August 31, 2005
The United Airlines magazine "Hemisphere" for August 2005 had a crossword puzzle in which "provide (with)" was the clue for ENDUE. I thought they had conflated two words, but the OED says it's genuine, at least through 1860. So consider ENDOW : ENDUE : IMBUE. Even better, ENDUE has a variant: INDUE.
From Eisenbud's Commutative Algebra
This replacement of complex but constructive arguments by simple nonconstructive ones goes under the name of "elimination of elimination theory" (Weil, in his influential book [Foundations of Geometry, 1946, pg 31] says, "The device that follows..., it may be hoped, finally eliminates from algebraic geometry the last traces of Elimination-Theory...") It has been pointed out, notably by Abhyankar, that one loses interesting information if one ignores the constructive methods. He suggested in a famous poem that one should rather
Eliminate, eliminate, eliminate
Eliminate the eliminators of elimination theory
Whatever the merits of the this argument, the advent of computers has renewed interest in finding efficient algorithms for performing elimination. The most effective algorthms do not follow the older methods, but are based on the theory of Groebner bases, explained in Chapter 15.
[Grothendieck's Generic Freeness Lemma]...
The proof is a classic example of a technique Grothendieck called dévisage (English: "unscrewing". After one application of the recursive step of the argument, we are back to the same spot but one dimension lower).
August 30, 2005
Intelligent design & physics cranks
From an Op-Ed article in today's NYT, "Show Me the Science," by Daniel C. Dennett
Fortunately for physicists, there is no powerful motivation for such a band of mischief-makers to form. They don't have to spend much time persuading people that quantum physics and Einsteinian relativity really have been established beyond all reasonable doubt.
That's easy for Dennett to say, since he's no physicist. But my impression is that plenty of physicists get deluged by cranks and their manuscripts, no?
August 29, 2005
Mural behind the midtown Starbucks
Sure beats the Six Bad Poems, which are nearby.
August 28, 2005
Message to New Orleans
DEVASTATING DAMAGE EXPECTED
A MOST POWERFUL HURRICANE WITH UNPRECEDENTED STRENGTH...RIVALING THE INTENSITY OF HURRICANE CAMILLE OF 1969.
MOST OF THE AREA WILL BE UNINHABITABLE FOR WEEKS...PERHAPS LONGER. AT LEAST ONE HALF OF WELL CONSTRUCTED HOMES WILL HAVE ROOF AND WALL FAILURE. ALL GABLED ROOFS WILL FAIL...LEAVING THOSE HOMES SEVERELY DAMAGED OR DESTROYED.
THE MAJORITY OF INDUSTRIAL BUILDINGS WILL BECOME NON FUNCTIONAL. PARTIAL TO COMPLETE WALL AND ROOF FAILURE IS EXPECTED. ALL WOOD FRAMED LOW RISING APARTMENT BUILDINGS WILL BE DESTROYED. CONCRETE BLOCK LOW RISE APARTMENTS WILL SUSTAIN MAJOR DAMAGE...INCLUDING SOME WALL AND ROOF FAILURE.
HIGH RISE OFFICE AND APARTMENT BUILDINGS WILL SWAY DANGEROUSLY...A FEW TO THE POINT OF TOTAL OLLAPSE. ALL WINDOWS WILL BLOW OUT.
AIRBORNE DEBRIS WILL BE WIDESPREAD...AND MAY INCLUDE HEAVY ITEMS SUCH AS HOUSEHOLD APPLIANCES AND EVEN LIGHT VEHICLES. SPORT UTILITY VEHICLES AND LIGHT TRUCKS WILL BE MOVED. THE BLOWN DEBRIS WILL CREATE ADDITIONAL DESTRUCTION. PERSONS...PETS...AND LIVESTOCK EXPOSED TO THE WINDS WILL FACE CERTAIN DEATH IF STRUCK.
POWER OUTAGES WILL LAST FOR WEEKS...AS MOST POWER POLES WILL BE DOWN AND TRANSFORMERS DESTROYED. WATER SHORTAGES WILL MAKE HUMAN SUFFERING INCREDIBLE BY MODERN STANDARDS.
THE VAST MAJORITY OF NATIVE TREES WILL BE SNAPPED OR UPROOTED. ONLY THE HEARTIEST WILL REMAIN STANDING...BUT BE TOTALLY DEFOLIATED. FEW CROPS WILL REMAIN. LIVESTOCK LEFT EXPOSED TO THE WINDS WILL BE KILLED.
AN INLAND HURRICANE WIND WARNING IS ISSUED WHEN SUSTAINED WINDS NEAR HURRICANE FORCE...OR FREQUENT GUSTS AT OR ABOVE HURRICANE FORCE...ARE CERTAIN WITHIN THE NEXT 12 TO 24 HOURS.
ONCE TROPICAL STORM AND HURRICANE FORCE WINDS ONSET...DO NOT VENTURE OUTSIDE!
* * *
It's hard to imagine a harsher warning than that.
August 27, 2005
Mathematicians of our Time
Book series, MIT press
Looks like this series only went for ten years or so before it stopped, for some reason. These "Collected Works of the Great Master" math books are intimidating things to look over. I like math in small, digestible bits only.
In Klarner's files I found a handwritten letter from Polya, ca 1970 or so, where he expressed his regret that Klarner couldn't publish an English translation of one of his papers because Polya had just agreed to publish reprints and translations in this MIT series.
It would be far better if all this stuff was available at the arXiv.
Misere game solution, or extraterrestrial transmission?
Aaron Siegel writes:
* * * *
0.4107 has period 24, preperiod 66, and quotient order 506 - the largest yet discovered! Its quotient has a minimal set of 34 generators (!!) It's quite neat to look at; there are many irregular values among the smaller heaps, until finally a pattern suddenly emerges. This behavior makes me wonder how many other super-complicated-looking games nonetheless settle down fairly quickly. I can't resist including the pretending function for 0.4107 :)
Phi = 1 1 a a b b ab c c d e f g h b i ab2 j k l m n o p q r abo anq b3 s t abm cq2 u cjk v w x b3 y agt z b2i A B b3 C D b4c bco abF E b3 F ab3c grx G abF abF b3 ab3c H b3 b4c ab4 cfH b4c ab3c ab3c b3 b3 ab4 b4c b4c ab4 ab3c b3 b3 ab3c b4c b4c ab4 ab4 b3 ab3c ab3c b3 b4c ab4 ab4 b4c ab3c ab3c b3 b3 ab4 b4c b4c ab4 ab3c b3 b3 ab3c b4c b4c ab4 ab4 b3 ab3c ab3c b3 b4c ab4 ab4 b4c ab3c ab3c b3 b3 ab4 b4c b4c ab4 ab3c b3 b3 ab3c b4c b4c ab4 ab4 b3 ab3c ab3c b3 b4c ab4 ab4 b4c ab3c ab3c b3 b3 ab4 b4c b4c ab4 ab3c b3 b3 ab3c b4c b4c ab4 ab4 b3 ab3c ab3c b3 b4c ab4 ab4 b4c ab3c ab3c b3 b3 ab4 b4c b4c ab4 ab3c b3 b3 ab3c b4c b4c ab4 ab4 b3 ab3c ab3c b3 b4c
Just look at that cluster of anomalies - "j k l m n o p q r" - that all smooth out in the end . . .
generative.net is a collaborative collection of artworks, research and experiments by artists and academics interested in the possibilities of generative art. Much of this work manifests itself as digital artwork, or online interactive experiences...
August 26, 2005
August 25, 2005
The Problem of the New Ford Mustang
First, some points on which I think we all can agree.
1) This is a cool car:
2) This isnt:
3) Nor this:
4) Now, The Problem of the New Ford Mustang:
Is it a cool car?
That's a web search that lands people here quite a bit"Thane photos."
I'm happy to indulge my public, but some investigation reveals they're looking for closeups of this.
August 24, 2005
Actual page number of "page 16" in the November 2003 National Geographic magazine
In his book Class: A Guide Through the American Status System, Paul Fussell provides a scoresheet that helps you determine your class in American society based on the type of car you drive, the number of foreign languages you speak or understand, and, most interestingly among other factors, the particular magazines you subscribe to (if any). A higher score got you closer to his Nirvana"Class X", consisting principally of people like Paul Fussell, it seemed to me.
In any case, a subscription to National Geographic magazine counted for -1 point, I remember.
Minot, North Dakota
Originally uploaded by nfolkert.
Looks like Minot is the place to go.
"Minot. Why not?"
The bad move aesthetic
As I said above, and someone else commented in the Internet message board thread that inspired this column, "It's harder to write a bad chess program than it is to write a good one".
Now that desktop computer chess programs push every single human (even the best Grandmasters) off the board in the most brutal way, people want them to screw up, intentionally, instead. It's more fun to play them if you know you have at least chance to win.
But please, Mr Program, don't screw up in a stupid way. Do it nicely...make me think you're trying...
August 23, 2005
Translations of "Lord Voldemort" to other languages
an exercise in anagramming
Not a Word
From the New Yorker (link):
* * * *
Turn to page 1,850 of the 1975 edition of the New Columbia Encyclopedia and you'll find an entry for Lillian Virginia Mountweazel, a fountain designer turned photographer who was celebrated for a collection of photographs of rural American mailboxes titled "Flags Up!" Mountweazel, the encyclopedia indicates, was born in Bangs, Ohio, in 1942, only to die "at 31 in an explosion while on assignment for Combustibles magazine."
If Mountweazel is not a household name, even in fountain-designing or mailbox-photography circles, that is because she never existed. "It was an old tradition in encyclopedias to put in a fake entry to protect your copyright," Richard Steins, who was one of the volume's editors, said the other day. "If someone copied Lillian, then we'd know they'd stolen from us..."
First day of school
Mysterious energy being, reprise
Look at the IPIX photo at whitehouse.gov yourself to get a much better look.
Mysterious energy-being photographed during Bush's 2003 state of the union address
Scroll this IPIX photo backward and toward the right from its initial perspective of the chamber. You'll see the energy-being in the second row from the back, floating conspicuously on the right-hand side. It's not just a glowing aurorait seems to have some sort of internal structure or skeleton that is a yellowish color.
Rememberyou heard it from me first. This is not a "I read this on BoingBoing and thought I would pass it on" kind of blog entry. Oh no. I just discovered it myself.
August 22, 2005
Although the name of the city - Opa-locka - sounds Arabic, it is a contraction of the native American's name for the area, "Opa-tisha-woka-locka", meaning a dry place in the swamp with trees. Obviously this would not readily fit on a letterhead and be rather difficult to remember. Hence it was shortened to Opa-locka.
link (google search)
August 21, 2005
"These? Oh no. This is really nasty candy. This is candy from, I'd say, 175 years ago. Simply awful....they taste like perfumed chalk! And don't even ask me about the brown ones. Noyou're welcome to have some, of coursebut I don't think you'd like them..."
Now I've caught Gloria munching on my wasabi peas, and Owen says he likes the Necco things.
How am I going to snack in peace? I don't want to have to shoo away predators.
Circuit Board Egg
From Philosophical Investigations
"But do you really explain to the other person what you yourself understand? Don't you get him to guess the essential thing? You give him examples,but he has to guess their drift, to guess your intention."Every explanation which I can give myself I give to him too."He guesses what I intend" would mean: various interpretations of my explanation come to his mind, and he lights on one of them. So in this case he could ask; and I could and should answer him.
The four universal graphs
These four illustrations (flickr slideshow) can be used to describe anything. I've found them to be particularly useful in business and scientific settings, but that's just because that's what I'm messed up in, usually. They are useful for everything that involves communication, bullshit, selling, "talking down" or "talking up", etc. But it doesn't really matter what it is you want to say. They'll work, no matter what your subject.
The more you're tempted to call your latest work "novel," you'll find that these illustrations describe your idea (or argument) quite nicely. Don't be discouraged by that, though. Remember, these four graphs are universal.
I'm tempted to use these slides to explain why you don't need the slides.
Or why you do.
August 20, 2005
Mathematicsthe most unpopular school subject
"It was cold and calculating," she said. "There was no gray, it was black and white."
August 19, 2005
The crackpot index
Ten points for pointing out that you have gone to school, as if this were evidence of sanity.
Why no discount on A to M?
No Scott Kim, but still nice
Use the ambigram generator to write your name so that it reads the same upside down!
I remember really, really, really, really wanting one of these when I was in high school, although I don't remember the USB part...
(via boing boing) link
August 18, 2005
Motorola Razr Thumbnail Scam Unveiled
This evening I caught my cellphone's digital image software playing a trick that I had suspected it was getting away withshowing preview thumbnails that don't match the higher-resolution image that is actually stored in the camera.
When a person presses the shutter button on the camera, the camera makes a loud "click" noise. Next, the camera freezes the LCD screen that the person used to frame the photo, and it becomes the photo thumbnail. For example, the preview image shown at the bottom of the thumbnail screen, below, matches the large LCD image that is shown on the camera at the time the shutter button was pressed. Naturally, a person thinks that the frozen LCD screen thumbnail corresponds to the actual photo just taken. But that's not true. Instead, the photo is taken a moment later, and the frozen LCD screen is used as the thumbnail, only.
Here's what I'm talking about.
In the bottom left corner of this cellphone display, there's an in-focus thumbnail of a painting of the Sun in a Mexican restaurant:
If I next select that image, I get this blurry mess, instead:
So I think what is happening is this:
1) User press shutter button.
2) Camera freezes LCD display, turns it into thumbnail.
3) Camera makes loud clicking noise.
4) Shutter opens and closes.
5) An image is saved, but it's not the one on the LCD screen; instead, it corresponds to what the camera sees a fraction of a second, later, insteadand when there's ample time for the user to have believed that the clear frozen LCD preview is actually the photo, and to have begun to let the camera move from a stationary position.
6) Resultclear thumbnail, blurry photo.
Scrolling down, presumably, in the manner of
August 17, 2005
US frenzy over used laptops
"This is total, total chaos," said Latoya Jones, 19, who lost one of her flip-flops in the ordeal and later limped around on the sizzling asphalt pavement with one foot bare.
August 16, 2005
From the flickr accolades page
There's no uniformity to the way people tag Web pages, so the same tag might wind up being applied to very different kinds of content. But to most developers, that's actually a strength of the technology, not a weakness. "The information you get [through tags] is always going to be somewhat imperfect and fuzzy," says Joshua Schachter, the creator of Delicious. "But a bunch of people doing 'okay' tagging may actually have a higher net value than an authoritative organization telling you how information should be organized." (June 2005)
August 15, 2005
Buffalo on broomstick
The old buffalo nickel was hardly large enough to contain the animal. He looked like he might butt his way off the left side of the coin, leap down onto the prairie below, and join a stampede. He's no happy buffalo, but he's firmly rooted on the ground, eternally defiant.
There must have been considerable pride of ownership when you had one of those nickels in your pocket.
The new coin depicts a miniaturized, surrounded animal, happily perched on a flying Q-Tip broomstick. He might zoom off to Mars, but he's not getting off that coin. What a poser.
All the new coin designs of the last few years have been wimpy somehow. A coin is supposed to be a weighty object both in mass and its pretensions. Nobody seems to understand this anymore.
August 14, 2005
August 13, 2005
Special crossword presentation
What could be more fascinating?
Saturday NYT crossword
Some that gave me pause:
Buffaloed (9) ATWITSEND
Papers and such (9) MASSMEDIA
Winemaking village east of Verona (5) SOAVE
Hooks for landing fish (4) GAFFS
Hearts (5) GISTS
Or is that R. D. Reppep?
The true identity of this site's creator is actually Aloc Ispep, a 12 year old who lives in Cheshire, in the North-West of England. He started to use the pseudonym Dylgrinch after devising his first e-mail adress, years ago, after going to see movie The Grinch at the cinema, and his father, who was a fan of songwriter Bob Dylan, suggested the random name. So there it is, my true identity revealed!
August 12, 2005
The problem with classical music...
...is that the biggest genius isn't in the room.
I refer to the dead composers.
You name it. It's deeply unsatisfying somehow, all these dead geniuses.
Who can listen to Schubert without thinking, gee, too bad he died?
Listening to Beethoven just makes me wish Beethoven wasn't dead.
Insteadwe have "artists." They "bring to life the music."
At least I remember seeing Louis Armstrong on TV. My mom said something likepay attentionthat's Louis Armstrong!
I don't feel the same way about Einstein being dead. Or Gauss. Or any other dead mathematician or physicist. The ideas they set in motion, the latest progress, the newest stuff, it's all directly related to what they did. You can look even at what Gauss or Einstein did and say, "Yesnice." But check this out.
You know what I mean"standing on the shoulders of giants.."
Who can listen to a Beethoven late quartet and say, "Yes, but" ?
Learn to touch type
When I took the photo (at the Museum of American Heritage, in Palo Alto, not far from the Hewlett Packard garage), I didn't notice the weird arrangement of keys.
In with the new
Out with the old
The old system—self-sorting headaches—why the mess? why the fuss?
Originally uploaded by thane.
Supreme Court Ruling
Here's the California Supreme Court Ruling that throws out the Garcia conviction. It gives the facts of the case and some interesting background.
I'm all in favor of people having convictions overturned if proper procedure isn't followed. I'll be interested to see where the case goes from here.
Garcia conviction thrown out
Since I was a juror on this trial, originally, I've been following the case as it goes through the appeals system.
One of the other jurors just drew my attention to the latest twist:
New trial ordered in murder case
STATE SUPREME COURT RULES JUDGE ERRED IN TRIAL OF GILROY MAN
By Sandra Gonzales
In a high-profile case sparked by a property-line dispute, the California Supreme Court on Thursday ordered a new trial for a Gilroy man convicted of killing his neighbor after months of feuding.
Roy Lopez Garcia, who owned a successful carpet business and numerous rental properties, was found guilty in 2000 of the 1998 shotgun slaying of Deborah Gregg, a therapist at a mental clinic in San Jose, who lived in a trailer on the outskirts of Morgan Hill.
In its ruling, the court concluded that Santa Clara County Superior Court Judge Hugh F. Mullin III erred when he allowed the jury to revisit the crime scene during deliberations without Garcia or his lawyer present. It also found that a state appellate court was wrong to uphold the judge's ruling.
"It's not in any way surprising," said Garcia's defense lawyer, Dennis P. Riordan. "What Judge Mullin did was inexplicably stupid to take a jury to a crime scene without counsel. I basically see the ruling as returning sanity to the case. It just followed venerable principles."
But the Santa Clara County District Attorney's Office saw it differently.
"It was a strong case. We expect to try the case again, and we expect the same results. Not bringing him to the scene was harmless and wouldn't have affected the results," said Assistant District Attorney David Tomkins, who supervises the homicide division.
Prosecutors charged that Garcia had lain in wait and shot Gregg after a series of property disputes between the two owners of adjoining properties. Her body was found behind her trailer near a fence that divided their properties. Garcia has maintained his innocence.
Garcia had been quarreling with Gregg since he built a fence around his 250-acre parcel near Uvas Lake County Park and began bulldozing his land and rerouting a creek. At the time of her death, Gregg was building a privacy fence next to Garcia's land and the pair were engaged in civil litigation.
During the trial, the jury revisited the crime scene over the objections of the defense.
After Garcia's conviction, the defense appealed the case to the state court of appeal, which upheld the judge's ruling last year, and then to the state Supreme Court.
"A defendant has no less right to be present and to be assisted by counsel at a jury's return visit to the crime scene -- both to observe and ensure that the jury is not exposed to new or improper evidence, and to be timely informed of any question that may be posed by a juror to the court during the revisit," wrote Chief Justice Ronald M. George in a 4-2 ruling.
In a partial dissent, Justice Ming W. Chin wrote that while he agreed that the judge erred in refusing to permit the defense from being present when the jury revisited the crime scene, he did not believe it would have changed the outcome.
* * *
Here's another article
August 11, 2005
...the arrangement of three figure-eight knots at the start of these khipu represented the place identifier, or toponym, Puruchuco...
I put a photo of a V2 model rocket on this website a few years ago (2002, I think). The photo was originally taken by my friend Gary Sinclair. Since then, it's been loaded from this site by thousands of people from China [don't ask me, "Why China?"I don't know.] Today I took it down, and let flickr carry the burden, instead. Eventually the Chinese will relocate it there, at flickr.com, I'm sure, but at least they're not overloading my fragile web server.
Added later: La Coupole V2 (google search)
August 10, 2005
If people want things named
Reminded me of the deeply philosophical question posed by Pang Chen in the Stanford CS department, roughly 20 years ago:
Why must every variable in a program have a name?
[To our credit, Anil and I instantly recognized the importance of this question for the future of Computer Science. But we're still searching for the answer...]
August 09, 2005
Just three blocks from our house
$37.50 for a center aisle ticket. I was really looking forward to the 131, but ended up enjoying the 127 quite a bit more.
[Just in front of me, on the aislesomeone chewing gum and whispering. People get all dressed up like clowns and then can't shut the f*** up during the performance. Admittedly, others don't even have the sense to stay off the stage...]
Eponymy in mathematical nomenclature
Merv Henwood and Ivan Rival, in the Mathematical Intelligencer (1980):
* * * *
In any mathematics journal there may be found language such as that in the following abstract, which bears the title "A Boleslawskian Criterion for the Hughes-Williams Evaluation of non-Walquistness":
Let S be the standard Smith class of normalized univalent Matcuzinski functions on the unit disc, and let B be the subclass of normalized WaIquist functions. We establish a simple criterion for the non-Walquistness of a Matcuzinski function. With this technique it is easy to exhibit, using standard Hughes-Williams methods, a class of non-Walquist polynomials. This answers the Kopfschmerzhaus-type problem, posed by R. J. W. ("Wally") Jones, concerning the smallest degree of a non-Walquist polynomial.
Make no mistake: what we have here is not mere caricature. Although slightly embellished and utilizing imaginary surnames, it is nonetheless typical of much mathematical writing in its untrammelled use of the names of persons to identify ideas, techniques, theorems, and the like...
* * *
["Kopfschmerzhaus" nice! Great minds think alike]
August 08, 2005
Klarner rejects a book manuscript in "handsome calligraphy"
Here's a fragment of a letter to David A Klarner dated 30 March 1973 from the University of Kentucky Press:
Dr. David A Klarner
Computer Science Department
Stanford, California 94305
Dear Dr. Klarner:
Thank you very much for your review of X's manuscript. In a way I am sorry that we cannot send the author a facsimile of your critiqueperhaps the handsome calligraphy might divert some of the sting; he could attend the medium and not the message...
Unfortunately, I haven't found a copy of Klarner's calligraphic review, yet. I'm hoping there will be a copy somewhere.
David Klarner complains about not getting enough math papers to review
From the stuff Kara Lynn senta 23 December 1968 letter from David Klarner to the Mathematical Reviews editors, complaining that they don't send him more papers to review:
I have reviewed 22 papers since starting in September 1967 and, except for four papers that got delayed by my move to the Netherlands, I have returned every one of these papers within one day of getting them [...] I still want to review 2 to 4 papers a month, so please send them or explain why you can't.
Six more boxes
We're already swimming in boxessometime real soon the soccer commissioners need to show up and claim themand now today I got six more boxes of Klarner stuff from Kara Lynn.
I opened the first one and already found some correspondence between Klarner and Ivan Rival about the founding of the mathematical journal Order that looks interesting. Here's a letter dated Dec 6, 1982 from Rival to Klarner informing him that the new journal was about to start.
Rival died unexpectedly a few years ago. Here's an interesting sculpture commissioned in rememberance of him.
100 out of 10
While a juror at the First Tchaikovsky Competition in 1958 in Moscow, Richter was so impressed with Van Cliburn's playing that he awarded Cliburn one hundred points out of a possible ten. Cliburn won, but Richter was never asked to sit on a jury again....
[From a Richter bio at this link]
Richter, the Enigma ["The best documentary you or me or anyone else is going to see." Alan Schoen]
From that review of "Richter, The Enigma":
Part of the problem was that he refused to conform to their habit of programming years in advance (I once met a distinguished Russian violinist who told me he knew exactly when, where and what he'd be performing up to three years ahead!), and the more obscure venues offered him greater scope for spontaneity. What comes across most powerfully is a portrait of a man who was only interested the music he played: everything else came a very poor second.
August 07, 2005
Melting like Maine or Tasmania
EUGENE DOMACK: The information in that sediment, in that mud, indicates that those (inaudible) were under the iceshelf for the entire 10,000 year history of the Holocene and its last [...] the current inter-glacial network they're in.
KAREN BARLOW: We've been comparing Larsen B to Luxembourg. How big is Larsen C?
EUGENE DOMACK: The size of Larsen C is...I would hazard a guess, it's about the size of the State of Maine or perhaps the size of the State of Tasmania.
August 06, 2005
Sandy hasn't been able to stand up by herself for a couple of months.
Now she is no more.
More SSC photos
August 05, 2005
Photo from 1983Lincoln, Nebraska
2) Puffy hair. Now, even though I've lost quite a bit of it, it's still too puffy.
3) Crappy ten-speed. I abandoned it four years later, having chained it to a bike rack in Escondido Village.
4) Bag full of books.
5) Shorts too short.
Bach Concerto for 4 Harpsichords and Strings, BWV 1065
"Like a visit to a sewing machine factory"
August 04, 2005
How not to use the Cellular Phone
In the last category (which includes, on the bottom rung of the social ladder, the purchasers of fake cellular phones) are those people who wish to show in public that they are greatly in demand, expecially for complex business discussions. Their conversations, which we are obliged to overhear in airports, restaurants, or trains, always involve monetary transactions, missing shipments of metal sections, an unpaid bill for a crate of neckties, and other things that, the speaker believes, are very Rockerfellerian [...] What these people don't realize is that Rockefeller doesn't need a portable telephone; he has a spacious room full of secretaries so efficient that at the very worst, if is grandfather is dying, the chauffeur comes and whispers something in his ear. The man with power is the man who is not required to answer every call...
How to Travel with a Salmon, 1992
Another one, from about thirteen years ago.
I didn't know Google groups had all this stuff up on the web. Amazing.
This company did very well, too:
Nine years ago, roughly
On 17 Nov 1996 I posted this message on ba.jobs.offered
* * * *
Fast-moving software company needs motivated
SW engineer to develop innovative tools for the
semiconductor industry. OO/C++, MFC, multithreading.
Graphics/CAD, UNIX experience a definite plus.
Full-time, compensation negotiable.
Fax resume (415) 322-9399
* * * * *
This company barely had office space when I sent the message. It went to IPO a few years later. Everyone who signed up for it (even the first twenty people, including the people initially hired as office secretarial help) are now millionaires.
We kept the name of the company off the posting to stop people from calling (not that so many responded, anyway, or that anyone would have recognized the company namewe had only just made it up and printed the first business cards). I think it's useful to have a look at a resume before meeting people face to face, or even talking to them on the phone.
August 03, 2005
There was a lot of water running up at Yosemite a couple of months ago, and now there's even more.
Whenever I get to the top of a waterfall, I think for a moment on the possibility of slipping and getting swept over the top. Then I take a step back. But how often do people fall in? Would there be any chance of a big splash and happily bobbing up again, fifty yards downstream? While in Hawaii, I think about shark attacks in the same idle way, wondering how often they happen, mostly.
Unfortunately, these articles answer some of the questions.
All booked up
And I secretly believe, in my self-centered heart of hearts, that if I really like a book, it must've been written just for me, as if some cosmic coincidence caused the author to pen a book calculated to appeal to me and no one else, to whisper into my ear alone, to write characters with whom only I identify, to intersect with the trajectory of my life right at this very moment, all while honoring my strong sense of unique individuality, a sense that would be severely undermined if you read it too, and liked it like I did, and made me realize that maybe the author didn't have me in mind at all, and somehow I'm afraid this would just ruin the book for me. I'm selfish that way.
Fire and flood
About a month ago, Steve Norman and I got stuck in flooding on the Trans-Canada highway between Calgary and Banff.
Now it's dried out:
From the Edmonton Journal, 2 August 2005:
Authorities had to close a section of the Trans-Canada Highway between Calgary and Banff because of a huge grass fire. (flickr slideshow)
The 20-hectare blaze broke out just east of the Kananaskis overpass yesterday afternoon.
The closure extended from Highway 40 to Highway 22 and lasted for nearly two hours due to severely reduced visibility caused by strong winds blowing thick smoke over the road.
Traffic, which was heavy due to the end of the long holiday weekend, was backed up for several kilometres.
* * *
Coming back from San Francisco to Palo Alto this afternoon on highway 101, I had to slow down for this grass fire near Candlestick point.
115,000 more programmers needed by 1975
August 02, 2005
August 01, 2005
Vindication for Ivory-Billed Woodpecker
It was hard for me to feel the same frisson about the rediscovery of a thought-to-be-extinct woodpecker in Arkansas (bottom bird in the photo) when I learned there was already a weird-looking woodpecker thriving there (top bird in the photo).
It has white feathers only at the back of its wings!!
It has red feathers on top!!
And to think we thought it was gone!
Usually I'm the only person in the room excited about stuff like this, but somehow this one leaves me lukewarm.
I guess I'm not a birdman.
Why aren't people more interested in stuff like this?
Lego Space Shuttle Discoveryslideshow
From a Goldman Sachs research report, "A first look at Windows Vista:"
The file management capabilities of Windows Vista have also been enhanced. Currently, the file structure in Windows is fairly rigid and linear in its path in terms of the hierarchical structure. Basically the path to a file follows a straight linear path from top level directory to subdirectories and then to the file itself. This is a very "physical" way of looking for files. Windows Vista is taking a more "logical or practical" approach, where files can be searched by the associated metadata attached to the file instead of just the file name. This is the concept of "virtual views," where the user can organize and search by keyword, author, file category, etc. Most files today already come with metadata attached. In Windows Vista, the user can more easily make modifications to the metadata, and this can even be done graphically. In the file search window, the files can be grouped into different categories. When the user drags a file into another category, the attributes of that category are automatically added to the file. The WinFS capabilities that were excluded from the initial release of Vista will likely follow in several years, although there are still a number of file management improvement included in this upcoming release of Vista.
Even though I like the idea of tagging data with keywords and using that metaphor to find stuff, I'm reasonably confident that the facts will reveal that they've screwed it up in Vista, somehow.
[Rereading that paragraph from the report, I can see the seeds of destruction are already present:
When the user drags a file into another category, the attributes of that category are automatically added to the file...
A merchantable kelp
« July 2005 | August 2005 | September 2005 »