2007
04.29

Gaggle new services

Personally, I feel happy with Gaggle search engine new service of “manging and viewing your web history”, but I have a “friend” that is freaking out because he just realized that Gaggle has all his search history ready to make money for Gaggle without consideration to his own privacy. Of course, I am not worried – indeed, all my searches are legal. Or at least they were all legal in Afghanistan, in the period of chaos just before the Taliban took over. Anyway, lets not change the topic, the really important thing is that Gaggle is coming out with even more exciting and innovative services just for you:

1. **GIQ** (Gaggle IQ) – It is easy to judge a person intelligence by the questions they ask, and even easier by their searches. Gaggle plan to use your search history to compute your IQ. Ultimately, this is going to replace SAT. Remember, searching for “Avril Lavigne Girlfriend” will reduce your assigned Gaggle IQ by one (and thus might cost you your place in MIT [but they might hire you as their dean of admission, so not all is lost]), and searching for evolution would increase it by one unit (but only for the first three times, after that you should already realize that it is just a scientific theory and such it should be ignored by all really intelligent people). Since Gaggle is going to use GIQ as their only measure in deciding if or not to hire you, you could ask them to recompute it by submitting your accredited GPA from your kindergarten and preschool. Since your grades (in this critical age) are more important than, say, your intelligence, creativity, track record or abilities when deciding if you are good enough to work for Gaggle or not.

So, remember, keep these searches intelligent and smart. If you really have to search for something stupid, use Microsoft search – it will return you stupid results, anyway, independent of what you search for.

2. **Gaggle Sister** – this is the perfect combination of a recommendation system (like TiVo), your search history, and Gaggle Pay & Play service (i.e., you pay, Gaggle plays). The idea is simple – your search history can reveals your personal preferences in all categories. It is now an easy task to create your own recommendation list. For example, if you search for “digg.com”, then clearly, you are white & nerdy, but then clearly you need the bible for moral support (since only god will have mercy on your pathetic and useless soul). Now, in the old, tedious and unfriendly system you had to click at least once to get your recommendations delivered, but with Gaggle Sister â„¢, the system would spontaneously decide when you need something, order it for you, charge your account, and get it delivered to your home. In the above hypothetical case, the bible would appear on your doorsteps 72 hours after your searched for “digg”.

This service is so good, you will start believing that you have a big sister that takes care of you!

The big difference between “big brother” and “Gaggle Sister”, is that in 1984 you had to believe in the “big brother”, but “Gaggle Sister” just believes in your bank account – a better deal for everybody involved.

(Another name that was considered was “big mama“, but it was realized that it was already in use in Korea [although I still don’t understand why his eye is on the sparrow – when he can just kill the damn bird thirty seconds into the song and save himself from four more minutes of suffering].)

3. **Gaggle Bliter** – lets face the harsh truth – blogs are boring and repetitious. Millions of teenagers (or older people) being excited by the same latest stupid thing and just have to blog about it is not original or interesting – it is boring. And predictable. And boring. Most of these people, on second thought all of these people, should leave writing to somebody that writes better than them (like Bush’s speech writers – “Axis of Evil” – what an expression of pure genius). And this is exactly where Gaggle Bliter comes in – using your latest searches, identifying people that write similar blog entries to you, etc, Gaggle Bliter (Blog+Writer) will write your blog entries for you. Releasing you from the tedious needs of writing and posting (or even reading!) your own boring boring boring entries on your blog.

(Of course, the amount of information involved that is needed to be stored is gobsmacking – luckily one can used compressed sensing techniques here to compress the date into much smaller size, so that perfect recovery is still possible [of course, nobody with any common sense would like to recover any of this data, but that is a different issue].)

Of course, there is already an explosion in mindboggling boring blog entries. Fortunately, Gaggle already have the tool of choice to fight this phenomena – “Gaggle Reader” can read all these boring entries for you – no need for you to waste your time. This way you can do something more productive with it (like search for more Avril Lavigne songs on microsoft search).

4. **Gaggle Paranoid** – analyzing your latest searches it would detect when you start to being suspicious about Gaggle. At this point, it would pass your name to the authorities. You would be immediately arrested and sent to Guantanamo for reeducation.
5. **Gaggle Monk** – just like an electric monk with the difference that it would use your Gaggle search history to guide its spiritual search for enlightenment.

**Update:** I really like it here in Guantanamo – the “doctors” are treating me quite well. They repeatedly asked me if I am a member of The Left Wing Conspiracy, but I told them I never heard of this rock group.

2007
04.27

Comment on Korea 4 – My name it is nothing by Sariel Har-Peled

Well, hopefully you are not Korean…

But really, every “letter” is made out of (up to) three characters, so the alphabet is in fact reasonably easy to learn.

2007
04.27

Comment on Korea 4 – My name it is nothing by Yajun

All Hangul looks similar to me…:(

2007
04.27

Korea 4 – My name it is nothing

My name written in Hangul (Korean)…

Sariel Har-Peled

A rather interesting alphabet…

2007
04.25

Is this mesh refined enough for you?

The meshing problem asks how to partition a region (in two or three dimensions) into a small number of nice looking pieces. This is a fundamental problem in engineering used in almost any physical simulation performed on a computer.

The most basic version of this problem is where you are given a point set in the plane (say inside the unit square), and you would like to add (few) points to the point set and compute the best possible triangulation. Best can differ, but a standard measure is that the minimum angle in the triangulation is maximized. Of course, you would like to have a triangulation with as few triangles as possible.

This problem is relatively easy to state, but it is notoriously hard to make progress on it. And unlike other hard theoretical problems making progress on this problem has impact on the real world applications. The standard solutions includes quadtree refinement (see this nice paper by Bern, Eppstein and Gilbert) – which is useless in practice (constants) but theoretically optimal. Another standard technique which is widely used in practice is Delaunay refinement.

In recent years,

2007
04.25

Korea 3 – Being a tourist

For a week I went to Gyeongju (where SoCG 2007 is going to take place) with Otfried & Jonha. Here is the the resulting local guide written by Otfried: food and
sightseeing.

So, did you register yet?

I would link to my pictures once I organize them a bit…

2007
04.16

Comment on India 17 – bureau-smacked by mrc

jolly good, that!

2007
04.14

Comment: “India 17 – bureau-smacked”

New comment on your post #498 “India 17 – bureau-smacked”
Author : JS
Comment:
India ‘to drop’ menstrual forms

The Indian civil service is dropping part of a new appraisal form requiring female employees to detail their menstrual cycles, a top official says. The ministry of personnel says that the decision to delete the controversial part of the form was taken following an intervention by the prime minister. Some female civil servants described the form as grossly insensitive. The questions were reported to have been put in the 2007 appraisal on advice from the health ministry.

BBC website:
Last Updated: Friday, 13 April 2007, 17:13 GMT 18:13 UK
For further info: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/south_asia/6553567.stm

2007
04.14

Comment on India 17 – bureau-smacked by JS

India ‘to drop’ menstrual forms

The Indian civil service is dropping part of a new appraisal form requiring female employees to detail their menstrual cycles, a top official says. The ministry of personnel says that the decision to delete the controversial part of the form was taken following an intervention by the prime minister. Some female civil servants described the form as grossly insensitive. The questions were reported to have been put in the 2007 appraisal on advice from the health ministry.

BBC website:
Last Updated: Friday, 13 April 2007, 17:13 GMT 18:13 UK
For further info: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/south_asia/6553567.stm

2007
04.12

Comment on India 17 – bureau-smacked by mrc

…so let’s see if the Indian courts are as good as the Israelis.

2007
04.11

Comment on India 17 – bureau-smacked by JS

Reference: Haaretz.com
Bilboard ad exec: My pregnancy led to being demoted
By Eynav Ben Yehuda
Last Update: 29/03/2007 09:25
A senior employee of the Maximedia billboard advertising company has filed a claim against the company, after allegedly being demoted to a junior position in the company when her managers learned she was pregnant. According to the statement, the employee, Rotem Eisenberg has served as business clients sales manager for the past two years, and has been directly answerable to the company’s CEO. In this position, she was responsible for 20 employees, including five team heads. Upon learning that she was pregnant, the company announced a reorganization of the firm, and informed her of her demotion. The Tel Aviv district Labor Court issued a temporary injunction yesterday which suspends the company’s decision to transfer her from her original position.

2007
04.11

Comment on Plan of attack by JS

Politicians do not need to learn any specific lessons or avoid any mistakes – as long as they have silly people electing them again and again. That is where the vanity comes from.

2007
04.11

India 17 – bureau-smacked

I know, I know. I am suppose to write about south Korea, where I am and not about India, but SK is boring – except for a strange alphabet and language the place is western. Food is good, plumbing is good, etc.

Anyway, if you join IIT Delhi (or any other government job I think), you are supposed to declare everything you own that is above a certain value. Like if you have an IPod, a computer, a laptop, a TV, etc. Most people just “forget” to fill this form and there is no problem, but still it is amazing that the government requires you to fill such a form.

But this is nothing (nothing I tell you!) compared to the latest declaration required by the government of India. Women civil servants have to provide (on page 58 of) the new (yearly?) appraisal form the following information: _detailed menstrual history and history of LMP [last menstrual period] including date of last confinement [maternity leave]_”. No. Really.

One of the female employees claimed that she was gobsmacked by this requirement. She would be happy to know that on page 97 of the form the employee has to state when was the last time they were gobsmacked.

2007
04.10

Comment on Plan of attack by Sariel Har-Peled

Thats the thing – the planning of this war at some levels was very careful and detailed. I think just describing it as vanity does not does it justice, and does not provide any specific lessons to be learned and mistakes to be avoided.

2007
04.10

Comment on Plan of attack by JS

“A bit of skepticism and self doubt could have easily improved the decision making in this case.”

Err.. isn’t your blog named: “Vanity of Vanities. All is Vanity”?

2007
04.10

Plan of attack

I just finished the book with this title written by Bob Woodward (of the Watergate fame) on the war in Iraq. Just in time for Clifford the Big Red Dog to celebrate four years since the fall of Baghdad in April 9, 2003.

The most impressive thing in this book is the access that the author had to the president and the administration at large. And it is reasonably positive of the administration. Three years more or less had passed since it was published and already some historical prospective is possible, which makes this text more relatively interesting than one would expect.

The president comes across as much more intelligent than one would suspect. Some people in the administration are downright impressive. It is interesting to see some of the inner working of the administration.

However, it is amazing how decision making in this level is still an amateurish endeavor. While the army runs simulation exercises to figure out how to make a military plan working, the political level does not have a similar mechanism. Dissent is in the pleasure of the president – as he surrounds himself (or herself) with people that agree with them – the president is bound to hear only his own beliefs echoed back to him. A bit of skepticism and self doubt could have easily improved the decision making in this case.

Furthermore, the system of checks and balances tends to collapse when the politics of fear takes over (9/11 etc, etc, etc). The administration and the president have free hand in making any decision they want to make in such a situation. This is a structural problems with the system (not only in the US) and not necessarily only a problem with the current administration/president.

2007
04.09

Finally, coreset for easter eggs


By Otfried.

2007
04.08

Comment on The decisive Hamlet by Rafi

Another farty article praising indecision in the name of winning some unimportant moral ground ?! When are you bleeding heart liberals going to learn ? Kill ’em all is what I say !

Rafi.

2007
04.08

Comment on The decisive Hamlet by JS

Ha, Ha! You are too funny.

2007
04.07

Comment on The decisive Hamlet by Sariel Har-Peled

Quasi mathematicians – I hate these bastards.

2007
04.07

Comment on The decisive Hamlet by JS

I confess myself utterly unable to appreciate that celebrated soliloquy in Hamlet, beginning ‘To be or not to be,’ or to tell whether it be good, bad, or indifferent, it has been so handled and pawed about by declamatory boys and men, and torn so inhumanly from its living place and principle of continuity in the play, till it is become to me a perfect dead member.
Charles Lamb, On the Tragedies of Shakespeare, in Selected Prose, Penguin, London. 1985. p. 47.

Declamatory boys and men include quasi-mathematicians.

2007
04.07

Comment: “The decisive Hamlet”

New comment on your post #494 “The decisive Hamlet”
Author : Sariel Har-Peled
Comment:
Cliff’s notes did not mention any of these people. Which version did you read?

And what about Rosenkrantz and Gilderstein? Their only crime was delivering orders blindly, without even knowing what the orders have been.

Well, even the original Hamlet was not a saint, but being decisive would not have helped but made things even worst.

Of course, one can claim that Ophelia killed herself, and all the other characters were in collaborations with the new king. And Hamlet was insane towards the end, since he stopped taking his medication. Once one has to defend something, one can mount the most idiotic defense.

2007
04.07

Comment on The decisive Hamlet by Sariel Har-Peled

Cliff’s notes did not mention any of these people. Which version did you read?

And what about Rosenkrantz and Gilderstein? Their only crime was delivering orders blindly, without even knowing what the orders have been.

Well, even the original Hamlet was not a saint, but being decisive would not have helped but made things even worst.

Of course, one can claim that Ophelia killed herself, and all the other characters were in collaborations with the new king. And Hamlet was insane towards the end, since he stopped taking his medication. Once one has to defend something, one can mount the most idiotic defense.

2007
04.07

Comment on The decisive Hamlet by mrc

…but what about Ophelia? isn’t Indecisive Hamlet (IH) responsible for her suicide, in a way? and how about Polonius — or is reckless manslaughter ok?

2007
04.07

Comment on The decisive Hamlet by JS

Rapid deletion means Freud could have been right.

2007
04.07

The decisive Hamlet

Hamlet (of the to be or not to be fame) is usually criticized for his indecisiveness. He is the ultimate flip-flopper that can not make up his mind, and end up killing everybody (including himself).

But let us consider the alternative **decisive Hamlet** – he sees the vision of his father telling him that his mother conspired with the current king to kill him, and he immediately goes and kill them both.

One advantage of the decisive Hamlet is that the play would have been much shorter, a thing that generations of students would have been thankful for. But if you consider the moral ground that the Decisive Hamlet stands on, one would realize that it is a swamp. Indeed, motivated by a delusion he goes and kill his mother and the current king. One might consider such a person to be delusional, murderer and insane. Definitely not a moral person.

And this is where the original Hamlet wins – he dies a moral person. It is not clear that the Decisive Hamlet would have survived in the long run, living under the cloud of his own morality, as judged by himself and the world around him.

That does not imply that the Original Hamlet is to be admired. Certainly, there are infinite alternative Hamlets in between the Original and the Decisive Hamlets, and maybe one of them could have done much better. But the original Hamlet get trusted into a terrible situation, gets the original criminals punished, and dies with his morality intact. Maybe still a loser, but a respectable loser at that.

The real tragedy might be the failure to accept that there is no winning strategy to the situation that Hamlet is in. No victory is possible. A problem without an acceptable solution.

2007
04.06

Comment: “Korea 2 – ask not what your lemon can do for you – ask what you can do for your lemon “

New comment on your post #491 “Korea 2 – ask not what your lemon can do for you – ask what you can do for your lemon ”
Author : Sariel Har-Peled
Comment:
Me English small – impeccable my foot.

2007
04.06

Comment on Korea 2 – ask not what your lemon can do for you – ask what you can do for your lemon by Sariel Har-Peled can do for your lemon by Sariel Har-Peled can do for your lemon by Sariel Har-Peled

Me English small – impeccable my foot.

2007
04.06

Comment: “Korea 2 – ask not what your lemon can do for you – ask what you can do for your lemon “

New comment on your post #491 “Korea 2 – ask not what your lemon can do for you – ask what you can do for your lemon ”
Author : JS
Comment:
Your own impeccable English could also use a slice of lemon or two – if you get my drift.

2007
04.06

Comment on Korea 2 – ask not what your lemon can do for you – ask what you can do for your lemon by JS can do for your lemon by JS can do for your lemon by JS

Your own impeccable English could also use a slice of lemon or two – if you get my drift.