Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Wacky Idea

While playing Go on my new favorite Go server, I remarked to Paul that
I was thinking that would be an interesting idea for an e-mail client -- every message would be associated with a Go (or chess or whatever) move. In some sense, that's a lot more natural than firing off random e-mails whenever. (Unless, of course, you have something important to say, and it isn't your move.)

I think there's something to the idea, but probably not exactly as I've described it. Interested in discussing it? Sign up on the server and invite me to a game. (My user name's "Jonboy".)

Monday, April 25, 2005

Throws Left, Legislates Right

I understand that news web sites like to have helpful links embedded in stories -- after all, that's a feature that print or broadcast news can't match. But I think SI.com went a little overboard in this story:
Hennepin County commissioners are scheduled to take public testimony on the Twins plan at a meeting Tuesday and vote on it as soon as next week, said Board Chairman Randy Johnson.

I think they may have wanted this link instead.

Thursday, April 21, 2005


I've started learning Go. I've played a few games against Christina on-line at BSW, and one against Paul on itsyourturn.com. I'm still trying to figure out the scoring. Can anyone help me understand the scoring of the game below? (Apologies for the image quality.) The shaded region shows what white and black control at the end of the game. Any idea what method was used to determine that?

Monday, April 18, 2005

We Seek the Holy Grail

I came across an article about classical Greek and Latin texts that are now able to be deciphered, thanks to modern technology. The Oxyrhynchus Papyri are the "classical holy grail" and "could lead to a 20 per cent increase in the number of great Greek and Roman works in existence." These include "new" works by Sophocles and Euripides.

I am astonished that this isn't front page news around the world. Maybe I'm overestimating the significance of this, but can you imagine the fuss that would be raised over one newly discovered Shakespearian play? This seems much bigger than that.

On a related note, I'm totally naming my next D&D character Oxyrhynchus Papyri.

SERMON pictures

I got back yesterday from this year's SERMON conference. Michael Filaseta, one of the organizers, has posted pictures. My cameo is featured above. I really should do something about my posture.

Thursday, April 14, 2005

Pseudoprimes and Other Research

I have created a new weblog to post updates on my mathematical research. The first item of interest is slides of my upcoming talk at this weekend's SERMON conference.

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Mall Walking II

Once again, I'm staying across the street from the Mall of America. This time, however, they have rail service there. Above, the view from my window.

Last time, I walked over and bought shoes. This time, I walked over and bought replacement laces for those shoes. And sushi. Yeah, I know, the Mall of America might not be the best place to buy sushi, but what the heck.

Thursday, April 07, 2005

First in War, First in Peace...

...first in the NL East?

(For now.)

Go Nats!


I return to the road next Monday after six weeks of staying at home...unusual for me.

In honor of this (OK, it's a coincidence), I've updated my travel page. Most excitingly, I've filled in more of my map of Europe.

Speaking of travel, Christina has two new hotel reviews posted: The
La Quinta Winston-Salem Inn & Suites and the Holiday Inn Puebla Centro Historico.

Tuesday, April 05, 2005


I just saw a news article indicating the US citizens will need passports when returning from Canada, Mexico, Bermuda and Panama, starting in 2008.

Ordinarily, I might be bothered by regulations like this that increase bureaucracy or restrict travel. In this case, however, I have to say -- you're traveling to a foreign country. Acknowledge that fact, and get a passport.

When I was in grad school, I went to a conference in Canada. I had a passport (for visiting my parents, who were living in the UK at the time), but most of my fellow grad students didn't. One of them got an enormous amount of grief for presenting his drivers license and voter registration card. As I recall, it was from a Canadian official who seemed a bit touchy about Americans who might not consider themselves to be in a foreign country. Everyone returned home convinced of the wisdom of having a passport for any future trips up north.

Besides, passports are fun! Maybe this switch will convince Canadian officials to start stamping them. In my six trips north of the border with my old passport, I only managed to collect one Canadian stamp (in Montreal). My new passport, despite one trip there, has none.