“It’s a monstrosity,” Brown said.

A little while ago, intrepid reporters from the Baltimore Sun dropped by my lab to investigate the newsworthiness of a paper (also on the ArXiv) that had just been published, about which I might talk a little bit before Chad gets back. Surprisingly, the article actually got published, complete with photo and great quotes. I’m […]

Sky, Full of Stars

If you’re on the west coast tonight and are willing to stay up late or wake up early, you have the chance to see the Aurigid meteor shower. This shower is fairly unique because it arises from a comet with a period of around 900 years. Some people have even claimed that there’s a chance […]

Software for experimentalists

A long time ago, all you needed to think about and record the data you were interested in was a pen and some vellum, and maybe a few candles and a trusty manservant. Somewhere along the line, the chart recorder got invented, and when combined with the oscilloscope and those awful scope cameras, a whole […]

In case you were happy

I’m here to depress you a little. First off, we have the upcoming anniversary of Katrina, about which Jane Dark has a tough tale to tell: The abandonment of a great city to time and tide is indeed both symptom and mark of empire on its downhill slide; it bears noting as well that pathetic, […]

Daibutsu no Naka

Back in 1998, when I was here for three months working outside of Tokyo, I made a trip down to Kamakura, which was the capital (or at least the seat of power) for a century or so, around 1200. It’s a beautiful town, full of great old temples, but it was a pissy, cold, and […]

Bill Gibson is cooler than you

But he’s not cooler than me. Which is one of the things I thought of several times while reading Spook Country, his new novel. If you don’t want the long version, here’s the gist: it’s decent, he’s still pretty good, buy it in hardcover, move to Vancouver, buy a Powerbook, learn Mandarin, get hooked on […]

The Dao of Grothendieck

I remember back when I was in high school and came across lists of the greatest mathematicians ever. They almost always included Archimedes, Newton and Gauss. Sometimes Euler made it in. I knew who these guys were, but every once in a while, there was this guy I had never heard of, Alexander Grothendieck. I […]

Awesome Rice Art

One great link, while I’m posting things: rice paddy art in Inagadate: [B]y precisely planting four varieties of rice with differently colored leaves in fields their ancestors have farmed for centuries, the people of Inakadate Village have this year grown remarkable reproductions of famous woodblock prints by Katsushika Hokusai (1760-1849). And this is no cheap […]

Shashin o Sen-mai Torimashita

(I’m not sure what the right counter word for digital photos would be, but physical photographs would be flat things, so we’ll go with “mai”…) The post title pretty much says it: I have taken 1,000 pictures thus far on this trip. We’re now in Yokohama, staying in an absurd room on the 62nd floor […]