Monday, July 12, 2004

Last Night at the Cafe

  • proof of theorem 2 Understood one more line of the dense mathematical text which I'd been trying to decipher for the past two months. While it was less of an "Aha!" moment and more of an "Oh, duh!" moment, now I am one line closer to understanding the proof. The statement followed not from the previous lines of the proof but instead from one of the hypotheses.

  • Overheard bits of a conversation between a college-aged guy to a college-aged woman. He was complaining about some controlling woman who makes him breakfast even when he doesn't want it and goes looking for him when he's at his friends' place. His mother? His girlfriend? I didn't overhear enough to figure that out. At one point he did a spot-on impression of one of NPR's underwriting credits. You could have convinced me that Frank Taveres is really some college kid.

  • Another guy was telling his friends an incorrect version of the birthday problem. He said that if you are in a room with 23 people, then there's a better than 50% chance that someone in the room has your exact same birthday. Instead it should be that there's a better than 50% chance that there are two people in the room with the same birthday. Subtle, but important, difference. [Update: How funny that this is exactly the problem for today at Think Again?]

  • There were two guys communicating in ASL. When returning to their table outside (they were smoking), one of them stopped by my table for a long time to look at the mathematical scrawl. He was signing through the window at his friend, who was laughing hysterically. I ignored him. Should I have given him a dirty look? Made a well-understood hand gesture?