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June 29, 2008


I stumbled across this Twitter feed on the activities of the Mars Phoenix lander, and have been enjoying getting the SMS messages sent to my cellphone.

So, I went to look for other possible Twitter feeds I might subscribe to. Searching on the usual criminals of math, physics, space, chess, games (etc...) at twitter.com, I couldn't find much (when the Twitter site even bothered to respond at all—it seems to be overloaded).

So, where's a good source of nerdy Twitters?

Posted by tplambeck at 08:48 PM

Conversation over apple turnover

COLE: [Reading newspaper article] I didn't know there was a Ken Griffey Sr.

THANE: For every Jr. there is a Sr. Or at least, was, at one time.

COLE: Someone was named Goose Gossage? That's unfortunate.

THANE: I think Cole is learning something about baseball here.

Posted by tplambeck at 08:27 AM

June 28, 2008

David Mason in the Spring 2007 Hudson review

What attracted me first to this Bird's book was its title: Trouble Came to the Turnip, perhaps a nod to the land of Nod. The title poem itself is Muldoonishly formal, palatable more than suss-able, I would say. Having come for the shape, though, I found one of her more shapeless rants, "This Time Last Week," to be deeply compelling. Here are two stanzas extracted almost at random to give you a sense of her intelligence:

I want to write
I want to be respected.
I want to be a respected writer.
I want to meet people who will inspire me
to write letters to them when I am forty saying
'Thanks for inspiring me.'
But who are these people
in their ironed shirts and their reading glasses
and their well-funded quests?
Are you kidding me with this?

Posted by tplambeck at 10:48 PM

The inconceivable nature of nature

Posted by tplambeck at 10:37 PM

This—this is what we do—this is what science does—but this is what people do, when we try

Posted by tplambeck at 09:43 PM

Work conversation

A: You could use sed.

B: What's sed?

C: It's like awk.

B: What's awk?

A: It's like sed.

Posted by tplambeck at 09:10 PM

June 24, 2008

"Throughout his whole career, there is a kind of impish quality in his thinking..."

[ who is the speaker? ]

Posted by tplambeck at 11:28 PM

Conversation at Sushi Tomo

THANE: If you were my Facebook friend, you'd be able to see video of your son being interviewed about his Jamaican cliff diving.

GLORIA: I don't want to be your Facebook friend.

THANE: You'd also be able to see a video of your son at a diving meet.

GLORIA: I don't want to be your Facebook friend. Why would I join Facebook?

THANE: Hmmm—I guess I can't think of a good reason, except the two I've already mentioned.

GLORIA: OK, then.


Posted by tplambeck at 09:39 PM

June 20, 2008

The Mozart of Chess, Rising

[Magnus] Carlsen's winning surge now [in] all the big elite events of the first half of the year—Corus, Morelia/Linares, the Fide Grand Prix in Baku, and now Aerosvit—is simply remarkable. No teenager has ever performed at this high a level in the game. Not even former world champion legends such as Garry Kasparov and Bobby Fischer—Carlsen is way ahead of their teenage feats.

I'm feeling lucky

Posted by tplambeck at 11:58 PM

Simon and Mitsuko

I lived in Birmingham, England in 1985 when Simon Rattle was the new conductor of the CBSO (City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra). I was overwhelmed by how well that orchestra played back then, and told Ray Jones, a physicist at the Univ of Birmingham, about it. He nodded knowingly (I didn't know he had season tickets) and we went to quite a few of the CBSO performances together over that year. That same year Ray got me into a BBC studio where we saw Mitsuko Uchida play for a live radio program. There were only fifteen to twenty people present in the room, and I decided in that hour that Mitsuko Uchida would be one of my favorite people for the rest of my life.

Twenty three years later Rattle is Sir Simon and the conductor of the Berlin Philharmonic, and Uchida's still rocking and rolling.

Check out the expressions on Uchida in the first minute and also at 7:30 or so.

Posted by tplambeck at 11:03 PM

Isabel's Daycare sign

Isabel's Daycare sign
Originally uploaded by thane

Posted by tplambeck at 10:24 PM

Reinkings in the Friday NYT

Friday crossword reinkings

City on the Trans-Canada Highway (11). I wrote in MEDICINEBOW. It should have been MEDICINEHAT. [ Hmmm—is there a Medicine Bow? Now that I'm done with the crossword, I allow myself to Google, and yes indeed. I'm surprised to learn that The Hat has a population of 60,000.

1.0 (8) Scribbled in BADGRADE on the strength of a couple crossings, but had to go back to DAVERAGE, eventually.

Cricket championships (5). Whoops — I wrote it RESTS. It's TESTS. Who's keeping score anyway. Who's going to know. It crosses Classless one? for which I guess the answer is TUTEE.

Came back together (6). I have REUNED written in, but is that a word?

Posted by tplambeck at 10:16 PM

June 16, 2008

One thing I can't find on YouTube

Is there a SQ playing the andante cantabile (movement 3) of Beethoven's Op 18 #5 on YouTube?

If so, I can't find it. Here's Jascha Haifetz & co playing the Allegro (ie, movement 1. It's incorrectly titled as movement 2 by whoever put this on YouTube):

(no cigar)

Posted by tplambeck at 11:44 PM

An excellent resource for learning the lyrics to Choo Choo Ch'Boogie

[I never got the "alas and alack" part—highly recommended!]

Posted by tplambeck at 10:37 PM

Reading history

We read history to learn that it is was the same for them as it is for us.


Posted by tplambeck at 10:21 PM


Originally uploaded by thane

Posted by tplambeck at 09:56 PM

June 11, 2008

I'd buy this if I had a place to put it and it didn't cost $554


added later This got me in the covetous mood.

Posted by tplambeck at 11:22 PM

Last day of school

OWEN: The thing at the end of the school year, for the fifth-graders—they don't even call it a "graduation." They call it a "promotion."

GLORIA: Well, it's not a graduation from anything. No one's giving diplomas for leaving fifth grade.

THANE: What do you care, anyway, Owen—you're a fourth grader. I remember in my day, there was no ceremony at the end of school—everyone, the students, and definitely the teachers, they wanted to get the heck out of there. We'd seen more than enough of each other by that point. "Good Riddance, Mr. Spenser," I felt like saying. The feeling was mutual.

GLORIA: Speak for yourself—when I was named The All Cielo Vista Girl at Cielo Vista Elementary, they had a ceremony.

THANE: Oh yes, we all remember that. Owen, when your mother was named The All Cielo Vista Girl at Cielo Vista Elementary, that was a event to remember. I remember it like it was yesterday. I think everyone of my generation does.

OWEN: We're having ice cream tomorrow at school.

GLORIA: It's one big party for you—

THANE: Right, no parties. Owen, when your mother was named the All Cielo Vista Girl at Cielo Vista Elementary, all of El Paso, the whole of west Texas, and indeed the whole nation paused to reflect on this achievement. Your mother's photo was on billboards all over town---

GLORIA: We're not talking about that anymore.

Posted by tplambeck at 08:38 PM

June 07, 2008

Yet another blog entry with no discernable theme

1) Sprained my ankle at Friday morning's basketball game in Menlo Park. Should I post grotesque photo(s) of swelling and bruising to flickr? I'm not really satisfied with any of the photos, but they're certainly plenty ugly.

2) Bought a pair of crutches at Walgreen's, then decided not to use them since they're too much of a pain in the ass. Instead, I'm moving around like a pirate with a wooden leg—Step with (good) left foot. Then drag the right peg leg behind. Step again with left foot. Etc. People express sympathy, but if we're walking together as they do so, they quickly move out of my range of vision, toward the horizon, as I drag the peg leg another foot forward.

3) Cole finished 2nd in a diving meet in Santa Clara this morning.

4) Owen's little league baseball team, the #8 seeded (ie, last-seeded) Edwards Luggage, defeated the #1 seed Alhouse King Realty 7-5 in the first round of the Palo Alto Little League City Championship tournament. I had my good camera and got some photos, but nothing too exciting since I was sweating bullets instead of thinking of getting a good shot.

5) Secret new venture going very nicely.

6) Will I finish up or down on the bet I placed on the S&P 500 June 23rd 2008 closing price 18 months ago? It's looking like I'm going to finish up, but things are pretty volatile in the markets right now.

7) Alex Bellos's article on G4G8 appeared in the (UK) Manchester Guardian, and it mentions in passing my instructions for how to make a diet Coke can talk using a little piece of plastic. Someone sent me a PDF of the article and I don't have a URL for it.

Posted by tplambeck at 10:45 PM

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