Thursday, March 24, 2016

Hello Blog

Tuesday, January 29, 2008


I wish I was this awesome.

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Saturday, December 29, 2007

To all of those people who say the Earth's atmosphere is too big to be affected by human activity, here is a photo of Beijing on December 28, 2007:
That gray sky is not natural!

(source NY Times, December 29, 2007)

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Thursday, November 15, 2007

In Vegas, everything is done to the extreme

This is the fanciest destruction of a building I've ever seen. Goodbye frontier casino:


Thursday, November 08, 2007

Vote for Java 6 on Mac OS X

Vote for Java 6 on Mac OSX!

This is the magic string:


What the heck is this? Check out this link.

I realize this is silly, but I'm curious to see how this goes. To see how many people voted search Google for 13949712720901ForOSX

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Tuesday, October 30, 2007

The 2007 Red Sox Parade

I just posted this video from the 2007 Red Sox Parade. Manny Delcarmen and his bullpen band gave us a little concert:

Congrats to the 2007 World Champion Boston Red Sox!

More Photos are here.

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Sunday, October 21, 2007

This is my life ... OPN/OPM notation:

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Friday, October 19, 2007

Terrorism quote

As a systems academic, I really enjoyed this quote:
Global terrorism is extreme both in its lack of realistic goals and in its cynical exploitation of the vulnerability of complex systems. Jurgen Habermas
I found it on Matti's blog. A functioning democratic society and economy requires that the people feel safe to go about their daily business. By disrupting the feeling of security, the whole complex system can fall apart. This is how we end up with Americans defending the Bush administration's right to torture captives without due process. Where are our principles? The terrorists have damaged a part of our "complex system", but they still haven't gotten any closer to achieving their goals. We both lose.

Yesterday's attacks in Pakistan were quite horrible, I must say. These types of attacks are becoming so common now that we barely even notice. That is sad.

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Tuesday, October 16, 2007

World Solar Insolation vs. Solar Installation

This is an interesting chart that showed up in the IEEE Spectrum magazine, October 2007. Green areas show where solar power is installed, and yellow areas show regions with the most sunlight. It shows how the politics can influence technical decisions. Germany, New York, and Japan have many installations of solar power, but relatively little sunlight. It's interesting to note that China seems to be a prime spot for solar installation, but doesn't use a significant amount. Is this a possible part of the solution to China's smog problem?

The other interesting fact, pointed out by a friend of mine who is a solar power buff, is that the whole world has installed 3705 MW of solar power (as of 2005), which is about the same amount of power a single new nuclear power plant with twin reactors could generate. (I wasn't able to verify this, if someone can, please post a comment).


Thursday, October 04, 2007

Happy 50th Birthday, Sputnik!

SputnikStill the coolest looking satellite ever!

Read more about Sputnik at Wikipedia.

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Thursday, September 20, 2007

Best Boston Halloween costume of 2006!

I came across these two photos on the internet. I have no idea who this kid is, but the costume is great!:

Fung Wah Bus Halloween Costume

and, a close up:

Fung Wah Bus Halloween Costume

For those of you who don't remember, there were several incidents involving the Fung Wah Boston to New York (Chinatown to Chinatown). In one, the bus caught fire. The driver just stopped the bus and jumped out without warning the passengers.

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Thursday, September 06, 2007

an old red sox joke

This was forwarded to me this week. It's been going around the internet for years.

A Red Sox fan liked to amuse himself by scaring every Yankees fan he saw strutting down the street in an obnoxious NY pinstripe shirt. He would swerve his van as if to hit them, then swerve back just missing them.

One day while driving along, he saw a priest. He thought he would do a good deed, so he pulled over and asked the priest, "Where are you going, Father?"

"I'm going to give Mass at St. Francis church, about two miles down the road," replied the priest.

"Climb in, Father. I'll give you a lift!" The priest climbed into the passenger sea t, and they continued down the road.

Suddenly, the driver saw a Yankees fan walking down the road, and he instinctively swerved as if to hit him. But, as usual, he swerved back onto the road just in time.

Even though he was certain that he had missed the guy, he still heard a loud THUD. not knowing where the noise came from, he glanced in his mirrors but still didn't see anything.

He then remembered the priest, and he turned to the priest and said, sorry Father, I almost hit that Yankees fan."

"That's OK," replied the priest "I got him with the door."


Wednesday, August 29, 2007

no posts for a while

Sorry, there will be no more posts on this blog for a while.   My advisor basically said he would [harm] me if he catches me working on something besides my thesis.    This is ok with me, because there are few things that I want more than to finish my degree and move on.

Please come back in a few months.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Return of Isabella

Today my friend Isabella returns from her long journey through South America and Antarctica. Check out her blog for some fantastic photos and stories.


Wednesday, June 27, 2007

random thoughts

When you "play it by ear", could that mean you are playing mean playing Ear Guitar?

Monday, May 28, 2007

I am ... in Beijing

My blog readers (all two of them!) have been asking me to post something, please! I am currently in Beijing working frantically collaborating on research with my colleague Ben. He is currently a professor at Tsinghua University in Beijing, China.

We are working on an encoding for the interactions of decisions.

I'll just post quickly, because I need to get back to work. The first day I arrived, I immediately noticed a difference from Shanghai. First of all, the taxi drivers drive in a reasonable way. It's still a little hectic, compared to driving in the US, however, nothing like the haphazard suicidal driving habits of the Shanghainese! The other thing I noticed is that it's much dryer here. It's been over 90 degrees F, but it's bearable because the humity is low.

I am staying with Ben in the Northwest part of the city. We are a 15 minute walk from the University. There are many foreign students living around here because many Chinese language schools are nearby. I have found this area welcoming and livable. more on why i think this in some other post....

pictures soon...

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Monday, April 23, 2007

The MBTA is bi-lingual

I was on the red line T the other day.  It's the first time I noticed that they have bilingual announcements.

As we were approaching Park Street Station, a recorded annoucement in a deep male voice came over the PA system:

"Park Street. Change here for the Green Line".

Then, the train conductor made an announcement:

"Paahk Steet.  Change he-ah fah da green line-h".

I guess, if you are a native of Boston, you might not understand English, unless it has a Boston accent!

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Trip to Isreal

I've had fun reading Bella's exciting stories from the bottom of the world.   In return, I should at least post my impression so of Israel, right?

The trip was really great. Although I was very busy at the conference, I was do a couple of touristy things.  The conference organized a trip to visit Akko (also called "Acre"), which is a 2000+ year old town north of Haifa.  It was amazing to walk through the historic structures from the jews, the romans, the greeks, the crusaders, the ottomans, the Arabs, and whoever else was there.  There were secret tunnels of the Templar Knights and huge buildings that has only recently been uncovered.   A very cool experience.

The second thing I did was visit Jerusalem with an Israeli friend I met at the conference.  We visited the Tower of David.  They had an interesting video on the history of Jerusalem.  Bottom line message in the video:  Jerusalem belongs to the Jews.  It's not surprising they would say this.       The next stop, after some Turkish coffee was the Golgotha, a place where many Catholics believe Jesus was crucified.    It was quite a powerful experience.  I didn't expect it to be, but it was.  I had no idea that these places existed.   I'm not a particularly religious person, but there's something very moving about being in these locations.   It's as if the whole history of the world, good and bad, is flowing through you while you stand there.   Many people pray here and leave gifts.    We also saw the tablet where Jesus was supposedly laid down after he was taken down from the cross.  Then, we waited in the line to see the empty tomb. (of course, it's empty because he was resurrected, as the story goes...).

Next, we tried to visit the temple mount, but we were told it was for Arabs only on that day.   This is too bad.     This is the second holiest site in Islam.  It's built on top of a rock that Muslim's believe was the spot where Mohamed was  before  he ascended to Heaven.     Unfortunately, this is was built on top of a holy spot for Jews.   They believe this is the spot where the world was created, and also a spot where two great temples once stood (before it was destroyed by invasions).  They believe that when the next messiah comes, they are supposed to build a third great temple here.   Do you think will cause any trouble? anyone?

The final stop, before a late lunch of kebabs, was a trip to the Western Wall.  This is considered the last standing piece of the great temples.

Sorry, my pictures are not that good.  I might post them later....

Monday, March 19, 2007

first couple of days in Israel

Right now I'm in Herzliya or Herzlya or Herzlyya, Israel. There may be other spellings for it! There seems to be no consistent way to translate Hebrew into English, so it can get really confusing here. Apparently, the problem is that there are no written vowels in Hebrew? Not sure. In a couple of days I'm going to Haifa, which is also spelled Jafa. I am attending the ICSEM 2007 conference. At the conference, they are running a tour to Acre, which is also Acco, or Akko. yikes! No wonder I had so much trouble finding maps of Israel on the web.

The things that have surprised me the most are: Hebrew is everywhere. Some people speak English, but only as a second language. Most signs are in Hebrew only. It's like walking around China. When you walking into buildings, you are always checked by a security guard. The weather is pretty temperate here. 65 deg. F and dry. Pretty nice. Even thought I saw the forecast, I always imagined it to be extremely hot here.

More later...

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Friday, March 09, 2007


Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich acknowledged he was having an extramarital affair even as he led the charge against President Clinton over the Monica Lewinsky affair, he acknowledged in an interview with a conservative Christian group.

I have nothing to say in response to this NY Times article.