Kara Babcock

I read, write, code, and knit.

3 Articles from April 2011

  1. I'm at it again!

    So I've finished my first week of summer research, which I began on Tuesday (as Easter Monday was a holiday). I am re-revisiting the spreading and covering numbers, those devilish little fiends from combinatorial commutative algebra that plagued me last summer. You can read about last summer's research here. I shall try to blog often about this summer's efforts as well.

    This week was very much about settling in and trying to get my mind into a math research mode. I am starting earlier than I did last year, because I will be returning to school in late August. We professional year students have to start early to finish classes in time for student-teaching in November! Unfortunately, this means that I didn't get much of a break between the end of classes and starting research. I have tried to seize as much downtime as I could. Still, as far as summer jobs go, I won't complain about doing research. It's pretty choice.

    I'm in the same office as I used last year, and you can see photographs in this blog post. I'm in the desk in which Aaron is sitting in those photos, as my former desk…

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  2. I kind of want a tablet--in 3 years

    I have to say, I'm experiencing some strong technology lust for the new wave of Android 3.0 tablets, beginning with the Motorola XOOM, that are hitting the market. Future Shop's tech blog has posted some video reviews by rgbfilter that show off the XOOM, and there's a part of me that's saying, "Want. Want. Want." It's exciting to see competitors for the iPad running the first version of Android that's "optimized for tablets," and along with the release of the BlackBerry PlayBook, the tablet market is starting to get very interesting.

    I have been somewhat sceptical of the niche tablets fill since the release of the original iPad. In retrospect, I think that was as much a reaction against the hype surrounding the iPad itself than any qualified evaluation of tablets in general. The idea that the iPad is a "game-changer" (whatever that means) was silly to me; yes, it's a significant new product, but tablets are still in their infancy. They haven't even started teething yet.

    I've had my Samsung Galaxy S for about six months now, and I love it. This experience with an Android smartphone, and some good observations regarding the utility of tablets, such as

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  3. My father was a nondeterministic polynomial-time algorithm

    xkcd 329: Turing Test Extra Credit

    For perhaps the first and last time ever, "Oxford English Dictionary" was trending on Twitter last Friday. Why? Well, aside from an overdue recognition of this authority's awesomeness, the OED was trending because its latest update adds entries for online initialisms such as OMG, LOL, and FYI. As if that were not enough to send language purists into apoplexy, but the OED now recognizes "heart" as a verb meaning "to love; to be fond of," in the sense of "I heart pyjamas." That's right: Internet diction has taken over our most beloved of English language institutions. We must draw the line in the sand and say, "Enough! This far and no farther!"

    Or not. Rather than looking at this as a compromise of the OED's purity, we could take it as evidence of how our usage of the Internet has shaped language. I admit to uttering "OMG" aloud, telling people I "heart" things, and while I tend not to say "LOL," because I'm not sure how to pronounce it in a way that doesn't sound stupid, I do love me some "for the win" (FTW, for those of you playing initialism bingo at home).

    As the school year draws to…

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