Monday, May 26, 2008

Lazy Summer Days

Other people may be spending the weekend barbecuing in honor of fallen soldiers. At my house, it's been a bit geekier.

During the daytime, The Topologist and I have been watching the entire second season of the new Doctor Who series. (He has put season three on his wishlist, meaning that it will probably show up near the end of the year the next time his mother buys him something.) We've been coming up with science-babble to "explain" the things that don't make any sense. We've also been trying to come up with one-sentence pitches for the plot of each episode ("It's like 2001 with MacGuyver."). Sadly, his disappearing TARDIS coffee mug stopped working years ago.

After dark, it's been Zelda on the Wii. (The large windows in the livingroom interfere with the Wii's IR sensing during the day. One of these days I'll buy window treatments.) Before heading into the final battles, we've been collecting all the heart containers, Poes, etc. and doing all the side quests.

Progress has been slow on the calculus Keynotes. I've been reading What the Best College Teachers Do and using that as an excuse to avoid making more slides until I know the secret of how to make brilliant slides. (Edward Tufte would tell me that the secret is to stop making slides -- however, he is not charged with teaching differential and integral calculus in under 21 hours of classtime to 250 underclassmen who can't do algebra, so he doesn't really get a say in the matter.) This is very similar to the idea of "I can't work on this problem until I have read more papers because maybe one of them has a theorem that I can apply."

We've reached a standstill on housework and craft projects. The humidity makes knitting unpleasant.

This morning I went to the gym and listened to a podcast about the Large Hadron Collider. Against all odds, they only interviewed female physicists (Tara Shears and Janna Levin). This topic fits in well with the popularized physics book that I'm reading. I've just reached the point in the book where the author (a physicist) starts trying to explain groups and Lie groups, and it takes a bit of effort for me to translate everything back into math. When he talks about groups having "generators," he doesn't mean it the same way that I do: these Lie groups are not cyclic groups.

Rounding out the geekiness quota for the weekend, I bought a book about C++ for 65 cents (used, obviously). However, I haven't really gotten into it. If I'm going to be spending time at my computer, I'm either going to be playing Scrabulous or else I'm going to be daydreaming of how I can train my Lego robot to kill the weeds in my garden (Exterminate!).