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awu

George Dyson is talking now. He has the hair of an intellectual, slightly unkempt and who-cares gray.

The room is full, albeit maybe not as overflowing as the last talk.

What can I say, George is a historian. Or so a9 tells me. PageRanking him by his last name, he's 29th or so. No idea if he's related to Esther or Freeman D.

There's a bit of back-channel chatter now. I'm talking to a coworker on IM and checking out what's up on #ruby.

I'm surrounded by laptops on all side, which to me means that the developers are tuning out, checking email and ssh-ing and the like.

Can you tell how interesting a speaker is by measuring the frequency of touch type pitter patter?

Geogre is showing a slide that shows that Erd\"os as getting paid 750 a month to teach (at Princeton I assume). Which reminds me that I ought to recompute an upper bound on my Erd\"os number. It might even be five or lower now.

Looking around me -- can you tell I'm not paying attention -- all six people in my row are typing on their laptops, black case boxes running Windows XP.

I suppose the "right" thing to do is to write this kind of thing on my own blog(s), but I'm feeling rather lazy.

awu

GD is showing another letter now -- kids these days would say it was word processed with a typewriter font -- with a few lines yellow underlined.

I suppose it'd be kind of cool if you could search through any scientist's snail mail as if it were hosted on gmail. You know, login as einstein@gmail.com and search for his note on the relative unimportance of his result on general relativity.

George just mentioned something about monte carlo methods as a way to "solve" mathematical problems. I suppose this is the kind of thing you want to be careful about when talking to hard core techies. You generally don't use numerical analysis techniques to "solve" math problems. You use them to find an approximate answer, not /the/ answer.

scholar.googling von Neumann seems to show more citations than actual PDFs. I suppose those that's not surprising.

What may be surprising is to note that Newton's quote about "standing on the shoulder's of giants" (on the front page of scholar.google), reportedly, was a comment Newton made to belittle a researcher whose work was simply not worth standing on.

In George's defense, people are actually quite interested in the talk. He's been telling good little anecdotes, the droll quotidian things that you'd expect to learn from an engaging speaker on some historical figure.

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