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March 09, 2007

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Anarch: funniest report card quote ever (well, maybe apart from 'Hilary may do well despite her independence' (1st grade), and 'Hilary's classroom behavior has been less satisfactory of late, perhaps because she has learned to whistle' (2d grade), is: 'It is a mystery to me why Hilary refuses to use her God-given talent for mathematics' (teacher you just beat with a clue stick.)

Not one of my favorite teachers ever.

I just got back from seeing "Infernal Affairs", which was less bloody and more confusing than its remake, "The Departed" -- but not as confusing as the prequel, "Internal Affairs II", which I saw immediately afterward. "The Departed" did follow the script pretty closely.

And I'm finishing up season 2 of "The Wire" via my new Netflix membership.

I don't recall any really funny report card remarks, although it's also been decades since I last saw them; I do recall from elementary school several classic slight variants of "Gary is extremely bright, but does not always live up to his potential...."

DaveC: "ISA bus with big honking connectors"

and the wrong impedance?

I built a DMA-over-VME ADC readout system for my thesis work - the signals to the boards went crazy once in a while and the input multiplexers would literally explode, so we made some pre-stage thingees - which introduced some cross-talk I never figured out. Ah, well.


Bernard: "Is that a text that would have been in use in the mid-60's?"

I think I had the impression that Rudin was the text that had been used forever. My version was called "Baby Rudin". I had the feeling it was printed on paper made not from wood pulp but from dust. It had proofs in it that made sense without actually leaving any learning in my mind. The year before I had taken a course from a book covered with a menagerie of imaginary creatures crossed with topological spaces, and another text was fun to read as a book, like a novel or travelogue; I found the transition to a text without any figures or (so it seemed to me) motivations difficult.

There is indeed Baby Rudin (which I love) as well as Papa Rudin (which I don't). Oh, and this?

It had proofs in it that made sense without actually leaving any learning in my mind.

...is pretty much the definition of reading mathematics ;)

Seen a lot of good movies lately but most were made before I was born.

I saw Zodiac on Friday, and thought it was excellent. Anyone who goes in expecting to see "a serial killer movie," or even, really, "a police procedural," is going to be sorely disappointed. On the other hand, anyone who goes in expecting to see a remarkable look at how American lives and culture are lived through and mediated by the mass media -- with the Zodiac killings as a modern example -- and at the paranoia and obsession generated by the need to know things, is in for some real food for thought.

A couple caveats, though: The movie is nearly 2.5 hours, is relentlessly linear in structure (quite literally -- every event takes place in sequence, there is no crosscutting, no flashbacks, nothing), and has nothing I would refer to as an "action scene." The actual "Zodiac killings" are dispensed with quickly and ungloriously in the first half hour of the movie.

The idea that this movie was made by the same guy who made both Se7en and Fight Club is somewhat amazing. It's like a complete refutation of those movies. (Both of which I love.)

Taught. Who loved what they taught. Which may not have included your English teacher....

Heh. Good call. The only thing worse than my spelling is my grammar on occasion. Word tells me that last sentence is a fragment. Oh well.

I wouldn't assume that knowing complex variables would have helped.

Hm. Well, seemed pretty obvious to me at the time, way back when I had that epiphany. I might have to think on it for a while to reproduce it; possibly longer yet to perform an epiphany transplant.

Looking back, I very much wish that someone had explained why calc mattered and why it was beautiful. I remember it only as a series of annoying memorizations.

Oh, dear. Let's see: the basis of all classical physics, the means for understanding and expressing motion on a macro scale, as well as being the key to REAL statistics (not that sampled-data stuff that accounting majors get)...well, calculus is pretty much my life, so without it, I'm probably a car mechanic. That and perturbations, and statistics.

DaveC: I trump your 8087 with my: programming z-transfer functions on an 8080. I soldered a 12-bit A/D converter (and a 12-bit D/A right next to it) and so built a programmable transfer function. Programming a z-library with user-selectable parameters I left as an exercise for the next sap to mess around with the hardware.

Doubtless others have worked with older and more arcane hardware, though. This was back in 1983, just for reference. It was very nearly the thing that prevented me from graduating. Note to self: when using a logic probe, take great care to not have it slip and short the two adjacent pins together that the spec sheet warns you in caps not to short. That cooking smell usually comes after the chip is already dead.

Doubtless something in the above will induce flashbacks of Tron in the older commenters.

"Note to self: when using a logic probe, take great care to not have it slip and short the two adjacent pins together that the spec sheet warns you in caps not to short."

Try doing that without depth perception. On surface mount, if you like.

'Hilary's classroom behavior has been less satisfactory of late, perhaps because she has learned to whistle'

Heee. A mental image to store away when one needs cheering up.

Missed this above...

Slarti: Actually looks more like meta-math, as compared to what I do.

It is indeed meta-math. On a bad day, it's meta-meta-math.

seemed pretty obvious to me at the time, way back when I had that epiphany. I might have to think on it for a while to reproduce it; possibly longer yet to perform an epiphany transplant.

You might easily be right, slarti, but even if you have your epiphany it's likely to take you forever to transplant it to me.

After 113 comments, is an open thread still an open thread?

If so, this one's for Hilzoy:

Lionsgate and the Firm are partnering on a feature adaptation of Thomas Kinkade's painting "The Christmas Cottage," aiming for a holiday season release.

(Via the AV Club.)

Oh. My. God.

Are they even going to pretend to write a story for all that comfortably homely light? Will it have a theatrical release, or is it planned to go straight to DVD? In this age of imdb.com, will those who work on the movie allow their real names to be used in the credits?

Nooooo!!!!

Apropos.

"Are they even going to pretend to write a story for all that comfortably homely light?"

That's not quite clear from the story.

Film, penned by Ken LaZebnick ("Prairie Home Companion"), will be partly biographical, based on how Kincade was motivated to begin his career as an artist after discovering his mother was in danger of losing the family home.
My favorite part:
Lionsgate production chief Michael Paseornek told Daily Variety that the company was attracted to making a deal with Kinkade, partly because of the accessibility of his artwork and his massive mailing list.
Of course, the most cheery part:
Lionsgate has already launched development of a second Kinkade project but is keeping details under wraps.

Lovely:

The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said Monday he considers homosexuality to be immoral and the military should not condone it by allowing gay soldiers to serve openly, the Chicago Tribune reported.

Marine Gen. Peter Pace likened homosexuality to adultery, which he said was also immoral, the newspaper reported on its Web site.

"I do not believe the United States is well served by a policy that says it is OK to be immoral in any way," Pace told the newspaper in a wide-ranging interview.

[...]

"I believe homosexual acts between two individuals are immoral and that we should not condone immoral acts," Pace said.

Full story, with audio.

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