Monday, December 26, 2011

mοnty hall as a meme.

earlier tonight my brother-in-law asked me about the mοnty hall problem and why his solution wasn't the correct one.  so i took one of my credit card offer envelopes and we started drawing diagrams ..

.. and just as he finally accepted the answer, my brother walks over and asks me what we're talking about .. so we tell him the problem, he thinks about it, and then we start drawing on the refrigerator ..

.. and he, too, accepts the answer eventually.

now, though, my dad is starting to look at the fridge ..

Wednesday, December 21, 2011


my flight is delayed and there's free wifi in helsinki airport:
i suppose that certain outcomes are therefore inevitable.

thinking it through, these last few weeks haven't been very efficient;
i blame the lack of structure in my daily life:
without the constraint of teaching (and hence regularly scheduled blocks of time beyond my control) i've found my workday wide open, apart from meeting colleagues everyday for lunch.

since the start of december the seminars have not been meeting regularly, and the lectures i attended at universιty of helsinkι ended .. two weeks ago?

i can't remember anymore.
the days are now a blur.

the holidays are beginning, and my family swells: with my sisters come their boyfriend and fiancee in tow: good men, though.  they treat my sisters well, which is the important thing.

there will be a lot of people in the house, so i suppose that i won't get any work done until after new year's ..

.. on the other hand, my laptop has a 8-hour battery:
i wonder if i can write up an entire preprint during the flight home!


helsinki to reykjavik,
reykjavik to home ..

.. let's see, shall we? (-:

epilogue (4 jan 2012). i never got close to finishing that preprint.

 the introduction was what balked me: every time i tried to motivate the result, i thought about the stronger result that i wanted to prove, and couldn't convince myself to write any further.

Monday, December 19, 2011

an update, 3-4 months in.

say, is anyone still reading this?

it's been a while, hasn't it?

somehow it's become my habit NOT to write in this blog.  not a lot's been happening, i guess: i applied to a few more jobs, written up a close-to-complete set of notes [1] on some recent results, and started getting back to a few research collaborations.

when i think about it, i do a lot of worrying and complaining here.  i suppose that's natural, for two reasons:

  1.  it's year number four since i defended my dissertation, and i still don't know if i have a future in mathematics.  part of me wants to blame the economy .. but most of me acknowledges that i haven't been doing enough, my results not particularly noteworthy.

    i don't know.  i'm trying, but often i don't see any progress, and not much hope. [2]

  2. apart from the future and general malaise, the present day is going fairly well.  aside from the climate around here [2] my complaints are few, and i think the freedom from teaching has done me some good.

    i feel like i now understand more about mathematics, and become a better researcher.  i haven't had mathematician's block [3] in a while: the ideas are still there, some are taking shape.

[1] -- i think i referred to it as a "preprint" in recent memory -- if not here, then in an actual conversation with colleagues.  in truth, it used to be a preprint, but while i was checking some details, some new ideas come up.  then i had my doubts if anything worked .. but now i think i can see why the proof should and does work.

the short version: i'm pretty sure i proved some new special cases of the Ambrοsio-Kirchheιm conjecture, and reduced the full conjecture to a different (still unsolved) special case.

[2] -- that could be the seasonal affective disorder talking.  today it became bright at around 9:30am and dark again, near 3pm.  i feel tired most of the time, except late at night.  i haven't gotten around to taking any vitamin d supplements yet .. maybe i should do so.

[3] -- it's kind of like writer's block.  instead of not being inspired to write, it would be a combination of not getting new ideas and none of the old ideas working.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

call me old-fashioned, but ..

sometimes i think that my work is superficially relevant to this setting of metric spaces and analysis on them.

deep down, i am just a euclidean geometer,
working with balls, lines, planes ..

.. and, of course, the occasional Lipschιtz function. (-: