Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Ten Million Bucks to Learn to Program...


Erik Winfree's DNA and Natural Algorithms Group at my alma mater is arguably already the best in the world at programming DNA; they publish in Nature and Science like clockwork. I don't know the U-Dub guys, but I assume they're good, too.

So, over the next few years, I expect marvelous advances. Good luck to them! We'll be watching and waiting.

Internet-connected Windshield Wipers

A couple of days ago, Vint Cerf appeared on The Guardian, talking about the future of the Internet (what else?). He mentioned that "Researchers in Japan recently proposed using data from vehicles' windscreen wipers and embedded GPS receivers to track the movement of weather systems through towns and cities with a precision never before possible. It may seem academic, but understanding the way severe weather, such as a typhoon, moves through a city could save lives."

That's the iCar project, headed by Kei Uehara, here in the Internet Research Lab at Keio's Shonan Fujisawa Campus. The project has been running for more than a decade, and has strong ties to industry groups. Current work includes industry standardization of the privacy aspects of information uploaded by probes attached to vehicles, and the like.

The particular tidbit about the windshield wiper info goes back to about the year 2000, I'm told. It has even been featured in short TV segments about the project.

The WIDE folks are visionaries, I tell ya :-).

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Tom Sawyer in Tokyo, via Karachi

Hiya bibliophiles,

I bought an old, red, hardback copy of Tom Sawyer in Jimbocho, the famous used book district of Tokyo, and have been reading it to my nine-year-old daughter. (To my intense delight, she begs me not to stop reading.)

It's undated, and unillustrated, and includes a few typographic mistakes or omissions (such as saying, "See the next page" for some illustration which doesn't exist).

Mine appears to use the same chapter headings as the Random edition, according to Mark West. It does not, btw, say "complete and unabridged" anywhere, but it certainly feels complete.

My guess, based on the age and condition, is that it was printed in the 1920s or 30s. Here's the title page:

It also includes an embossed seal, which I'm guessing is a bookseller's:

Pan-American Commercial, Inc.
Elphinstone Street

According to Wikipedia, the name of Elphinstone Street was changed to Zaibunnisa Street in 1970, so presumably my copy passed through Pakistan in the 1960s or earlier, before coming to Japan. Quite a trek for a book.

Thought you would enjoy the tale.

(Yes, I tinkered with the lighting on the second image using Gimp. Apologies for the generally poor image quality; those were taken hand-held in low light. The camera and lens are fine, but I didn't have a tripod available last night, and didn't mess with the in-camera choice of lighting adjustment.)

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

25th MSST

Don't forget to register for the 25th IEEE Symposium on Massive Storage Systems and Technologies!

This conference series has a long history, and has produced some fascinating discussions, especially about very large datasets (particle physics and the like). This year, the symposium is moving to a different format. See the web site for details.