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Welcome to my blog, which was once a mailing list of the same name and is still generated by mail. Please reply via the "comment" links.

Always interested in offers/projects/new ideas. Eclectic experience in fields like: numerical computing; Python web; Java enterprise; functional languages; GPGPU; SQL databases; etc. Based in Santiago, Chile; telecommute worldwide. CV; email.

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The Fabric of the Cosmos - Brian Greene

From: "andrew cooke" <andrew@...>

Date: Wed, 23 May 2007 19:10:27 -0400 (CLT)

Just finished another book (it's not that I read quickly, but that I read
them in parallel - there's a book in the kitchen I read at breakfast, one
by the bed I read at night, one in the bathroom...)

Anyway, I am very impressed by this.  I don't normally read "popular
science" because (I hope this doesn't sound too arrogant) I already know
what they are talking about, and it annoys me when they get things wrong
(or bend things too much to make a good story).  But this book taught me a
lot - about thing I thought I already understood, and also about string
theory, which I have never known about.  Even better, in the bits where I
did know the plot, he told things straight.

Most interesting of all, at least at the moment, is the role of
information.  In the last chapter he talked about the covering surfaces in
plank-length side squares and how this is related to entropy.  At the same
time it's clear that quantum mechanics is also related to information -
the restrictions imposed by the uncertainty principle.  And then the cute
work by Maldacena in which physics in N dimensions could be mapped into
N+1 with gravity...

Of course, there are some downsides too.  The enthusiasm over string
theory did sometimes seem a bit over-pumped, and the supporting
evidence/consistencies a little under-nourished.  I'm about to google up
some of the anti-string criticism that came out a while back.

Still, good book.

Andrew

Not Even Wrong

From: "andrew cooke" <andrew@...>

Date: Wed, 23 May 2007 19:26:09 -0400 (CLT)

Turns out that the author of one of the "anti-String" books has an
excellent blog - http://www.math.columbia.edu/~woit/wordpress/

Read some of the comments.

Andrew

Gravity Probe B

From: "andrew cooke" <andrew@...>

Date: Wed, 23 May 2007 19:56:53 -0400 (CLT)

Latest info from this experiment - it was mentioned in the book and for
some reason I thought it was lost during launch, but apparently not. 
Sounds like the analysis of the data was interesting.

http://einstein.stanford.edu/

Andrew

PS I hate the "was Einstein right" sales pitch.  Is that the best anyone
can do?

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