PossessedHand: I Swear I Didn’t Flip You Off

PossessedHand is a device that will make your fingers move by themselves. It’s supposed to help you learn certain tasks that are complicated to learn. It was developed by researchers at Tokyo University and Sony.

possessedhand sony tokyo university japan cyborg remote control

Read more @ Technabob

The Value of College @ The New Yorker

Good article in the New Yorker about education and what it means to society. If college is a 4-year IQ test, then what’s grad school, especially in abstract disciplines like pure mathematics? I wonder. I fully appreciate being a graduate student in math. It makes your brain work in funny ways, and I like it.

[…] that the two most crucial ingredients in the mysterious mix that makes a good writer may be (1) having read enough throughout a lifetime to have internalized the rhythms of the written word, and (2) refining the ability to mimic those rhythms.
Professor X quoted in the New Yorker

Researching Trends

Clifford algebra representation
Clifford algebra representation


I met a very helpful second or third-year grad student¹ that really helped me out with finding interesting research assistant positions. There are two for which I will be applying for. One will be for next semester, and the other one will be for next year, running for a whole year from July 2010 to July 2011². There was no way that I would have been able to apply for these this year. Still, it’s going to be interesting. That only leaves me to check out all of the profs with grants at my university to see if they need a RA for this semester. I think that it will most likely in PDEs since NTNU received some major funding on two large PDE projects.

One of my colleagues is an SAT tutor to some senior high school kids. This is paid quite well, something around 3 times what a usual foreign ESL teacher makes in Taiwan³. I’m going to see if I can teach something similar. It would be different from teaching English. The good thing is that I have taught math before, as well as science. What’s really interesting is that I wouldn’t have to work that many hours. I doubt that many hours are available anyway. Two hours would be the same as 6 hours of ESL teaching.

Continue reading “Researching Trends”

Rainy Mathematical Days

Lamy Safari fountain pens
Lamy Safari fountain pens²


The rain has finally abated. I love the rain in Canada, but I hate it here. Why? You just get wet all the time. You get wet when you get on the scooter, when you drive around, and when you get off. Rain gear does wonders, but it’s annoying to have to carry it around and wait for it to dry. Also, driving in the rain is a lot more dangerous. I tend to be really careful.

Temperatures have cooled down significantly. It’s no longer 30C, but only 24C³. It’s getting a bit chilly when riding on the scooter. I’ll need to take a scarf.

Continue reading “Rainy Mathematical Days”

Tough Day

I don’t know how I got through the day. The pressure is on for the end of semester and I was pretty stressed over the last few days. I didn’t get any sleep yesterday and planned on cutting my afternoon classes, after having taught 4 hours. It didn’t pan out. I felt guilty and went to class and stayed for the full 4 hours. Towards the end, I was getting drowsy.

3 Big Red Bulls + 2 Teas = Strange Afternoon

I had an exam today and I had about 2.5 hours of sleep last night. I studied about 20-25 hours in the last few days. I didn’t feel ready, but there was no way that I’d ever be ready. This exam covered Compacity, Completeness and Connexity.

On my way to a class, I bought three large cans of Red Bull. I can’t remember the last time I drank a Red Bull, probably in 2006 or 2004.

I was up by 6:30AM reviewing. I noticed that I was pretty sluggish, so I downed two strong milky orange pekoe teas. They started working and I ate some breakfast. I rarely eat breakfast. Today, I felt like I needed it. I was actually jonesing for some eggs since 2AM, but didn’t indulge until the morning.

I managed to study until 8AM, finish writing an article from 8AM to 8:10AM and then hopped into the shower to go to work. All three classes were there, so I couldn’t review much. I did get at least an extra hour to review. While I ate some lunch, I drank two cans of Red Bull. I was starting to feel pretty good.

I wasn’t feeling frantic or on a caffeine high. I did go to the bathroom a few times, but that’s normal for me when I have an exam. This exam went a lot better than the other one. During the test, I drank another Red Bull. It definitely helped. It was either psychosomatic or biological, but I felt quite strange afterwards. I was tired, but not tired. I was nervous and fidgety. I just wanted to go to bed.

Since I still had another article to write before signing off, I couldn’t go to bed. I had 581 blog posts to read and an article to write. It’s a little past 6PM and I’m heading to bed to watch something and to nod off, if I manage.

Dead Tired

I’m dead tired. I’m going to bed soon. I’ve got another long day. Thankfully, I have had some class cancellations tomorrow, so it will be a bit more relaxed. It will leave me to do some HW.

José Urquiza and Finishing Early

Dr. José Urquiza is my numerical analysis teacher. I really love him. He’s such a contrast to Dr. André Fortin. He’s André’s polar opposite. Fortin was always rushing through class, rushing to give us all ofthe matter he could. José takes his time and is relaxed. He explains clearly and well.

Today, he took about 25 minutes to explain what we did wrong in a lab we completed last week. André had never done this. I really appreciated that.

We always have a break at 20 minutes past the hour. Ten minutes later, we start up again.

Oh, I’ve gone over a bit. Do you mind if we continue? No one has any appointments, I’ll finish class early today, he said with a smile.

For some reason, everyone in class was tired. It was Friday. There were 5 people missing out of a total of 17 students in the class. So José just continued. We all thougt that he would finish at noon or 12:10, instead of 12:20. Boy were we surprised.

Well, I’ll stop here for this week.

I was shocked. I didn’t know what to do. It was 11:30, we had finished a full 50 minutes before the end of the class. I started putting my pencils away. Geneviève had been rumaging through my pencil case and it was a mess. Thankfully, I got some grapes in exchange. No one really said a word. Everyone was quietly happy and we left.

Class Lateness

Every morning, I have to write at least one article for Unplggd before I leave for school or work. There is just no way that I’m home in time to write one for the 5:30PM deadline. This has a tendency of making me late. At least I’m professional. I’m only late for my morning classes (the ones that I attend at school, not the ones that I teach!), and not by much. Between 3-5 minutes. It’s really annoying, but I’ve yet to find a system that won’t make me late. I’ve tried waking up earlier but it’s to no avail.

I could always write before I go to bed, but that rarely works. I’m just too tired.


It’s 4:30PM and I’m feeling the week in my body. I just finished my last article of the week and I’m probably going to log off my computer and watch something. Even though I just drank some strong milky tea, I’m tired.

I’m listening to Foo FightersEverlong [The Colour and the Shape]. It’s such a good song. I had forgotten about it. Since I’ve been listening to Nirvana lately, I remembered it. School was fine today. There is a lot coming up next week. An Analysis III exam. I still have to complete a few exercises and master some concepts. I have another HW due the week after. After that, it’s time for some more exams. Mid-semester is creeping up on me pretty quickly. I need to start working out again as well. Tomorrow I’ll go for a run. 5-7 KM, depending on how I feel running in the cold. I haven’t run for 3 months. I feel bad. But my body needed a break. Actually, it didn’t need that much of a break, but I need to get back it. I’ve put no a few pounds thanks to the holidays.

I’ve already bought my wife’s Valentine Day gift, so I’ll send that off tomorrow. I was tired most of this week since I went to bed too late. I should really go to bed a lot earlier. I also haven’t bought the Fallout 3 extension on purpose because I have to study this weekend, not play games.