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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.

Comments

( 8 comments — Leave a comment )
(Anonymous)
Feb. 13th, 2007 11:10 am (UTC)
Genetic algorithms?

Abomination! To see the pure and noble field of Biology sullied with common and vulgar physics. Where’s my pitchfork?

(Anonymous)
Feb. 13th, 2007 11:27 am (UTC)
Ah, the above was of course brought to you by H.
paulfraser
Feb. 15th, 2007 03:57 am (UTC)
Meh. Your biology is in fact completely built upon physics principles, so we are allowed to take something back ;p
(Anonymous)
Feb. 15th, 2007 08:09 am (UTC)
Damn you physicists with your fast cars and make-out parties!
docmatrix
Feb. 15th, 2007 02:15 am (UTC)
Genetic Algorithms are the pagan, heretical, devils work! You need to use some of those consecrated, sanctified Creationist Algorithms.
paulfraser
Feb. 15th, 2007 03:55 am (UTC)
Are they the ones that mysteriously give you an answer without any process behind them, and you can view it as a correct answer that brings meaning if you just have faith?
Are they algorithms written in the dark ages that were the best attempt possible back then but despite that people still blindly use them in their calculations, even though the programming society's discourse has found other, more advanced ways to do things?

Heh.
docmatrix
Feb. 15th, 2007 04:16 am (UTC)
Hmm, no I think you're thinking of GOTO loops :)
paulfraser
Feb. 15th, 2007 05:27 am (UTC)
Oooooooo burn.

I think you will find that fortran was written in the Industrial Revolution, not the Dark Ages.
( 8 comments — Leave a comment )

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