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Student of Trinity

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    the big Hilbert space
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  1. I hadn't kissed anyone except relatives at twenty, either. I got married at 28; we just had our twentieth anniversary. Until I met my wife, my social life was sparse at best and heartbreaking at worst. That was partly because finding an intimate relationship is just difficult, and partly because I made poor choices about how to spend my time. I didn't take seriously enough the fact that finding an intimate relationship is difficult. I assumed too much that it would just magically happen, so I hardly gave it a chance to happen. I should have been a lot more pro-active a lot sooner. I ne
  2. With 22 answers, the poll results are consistent with having 9 respondents rank the three powers Shapers-Empire-Pact; 7 rank them Empire-Shapers-Pact; 3 rank them Empire-Pact-Shapers; 2 rank them Shapers-Pact-Empire; 1 ranks them Pact-Shapers-Empire; and no-one picks Pact-Empire-Shapers. The poll results for these four questions provide enough information to work out exactly how many people believe in each of the six possible rankings — if one assumes that everyone has answered in terms of a single-valued power ranking of all three powers, and has kept all their answers consistent. If some
  3. My writing project is still slowly going along. It will eventually end up as at least one finished novel. I don't really have a lot of time to work on it, but I hack away when I can. Sometimes I plunge ahead writing; sometimes I step back, frown, and gun down darlings. Up to a point I have high standards, but I'm not trying to write a Great Novel; just write something I like. If you want to make money from writing, I am no-one to advise you, but I can recommend writing a novel as a hobby. It's fun. What was originally going to be one book has expanded into a trilogy. First I cut it into tw
  4. I've been busy for a while; too busy to play Spiderweb games, and hence, ultimately, too busy to really keep up with the Zeitgeist here. But sometimes busy-ness defeats itself. Like when you're procrastinating on an overdue grant proposal. A while ago here I described my experiments in running radically stripped-down pen-and-paper role-playing games for nieces and nephews. (Take-home message: pets must not die.) This was apparently one of the pebbles that eventually led to the mighty avalanche of AIMHack. Here's an update that might add a useful twist. This summer's game was: Zombie Ap
  5. I emerge from a hiatus dominated by separatrices and branch cuts (please do not garble that) to make a shameless commercial plug. It's not for any product in Spiderweb's line. It's for a book. I have not actually read the book yet: I pre-ordered it months ago, but it has yet to arrive. A friend of mine has written a book about the 1935 invasion of Ethiopia by Fascist Italy. The book is entitled Prevail, and it's available on Amazon and wherever else. It's not self-published; Jeff Pearce is a successful commercial author and an actual publishing house has given him money. Thing is,
  6. No, you don't. I don't. You have leapt to conclusions about what I believe. No doubt for understandable reasons; no doubt because I've been unclear. Unclarity, however, is the inevitable norm. In my view, you should have been more charitable in your interpretations. You should have followed more carefully my actual reasoning, persisted a bit more in trying to see what I was getting at, based on our long acquaintance, and perceived my genuinely valuable points, rather than noticing the first superficial resonances between my points and various tedious bagatelles, and assuming that I was offerin
  7. I'm confused about what education is really for. I feel bad about that, being a professor, though being a professor in Germany, I don't feel as bad as I would if my students were paying tuition. But they are still paying a big opportunity cost by taking several years of their youths to study. Why should they do this? I can think of two kinds of reasons, but they're very different, to the point where it's not at all clear to me that it makes sense to try to serve both reasons at the same kind of institution. On the one hand you can learn things that are directly valuable only to you, an
  8. Fixed a typo. Pretty much any professor would love to have the second extreme case. If you can do it, you're probably not going to be shot down for it.
  9. What do you want to do? If there's nothing you really want to do, but you just want to get some kind of job, then that's actually a handicap in getting any kind of job, because almost any employer will choose someone who wants their job in particular over someone who just wants a job of some kind. Wanting to do something in particular is an edge. What do you want to do?
  10. Unbelievable. But the iOS version of Galactic Core appears to have nothing in common with the old turn-based strategy game except the name. It seems like a randomly generated choose-your-own adventure story, with pictures, where you try to get home in your spaceship, through a series of random encounters and explorations.
  11. I've mostly finished reading Germany: 1866-1945 by Gordon A. Craig. I've pretty much hacked my way through it, not because it's hard going, but because I have it in the German translation from the original English, because it was a lot cheaper on Amazon and I thought I'd give it a try. Turns out there are a lot of fancy words in this level of written German. Plus some unfamiliar ones that aren't fancy. It turns out that 'arg' is a German word. It means something like bad or sore, which seems appropriate enough, but I've never heard it spoken. Coolest thing I've learned: the nickname for Hi
  12. I don't know much about US-Mexico things. I lived four years in New Mexico, but NM was NM before it was American, and I lived for seven years in Boston, which is northeastern and rich and liberal about everything; about everything, it's all three of those things. Writing about any kind of underprivileged group is academic low-hanging fruit. Somebody has to write about cultural differences, and everybody who can ought to write about injustice; but wherever there's fresh meat, vultures gather. You can get tenure and promotion, book contracts and celebrity (of a sort at least) by writing a tr
  13. If it's really the most advanced civilization in existence, then it might be advanced enough to be like the green realm in Jack Vance's story "Green Magic". I find this story haunting, and having read it: I think I'd rather stay on earth; yet I probably wouldn't.
  14. So I wrote a 130K-word first draft in a year, and I thought I'd try to finish the second draft in a second year, but that deadline passed four days ago, and I wasn't even close to making it, despite a lot of steady work over all that time. I did manage to hammer out an improved version of the most difficult part. The revised version held together and I thought I was over the hump. But then I asked myself, Why did this take so long? It took so long because it was hard. I thought that was okay; sometimes writing is just hard, I thought. But now I think that this was hard in a bad way. I was
  15. That's very fair, but I just can't do it — so go on without me. My proposed role was going to be basically spectating anyway, so I can just spectate.
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