February 28, 2012

Mathematical Concepts That Would Also Make Great Spy Thrillers

The Hecke Correspondence

The Kudla Conjecture

The Long Division

The Arakelov Geometry

The Sum of All Squares

Differential Calculus

The Lefschetz Trace

The Artin Reciprocity

The X Axis

February 24, 2012

February 17, 2012

February 13, 2012

Gosh, Darling, I'm So Sorry

From the New York Times: A Prayer, a Celebration and a Coronation

The music industry gathered in L.A. last night for the Grammys, their annual evening of spectacularly expensive performances by pop artists combined with irritating pretense that the integrity of their art is more important than commercial success by everyone else.

Item:
Dave Grohl’s Foo Fighters received five awards for the album “Wasting Light”... The album, which was the first No. 1 album for Foo Fighters, was recorded on analog equipment in a garage and was in the running for album of the year.

“We made this one in my garage with some microphones and a tape machine,” Mr. Grohl said as the group accepted the Grammy for best rock performance. “It shows the human element of making music is what’s most important.”
No, Dave Grohl, it shows that you're Dave freaking Grohl and that, along with an interesting gimmick, you have a potent formula for commercial success.

Item:
The awards for best alternative album and for best new artist went to Bon Iver... the brainchild of the songwriter Justin Vernon. Mr. Vernon, who declined to perform, said, “When I started to make songs I did it for the inherent reward of making songs, so I’m a little bit uncomfortable up here.”
Oh, fuck off, Justin Vernon. It's okay: we will still respect you as a musician if you perform at the Grammys. The only difference you will notice is that not all the girls trying to sleep with you afterwards will be wearing hipster glasses.

Honestly. They're almost as bad as poets.

February 10, 2012

February 07, 2012

Sign Placement Fail

Last weekend the New York Times sagely warned that:
the Nook and, by extension, Barnes & Noble, at times seem the only things standing between traditional book publishers and oblivion.
Tonight, I observed the following:



Brave new world.

February 03, 2012

February 02, 2012

Come On, People

I made the mistake of clicking on a link to People.com this morning, and was instantly sucked into the terrifying sausage factory of entertainment news—particularly this story about Ryan Seacrest and his girlfriend, Julianne Hough:
Julianne Hough is used to going toe-to-toe with leading men on Dancing with the Stars, but in real life, her biggest challenge is coordinating with her extraordinarily busy boyfriend, Ryan Seacrest.

"It's a hard thing to do, especially when you're so caught up in your work and bettering yourself," Hough, 23, tells Parade.com.
And cultivating modesty. Don't forget that part.

The rest of the article ("article" might be overstating the case, actually, since it probably tops out at 150 words, max.) essentially explains that sometimes, when two people have careers, they don't get to see each other as much as they would like. Isn't it weird seeing how the other half lives?

Also, on a more outraged note: screw you, Ryan Seacrest! How is it that this is the first thing I've ever seen about your personal life when you make a career out of dissecting the grocery choices that everyone else in Hollywood makes? I mean, okay, I don't really want to hear about it, but it seems dickish to concertedly stay out of the spotlight that you so shamelessly direct at everyone else.

I will now return to reading only Facebook and the occasional email in the morning.

February 01, 2012

A Place to Play Golf

This week, two links to share with you: my latest review at the Good Men Project, and, something that I am personally far more excited about for reasons about to become clear, an essay I wrote about bullfighting journalism at Open Letters Monthly.

The idea for the bullfighting essay came to me two years ago, almost, when I was taking a magazine writing class at Emerson. The class was generally awesome, but it had two pieces of bullfighting journalism on the syllabus, and as it happened the New Yorker also published a tangential Talk of the Town piece that same month, and they were all so dewey-eyed and fawning and uncritical about this frankly kind of awful "sport" I wanted to say to someone JESUS!, enough already! So I started writing a rant about it, and the more research I did the longer and more intricate it got, until finally, last week — after picking away at it in between so many novel drafts ever since — the lovely people at OLM decided to take it. So, as you might expect, after I've finally had published the most sustained and impassioned essay I've ever written, I am pretty chuffed.

But, uh, anyway... the GMP thing is good, too. Really. There's an awesome zinger in the first line and everything. Go read!