Saturday, March 25, 2017

Lovely Acura self-destructs to save Sara and me

Short version: a car veered diagonally across four lanes and I hit its tail end.

Long version: Cruising on I-85 at 70 mi/h, on the way to the airport. Second rightmost lane. Traffic not too heavy. There is a curly-haired dog sticking out his head out of the passenger side seat of the car ahead of us 3 lanes over. The head gets bigger and bigger - it is a man, naked from the waist up, standing in the window, with his boxers above the window ledge. And then he tumbles out, stretched out horizontally like a tree log,  and falls onto the highway, between the outermost lane and the next one. At 70 mi/h. Sara is looking at this in horror, I am looking straight ahead, keeping eyes on the road.

Their car veers diagonally across four lanes. I brake. I hit its tail end. Nobody hits me from behind. The airbags explode, cushion us from the impact, fill the car with gray smoke. Our car comes to a full stop, 2nd lane. The other car smashes into the side rail. Something that smells weird, like gasoline (maybe) is flooding the floor. Sara gets out and I bring the car onto the shoulder. In five minutes cops are there, with ambulance and fire trucks, and they close the entire I-85. The man who fell onto the highway is running around (see the pic below), until they restrain him to the Grady ambulance stretcher. He is beautiful - I would run around naked to the waist, had I his body, and whatever he is on must be an amazing drug. A fashion pointer: one is now to wear boxers outside blue jeans. The driver is sitting on the rail, texting. He tells Sara "I do not know what happened" and he tells me "I am sorry". His arms have some kind fish bone tattoos, perhaps a pitchfork showing “Folks” affiliation. Police are polite with him, then something happens - suddenly they pull their guns out, shout at him, throw him on the ground and handcuff him from the back, throw him into the back of one of the police cars. It's not a "driving while black" situation, two cops are white, six are black. Their 2010 blue Chevrolet Cobalt LT 2-door coupe has a Tennessee tag U62-33K and a door replaced on drivers side, so one cannot get the VIN number.

Police Officer Culbreth's report:
"Driver is Niles Robinson of Memphis, the VIN is 1G1AF1F57A7128023, and the car is uninsured. Upon my arrival, I saw the passenger, Justin Johnson (BM DOB 05-18-91), laying on the side of the highway wearing no shirt and in blue jeans, with lacerations all over his body. The driver, Niles Robinson (BM DOB 08-01-91) was standing over him looking down on him. Mr. Robinson told me that he was traveling on 1-85 SB Expy, when Mr. Johnson starting acting "crazy" and jumped out of the window. The two of them had just dropped off Mr. Johnson's girlfriend. Mr. Johnson then started say, "Oh so I just jumped out of the window." I asked Mr. Johnson numerous times what happened and he would not tell me. He then said the door was not all the way closed. He did not have any identification on him. I was unable to verify Me. Johnson's identity with ACIC, Police Central, Ominixx or any other resources. Mr. Johnson was transported to Grady Hospital." 
"The witness, A. E. stated he was traveling on 1-85 SB Expy when he saw the passenger of Vehicle #1 jump out of the vehicle and roll across the highway. Vehicle #1 and Vehicle #2 then collided. The passenger of Vehicle #1 got up and ran to the left side of the highway. The driver of Vehicle #1 exited his vehicle and walked to the left side of the highway where the passenger was." 
"While Officer Whitworth was gathering information from Mr. Robinson, Mr. Robinson went to his vehicle and retrieved some items. He was holding something close to his abdomen wrapped in a piece of clothing. Officer Whitworth asked Mr. Robinson what he was holding but Mr. Robinson did not respond. Officer Whitworth then verbally commanded Mr. Robinson to drop the items and show him his hands. Officer Whitworth then saw that Mr. Robinson was holding a firearm and commanded him to drop the weapon. The firearm was taken from Mr. Robinson and was confirmed to be reported stolen with Fulton County by ACIC. It was Smith and Wesson Taursu Slim PT740 with 6 bullets 40cal." 
"CID Unit 5305 was notified of the incident and told me to call the complaint room in reference to charging Mr. Robinson with Theft by Receiving Stolen Property. I spoke with DA Stevenson who stated that Mr. Robinson could not be charged for the stolen firearm." 
"Sgt. Woolfolk and Officer Whitworth went to the Grady with Mr. Johnson and were unable to get any additional information from Mr. Johnson about his identity and what happened during the incident." 
"Mr. Robinson received a citation for "No Insurance" 40-6-10
Nothing further to report."

For the pics of cars and the young men, click here. My deep gratitude goes to NRA, which protects the right of every American to bandy a stolen gun, and not be charged with possession of stolen firearm. Good work, Georgia Legislature! And I'm grateful to Sara for not doing her usual, and going over to the driver to reprimand him for his bad driving.

We get to sit in the back of one of the other police cars. You get to understand why that man got his spine severed in a paddy wagon in Baltimore. You cannot fit in your legs any way if you are over 5'8", the seat is of hard plastic, so you can only slide forward in it, not sit, the windows have grills so cell phones do not work, and the doors have no handles.

This contraption ... Only 10 days ago, I got a new set of tires and a new battery, and, on the third try, the 2010 car passed the emissions test (took 1400 mi of driving to get its sensors sensing)​. The very last thing we did before leaving for the airport was to order a new car cover.:)

Still, for the first time since we two got to know each other (Georgia Tech police, who had totaled my Avalon in the physics parking lot, was what brought us together in 2013), I was getting emotionally attached to our Acura - she had just brought us safe back from the racist hellhole that is Mississippi. And her exploding airbags and crumpled front is what saved us from serious injuries or worse. No trauma. No drama. Sara is sore where the seat belt crosses her chest and might have a bit of a cracked rib. I, counter-intuitively, feel better than before the collision - my right shoulder which had hurt for a while hurts less now :) Luv you, baby! I'll miss you...

Monday, March 06, 2017

Nitko nije nezamjenjiv

Hanibal Salvaro, LADICA Fine Arts & Design Center:

 Valjda [Talijani] nemaju zakona po kojem stvaralaštvo mora u mirovinu. Mi takve zakone imamo, pa slijedom njih otjeramo u mirovinu Marinu Baričević i Zdravka Zimu (Novi list) i Danijela Dragojevića (HRT) te još mnoge druge. Usput se koristi krilatica „Nitko nije nezamjenjiv“, koja je notorna glupost. Ali ako je svako zamjenjivi zanima me tko je uspio zamijeniti Michelagella, Teslu, Edisona, Einsteina, Bacha, Šukera, Dražena Petrovića, Mariju Callas, Tita, Reagana, Tolstoja, Krležu, Murtića, Tuđmana, Cervantesa, Lecha Walesu, Picassa, Dalia, majku Terezu i tako bi mogli u nedogled.

The saga of me, my Acura and the Sensor Stimulation

Whenever the woman is in town, or we take a trip through South, I crank this thing up. Normally, I just sits in the backyard, getting dented by the acorns shooting down from 100 y old oak trees, or corroded by bird poop bombs. I do 1750 mi/year. Is that excessive? I really do not care about these 4-wheeled contraptions at all.

Well, it turns the tires are programmed to dry rot even if you do not drive them. Good for tire makers, bad for environment.

Came back to Atlanta after a few months away, drove to Miss Daisy and back, and the front right tire developed a leak. Asked my car doctor what to do, he told me to go to a tire place, and ask them with a firm manly voice to remove the nail that seems to be in my front right tire. Otherwise, he said, they will stick you a new set of tires, priced for housewives. Hmm, there seems to by dry rot here? he added thoughtfully... Well, my car doctor is prescient. I went there, dressed as a man, and with the firm voice asked the man to pull that nail and patch the tire. The man came back with a big, half-moon grin: "dry rot!", and $920 later I was four new tires, pumped to different over-pressures, richer.

Now that Acura had gotten my attention, I took it for emissions test across the road from the Midtown Tire in Toco Hills. There I was greeted by a young man, 18-20, of Indian subcontinent extraction, who seemed fresh on the job and was learning it step-by-step, by watching it on YouTube, or something like it, in-between steps. After some twenty minutes, he told me that my sensors were not sensing, and sent me off to drive 50 mi before coming back. Now I was nailed - he had my $25, and he had me in the Georgia MVB systems as partially failing the emissions test, so I could not just drive off to the next guy and get tested again.

Having done meaningless 53 mi over the weekend, I drove all the way back to Taco Hills for the Emissions Test 2.0. I was greeted by a sprightly redneck from Duck Dynasty (are we sure these guys are not Moslem fundamentalists?) who tried again, and then gave me a long sweet tale about what a sensor really wants. Basically, sensors (at least to guys who do emission tests) are more mysterious than women. They might want a hour at 70 mi/h, then down to 60 mi/h, then .... Their algorithms are unknown. He sent me back to the road, for more sensor stimulation.

Or, as the manual so helpfully explains: "certain `readiness codes’ that must be set in the on-board diagnostics for the emissions systems. These codes are erased when the battery is disconnected, and set again only after several days of driving under a variety of conditions."

My bike mechanic Godchile pipes in: "Ah, Duck Dynasty youth - what they are referring to is a Drive Cycle. You need to fulfill a certain number of these.
There is some variation among vehicles but these might do the trick. Its a maddening pain in the ass by the way:, . What kind of Acura? Year? Model?"

Acura TSX 2010 sedan 2.4L I4 MPI, 201 HP, Torq 172.

So now I'll drive to New Orleans and back, see whether that does the trick:)

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

And now this: AP-AE. Was really missing another administrator

The Georgia Institute of Technology invites applications and nominations for the position of Associate Provost for Academic Effectiveness (AP-AE). Reporting to the provost and executive vice president for Academic Affairs, the AP-AE will work closely with the deans and academic leadership and advises the president, provost, and senior Institute leadership on matters related to academic planning and is responsible for ensuring the effectiveness of Georgia Tech’s academic programs through quality assessment and review processes.

Monday, November 07, 2016

You better brush up on your Rabelais ... (or, when to say this PhD thesis is good enough)

August committee co-members

We, denizens of the Upper Aetherial Realms, commit all our work to our common repository (well, Professor Heartthrob commits our common work to [Spam] folder, but the rest of us do :) so we are up to very latest latest on the latest PhD thesis saga:
On Mon, Nov 7, 2016 at 3:23 AM, TheStudent wrote:
Author: TheStudent
I've addressed everything I intend to
Let me translate this for you.

In Gargantua and Pantagruel Rabelais thus describes the birth of the giant Gargantua (AKA PhD thesis):

Whereupon an old ugly trot in the company, who had the repute of an expert she-physician, and was come from Brisepaille, near to Saint Genou, three score years before, made her so horrible a restrictive and binding medicine, and whereby all her larris, arse-pipes, and conduits were so oppilated, stopped, obstructed, and contracted, that you could hardly have opened and enlarged them with your teeth, which is a terrible thing to think upon; seeing the Devil at the mass at Saint Martin's was puzzled with the like task, when with his teeth he had lengthened out the parchment whereon he wrote the tittle-tattle of two young mangy whores.
... and so has TheStudent's thesis adviser been lengthening out the parchment whereon he has been writing his desiderata for the said theses; TheStudent reports that it is a multi-branched, exceedingly lengthy affair with rewrites of the rewrites. The said adviser has pulled the same trick as for TheStudent-1 a year ago. He ignored our thrice, clearly and loudly repeated request that we take the signed committee approval of the thesis over to Chair, and is clutching it to his breast, unsigned by him as until such time he is fully satisfied with the said student's implementation of the aforementioned multi-sheeted Riemann parchment diktats.
One is inclined to think that this all has to either with male menopause, or something Newt Gingrich adds to the water in Gingrichland, north of I-285, but no - unbeknownst to the adviser, the aforementioned thesis committee member made TheStudent-2 write an entire new chapter in the 2008 thesis, before giving up hope, and writing to the lowly student that this was the Thesis of Missed Opportunities. Which is the work that in periods is one of the most cited article in the lowly Journal of Aqueous Mechanics, and upon which the entire reputation of several professors of tenure as honorable plumbers' guild members rests. But who are they to judge, with their lowly Cornell and MIT pedigrees.

So starting today, what TheStudent says in the above is: No More Rewrites. The matter is coming to the head fast, as the thesis has to be approved and uploaded in a week:)
Aeternally Yours
PS clearly, this is an email from a professor who should instead be glued to, completing the NSF report in the face of a very fast approaching deadline :) 
PPS This actually is not our favorite translation. You can try it in the original, if your medieval Latin and French are in good shape - the modern French footnotes for each page tend to run to many pages:)

Tuesday, February 02, 2016

Windbag senior calling, and what Googlitta understands

If a woman from Inhuman Resources records a message for me, Googlitta transcribes it 100% spot on. But if it my beloved calls, or Stanford-trained literata reads a sonnet, or my most articulate Columbia professor calls, what Googlitta transcribes is a 100% riot. Here are three consecutive calls:
hello hello you are receiving this message i can tell there's a lot of blood in my ear from your phone so i don't know what it was okay anyway so few days back you more calls anyways he's in town everyone starting to change you supposedly machine's not keelin chinese food say one see this movie with me please call betty mccollough i was talking to somebody else in the room so i didn't quite catch it alright i know that the restaurant hello kitty street facility but i don't know her name because it in my could you tell me the date so we agreed to meet but i don't know what we're supposed to meet at like a copay every night so i'm trying to find you tomorrow and i can i guess persian cat doesn't exist anymore at least her number is answering machine or some such so i'm calling to ask you if you have any information on how i could reach you 2 more can you give me his phone number which turns out to be a cell number is you but it doesn't sound like the correct number could you send text to let number but it's not doing any good so you a little advice or even listen to solve this problem and i would be grateful for it and i send you my humble apologies for this foolishness but i don't know what else to do thank you for your ever use your help bye bye
Play message
  and the 2nd attempt:
pembroke there's some guy talking on my computer and i think he's pretending to be you but i couldn't tell what language it was it something about a persian cat i don't know what the hell it was so good morrow my road to confirm our appointment which i don't think it's too late but i miss printed and i said 48th street and he's confirm 48th street where is the other days and 58 so i still have it i don't know if since i don't know how to get to it i think if you're available i know something about 3 up over this chinese restaurant is i would be very grateful if you would call and tell me I'm sitting by the cellphone that you chose and hope for the best but this is crazy read well allen wolf another problem but i won't go into that now so please tell me what the hell is going on bye bye
Play message
 and the 3rd attempt:
but i have not reached period she told her which color heard was her computer and i'm by the computer my computer there was a voicemail of a voice i don't recognize it all it'll i think it was claiming to be you what's going on in the world and asked to enter mark well he hasn't improved there it is bye bye
Play message
Who needs poetry when we have Deep Data.

I, of the Atlanta Command Center, found the address of the Manhattan restaurant, and directed the Windbag Senior to it. He writes:
I finally reached I., but before I got your timely message. We agreed to meet on the corner of 48th St. and 5th Ave.

But you know how it is with mice and men.  Wu Liang Ye  is closed for renovation.  After some phone calls, I. led the troops to Shun Lee, formerly on 24th St. It's not the place for staying slim.  Even I. admitted to being a bit overweight.

May Aeolus smile on your ventures.  ----  Sine labore nihil

Sunday, January 31, 2016

Academics Say

another problem we face: I just cannot do twitter, the idea of a constant stream of tweets is too scary. But this is hilarious, so here is a link (for myself), so I can find it again:

The Pedants' Revolt

Deep down, academics want the same thing as everyone else: acceptance, with minor revisions.

Why doubt yourself, when anonymous reviewers will do it for free.

In the end, we are all two drinks away from being interdisciplinary.

Warning: conference deadlines are closer than they appear.

"Having trouble addressing the final point from this proofreader."

A doctoral student and their advisor walk into a bar. The advisor orders a rough draft and they sit in awkward silence for eight months.

To err is human. To err repeatedly is research.

Kaj mogu, purger sam

Fjesbuk je velika crna rupa, pa cu ovdje ovo sačuvati:

Kaj mogu, purger sam, Gollmayer mi kmetiška rodbina gre pač za nemške priseljence, ki so pa bili vsaj že v 1. pol. 18. stol. udomačeni v radovljiškem okraju. Zato i kazem: ajnprenica, buhtla, perec, knedla, auspuh, blic, cimer, beštek, farba, feder, flaša, fleka, fušariti, gemišt, gojzerica, hauba, haustor, karfiol, kek, kifla, kinderbet, koštati, kremšnita, klofati, krigla, krumpir, lojtre, kremšnita, kupleraj, majstor, oberliht, plac, paradajz, pegl, rolete, remen, rostfraj, ruksak, sekirati se, šajba, šalter, šank, šarafnciger, šeflja, šihta, šlag, šlank, šlamperaj, šminka, šnicla, špotati, špek, špahtla, špica, špreha, štand, šteker, štikla, štrudla, švercer, tri frtlja sedam, vešmašina, na vuri, zacopati se, zrihtati se, žemlja.

Saturday, January 09, 2016

Poincaré's work habits

[...] his way of working further dismantles the idea that Poincaré pursued a path of pure intuition. He worked regularly from 10 till 12 in the morning and from 5 till 7 in the late afternoon. He found that working longer seldom achieved anything, but that it was not always possible to switch off, which was why he never worked in the evenings. He took a complete rest when on holiday.

Henri Poincaré
A Scientific Biography


from Flannery O'Connor's diaries

She said she treated everybody alike whether it were a person with money or a black nigger. She told me all about the low life in Wilkinson County. I seldom know in any given circumstances whether the Lord is giving me a reward or a punishment. She didn't know she was funny and it was agony to laugh and I reckon she increased my pain about 100% .