The Quantum Pontiff

One of the most amusing things about writing a blog is that people you’ve never met form an impression about you from your blabberings, and then, often, when they actually meet you they are astounded that you aren’t “an old grumpy guy” or whatever image they had in their mind. So, in order to confuse you even more, here are some things which I’ve been reading and thinking about and doing while not working on efficient quantum algorithms for the hidden subgroup problem.

  • Spanish Treasury to Exclude Italian Government Bonds. Could this be an indication of problems ahead for the Euro? Certainly one interesting aspect of the creation of the Euro was that the central banks didn’t distinguish between the creditworthiness of the different countries. This allowed the less creditworthy to piggy back on the more creditworthy (like Germany.) If the above is true this might cause some problems ahead for the Euro.
  • i-7c382b8b90000bee08f3a665d1ad36f1-paperplanes.jpgWhen I work I often put a single song on and have it loop. Then, whenever I hear that song, I want to work. Amusingly the song I have on repeat these days is “Paper Planes” by M.I.A.
    sometimes i think sitting on trains
    every step i get to i’m clocking that game
    everyone’s a winner, we’re making our name
    bona fide hustler making my name

    Only recently did I notice that this part of the song is a good positive motivation for doing my research. Especially when working on trains (a.k.a. working a la Hans Bethe.) Speaking of planes, I recently got to take a sea plane from Seattle to Orcas Island. The best part was taking off from Lake Union and being able to look down on our house from the air. Straight up!

  • Streetview for Google Maps is still not available for Seattle (or at least for near my home.) Putting on my Philip K. Dick hat, I believe that this is part of the war between Microsoft and Google, and that in reality, and contrary to what any sane person would believe, Microsoft is protecting Seattle from the evil spying eyes of the Google empire. The fact that Google has opened Seattle office within walking distance of my home suggests that the battle continues. I will report if I see any cameras poking out of the Seattle Google office.
  • Turns out that they won’t be shutting down the school where I went to kindergarten through third grade. I was spoiled: I could walk to school every morning without parental supervision. When I walk by the school near where I live, there is a cop outside watching over the kids. Even$16,406/year can’t buy the kind of freedom I had as a kid, I guess.
  • i-8d0a67208089b06e6308ee3851361e03-artart.jpgA common sense guide to collecting art. I am truly one hell of a lucky guy, as I get to collect art by waiting for Villa Sophia’s resident artist to produce another fine work. Plus, the art can be customized to the room and location it will be hung. This satisfies my urge to ditch this physics/computer science gig and start and interior design business. Speaking of which, for my birthday I got an air compressor for stone carving. The purest in me wanted to do all my carving by hand, but the muscles in my body and that silly guy named Chronos thought otherwise. In other “art” related news, my mad ray tracing skillz are now immortalized on the cover of a book.
  • I’ve started reading the strangest book I’ve yet encountered with the word quantum on it. It’s about accounting. Co-written by the former CFO of Microsoft. And illustrated by ski film legend Warren Miller. Lee Smolin is quoted describing the Heissenberg uncertainty principle. And the book is set in large part in Santa Fe discussing complexity science and accounting. The number of cosmic coincidences involved in this list of attributes and my own life was simply too much for me not to pick it up. Thog’s Guide to Quantum Economics: 50,000 Years of Accounting Basics for the Future by Mike Brown and Zoe-Vonna Palmrose, illustrated by Warren Miller.
  • I’ve always thought it would be cool if you could augment your senses to, say, feel electromagnetic fields. And here it is The EM Brace.

Comments

  1. #1 Boris
    June 20, 2008

    Re: Google streetview – the Googlemobile (a Cheyv Malibu in this incarnation, with the usual ugly attachment on top) has been spotted on the UW campus and nearby a few days ago. I personally saw it on Stevens Way last Thursday. So any time now…

  2. #2 Dave Bacon
    June 20, 2008

    Our house is getting painted, so I will know if they’ve been down our street yet based on the color of the house :)

  3. #3 Ian Durham
    June 20, 2008

    Have you seen my post about Google maps that includes the eerily close shot of my house? For some perspective, my house is only about 34 feet long or so. Kinda creepy. I also read that the city of North Oaks, MN, has asked Google to remove their StreetView cameras because the city has no publicly owned property – property lines run to the center of streets and thus even entering the city without permission is trespassing. Gotta love America. Can’t wait to see how Paulville turns out…

  4. #4 Carl Brannen
    June 21, 2008

    Engineers have been known to take one of the slower passenger ferries from Seattle and back in order to get some calculation time.

    I also associated working with listening to rock and roll. An unfortunate result of this is that I don’t listen much to my favorite groups except when I’m working now. I used to enjoy them more, I think.

  5. #5 Boris
    June 21, 2008

    Seen it again today, different make but… Had a camera this time!

  6. #6 Anandi
    June 23, 2008

    Dave – I wouldn’t have pictured you as an MIA fan, and I even know you in real life :)

    Cool.

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