<M <Y
Y> M>

: I'm at the installfest now. This time we actually have an Internet connection. Yay.

: I'm in the incubator now.

: I really hope this is an unsolicited quote and not something Scott told Red Hat to describe segfault as on their site:

Segfault.org: Extremely regular Linux Humor site based on stories written and submitted by its readers. A slight parody on Slashdot.org, it views the news how it should be read :) Expect no mercy!

: I finally got a chance to try out the Pie Gates game. There are worse Shockwave games, I'm sure.

: Egad! Event provokes controversy! Whoda thunk?

: I didn't used to like sunlight, but the great weather in LA right now is changing my mood. I can even go out without wearing sunglasses!

: Just when I was losing my trust in Jesse Ventura, he becomes the only governor to speak out against government endorsement of the National Day of Prayer.

: Woohoo! My n-queens Scheme program works perfectly! And it's not even due for 24 hours! Now to get cracking on the n-drag-queens problem. I'm kidding, of course. Now to get cracking on the horrid Minix project.

: Yes, the enumeration of all solutions to the 8-queens problem eluded even that manliest of mathematicians, Karl Friedrich Gauss. Of course, had he had Lisp at his disposal, Gauss would have kicked my ass.

Last week's Futurama was great (oh no, I'm watching television!), but yesterday's was a big disappointment. Like the way it brilliantly set up the Uranus meta-joke*, only to destroy it with excessive joke layering. But then, there's really no way to top last week's "you're soaking in it" reference.

* "Astronomers renamed Uranus in 2620 to stop that stupid joke once and for all."

: When you want a juicy quote on open-source Web development, who do you call? No, Esther Dyson is busy, so how about me? Yup.

: I brought this up in Math 199:

There is a notion of polynomial time as the upper bound for useful decidability, as opposed to just plain decidability. That is, there are many relations which are decidable but which we don't want to sit around and wait for the decision procedure to finish (eg. a 2^2^n algorithm on a modern computer will take longer than the current age of the universe to run, for n=7).

That was not what I brought up. What I brought up was let's take this to its logical conclusion. There are decidable relations which in a very real sense we cannot actually decide because the heat-death of the universe will occur before any decision procedure finishes. Anything not in the set of such relations, even if decidable, would be effectively undecidable in this universe. Even if we posessed mighty quantum computers which shredded exponential time, there are 2^2^2^2^2^2^2...^n-time decision procedures which we would never be able to run.

Possibly we could formalize this with an information-theoretic argument relating the amount of information in the universe with the amount of information required for a decision procedure, but I don't know any information theory. I do know, however, that this set of effectively decidable relations grows smaller with every second that passes and every action you take. So watch it, pal.

: You want to hear my idea that Peter thinks is crazy? My idea is to design a database and Web front-end for exhaustively cataloguing and cross-referencing every cultural reference and running joke ever made on Mystery Science Theater 3000. I just want to design the database and Web front-end. I never said I wanted to actually catalogue and cross-reference every cultural reference and running joke ever made on Mystery Science Theater 3000. Is that so wrong?

I just cross-referenced that to a Garrison Keillor monologue about a guy who spent his whole life cataloguing every word in Ulysses and just as he was finished they found the lost "Minnesota" monologue which goes on page 4 and puts all the guy's page numbers out of whack. This is because today I was reading a Web page about Ulysses.

Also, Jake, I'm starting work on your 1999 birthday present. I can't promise that it will blow Jake's Birthday Party into tiny shreds of mangled flesh, but it might. Also, Darrin just came in with a roll of wrapping paper, having to wrap a birthday present for someone. Yes, it's all coming together.

The twirly-mustachioed Rudolph Longtooth!
The twirly-mustachioed calcium carbonate!
The twirly-mustachioed Odor Eaters!
The twirly-mustachioed Hawaiian Punch!
The twirly-mustachioed pi over two!
The twirly-mustachioed cephalopods!
The twirly-mustachioed cephalopods!

: I saw this on peterme, and, as a computer scientist who dabbles in biology, I smell blood. Watch this space.

: Actual quote from my AI textbook, sounds like a "Land of the small-brained folk" Mr. Boffo:

Hayes was the first to prove that a bath with the plug in will eventually overflow if the tap keeps running; and that a person who falls into a lake will get wet all over.

I just went with my mother and sister to see Van Gogh at LACMA (not LACMA). Yummy!

: I can't drink soy milk. I'm sorry. I can't. It's too sweet. It's conceptually less gross than dairy milk, but I can't drink it. I certainly can't cook with it.

: The following is part of an email I just sent to Jake. I think it is of more general interest:

I thought of a great joke this morning. Or what would be a great joke, for some value of x.

Q: What's the difference between an x and an insect?
A: Insects only eat their young.

The trouble is, I can't think of an x that makes sense in that joke. In fact, there may be no such x. The question is, does the absence of any such x make the joke less funny?

I was going to continue my search for some x that made sense, but then I thought of another joke that fits the same pattern:

Q: What's the difference between an x and a computer scientist?
A: Computer scientists start counting from zero.

So now the question is, should I attempt to locate these xes, or should I just treat x as a Skolem constant and take this to be an altogether new joke form, in the spirit of "What's the difference between a duck?".

: Today's joke that no one else will get (actually from last week, but I forgot about it):

If you change your name to HP_Josh, your neighbors will have to let you use their television!

--Me to Josh Barratt

: Good, Futurama is back on track. Last night's episode tasted great and never let me down.

10 SIN

Oh, my ribs.

I love tormenting Scott by sending him SLIME-related emails with subject lines of the form "x problem SOLVED!", eg. the "Subclass function scope problem SOLVED!" one I just sent him. Actually, I'm not sure if he considers that torment. I'll have to ask him. He might be made of stronger stuff than that.

: Phantom Menace tickets just dropped into my lap, so I'm going to go see it.

Don't you just love the flippant tone of that last paragraph? Actually, you probably don't. The screening is at 3:30. I'll let you know how it goes.

: Am I so lazy that all future NYCB entries are going to be extracted and edited parts of emails I sent? I don't know. Probably. But here's more stuff I sent to Jake re Star Wars: Episode I: The Phantom Menace:

I enjoyed the movie immensely. The people who didn't enjoy it don't realize that it was basically a comedy, sort of a Three Stooges/Dennis the Menace in space sort of thing. In fact, it should have been called "Star Wars: Episode I: The Phantom Dennis the Menace".

I predict that the Force will become a greater and greater force for wackiness over the rest of the trilogy, arranging for cross-dressing disguises and hiding-in-closets bedroom farce and the like, until some catastrophe in Episode III brings it down to earth as the staid ancient religion we see in the original Star Wars. This ties in with the end of ROTJ, when, with the Empire on its last legs, the Force begins to regain its previous levity, in scenes like the one I don't need to explain, and the other one I don't need to explain.

: There is a brain dissection to be held in Kinsey 169 at 6. I will probably attend, seeing as how it's twenty feet away. I don't know if actual brain dissection will take place, or if it will just be a lecture about the brain. But why not attend a lecture about the brain that's being held twenty feet away?

The brain (if there will be one) is a human brain, for those of you concerned about animal rights.

: The brain demonstration was great. I have now held a human brain. Something I think everyone should do at least once.

If something is eating your brain, you don't feel it because there are no nerves in the brain. Also, all your senses pass through a single area of the brain, except for smell, which has its own pathway. Thirdly, humans have two sight paths, one above the other, but the bottom one is not consciously avaliable. If the top sight path is severed, people will be consciously blind, but will still be able to maneuver, point to moving objects, etc., even though they will not be perceiving anything. Those are the three cool things about the brain that I learned.

: I don't like cyberpunk. Really, at all. Cyberpunk and anime are where my cultural tastes deviate widely from the majority of computer geekdom. I'm not really sure what it is. I don't mind the dystopian futures; but when it's dystopian futures that just ain't going to happen, presented with the intense urgency that all works of cyberpunk must posess, it puts me off my lunch. To my way of thinking, the best dystopian futures remain those of 1984 and Brave New World. Both are far more real to me than anything cyberpunk has dredged up.

(Tangentially speaking of dystopian futures, the Crest in Westwood was showing Dr. Strangelove as part of a film festival, and I intended to go see it on the big screen, but its run was limited to about two days, it being a film festival and all, and I missed it.

BUT, I like to think of myself as someone who is open to new experiences, and everyone and their brother nowadays is praising Neal Stephenson to the skies, because of the supposed mightiness of his new book, Cryptonomicon, and I happen to have a copy of his older book, Snow Crash, accessible, so last night I started reading it.

I'm on page 300 now, and I'm getting to the point where I want to just stop. The plot is okay, and there are characters I care about, but it's getting more and more difficult to keep trudging through all the inane pseudoprescience. I'm sure it's not Neal Stephenson's fault. He's a good writer, but when you write cyberpunk, you have to put in this stuff. It's a union regulation or something.

But look how open-minded I am: I still plan to read Cryptonomicon, because Neal Stephenson is a good writer, and Cryptonomicon takes place in the past and in the present, which will obviate much of what I find annoying about cyberpunk. I also am planning to eventually read The Difference Engine, which takes place in an alternate past. But don't bring your CyberspaceTM here. Nuh-uh. That's not Dirk. Nuh-uh.

There are about 150 pages of Snow Crash left, so I'll finish it. I always feel compelled to finish every book I start. Except for The Good Soldier Sjvek, much better than Snow Crash and just as jarringly dystopian, which for some reason has remained half-read on my bookshelf for three years.

: Also, here are two good brain short stories: a description of the destruction of someone's mental facilities as their brain is eaten away by a virus or parasite, and a similar description, except the agent is malicious, possibly a little nano-robot, and intends to really screw you over by retaining your consciousness as long as possible. One or both stories may be feasible; if only one, then the second one is better (the first one exists only to provide contrast, I think). I'm no good at writing fiction, so you can do what you want with these ideas.

I have to remember to get napkins when I buy my breakfast muffin. I keep forgetting and end up with sticky muffin fingers and covered in muffin fragments. Zappa would not approve.

: As long as I'm adding NYCB entries, Jake thinks that my jokes (see some previous entry or other for this month) should remain unsolved. Thus is born a new kind of joke, funny not because they make some kind of twisted comparison, but because they are, on another level, a joke schema for such jokes. In this way, comparisons so twisted that they cannot be used in first-order jokes at all (because nothing fits) can be appreciated as second-order humor.

Jake was also disappointed by The Phantom Menace, as he fully expected to be. I understand where he's coming from, but mantain that it rocked me like a medium-grade hurricane.

My word for today is "schema". Schema schema schema schema! I'm a schema, baby, I'm a dreama.

: I just swiped two Apple boxes from the dumpster. Not computers, but literal boxes. One is for a G3, and the other (which is the one that caught my eye) is for a "Studio Display", which looks to be the thing for which the iMac is the pupal stage. It's not as long as the iMac, and has legs. The picture on the side of the box is huge and menacing, and I plan to cut it out and use it for something. But right now, the boxes are just taking up space in Peter's office.

Crafty bastards, those folks at Apple. They make you agree to their software licensing agreements before you can even use the computer. Good thing they don't have a monopoly or anything.

: I can't wait to get home. I haven't been home since Wednesday morning, and my hair is really icky.

Campbell doesn't like cyberpunk either.

: I don't want to place blame on anyone, but "open source" is becoming the universally-abused buzzword that "free software" was supposed to become, despite its clear definition, trademark protection, and everything else that was supposed to prevent this fate.

Ambrose Beirce, father of the smiley

: I can't get enough of the Super Golden Crisp that is The Devil's Dictionary:


: Enjoy The Hubble Constant, the site presenting the findings of the Hubble Space Telescope to you, the taxpayer. Much like that other site whose URL I can't find which presents all the pictures the HST takes, but more technical.

: Alternating periods of sunshine and shadow. Such is the rule for weather here in LA. I believe there is a city ordinance requiring it.

I need to get back on the LACMA track, as I just felt myself wanting a mail automaton to handle NYCB for me. Yes, I'm so lazy that I can't even be bothered to fire up a Web browser to put up a notebook entry.

: Also, I'd like to be able to use a real text editor to write these entries in.

: Links that work:


Links that don't work:


More later. Class now.

: I'm starting to have to delete press releases that people are sending to Segfault. Are we on some list of Linux sites for people to send their press releases to? If so, cut it out.

: Hm, AIR wants the descendants of famous scientists and inventors to go on stage at this year's Ig Nobels. I am a descendant of Eli Whitney, and as such would probably qualify for the "Flaunt Your Genome" event. The only problem is that I'd miss some of the first week of class next quarter. And I'd have to pay for tickets.

Eli Whitney invented the cotton gin, silly. Everybody knows that. More people know that than know what a cotton gin is.

: If real life had a Wandering Monsters table, this would only show up on a 00: A car being driven by old folks with both a "Victory '96 Dole/Kemp" bumper sticker and this rude bumper sticker. That is my own GIMPy rendition of the bumper sticker in that graphic, by the way.

Also, that bumper sticker is a form of parody bumper sticker that I don't get. The form is an oval with two or three letters (or, in this case, glyphs) inside it. I have a "LNX" sticker that I got at LinuxWorld Expo, and there are millions of others I have seen on other people's cars. They are starting to outnumber even those damn fish. But I don't know what all these bumper stickers are parodying. Help me Spock! And enjoy my feeble mouse-drawing talents.

: Here are some old graphics I did in the GIMP, predating even the alleged "first GIMP graphic" I stuffed into NYCB a while ago. There are three, in JPG and PNG format. My Netscape 4 won't read PNG. What's up with that, homey?

: Adam was in the Engineering Week talent show today, and he didn't tell me about it. So I missed him. Not that I haven't seen him play before, but I would prefer the universe in which he had told me about it to the universe which I inhabit.

: OK, Josh says that those bumper stickers are take-offs on the bumper stickers you put on your car if you live in Europe. I feel like an idiot {standing in line waiting for Miss Perfect da da da da da da da da, for not having known that}.

: Hoo boy. The next year of my life is going to be a living hell. I wrote a big long explanation of it, which I will not post here, but the short version is that when this quarter ends, the hell will begin. The hell involves no non-working vacation, hellish summer school, no money, and four classes every quarter, even the ones in which I take the heavy CS classes like compiler construction and digital system design.

The payoff is that I will actually graduate in four years flat, instead of four years and one quarter. This will make me feel a lot better, and will have financial benefits as well.

Also, if for scheduling reasons (or because I just snap) I can't make it in four years after all, the hellish summer school I am about to undergo will allow me to take three classes every quarter instead of four. This means two easy quarters and two quarters of moderate difficulty. This also means more time to work. Which is a nice safety net to fall back on.

Living hell... living hell...

: I can find J.S. Bach Belgian chocolates at Bristle Farms and other fine stores.

: I love sneaking up on an innocent set and springing a diagonalization or Godelization argument on it. It smells like victory.

: Oh no, UCLA sucks!. Actually, the only two things I can see on that page where UCLA would really be worse than any other large university would be the constant construction and the fascist anti-Linux dorm computer managers. Much evil is common practice at colleges. Yoda I am today speaking like.

: This is not to say that I don't applaud the goals of UCLA Sucks, but I think some perspective is needed. UCLA does not have a monopoly on clueless college management. It certainly does not have a monopoly on things like outrageous textbook buyback prices, which are ubiquitous.

: Until today I had never said the word "ubiquitous" out loud. Try it and you'll see how I know this. I would have noticed that before.

: I am out of money. I have no money at all. Absolutely no money. I have to pay my rent by Tuesday. This is not good.

: Wait a minute, dammit. I have to have money. I just got the remainder of Peter's OAC grant dumped in my account today. That check must have already cleared, and I must have $1200 now instead of having $1200 and owing $1250. That is what had better be the case.

: I do indeed have no money. Fortunately, I should be getting another paycheck today, and I can call the grant people and tell them to give me the rest of the money right now.

: I upgraded my Texas travelogue. Black gold. Texas travelogue. Just a day and a half to go.

: My Texas travelogue is done, a mere five months after the trip it describes. Thank the fact that the buses don't run on Memorial Day so I couldn't go do my 111 project with Josh.

I am listening to the album Toreador of Love, by Hazel, now-defunct grunge-pop band off the now-forgotten Sub Pop label.* Accompanying the listening-to of the album comes the renewal of my crush on Jody the drummer, who is ten years older than me and (I think) a lesbian. But she can sing and she can play the drums, which is sufficient for crushhood on my part.

I bought the album in high school because my BBS handle was Hazel, and was surprised how much I liked it. I don't know if I'd recommend buying the album yourself, as it's really just heavy bubblegum, but find some MP3s and see how you like it.

I have to calculate the probabilities of various poker hands now.

*Sub Pop's claim to fame is that Nirvana used to be on their label.

: More GIMP art: Gone Public.

My bangs were starting to annoy me, so I cut them off with my desck scissors. I now look like a Roman senator. Whee!

<M <Y
Y> M>


Unless otherwise noted, all content licensed by Leonard Richardson
under a Creative Commons License.