Posts Tagged ‘ohio’

GWAP Promo

Posted: 18 May 2008 in Uncategorized
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Figured I’d post this promo video the GWAP group did.  Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to participate in the filming of it since I was visiting my dad and family in Ohio for the first time after many years.  So unfortunate in that I missed the filming, but the alternative was worth it.  Johnny Lee had a not insignificant role in the making of the video, I believe.  Check out his stuff if you haven’t, he’s doing some pretty amazing things with Wii remotes.

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Science fiction author Arthur C. Clarke died yesterday.  He touched many lives through his writing and his ideas had an impact on me at an early age with short stories like “The Nine Billion Names of God” and movies based on his books like 2010 (which I saw in the theater) and later 2001 (which I saw as a young man).   His novel Rendezvous with Rama is being made into a movie and IMDB is quoting 2009 as the release date.  I thought it was interesting to find out he had been living in Sri Lanka for some time.

I visited my family in Ohio this past weekend and my uncle made a few interesting points.  He’s an old-school spring engineer, meaning he learned coming up through the trade rather than by going to school, and he supervises a number of employees at a relatively small spring company.  My grandfather used to own a spring company called, shockingly enough, Adams & Sons Spring Co.  That was later bought out and a number of the employees were moved to a different plant, including my dad and uncle.  So anyhow, my uncle was telling me a story, which I won’t go into, but the heart of it is that you should not wait for people to hand you “what you deserve.”  If you are a leader, regardless of your job title, then lead.  If you see someone who needs help, don’t wait for them to ask you.  Help.  Show that you have the initiative.  That’s probably fairly obvious, I mean we’ve all heard it before, but it came at a particularly important time for me.

I’ve been on twitter for a while now, though I don’t update it super-regularly like some people.  It’s fun and I hope more of my friends start using it, but I’ve noticed an interesting trend.  Just about anything is open to potential spam.  Friendster is sick with it.  MySpace is abominable.  LinkedIn seems fairly immune and I’ve gotten very few spam friend requests from Facebook.  Twitter has so far been very good about it, but there is a new trend that I’ve found interesting.  You can follow people and people can follow you on twitter.  So your status updates are public and potentially seen by thousands of people.  How do you increase the number of people who follow you?  Follow them, of course!  I’m having random people follow me left and right.  It only helps me, since I don’t follow them back, but it’s interesting to note.

More out of townage

Posted: 15 March 2008 in Uncategorized
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This time I’m in Ohio, so no new posts for a little while.  One thing I’d like to note, if anyone wants to leave a comment on this blog, I normally approve it.  The exception I make is no valid email address.  You don’t need a website, but I want an email address.  You know who I am, after all.

Wright Flyer I

The Wright Brothers had their first successful flight on December 17, 1903. The flight lasted for 12 lousy seconds, but a machine that was heavier than air that they had built stayed under control off the ground. Whether they were actually the first or if their flight was even long enough to be valid, it is undeniable that they have had a massive impact on aviation and the world. They didn’t have to use space age polymers or special blend of fuels. Just ingenuity and hard work. They fabricated a gasoline engine in their bicycle shop and built the body out of a spruce tree. Pretty cool.

It has always struck me as amusing just how worked up people can get over the right to say “first in flight.” I guess because it was such a monumental achievement at the time, we have lost sight of the wonder that must have accompanied it back then. Man had conquered the sky! Of course, this feeling didn’t emerge until a few years later since the Wright Brothers were generally considered to be hoaxsters around the world until a demonstration in France in 1908.

SR-71 Blackbird

I had a friend from New Zealand who claimed a countryman had been the first to fly. Ohio and North Carolina both try to take credit for the Wright Brothers. The first plane was developed in Dayton, Ohio, but actually flown in Kitty Hawk, North Carolina. I’ve been to Wright Patterson Air Force Base, which is now home of the National Museum of the Air Force. One of the coolest things I saw there was a decomissioned SR-71 Blackbird, a supersonic spy plane. We weren’t supposed to touch it, but I wanted to so much (I was like 12 or 13) and my uncle just said to go ahead and do it. The worst that could happen is we’d be kicked out, right? But nothing happened, and it felt like slightly cool, smooth metal. It was great.

After the Wright brothers patented their invention, there were years of disputes over patent violations. Continued claims of being the first in flight sprang up. After their first little hop on this day in 1903, they maintained a high level of secrecy so that government-backed researchers, who were the big players in the game, couldn’t steal their ideas. They were just two guys who ran a bike shop and wanted to make money on it. I think that was the right thing to do. If they hadn’t been secret, they would have been squashed like bugs by the big guys. I think the real legacy of the Wright brothers should not be the controversy or the secrecy, but the fact that two dudes in a bike shop, tinkering with wood and engines, changed the world in 12 seconds.

ACL 2008 Call for Papers

Posted: 17 October 2007 in Uncategorized
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Well, the Call for Papers is out for ACL 2008 (Association for Computatonal Linguistics), which will be held in the city of my birth. Columbus, Ohio is such a short drive, it’d be a shame if I didn’t attend, even if I’m probably not submitting anything. The trick is getting someone else to pay for it!

Conference dates: 15-20 June 2008

Deadline for full papers: 10 January 2008
Deadline for short papers: 14 March 2008

The full Call for Papers is below the jump.

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The National Resources Defense Council is reporting on a study that looked at ten eastern US cities are found they are going to see more red alert days during the summer for air quality. They found that rising temperatures due to global warming will lead to a decrease in the number of good air days (as defined by the EPA).  Two of the cities I have lived in were included in the study: Columbus, Ohio and Greenville, South Carolina.  Another city included was Asheville, NC where Donna and I have spent several anniversaries.  Greenville and Asheville are both very beautiful cities, so it’s really a shame to see that things will be going downhill. The same will be true everywhere, of course. By the middle of the century, the study reports, 50 eastern US cities will see:

  • A doubling of the number of unhealthy ‘red alert’ days
  • A 68 percent (5.5 day) increase in the average number of days exceeding the current 8-hour ozone standard established by the EPA
  • A 15 percent drop in the number of summer days with “good” air quality based on EPA criteria because of global warming

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CFP Wiki

Posted: 2 September 2007 in Uncategorized
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Just the other day I was discussing upcoming conferences with my friend Eric.  We were lamenting the choice of location for the 2008 ACL (Association for Computational Linguistics) conference in Columbus, OH — my hometown.  At least I can stay with family (assuming I even go).  The conference I really want to go to (and actually have a chance of going to) is ICML (International Conference on Machine Learning) in Helsinki, Finland.  Eric said he’d rather to go to Spain, which sparked a very brief and unsuccessful search for conferences dealing with computational linguistics in Spain.

Today I came across a post on the comp.ai.nat-lang newsgroup pointing to a new wiki for calls for papers.  How timely!  And very nice.  A brief search on WikiCFP revealed that Eric’s best chances are for the EURALEX conference in Barcelona, which deals with dictionaries (including software approaches).  Not that he’s doing any work with dictionaries.   I may be, though, with my new project.  I’d much rather go to Helsinki, though, and ICML would do my career a lot of good.