Saturday, 24 January 2015

08:39 – One of the things about having Barbara at home all day for the next month is that I no longer have time to re-watch videos that she doesn’t want to re-watch. And until recently that meant any video she’d ever seen. I’d suggest re-watching an excellent series we’d last watched 30 years ago and she’d just say, “We already watched that”.

While she was in the hospital, I’d started re-watching Jericho. I was surprised after she was back at home when she agreed that I could continue re-watching it with her in the room. She even agreed that it was a very good series. So last night I told her that I’d really like to re-watch Everwood, and was surprised when she readily agreed. I’m really looking forward to seeing Emily VanCamp again at age 15. I knew she was special partway through the first episode, and I haven’t changed my mind ten years on.

09:52 – Speaking of Netflix streaming, I convinced Barbara to give Revolution a try last night. I watched the first few minutes before my bogosity meter pegged. What did it for me was a solid line of cars filling both lanes of an interstate at night. As the power failed, the headlights of the cars went out. But they didn’t go out all at once, no. Instead the closest cars went dark, and then the others in sequence like a row of dominoes going down into the far distance. Geez. What moron wrote this? I immediately backed out to the main Netflix menu, turned to Barbara, and asked what she thought of Revolution. She said it was terrible. I agreed.

So we went back to watching Borgia, which features the beautiful Marta Gastini as Giulia Farnese. One of the things I’ve noticed watching other series is that I often have trouble telling young actresses apart. One generically pretty brunette is much like another, so I often have to depend on non-facial characteristics like hair color, voice, build, and so on to differentiate them. With Borgia, I’ve added one characteristic to that list. It has lots of young women running around topless (and bottomless) and engaging in simulated sex. With the girls’ faces at odd angles, often partially covered by their hair or their partners’ heads or bodies, I sometimes can’t tell which is which. But, I have discovered, all of the actresses in this series have distinctive nipples, by which I can identify them even if their faces aren’t clearly visible.

11:21 – I just re-joined Amazon Prime because today-only it’s $72 rather than $99. For $72, it’s worth it to me. Not for $99.

19 thoughts on “Saturday, 24 January 2015”

  1. I was surprised after she was back at home when she agreed that I could continue re-watching it with her in the room.

    Oh, no! The medication is having an effect on her personality!

    My wife also hates re-watching shows. Not a big problem for me, as I very seldom slow down enough to watch anything even once let alone re-watch. In theory I could have a video playing while I was doing something else, but when I’m writing or programming I want silence more than anything else, and when I’m bopping around hauling slates or cooking or driving I can’t exactly watch shows. (In theory I suppose I could watch videos while driving, but I’m not actively suicidal. I have, however, seen other people watching tables while driving on the highway. I do my best to get some distance from them when I spot this.)

  2. It has been one long string of commies since the Larry Klinton administration, supplemented by their neocon cousins, only a couple of steps removed, as former Trotskyites. They take turns, destroying the economy and fomenting wars, to which we ourselves or our children and grandchildren are sent, uselessly. Cui bono? Who are the only people in our country who benefit from all this stuff? Not you. Not me. Who, then?

  3. I have, however, seen other people watching tables while driving on the highway.

    SteveF, my mind’s eye kept trying to parse this sentence! My restaurant experience portion kept projecting a picture of someone washing tables while driving, while my technical portion kept showing someone watching a movie on a tablet.

    My personal close encounter was during rush hour on the way home with a guy who had a young girl (maybe 9 or 10 years old) in the passenger seat while he was swerving all over the road as he turned the pages on the dead tree book he had propped in the center of the steering wheel, one hand holding the book and the other turning the pages. All while doing 65 in a 50 zone.

  4. I wasn’t sure about that watching tables phrase, either, but it eventually dawned on me; hey, I’m wicked slow but I’m thorough.

    And I once saw a guy flying down Route 495 in Maffachufetts in broad daylight with a newspaper spread over the steering wheel. Plus tons of ass-hats yakking on phones.

  5. Talked the wife into seeing “The Imitation Game” this evening. The movie is about Alan Turing cracking the Enigma machine during WWII. It is also about the fact that Turing was a practicing homosexual and punished for that after the war by the British government using chemical castration. He committed suicide soon afterwards.

    Excellent movie, just excellent. Turing was a brilliant genius. I’m sure that several parts of the movie were sensationalized, but still fairly factual as my light reading has revealed.

    I was just reading about Turing and noted that he invented the LU decomposition method. It is an quick and elegant method for solving a matrix. This calculational method is at the heart of our software package that we sell. I never knew that and am amazed.

    BTW, I have known three guys taking estrogen for their prostate cancer which caused them to go through chemical castration. They were and are very angry about it as it caused many changes in their bodies while it did stop the progress of the cancer.

  6. If you believe Charles Stross’ Laundry series, Turing also figured out computational magic…..

    He was right up there with Einstein, Bohr, Watson, Crick, and (to be determined) Heisenberg in his scientific genius. He pretty much invented computer science.

  7. If I had to pick one scientific genius to represent the 20th century, it’d be Paul Dirac. Einstein, Bohr, Heisenberg, and the rest all considered Dirac to be scary smart.

  8. Dirac was scary smart. Turing’s particular genius was in recognizing where pure math could be applied to real world problems. Too many mathematicians turn their noses up at real world uses of their work.

    The matrix math work that Lynn cited above is at the heart of solving big computational problems like fluid flow, weather modeling, etc. Modern aerodynamics depends on it.

  9. If you think about it for a while, Turing’s matrix reformulation probably saves billions of CPU cycles every day. That’s a huge economic impact. We would have had stored-program computers without him, Zuse in Germany had built one at about the same time as Turing, but he formalized what might have been an ad-hoc engineering discipline.

  10. If you think about it for a while, Turing’s matrix reformulation probably saves billions of CPU cycles every day.

    It is awesome until it does not work (the matrix goes singular, etc). The fix-ups in our code are absolutely horrible at this point, just trying to get an approximation of the answer to build a better matrix.

  11. What’s the big deal about Turing’s role here? The LU decomposition is just a minor variant of Gaussian elimination — basically the result of noticing that when you do Gaussian elimination, the coefficients generated can be stuck into another matrix L which thereafter can be useful. It’s pretty natural to store those coefficients somehow, since it’s apparent that they’re useful; and it’s also pretty natural to see that using them is tantamount to a matrix multiplication, provided that you put them in the right place in a matrix L. It’s the sort of observation you’d expect from the first smart guy to sit down and actually program the thing on a computer — which likely Turing was.

  12. “I have, however, seen other people watching tables while driving on the highway. I do my best to get some distance from them when I spot this.)”

    Um…back in the day, when I was living in Boston, but drove to Texas for longer vacations, etc. Boring, straight highways, almost no traffic. I did occasionally hold a book to the steering wheel and read… Somehow we survive our youthful stupidity.

    Today, I still often read while walking, looking up to cross streets. It’s a good test of your peripheral vision 🙂 Of course, now that everyone has their heads buried in their smartphones, it’s no longer so unusual.

  13. Years after I finished secondary school I learned that I was famous in the local area for reading a book as I walked to school. Apparently cars went out of their way to avoid hitting me. Likewise… I look back, and wonder whether I had an unconscious death wish.

    We’re in good company, though! I read that von Neumann used to read while driving (or, more accurately, drive while reading) and got in several accidents as a result.

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