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Archive for the ‘Personal’ Category

The biological imperative

What keeps me up at night

Just so you know, I also have felt the biological urge to reproduce. What you see above is myself holding the newest addition to my family. It’s a boy!

In the language of physics this is definitely a phase transition in my lifestyle.  And in spite of the warnings about how much work raising children is supposed to be, it is still more than what I imagined. Nevertheless, my wife and I are very happy. We are also very tired at the moment.

 

Finally, this new human explains some of the silence on this blog at the end of last year and more recently. Once sleep resumes I think I will be back to writing posts more often. I also hope to get some research done in the near future, but everything is taking 3-4 times as long than what it used to.

 

 

 

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Right now I’m in the middle of writing a long paper. This is a rather intense and time consuming effort that I don’t find particularly gratifying. On a good day, I can write a lot. But when I get annoyed at how something is organized I usually copy/paste and end up reorganizing things and that is usually not bad (it’s easier than retyping). However…

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Well, this is just a short personal post about my research. I’m really excited about some of the stuff I’m doing, but the details are still not ready for public consumption. That research is waking me up at night at random times (lets say 3 or 4 in  the morning) and then I have trouble going to sleep. In a certain sense, this must be how vampires feel: completely alert and awake at night with a  clear vision of what needs to be done and and h0w to do it (this is a typical romanticized version of vampires, which do exist in nature, but look nothing like count Dracula, which is the typical class of vampire that this post refers to).

This wakefulness at night has profound consequences for my days at work. Basically, I’m not getting enough sleep and I walk the corridors with a slight headache and a characteristic lack of brain function during the day. Essentially, the only thing that keeps me separated from being a true zombie is that I’m still technically alive and my body parts are not falling as I shuffle by in the corridors.

Getting a sufficiently high dose of caffeine is not doing the usual trick. So if you see me walking around like  zombie: don’t worry. It’ll be fixed during the midnight hours.

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-Happy new year!

-Wait, it’s January 23rd, – you’re going to say – aren’t you a bit late?

-Sure, I’m late. So?

-Erm.

 

Well, that’s one more imaginary conversation with the audience of this blog. You might wonder if I disappeared from the face of the earth. As you can see, I’m still alive and the radio silence is over. I took a holiday break after my sabbatical quarter in the fall, and when I came back there was a tsunami of paperwork and stuff I didn’t have to care about in the fall waiting for me. The mountain of accumulated stuff pounced onto any available time that I had to do anything and it played with me like a kitty plays with its food before eating it.

Needless to say, my research and any reasonable activity took a hit. Which made me even  persevere more in keeping my weekends free from work or any activity that could be construed as being even remotely related to work.

I’m finally getting caught up with this stuff so things will hopefully go back to normal.

 

In the meantime I’m going to open this post as a suggestion for topics that I could cover in the near future. Just in case there is some nagging question out there that anyone might want to have answered and that I might know the answer to, or any discussion that people are waiting to have and have found n other forum.

 

 

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Holland 2, Brazil 1

Well done!

Holland just eliminated Brazil from the World cup by 2-1, defeating the odds.

Even though Holland played a bad first half making a huge defensive mistake to give Brazil a first goal and it looked like they were going to go down very badly, they took over in the second half and played really well. The first goal for Holland was a huge defensive mistake from Brazil.  After that Brazil lost concentration and the dutch defense was actually doing a very good job.

The second goal from Holland was a well executed play and it was an incredible double header against a taller  Brazil.

In the last few minutes Holland wasted what should have been a third goal when they had three forwards going on against the goalie and I still can’t understand how they screwed it up. Here’s the winning goal.

Also, here is a link to the highlights.

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Worldcup distractions

In case you haven’t been paying attention, the world cup just finished the first round of games, and now its going into the elimination rounds.  Surprisingly this year only 6 of the European teams made it to the elimination rounds, and all of the South American teams (5) moved forward.

last time around 10 of the 16 where European teams, and the final four were all Europe.

Indeed, this year might see a rather heavy dose of South American teams in the final stages.

The cup started slowly and there have been some good games, but the playing is not as high in emotions as I’ve expected so far.  Some countries have surprised with how well they play (e.g. Japan and Chile), and many more have surprised on how poorly they played given the expectations (too many to mention them by name, but France is particularly egregious in this).

I was glad to see that many teams that relied only on defense to push them forward were kicked out, so that the more aggressive teams passed to the next round.

I would like to see the final be Holland-Argentina, with Uruguay-Spain paying for the 3rd place. I’m hoping this is the time Holland will win.

Of the next round, the games of England-Germany and Spain-Portugal should be really good. I also have high hopes for Brasil-Chile, but I’ve found that Brasil has not played as strong as they should. We will see.

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Tax day

Tax day is here. This is a yearly ritual in the U.S.

I think it is one of the few days where most people get intimate with what they earn, and the ensuing effort that it takes to produce a tax return.

Apart from the fact that doing the work is not rewarding and that it is easy to feel that one is paying too much, I think that the whole exercise is beneficial: people should know how much they are paying the government. I have been in other places where everything is so automated that one just forgets the whole thing and it is as if taxes never happened and when they change people don’t really find out. They also don’t feel the yearly sense of shock about the experience.

In the end, taxes are paying for services that a lot of people here take for granted. For example roads, a working post office, law enforcement and education for their children. They also pay for Social Security and Medicare: some of the most costly entitlement programs that no politician can risk to touch without a backlash from their constituency.

It is also one of the few days where a lot of people get intimate with arithmetic (for a change). It always surprises me how many people seem to have trouble doing this activity, just because they don’t understand addition and substraction (and percentages). Oh well! I’m not going to worry about it.

in the end, like a lot of other people, I filed my taxes at the last minute. I wonder what the statistic of us, last minute filers, really is; as well as the reasons why.

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