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August 31, 2007

Too funny

My friend (and Chief Antlr Guru) Terence Parr has bought the house that has the burglar breaking into it in Google streetviewer.

Posted by tplambeck at 03:35 PM

August 30, 2007




Posted by tplambeck at 11:42 PM

gmail knows I love cranks

Some ads I've been served today:

Universal Theory "A model for Theory of Everything: Quantum Mechanics, Astrophysics, Mind."

The cosmology game "Resolved—a new cosmic model which binds reality & observation."

Intelligent Design Proven "The Results Are In: Information Theory, Math & Physics"

The Final Theory: "The bestselling book our scientists hope you never read."

Posted by tplambeck at 06:59 PM

Palindramas by Dan Mazur

On the NPL list, Maelstrom writes:

For a while I've been following this web comic:


Posted by tplambeck at 09:50 AM

August 29, 2007

book stack


1) emerson, essays and lectures, (library of america) (top of stack)

2) two years before the mast, richard henry dana jr

3) the complete poems, edward lear

4) the poems of w.b. yeats, (macmillan)

5) t.s. eliot, the complete poems and plays, 1909-1950

6) the complete poems of emily dickinson, little brown

7) wordsworth, poetical works

8) php in a nutshell, o'reilly press

9) american gospel, jon meecham

10) the wapshot chronicle, john cheever

deeper: more php and MySQL books.

Posted by tplambeck at 12:40 AM

August 28, 2007

guessing at the name of that German movie

the last heart?

kindness of strangers?

the other side?

last person standing?

other people's thoughts? [added later: close]

people standing?

[ I capitulate—I Google "German movie east Germany" ]


Das Leben der Anderen

Posted by tplambeck at 10:23 PM

What time is it?

It's time for a Stanford robot from the CSD that goes up walls like a rock climber:

The goal of this research is to enable a multi-limbed robot to climb vertical rock using techniques similar to those developed by human climbers (Figure 1). The robot consists of a small number of articulated limbs. Only the limb end-points can make contact with the environment—a vertical surface with small, arbitrarily distributed features called holds (Figure 2). A path through this environment is a sequence of one-step climbing moves in which the robot brings a limb end-point to a new hold. The robot maintains balance during each move by pushing and/or pulling at other holds, exploiting contact and friction at these holds while adjusting internal degrees of freedom to avoid sliding.



Looks a little bit like a gigantic wristwatch with legs.

Posted by tplambeck at 09:46 PM

A close one ... 200.000+ views

A close one ... 200.000+ views
Originally uploaded by aixcracker

Posted by tplambeck at 05:31 PM

First day of school



Posted by tplambeck at 03:59 PM

August 26, 2007

My wallet

I wish it held two more cards.

26aug07 028

Posted by tplambeck at 11:58 AM

Owen refusing to pick up dog poop

26aug07 013

Posted by tplambeck at 11:56 AM

August 25, 2007

Fun YouTube search

bait car.

Beats watching "Cops" on TV.

Posted by tplambeck at 11:29 PM

CNN's Lost World of Muin

CNN has video of divers exploring some large underwater structures recently found off the coast of Japan.

The video is titled "the Lost World of Muin" or something like that.

Since there didn't seem to be much on either the word "Muin" or other search terms I tried, I looked around a bit more and eventually found this interesting page about possibly similar ruins off Okinawa.

Posted by tplambeck at 10:03 AM

August 24, 2007

Mr Spira

Cole's hoping he'll get him as his 7th grade math teacher:

Posted by tplambeck at 02:30 PM

August 20, 2007

Woman Collecting Ground Water

Woman Collecting Ground Water for Drinking from the Riverbed of Yamuna, Behind Taj
Originally uploaded by Captain Suresh
I like how the water jug in the foreground echoes the dome of the Taj.
Posted by tplambeck at 12:44 PM

Another one

Originally uploaded by mary_lee65
I don't know where these photos were taken—I think it might be Hong Kong—but if you look at some of the closeups in the photostream each graduate has a little (mirror-reflected) swastika patch on her shoulder.
Posted by tplambeck at 11:17 AM

Valedictorian and Salutatorian?

Originally uploaded by mary_lee65
They look like serious students
Posted by tplambeck at 11:05 AM

Bumper sticker on El Camino Real


Posted by tplambeck at 10:59 AM

August 19, 2007

Private railway, Tahoe

After Gloria and found our way back from getting lost on a hike near Fallen Leaf Lake, we stopped for a moment next to a high fence. I looked through a gap in the fence and saw that the waterfront house behind it had some kind of elevated swooping railway built between its garage—at the road level we were standing on—and the house itself (much lower, at the level of the lake).

aug07 027

The photo shows the portion of the railway nearest the garage. The railway is relatively flat and straight here. As it continues to the right, off the photo edge, it curves down and to the left like a unbanked roller coaster.

Posted by tplambeck at 11:04 AM

yabbadabba suffix tree

10: a
 7: abba
 2: abbadabba
 5: adabba
 9: ba
 4: badabba
 8: bba
 3: bbadabba
 6: dabba
 1: yabbadabba
     |     |(3:bbadabba)|leaf
     |     |(6:dabba)|leaf
     |     |(4:badabba)|leaf
     |     |(5:adabba)|leaf
3 branching nodes
Or visit the suffix tree of Woolloomooloo.

[ WTF? ]

Posted by tplambeck at 09:48 AM

August 18, 2007


Many works of science fiction as well as some forecasts by serious technologists and futurologists predict that enormous amounts of computing power will be available in the future. Let us suppose for a moment that these predictions are correct. One thing that later generations might do with their super-powerful computers is run detailed simulations of their forebears or of people like their forebears. Because their computers would be so powerful, they could run a great many such simulations. Suppose that these simulated people are conscious (as they would be if the simulations were sufficiently fine-grained and if a certain quite widely accepted position in the philosophy of mind is correct). Then it could be the case that the vast majority of minds like ours do not belong to the original race but rather to people simulated by the advanced descendants of an original race. It is then possible to argue that, if this were the case, we would be rational to think that we are likely among the simulated minds rather than among the original biological ones. Therefore, if we donít think that we are currently living in a computer simulation, we are not entitled to believe that we will have descendants who will run lots of such simulations of their forebears. That is the basic idea. The rest of this paper will spell it out more carefully.

—Nick Bostrom, Are you living in a computer simulation?

Posted by tplambeck at 07:21 PM

"Not without my formula sheets"

Posted by tplambeck at 02:21 PM

December vacation plans in jeopardy

Hurricane Dean is pointed directly at Ocho Rios in Jamaica.


Posted by tplambeck at 09:58 AM

August 17, 2007

Conservatory of Flowers

aug07 030
Originally uploaded by thane
Golden Gate Park
Posted by tplambeck at 10:40 PM

August 15, 2007

Greg's trip to Austin

Greg's playing with trip blogging via Google maps:

Posted by tplambeck at 10:36 AM

August 10, 2007

Conference Room

Conference Room
Originally uploaded by Seb Przd

Posted by tplambeck at 11:32 AM

PBS film crew

Next door, a PBS film crew is interviewing Lenny Susskind at his house this morning.


I wandered over to take some photos. Just then, the host Robert Kuhn arrived in a limo. The limo driver got out, looked at my camera briefly, and asked me if I was Brian Greene. I said no.

I introduced myself to Kuhn. He told me that it's going to be a 150-episode series called "The Search for the Truth."

"One year filming, one year in production," he told me. He was dressed nicely, in all black. "It's going to be 150 episodes."

"Wow, that's a huge series," I said.

"Yes, one of the biggest ones we've ever done," he said.

Someone walked over to Kuhn and said, "Lenny's going to wear a T-shirt."

"OK," the Kuhn said, and he went in.

Posted by tplambeck at 11:09 AM

August 08, 2007

Grading today's software

Quickbooks 2007: B+.

Good effort from this steady performer. Was surprised to find him mostly unchanged from my last look at him (2003), however. Keep up the good work!

Wordpress, its editor, and Wordpress Themes: C+.

The conception of this three-way collaborative team is good, but that actual collaboration: Poor. Sometimes very messy, very unpredictable work. Students must take care not to receive an even lower grade at the next assessment.

BlueHost.com: B.

Fancier UIs than LaughingSquid, but do they make my life easier?

Poker Academy Pro: A.

Predictable, and making me money (at least funny money).

iTunes: B-.

If I type in "Moes Alison," it really should be able to tell me I meant "Mose Allison."

Posted by tplambeck at 11:36 PM

August 04, 2007

Halifax Holdem

After the Games@DAL meetup wrapped up this afternoon in the Dalhousie Math Dept, Neil McKay (who's a grad student there studying game theory with Richard Nowakowski) showed me how to get to a casino close to my hotel.

They checked his ID at the door (I was waved on through), and we took our seats at a no-limit $1/$2 Texas Holdem table.

Although I've played quite a few tournaments against the Infernal Poker Robots programmed by the University of Alberta's "Poker Research Group," (and not for real money), this is the first time I've played a card game of any type in a casino (I haven't played online, either). I promptly lost my $80 stake to players that Neil rightly described as "calling stations" (they play far more hands than is likely to be correct in Holdem, I think, and they caused the pot to rise too quickly as a percentage of my total stake for me to be able to "express myself" with the proper bets). Another thing I noticed: my 80 small-bet stake sucked compared to the 400 small-bet stake I was used to starting with in the poker robot tournaments. Finally, it was hard for me to keep track of who was "in" each hand, compared to looking at my laptop screen.

After thinking about it a little, I decided to give it another try, playing very tight, with the maximum stake of $200, basically lying in wait until I had very strong hands.

I got the $200 from an ATM machine in my hotel lobby.

Despite my continuing gaffes—failing to announce raises before pushing in chips "over the line" and generally bumbling other tenets of poker etiquette—I had $700 in chips after 3 1/2 hours:

Holdem winnings from a Halifax casino

I enjoyed it, but noticed people kind of getting pissed off at me as my chip piles kept growing, so I left at about 11:30. Since conditions seemed to be getting more and more favorable for making money (more than one drunk person showed up at about 11:00pm), I toyed with the idea of playing through the night until my plane left the next morning. But I was starting to have trouble returning my attention to the game after my many early-folded hands (I watched TVs on the wall), and was feeling tired, so I quit.

Holdem against players like that is just too boring, I think. Particularly playing the way I was, I felt like someone sitting at a slot machine, but a slot machine that was rigged to light up "PLAY ME" when it was about to dispense a jackpot. I saw players taking many risks that I would never take, and wanted to say to them, c'mon guys, stop calling, fold out and let me see more flops so I can have some fun! So I mostly watched the TVs on the wall as hands played out after my many early folds. I could choose between two different extreme-fighting matches, a Canadian football game, and (you guessed it), Texas Hold'Em on TV. It was more fun to think about the TV game cards than what was going on at my table, but still, boring, boring, boring.

Posted by tplambeck at 09:43 PM

August 03, 2007

Superclick spies

I'm staying in a hotel in Halifax that is somehow redirecting URLs through a nasty little thing called superclick. I visited the web site, and it looks like they have plenty of hotels as clients. What is going on?

I'm not sure how it works, but I'm noticing that I'm being redirected through superclick.com when I click on links while browsing the web in my hotel room. I get to the page I'm requesting, but I'm sure there's an opportunity for the hotel to log all the web sites I visit.


Posted by tplambeck at 09:13 PM


Moored in the Halifax harbor: the Frözen Assets.


Just a perk for our ice cream bar overlords, I guess.

Posted by tplambeck at 07:54 PM

Dodging the Hatchets

Gloria points out this photo and story in the 3 Aug 2007 Palo Alto Daily News, "Tree branch lands on car, blocks street":
* * * *

Concidence? I think not.

A massive limb from a Bradford pear tree crashed onto the roof of a silver Honda and blocked High Street near the intersection of Forest Avenue in Palo Alto at about 9:45 a.m. today.

Dozens of people stood around snapping photographs of the fallen limb while waiting for city workers to arrive and clear the scene.

High Street was blocked between Forest and Homer Avenue for an hour before the limb was cleared away and the street reopened.
* * * *
It's a short story, and a simple one, but the subtext here is clear: Bradford Pear Tree Limbs are out to get me, and my family.

The one that fell in our front yard missed me because I was at Fry's Electronics. This one missed me because I'm in Halifax.

But I recognize a conspiracy when I see one. Don't think I'm not getting the message, you leafy would-be assassins! This tree was at "High" and "Forest." Riiiggght. That's a notorious deciduous strategy, hiding in forests. This is reflected in the common expression, "not noticing the trees because of the forest".1.

I hold each and every pear responsible.

Fatal break
Another one that missed



1 Something like that.

Posted by tplambeck at 06:57 PM

August 02, 2007


Originally uploaded by thane

Posted by tplambeck at 06:50 PM

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