...his willed solitude is like a second skin. "To myself, I am invisible," he told me. "I've always been hiding out. It's my delusion. But I've been very lucky. Things have befallen me, and I haven't succumbed."

Carl Andre


Dec. 6th, 2011 01:54 pm
...in principle, simply the existence of totalitarian states is an affront to democratic values. Totalitarian governments throw their political opponents into prison or kill them; they pursue genocidal policies toward their own people and try to dominate their weaker neighbors. If democratic governments are not committed to the abolition of such regimes—sooner or later, by some means or other—then their foreign policies are not worth much.

Louis Menand in a book review of George F. Kennan: An American Life by John Lewis Gaddis
To those who still cling to a single-universe world-view, I issue this challenge: explain how Shor's algorithm works. I do not merely mean predict that it will work, which is merely a matter of solving a few uncontroversial equations. I mean provide an explanation. When Shor’s algorithm has factorized a number; using 10[500] or so times the computational resources than can be seen to be present, where was the number factorized? There are only about 10[80] atoms in the entire visible universe, an utterly minuscule number compared with 10[500]. So if the visible universe were the extent of physical reality, physical reality would not even remotely contain the resources required to factorize such a large number. Who did factorize it, then? How, and where, was the computation performed?

David Deutsch

from a New Yorker article about David Deutsch & quantum computing
My year of completely full days with practicing, two jobs, & trying to fit in exercise is finally starting to get up to speed. (I'm afraid I was a bit lazy this summer.) The new technology I'm learning at work is GWT - I'm starting a proof of concept (and being interrupted constantly). There was also an open, unclaimed project to write an Android app. My choice was mainly that I thought GWT would prove more useful to the company at this point, and that I'll be involved in smart phone apps before long anyway.

I took the advantage of some free hours today to catch up on some New Yorker reading. The Oct. 4th issue looked promising: Alex Ross on John Cage, a long article about the Dalai Lama, David Denby on the making of The Social Network, an article on Twitter's place in history, Paul Goldberger on Las Vegas, plus Jeffrey Toobin & Anthony Lane to boot. So I headed to Starbucks where I read half of all of this.

The Twitter article was an academic exercise. The angels/pinhead in question was the word revolution. The entire article examined why Twitter doesn't qualify for this select company. Of course I learned nothing.

The Ross article on Cage was enjoyable, if a little predictable to me at this point. I'm very fond of his enthusiasm, and I think he has used his pulpit well to discuss (and sometimes promote) music that benefits greatly by his endorsement. I remember Andrew Porter as a better critic, meaning that his writing brought me closer to the actual events. Porter's tastes were also more narrow - but it allowed him to go much deeper. I'm hoping that in time Ross's music pieces will become more like John Lahr's theatre pieces or Whitney Balliett's jazz pieces (ghrs). Currently they feel too much like drafts of chapters for his forthcoming books.

The Dalai Lama piece was pleasantly interesting, some facts I hadn't heard. One: His Holiness is NOT a vegetarian! And a quote:

The Dalai Lama's romance with the West makes him vulnerable to detractors: learned Buddhists who cringe at the sound of Scripture being boiled down to bromides; liberals who point out that although the Dalai Lama calls for full legal rights for gay men and women, he cites Buddhist doctrine, which condemns anal and oral sex, and considers it unsanctioned for Buddhists; decided atheists like Christopher Hitchens, who called the Dalai Lama's following "a Hollywood cult that almost exceeds the power of Scientology."

Since Paul Muldoon became poetry editor a couple of years ago, I can't recall one of the magazine's poetry selections I have enjoyed - quite disappointing for me, since this was one of my pleasures. (It also makes me exceedingly happy that my life is miles away from any creative writing program.)
mlr: (lookup)
Sasha Frere-Jones is on Charlie Rose. And he's a guy (maybe gay?). Gawd - I'm so dense. Reading his articles every week for years, I would have sworn it was the writing of a woman.
mlr: (modern)
"Across the country, electrified fences, walls jagged with broken glass, security gates had gone up as inequality grew. This frenzy of fence-building was not just an Indian thing. It was as global as the crisis in garbage. And it reflected uneasiness about a time that might or might not come in which information flowed so freely that, however little the rich wished to consider the details of the poor, the poor might fully consider the details of the rich. Not the fantasy contours of wealth long available on the television and on the billboards but the precise thing happening next door. The fences insured against a time when a scavenger in Gautam Nagar [a slum next to Mumbai's airport] might learn that a shot of rare Scotch consumed in ten minutes at the Sheraton's ITC Maratha cost exactly as much as he earned in seven hundred fourteen-hour days picking up aluminum cans and used tampon applicators, and find that information too much to bear.

The marvel was that the city didn't already look like a real-life version of the mad, insurrectionist Metal Slug 3, given that the poor far outnumbered the rich. This was the marvel of many great twenty-first-century cities, including New York and Washington, whose levels of inequality now match those of Abidjan and Nairobi. Maybe they should have looked like Metal Slug 3. Instead, ingenious social constructions--democracy, charity, subtle and blatant articulations of caste, hope, electrified fences--were keeping things more or less in order."

from an article by Katherine Boo

juli 4 eve

Jul. 3rd, 2006 11:00 pm
practiced early, bout 5:45, for 2 hours. trio sonata - c minor - coming along nicely, dupré b major p & f. and widor toccata from no. 5 - don't know why in the hell i'm learning this - i rather hate it, but will be nice to have around i suppose.

work - no one showed today besides me & andy. he came in at 9:30, with product in his hair. he looked pretty cool - and only in the way a handsome iranian-american can. spent all afternoon tracing a bug with maybe 80 debug statements some of l's damnable code - finally solving the problem with one method call, and that was string manipulation....sometimes his code could be so garbled...

israel arrived last night. so all is good. he slept thru lunch. we ate dinner at a new little pizza bistro, it tried hard to be trendy, but the clientele more or less ruined it -- amarillo republican all the way - i was afraid laura bush was surely arriving soon.

then b&n where we ran into hunter. he mentioned something about linda a. having a heart attack and mary driving her home to israel. but when i saw him, he only commented on my spring recital, which evidently he really enjoyed.

new yorker cover this week - 'dependence day'

and for fireworks -



April 2017

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