Friday, May 16, 2003

The paper is done and submitted. It's always a relief to have deadlines finally pass.

I saw two interesting talks today. The first involved the flow of the atmosphere of Jupiter. The speaker was doing some eigenvalue computations to study the stability of some flow patterns, and had a clever way of solving the problem quickly. I think he accidentally reinvented a standard technique, but it was still an interesting presentation, and an excellent job for a class project. Besides, any presentation that starts with a model of the atmospher of Jupiter earns inherent coolness points.

The second talk was interesting at two levels. From a technical perspective, it was moderately interesting. But it was much more interesting as a reflection of a personality. There was a lot of beautiful mathematics connected to an application as a sort of afterthought, even though the application was supposed to be the motivation for the talk. I prefer a mix of applications, mathematics, and algorithms, but I've been reminded several times recently that I have peers who love one or two of those three and look at the others as repugnant, trivial, or simply uninteresting. That attitude confuses me when I encounter it.

I read Reaper Man by Terry Pratchett last weekend. Or was it the weekend before? It was a fun book that required no particular effort to read. And I really like Pratchett's character of Death. Death likes cats and speaks in small capitals. How could I not like him?

I'm tired, confused, disgruntled, and sad about some things. But it's spring. The weather has been beautiful, and the daylight hours are long. I'm in good health, and can bike to and from school. I have work that I enjoy, friends and colleagues who are interesting and intelligent, and a big stack of books -- technical and not -- to read and enjoy and digest. And I have tea. So I'm happy, too.

  • Currently drinking: Red tea