Monday, September 10, 2007

The Foo Fighters do the best music videos

One of my flatmates showed me this ripper of a music video last week. I'm not the world's biggest "Foo Fighters" fan, but I think this is a great song and a great clip.

Does anyone else have any good music videos they want to share?

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Monday, September 03, 2007

Congratulations Dr Cat!

One of my good friends and collaborators, Caterina Mora, is now officially Dr Cat. Yay!

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Greatest song ever?

For the boys, you guys know who you are:

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

It's time to call it

Mark has an excellent post over at LP today. He points out that Howard's approach to this election is going over the top and if he continues in this way he's surely going to lose it. Howard's saturation coverage is having the effect of making him look desperate.

His plan, as has been suggested widely, is to call the election as late as possible while keeping the blowtorch on the ALP in the hope that with every passing week he manages to claw some supporters back. The thing is, people are getting more and more sick of the saturation coverage of this political contest. People are getting bored. If this trend continues Howard is finished.

Howard is looking like a good leader, he's looking desperate and the public can see this. People don't want to vote for an old man who is doing everything to cling to power. What happens if he gets it? Will the public have to endure another three years of this crap? I don't think anyone wants it. It's time for Howard to realize that his approach isn't working. His capital is spent. He has to step aside and give someone else a go or call the election.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Old media rules!

I loved the line:

In your face interested American public! We report! You shut your fu*#ing mouth!

John Howard - now an even older grumpy old man!

Happy birthday John. I really hope that this is your last birthday as PM...

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Banner change

I really should get around to changing my banner photo sometime soon seeing as there aren't really any mountains in these parts.

Apartment hunting is driving me nuts

Well, I know I've been crap at updating my blog recently but the real world has been getting in the way far too much. As many of you know I'm now living in Bristol. I start working in the CS department at the University of Bristol next week.

This week, I'm trying to get my life somewhat organized before I start work. Unfortunately, job number one - finding a place to live - is proving to be tricky. I'm trying to land a room in a sharehouse for around 350 pounds a month but I'm struggling to find anything. I'm looking at a few places tonight, so, with luck, one of them will come through. Fortunately, I'm not stuck staying in a hotel or something because a friend of mine has been kind enough to let me stay at his apartment. Still, I'm a bit over living out of my backpack.

On top of that, I'm not actually 100 % sure what my salary will be once I start working. I know, some of you out there in business land will be mocking me. But the thing is that I'm getting paid an award wage. The award and how it is decided actually changes this month so it is far from clear what my take home salary will be. 

Other jobs that I still have to nail down include getting a national insurance number, a national health number, and my university ID card. I suspect that the Uni will take care of some of this, however, the person who normally does this is away on holiday.

So, this post isn't so much making a point as having a whinge. For all the kiddies out there, this is the sort of crap that you have to deal with when you work in a field where you have to keep switching jobs.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

The tri-nations begins

How long has it been since I've written about Rugby? I was in the UK on the weekend and for the first time since forever I was able to watch Australia play live. You know what, I was impressed by what I saw.

Australian Rugby has been in trouble this year. The Super 14 season was pretty much a dud for every team except the Brumbies,  the ARU has been completely mismanaged (as have some of the state Unions), and the Wallabies in the warm-up tests have been somewhat shaky. This was all blown away last week. To begin with John O'Neal was reappointed as the CEO of the ARU, then the Wallabies lost in a a nail biter to South Africa.

Normally, I wouldn't be crowing about a loss to South Africa. But, this year South Africa have had all the form. By all accounts, South African teams played superbly during the Super 14 and the form has flowed on to the Springboks. For Australia to be considered contenders at the World Cup this year they had to be more than in the game against South Africa. They had to show that they have the potential to take away the big games. Even though they lost the game, it could have gone either way. In the end, I think Australia ultimately lost because of three bad lineout throws from the replacement hooker. If one these throws hadn't happened the game could have easily gone the other way.

The Australian backs, with the exception of Julien Huxley, all looked dominant in their positions. Huxley had a mediocre game with the boot which, in a game dominated by territorial kicking, hurt Australia somewhat. However, defence was superb.

The performance of the forward pack made me smile more than anything else throughout the game. The Wallaby scrum easily matched the Springbok scrum and the lineouts (until Adam Frier came on) were a great spectacle. A little less obvious than this was the improvement of the Australians at the breakdown. For the first time in years the Australian forward pack looked fast and aggressive. When in possession the forward pack (with Lote Tequiri) continually made it over the advantage line and maintained possession. When George Smith was on the field the South Africans had to fight like nothing else to retain the ball at more rucks than they would have liked to count. More importantly, Australia were able to not only shut-down the Springbok rolling maul, but they were able to use their own as an attacking weapon.

I'm no-longer completely depressed about Australia's chances at this year's world cup!

Monday, June 18, 2007

I'm moving to Bristol

Regular readers would remember that I visited the University of Bristol a month or so ago for a job interview. Well, my interview and talk went pretty well and I got offered a job there a few weeks back. I've been keeping it somewhat under my hat (ie I haven't posted this until today) because I was waiting for the paperwork to come through.

If all goes to plan (which it seems to be at the moment) I will be starting a two-year postdoc position in the quantum information theory group at Bristol in August. The appointment is the Computer Science department, which is a little weird for me as I've always worked in physics departments. I'm kinda looking forward to the change though, I think it will be a great opportunity to learn some interesting new stuff.

As many of you would know, moving to the UK is going to make my personal life pretty tricky. My girlfriend and I have been living together now for about 18 months and now with this new job we are going to have to go back to being in a long-distance relationship again as Sarah will be stuck studying in Innsbruck until February next year. This isn't something that I'm really happy about. Those of you that know me personally know that I've been trying to find other work and living options for some time in order to avoid this outcome. Unfortunately it hasn't worked out the way we want. I guess in many ways it could be worse, there isn't a huge amount of distance between Bristol and Innsbruck.

Professionally, I'm very happy to be moving to Bristol. I've been a big fan of the work that has come out of there for years. I also have a bunch of friends who already work there so I don't think I'll be too lonely there. Oh, and Bristol is only an hour and a half away from London where I know roughly a zillion people both professionally and personally.

Friday, June 08, 2007

Scirate.com keeps getting better and better

Dave had been busy improving SciRate.com in the last week or two. Now you can comment and there's a funky little "recent comments" and "recent Scitations" box on the side.

It's really great to see that people are already getting on board and writing comments about papers!

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

I'm blogging politics at Larvatus Prodeo from now on

I just thought I'd let people know that from now on I will be posting most of my political posts over at Larvatus Prodeo as one of the regulars there. My first article as a regular can be found here.

Sometimes I might cross-post my articles between the two blogs when it makes sense to do so.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

So true

PhD comics rips out another classic.

Coffee tastes better in Italy

One of the best things about living in Europe is that it's easy to travel between countries.
On the weekend I dipped down to Italy for the day to check out Bolzano, a town in Süd Tirol. Bolzano is just over the border with Austria and culturally it is quite similar to Innsbruck. Fortunately, the Italian influence is just strong enough to demand a high standard in coffee!

Here are some pics from Bolzano:





Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Where's mick?

Following the example of Dave I thought I'd start posting my travel plans for all the world to see.

For the next week or so I'll be heading to the UK. I will be traveling to Bristol for an interview and will be there till the weekend. After that I'll be in London where I will catch up with a whole bunch of people and maybe sneak in a little research on the side.

On Thursday I'm giving a talk to the quantum information theory group at the University of Bristol. If any of you are interested the title and the abstract can be found below:

Title: To what extent can one quantum system simulate another?

Abstract:

Quantum computers are an example of a large class of quantum-control systems that are capable of simulating the Hamiltonian dynamics of any finite-dimensional system. It turns out that many such systems have the same computational power as a quantum computer, at least when one assumes perfect control operations. For some simulation problems this is a blessing, as in when you want to simulate the dynamics of a k-local Hamiltonian, and for others this is a curse, for instance when you want to find spectral information of a k-local Hamiltonian. In this talk I will discuss some of the key challenges ahead in the field of quantum simulation, in particular I will focus on the problem of identifying systems that are universal for quantum computation (and simulation) and on the effects of noise on certain quantum simulation protocols.

Friday, May 04, 2007

Thursday, May 03, 2007

What got me into politics

Yes minister:

Season 1, Episode 1, first half:

 

 Season 1, Episode 1, second half:

 

Err, Season 1, Episode 1, third half...

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Well, I tried

I don't know how many regular readers noticed me mucking around with the template of this blog yesterday. I was attempting to switch over to one of the New Blogger templates. Unfortunately, I seem to be encountering real conflict issues between the Haloscan commenting system which I am using and the style editors in the new template. I have no idea why, but it seems when I install Haloscan comments the new Haloscan code puts itself all through the layout widgets. In particular, it screws up the header a lot.

I wish I could ditch Haloscan and keep my old comments somehow...

Update: Bloody hell, I actually managed to fix it. Basically I just hacked the New Blogger template directly and ignored anything that Haloscan said. It all seems to work now...

Oh, and this website kinda helped though it wasn't completely what I wanted it was enough to give me an idea about what to hack.

Monday, April 30, 2007

Who is the greatest on-screen physicist?

Weird question no? This is the sort of stuff that I worry about as I fall asleep at night. Well no, not really but it's something that I thought about late last night after watching Spiderman 2.

I'm gonna go all out there and say that Spiderman, or rather Peter Parker, is the best fictional character that is both a physicist and has appeared on the big screen.

Can anyone out there come up with a better big-screen physicist? Here are some that I thought up, each of which is way less cool than Spiderman:

  • Dr Otto Octavius (the bad guy in Spiderman 2)
  • Bruce Banner (The Hulk)
  • Dr Emmett Brown ("Doc" from Back to the Future)
  • Eddie (A physicist played by Keanu Reeves in the crappy movie "Chain Reaction")
  • Angela Merkel (whoops, unfortunately she's not a movie character)

Anyway, I'm totally hanging (ha, I totally meant that pun) to see Spiderman 3 in the coming week or so...

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Where have I been the last few weeks?

I've been on a bit of an unannounced hiatus for the last three weeks. This wasn't because I was intentionally avoiding blogging, but rather because since Easter I've either been snowed under or on holiday.

One of the major blogging killers of the last three weeks was the IQING conference that I was running here in Innsbruck. Unfortunately, as an organizer I felt a bit left-out of the scientific side of the conference. I only had time to make it to a few sessions, and in those I was either the chairperson or I was busy trying to work out very interesting things like how much coffee needed to be bought for the next coffee break.

Luckily though, I did get to go to a few really high quality talks. The ones that really stood out for me were:

  • Joe Renes' introductory tutorial on quantum communication and cryptography.
  • Marcus Cramer's tutorial on quantum dynamics.
  • David Gross's talk on using the matrix product state formalism to find new families of quantum states that are universal for one-way quantum computing.
  • Konrad Kieling's talk about the relationship percolation and cluster-state generation (a special mention should go to Konrad for carrying on superbly after we had a little IT meltdown which was in no way his fault).
  • Daniel Burgath on quantum state transfer through spin chains.
  • Christian Burrell on Lieb-Robinson bounds in certain disordered Hamiltonian systems.
  • Richard Low on quantum algorithms for Fourier Transforms on SU(2).
  • Ashley Montanaro's talk on establishing lower bounds on the entanglement-assisted quantum communication complexity.

There are probably a few other talks that I've forgotten, so apologies if I have forgotten anything.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Happy Easter!

Oh, and Happy Easter everyone!

IQING 5 countdown

Sorry for my lack of blogging this week, my co-organizers and I have spent the week finalizing everything for IQING 5, which is starting next Wednesday. If you are interested in the scientific content of the meeting, you can download a book of abstracts here.

If you are attending the workshop you might be interested in all the new information we've put up on the website in the last few days.

Friday, March 30, 2007

MC Rove - lame, so very very lame

Jon Stewart sums up the abysmal shenanigans at the White House correspondents dinner last night:

 

 I couldn't bring myself to actually post the video of the performance, it's just way too crap for this blog. Sorry but it has to be said, KARL ROVE YOU ARE CRAP AND IN NO WAY ARE YOU FUNNY.

Instead, here's a link to Stephen Colbert's speech at last year's correspondents dinner - which is probably the reason why they had such a lame performance last night.

Go UQ go! again...

I just heard that my old frisbee team, the UQ Ultimate Lovers, have won the Dog Cup (Brisbane's elite-level ultimate frisbee competition) for the first time!

Congratulations to Brett, John and all the others involved!

Go UQ go!

My brother (who I am super-proud of) is currently representing UQ and Australia at the "Jessup International Law Moot Court Competition" in Washington DC. I just thought I'd draw people's attention to the fact that his team are totally awesome (they recently won the Australian championships) and that they have made their way to the quarter finals!

Apparently they come up against a team from University College, from the University of London on Friday morning in the quarters. If they beat them then they will face up against the University of Sydney or King's College in the semi's...

Wouldn't it be awesome if you could chant during moot court?

Go UQ go! Woohoo!

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Quantum cat posting

Given that posting cute cat pictures pretty much eats up all the internet bandwidth that isn't used for pornography, it was probably only a matter of time before someone started posting quantum cat pictures.

Please, no Schroedinger cat jokes in the comments.

Hat tip to Zarquon who posted a link in the comments at LP.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

For Flic

My friend Flic flagged this Colbert gem:

 

Policy Pr0n

Cross posted at LP, if you would like to comment please do it there:

Inspired by this thread and the Ruddsters Rampant Rollout I have a question for LP readers of all political persuasions:

In the upcoming election campaign what are the "dream" policies that you would love to hear your political party of choice put out there? More concisely, in the next term what do you want your government to do for you?

This question is pretty vague because I'd like you guys to throw your ideas down, I'm also really interested in hearing why you think that your dream policy should (or could) be delivered by the government? Think big and small, everything from fixing the potholes in your street to delivering on that old-fashioned world peace thing. What is it that you really really want from your government and how does it fit into your vision of Australia's future?

Here is my attempt at getting the ball rolling:

In the upcoming election campaign I want to see the major parties argue over a detailed plan demonstrating how they are going to improve the research standards in Australia to ensure that we remain competitive against the US and Europe over the next 20 years. I don't want to hear the Liberal Party's ideologically driven rhetoric about privatisation. I don't want to hear piecemeal Labor Party lines about creating an "Innovation Nation" without a considered plan. I want to see our government serious about creating an environment that will make the world's industry leaders and the Australian public want to invest in Australian research instead of European or American research. I want to hear Kevin Rudd or John Howard say, "Anything they can do at MIT we will do better", briefly followed by, "and this is how I'm going to make it happen...".

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Nerdliness

I'm so hanging to get something with this in it. IBM are officially awesome.

Friday, March 23, 2007

What's this all about?

Apparently the Iranian Revolutionary Guard's navy have captured  15 British sailors and marines and taken them from Iraqi waters into Iranian territory.

Hopefully this situation is just some sort of mistake and doesn't get out of control...

The operating system wars

I'm not usually one to get involved in the operation system wars, but I thought that this clip was pretty funny:

 

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Where do YouTubers find the time?

Ever since I started blogging I've regularly been asked the question, "where do you find the time to do it?".

I don't know how many of you really keep track of this blog, but there are very few articles on it that take me more than five minutes or so to write. I think the hardest thing about blogging is keeping track of the 'sphere in general. If I drop out for a week or so it can be really hard to keep track of what has been going on out there in the intertubes. It's also hard to keep track of the great new blogs that are emerging all the time.

Nothing however is has hard as keeping up with whatever crazy shite is going down on YouTube on a daily basis. These guys invest some serious time into making their clips, commenting on other people's clips, and basically busting out with the crazy shenanigans.There are some seriously talented, creative, and committed people in that community that I really admire.

Why am I going on about this, well I saw this clip today and I just got to thinking "how the hell does he find the time for this stuff?":

 

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Twirling, twirling, twirling towards freedom

Cross posted at LP.

People have been saying it for months now, Howard thinks that he can win this election by playing the "man of conviction" role and talking up his government's economic credentials. In the past week we've seen him try to play his great international leader shtick, only to have his message drowned out by the Santoro scandal.

 
You have to hand it to him, the plan was beautiful. Last week he signs the defense pact with Japan, jumps a plane to Afghanistan, and then to Iraq. This is all meant to build a perception that Howard is a leader full of resolve who is serious about victory in Iraq and Afghanistan. More importantly it was designed to look like Howard has control over the situation in these countries.

 
Then comes this week and the fourth anniversary of the invasion of Iraq. Howard, having been seen to be micromanaging the Australian involvement in the previous week, quite obviously has "a plan" and so is immune from all sorts of sticky questions like "what do you think of the fact that George Bush didn't say the word 'victory' once during his address to the American people?". Then, Howard gets the opportunity to get back on the front foot against Labor by  giving a speech marking the occasion. He puts on his "great leader of the nation" face and suggests that Iraqis need "our resolve, not our retreat" and "patience, not political positioning". The whole speech is designed to build the perception that Labor's withdrawal policy is confused and to push the line that victory in Iraq will come with conviction. He leaves it unsaid that obviously he has plenty of conviction and resolve all sorts of really great leadership qualities.

 
Howard asks Australians to leave aside any issues that we might have had about going to war in the first place and to focus on the future. However, what we don't hear is anything about what his brilliant strategic vision for success is. His only attempt at addressing this key issue is to presume that "the surge" will actually work if given enough time. What happens to Iraq if the surge is a failure? Do we put in more troops? Do we pull them out? Do we re-deploy? Do we stay the course and hope that things will change? None of these questions are discussed.


Howard's speech is all about perception and has little substance. That's the take-home message. It will be interesting to see who in the media realizes that nothing in Howard's speech is new, it has just been framed with a whole lot of new rhetoric. His language is designed to give Australians the sense that victory in Iraq requires nothing but grit and determination, that somehow the Iraqi civil war is simply a test of our nation's character. Behind his words he is pushing the mythical message that Kevin Rudd and the Labor party do not have the strength to lead Australia because they do not share his conviction.

Howard's whole game reminds me of this classic line of Kodos' (masquerading as Bill Clinton) from the Simpsons:


"My fellow Americans. As a young boy, I dreamed of being a baseball, but tonight I say, we must move forward, not backward, upward not forward, and always twirling, twirling, twirling towards freedom!"

Awesomeness in a movie

"Pirates of the Caribbean 3 - At World's End" is being released in a couple of months. Awesome.

 

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Should I publish research ideas on my blog?

(Note: The ideas in this article aren't strictly my own. I'm borrowing most of this from discussions I've had with various people including: Dave Bacon, Jennifer Dodd, Mike Nielsen, Aram Harrow, Caterina Mora, Joe Renes, Andrew Hines, Gavin Brennen, Frank Verstraete, and Scott Aaronson.)

I've been thinking a lot lately about the ways in which us quantum information geeks discuss and disperse ideas. Traditionally, academic discourse has been via published journals and conferences (that often have conference proceedings where people have the opportunity to formalize whatever it was that they talked about in their talk or poster). There are a lot of downsides to both of these processes. Leaving aside the very large issues of the sometimes prohibitive cost of journals and conferences and the general worth of the refereeing process, there is the very physical problem of time.

Writing, refereeing, and ultimately publishing papers is a time intensive process - as is the process of reading, understanding and categorizing the relevance of research results. The birth of the arXiv saw scientists realize that many of the tasks of discussion and dispersion of new research results could be done in parallel. People began to put unpublished preprints on the arXiv which sped up the process of scientific discussion. Scientists who are confident in their abilities can "sort the wheat from the chaff" and can proceed to use non-refereed results to further their own research. In essence, for many papers that hit the arXiv there is little necessity to wait for the published version to appear in a journal before using the results.

Obviously, this whole arXiv experiment has its downsides. Once someone has permission to post papers on the arXiv the only moderation that exists is to prevent potentially offensive material from being published. There is little to no control over the validity of the content of any papers. If you want to use a result that you see on the arXiv that hasn't been refereed you are doing so at your own risk. Fortunately this has not proven to be a huge problem for the majority of arXiv users however as science is driven by reputation.

If you've ever spent much time involved in the "climate change wars" on the interwebs you will have seen endlessly the argument that science is not a democracy as opinions are always weighed against authority, experience and reputation. This reality about the nature of science provides a measure of control over the content of the arXiv - if you throw a lot of junk up then you will eventually end up with a reputation as a junk scientist. Not unlike the tale of "the boy who cried wolf" no-one will notice if you publish quality material as they will simply cease to read your work and your scientific credibility will gradually dissolve.

So far, the arXiv has worked pretty well as a way of speeding up scientific discourse and making the job of searching for relevant results simpler. The big question is whether the arXiv will continue to be useful with the passage of time and in the face of a growing number of contributed papers?

My experience is with the quant-ph subsection of the arXiv. The quant-ph arXiv has in recent years seen a gradual increase in the average number of papers posted daily. This has been due to the explosion of interest in the fields of quantum information science and quantum and atom optics. As the number of daily articles increases it becomes harder to notice important new results especially from relatively unknown authors. The problem of increasing field popularity has always existed in science. Traditionally it is dealt with in a number of ways. Physics journals have normally managed this problem by dividing popular fields up into sub-specialties and by providing new journals and sections for emergent fields. However, for a field like quantum information science, which draws it strength from being at the intersection of many fields, this approach could be seriously flawed. In addition to this we have always used conferences as a way of dispersing new ideas. The thesis has always been that the really good ideas don't get missed, they might take a while to surface but eventually they will be noticed by the field.

My question is, can we use communications technology to improve the nature of our scientific discourse? A very relevant, and very useful example of how "web 2.0" ideas can be adapted directly to science is Dave Bacon's recently launched website (http://scirate.com) which uses the idea of "digging" and applies it to the daily quant-ph feed. This website works by letting you "scite" a paper that you like, then it is hoped that with time popular articles will become noticed as they will be "scited" often. In addition to this, Dave has launched through his blog "The Quantum Pontiff" and the "SciRate blog" a monthly article discussing the months most "scited" papers. It is important to note that such services are designed purely to simplify the task of sorting through papers, not to replace it.

SciRate has been developed on the back of a trend for people in the field of quantum information science (I'm picking this as an example, it is more than apparent in other fields as well) in the last couple of years which has seen people increasingly use the internet to discuss current research. While physicists have been using email since it began to discuss work, this process is essentially one that is done behind closed doors. What we have seen emerge in recent years, especially with the advent of blogs and wikis, is the public discussion of current research.

Anyone who has hung out with physicists knows that "shop talk" can almost never be avoided. So it isn't surprising in the slightest that when people like Dave, Scott, Mike, Aram, and to a much lesser extent people like me (and the many others that I've left out) began to blog that work discussions would become unavoidable. More and more we are seeing Scott and Dave post articles that are relevant to very recent papers and we are seeing real-time discussions between various leaders in our field taking place in a very public forum. Such discussions aren't normally available to people who aren't working at the premier institutions in quantum information theory and as such I think that these blogs are becoming an invaluable asset.

I have often mused, as have many others, as to whether we'll see blogs or some other form of technology take over from the old process of writing and refereeing papers. While my mood on this seems to change with the week, I'm currently of the opinion that this won't happen. Papers give people the opportunity to carefully think out and refine their ideas over a relatively long period of time. A good paper can be the compilation of years of work, carefully condensed to produce a particular result. While there's nothing stopping people from doing this in a blog article, it seems that blogs are, for the most part, about the rapid discussion of ideas. In my own head I see a blog as being more like a chalkboard in the middle of a discussion with twenty people than a well-reviewed PRL. Blogs, in the quantum information context, seem to me to be developing into a form of media for commentary on our own field. While blogs since their inception have been a way of commenting on events in the news media. We are now seeing the development of a alternative media culture within the quantum information community. I guess my experience within the political blogosphere has biased me to think that this has to be a good thing for the community, but I guess time will tell.

Finally, I guess I should get around to the topic the title of this post. In my discussions with other physics bloggers one question frequently arises, "should I post new research ideas on a blog?". For the most part, this question is asked out of a fear of losing credit for your idea. As I've had it put to me, "I don't have enough good ideas to give them away for free". Personally, I'd like to see a culture develop where people are credited for their ideas no matter the forum where they are presented. However, being a postdoc who is finding it hard enough to get employment as it is, does it make more sense for me to hoard my knowledge and use what I can of it to publish papers to further my career? Or should I put all my ideas out here for the world to see in the hope that if they are useful to someone they will give me the credit (and that there is some way of showing a prospective employer that I got the credit for that idea)?

I'd really love to hear people's ideas on any or all of the things that I've mentioned in this post. So if you have some thoughts, please post them.

The Democrat primaries are getting nasty

 

I just saw this on YouTube:

 

Obviously I don't know if Obama's team planned this, but even if they weren't involved it demonstrates that there is a lot of hostility among many Democrats towards Hillary Clinton. I guess we have one hell of a primary season ahead of us.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Howard reeks of desperation

It seems that John Howard has decided to take a play right out of the Republican handbook - when you are getting hammered in the polls pay a token visit to your troops in a combat zone.

Apparently Howard has flown to Afghanistan on the way back from Japan (I don't really see how that is "on the way back") in order to gather information about the possibility of increasing the Australian troop deployment there. This reeks of absolute desperation, why would Howard ever need to go to Afghanistan to gather information?

This is quite simply a political stunt which is designed to make Howard look more like a leader and less like the mud-flinging desiccated coconut that has occupied the national stage in the past few weeks. I don't think that the public will fall for it. Indeed, I think that they will be outraged that Howard has wasted money on such a obviously useless escapade.

Friday, March 02, 2007

Stuck in Chicago

I'm stuck in Chicago right now. My plan was to fly from Munich to Albuquerque via Chicago and then to catch a bus to Santa Fe on Saturday. That plan came unstuck when there was a big-ass storm in Chicago about the time I was scheduled to land. This storm threw the airport into chaos mode and everything got delayed by hours.

Anyway, my original flight was cancelled and I was offered a flight on another airline leaving a couple of hours later. I only have about 1 day in my schedule on this trip to catch up with my mate Steve and some of his coworkers in Albuquerque. Well, I've been waiting here for hours watching my new flight's times getting pushed further and further back. What's the bet that I won't be flying out tonight?

At least there is a consistent supply of caffeine here to keep me going.

I've now been traveling for about 18 hours and God knows when that will end.

Update: Still waiting. 19 hours. American Airlines says that we are leaving in a little under 2 hours. Apparently our plane is on the way.

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

On my way to New Mexico

Tomorrow morning I'm on my way to New Mexico to be interviewed for a job at this institute.

I'm so hanging for a good burrito and a margarita.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Quantum computing for the masses

Scott Aaronson succeeds in combing the worst title with the best explanation of Shor's factoring algorithm.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Wonkette vs MySpace

Wonkette on the increasing politicization of "MySpace":

But by the time November 2008 comes around, it’s entirely possible that every single American will have a MySpace page and will be able to vote for president online by clicking the dancing Santa Claus zwinkie on the refinance/free ring tones/Match.com/Adult Friend Finder ad. Or maybe whoever has the most “friends” becomes president, which would be more legitimate than whatever the hell happened in 2000.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

What happened to my JJJ Hottest 100 countdown above 35?

Sean asks a very good question. Well, Ben made this comment and then not long later I found myself drinking beers and wearing  XXXX Gold hat at the Regatta Hotel waiting to meet up with Peter, Aggie and Stephanie for a night of shenanigans...

In the end I think I heard the rest of the countdown at the Regatta Hotel. Apparently it finished like this:

1
Augie March
One Crowded Hour

2
Eskimo Joe
Black Fingernails, Red Wine

3
Hilltop Hoods
The Hard Road

4
Killers
When You Were Young

5
Scissor Sisters
I Don't Feel Like Dancing

6
Gnarls Barkley
Crazy

7
Snow Patrol
Chasing Cars

8
Gotye
Hearts A Mess

9
Muse
Starlight

10
Grates
19-20-20

11
Little Birdy
Come On Come On

12
John Butler Trio
Funky Tonight

13
My Chemical Romance
Welcome To The Black Parade

14
OK GO
Here It Goes Again

15
Lily Allen
Smile

16
Peter Bjorn & John
Young Folks

17
Grates
Science Is Golden

18
Muse
Supermassive Black Hole

19
Lupe Fiasco
Kick Push

20
Regina Spektor
Fidelity

21
Youth Group
Forever Young

22
Tool
Vicarious

23
Hilltop Hoods
Clown Prince

24
Yeah Yeah Yeahs
Gold Lion

25
Placebo
Meds

26
Camille
Ta Douleur

27
Strokes
You Only Live Once

28
Saboteurs
Steady As She Goes

29
Tool
The Pot

30
Arctic Monkeys
When The Sun Goes Down

31
Killers
Bones

32
Butterfly Effect
Gone

33
Cops
Call Me Anytime

34
Red Hot Chili Peppers
Dani California

35
Lily Allen
LDN

36
Bob Evans
Nowhere Without You

37
Bob Evans
Don't You Think It's Time

38
Josh Pyke
Memories & Dust

39
Butterfly Effect
A Slow Descent

40
Basement Jaxx
Take Me Back To Your House

41
Hilltop Hoods
What A Great Night!

42
Grates
Inside Outside

43
Angus & Julia Stone
Paper Aeroplane

44
Lady Sovereign
Love Me Or Hate Me

45
Karnivool
Roquefort

46
AFI
Miss Murder

47
Pony Up!
The Truth About Cats & Dogs (Is That They Die)

48
Regina Spektor
On The Radio

49
Arctic Monkeys
Fake Tales Of San Francisco

50
Strokes
Heart In A Cage

51
Something For Kate
Cigarettes And Suitcases

52
Herd
Unpredictable

53
Living End
Wake Up

54
Eagles Of Death Metal
I Want You So Hard (Boy's Bad News)

55
Wolfmother
Woman (MSTRKRFT Remix)

56
Hilltop Hoods
Stopping All Stations

57
Josh Pyke
Private Education

58
Sarah Blasko
Always On This Line

59
Placebo
Song To Say Goodbye

60
Hot Chip
Over And Over

61
Foo Fighters
Everlong (Acoustic Live)

62
Justice Vs Simian
We Are Your Friends

63
TV On The Radio
Wolf Like Me

64
Something With Numbers
Apple Of The Eye

65
Bloc Party
The Prayer

66
Yeah Yeah Yeahs
Phenomena

67
AFI
Love Like Winter

68
Darren Hanlon
Happiness Is A Chemical

69
Beck
Nausea

70
Ben Folds
Such Great Heights (Like A Version)

71
Grates
Lies Are Much More Fun

72
Jet
Put Your Money Where Mouth Is

73
Matisyahu
King Without A Crown

74
Snow Patrol
Hands Open

75
Ben Kweller
Sundress

76
Jet
Rip It Up

77
Hilltop Hoods
Recapturing The Vibe

78
Placebo
Infra-Red

79
Sarah Blasko
Explain

80
Wolfmother
Love Train

81
Gnarls Barkley
Gone Daddy Gone

82
Freestylers/Pendulum
Painkiller

83
Butterfingers
Get Up Outta The Dirt

84
Thom Yorke
Black Swan

85
Infadels
Love Like Semtex

86
Kanye West
Touch The Sky

87
Ben Harper
Better Way

88
Pendulum
Tarantula

89
Arctic Monkeys
Mardy Bum

90
Jurassic 5
Work It Out (Feat. Dave Matthews Band)

91
Panic! At The Disco
The Only Difference Between Martyrdom & Suicide

92
Lily Allen
Alfie

93
Lily Allen
Everything's Just Wonderful

94
Gotye
Learnalilgivnanlovin

95
Eskimo Joe
New York

96
Red Riders
Slide In Next To Me

97
Pearl Jam
Worldwide Suicide

98
Gossip
Standing In The Way Of Control

99
Audioslave
Original Fire

100
Blue King Brown
Come And Check Your Head

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

QIP blogging

Well QIP has kicked off and we've already had a bunch of talks. The quality of the talks so far has been very high.

Off the top of my head I can count 6 quantum bloggers sitting here in the lecture theater at QIP, so, I'm guessing all of you who aren't here will hear a lot about what's going on at the conference. We have a wireless network here so we'll be posting often I guess...

Not a QIP party

Aggie is having a party in Brisbane on Friday night. It may have something to do with the fact that a lot of us all have friends in Brisbane at the moment (but nothing to do with QIP, even though I'm sure many people at QIP may be interested in attending).

Monday, January 29, 2007

Pre-QIP drinks

I thought I'd just point out to people attending QIP that a bunch of us are planning on having a few pre conference drinks tonight at "The Pavillion" at West End from about 7:30 PM.

The Pavillion's address is 123 Boundary St, West End. It's about a 15 minute walk from the conference venue. Here is a link to  where it is on Google maps.

Friday, January 26, 2007

JJJ Hottest 100 update

I've been pretty impressed by what I've heard so far. Sarah Blasko, so awesome. The Living End, amazing. On the hip hop front The Herd and the Hilltop Hoods have been awesome as well... 

I should point out that if you are overseas you can get a webstream of the countdown from the official site.

Well, here in Queensland we are still in the 40s, but here is the current list from the Hottest 100 website:

35
Lily Allen
LDN

36
Bob Evans
Nowhere Without You

37
Bob Evans
Don't You Think It's Time

38
Josh Pyke
Memories & Dust

39
Butterfly Effect
A Slow Descent

40
Basement Jaxx
Take Me Back To Your House

41
Hilltop Hoods
What A Great Night!

42
Grates
Inside Outside

43
Angus & Julia Stone
Paper Aeroplane

44
Lady Sovereign
Love Me Or Hate Me

45
Karnivool
Roquefort

46
AFI
Miss Murder

47
Pony Up!
The Truth About Cats & Dogs (Is That They Die)

48
Regina Spektor
On The Radio

49
Arctic Monkeys
Fake Tales Of San Francisco

50
Strokes
Heart In A Cage

51
Something For Kate
Cigarettes And Suitcases

52
Herd
Unpredictable

53
Living End
Wake Up

54
Eagles Of Death Metal
I Want You So Hard (Boy's Bad News)

55
Wolfmother
Woman (MSTRKRFT Remix)

56
Hilltop Hoods
Stopping All Stations

57
Josh Pyke
Private Education

58
Sarah Blasko
Always On This Line

59
Placebo
Song To Say Goodbye

60
Hot Chip
Over And Over

61
Foo Fighters
Everlong (Acoustic Live)

62
Justice Vs Simian
We Are Your Friends

63
TV On The Radio
Wolf Like Me

64
Something With Numbers
Apple Of The Eye

65
Bloc Party
The Prayer

66
Yeah Yeah Yeahs
Phenomena

67
AFI
Love Like Winter

68
Darren Hanlon
Happiness Is A Chemical

69
Beck
Nausea

70
Ben Folds
Such Great Heights (Like A Version)

71
Grates
Lies Are Much More Fun

72
Jet
Put Your Money Where Mouth Is

73
Matisyahu
King Without A Crown

74
Snow Patrol
Hands Open

75
Ben Kweller
Sundress

76
Jet
Rip It Up

77
Hilltop Hoods
Recapturing The Vibe

78
Placebo
Infra-Red

79
Sarah Blasko
Explain

80
Wolfmother
Love Train

81
Gnarls Barkley
Gone Daddy Gone

82
Freestylers/Pendulum
Painkiller

83
Butterfingers
Get Up Outta The Dirt

84
Thom Yorke
Black Swan

85
Infadels
Love Like Semtex

86
Kanye West
Touch The Sky

87
Ben Harper
Better Way

88
Pendulum
Tarantula

89
Arctic Monkeys
Mardy Bum

90
Jurassic 5
Work It Out (Feat. Dave Matthews Band)

91
Panic! At The Disco
The Only Difference Between Martyrdom & Suicide

92
Lily Allen
Alfie

93
Lily Allen
Everything's Just Wonderful

94
Gotye
Learnalilgivnanlovin

95
Eskimo Joe
New York

96
Red Riders
Slide In Next To Me

97
Pearl Jam
Worldwide Suicide

98
Gossip
Standing In The Way Of Control

99
Audioslave
Original Fire

100
Blue King Brown
Come And Check Your Head

Australia Day, the hottest 100 and ARC grants

Yep, that's my plan for today. Something that has become a bit of a Quantumbiodiscs tradition has been me working on Australia Day and liveblogging Triple J's Hottest 100.

This year it has a twist, I'm working on an Australian Research Council grant and I'm actually here in Oz listening to JJJ on the radio. I've been looking forward to listening to this for a while, it's been ages since I've been able to catch up with what music has been popular in Oz.

Any of you other Oz researchers out there getting your ARC proposals lined up while listening to the J's feel free to comment on this thread!

*Warning spoiler below if you aren't in Sydney's timezone*

Oh, and here is the current list of what's been played (though I'm in Queensland which is an hour behind NSW so it's more a preview of the next 20 songs or so):

 

79
Sarah Blasko
Explain

80
Wolfmother
Love Train

81
Gnarls Barkley
Gone Daddy Gone

82
Freestylers/Pendulum
Painkiller

83
Butterfingers
Get Up Outta The Dirt

84
Thom Yorke
Black Swan

85
Infadels
Love Like Semtex

86
Kanye West
Touch The Sky

87
Ben Harper
Better Way

88
Pendulum
Tarantula

89
Arctic Monkeys
Mardy Bum

90
Jurassic 5
Work It Out (Feat. Dave Matthews Band)

91
Panic! At The Disco
The Only Difference Between Martyrdom & Suicide

92
Lily Allen
Alfie

93
Lily Allen
Everything's Just Wonderful

94
Gotye
Learnalilgivnanlovin

95
Eskimo Joe
New York

96
Red Riders
Slide In Next To Me

97
Pearl Jam
Worldwide Suicide

98
Gossip
Standing In The Way Of Control

99
Audioslave
Original Fire

100
Blue King Brown
Come And Check Your Head

Happy Australia Day

What Tim said.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

SciRate.com is online

Dave has just publicly announced a new project that he has been playing with for a couple of months now.

SciRate.com is a website that allows you to rate new papers on the quant-ph arXiv each day.

How does this work?

You register with the site and everyday you go there and "SciTe" papers that you think are pretty snazzy.

Why would you want to do this?

I think Dave explained this pretty well:

"The idea came from the observation that while the arxiv is a amazing tool, one of the problems was that the volume of papers was high and, to put it bluntly, the quality of these papers was not necessarily so great. So the question became, how do I do something to filter out the arxiv? Now, of course, everyone will want a slightly different filter. One person’s noise might be indeed another persons operatic masterpeice. But there should be a way to produce at least “some” kind of filter based on the quality of the work. And certainly computers aren’t smart enough to do this filtering (okay that’s a challenge to all you AI people out there!) And using citations is too slow. But there is a group of experts out there who can do pretty good filtering…"

The website looks kinda bare-bones, is it finished yet?

Not by a long shot. There's a bunch of stuff that will be happening to it in the next few weeks (after QIP). If you have any ideas, let Dave know at the new SciRate blog. Oh, and keep your eyes on the SciRate website for new updates and new features...

Friday, January 19, 2007

Is John Howard too old for the job?

There has been a bit of an outcry about John Howard's little holiday in Broome earlier in the week, which I think Tim Dunlop summed it up best. Essentially, Tim points out that this episode should be a little worrying for members of Liberal party as it displays a lapse in political judgement.

Over at LP, Mark wrote an interesting piece yesterday about the potential consequences for the Liberal Party of Howard losing the election later this year. He pointed to the potentially massive leadership vacuum and a complete lack of policy clarity that that would be exposed. On that thread I commented that I think that if the the Libs should lose then they should take the opportunity to promote generational change by backing someone like Malcolm Turnball to be the new leader.

This highlighted to me an interesting question. How stable will the Liberal Party leadership be if they win the election? They will be stuck with a leader that will be looking increasingly old against a shadow cabinet from the next generation,  which will be rapidly gaining political experience. If they win, and they persist with Howard, then they will in all likelihood lose the following election and find themselves in opposition for an extremely long time. Essentially, they will have to ditch Howard if they win.

This point was raised by Tim Dunlop during the leadership spat between Costello and Howard last July. As Tim said, Howard is a lame duck. If he isn't too old for the job now he will be by 2010. A point surely not lost by the Labor Party. Labor has done its time in the wilderness, they have to demonstrate to the electorate that it's time for the Liberal Party to do the same.

Big week on the arXiv

Has anyone else noticed that the surf has been up on the arXiv this week?

It looks as though a lot of people are punching out the papers in preparation for QIP. Some of the papers that I expect I will be reading in the next few days include:

A simple family of nonadditive quantum codes

Authors: John A. Smolin, Graeme Smith, Stephanie Wehner

Quantum Walks, Quantum Gates and Quantum Computers

Authors: Andrew P. Hines, P.C.E. Stamp

Generalised Clifford groups and simulation of associated quantum circuits

Authors: Sean Clark, Richard Jozsa, Noah Linden

Fault-Tolerant Quantum Computation

Authors: Daniel Gottesman

A classical one-way function to confound quantum adversaries

Authors: Cristopher Moore, Alexander Russell, Umesh Vazirani

Quantum t-designs: t-wise independence in the quantum world

Authors: Andris Ambainis, Joseph Emerson

If there are any others that I have missed let me know in the comments.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Running

I went for a run this morning, I lost. The final score was,

Hills, heat, and humidity: 1

mick: 0

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

I'm back in Brisbane

Just letting people know.

I'm jet-lagged as hell too.

Oh, and I watched "The Departed" on the flight from Singapore to Brisbane, ya gotta love any movie that has the Dropkick Murphy's in the soundtrack!

Changi

Well, here I am writing a post in Singapore airport. I'm testing whether my laptop survived the trip after some moron dumped their gigantic carry on bag square on top of it.

What happened to the airlines getting all serious about carry-on baggage? Actually, they are serious enough if you are a half-savvy twenty something. However, you'll get off scot free if you are pushing 70 and are so out of it that it would take more than the allocated 5 minutes to explain why Qantas will slug you 400 bucks for taking that 15 kilo monster on board when the Deutsch Bahn has been letting you get away with it for 30 years.

OK, mick, chill. Take a sip out of your delicious and refreshing pineapple-orange beverage.

Interesting point to note. This juice cost me 4 Australian dollars. It would have cost me 2 Euro if I'd paid in Euros. I guess this means that the Australian dollar is worth shite.

While I'm writing this I'm sitting in a juice bar in Singapore International Airport. I like this airport. I like that it has lots of nice places to get a drink. I like that the people are friendly and that everything is quite clean. Mostly, I like that I can walk outside hear and feel the heat, it's almost worth the cost of the plane ticket to feel that. During winter in Innsbruck it is so hard to feel thoroughly warm. Sure, everywhere has heating, but you can feel the earth and the atmosphere just sucking that heat away. But when you get to these parts you feel the warmth and it's everywhere, I'm sure after a few days in Brisbane I'll feel that it's inescapable - I guess in the same way that the cold is in Innsbruck.

Unfortunately, I won't post this till I arrive in Brisbane sometime tomorrow, it turns out that you have to fork out the bucks to use the wireless here. Well, either that or I could have brought a cable and it would have been free...

Take note Euro visitors to QIP: If you flying through Singapore, bring and ethernet cable and you can hook yourself up to the web!

Friday, January 12, 2007

The long road

On Sunday I'm off on a bit of an adventure, I'm flying back home to Oz. The main reason that I'm heading home is to attend QIP 2007 but I'll be doing about a thousand other things before and after the conference.

I always enjoy the flight home. I've had all sorts of hellish journeys over the years but very little shakes my enthusiasm for that high that I get when Brisbane's humidity wraps around me as I step out of the plane. This time around I fly from Innsbruck to Frankfurt, then a long haul to Singapore (and drinks in the Cactus Bar), and the final haul from Singapore to Brisbane. I leave on Sunday night and arrive early on Tuesday morning. It's going to be so nice to chill out on that flight and to spend some time drinking Bundy and watching some movies.

Speaking of Bundy, how much do people want to bet that I head straight for the Duty Free to buy a couple of bottles to share with my brother and sister? Next week will be the first time that my entire family has been in the same city for 2 years. The last time I was home my brother was in Canada and my sis was in the UK.

I think the only downside to all this is that my girlfriend is stuck in Innsbruck doing exams.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

iRaq

This is pretty awesome.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

George Bush isn't America

In what might seem to some to be an obvious statement, George Bush is not America. Not now, nor ever. George Bush is quite simply the man who has been elected President. American presidents come and go, America itself has stuck around for quite a while.

This is a point that Tim Dunlop has been pushing, quite rightly, this week at Blogocracy. The Australian Government and the media keep toeing the line that Australia's relationship with American is all about the relationship between George Bush and John Howard. They seem to ignore the fact that George Bush is now a deeply unpopular president pursuing deeply unpopular policies and that Australia's best interests are not necessarily served by having a close relationship politically or personally with Bush.

Last year the American public demonstrated their distaste for George Bush's foreign policy in the congressional elections. If George Bush doesn't have the capacity to understand this then maybe his "friend", John Howard, should help him out by not supporting his push for a "surge" in Iraq.

 

Whoops: I accidentally stole my title from  one of Tim's earlier posts on this topic.

Teething issues

My "Recent comments" widget on my sidebar doesn't seem to be working so well at the moment. However my normal comments are working fine.

I think this probably has something to do with switching to the new Blogger. My comments are managed by Haloscan and over at there forum it seems that people are reporting a bunch of bugs mainly to do with people that have multiple sidebar widgets (people like me). With some luck everything will be back to normal in a few days - either that or I'm going to have to switch to a new Blogger template and start hacking all over again....

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Are the Australian Democrats doomed?

Word is that the leader of the Australian Greens, Bob Brown, has approached the ALP in an attempt to get a preference deal for this year's federal election. Brown is pushing the line that the ALP either does a deal with the Greens, with the hope of ALP preferences giving them the balance of power, or faces the prospect of a hostile Coalition-led Senate if the ALP takes the lower house.

The Greens are going to have to suppress their instinct to attack anyone who moves to the right of Gandhi if they hope to get a deal with the ALP.

Good news frisbee fans

TJ is back.

Is Big Arnie really a Republican?

Arnie has a new plan for near universal health care for Californians. Did I ever mention that I really like California? Of all the places that I've been to over the years California was one of the nicest.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

UFOs in Chicago? Alien-like wit from union official

Apparently there was a UFO sighting at O'Hare Airport in November. Some United Airlines staff spotted a disc shaped object hovering over the terminal which apparently freaked them out enough to inform the control tower (which couldn't see anything).

Anyway, I'm not so interested in the whole UFO thing but I am interested in what one O'Hare union official, Craig Burzych, said about it,

"To fly 7 million light years to O'Hare and then have to turn around and go home because your gate was occupied is simply unacceptable".

Someone should find this man a place in the Democrat party, they need more people with a wit like that!

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Peter Garrett steps up to the crease

Peter Garrett, the ALP's new spokesman for climate change, environment and heritage wrote an awesome op-ed in the Sydney Morning Herald today.

Garrett rightly takes issue with the governments bizarre view that introducing nuclear power stations to Australia is a valid approach to combat climate change. While it's true that nuclear power involves no carbon emissions, and that Australia has an abundance of uranium, Australia has no infrastructure for a nuclear power industry and the government's own investigating panel suggests that it will take until 2050 for 25% of Australia's electricity needs to be met by a nuclear power industry.

This timeframe is far from acceptable and it is only achievable with a significant amount of financial assistance from the government. Cheaper alternatives to nuclear power exist that can be implemented in the near future. The government has to stop protecting their friends in the mining industry and start thinking hard about how Australia will meet it's future energy needs.

The best blog post title so far this year!

The Daily Grind Network puts out with the funny a couple of times a day and is usually worth a look if you are in need of a little chuckle. They had a cracker of a title on one of their posts today:

'A paper curtain has descended across Europe': Bucharest, Sofia fall to EU

I think the title sums up the post pretty well...

By the way, how many other EU researchers out there spent a significant portion of 2006 reporting on the work that they were doing?

I've switched to Blogger beta

Well, I've moved my blogger account over to the Blogger beta (though I'm not sure it's officially a beta test anymore). I've already noticed that it's changed some of my template settings. If anyone expreiences anything weird could you let me know?

Also, has anyone switched over to their new template manager yet? Does it destroy all the 3rd party software in your blog?

No coffee today and it has nothing to do with some lame new year resolution

Our institute's espresso machine is down! God knows how I'm going to get any work done today without a reliable source of caffeine. Not a good start to the new year.

Geeky interweb games

It appears that over the holidays I was tagged by Dave so I guess I better play along:

So the game is, take the closest book to you right now, go to the fifth sentence on page 123, write the following three sentences in the blog, and tag three people.

I'm at work so, surprise surprise, the book closest to me is "Quantum Computation and Quantum Information" by Michael Nielsen and Ike Chuang. So, writing the three sentences that follow the fifth on page 123,

"The idea is that at the beginning of the computation, the Turing machine is in the starting state q_s. The execution of the computation causes the Turing machine's internal state to change. If the computation ever finishes, the Turing machine ends up in the state q_h to indicate that the machine has completed its operation."

How geeky was that, I landed smack bang in the middle of an introduction to Turing machines! Still, that's a pretty interesting way of starting my working year. Now, for the tagging of others:

Eye of the Tiger

reasonandrhyme

Larvatus Prodeo (because I'd like to see what the politcos have on their desks!)