peteg's blog

The Milner Symposium, April 2012

/noise/talks | Link

Over the past few months I have been chugging my way through the videos of this meeting of computer science luminaries. Gérard Berry is very funny. (I must watch the other videos on his home page.) Gordon Plotkin's talk is quite abstruse even by the standards of this audience. Philip Wadler shows how to run a panel. Gérard Huet and Larry Paulson give great accounts of the early days of interactive theorem proving systems, and John Harrison shed some light on what he does at Intel.

Milner's last innovation in his process algebraic tradition — bigraphs — don't look like gaining much traction from what I saw here.

Daniyal Mueenuddin: In Other Rooms, Other Wonders

/noise/books | Link

Having read Mueenuddin's Our Lady of Paris in Zoetrope: All Story, and Sameer and the Samosas in the New Yorker, I was glad to discover that he had a collection in print. (It does not include the latter story.) Somewhat amazingly, the UNSW Library bought this book in May 2010, which I'm taking that to mean that the budget cuts kicked in after that point, though perhaps an ethnic lit prof put in a special request. I'm fully expecting that the library will be high on the hit list following Gillard et al's shifting funding from unis to schools, which makes it so much less likely that I will renew my alumnus subscription.

Mueenuddin is clearly mining a scene he knows from the inside: the scions of the upper classes of post-colonial Pakistan, and in particular the peculiar story of his own family. All of the tales here are of the girl-meets-boy variety, and typically one party manipulates the other via sex; the remaining one or two detail even more prosaic corruption. This is observed at length by Dalia Sofer in her review for the New York Times.

The pick for me was Lily. There the boy and girl come from the Pakistani class of limitless opportunity, and so their machinations are not motivated by material desperation. I can't say it adds up to much though he writes well.

/noise/beach/2012-2013 | Link

Late afternoon (4:45pm!) snorkel at Little Bay. Visibility was terrible so it degenerated to a paddle around the bay. The Indian summer rolls on when the rain stays away.

Iron Man 2

/noise/movies | Link

I was reminded that Iron Man 3 is coming out soon by the SMage report that the London Premiere was delayed in deference to Thatcher. This one remains full of cheap thrills. I think they should find a way to revive Mickey Rourke.