metawidget: A platypus looking pensive. (Default)
It's been a busy midwinter for and around me. Everyone in the household
has taken a turn or two being sick -- gastro, conjunctivitis, cold and/or
flu... I took my first sick day in a while and I'm glad I didn't try to go
in that day.

it gets better )

I guess all this entry is missing is a beer review at this point. Maybe
next entry -- I have been drinking enjoyable beer from time to time lately!
metawidget: [garblegarblescript] Political! Science! for Amusement! [pictures of John A. Macdonald with swirly eyes] (science)

I made it, through the full-body scanner and a flight above the clouds, to Washington D.C. I mixed Metro (mostly) and walking (from L'Enfant Plaza across the National Mall to Chinatown, so get a sniff of the air, get a look at the monumental-ness, and grab some tasty Thai food) to get me to the University of Maryland, where I'm staying and taking a course on disclosure control. Today was the ins and outs of releasing aggregated data, which is the end of things I've worked more in. Mostly for myself: I should e-mail Dr. Cox about where methodological transparency grants the intruder extra leverage in estimating sensitive cells: his problematic findings on feasible intervals, and Dr. Karr's recent conference papers on the topic in general. I think I'm getting some good review and some connecting details that I was missing so far.

Tonight I'm probably going to drop south from Foggy Bottom into the western end of the National Mall and try to see the giant statue of Lincoln and the Vietnam Veterans' monument. Tomorrow: microdata, dynamic queries, and then the rush to the airport to get home.

metawidget: A platypus looking pensive. (Default)
I defended today, and have to fix some grammar, and switch the words "left" and "right" in a bunch of places in my thesis. Aside from that, I am done my schooling for some time to come.

It feels awesome.

More after I get some sleep.
metawidget: A platypus looking pensive. (Default)
The strangest things pop out at you sometimes.

Apple would like me to update my copy of iTunes, which I may get to doing when I'm not listening to music:
With iTunes 7.3, you can now activate iPhone service and sync it with your music, TV shows, movies and more. Also, you can now wirelessly share and enjoy your favorite digital photos from any computer in your home with Apple TV. iTunes 7.3.2 provides bug fixes to improve stability and performance.

That led me to here.

I am also simmering ideas about cut-sets, reachable rules whether realizable is a rule thing or a grammar thing.
metawidget: A platypus looking pensive. (Default)
I'm on the sidewalk, soaking up wifi vibes from Petit Chicago. We went there last night for a drink, the beer there is pretty good, and cheap on Tuesdays. It's a little grey, with a nice breeze out here.

Two policemen with funny hats just walked by. They're without a contract (and have been for a while) out here, but they haven't given up on the somewhat sketchy area around Place #1. Good on them.

Things are coming together: thesis is progressing (and ratio of stuff that falls under "know it, did it, just have to write it" as opposed to "don't know it, have to figure it out, beat it into submission, then write it" is nice, considering that I have to be done by the fall); we have appliances coming, Verdun stuff arranged for moving, paint colours almost picked and several nice people offering to help us lug what stuff we have at Hull Place #1 to Hull Place #2..

I look forward to taking a break from writing to illustrate some stuff. Maybe I'll give my recently-downloaded copy of Inkscape a spin. I know I'll be hammering away at GraphViz, which is a very cool free program for drawing stuff connected to other stuff: OmniGraffle for poor people who like editing text files and dislike making layout decisions. Seeing that I'm using LATEX for the text, it's a logical choice for graph drawing.

In other news, I had a nasty cold before that seems to be going away.
metawidget: A platypus looking pensive. (Default)
a(b+c)=(ab)+(ac).  Politicize that, bitches.

Math is fundamentalism for the sane.

Well, and the more-or-less sane.
metawidget: A platypus looking pensive. (Default)

…computer scientists commonly choose models which have bottoms, but prefer them topless.
Davey, B. A. and H. A. Priestly. Introduction to lattices and order, 2nd ed. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2002. p. 15.

metawidget: A platypus looking pensive. (Default)
Yesterday, at a local two-for-one pizza place:

Cashier: "Do you want one pizza, or two?"
Me: "Er, one, I guess. Is it cheaper than two?"
Cashier: "Well, of course, it's two-for-one!"
Me: (stunned silence)
metawidget: A platypus looking pensive. (Default)
Real posts evade me. Life is pretty intense.

Tomorrow (Friday) at 8 PM: come see [ profile] rottenfruit play at the Yellow Door (3625 Aylmer, 144 bus or metro Place des Arts ish) $6 at the door, bring optional nonperishables for the food bank and spending money for coffee and CDs.

Next Tuesday at 3:30 PM: come see Godfried Toussaint talk about crossovers from bioinformatics techniques in rhythm analysis of flamenco and other music. It's in the EV building (1515 Ste. Catherine), room 2.184. It's aimed at all levels of geekery, and he's a fantastic presenter. Refreshments afterwards, free admission.

at the request of a ninjaaaa )
metawidget: A platypus looking pensive. (Default)
Yippee for more userpics!

Watch out for the toast icon soon.

I explained a notation I think is cool today. With coloured pens, tracing paper and wild arm movements. And am getting paid for this.


Feb. 21st, 2006 11:46 am
metawidget: A platypus looking pensive. (Default)
Stood up and gave the very distilled version of our research work to assembled guests today: I think they should've got some radio or TV documentarist to interview us and chop it into five minutes per project rather than try and get geeks to talk about interesting and complex stuff for only 300 seconds.

I'm planning a major assault on the bugs (I talked with one of the pros, he thinks a housecall is overkill but had some tips for getting rid of them for good) over the "break", and probably some vet time for Noisette (just a check-up) and dentist time for me (it's been too long).

I'm also reading up on a couple of festivals to hit this summer to soak up some (geeky) culture and hit the road with [ profile] rottenfruit (maybe as a roadie of sorts — mailing her submission off today...).

Other things I'm up to are more art support type things, homework and rat-sitting.
metawidget: A platypus looking pensive. (Default)
Feeling a bit whomped with work and school of late. I'll get what I can get done done, and try to do enough sanity maintenance in there too. Going to Ottawa Friday night can't come soon enough. Travel Scrabble, talk and "reasonably priced snacks" on the train are calling to me.

I've been putting in some time helping out with a paper on shape grammars as design tools, marking, and not doing quite enough problem sets. Tonight, babysitting a roast in the oven (some people I know do turkeys, I have beef from home to keep me up all night), and alternating procrastinating with stuff I need to be doing.

The weekend involved a bunch of communal time with [ profile] rottenfruit: Saturday Dim Sum with her and my folks, gaming with her and the usual suspects, and on Sunday we went to monthly Scrabble as thrown by [ profile] feygele (in nifty rainbow kippah) and [ profile] vierge_en_trop (who made said nifty rainbow kippah). Saw the kippah in question through a basement window today at Concordia, debated pressing my nose up against the glass and gesturing "hi", but I was late and the head under it looked to be concentrating on something deep. I had fun, and got some stuff done — not as much as I should have, but there was progress. Today was long, and isn't over.

I think I'm slowly growing up.
metawidget: A platypus looking pensive. (Default)
Travelled to Oakville on the weekend for my cousin's wedding. The two of them seemed beamingly happy, it was nice to catch up with fourteen of sixteen of my cousins, and the party was really classy and fun. The bride's family was a little religious, but then so is my cousin (by my family's standards, anyway...) there was some talk in the speeches of us seculars running down the couple's Christian marriage at every turn and how God will give them strength, etc. ... some people just don't get that we value and love our family without any sacred text telling us to: Jesus was worried about family distracting folks from his Dad, after all. The other damper was the fact that this was the eldest son of my aunt Kathy, who died last year. They quietly lit a candle for her without any explanation right at the start of the ceremony, and she was remembered in many of the speeches. I think she'd be happy and supportive if she was there.

Got into the new office... it's much like the old one in bareness, big windows, concrete columns and visible ducts. We're at the end of a hall, in with the other graphics and types. Only a little gear got delivered to unplanned destinations, and it's all accounted for. Plenty of cabling and bureaucracy to deal with before we're completely settled in, but it's coming.

Last night, went to the Divers-Cité kick-off parade. It was lower-fi than I'd anticipated, and a little late (would've been fine by Central time, but...), but fun and encouraging. I suspect getting it off Monday night will be the biggest problem facing the Montreal queer activist community, now that the feds are playing nice, Harper's his own worst enemy and things are generally civilized here.

Photos from the wedding and Divers-Cité to follow.

Figured out a few bits of registration stuff... there are still a pile of TBAs and some questions about repeated material there, but it's falling into place. At the very least, I have a sense that there are enough relevant courses on offer to keep me busy. I'm really gunning to do some category theory and logic, which aren't available, but that's what reading courses are for.

In other news, I stretched the wrong way and threw out my shoulder again this morning. I was face-down, basically pinned with my arm outstretched. Really uncomfortable, if a little funny to be pinned by no weight at all. Had to slowly bring it around to my side and pop it back in. I hate that aspect of my body.
metawidget: A platypus looking pensive. (Default)
Something from Ideas (on Radio One) earlier this week (Thursday?) was rattling around in my head... they got Philip Yancey, who's one of the better apologist writers out there (in my experience), talking on the subject of rumours of god, and one of the things he unpacks is an anecdote of some atheist friend of his acknowledging that the conditions for human-ish life are pretty unlikely given the range of possible values for all kinds of physical constants and initial conditions in the universe. Yancey goes on to express appreciation that although his atheist friend stayed an atheist, that he acknowledged the improbability of all those factors lining up to allow life, and elaborate that this forms part of his case for a creator — that it's just too unlikely otherwise.

The first thing that gets my goat is the lack of acknowledgement of conditional probability... the standard and well-established way to level the probability argument is to point out that whatever the probability of conditions being sufficient for human life, the only way to be human and observing them is for them to happen. Sitting here in time, being human, the probability of that happening is more or less 1. There seem to be vast stretches of space that don't contain humans, and the universe took a very long time (if you choose to trust physics over Genesis) to spit us out. So maybe we are unlikely, and we would be rightly surprised if we saw people sprouting up on every wandering bit of space debris. Probability doesn't spring out of nothingness, it only has meaning once you set conditions.

But, maybe more fundamental here, is the assumption that somehow the alternate explanation is that there are huge roulette wheels turning setting all the constants and everything after that, and that an absence of god somehow runs right to everything is stubbornly random. No god doesn't mean no logic, far from it. Cellular automata need some ground rules and they're off doing their thing. Math needs some axioms and given some time, some branches of thought are wandering around category theory. We can watch pretty undistinguished functions over time churning out discrete-time systems and they'll settle into patterns. We can set calendars and clocks with trust that gravity will do its thing more or less the same way as it has over the recorded past. They don't get bumped around when somewhere allows gay marriage or a new mixed-fibre clothing sweatshop opens. So we're the settling down of, or at least a temporary plateau in, the particular progression from whatever starting conditions we got. We're pretty stable as cluster points go. Just because things have settled into something, doesn't mean there was some master plan from the get-go. That works for my life and probably for many of you readers... without taking the analogy as proof, doesn't it seem possible that works on a bigger level, too?
metawidget: A platypus looking pensive. (Default)
Analysis says all those steps home were more or less the same.

Algebra says at least some of those steps home were outside the kernel, as I moved from Hatter's to home.

Optimization says I should've celebrated closer to home.

Pragmatism says to hell with the calculations, get me more water.

Whatever... exams are over, they went well, I celebrated, now I must sleep.

Wheee... see the world tomorrow, and not too early :P
metawidget: A platypus looking pensive. (Default)
interests in a nice little table by popularity )

It would appear I’m all over the map... I can’t believe I’m the only (declared) Moock fan or Frontier College supporter on LJ...


metawidget: A platypus looking pensive. (Default)
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