Friday, November 26, 2004

Hanging out with the Nephews

This evening, we went to see Mia and KC and the boys.

Witt showed us his new scooter.

Luke isn't quite old enough to play Robo Rally, but he still gets his own cards.

Christina tries to find the exact card selection that will allow her to shoot my robot. Witt, cards already placed, watches Planes, Trains and Automobiles.

Thursday, November 25, 2004

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving from Winston-Salem! Here are some pictures of our lunch today at Christina's grandmother's residence.

Here's Christina's Dad, our nephew Luke, Christina's Mom and me at lunch.

Here's Christina's sister Mia, her grandmother, Mia's husband KC, our nephew Witt and Christina at lunch.

Posing for a family portrait is not always without risk.

I did it eBay.

Well, after buying a bunch of stuff on eBay over the years, I'm finally selling something. After unsuccessfully trying to give away my Redskins tickets for the Giants game, I'm putting them up for bid. Given the way they're playing this year, I just hope I get one bid.

Tuesday, November 23, 2004


I had a question answered in this week's Gene Weingarten chat on The question was:

University Park, Md.: About this week's poll:

Are you sure Thaves knows how to spell "Gupta"?

For context, see the weekly poll for the chat and the comic it references.

The answer?

Gene Weingarten: Well, no. That would be even more pathetic.

Thursday, November 18, 2004

Google Scholar

Google just introduced a new search engine called Google Scholar.
"The goal is to allow and enable users to search over scholarly content," said Anurag Acharya, a Google engineer leading the project.

Well, upon hearing this news, my natural instinct was to Google myself. Surprisingly, I found some interesting (to me) stuff.

One of my papers has been cited 10 times. OK, I knew about them, and a few may be duplicates, but I still found it cool.

More surprisingly, my first paper, which I was very down on at the time I wrote it, has been cited twice. I'm not quite sure why -- I can read one of them for the low, low price of $56.23. The other is someone's dissertation, where he says, "It is also known that..." then cites a simple fact I prove at the beginning of my paper.

Well, looks like I should get back to work putting more scholarly work out there for Google to index. I've been having fun lately doing research for a planned talk at a conference next month in Vegas.

Friday, November 12, 2004

951 Places Left To See

On a recent layover in the Denver airport, Christina and I picked up a book called 1,000 Places to See Before You Die. Here are the places on the list I've seen:

  • The Costwolds -- mentioned, for example, here.
  • Canterbury Cathedral -- some colleagues and I visited it on September 8, 2001.
  • London -- for example, here.
  • Hadrian's Wall -- I visited it with my parents in the summer of 1994 or 1995.
  • Bath -- Christina and I went there in 2003.
  • Stratford-upon-Avon -- I saw a play here in September 2003.
  • Stonehenge -- Christina and I visited here in April 2003.
  • York Minster -- I'm pretty sure I visited there in the 1993-95 time frame.
  • Scotch Whisky Trail -- We stopped here on a trip to Scotland I took with my parents in the summer of 1994.
  • Highland Games -- This was the highlight of the aforementioned trip. The Queen was there, too!
  • Edinburgh Castle -- for example, here.
  • Bruges -- I went there in May 2000.
  • The Blue Mountains -- Christina and I visited there in July 2002.
  • Sydney Opera House -- We visited there on that trip, too.
  • The Great Barrier Reef -- Ditto.
  • The Inside Passage -- I visited there in September 1996.
  • The Getty Center -- Christina and I visited there in June 2002.
  • Hollywood -- We visited there on the same trip.
  • Monterey Peninsula -- I visited there in December 1995.
  • The Pacific Coast Highway -- I first drove it in 1992.
  • Everglades National Park -- I visited there in January 2003.
  • Walt Disney World Resort -- I went there with my parents in 1976 and 1980.
  • Savannah -- I visited there around 1995.
  • Art Institute of Chicago -- I went there in November 2003.
  • The French Quarter -- Christina and I visited there in April 2001.
  • The New Orleans Restaurant Scene -- same trip.
  • New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival -- same trip.
  • Chesapeake Bay -- Right in my backyard.
  • Bellagio -- We went there in our August 2001 trip to Vegas for Martin and Jeanene's wedding.
  • The Las Vegas Strip -- same trip.
  • The Adirondacks -- I visited there in June 2004.
  • Finger Lakes -- I visited there in May 1998.
  • New York City -- I visited there on a 7th grade field trip.
  • Gettysburg -- I visited there on a 6th grade trip.
  • Pennsylvania Dutch Country -- I went to "math camp" there several summers in the mid-1980s.
  • Philly Food -- Christina and I sampled it on our trip in August 2003.
  • Independence National Park -- same trip.
  • Beaufort and the Low Country -- circa 1997.
  • The Heart of Charleston -- I first went there for a conference in 1994.
  • Low Country Cuisine -- circa 1997.
  • Monticello -- Christina and I went there right after our wedding in October 2002.
  • Colonial Williamsburg -- I visited there on an 8th grade field trip. Boy, they knew how to pick those field trips, I guess!
  • The National Mall -- in my backyard.
  • The Smithsonian -- also in my backyard.
  • Banff -- We visited there in May 2003.
  • Niagara Falls -- I first visited there in conjunction with a debate tournament in Buffalo in 1987. It's also the first time I ever left the US (albeit briefly).
  • Vieux Montreal -- I visited there on a trip in May 2002.
  • Chichen Itza -- We went there on our honeymoon in October 2003.

Wow, there were a lot of neat moments captured on that list. What amazes me is that 23 of them -- almost half -- are place I've only visited in the 4 1/2 years since I started this blog. I think it's partially because I've opened my eyes and tried to look for new opportunities to see the world. It's also partially because Christina has encouraged me to look around and see more of the world.

I don't think this is as good to use as a "checklist" as the World Heritage list -- there are far too many expensive hotels on the list. But it's interesting to see what I've managed to visit. I'll probably look around for things on the list that are possibilities for future visits, and I'll note it here when I visit them.

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

Hot Streaks

Here are the longest active NCAA Division I Men's Basketball winning streaks:

  • University of Connecticut: 9
  • University of Michigan: 5
  • McNeese State University: 4
  • Birmingham-Southern College: 3
  • Columbia University: 2
  • University of Tennessee at Martin: 2
  • Brown University: 1
  • Gardner-Webb University: 1
  • Qunnipiac University: 1

As Tony Kornheiser would say, "That's it. That's the list." All other teams lost their last game. Why? 63 teams lost in the NCAA tournament. 39 lost in the NIT. Most teams that didn't make those tournaments played in their conference tournaments. In general, if they didn't make the NCAA tournament, they must have lost in the conference tournament. That leaves the teams that didn't play in the conference tournament. Those teams are generally really bad, and thus unlikely to have won their last game. So how did the teams on the list make it?

  • University of Connecticut: Won NCAA tournament.
  • University of Michigan: Won NIT tournament.
  • McNeese State University: Won last 4 games despite being really bad.
  • Birmingham-Southern College: Won conference tournament, ineligible for automatic bid to NCAA tournament.
  • Columbia University: No Conference Tournament in Ivy League.
  • University of Tennessee at Martin: Won last 2 games despite being really bad.
  • Brown University: No Conference Tournament in Ivy League.
  • Gardner-Webb University: Won last game despite being really bad.
  • Qunnipiac University: Won last game despite being really bad.

Why do I notice this? I just think it's funny that the University of Michigan (my alma mater) has the second longest winning streak despite being in the "others receiving votes" category of the AP Poll.

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

Last Minute Prediction

I'm going to make 3 last minute predictions for the record. Contrary to conventional wisdom,

  1. We will know the winner by 3 AM EST.
  2. The winner will win by a margin of more than 1.5% of the popular vote. (I almost went to 2, but I chickened out.)
  3. The winner will win by 50 electoral votes.

I'm not greatly confident of these, but it's my gut feeling, and I wanted to get it out there "in print" before the election.