Saturday, March 21, 2015

Three mathematicians and three physicists...

In view of recent popularity of (mis)using fancy mathematical methods for Big Data analysis, I feel a burning need to relate this Russian joke. As with many Russian jokes, this is a little long and involved, so please bear with me and read to the end.


Three mathematicians and three physicists are traveling to an out of town conference by train. They meet at the train station and go to buy tickets. The physicists are first, and buy three tickets, as expected, one for each person. The mathematicians are next, and they buy just one ticket. The physicists are confused:

"How come you only bought one ticket? There are three of you. Don't you know that each person needs a ticket? You will be booted off the train by the conductor!"

"Don't worry," say the mathematicians, "we have a method!"

Everyone gets on the train. The physicists take their seats, but they are paying close attention to the mathematicians, to see what they are going to do. The mathematicians all pile together into a single-person train bathroom. When the conductor comes by to check the tickets, he knocks on the bathroom door, which opens a crack and a hand with a ticket is extended out. The conductor takes the ticket and everyone proceeds on their merry way.

The physicists are very impressed.

After the conference, it's time to go back home, so they all go to the train station to buy tickets. The three physicists are exited to try out their newly learned trick, so they buy one ticket. They are surprised again, when they see that the mathematicians don't buy any tickets at all.

"What are you doing? Don't you need at least one ticket?" they ask.

"Don't worry," say the mathematicians, "we have a method!"

On the train, the physicists all pile together into one bathroom, the mathematicians into another bathroom. Just as the train is about to start moving, one of the mathematicians exits their bathroom, walks over to the physicists' bathroom and knocks on the door. The door opens a crack and a hand with a ticket is extended out. The mathematician takes the ticket and goes back to the mathematicians' own bathroom with it.

Moral of the story:

Do no use mathematical methods that you do not fully understand.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015


Nick asked to go climbing today, so we went to Planet Granite.

Mom splurged on climbing shoe rental. 
Going up
More up

Ok, enough up. Coming down.
And we're done!

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Gear Creep, the "Make sure you put it on in the right order" Edition

Today was Nick's first day with the Little Sharks Learn To Play program. He had a great time. He saw Sharkie. He got to skate, shoot, and practice passing. Did I mention Sharkie?

Mom got to carry around a giant bag of equipment and figure out how to attach it all to the child, in the correct sequence, under time pressure. The day before we were all sent a "How to put on your hockey equipment" email. It was multiple pages long. There was a strict ordering and admonitions not to skip steps. There were suggestions to use tape to attach some things.

I suppose if you give 40 kids sharp skates and big sticks, it's better to make sure their equipment stays on. So tape it is.

Ready to go. No, he didn't carry the bag. I did.

First time in the locker room.

Starting to gear up. 
It took me about 25 minutes to get everything put on, strapped, fastened, adjusted, and re-adjusted (note to self, undershorts go on before hockey socks, because hockey socks attach to them, also remember to make sure the velcros on the undershorts are closed before putting on hockey socks, otherwise everything becomes a huge snarled mess). And everything seemed to stay in place, so no tape was required.

All geared up and ready to go.

Mouth guards serve dual purpose: protect the teeth, and prevent kids from
talking. Maybe I can convince him to wear one all the time!
The practice itself was very well organized. They had several areas to practice different skills: skating, stick handling, passing, and shooting. All while cheered on by Sharkie!
High-five with Sharkie!

Practicing jumping over a barrier. Much falling on face happened. All teeth
seem to be intact, still.

Serious hockey face (tm). Waiting for a pass.

Passing practice.

Skate/shoot practice.
After ah hour, the child was pretty baked.
Of course, back in the locker room, we needed to give a post-game interview.

 For a bazillion more pictures, check smugmug.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015


The boys and I did a two and a half mile, five geocache, many photo hike in Calero today. Hills were green, flowers were blooming, and much fun was had. Nick got to play with his first real camera and took a whole bunch of pictures. Some were good even.

Simultaneous photo taking.


Checking his picture of the flowers.

Follow the yellow brick road.

I am pretty sure there are picture of me in the exact same pose.

Taking pictures of flowers.

Tweedle-dee and Tweedle-dum.

Looking for a geocache.

Break. Of course we have to look at our pictures.


Another geocache!

California poppies

Boys in the poppies

A boy and his dog

Found a trail marker. We are not lost!

Creek crossing.

Mule ears

Taking a picture of the poppies

My favorite flower


Almost back to the car

While we were gone, Polly made a nest in my bed and took a nice long nap.
To see the pictures that Nick took, click here. Warning, most of them are of dirt.