15 October 2009

Blog action day: geek loathes global warming

Today is the third annual Blog Action Day and the theme is climate change. Let's discuss this "global warming" thing then.

First, I'd like to say that we're in middle October and it snowed yesterday, which doesn't usually happen until December in my country. I am not happy about it. I got cold while going out to pick up the groceries. Don't take it as balckmail, but if someone tell me how the Global Warming is inevitabely coming upon us, I will throw him a middle-October snowball in the face.

Second, let's raise the awareness about the sea levels raising. If you believe London will soon be the new Venice, I challenge you to do the followoing:

  • half-fill a glass of water
  • put an ice cube in it
  • mark the water level
  • let it melt (microwave it if you're in a hurry)
  • check the water level.
How much did it raise?

Phew, I got it off my chest. Back to constructive blogging about cool stuff.

09 October 2009

Blogging my thesis: 9th of October

This morning, as I decided to just check the weather, get dressed and leave to school, I had a pleasant surprise in my inbox: my classes were cancelled. Not that I am pleased that the professor is sick, only with the unexpected free time.

Free time... what is that? What is that for? What do you do with it?

When in doubt and sleepy - sleep. I started with that. Then I decided to do some Saturday stuff: I went groceries shopping, cleaned up the house a bit, hovered.

Then, I went running. They say that physical activity helps to fight depression and I could use some help, so I went wandering in my new lovely neighbourhood and came back all sweaty.

The fitness felt good, but it didn't really help me with my procrastination problem. I procrastinated like I unfortunately often do, only this time, I didn't really feel bad about it. I'll take that as an improvement.

So, not much to brag about today. Tomorrow won't probably bring more: I'm going to a friend's wedding (two friends', actually) and then to the theater, where another friend of ours is playing in "The Revenge". Maybe Sunday.

04 October 2009

I got to level two at Project Euler

I just got to level one at Project Euler - four months after reaching level one. Here's the well-deserved cube:

I'm still writing practically only in Python. The problems are getting more difficult and so is getting to the next level - I need to solve 50 more problems to get an octahedron. That's a nice 2010 resolution.

Anyone else doing Project Euler?

03 October 2009

Blogging my thesis: 2nd of October

On Saturdays, I usually get to stay home all day, except for a belly dance class and maybe a walk with my husband. What a great time to check mail, apply for Google Wave invites, chech mail, check Facebook, expand my musical horizons, check mail, check Facebook work on my thesis.

What have I done today? My answer is a typical one for a student asked by his advisor what he's done so far:

Er, I have found, I have read, I have understood...

I think I've finally understood the previously mentionned Bernstein method. Understanding is the toughest part (unless you were a sissie wise person and chose an easy subject) - then comes description and implementation. Actually, doing these while trying to understand works really good, I always do that. I now have half a dozen of lines of LaTeX erroneously deleted and product trees implemented in 8 impressive lines of code (n = len(primes), if n == 1: return primes and stuff like that). But all of these were proudly accomplished yesterday, and today, I just read and understood.

Well, the night is still young.

02 October 2009

Blogging my thesis: what's Bernstein thinking?

In his paper called "How to find smooth parts of integers" Bernstein tries to find the 20-smooth part of the number x. He first finds the product of all the primes up to 20, which is 9699690.

Then he writes 9699690 mod x = r and claims that r can be represented as ab, where a = gcd(9699690, x) and gcd(b, x) = 1.

Why? Why would that be true? It's left without proof as if it was obvious, but it's not. What's Bernstein thinking? Why isn't the answer avaliable as a cute Disney DVD?

That's what I'm workin on in my thesis right now.

[Update] Argh, I messed it up. Bernstein doesn't, Pomerance does in his book where he discusses the method and apparently, he does it wrong.

Let's find the 5-smooth part of 22. We have 2*3*5= 30, 30 mod 22 = 8, gcd (30, 22) = 2, thus a = 2, b = 4 and gcd(22, 4) = 2, not 1. Gotcha!

That's what happens when you leave something as obvious instead of proving it properly.

01 October 2009

Moving day at the office, or how the geek works

Lifehacker recently posted Nine Workspaces Where Famous Folks Get Stuff Done: Al Gore's, Bill Gate's, Steve Ballmer's, Steve Jobs'... Nine - isn't one missing? Of course one is! Mine.

My office actually moved last week, so I used this opportunity to take pictures without being considered crazy (just sentimental). So here it goes.




(If you're wondering about the pink ribbon on my chair, it was a way of labelling it to make sure the movers didn't give it to one of the guys.)