Noam Chomsky on US Foreign Policy

Did You Know

Constraint Propagation

A dissertation "Constraint Propagation: Models, Techniques, Implementation" by Guido Tack. From what I can scan, a nice overview maybe a bit light on new results.


Hot Chick Getting Into Shower

Hot Chick Getting Into Shower - Watch more Funny Videos

Great video for all those peeping Toms out there.

The Art of the Propagator

We develop a programming model built on the idea that the basic computational elements are autonomous machines interconnected by shared cells through which they communicate. Each machine continuously examines the cells it is interested in, and adds information to some based on deductions it can make from information from the others. This model makes it easy to smoothly combine expression-oriented and constraint-based programming; it also easily accommodates implicit incremental distributed search in ordinary programs. This work builds on the original research of Guy Lewis Steele Jr. and was developed more recently with the help of Chris Hanson.

From Ltu, more interesting for its title than for its content, but some nice ideas.


Microsoft Songsmith: White Wedding

The one-and-only true Linus liked this video. I liked this SSD link more.

(Motörhead - Ace of Spades - Songsmith Version)

Punch Drunk?

A review: Was Obama "punch drunk" in 60 Minutes interview with Steve Kroft?

President Barack Obama said he believes the global financial system remains at risk of implosion with the failure of Citigroup or AIG, which could touch off “an even more destructive recession and potentially depression.”

His remarks came in a“60 Minutes” interview in which he was pressed by Steve Kroft for laughing and chuckling several times while discussing the perilous state of the world’s economy.

“You're sitting here. And you're— you are laughing. You are laughing about some of these problems. Are people going to look at this and say, ‘I mean, he's sitting there just making jokes about money—’ How do you deal with— I mean: explain. . .” Kroft asked at one point.

“Are you punch-drunk?” Kroft said.

“No, no. There's gotta be a little gallows humor to get you through the day,” Obama said, with a laugh.

But is the problem as real as Obama stated? Nobody knows. The problem is whether a domino effect exists: Will, when one bank topples over, the rest fall? It might happen, and may even be worse in Europe than in the US since leverage in Europe runs at 1:50 and in the US at 1:12.

A solution, which only fixes a tiny part of the problem, might be to 'unwind the stack,' resolve outstanding debts by exchanging them between financial institutions and minimize dependencies. However, it is in nobodies interest to do that since one of them might actually find out it holds too much debt.


The World’s Weirdest Engineering Disaster

On a fateful day in 1980 a group of oil drillers were working in a shallow lake in Louisiana probing for oil. A miscalculation sent their drill straight into a large salt mine shaft below the lake’s surface.


Function Level Programming and the FL Language (1987)

A little history: An old idea which might, once, turn into a good idea, but didn't do so, so far..

Real Stupidity

How to fake real stupidity in games on Gamasutra.

Expert to Expert: Meijer and Chrysanthakopoulos

There are some really good expert to expert talks on channel 9. And, sure did Microsoft buy some well-known experts. These, language expert E.Meijer and coordination expert G.Chrysanthakopoulos are a bit less known, but it's a great conversation.


Point-free Program Calculation

Due to referential transparency, functional programming is particularly appropriate for equational reasoning. ... The first is a set of recursion patterns that allow us to define recursive functions implicitly. These are encoded as higher-order operators that encapsulate typical forms of recursion, such as the well-known foldr operator on lists. The second is a point-free style of programming in which programs are expressed as combinations of simpler functions, without ever mentioning their arguments. ...

Thesis by Manuel Alcino Pereira da Cunha. Should read this in detail once.


From Nand to Tetris in Twelf Steps

How to enlighten students by teaching applied computer science.


Manic Moniac

The MONIAC (Monetary National Income Analogue Computer) also known as the Phillips Hydraulic Computer and the Financephalograph, was created in 1949 by the New Zealand engineer and economist Bill Phillips to model the national economic processes of the United Kingdom.


Kill the Mouse... Button

I own a Dell XPS and a MacBook Air, which makes me pretty geeky. Both dual boot with their native OS (XP/Leopard) and Fedora Core. The Air was absurdly priced, and has one great draw-back, it overheats (the fan started to produce noise too after two months, which is annoying).

I was a bit worried about having only one mouse button on the Air but the multitouch pad is really great: One tap is click, double-fingered tap is right click, normal strafe moves the pointer, double-fingered strafe is scroll, both vertical or horizontal.

I thought I would have one button too little, turns out I have one button too much.

Samsung SSD Awesomeness

I still want to get my hands on an SSD, but never got round to it. But, I liked the video because of the typical system administrator humour.


The 6th Sense

This media lab device has been show-cased on YouTube more often, but it is nice to see the presentation on Ted.

(Actually, this talk by Steven Strogatz is interesting too, the end of the broadcast is hilarious. It made me wonder, do Wall Street brokers behave like swarms?)


Gino Vannelli @ Norh Sea Jazz 2008

When I was a juvenile, I played in a band with that guitar player. Which was, well, frustrating.

(He has perfect hearing, so he liked to play a joke on us, and play any song we could name, just there, by heart. After that, I just gave up. But I still play, occasionally, but pretty badly. )


Brahms Symphony no. 4

Winner in the Youtube Symphony competition.

But then again, this is great too:

Or, maybe, that guy should take lessons from this dude:

Comfortably Numb

Don't judge a book by its cover. This album is classic in electro pop.

Packing Circles

A new algorithm can pack any 50 differently sized discs into a smaller space than any other, and could help pack 3D objects into smaller spaces too. That could make shipping and delivery services less tough on resources (Image: Johannes Schneider and colleagues)

(They just seem to use random restarts; but, after thinking about it for a while, it's pretty hard to get right, and it depends a lot on the problem statement.)


Learn You a Haskell for Great Good!


Facebook Song

A great professional opinion on the blogosphere.



Fond memories, I used to own one of these:

At one point, one could record bits from radio-broadcasts directly to cassettes. They should revive that idea at one point.

Satisfiability & Verification

The field is getting mature: a new book 'Satisfiability & Verification' by Marc Herbstritt which I should buy.

I used to like sat research; I think I skimmed through about three thousand articles and read about ten percent of that.

A Proof I am getting Old

Saw this on local television:
MD: What is your problem?

Child: It itches.

Child shows rash to MD.

MD: That's shingles. It weal heal in a few weeks. Just a virus, don't worry.

Child now looks very confused.

Child: I am not a computer. How can I have a virus?


Clay Shirky: Gin, Television, and Social Surplus

Clay Shirky on what we can accomplish if we stop watching tv.

So how big is that surplus? So if you take Wikipedia as a kind of unit, all of Wikipedia, the whole project--every page, every edit, every talk page, every line of code, in every language that Wikipedia exists in--that represents something like the cumulation of 100 million hours of human thought. I worked this out with Martin Wattenberg at IBM; it's a back-of-the-envelope calculation, but it's the right order of magnitude, about 100 million hours of thought.

And television watching? Two hundred billion hours, in the U.S. alone, every year. Put another way, now that we have a unit, that's 2,000 Wikipedia projects a year spent watching television. Or put still another way, in the U.S., we spend 100 million hours every weekend, just watching the ads. This is a pretty big surplus.

Through Wadler's blog.

Equality Saturation

Equality Saturation: A New Approach to Optimization, Ross Tate, Michael Stepp, Zachary Tatlock, Sorin Lerner, POPL 2009.

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Optimizations in a traditional compiler are applied sequentially, with each optimization destructively modifying the program to produce a transformed program that is then passed to the next optimization.

We present a new approach for structuring the optimization phase of a compiler. In our approach, optimizations take the form of equality analyses that add equality information to a common intermediate representation. The optimizer works by repeatedly applying these analyses to infer equivalences between program fragments, thus saturating the intermediate representation with equalities. Once saturated, the intermediate representation encodes multiple optimized versions of the input program.

At this point, a profitability heuristic picks the final optimized program from the various programs represented in the saturated representation. Our proposed way of structuring optimizers has a variety of benefits over previous approaches: our approach obviates the need to worry about optimization ordering, enables the use of a global optimization heuristic that selects among fully optimized programs, and can be used to perform translation validation, even on compilers other than our own.

We present our approach, formalize it, and describe our choice of intermediate representation. We also present experimental results showing that our approach is practical in terms of time and space overhead, is effective at discovering intricate optimization opportunities, and is effective at performing translation validation for a realistic optimizer.

This is a great approach to classical optimizations.


Funny, just found her photo by chance, one in six billion; should call her once.



Forgot 100 Euros at the ATM. Been booked away too. Stupidity kills.


Dark Humour

Below, some black political comments. Not necessarily true or even the opinion of the author.

Obama failed to lie and presented an honest budget. The US government will run a $1,750bn fiscal deficit this year. Equivalent to 12.3 per cent of gross domestic product, the biggest yearly deficit since the second world war.

  • US deficit first year: 1.75 trillion, second year: 1.75 trillion, third year: 1.3 trillion, fourth year: 550 billion.

    (We need money now but they're on to US. Let's borrow while we still can and push the deficit from the last year to the first three years and pray nobody notices)

  • The US will enforce a cap on carbon dioxide emissions.

    (We won't have enough money to pay for oil in the future.)

  • The plan reserves a whopping 634 billion dollars over 10 years to finance reforms to make health coverage affordable.

    (Damned, we screwed up! We didn't save enough money to take care of our elderly.)

  • Money will be pored into education.

    (Fuck, all our PhDs are Asian or moving there! Unless we develop some intellect of our own, we'll never run a trade surplus.)

  • The rich will be taxed more, the poor less.

    (Big red flag. If it freezes in hell then the US must be in a really, really, really tight spot.)

  • The US could funnel up to $750 billion in fresh government aid to their battered banks. Some banks may be nationalized.

    (Hey! The Chinese have four state owned banks which just own the economy. Why didn't we think of that?)

  • Most US Troops will be out of Iraq by August 31, 2010.

    (We threw our ethnic minorities into a desert but the simple harsh bastards ignore the possibility to die.)

  • US spending on defence will be up 4%.

    (If the Asians start borrowing money to other nations and want their money back, we'd better have a strong arm.)

Meanwhile, teethless Europe is poring money into the IMF, nationalizing, and counting their left money. They also warn the Chinese that surplus countries have the most to lose in a recession.

(Blimey, the US robbed us, our manufacturing is now placed in Asia, and the Liberians are now asking the Chinese for money! Better poor money into the IMF before they get out of our strong-hold. Why are these Chinese laughing at us?)

The biggest joke: Given circumstances, Obama is doing a good job.