Random Stuff

Turns out I have a blog. Who knew! A combination of lack of time and, frankly, lack of enthusiasm have kept me from the blogosphere lately, but I thought I would poke my head up just to let y’all know I’m still here.

So let’s see. I have a busy weekend on tap. Tomorrow is JMU’s annual Shenandoah Undergraduate Mathematics and Statistics (SUMS) conference. It promises to be a big math party! I will be running the poster session. Of course, it goes against my grain to get up early on a Saturday, but once a year I will make an exception.

Then on Sunday there is the big Science Expo in Washington DC. The gang from the NCSE is sending a delegation, and I foresee some intense hanging out in our future.

In other news, the books continue to plod along. The one about the mathematics of sudoku puzzles is nearly finished. It looks like we will be handing in the manuscript pretty soon. Yay! My coauthor is my JMU colleague Laura Taalman, who is also the coauthor, with her husband Phil, of two (soon to be three) books of novel Sudoku-like puzzles. Check them out!. Should be a fun book. We’re both pretty happy with how it came out. Look for it Summer 2011.

Meanwhile, the evolution/creationism book (a solo effort this time) is plodding towards completion. I hope to finish a first draft in the next six weeks to two months. Of course, then it will take some time to send it out for feedback, and then make the inevitable revisions, so there is still quite a bit of work to do on that one. Let’s say Fall 2011 as a publication date.

Oh, and last night I went to the midnight show of Paranormal Activity 2. Scary! Sort of The Blair Witch Project meets Poltergeist, though considerably better than either of those films. Utterly engrossing despite an almost complete lack of action, violence, gore or background music. My students informed me today that I was really supposed to see the first one first, which would have explained a few things about the story that seemed a bit confusing. Oh well. I guess I’ll have to add the first one to my Netflix queue, and then go see this one a second time. The burdens I bear!

Come to think of it, it has been a good week for engrossing stories since the new Lee Child novel Worth Dying For just came out. He writes the Jack Reacher novels, which are some of the best thrillers, well, pretty much ever. If you like good tough guy dialogue, Reacher’s your man. I am only sixty pages into the new one, but as always I’m finding it hard to put down. I am forcing myself to read slowly, though. I want to savor things…

So that’s about it. The semester continues to plod along. Will Thanksgiving never come?

Comments

  1. #1 MartyM
    October 22, 2010

    Looking forward to you book on evolution/creationism controversy.

  2. #2 RBH
    October 23, 2010

    I downloaded “Worth Dying For” to my Nook the other day and blasted through it in one (nearly overnight) sitting. It’s waaaaay too easy to buy books for e-readers. Point, click, and another $10 goes out the door!

  3. #3 Donna B.
    October 23, 2010

    Finished “Worth Dying For” yesterday. After the cliffhanger ending of “61 Hours” it was a bit of letdown. Durn sneaky of Child to make us wait for at least one (and it better be just one, durnit) before Reacher gets to VA and Susan. But wait… Susan isn’t in VA is she?

    Oh my…

  4. #4 Wretch Fossil
    October 23, 2010

    God’s story

    God created 432 trillion humans and 60 trillion stars (or star-like heavenly bodies) over 40 million billion years ago. The goal of the creation was to achieve higher harmony.

    To achieve Trinity (as mentioned by Jesus), God and all other gods (except eleven gods mentioned below) were born into this Earth for many times. They did not go about telling people they were gods. Many times they themselves did not know they were gods on Earth.

    God spent trillions of years for achieving Trinity. About 30 years ago, Trinity was achieved. So, the Heaven has been full of joy. With Trinity, God’s punishments are much swifter than before. Another benefit of Trinity is that human sins can be seen by sinners and others in public places rather than hidden from the public. Before Trinity, sins were often covered up in public places.

    People cannot distinguish God (the Creator of Heaven and this physical universe) from the Father of the Creator. In the past when I said God , I sometimes actually meant the Father of God, for the latter was never mentioned in history. Both God and His Father are great. The Father of God has eleven companions who has never been born to any physical world. They are never mentioned in history.

    Humans do not know the Father of God when we are awake. But when are asleep, we go to Heaven every night and we know Him. We simply forget what we know in our sleep, just as we forget our lives in Heaven (before we were born). Trust me, every devil knows who is the Father of God.

    When we go to sleep every night, we go to Heaven to drink energy
    provided by God. That’s the normal condition, but some people go to their friends in hell and drink the energy of God in hell. All humans, no matter in hell or on heaven or in this universe, need the energy of God every so often. This point is obvious to every person in hell or on Heaven. But many people there, as on Earth, are still ungrateful to God most of the time.

    The souls of other animals do not need to go back to Heaven to drink God’s energy. That’s why other animals are more alert in sleep than humans in sleep. That’s why humans die within 7 to 8 days if they do not go back to Heaven/Hell to drink God’s energy in 7 or 8 days. That’s why we feel energetic in the morning even though we may not yet have breakfast in the morning.

  5. #5 AL
    October 23, 2010

    Oh, and last night I went to the midnight show of Paranormal Activity 2. Scary!

    Ever since I became an atheist, scary movies just have never been scary, at all. When I was a little kid and still sort of believed in supernatural things, I remember watching The Exorcist and being terrified to the core. It was like a real primal, visceral fear that just took hold of me and I couldn’t sleep until sunrise. I remember watching The Exorcist again at the age of 20, and by then, I had completely abandoned any belief in the supernatural. Not only was the movie NOT scary, it actually became comical. I found myself laughing at the very scenes which I’m sure the producers intended to be the ones that would have you in fear and trembling. When the little girl in the movie, possessed by Satan, turned around and called the Catholic Priest a “motherfucking cocksucker” that was pure comic gold.

    I wonder why I don’t feel that visceral fear anymore? I’m sure my theist friends will say it’s because you need a soul, and I don’t have one. But remember, I laughed, and don’t you ostensibly need a soul to laugh?

  6. #6 SLC
    October 23, 2010

    Does Prof. Rosehhouse have any opinions about the oped in todays’ Washington Post by a retired professor of mathematics?

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/10/22/AR2010102205451.html?hpid%3Dopinionsbox1&sub=AR

  7. #7 Tony
    October 23, 2010
  8. #8 Abbie
    October 24, 2010

    I haven’t seen PA2, but PA was one of the stupider movies I’ve ever seen. I can’t think of one good thing to say about it. Stupid, unlikable characters, NOTHING HAPPENS EVER, stupid ending, stupid everything.

    It’s basically the Blair Witch Project if the Blair Witch Project lost all it’s charm and originality and was really stupid and starred annoying jersey yuppies.

  9. #9 SLC
    October 25, 2010

    Re Jack Reacher

    The interesting thing is who would play Reacher if Hollywood ever decided to make movies based on the novels. The only actor who I can recall who fits the physical description is Clint Walker, who at 83 is rather long in tooth.

  10. #10 eric
    October 26, 2010

    SLC: Does Prof. Rosehhouse have any opinions about the oped in todays’ Washington Post by a retired professor of mathematics?

    Interesting op-ed. I’m not sure everyone needs calculus but a better understanding of statistics, probability, and related math would certainly help. The author brushes off the problem with his ‘the innumeracy of common folk is supposed to be costing billions.’ This ignores the observable fact that we do in fact spend literally billions on lotteries while not understanding their relative return rates compared to compound interest.

    Here’s a quote from Jason’s home state’s lottery page, bragging about their $billion+ take: “There is no question that our players love Lottery games, and this year they told us that once again, purchasing more that $1 billion of Lottery products for the third consecutive year,”

    That’s one state, and not a big one at that. So yes, Prof. Ramanathan, innumeracy does cost us billions.

  11. #11 KeithB
    October 26, 2010

    I had an High School Math teacher that told the story of another math teacher who would run over to the track right after school and place $2 bets on the horses with the three highest odds. While it probably lost money over the long term occasionally he would hit a winner and use the money to buy something big, like a camera.

    Some folks gamble for fun, knowing the odds. The most people that go and gamble seem to always come out ahead every trip, at least that is what they say.

  12. #12 eric
    October 26, 2010

    Sure Keith, that is true, but the existence of casual for-fun gamblers does not mean innumerate for-profit gamblers don’t exist.

    The most people that go and gamble seem to always come out ahead every trip, at least that is what they say.

    That is indeed what many people say. And yet LV and AC keep making money hand over fist. What could possibly explain this paradox? ;)

  13. #13 jens
    October 27, 2010

    ohh thats so nice i love it plz post some other stories.

  14. #14 Gingerbaker
    October 27, 2010

    SLC:

    “The interesting thing is who would play Reacher if Hollywood ever decided to make movies based on the novels.”

    I think Liev Schreiber might be the guy. He’s 6’3″, physically imposing, good-looking enough, and a darned good actor.

    It’s hard to say how well the Reacher books would translate into cinema, but if it can be done, the potential earnings would be huge. Jason Bourne or even – gasp – James Bond huge.

  15. #15 Gingerbaker
    October 27, 2010

    Howie Long is another possibility, but he is 50 years old.

  16. #16 Lenoxuss
    October 27, 2010

    KeithB:

    The most people that go and gamble seem to always come out ahead every trip

    If the bolded part means “the majority of people who gamble”, this is simply not true. However, perhaps people who “go and gamble” means the “sophisticated” subset of hardcore gamblers.

    The thing is… “professional” bettors know which games to avoid altogether. In fact, so far as I know, poker and blackjack are the only games a skilled player can consistently win. Everything else… meh.

  17. #17 SLC
    October 28, 2010

    Re Gingerbaker @ #14 & 15

    Reacher is described as being 6′ 5″ and tipping the scales at 250 lbs. Clint Walker, in his prime, was 6′ 6″ and weighed 235 lbs.

    Actually, Howie Long isn’t too old at 50 as Reacher is apparently in his early 40s. Those Hollywood critters are always playing parts that are younger then their actual ages.

    Showing how little I follow the movies, I never heard of Mr. Schreiber until Mr. Gingerbaker mentioned him.

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