My avatar across the web: a photo of my feet in grey-white socks and brown sandals.

Ben Babcock

I read, write, code, and knit.

CUMC 2010, Day 2

It is Thursday, July 8.

After the first talk this morning--on set theory, particularly ZFC--I spent time caressing the lovely wireless network by way of uploading some photos to Flickr. When attempting to geotag them, however, I ran into the slight problem, in that typing "University of Waterloo" into the Flickr map's location finder produced no results.

So, Yahoo!, in case you are wondering why people drool over Google and its products, here is a hint: we are lazy. When I type in the name of a major university, your map should be able to find it for me. I should not have to go find a postal code on my own, enter that, and wind up in the general vicinity of the campus. (I used Google Maps to find the postal code too, which just seems wrong). It is not that I am a Google fanboy, Yahoo!--they just do it so much better.

At lunch, I did something completely out of character and chose to be adventurous, purchasing bubble tea for the first time. My less adventurous self was soon vindicated. We went to a fast food place called "The Grill" for food. I attempted to poke my straw through the seal placed over my cup--urged on by Rachael's encouragements of, "Just do it!"--and after one mighty stab, the straw went through . . . and the bubble tea exploded. A plume escaped from the top, but the cup also developed a leak in the bottom somehow, and it spilt all over the table and down onto the floor. We don't cry over spilt milk, but what about spilt bubble tea?

I also decided to be adventurous when it came to food. The menu had a "lamb burger" on it. I have had lamb before, but never in burger form, so I ordered one of those. Its taste was similar to a regular hamburger, which disappointed me.

For some reason, I was lethargic after lunch and greatly desired a nap. I blame the heat. I struggled to stay awake and pay attention to the afternoon's talks--first one on computability theory, and then another on universal algebra. After that, we had a little break before going for dinner. Rachael and I ordered some chicken fried rice from a Chinese place, while Aaron opted for shrimp wonton soup. The price was right and the portions huge--I could not finish mine, although I came close, while Rachael ate a lot and left even more.

The morning keynote speaker was Michele Mosca, from the University of Waterloo. He talked to us about quantum computing, with a particular focus on quantum cryptography. The talk was more about mathematics than of mathematics, with only a little actual math involved. I quite enjoyed the subject. Quantum computing is a concept that sounds like science fiction, but it is real; we have quantum computers--albeit primitive ones--right now! The future is here.