December 2004 Archives

Wedding Photos #1

The lucky couple themselves. Did you know that if you say "Laura and Sawyer" too many times, it eventually comes out as Lawyer? The priest did this at least twice during the wedding service. 2004:12:14 22:39:03

Never did get the laptop onto the internet well enough to post pictures. Pity, that. But now that I'm back in Israel and can just plug my drive directly into the 'net, here they come, just as fast as I can crop and color-correct them. So here's the first batch. As usual, I'll dump high resolution versions on the web if there's demand.

So, without further ado, congratulations to Laura and Sawyer. They make a lovely couple.

Take Two


Got back to Israel today.

Interesting that the prevailing winds actually make this flight over three hours shorter than going in the opposite direction. But we just about made that up sitting on the tarmak in Newark, so it's still been an aggravatingly long time on a plane.

Now that I'm beginning my second two-ish month stint here, I'd like to resolve to get out more. It's kind of embarassing how little of this place I've seen so far. But I have the excuse that all autumn I was busy with the run-up to various things. No such excuse this time.

Below the fold: incompetence.

Signs of the Apocalypse


We started worrying when, in the space of a month, four hurricanes struck Florida, the Red Sox won the World Series, and a plague of locusts descended on Israel. Now we can add another one to the list: a white Christmas in south Texas.

My sister's been proclaiming global warming all morning.

Now go endorse that holiday check from the relatives over to the ICRC or your own favorite relief agency. Snow is fun and fluffy, but tsunamis are neither.

Merry Christmas

I blinked and suddenly it's Christmas Eve!

Normally, south Texas has much the same climate as central Israel, but you wouldn't know it from the weather since I've been here. Which has given me an excuse to keep a merry little fire going in the Franklin stove. Otherwise my stay in San Antonio has been a blur of decorating, cooking, sorting out relatives' travel woes (my sister is no longer a big fan of Northwest Air, and is now more familiar than she'd ever wanted to be with the Oklahoma City bus station), and generally pulling off the family's annual caroling-slash-Posada-slash-Christmas party. Being as the air temperature has been hanging about just on the toasty side of freezing, attendance was low, but fun was had. Wimps. The wind chill back in Minnesota last night was flirting with that magical point where the Farenheit and centigrade scales cross.

But I can't complain. They don't even have Christmas back in Israel.

Photos of wedding, caroling, and whatever else strikes my fancy, once I have time to sort out getting my laptop online properly.

Wedding Accomplished

"I have come here to chew bubble gum and get married ... and I'm all out of bubble gum." -- Sawyer

So the wedding went off in Atlanta without any user-visible hitches, and a lovely one it was. I'm jetlagged and have the collaborators' meeting in the morning, but watch this space for pictures. Stats so far: Tuesday lasted for 30 hours and I covered 10,350 kilometers, give or take.

Sorry for not posting from Atlanta like I claimed I would, but my laptop was having issues with its wireless card (fixed with a kernel update now that I'm in my sister's apartment and can connect directly).


Somewhere -- actually, 10,670 kilometers from here in Georgia according to my e-ticket -- there is a hotel with my name on it. Or to be more precise, a hotel containing friends of mine who have agreed to let me crash in their suite for a day. Supposedly it has wireless, too, so that's probably where you'll hear from me next.

In about 26 hours. Over 16 of which will be spent on airplanes or in airports. Woo.


A well-worn trilingual roadsign on the road into Jerusalem. 2004:11:28 13:50:05

Busy couple of weeks, it's been. The fellowship application took me offline for a bit, of course, but that's not the cause of the more recent radio silence. This past week was mostly tied up with preparations for a collaborators' meeting in New York, at which I'll be one of a dozen or so people giving slide shows on various aspects of the EBEX design. Being funded and all, you see, it's come to our attention that we should probably get to work at building something, in which case we should settle on a design before starting to fabricate rather expensive parts. Or at least make sure we're talking about the same parts.

So tomorrow it's off to the States again.


WEIZAC gathering dust in the lobby of the Applied Math building at the Weizmann Institute. 2004:11:25 13:42:13

A couple of weeks ago, I ran across this Jerusalem Post article on WEIZAC, the first computer in the Middle East. Seems that the thing's 50th anniversary arrived, for some definition thereof. (As best I can tell, it didn't actually begin operations until more like 1956.) Two things struck me in reading the article. One is that Einstein needed some convincing that a computer was a wise investment for Palestine. The other is that it is still here, gathering dust in a corner of the Comp. Sci. department.

So, time for a quick photojaunt.

[29 Jan 05 Update: In the comments, Estrin points out that, had I been able to get the full text of the '91 Annals article, I would have seen that WEIZAC actually did begin working in 1955. I stand corrected.]

Money. Gah.

Yes, no posts for a few days, despite interesting things happening. I will relate. But not just now, for it is time to go home.

Why, you ask? Because I just submitted a fellowship application to the NSF, basically saying that I'm God's gift to astrophysics and a nice guy to boot, so they should really do us all a favor and pay me and my expenses for a few years. As some readers here would tell you, this particular application has been an annual soul-sucking ritual for me for a few years now. Which, of course, I was going to get a three-week jump on. But, as typically happens to me in November, I was really busy for a week, then sick for a week, then really busy again. And again, it mostly got done in the past two days. But I think I actually put in a quality attempt this year, which is more than I can say for some of my past efforts, and my CV's gotten a lot longer. So we'll see.

I wound up saying some very nice things about education and the importance of outreach in my personal statements. I might post and expand on those bits sometime, if I have a slow week. Which there won't be for a little while yet.

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