‘commentaries’ Category

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Informed opinion about something relevant to math, computing, or the MCS dept.


The time for mere “deliberate speed” has run out

Today’s news concerning web security made me think about a 1964 school desegregation decision from the Supreme Court of the United States; the title of this blog post is taken from Justice Black’s opinion.  But before I can explain the connection, I need to provide some security background.

Moebius Transformations, Visualized in 3d

This short animation on youtube has a very interesting visualization of Moebius transformations which shows how they can be directly projection mapped to emanate from a 3d sphere.  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JX3VmDgiFnY&NR=1

The Internet on Stage

This summer, I had the pleasure of seeing a remarkable dramatization of the Internet, including both its technical and social dimensions, focusing on the difficult problem of cyber-bullying. While I can’t give my professional endorsement to every last detail of the show, I will say that I found it be both very enjoyable and very […]

Sexual Promiscuity and Math (NY Times)

I had originally been planning to blog about the ownership of copyrights for the Unix operating system. But maybe no one else cares about that. Everyone’s minds are on more important topics, like sex. So imagine my pleasure in seeing that sex and math have had a rare convergence in the pages of The New […]

XKCD – a Math Comic/Blog for those not already in the know

While it’s anything but consistent (randomness abounds from comic to comic) you may want to check out XKCD – a webcomic of romance, sarcasm, math and language by Randall Munroe, a CNU Physics Graduate who has been through the trenches of sorting algorithms, number theory, and more. He varies from very funny to bizarre to […]

GAC Alum on Web2.0’s role in shaping Politics

Jon-David Schlough (GAC ’00) is one of the many GAC alums who I know that, while not a CS major, has gone on to work in the internet communications industry here in the Twin Cities. His latest work for the Al Franken campaign’s online presence is at last connecting his knowledge of web technologies with […]

Advice for Budapest Semesters in Mathematics

Back at the start of the semester, I linked to Betsy in Budapest, a blog maintained by one of our students while studying in the Budapest Semesters in Mathematics (a very well-reputed program). I hope you took my advice and followed that blog. If not, I hope you’ll catch up on it now. But in […]

Edwin A. Abbot’s Flatland – the Film(s)?

For those mcs students who have ever struggled with the idea of n-dimensional spaces, Edwin Abbot Abbot wrote an interesting novel regarding the evolution of dimension. In Flatland, he explores the notion of 2-dimensional civilizations being brought into contact with 3-dimensional civilization. Since the book’s been around since 1884, you can read Flatland it in […]

Math Music Videos

Any of you familiar with musician Jonathon Coulton may know that he’s got a flair for tongue in cheek, obscure errata, and a prodigious amount of work (in one project, he released a song a week for over a year). At any rate, I wanted to start by not so much to glorify Jonathon Coulton […]

Alumnus Reflects on Intro to Comp Sci

I received an interesting email from Phil Miesle, a Gustie Physics major from class of 1995 who took the introductory computer science course back in spring of 1993. In the meantime he’s found himself in the software industry, working for Oracle as a “Principle Performance Architect,” and took some time to reflect upon the computer […]