Bardia Sadri had successfully defended his phd thesis yesterday. (See second page here for a picture.) I was on his committee, so I should know – but I can not really tell.

You see, it was planned so well – I would stay tuned with Skype and they would also call me over the phone so I can participate in the discussion afterwards.

Of course, Skype stopped working literally as the defense started. This is some weirdness with the local network. I use wireless network for the last week at home and it works great – I can call people on SkypeOut and the quality is amazing. When it works, that is. Sometimes the outside network somewhere decides not to be in speaking terms with my network on some ports. It is really strange, and I do not yet have a unified theory of its behaviour, although my leading theories are: (i) the network behaviour is a proof of the existence of god, (ii) the network behaviour is a proof of the non-existence of god, (iii) the Internet in India was taken over by aliens from outer space that hate Skype, and (iv) all of the above. I am planning to write it all down and send it to SoCG, it should be an improvement over all the other crap I am sending.

Anyway, so they called my cellphone from a speaker phone in the conference room. The defense sounded more or less as follows: “Bardia: psssp psppps pspp psp pspsss sssss sppps sssss flow spppsp pspp pspspss flow sss s s s s unstable manifold (Bardia sounds really excited) ss pppp ppspss sss sssss ssss ss sss…”. One hour and I understood maybe two hundred words that were said, and most of them were connecting words. Hgggh.

(In fact, it reminded me of SoCG in Nice (France, 1997), where all the talks sounded slightly worse than that. [Not to mention the lunch on the beach in the rain. {Ha, when I was young and even understood my own papers.}] Ha, the good old days, they dont make them like that anymore.)

Luckily, Bardia gave me or less his talk on skype a few days before (and of course, I know about of his work because of other reasons), and he did very nice work. Most interesting is the last part of his thesis that shows how the Wrap algorithm of Edelsbrunner with minor modifications can be analysed (appeared in last SODA).

Anyway, congratulations Bardia! Good work.

On unrelated note…

The must be good news are that more foreigners are coming as students to the US after a few relatively dry years. The must be bad news are that it is good that they are coming because the K12 math education in the US sucks, as it currently emphasize more abstract notions like teaching students about apples and oranges (well known practical, real life and interesting examples of integer numbers), while not teaching them how to do long divisions. Damn foreigners – not only they know how to do long divisions, but they can even do multiplications! (However, the US math education is still better than in some unnamed banananananana republic in the middle east, whose name would not be mentioned due to the Draconian and inhumane space limits imposed on this abstract. The missing details will be certainly added to the full version of this post, which of course would never be written due to time limitations caused by local eddies in the fabric of time/space (not to mention my headache). [Essentially, the fabric is dirty and it needs to be washed before it is going to be used again.])

I also organized some of my pictures from India on my pictures webpage.

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