Friday, September 29, 2017

The Importance of Specifying Units

It is extremely important to specify units. :)

Also: very well-played!

(Tip of the cap to Melvin Leok.)

Thursday, September 28, 2017

New Technology: Playable Records Made from Oreo Cookies

I know this sounds nuts, but I'm serious! And I from a physics perspective, this seems eminently doable.

I know of a great song that would be perfect to turn this into a Caltech-themed prank...

Given these developments, we clearly need a DJ Cookie Monster to take proper advantage of this new technology.

Pictures from Puebla

Here is my photo album from Puebla.

Some of the pictures from the archaeological site are especially cool!

Sunday, September 24, 2017

What Happens in Puebla Stays in Puebla

Today I am flying to Puebla, Mexico to attend LANET 2017, the 1st Latin American Conference on Complex Networks.

As you probably know, there was an earthquake there a few days ago, but the conference is still happening (and only a few people have cancelled). The show must go on!

Friday, September 22, 2017

The Dodgers Win the National League West

The Dodgers just beat the Giants 4–2 and are now National League West champions for the 5th year in a row. Today's win was our 98th of the year.

The inevitable celebration got delayed quite a while by our horrible slump, but we did it—and on Tommy Lasorda's 90th birthday to boot!

Next stop: the National League Division Series on Friday 6 October at Dodger Stadium.

What Programmers Say When Their Software Doesn't Work: Top 20 Responses

I have witnessed several of these and used some others.

(Tip of the cap to Michael Stumpf.)

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Words Well Hung

I can see myself uttering last words along these lines (though I can do without the hanging).

(Tip of the cap to George Takei.)

Contribute to Science with your Dungeons & Dragons Backstories

Yes, really.

(Tip of the cap to Jennifer Ouellette.)

The Origin of Zork

Here is a short article about the origin of the landmark text-adventure computer game Zork.

We should calculate some network statistics of the Great Underground Empire map. (See the salient hand-drawn figure in the article.)

Saturday, September 16, 2017

But Can We Set the Lyapunov Exponent?

Apparently, there is a microwave with a 'CHAOS' mode (in all caps).

I have only one question: Are we allowed to set the Lyapunov exponent? (Technically, I am thinking of the maximum one.)

(Tip of the cap to George Takei.)

Update: It looks like chaotic dynamics actually are explicitly involved. (Tip of the cap to Melvin Leok for the link.)

Update 2: Following up on Melvin's comment, I did some googling and found this article. I still haven't figured out which system they used. I suppose I should treat this like the chaotic water wheels. The people who designed this option could have chosen any one of the standard models.

Update 3: Bah. The relevant reference is in a conference proceeding whose parent domain is dead (probably long dead). I might actually have to use a physical library to determine decisively which system was used. (Jaroslav Stark, one of the authors of the above perspective piece, died several years ago. I could potentially see if his coauthor, who I have never heard of, is reachable. The names of the authors of that conference proceeding are going to defy Google.)

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

New to the Blogroll: Math with Bad Drawings

On occasion, I have really enjoyed entries from the blog Math with Bad Drawings, and I am now adding it to the blogroll (much later than I should have).

Great Opening Lines from Literature as Written by Mathematicians

I approve of this blog entry!.

(Tip of the cap to MathFeed.)

21-Game Winning Streak!

This year's Cleveland Indians now are alone at the top with an American League record 21-game winning streak that matches the 1935 Chicago Cubs for the second-longest streak since 1900. The Major League record is 26 non-losing games (it included a tie) by the 1916 New York Giants.


Update (9/15/17): The Indians lost today to the Royals. They won yesterday, so their win streak reached 22 games. Wow!

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

The Bee Nailed It

(I saw this Tweet because Sabine Hossenfelder liked it.)

Monday, September 11, 2017

"Lock the Taskbar"

Does he think it's not kosher?

(Tip of the cap to Dave Richeson.)

Thursday, September 07, 2017

Last Will and Temperament

I haven't seen this picture in several years.

I humbly request that, when I am gone, many of these (but with my name, instead of this guy's) be made and installed at appropriate spots all over the world. I may have to put this as a condition in my will.

Also, I want my sign to be grammatically correct.

P.S. The title is an allusion to this skit.

(Tip of the cap to Gabor Vattay.

Wednesday, September 06, 2017

"Nonlinear Coherent Structures in Granular Crystals"

My review article on granular crystals (and especially work on it during the last decade) just came out in final form. Here are the details.

Title: Nonlinear Coherent Structures in Granular Crystals

Authors: Chris Chong, Mason A. Porter, Panayotis G. Kevrekidis, and Chiara Daraio

Abstract: The study of granular crystals, which are nonlinear metamaterials that consist of closely packed arrays of particles that interact elastically, is a vibrant area of research that combines ideas from disciplines such as materials science, nonlinear dynamics, and condensed-matter physics. Granular crystals exploit geometrical nonlinearities in their constitutive microstructure to produce properties (such as tunability and energy localization) that are not conventional to engineering materials and linear devices. In this topical review, we focus on recent experimental, computational, and theoretical results on nonlinear coherent structures in granular crystals. Such structures—which include traveling solitary waves, dispersive shock waves, and discrete breathers—have fascinating dynamics, including a diversity of both transient features and robust, long-lived patterns that emerge from broad classes of initial data. In our review, we primarily discuss phenomena in one-dimensional crystals, as most research to date has focused on such scenarios, but we also present some extensions to two-dimensional settings. Throughout the review, we highlight open problems and discuss a variety of potential
engineering applications that arise from the rich dynamic response of granular crystals.

Tuesday, September 05, 2017

Sunday, September 03, 2017

Complex Analysis, Simple Analysis, and Congressional Support for Perverse Sheaves

This quote encapsulates one of the great stories in the history of U.S. government funding (and legislative and others' skepticism of such funding):

"On April 9, 1975, Congressman Robert Michel brandished a list of new NSF grants on the floor of the House of Representatives and selected a few that he thought might represent a waste of the taxpayers’ money. One of them (on which I happened to be one of the investigators) was called “Studies in Complex Analysis.” Michel’s comment was, “ ‘Simple Analysis’ would, hopefully, be cheaper.” I shudder to think of what might happen if certain members of the current Congress discover that the NSF is supporting research on perverse sheaves."

You can see some more details in an old blog post from John Baez.

Happiness is Not Communicating :)

Note that, on average, the happier people spend much less time communicating with other people electronically. (For example, notice the result for "Phone".)

I take that a step further and try not to spend too much time communicating with others (electronically or otherwise), and I am extremely happy!

(Tip of the cap to Hiroki Sayama.)

Saturday, September 02, 2017

"Bullshit and the Art of Crap Detection" (1969 Speech)

Take a look at this speech by Neil Postman from 1969. It is called "Bullshit and the Art of Crap Detection".

I had heard of this before, and I found it today through the Twitter post below, where again note that it was uttered in 1969.

Friday, September 01, 2017

The Masque of the Chaotic Attractor

(This could, however, work very well at Dynamics Days.)