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Oh, and in my spare time, I invented TeX

Writing in Quanta, Susan D’Agostino has a fascinating interview with the computing-est of all computer scientists, Donald Knuth.  Who continues his Everest-like trek up his monumental Art of Computer Programming.  This (intrinsically) never-to-be-completed opus to the mathematics and techniques of algorithms was, for many of us, the first introduction to formal analysis of algorithms and Dr. Knuth.  But woven into the creation of ACP was the invention of TeX, the world’s most marvelous computer typesetting system. TeX was only supposed to be for my secretary and myself. Phyllis [Astrid Benson Winkler] was a wonderful secretary. She could read my handwriting … Continue reading Oh, and in my spare time, I invented TeX

Captain Tom Shows Us How It’s Done

Captain Tom Moore, HMRA (retired), cooked up the idea of a 100-lap charity fundraiser to celebrate his impending 100th birthday.  100 laps around his garden, with a walker (he IS 99). His goal was £1000 for the NHS. Word got out.  Right now he’s raised £13 million. In a just world, Captain Tom’s birthday celebration would be treated with a drop-in visit from the Queen. Tip from the outrageous KdT at Splendid Isolation. Update:  Captain Colonel Tom didn’t get a royal visit, just a birthday card.  And a call from PM Boris.  And a promotion.  And TWO flyovers.  And raised … Continue reading Captain Tom Shows Us How It’s Done

“I want to make this the best I can for them”

While the Man dithers in the aftermath of the Camp Fire, trying to get his sh*t togther, the Little Folks get it I say “That seems like a thankless task.” “Not at all,” she replies. “Not at all.” “Really? Why the hell not?” “Hey, I do this job every day in this store. It’s my assigned task and usually its okay but I only do it for the money because it gets really monotonous, meaningless.” She’s a student, I perceive. “But today those people really needed these clothes in this corner because of the price. And tomorrow more people like … Continue reading “I want to make this the best I can for them”

“This is the greatest country in the world.”

An American veteran brings his Ukranian bride to the States for a honeymoon, and gets to see his country through fresh eyes.  And understands why not to sweat the small stuff: …it’s all too easy to misjudge the gravity of life’s problems when you’re used to peace and prosperity—after all, there’s no microaggression, no trigger, no slur or verbal insult that could ever compare with the impartial brutalities of revolution and war. Tip from Maggie’s Farm UPDATE:  A young German woman, disillusioned with her life, is rescued from death by a kindly stranger. As for Katharina, she said Nancy rescued … Continue reading “This is the greatest country in the world.”

Making America GLAMOROUS Again

Since Christmas, the oh-so-woke fashion and lifestyle press has aggressively ignored first lady Melania Trump.  Unlike her husband, she doesn’t bluster, tweet, or speechify; instead she speaks in the language of fashion.  For French President Macron’s state visit, she wore this: Impossible to be ignored. The Washington Post’s Robin Givhan writes On these official occasions, the first lady sometimes appears to be dressing for a fashion-shoot version of the event — a kind of heightened reality of an already rather surreal circumstance. But there is also the sense that she is stubbornly and confidently dressing up and refusing to relax … Continue reading Making America GLAMOROUS Again

KWIC, make me some hash!

IEEE Spectrum has a fascinating bio sketch of Hans Peter Luhn, inventor of the hashing and KWIC indexing algorithms. This is Luhn’s legacy: He helped show that computers and computation weren’t just the province of mathematics, statistics, and logic but also of language, linguistics, and literature. In his day, this was a revolutionary way to think about machines. Tip from the Geek Press. Continue reading KWIC, make me some hash!