Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Looking Beautiful

Sarah is on a mission to keep me looking young. She has developed quite an intense program for me. Specifically, witness this photo I snapped...

You might not be able to read all the labels she did on there, but there are various instructions about even/odd days (she is good at appealing to my numerical sense), whether to use in the morning, evening, or both, etc.

Now, I'm willing to try just about anything at least once (dare I admit I've had a pedicure?), so I stuck with it for a bit. The results were actually quite surprising to me, and even to Sarah. Here are some comparison photos. Before...

Notice the crows feet around the eyes, forehead wrinkles, generally unhealthy skin. After only two weeks, voilĂ !

Now I just have to keep sticking with it!

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Mathematical Education

Yesterday I finished reading "The Poincare Conjecture" by Donald O'Shea. It was an enjoyable book with lots of interesting information. He comments near the close:
"It is up to all of us to ensure that the legacy of our times is a society that stewards and develops our common mathematical inheritance. For mathematics is one of the quintessentially human activities that makes us more fully human and, in so doing, leads us to transcend ourselves."

Earlier O'Shea had also referenced an essay by William Thurston titled "Mathematical Education" that I found great. The following comment regarding curriculum centered around standardized tests was especially entertaining.
"We don’t diagnose pneumonia with only a thermometer, and we don’t attempt to cure it by putting ice in a patient’s mouth. We should take a similarly enlightened attitude toward testing in mathematics education."

It makes me feel sad that there is not more general interest in mathematics, and that the concept of mathematics developed in many minds is a perceived equivalence with rote arithmetic. But to finish on a positive note, there is amazing math being done out there. And even for an amateur, there are an incredible number of avenues and groups to pursue this lovely, transcending activity.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

First POV-Ray Experience

Surprise, surprise, I am already falling behind on this blogging experiment.

I started playing with POV-Ray, which is a free ray tracing program. It quickly exceeded my expectations of quality and ease of use - really amazing in my opinion. Here are a couple of my first learning renderings, all of which have surprisingly short definition files.

I also made a short POV-Ray animation, so this turned out to be the reason for my first use of YouTube as well...