Martial Arts

January 30, 2008 at 9:29 am | Posted in exercise, martial arts | 7 Comments

Well, I’ve done it again. I’ve started taking martial arts classes again.

It’s been 15 years or more since I’ve studied Isshinryu karate at Jersey Judo Karate Kai in Mine Hill, NJ and Oak Ridge, NJ under Sensais Norris and Wargo, respectively. I studied there for a few years in my late teens, more sporadically once I started college.

It’s been about 5 years since I’ve studied Aikido at the University of Arizona in Tucson, AZ under Sensai Skinner. I studied there for about two years, but I regrettably stopped training to concentrate in grad school. It was the right choice to make at the time, but I wish it wasn’t necessary.

And now, after living 1 1/2 years in the north country, I have settled on Tae-Kwon-Do. It’s really the only game in town. There are other styles, but the drive is far, and the instructor who teaches on campus, Andrea Malik, comes highly recommended. Her students seem friendly and serious about their training.

And it’s sure more of a physical workout that Aikido ever was. I’ve had one class, and my heart was racing, I was out of breath, and I pulled a muscle doing a turn kick (roundhouse). I’m a little sore, but it’s a good sore, and it’s the first I’ve felt it in a long time.

So, Tae-Kwon-Do it is. Woo-hoo!

Math + religion = Trouble

January 29, 2008 at 9:21 am | Posted in math, religion | 6 Comments

That’s the title of this article on Mathematics and the existence of God.

One fact quoted in the article is that only 14.6 percent of mathematicians believe in a supreme being. Yet another minority that I’m a part of. Hooray for me.

The article seems to have been spurred by a recent book, Irreligion: A Mathematician Explains Why the Arguments for God Just Don’t Add Up, by John Allen Paulos. Supposedly (I haven’t read the book) Paulos refutes the classical arguments for the existence of God in this book.

Well, that’s fine with me. I believe in God/dess not because of logical arguments. My reasons are entirely subjective, and so are both irrefutable and non-transferable. His debunking of logical arguments in favor of God’s existence, in my opinion, does nothing to support non-believers, nor is it a threat to believers. In fact, he himself concedes that there is “no way to conclusively disprove the existence of God.”

This makes perfect sense to me, since the heart of one’s relationship to God is not founded on reason and logic. It should not conflict with reason and logic, but that’s not where it comes from.

I also like the attitude Paulos takes with his book. Quoting from the article:

Even as Paulos works to refute the classical arguments for God’s existence, he does something too few of his mindset do: Chide non-believers for unsportsmanlike conduct.

“It’s repellent for atheists or agnostics,” he admonishes, “to personally and aggressively question others’ faith or pejoratively label it as benighted flapdoodle or something worse. Those who do are rightfully seen as arrogant and overbearing.”


Geek comic

January 26, 2008 at 8:50 am | Posted in Uncategorized | 4 Comments

I was wondering if anyone understood this comic.

I get the 2001 reference, of course, but what’s GLaDOS?

Is Vista so bad?

January 24, 2008 at 9:40 am | Posted in technology | 5 Comments

Rumor has it that the new version of Windows will be released sooner than expected.

Here’s the article.

JMM 2008

January 18, 2008 at 9:14 am | Posted in conference, math | Leave a comment

Not counting travel days, we were only in San Diego for 3 days. Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday, 1/6-1/8. The first was spend going to talks, preparing for my talk on Monday, and meeting up with colleagues/friends I haven’t seen in a while. It would have been the day to meet up with other folks. See a couple of days before I left, my Dad told me I have a relative out there, and my chair told me we have an alum out there. I had grand plans of meeting up with both of them, but it just didn’t work out.

Then Monday came and I gave my talk. Received well, I think, and I went a few minutes over, so there were no questions. The organizer made some comments afterward, though, and asked me for a preprint. So that was good. Now I have time pressure to get that going. I work better with deadlines, so this is good.

Tuesday I started coming down with the flu. I was achy, and starting to get a touch of the fever. I know because I went to the wrong talk and didn’t realize it. It’s over a week later and I’m still trying to kick this last little bit.

Other stuff that happened, I found a great puzzle in the exhibitors’ area. I’ll post the link when I find it. I also met up with various folks from Project NExT, Montclair State University and other places. Jenny & I had some really good food. Good Thai in particular. Oh, I organized the 3rd annual University of Arizona JMM get-together. I think it’s time to organize this ahead of time and get a room and a spot in the program. I wonder if I’ll be going next year.


January 16, 2008 at 8:57 am | Posted in life | 1 Comment


Jenny & I are getting over the flu. We’re not feverish anymore at least.

What’s been going on lately? Well, New Year’s Eve was spent over a friend’s house with some folks. Pretty low key. Then we went to the JMM (Joint Mathematics Meetings) in San Diego — more about the math stuff later. Jenny did touristy stuff, and I caught the flu on the last day (Tuesday). We traveled all day on Wednesday, and I spend all Thursday in bed while Jenny worked. But then she got it and spent Friday home. She’s been about a day and a half behind me in this whole cycle. She also stayed home Monday. The doctor verified that it’s viral, that is that there’s nothing we can do about it except let it “run its course.”

And that’s about it. Now I’m trying to finish healing and prep for the next semester. I’m glad I’m not starting already, but I could really use an additional week. First day of the semester is Monday 1/21/08. Yes, on the holiday. I don’t get our school sometimes.

I need juice. Green tea. Vitamin C. Antioxidants. Blah.

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