I am just back from FSTTCS 2006 that took place in Kolkata. Calcutta was nice, dirty, clean, earnest, cynical, beautiful, ugly, and so on. Too complicated to be summarized by one sentence, one blog entry, one book, or even one lifetime.

Thursday (yesterday) there was a union strike against globalization (my understanding of the issue is that Calcutta is falling behind other Indian cities, and the government is trying to attract industry by giving industry free land, etc and the unions are up in arms), so we were confined more or less to the campus of ISI (Indian Institute of Statistics) which is somewhat in the north of the city far away from the natural habitat of the clueless tourist. It was somewhat similar to Yom Kipur in Israel with very little traffic on the roads. Nevertheless, we took a nice walk to a Kali temple near by which was very clean compared to other temples I have been to, and had beautiful views of the majestic Hooghly (the local river), with nice “sunset” pictures.

Because of pollution in Delhi (and also Calcutta), once the sun is not vertically above you in the afternoon it starts getting the yellowish orange color one associates with sunsets. So, you get these amazing sunset pictures, which the sun is still way up, around 2-3pm in Delhi (Calcutta seem slightly less polluted, but who knows). BTW, so science fiction books claim that after a nuclear holocaust the sunsets would be amazingly beautiful.

Oh. And I left my FSTTCS proceedings behind. I think proceedings are becoming a pain – what do I need them for?

And Emo Welzl gave an interesting invited talk about bounding the number of triangulations of a point set in the plane (see here). I think the current bound is between 8^n and 43^n, so there is glory to be gained.

The FSTTCS international crowd was somewhat smaller than usual, since a lot of them are coming to the double secret, underground, hush-hush streaming workshop in IIT Kanpur (which also collides with ISAAC 06 [also in Kolkata]). Oh, and I missed meeting Pankaj in Kolkata by 10 minutes. Oh well.

Both my flights from and to Delhi were delayed by 3-5 hours. I do not know if it is a conspiracy against my sanity, but if it is, it is working quite well.

And SoCG had 139 submissions this year. Only 127 of them are by Micha, so I think we all have this year a fair chance to get our paper(s) accepted.

Day after tomorrow I am leaving for IIT Kanpur.

And here are the obligatory youtube links: Welcome to Harvard, Econ department, and a spoof. Finally, how to hire female students.

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