Wednesday, March 03, 2004

Last night, I received around forty copies of an e-mail virus message. The mail told me that my computer was infected by a virus, and that I should execute the attachment in order to remove the infection. However clever the author might have been, his grammar was abominable:

Hello user of e-mail server,

Your e-mail account will be disabled because of improper using in next
three days, if you are still wishing to use it, please, resign your
account information.

Pay attention on attached file.

In order to read the attach you have to use the following password: 07407.

The Management,
The team

When I received the first such message, I was entertained. By the time I moved that message to the trash, there were four more in my inbox. That's when I wrote a filter so that I wouldn't have to think about it any further.

Yesterday was sunny and mild, and the weather is supposed to remain sunny for the rest of the week. I've started to bike to campus again. Though the weather provided no excuses, few voters cast ballots yesterday -- the registered voter turnout was around 43%. The low voter turnout didn't keep our governor from praising the electorate for passing his budget measures, saying Don't you love to see the people flexing their political muscles? The people of California are the greatest power lifters in the world. A commentator on one of the morning radio programs commented that Bush plans to stump in California soon, and that he hopes to ride on Schwarzenegger's popularity. That seems backward to me: Schwarzenegger has succeeded as a populist, not a partisan. His strength is in the combined support he has received from Republicans and Democrats. One of the callers on this morning's Forum program called Schwarzenegger a Democrat in Republican clothing; certainly his social views are more liberal than the views of many Republicans. In contrast, I doubt Bush's social conservatism and fiscal laxity will play well with California's electorate.

Were I Bush, I might stump in California despite misgivings about the state's politics, if only to enjoy the weather. Perhaps he'll spend some time campaigning by Fisherman's Wharf in San Francisco? What a circus that would be! I can imagine Schwarzenegger posing beside the man who pretends to be a steam-powered robot (complete with silver body paint and hoses which must have been cannibalized from at least three vacuum cleaners). I cannot imagine Bush doing the same.

The SIAM conference on Parallel Processing took place in San Francisco last week, at the Hyatt near Fisherman's Wharf. I did not go to most of the conference, but I did attend part of a workshop on Combinatorics in Scientific Computing on Friday and Saturday. I left early on Saturday to return to Berkeley in order to hear a panel session that was part of the CS division 30th anniversary celebration. Between the sunny days, the interesting conversations I had with people at the workshop, and some of the work I've done in the past week or so, I feel a renewed enthusiasm for my research -- which is welcome, since I felt uninspired for most of the latter half of February. I spent some time on Monday working on adding support for anisotropic effeects to the thermoelastic element model from last semester. I look forward with unholy delight to adding other physical effects to this element, so that we can add an avalanche of appropriate adjectives beyond anisotropic. Actually, the next effect will probably be Akhieser damping. Huzzah for alliteration! I've also helped analyze and draw pretty pictures of vibrating drumheads; computed frequencies and node points for the third harmonic of a shear-ring resonator; read about thermal effects at grain boundaries in polycrystalline materials; drawn three-dimensional pictures of a building brace structure; and worked out a fluids homework problem involving sedimenting particles. I get to turn interesting physics into interesting mathematics, and solve the resulting problems with interesting computational methods. Huzzah!

  • Currently drinking: Lemon-spice black tea