January 29, 2005

Flickr post: SF skylines

Posted by Arcane Gazebo at January 29, 2005 5:02 PM

san francisco, from mission dolores park

Took this one in San Francisco; I also took one from Berkeley. I've uploaded both to my Berkeley photoset along with Phi facing off with a cat.

(Phi's photostream has some related pictures.)


Who won?

-------------- (the rest of this has nothing to do with anything)

P.S. The people in this part of the country can't handle any remote amount of snow. This morning, we had some on the ground, which is one of the few things that makes me miss Ithaca a bit. (Snow looks really nice when it first falls, though we didn't have much. The frozen plant near my apartment and the pattern-forming stalactites [mites? I never remember which is which] on doorways (especially the one Starbucks had) were way cool.

In the morning, there were very few cars around, as everybody decided they should stay at home because of our infamous "ice storm", so walking across the street was safer than usual. Later in the day, however, this changed completely---they don't salt the sidewalks around here, so because it never warmed up during the day and the snow stopped falling, all the sidewalks were essentially giant ice sheets by the afternoon (making walking really treacherous...). I fell a couple times when I took the wrong route home and went down a 20 or so degree ice slope. Damn laws of physics! Not enough friction!

I think my max slide was 10 ft, but I was able to snag a pole before I slid into the street. (Cars were avoiding this street but by evening, there were more cars on the street, so I was afraid of falling off an ice sheet into the street and then becoming one with frogger because of the oncoming cars.) It would have been nice if they had taken advantage of freezing point depression, which works wonder except when it goes over your head [especially in combination with warm water, oh speaker of the Words of Loki.

Anyway, I need to remind myself what's in my slides. I am Amtraking to Clemson tomorrow night for a Monday interview.

Posted by: Mason | January 29, 2005 6:39 PM

because phi is the most irrational of the irrationals.

Posted by: phi | January 29, 2005 7:06 PM

It can also stand for other things, like Euler's totient function in number theory. Not to mention the stationary component of a wavefunction or the angle variable in action-angle coordinates...

Personally, I think the answer to who won should not rely on one's choice of notation. :) [On the other hand, I wasn't there, so it's not like I can verify anything...]

"I have not even begun to nerd." (Now I just need to remember what show/movie that's from...)

Posted by: Mason | January 30, 2005 2:01 PM

"Phi" can stand for several things, indeed. But then, I would not (probably) confuse you with that old-white-guy secret society. I am Phi the Golden; Euler knows nothing about me, nor am i phluxx. I am the Phi whose powers satisfy the Fibonacci criteria. and the most irrational irrational. fear me.

Posted by: phi | January 30, 2005 2:55 PM

OK. I'm afraid.

I prefer the quantum mechanics version of it myself.

Posted by: Mason | January 31, 2005 6:59 PM

Yes Mason, wave functions are sexy. In my job right now, we're pretty much always "solving for phi", but in this case I'm talking about EM waves.

Oh, and here's a quick mnemonic for you--stalagtites hold "tight" so they don't fall on you.

It's a shame, really. I've also got the mnemonic that stagmites "might" fall on you, which I like much better, but unfortunately it's completely wrong.

Posted by: Lemming | February 1, 2005 8:23 AM

My problem with mnemonics is that I forget the mnemonics themselves. For some reasons, there are binary things I can never seem to get right---such as which doorknobs I should turn counterclockwise and which ones I should turn clockwise. It's damn confusing.

I wonder if Travis has yet come up with a joke about the STI? I was going to come up with one but then decided its existence probably says everything we need to know. (Also, in my one day in Atlanta between trips, I have been doing my best to get close to everything done that I need to get done.)

I have a special fondness for wavefunctions, as you well know---particular ones that are stable under small perturbations. (This is a modification of a joke I told my senior year which is perhaps worth forgetting.)

Posted by: Mason | February 1, 2005 6:29 PM

Mason, the STI does seem like low-hanging fruit, but I got nothing so far.

Posted by: Arcane Gazebo | February 1, 2005 10:22 PM

Well, I haven't had time to think of one. In retrospect, it makes sense that they would have it (he is perhaps their most famous alum), but it's still disturbing. (My immediate reaction was 'dear god...', so it's very thankful that I saw it for the first time in a viewbook in the hotel the night before. It never actually came up during the interview, but I'm pretty sure my already-minimal ability to not immediately say exactly what I think during interviews would have failed me utterly in that situation.)

Posted by: Mason | February 2, 2005 9:14 PM
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