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February 12th, 2007

You get what you need

Visa issues sorted. A legit but complex solution has been found, and as happy times never make a good story, I won't go into the tedious intricacies. Final result: good times for all.

The Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra has been holding it's annual New Music festival since Saturday. There has been a blend of pieces, some good, some not so. On the first night the orchestra played this piece that was beautifully composed and exquisitely played by the musicians and singers, but it was clear the composer wrote the lyrics on the back of a napkin in five minutes. Such a waste to have such beautiful voices sing prattle like "What is loooooove? What is liiiiiife? What is deeeeaaaaath" over and over again. It made me think "What is self-indulgent, adolescent navel-gazing?" From there it went to "What is Chriiiist?" and I silently asked "What is the sound of me vomiting into my program?"

To academic matters, the new discovery of the week is genetic algorithms, which are a clever way to search a parameter space based loosely on the principles of natural selection. Fancy. One of the astro kids here is using them to determine the shape of invisible galaxies based on their gravitational lensing of objects behind them.

On the advice of Steven Karataglidis I have sought out something he described as the Devil's work, something called a Nanaimo Bar. It seems the Devil's intention is to make me a little fatty before I leave this frozen place. That's some good dessert.

Next bulletin will be from the sunny and slightly less frozen resort town of Banff, where I am giving a presentation at a conference.

This lunar cycle

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