Pi-Con, Math, Gender, Glaubama

Pi-Con: This weekend I’ll be at Pi-Con, a convention in West Springfield, MA.  It’s run by some old friends of mine, and will feature Cory Doctorow.  I’ve never actually met Mr. Doctorow in person, so it should be fun.  In my mind’s eye, he still wears a red cape and goggles everywhere he goes.  I hope that’s okay with him.  Anyway, feel free to stop by!  You don’t need to pre-register or anything.

I’ll be spending most of my time there on panels.  It still baffles me that sometimes I’m put on panels to talk about serious business.  A convention once saw, for example, that I had worked at NASA, and put me on a panel about the future of space exploration.  I felt a little out-of-place, given that my main NASA achievement was that I once lassoed a robot with cat-6 cable and had it pull me around the hallways charioteer-style.  So I sit, surrounded by Ph. Ds, and look thoughtful while drawing stick figures on convention stationery.

Project Euler: As is my habit lately when I travel, I’ll probably be working on Project Euler.  For those unfamiliar, Project Euler is a site with a lot of math-oriented programming problems that you can solve in any language.  They start out easy (First problem: Find the sum of all the multiples of 3 or 5 below 1000.)  Then they get harder rather quickly.  I think it’s a great way to learn a language; I started picking up Python last year by doing the first couple dozen Project Euler problems in it.  Many of the problems lend themselves to clever recursive solutions, and as such I imagine it’d be a great way to learn Lisp.

Book recommendation: Self-Made Man, by Norah Vincent.  I inhaled this book in practically one sitting, as did my cousin and several other friends.  In it, the author passes as a man for a year to try to understand the male world, taking notes the whole way.  It’s full of fascinating little stories and avoids getting too preachy — just shows over and over again the surprising ways in which gender influences basic social stuff.  Thanks to creature of #xkcd for first sending me a copy.

Notice: Whoever’s been sending me periodic text messages, formatted like official VP announcements, telling me that Obama has selected Summer Glau as his running mate, please stop.  You get my hopes up every time.

163 thoughts on “Pi-Con, Math, Gender, Glaubama

  1. Well, Project Euler is officially the cause of this night’s insomnia. Hopefully, commenting on it will be the cure?

  2. Project Euler is awesome — a coworker of mine introduced me to it. And the book Self-Made Man is also excellent. It’s one of the several several several books I’m attempting to get through right now.

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  4. didn’t mythbusters do a bit on this? unless my mind is making things up, i’m fairly certain they got a scale airplane to take off on a treadmill

  5. Pingback: aashiks’in » Blog Archive » A new find - Project Euler

  6. Looking at the cover, I have to wonder how many of the men Norah Vincent interacted with assumed that she was a woman in drag, transsexual, or otherwise gender-queer, and just weren’t making a fuss about it.

    That’s how the cover picture looks to me, but then my detection skills were exactly put to the test, as I knew the answer already.

  7. Speaking of recursive solutions, Haskell is awesome at project Euler. If you haven’t heard of it, Haskell is a modern functional programming language with features like pattern matching. E.g. you can define a function this way:

    factorial 0 = 1
    factorial n = n*(factorial (n-1))

  8. SheeEttin…
    It’s good for learning C++, you say? Well I shall have to revisit this site next semester :)
    Glaubama…haha

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  10. Pingback: A review of Self-Made Man | Annelise Johnsen

  11. Pingback: Project Euler | Søren C's blog

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  13. Looking at the cover, I have to wonder how many of the men Norah Vincent interacted with assumed that she was a woman in drag, transsexual, or otherwise gender-queer, and just weren’t making a fuss about it.

    That’s how the cover picture looks to me, but then my detection skills were exactly put to the test, as I knew the answer already.

  14. Looking at the cover, I have to wonder how many of the men Norah Vincent interacted with assumed that she was a woman in drag, transsexual, or otherwise gender-queer, and just weren’t making a fuss about it.

    That’s how the cover picture looks to me, but then my detection skills were exactly put to the test, as I knew the answer already.

  15. What you are saying is completely true. I know that everybody must say the same thing, but I just think that you put it in a way that everyone can understand. I also love the images you put in here. They fit so well with what you are trying to say. I am sure you will reach so many people with what you have got to say.

  16. Hey, who realized that in XKCD 541 (TED Talk) You can end parenthetical statements with emoticons like [This ? :) ]

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