...Prove Their Worth...

"Problems worthy of attack
prove their worth
by hitting back." - Piet Hein

A kind of running diary and rambling pieces on my struggles with assorted books, classes, and other things, as they happen. You must be pretty bored to be reading this...

Monday, August 12, 2002

Well, I've been silent a little while, for a lot of assorted reasons. Which I'm not going to go into. Anyways, I just figured I'd write down for posterity a few of the things I've got kicking around on my hard drive at the moment, in various stages of (dis)composition.

  • There's a paper I've been trying to read which goes into more detail about what "1+2=3" means than I thought existed. It's hilarious, entertaining, and thought provoking. I've referenced it obliquely before, but hadn't read much of it at the time. I've read a bit more now, and have started trying to summarize some of what it seems to be saying into a more-easily-readable form (where more readable just means 'less funny greek letters').

  • I've recently read a set of papers about something called "point set graphics" (following a trail of links from a SIGGRAPH2002 summary). Say you have a physical thing you want to represent in your computer. The conventional approach is to scan it, getting a set of points corresponding to the surface of the thing, and then 'triangulate' it - to fit a polygon mesh to it, connecting the dots, so to speak. Then that's your model. This is what's used in games and such, by the way - the models are made up of triangles. In 'point set' graphics, you don't 'triangulate', you just work with the more-or-less raw points the whole time. Why anyone would want to do this is going to be the subject of a future posting, if I ever get it written.

  • I'm continuing my reading of Baez and Munian, and am now on the part where they rewrite Maxwell's equations. It's getting more difficult, mainly because I haven't quite digested a lot of the concepts yet - metrics, orientations of manifolds, Hodge stars, and other funny-looking gobbledygook that is probably going to make obvious sense eventually but for now just looks funny and/or intimidating. Again, more on this later.

  • Inspired by being annoyed with the phrase 'closed timelike curve', I've decided to try to use the definitions of the terms in the phrase to get a handle on it. And by handle I mean something better than "'Closed timelike curve' is fancy-talk for time travel, 'mmm-kay!" I've actually written a post on this tonight, but I'm unhappy with it, so I'm not posting it for now. Later, perhaps, when I've had a chance to spank it into a more tender shape.

And that's about it for now.


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