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August 31, 2005

Dan writes

Hi, Thane,

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.

Posted by tplambeck at 12:08 PM

From Eisenbud's Commutative Algebra

****
Pg 310:
****
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.
***
Pg 312:
***

[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).

Posted by tplambeck at 10:36 AM

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?

Posted by tplambeck at 11:56 AM

August 29, 2005

Eye of Katrina


IMG_1091
Originally uploaded by mysterious chicken.


Posted by tplambeck at 10:31 PM

Mural behind the midtown Starbucks


Mural behind the midtown Starbucks
Originally uploaded by thane.
This wasn't there a few days ago. I don't think it's finished yet.

Sure beats the Six Bad Poems, which are nearby.
Posted by tplambeck at 08:08 PM

August 28, 2005

Street Party


IMG_7622
Originally uploaded by thane.
We had our end of summer block party today.
Posted by tplambeck at 10:10 PM

Message to New Orleans

DEVASTATING DAMAGE EXPECTED

HURRICANE KATRINA

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.

Posted by tplambeck at 09:41 PM

August 27, 2005

Mathematicians of our Time

Book series, MIT press

link

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.

Posted by tplambeck at 06:38 PM

Straw Men


IMG_7593
Originally uploaded by thane.
slideshow
Posted by tplambeck at 06:21 PM

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 . . .

do the math / download complete solution description (6 kB)

Posted by tplambeck at 12:19 PM

Generative art

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...

link

Posted by tplambeck at 09:55 AM

August 26, 2005

Cartoon Philosopher

fr7

Posted by tplambeck at 09:46 AM

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:

fm1

2) This isnt:

fm2

3) Nor this:

fm2b

4) Now, The Problem of the New Ford Mustang:

fm3

Is it a cool car?

Posted by tplambeck at 01:55 PM

Thane photos

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.

Posted by tplambeck at 09:28 AM

August 24, 2005

Actual page number of "page 16" in the November 2003 National Geographic magazine

Page 76.

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.

Posted by tplambeck at 11:45 PM

Minot, North Dakota



Originally uploaded by nfolkert.
I think North Dakota is the only state west of the Mississippi I've never visited.

Looks like Minot is the place to go.

"Minot. Why not?"

Posted by tplambeck at 01:10 AM

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...

link

Posted by tplambeck at 12:22 AM

August 23, 2005

Did Gauss want the 17-gon on his tombstone, or not?

link

Posted by tplambeck at 11:42 PM

Translations of "Lord Voldemort" to other languages


an exercise in anagramming

wikipedia

Posted by tplambeck at 11:07 PM

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..."

Posted by tplambeck at 02:58 PM

First day of school

IMG_7548

Posted by tplambeck at 01:04 PM

Mysterious energy being, reprise


IMG_7566
Originally uploaded by thane.
I hestitate to include this screenshot photo of the energy being, because it makes it look like a flashbulb.

Look at the IPIX photo at whitehouse.gov yourself to get a much better look.
Posted by tplambeck at 12:37 AM

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 aurora—it seems to have some sort of internal structure or skeleton that is a yellowish color.

http://www.whitehouse.gov/stateoftheunion/sotu2003-ipix.html

Remember—you 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.

Posted by tplambeck at 12:05 AM

August 22, 2005

Google click tracking

a little too tricky

Posted by tplambeck at 12:11 PM

Opa Locka

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.

Arabic?

Roalddahlian, maybe.

link (google search)

Posted by tplambeck at 01:03 AM

August 21, 2005

Snack encroachment

IMG_7510

"Oh, no. You don't want those. They're much too hot—let me take them from you."

IMG_7509

"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. No—you're welcome to have some, of course—but 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.

Posted by tplambeck at 09:48 PM

Circuit Board Egg


2005-Aug-20-PaloAlto 109
Originally uploaded by thane.

slideshow


Posted by tplambeck at 01:01 AM

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.

[LW]

Posted by tplambeck at 12:23 AM

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.

Here's more explanation.

I'm tempted to use these slides to explain why you don't need the slides.

Or why you do.

Posted by tplambeck at 12:01 AM

August 20, 2005

The Oh-My-God particle

link

Posted by tplambeck at 11:36 PM

Mathematics—the most unpopular school subject

"It was cold and calculating," she said. "There was no gray, it was black and white."

link

Posted by tplambeck at 12:28 AM

August 19, 2005

The crackpot index

Ten points for pointing out that you have gone to school, as if this were evidence of sanity.

link (baez)

Posted by tplambeck at 11:39 PM

Why no discount on A to M?


Why no discount on A to M?
Originally uploaded by thane.


Posted by tplambeck at 08:32 PM

Generate a magazine cover from a flickr photo

thaneplambecktoday

link

Posted by tplambeck at 05:46 PM

No Scott Kim, but still nice

Use the ambigram generator to write your name so that it reads the same upside down!

IMG_7507

link

Posted by tplambeck at 04:13 PM

IMSAI

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

Posted by tplambeck at 03:07 PM

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 with—showing 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, instead—and 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) Result—clear thumbnail, blurry photo.

Posted by tplambeck at 11:43 PM

gvisit, reprise

gvisit [testing...1...2...3...]

Posted by tplambeck at 06:25 PM

bitfall

images made from falling water droplets

Scrolling down, presumably, in the manner of

AHEAD

STOP

Posted by tplambeck at 06:18 PM

August 17, 2005

exoplanets.org

link

Posted by tplambeck at 11:38 PM

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.


link

Posted by tplambeck at 12:53 AM

August 16, 2005

Hermann Weyl on GL(V)

Her All-Embracing Majesty

Posted by tplambeck at 10:52 PM

haskell

link

Posted by tplambeck at 10:40 PM

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)
Posted by tplambeck at 12:47 PM

August 15, 2005

Holy cow

got to go to this

Posted by tplambeck at 11:47 AM

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.

Posted by tplambeck at 10:04 AM

August 14, 2005

Grizzly Man

Timothy Treadwell (google search)

link

Posted by tplambeck at 10:56 AM

August 13, 2005

Special crossword presentation

watch me solve today's NYT Saturday crossword

What could be more fascinating?

[a lot.]

Posted by tplambeck at 07:07 PM

Saturday NYT crossword


IMG_7448
Originally uploaded by thane.
An easy one.

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
Posted by tplambeck at 07:05 PM

Entrance(s) to Hell

link

[some entrances don't look too scary.]

Posted by tplambeck at 04:56 PM

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!

Yeah, right.

Posted by tplambeck at 02:46 PM

August 12, 2005

The problem with classical music...

...is that the biggest genius isn't in the room.

I refer to the dead composers.

Bach.

Beethoven.

Brahms.

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.

Instead—we have "artists." They "bring to life the music."

Ugh.

At least I remember seeing Louis Armstrong on TV. My mom said something like—pay attention—that'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, "Yes—nice." 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—" ?

Nobody.

Posted by tplambeck at 11:36 PM

Learn to touch type


IMG_7341
Originally uploaded by thane.
Except don't use this keyboard.

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.

slideshow
Posted by tplambeck at 09:26 PM

In with the new


The new system—learn to love the Single Stream
Originally uploaded by thane.


Posted by tplambeck at 04:37 PM

Out with the old


The old system—self-sorting headaches—why the mess? why the fuss?
Originally uploaded by thane.


Posted by tplambeck at 04:36 PM

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.

Posted by tplambeck at 11:20 AM

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
Mercury News

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

Posted by tplambeck at 11:07 AM

August 11, 2005

Literary Hoax Issue

link

Posted by tplambeck at 11:00 PM

Yummy phrase

...the arrangement of three figure-eight knots at the start of these khipu represented the place identifier, or toponym, Puruchuco...

link

Posted by tplambeck at 10:51 PM

V2

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.

In clicking around on the "V2" tag at flickr, I came across this photo and slideshow, "A Trip to St. Omer."

Added later: La Coupole V2 (google search)

Posted by tplambeck at 01:44 AM

August 10, 2005

Firefox User Agent Switcher Extension

link

Posted by tplambeck at 12:09 PM

If people want things named

link

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...]

Posted by tplambeck at 01:01 AM

August 09, 2005

Just three blocks from our house

Tonight, 127 and 131, St Lawrence SQ

$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 aisle—someone 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...]

Posted by tplambeck at 11:56 PM

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...

link

* * *
["Kopfschmerzhaus" —nice! Great minds think alike]

Posted by tplambeck at 10:59 AM

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 University
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 critique—perhaps 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.

Posted by tplambeck at 11:49 PM

David Klarner complains about not getting enough math papers to review

From the stuff Kara Lynn sent—a 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.

PDF

Posted by tplambeck at 11:33 PM

Six more boxes

We're already swimming in boxes—sometime real soon the soccer commissioners need to show up and claim them—and 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.

Posted by tplambeck at 10:36 PM

Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter

link [about to launch]

Posted by tplambeck at 01:52 PM

Whoa

Cisco targets Nokia

Posted by tplambeck at 12:49 AM

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.
Posted by tplambeck at 12:08 AM

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.

link/the Larsens (I'm feeling lucky)

Posted by tplambeck at 10:25 AM

August 06, 2005

Sandy


Sandy
Originally uploaded by thane.
Sandy, our neighbor's dog, circa 2000.

Sandy hasn't been able to stand up by herself for a couple of months.

Now she is no more.
Posted by tplambeck at 01:28 AM

More SSC photos


Posted by tplambeck at 01:11 AM

August 05, 2005

Photo from 1983—Lincoln, Nebraska


page1detail2
Originally uploaded by thane.
1) I think I weighed about 170 lbs. It makes me look taller I think.

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.
Posted by tplambeck at 12:40 AM

Bach Concerto for 4 Harpsichords and Strings, BWV 1065

"Like a visit to a sewing machine factory"

Ray Jones (or perhaps Richard Butt?)

Posted by tplambeck at 12:25 AM

August 04, 2005

Diagram Chasing

link

Posted by tplambeck at 11:14 PM

Airborne Cats


DSC_4619
Originally uploaded by junku.
slideshow
Posted by tplambeck at 03:58 PM

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...

—Umberto Eco
How to Travel with a Salmon, 1992

Posted by tplambeck at 10:52 AM

Six years ago

link

Posted by tplambeck at 12:21 AM

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:

link

Posted by tplambeck at 12:17 AM

Nine years ago, roughly

On 17 Nov 1996 I posted this message on ba.jobs.offered

* * * *
START-UP FEVER?

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 name—we 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.

Posted by tplambeck at 12:10 AM

August 03, 2005

How Elevator Doors Work

link

Posted by tplambeck at 11:37 PM

Cinderella

link

Posted by tplambeck at 10:45 PM

Vernal Falls

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.

Posted by tplambeck at 10:30 PM

All booked up

At outer life:

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.
Posted by tplambeck at 10:08 PM

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:

Fire closes highway

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.

Posted by tplambeck at 06:29 PM

Scalable Vector Graphics

link

Posted by tplambeck at 12:59 AM

115,000 more programmers needed by 1975


cm1
Originally uploaded by thane.


Posted by tplambeck at 12:18 AM

Matchbook Museum

link

Posted by tplambeck at 12:05 AM

August 02, 2005

Breadline Britain

link

Posted by tplambeck at 10:56 AM

August 01, 2005

Vindication for Ivory-Billed Woodpecker

28ivory.jpg

link

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!

So?

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?

Posted by tplambeck at 11:32 PM

Eerie-sounding radio transmissions from Saturn

link

Posted by tplambeck at 10:47 PM

Lego Space Shuttle Discovery


IMG_7404
Originally uploaded by thane.
slideshow
Posted by tplambeck at 09:57 PM

Windows Vista

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...

ugh.]

Posted by tplambeck at 06:24 PM

Lame Anagram

sv.gif
A merchantable kelp

Posted by tplambeck at 12:31 PM

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