stoutfellow: Joker (Joker)
The first couple of weeks of the semester are always hectic. This time around, it was compounded by the move. If I need an excuse for not posting much lately, there it is: prep for a new-to-me class; a senior project student with - no, I'd better not mention that; getting stuff unpacked and put away (mostly, but not completely, done now); and weather oscillating from single-digits F to fiftyish.

I've been thinking about the "Sunday Music" posts. Too many of them have been perfunctory, dealing with albums I really have nothing to say about. I'm going to continue the series, but just with the albums that I have some feelings about (stronger than "ok, pretty nice").

I think I'm also going to do some posts about webcomics, starting, probably, with El Goonish Shive. I'm rather enjoying the current plot-arc, dealing with the fallout from Elliot and Sarah's break-up.

And maybe there'll be some math. And maybe baseball. And cooking. And whatever else comes to mind.


Oct. 30th, 2013 08:19 am
stoutfellow: Joker (Joker)
All right, what's going on here?

On my LJ Friends page, user icons and handles appear in a narrow column to the left of the posts themselves. As of this morning, everything in that column is encased in solid-black squares; the icons remain visible, but the dark blue names are now almost illegible. Also, it's ugly.

A cursory scan of LJ settings does not reveal any reason or corrective measure. Anyone know what's up with this?
stoutfellow: Joker (Joker)
I was browsing in my LJ archive, and ran across the following words, which I wrote in a comment on one of my posts, on April 19, 2005.
I just don't think Ratz will last very long, and his successor will be from the Third World. Which will mean changes, but not necessarily foreseeable ones. (There are reports that the Latin American cardinals chose to bide their time, rather than pushing one of their own through - which they might well have been able to do.)
:is smug:


Jul. 19th, 2013 12:34 pm
stoutfellow: Joker (Joker)
I'm rereading my old LJ posts via LJArchive, and I'm disturbed to find that, apparently, one of my commenters has become an unperson. There are numerous comments which are obviously replies to other comments, but the original comments are simply missing. The replies are appropriately indented, but the originals just aren't there - not even a "deleted comment" (or "deleted user").



Oct. 9th, 2011 04:58 pm
stoutfellow: Joker (Joker)
I haven't found much of interest to post about lately. In a desperate effort to get re-engaged, I'm going to start a couple of series of posts.

One of them, which I'll try to make a regular Sunday event, will be an album-by-album review of my popular music collection. They won't be full-blown reviews, like I've done in the past; mostly I'll just talk about why I bought the album, which songs I like (and why), and which I dislike (and why). Some of my albums overlap quite a bit - my Gene Pitney albums, in particular, after my long search for the missing half-dozen songs - and I'll try not to be repetitive with those.

The other... Well, I'm just going to chat about my research. I'm spending a lot of time thinking about quadrilaterals lately, and these posts will lay out some of the basic ideas of the subject, some of the tools I'm using, and some of the questions I'm looking at. Nothing heavy-duty, and certainly nothing cutting-edge. These will be somewhat more erratic in timing, going up when I'm in the mood.

The main hope is that I'll get back in the habit of posting, and maybe of coming up with interesting things to say. We'll see how it goes.
stoutfellow: My summer look (Summer)
I see that it's been more than a month since I posted the last Ramble. Part of the problem has been the end-of-semester rush. Another, bigger part is that I've been having trouble trying to work out how to describe these developments in algebra without being either simple but misleading or accurate but confusing. Algebra is, in certain respects, the least concrete of the major branches of mathematics; it's also the branch that I'm best versed in, so I tend to underestimate its difficulties to others.  I have an idea or two for the next post now, though, so the Ramble will resume within the next few days. My apologies for the long layoff.


Apr. 25th, 2008 09:59 pm
stoutfellow: Joker (Default)
"If you believe in X, do Y. If you do not believe in X, don't do Y."

With all due respect: I do not do chain letters, and I do not do chain posts. You are not entitled to make any assumptions about me on the basis of my failure - my refusal - to do Y.

This is not an expression of anger, or of resentment. I just Don't Do That.
stoutfellow: My summer look (Summer)
In the past, I've kept track of birthdays on my friendslist via my "My LJ" page, but apparently that information has disappeared. (I suppose it's possible that all of my Friends simultaneously blocked access to their birthdays, but it seems unlikely.)

Does anyone know of another way (besides the obvious check-'em-all method) of tracking FL birthdays?
stoutfellow: (Ben)
For a variety of unimportant reasons, I've pulled my copy of The Scarlet Letter off the shelves and begun rereading it. I'm not sure whether this is my second or third reading. I know that I read it, under coercion, in high school; I believe I reread it years later, to better effect, but I'm not certain of that. Anyway, here I go.

I mention this only because, reading the introductory essay, I was struck by the following passage. It has that usual 19th-century prolixity, but it amuses me to interpret it as advice for LJers and other bloggers.
The truth seems to be, however, that when he casts his leaves forth upon the wind, the author addresses, not the many who will fling aside his volume, or never take it up, but the few who will understand him, better than most of his schoolmates or lifemates. Some authors, indeed, do far more than this, and indulge themselves in such confidential depths of revelation as could fittingly be addressed, only and exclusively, to the one heart and mind of perfect sympathy; as if the printed book, thrown at large on the wide world, were certain to find out the divided segment of the writer's own nature, and complete his circle of existence by bringing him into communion with it. It is scarcely decorous, however, to speak all, even where we speak impersonally. But, as thoughts are frozen and utterance benumbed, unless the speaker stand in some true relation with his audience, it may be pardonable to imagine that a friend, a kind and apprehensive, though not the closest friend, is listening to our talk; and then, a native reserve being thawed by this genial consciousness, we may prate of the circumstances that lie around us, and even of ourself, but still keep the inmost Me behind its veil. To this extent, and within these limits, an author, methinks, may be autobiographical, without violating either the reader's rights or his own.
N.B.: I'm not saying it's necessarily good advice...
stoutfellow: Joker (Default)
It occurs to me that it's been quite a while since I last posted anything with mathematical content. I'm contemplating a series of posts, of indeterminate length, making a semi-philosophical ramble through the history of mathematics; if I go the distance, it'll begin somewhere in the vicinity of Pythagoras, involving such issues as the relationship between counting and measurement, and end in the twentieth century, with some thoughts about the three-way controversy involving the formalists, the logicists, and the intuitionists. I plan to stick to two or three central themes, mostly revolving around the question of what mathematics actually is.

Would anyone be interested?


Aug. 29th, 2006 10:55 am
stoutfellow: (Murphy)
1. Whenever I see that someone has defriended me, I find myself briefly wrestling with a vague feeling that I've let them down. Silly, but there it is.

2. The committees for my two Senior Project students have been approved, and they'll present sometime in the next two or three weeks. Meanwhile, an SP student whom I last saw in January has popped up again - and I don't remember what project we were discussing...

3. Summer - the real summer, not the astronomical artifact - seems to have abruptly ended. After weeks of highs in the 90s F, we've now gone two or three days without breaking 80. It's gray and a little breezy outside, and it looks as though rain is imminent. (It's looked that way for about 48 hours, and occasionally it hasn't been deceptive.)

4. I'm on a Poul Anderson kick again, rereading the Time Patrol stories. The best of them - "The Sorrow of Odin the Goth", "Star of the Sea", "Amazement of the World", "Brave to Be a King" - are very good indeed, but, as usual with Anderson, infodumps are common and clumsy. PA remains the unrivalled king of alternate history even so, to my mind.

5. I switched to a wireless mouse a year or so ago, and I'm generally pleased with it. However, there is a persistent problem with phantom clicks - I'll click once, but it'll be transmitted twice. This is irritating if, e.g., you're playing Spider Solitaire, but there are other, worse, consequences sometimes. Is this a common problem?

I'm feeling very sluggish, despite the beginning of classes. Gotta shake that off...


Jul. 1st, 2006 05:47 pm
stoutfellow: Joker (Default)
1. Remember the guy from Florida who was identified as a direct descendant of Genghis Khan? Turns out the methodology was flawed; he got a second opinion, which verified that he is not, in fact, descended from the Great Khan. Oh, well, it was funny while it lasted.

2. The makers of Post's "Great Grains" line have finally managed to construct a tolerable liner. Kudos to them, for catching up with the rest of the industry.


Jun. 4th, 2006 06:46 pm
stoutfellow: Joker (Default)
Does anyone else feel compelled to go back and edit old posts for typos, grammatical clumsiness, and the like? Or am I just obsessive that way?


Mar. 13th, 2006 11:44 am
stoutfellow: (Ben)
I recently friended (though I did not join) the [ profile] greatpoets community, and it's worth it. This, as one of the commenters says, is a charmingly dorky poem by Richard Brautigan.


Oct. 1st, 2005 09:55 am
stoutfellow: Joker (Default)
I recently learned about tagging livejournal posts - attaching keywords descriptive of the contents. This struck me as a good idea, so I changed over to Style 2 (which allows tagging) and went through my archived posts, tagging them as seemed appropriate. Fortunately, I've only been LJing for a year and a half, so this wasn't too lengthy a task. I'm not entirely satisfied with the set of tags I'm using, so I may make another pass-through sometime soon to adjust things.

Who cares?

"I told you that so I could tell you this." I noticed that it's been almost six months since my last post on mathematics. As it happens, the material I covered in my geometry class Thursday night is kind of neat and fairly self-contained, so I thought I'd recap it on LJ. Basically, it involves taking a close look at the differences and similarities between Euclidean geometry and hyperbolic (Bolyai-Lobachevsky) geometry. (They are more closely related to each other than either is to the third option, elliptic [Riemannian] geometry.) I'll put most of it under cuts, of course; it'll probably take three or four posts.

Slow Time

May. 1st, 2005 08:56 pm
stoutfellow: Joker (Default)
I know I've been rather quiet of late; it's the tail end of the semester, and things are kind of busy. Also, that silly memory challenge has been soaking up a lot of my mental energy. Both of these matters should be taken care of by the end of the week, and I will - I hope - be more active, at least for a while.

Possible near-future topics include knot theory (provoked by one of [ profile] ozarque's posts and by a Senior Assignment presentation on that subject), song titles, country music (focusing on Tammy Wynette and Mary Chapin Carpenter), "Veronica Mars", and the Taiping Rebellion.

While I'm at it, a belated "Happy Birthday" to [ profile] kd5dmk; sorry I didn't catch it in time.


Feb. 10th, 2005 01:49 pm
stoutfellow: Joker (Default)
I will, I promise, follow up on the discussion of projective duality. On the one hand, I'm having trouble figuring out just how to put things; on the other, I've been a little preoccupied with preparing my talk tomorrow (on top of my regular duties, including the DiffEq test I gave this morning). Maybe this weekend...

I finished with de Quincey; my new bus book is a biography of Leonardo da Vinci, by Serge Bramly. It looks quite interesting so far. I'm about two-thirds of the way through Stephenson's Quicksilver; somehow I'm not finding enough reading time, especially for the kind of tomes Stephenson puts out. But it's a lot of fun, in between the grimth.
stoutfellow: (Ben)
About a month ago, I commented on the effect livejournal was having on the way I interact with the world - the way I find myself interpreting experiences as fodder for lj entries. I wasn't sure whether this was good, bad, or indifferent. I've just noticed one good effect that it's having.

I'm currently reading John Barnes' A Million Open Doors. I have a vague impression of having read a bit of it, or it may have been a short story in the same universe, a number of years ago. (It was published in 1992, which sounds about right.) I don't recall being impressed by it, though. This time, reading it in the awareness that I might write a review, I'm finding beauties in it I might otherwise have missed. There's quite a bit of humor, for one thing, resting in the - no, I don't want to start on that. The point is that I'm getting more out of it, and my lj experience is the reason. (I wondered, in my previous post, what this could be called. It's not the examined life, in the classical sense of that phrase; perhaps it could be called the attentive life?)

On another front: I've been listening to quite a bit of Gordon Lightfoot lately, and thinking about what I like about his work. A major part of his repertoire is pretty standard pop - I'm thinking of "Sundown" and "Rainy Day People", for example - which, while pleasant enough to listen to, really doesn't have a lot of substance. I think I prefer it when he turns more towards folk music. In particular, those of his songs which are explicitly Canadian really appeal to me: "Canadian Railroad Trilogy", "Christian Island", and "Crossroads", for instance. There's a third subset as well - political songs, most of them from early in his career. "Black Day in July" isn't very interesting musically, and the events described, while disturbing enough, don't really resonate with me. I wasn't politically conscious at the time, and there's not much for the song to hook onto for me. He does better with songs that are less specified in time and place; I've always liked "Don Quixote" - in fact, I think that was the song that brought him to my attention - and "Pride of Man" just gives me the shivers. That song was written about forty years ago, but it seems disturbingly apropos after the events of the last few years. (It bears a family resemblance to Kipling's "Recessional"; it even ends - probably deliberately - with the same words: Thy mercy on Thy people, Lord!)

And I think, here again, that lj has helped enhance my appreciation.

This is a good thing, I'm thinking.
stoutfellow: Joker (Default)
Normally, when I go to campus, I take my briefcase with me. Among other things, it usually holds a book for me to read during the bus ride to and from work. Today, however, we were nearly out of dog food and completely out of dog treats; I was going to have to pick them up on the way home. I buy dog food in twenty-pound bags, and carrying one while also burdened with a briefcase is... let's say "clumsy" and leave it at that.

So. On the way home today, instead of reading, I was gazing absently out the bus window, thinking of various things. At one point, the bus stopped for a bit due to a traffic tie-up. I was in the middle of mentally composing a letter when, out of the corner of my eye, I noticed that there was a plover - a killdeer, I think - wading in a drainage ditch by the side of the road. My automatic "Ooh, neat!" reaction was almost immediately joined by an effort to begin composing a livejournal entry about the sight.

I find this happening quite a bit lately; something interesting happens, and part of my mind immediately seizes on it as fodder for lj. I'm not sure whether this is a good thing. It is said that the unexamined life is not worth living, but this is not the examined life, but... what shall I call it? The edited life?

I'm reminded of the passage in Barrayar, when Cordelia arrives at her first Barrayaran social event, and is nonplussed to realize what she's missing - the crowds of reporters who would attend such an event back on Beta Colony, and the studied reactions of the participants, knowing themselves to be televised around the planet.

I don't know what to think, or whether I'm blowing up something trivial.


stoutfellow: Joker (Default)

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