and email me instead.
My given name is Kelly Drinkwater. Very often I go by the name Alioth. You are free to use either, especially if you already know me as Kelly (switching names is hard). Alioth, by the way, is also the name of a star (Epsilon Ursae Majoris). It derives from the Arabic alyat, "fat tail of a sheep" (ha, ha). The name of my journal, Ras Algethi, is also a star name (Alpha Herculis), and is also from Arabic: Rās al-Jathi, "head of the kneeling one". (I like to imagine it pronounced with a hard G, even though that's most likely wrong.) More explanation here.
I also maintain a more serious science blog, The Dendritic Arbor, with occasional crossposted content from here. If you're not particularly interested in my personal life/thoughts/musings, read that instead.
My primary interest oscillates through the spectrum whose ends are bioengineering and neuroscience, occasionally extending as far as psycholinguistics. I'm currently an undergrad at MIT, planning to go on to graduate school and then do research in whatever field ends up seducing me. (I'm a freshman at the moment, so I haven't declared my major yet.)
My secondary interests are many, many, many, varied, in constant flux, and always suffering from lack of spare time to invest. The combination of `many' and `constant flux' makes it not worthwhile to document them all here. There are some constants, though: I read voraciously, both books and internet content, mostly of a sciencey persuasion but with a generous dosage of fantasy and miscellany. I conlang (google it), and identify most strongly with artlangers. Extending from that, I generally enjoy making things (eg chainmaille). I am a proud member of Tech Squares.
Religion-wise, I am formally a hard agnostic (the nature of deity is both unknown and unknowable). But in practice I'm pretty much an atheist. I am devoted to the scientific method and free inquiry, and strongly against creationism / intelligent design and the overweening power of religion in government and similar.
There are relatively few topics on which I hold a specific opinion and hold it strongly. I mostly avoid political discourse like the plague. (In general I'm socially liberal.)