A question about numerical methods for solving the wave equation made it onto the frontpage of Slashdot.
O Tanenbaum, O Tanenbaum
Your microk3rn3l rul3z!
O Tanenbaum, O Tanenbaum
Those m0n0lithic foolz!
They build a kernel all-in-one,
Where all the bugs can have free run.
O Tanenbaum, O Tanenbaum
Those Linux guys just drool.
Last week I lost a wonderful mentor and friend, Prof. Emmett Leith. Prof. Leith was my research advisor and was going to be my dissertation committee chair in the PhD program in electrical engineering at the University of Michigan. Among academics, Prof. Leith is known for making holograms useful and ubiquitous by inventing the off-axis method of recording holograms--one could make a strong case that the 1971 Nobel Prize in Physics, in addition to being awarded to Dennis Gabor for the invention of holography, should have been shared with Prof. Leith, Juris Upatnieks, and Yuri Denisyuk. Among those who met him--family, friends, students, and colleagues--he was known as a wonderful man. I feel extraordinarily privileged to have had the opportunity to work with and learn from Prof. Leith.
I was about to do some virtual window shopping on Amazon.com, when the following paragraph popped out at me:
An Anna Kournikova and Amazon.com Exclusive
This Shock Absorber sports bra was designed especially for Anna Kournikova, because only the ball should bounce. Available exclusively at Amazon.com, for a limited time.
I ran across this link to The Official Electrical Engineer Webpage: Real Ultimate Power in this comment.
Last night I saw Paul van Dyk live in Ann Arbor at a club called necto. First, it's pretty amazing that he would come to a little place like Ann Arbor, but the really cool part is how I got into the club. So the doors to the club opened at 8pm, but there was an opening DJ so I thought I would get there later to try to maximize Paul van Dyk experience while minimizing time spent listening to some random local DJ that should be spent on one of the three final projects due before finals start next week. Faulty logic, but anyway I rumbled down to the club around 11:45, which as it turned out was 15 minutes before PvD took the decks. Unfortunately, 50 people were lined up in front of me to get in the club, so I'm thinking, "Damnit, I should have come down here at 9 or 10...I'm never going to get in."
...bomb Iraq! That seems kinda short for a journal entry, so I'll paste in the text of the comment:
If you cannot find Osama, bomb Iraq.
If the markets are a drama, bomb Iraq.
If the terrorists are frisky,
Pakistan is looking shifty,
North Korea is too risky,
If we have no allies with us, bomb Iraq.
If we think someone has dissed us, bomb Iraq.
So to hell with the inspections,
Let's look tough for the elections,
Close your mind and take directions,
It's "pre-emptive non-aggression", bomb Iraq.
Let's prevent this mass destruction, bomb Iraq.
They've got weapons we can't see,
And that's good enough for me,
'Cos it's all the proof I need to
If you never were elected, bomb Iraq.
If your mood is quite dejected, bomb Iraq.
If you think Saddam's gone mad,
With the weapons that he had,
(And he tried to kill your dad),
If your corp'rate fraud is growin', bomb Iraq.
If your ties to it are showin', bomb Iraq.
If your politics are sleazy,
And hiding that ain't easy,
And your manhood's getting queasy,
Fall in line and follow orders, bomb Iraq.
For our might knows not our borders, bomb Iraq.
Disagree? We'll call it treason,
Let's make war not love this season,
Even if we have no reason,
Michael Moore, director of Bowling for Columbine, has written a letter to "Governor Bush" about the war.
The staff editorial in today's Michigan Daily contained a statement so ridiculous that it inspired me to get off my politically-apathetic ass and write a letter to the editors. The statement was as follows:
On campuses across the nation today, students will participate in a strike against the proposed war. University students should honor the strike, foregoing class in favor of the many planned academic and cultural events.
Here is the text of the reply that I sent:
Cutting class a weak political statement
To the Daily,
I was disappointed to see an otherwise eloquent and well-reasoned staff editorial in Wednesday's Daily (Unjust war, 03/05/03) tarnished by a statement advocating that students cut class as a form of protest against possible war in the Middle East. The notion of cutting class as a form of political statement is ludicrous. Not only is missing class detrimental to a student's education, the already-nonexistent political impact of cutting class is further diluted by the fact that cutting class in protest is indistinguishable from missing class due to illness or skipping class out of laziness.
A far more effective way to make a political statement would be to write to one's elected representatives or to participate in an organized protest, but I suppose these alternatives would be too much work for someone who would prefer to make a political statement by cutting class.
I've been guilty of cutting class more than I'd like to admit, but I realized that it was detrimental to my education, and I never was so misguided as to think that I was making a political statement (although, incredibly, some professors never realize that poor attendance might be a sign that the lectures are too boring or that the class is too early
Update (3/6/2003): My letter didn't appear in today's Daily , but there was a story on yesterday's "strike" that still seems to think that cutting class makes a political statement. If and when my letter gets published, I'll be sure to post a link.
While reading today's story on the Riemann hypothesis, I was led to a very cogent explanation of the Riemann hypothesis that I wanted to save for future reference. The Slashdot journal system, which I've neglected for over a year now, seemed like a perfect place for recording it. A choice line from the comment is
...for me to explain it [the author's PhD thesis in mathematics] fully to him [the author's physicist friend] would probably necessitate him doing at least one mathematics degree first. And that's not really something I'd wish on one of my friends
I can vouch for the claim that pure mathematics is very difficult to explain to a nonmathematician. As a graduate student in electrical engineering, I believe I am pretty adept at applied mathematics (algebra, calculus, matrix arithmetic, differential equations, integral transforms and such), but my understanding of pure mathematics (rigorous proof, analysis, abstract algebra, number theory, set theory and such) is probably at the level of an undergraduate junior in mathematics, at best. I recall that Richard Feynman, Nobel laureate in physics, mentions in Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman that his mathematician friends in graduate school used to give him a hard time by presenting topological paradoxes or by giving him integrals that could not be evaluated except by special methods like contour integration, so I believe I'm in good company.
I have a quirky sense of humor, as the moderations of some of my comments have shown. As such, I feel a need to explain my new
Brooks sums up his experience with trading-off people and time in Brooks' law:
Adding manpower to a late software project makes it later.
...A slightly irreverent way of restating Brooks law is
It take 9 months to bear a child, no matter how many women you assign to the job.
I was reading that passage late last night and I found it just too damn funny. However, I could see how it might be construed to be offensive by women or women's rights activists and wanted to cover my ass here by stating for the record that I did not mean any offense. Am I being overly sensitive? Not sensitive enough? Let me know.