19 October 2006


Hello -

I've been slowing down a bit in posting. After coming home from work, eating dinner with J-Fav and Toby (he sits with us at the table now!), and putting him to bed, we only have a couple of hours together. Sometimes we sit silently, if we're not pelting each other with couch-pillows, surfing the web or watching DVD episodes of "Veronica Mars."

Lately I've been wondering if I should pick a book to work through a few nights a week. (As if I were taking it for a class, doing the exercises, etc. Maybe Hecht & Zajac's Optics, that Maxfield & Maxfield's Abstract Algebra and Solution by Radicals book which Toby likes to eat, or Bamberg and Sternberg's A Course in Mathematics for Students of Physics, bringing together linear algebra, a bunch of calculus I have never seen before but which would let me understand Gravitation, and E&M, actually extending circuit theory to become electromagnitism. (Yes, I'm yet another person who bought Gravitation because it's heavy, imposing, and pitch black. J-Fav digs it. I think.) Looking at the Amazon reviews I feel better for finding the Bamberg book so challenging. Next, I might be ready for Visual Complex Analysis, a wedding present from the Trou-champs (Beachdales?). But what on earth will I do with all this math? Perhaps I just want the "clean thought shapes." Sort of like taking Tums, but for one's brain.)

The run-on sentence police just rang the doorbell, set off some firecrackers, yelled something into a megaphone, and sped away.

(I clear my throat loudly.)

Hey, Toby's 6-month birthday present just came. We thought it required batteries, or as J-Fav announced in her best Metallica imitation, "Ba-ter-ries! Ba-ter-ries!"

I'd like to regale you with a few sci / business links, many of which are from geekpress.com:
  • DNA-based computer plays tic-tac-toe
  • Malcom Gladwell's New Yorker story about a neural network (computer program) that picks Hollywood hits and racetrack winners with amazing accuracy (see the middle of the article)
  • Reuters opened a news bureau in the virtual-reality world "Second Life." Who are these people who have time to sit and play these games? Oh, wait, I'm the one blogging...
  • "SGI emerges from Chapter 11" [fcw.com] They had been delisted from NYSE, probably because $200 video game cards began performing better than their high-end workstations.
  • NBC has two meta-shows about the behind-the-scenes of "Saturday Night Live"-like shows: 30ROCK and Studio 60. I prefer the former. Watch the pilot, free, online! You go, Tina Fey...
  • Thread on Tahnan's blog about Dawkins appearing on the Colbert Report, and the obligatory Flying Spaghetti Monster discussion. (What's the FSM, you ask?)
  • Yale's Prof. Kindlmann's EAS-INFO article, "Virtual Reality or Real Virtuality?" about the aforementioned Second Life. He asks:
I wonder if I might propose a new role for Engineering: as guardian of real reality. Yes, engineers have long resorted to their own simulations, but I'd still like to think of them as grounded in reality, as real-world problem solvers. Or are they already mostly inhabiting the virtual world and smiling wryly at my discomforts?

Or maybe we should dispatch teams of poets into the virtual world, as guardians and enliveners of that domain, before, as an insufficiently unimaginative extrapolation of real reality, it wears itself out and resorts to virtual virtual reality?
Good night and good luck.


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