Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Oct 9 Flowers

With colleagues Rohit Mohan and Farah Hashmi. Rohit is helping me build a chatbot, at work.

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Jet trail stuck in a cloud

An example, early in the morning going in the door at work:

Monday, October 2, 2017

Oct 7 Flowers

Getting near the end of the season:

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Flowers Sept 28

Getting hard to find any I want to pick:

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Old dogs and impossible loves

Well I have a fleece jacket that got too smelly to wear. When sweat dries and is not washed it becomes very musty smelling, like mildew. It got to the point where I was in the car with the fleece next to me on the seat, smelling so bad I had to put it into the trunk. I figured one washing would clear out the BO smell but it had no effect at all - cuz our washing machine is too poor to work with. So I washed the fleece by hand in the tub and so much filth came out that it formed erosion patterns on the porcelain. I did that several times, then used Head-and-Shoulders (it was there next to the tub) to wash it more. Then it stank of Head-and-Shoulders . So I washed it in rainwater a couple more times.

When I finally got rid of my BO smell, it still smelled bad. When I got rid of the filth it smelled perfumey from the shampoo. And when I got rid of those smells there was still the faint smell of old dog. I guess my wife, who wanted to throw out the fleece, finally succeeded in getting rid of all the residual smells by soaking the damn fleece in baking soda and leaving it in the sun.

But what is interesting, and the subject of this post, is how the smells were in layers. Getting rid of one strong smell, only made it possible to smell the remains of some older smell. And the last smell to go was this old dog smell. Now something similar is happening in my brain as I train it to stop thinking about an impossible love relation. At first it was "red brain" - all signals were tied to one face. It took a 2 months for those to die down and a similar time for her being near [I know her footsteps] to stop hurting. And my brain definitely went into a quieter mode recently. I had a dream of being near and comforted by her presence even though my discipline, even in a dream, did not permit me to look at her face. But the recent dream shows a milder, residual form of obsession. As the red brain recedes, like the BO smell, it unmasks older, simpler, less obsessed versions. Today I am only sad when I hear her footsteps, but it does not hurt anymore and the face does not keep popping into mind constantly.

As the song " Ain't no tellin' " says:
I'm standing at the station
Wondering where's that train?
I lost my darling
Now I've got all red brain.

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Simplified bread recipe

2 cups of King Arthur Flour plus 1 tsp of salt in a large bowl
1cup +2 tbs of luke warm water and 1 tsp of yeast (eg Fleischmann "Active Dry") in a small bowl
[note the 2 tbs are reserved for helping the dough form a single lump at the end of mixing].

Stir the yeast into the water in the small bowl until dissolved. Then pour it into the large bowl and mix until most material comes off the sides of the bowl and the dough forms one lump. Dump it out on a surface to rest 5 minutes.

Use a large flat knife to fold the dough once, then again at ninety degrees. Then put it back into the (clean) bowl.

3-4 hours rise in covered bowl, remove and fold twice and return to (cleaned) bowl
3-4 hours rise in covered bowl, remove GENTLY fold twice and return to bowl
2-3 hours cooling in fridge, then remove GENTLY
Form loaf GENTLY and place on (cornmeal covered) pan
2 hours rise on pan
Bake in moist (spritzed) oven at 425 for 10 min.
Spritz again and continue bake at 410 for 18 min.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Who created "robotics" at USC?

Poking around I see that professor Bekey is claiming paternity for the USC Robotics Research Lab. I did not know about him but here is my story:

When I was an assistant math prof in the early 80's, I was working on visual shape recognition. Another assistant prof. named Jamie Milner and I wrote some papers about the retina and lateral inhibition as a means for edge detection. One of the full time professors - Bob -something- latched on to our thoughts and came up with a model for the nerve and created a little "breakfast group" called "Visionery". It was supposed to be like "bakery" but a place to go to get information about human vision. Dean Warner got wind of it, got interested and created the research Lab as a consequence. He offered me a job but I had already accepted a position at U. of Rochester....and that was that.