I have a mysterious fifth sense (rerun)

Today, another of my ongoing series of reruns of my fun-for-Friday non-computer posts. Here’s one from the dot-com recovery of 2004.


The economy must be picking up — I’m getting cold calls from recruiters again for the first time in about four years.  Today was the second – and third – this month.

However, apparently some of them are just a wee bit disorganized. I just had the following conversations:

[Ring ring]

Me: Hi, this is Eric.

Her: Hi, this is Barbara[1. I learned later from some of my fellow Microsoftie bloggers that it appeared that Barbara was calling everyone at Microsoft with an MSDN blog. She must have been repeatedly calling the switchboard and asking to speak with each.] at XYZ Recruiters. How are you today?

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Whidbey Island and bagel mathematics (rerun)

Today another in my fun-for-a-Friday series of reruns from the classic days of FAIC. This one was originally published in December of 2004. Enjoy!


299px-Bagels-Montreal-REALI was highly amused to read on Raymond Chen’s blog the other day that mathematicians are hard at work solving the problem of how to most evenly distribute poppyseeds over a bagel. The reason I was highly amused was not just the whimsical description of what is actually a quite practical and difficult problem.

And yes, believe it or not, it is a practical problem; if you can figure out how to distribute points evenly around an arbitrary shape then you can use that information to develop more efficient computer algorithms to solve complex calculus problems that come up in physics all the time. There are also applications in computer graphics, I’d imagine; 3-D modeling frequently requires generating well-behaved finite approximations of a surface.

But I digress. The other reason I was highly amused is that Whidbey Island is the longest island in the United States.

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The postmodern gumballs (rerun)

I’ve been writing this blog for almost ten years now and there are plenty of readers who have quite reasonably never gone back through that archive of over 750 posts. Maybe one Friday a month or so, I’m going to rerun one of my favourite “fun” posts from the last decade. Today, a story I posted on the first anniversary of my blog, in September of 2004. Enjoy! Continue reading