Wednesday, December 29, 2004

For your inter-holiday enjoyment: Mathematical Humor

(PDF) Pointed out onNot Even Wrong.

I've been telling the hotel fire joke for years. Funny how the physicist always comes out looking the brightest ;)

Tuesday, December 28, 2004

NYTimes: Blogs Provide Raw Details From Scene of the Disaster

By JOHN SCHWARTZ, 12/28/2004
"For vivid reporting from the enormous zone of tsunami disaster, it was hard to beat the blogs.
The so-called blogosphere, with its personal journals published on the Web, has become best known as a forum for bruising political discussion and media criticism. But the technology proved a ready medium for instant news of the tsunami disaster and for collaboration over ways to help..."

As the amateur radio community ages, their role as emergency communicators from war or natural disaster areas is being taken over in part by bloggers. ARRL (American Radio Relay League) is reporting on current DX efforts. Still, in an area with no infrastructure, running an HF rig on a generator takes much less power and is easier to do than blogging -- especially if you don't have an adequate way to charge your cell or sat phone. HF signals can travel for thousands of miles without a repeater, and the equipment can be handbuilt using spare parts or kits. Commerical sat comms just aren't as practical in many emergency situations.

Thursday, December 23, 2004 Tuneable windows

From Design Engineering 12/16/04
"Secrets that zip across offices through wireless computing networks are all to easy also zip through office windows into the hands of ones competitors.
But now researchers at the University of Warwick have come up with a solution to the problem. They have devised a method of producing tuneable surfaces that can selectively block signals from wireless networks from spilling out of the office."
I've reported on this before but the tunability of this application really makes a huge difference. The other applications were installed in walls and (I think) were just wideband. This is problematic if you want to allow a pager, just not ____, for example.

Tuesday, December 07, 2004

Searching for Math Equations and Symbols on the Web: Part 3

Part 1, Part 2

No joy on the LaTEX front. J's post on math on the web caused me to smack my forehead and wonder if I had been missing something big. Well, yes and no. First, the way Wikipedia deals with symbols, etc., is actually pleasant. Compare to other methods. So I decided to try the major search engines using the coding used to implement the TeX markup in Wikipedia.

\nabla – found places the word "nabla" appears including the history of the symbol, etc.
\partial – yuck. found partial den tu res, partial-b1rth abo rti ons, Springer, Wiley, and Dekker journals (but just from the titles apparently)
"\nabla" – same as above, but also has this page that has what looks like TeX in the source code.
"\partial" – same yuck.
open tag math close tag \nabla* – (as compared to above and as compared to math nabla) better than without the math - but this is just my trick of specifying domain when doing natural language searching!! It doesn't really get any TeX stuff. It does retrieve other wikis that give instructions for adding formulae.
open tag math close tag\partial – see above. Note, though that this page was generated in LaTeX and converted to HTML - the equations are in fact PNGs but the alt's for the images are the actual LaTeX writing! I tried this in the google image search and it gives me whole page jpgs, not individual equations for the most part. Here's an exception.

So, it looks like you can search for the TeX coding in the images search somewhat successfully if the author used a conversion tool that added the encoding as the ALT for the image.


Very much the same as Google. At first I thought the image thing was working much better, but then I realized that they were all from the same site.

Doesn't index symbols at all
*Note: apparently blogger is trying to interpret the math tag. curious.

Friday, December 03, 2004 Another nanotube yarn

29 Nov 2004
This one claims a lot more than the previous attempt I blogged about. It's an electrically conductive, bullet-proof, temperature adjusting miracle fabric. They use multi-walled tubes, instead of single-tubed.