David Mertz

Wall Photos


I saw Rammstein last night (not my picture, and not the LA show, but same set and effects). A delightful show, not normally exactly my kind of music, but I was so glad a friend took me. Huge balls and jets of fire, lasers, moving platforms, a giant phallus spewing confetti, firework explosions (indoors) synchronized with the beat, etc. By far the most elaborate stage show I've seen, and musically quite good also.
May 21, 2011 at 3:16 pm
Bennelong Bicyclist Did they have a replica of Stonehenge?
May 21, 2011 at 5:19 pm

My question from a few months ago about "the oldest thing you own" seems to have prompted, in my parents, an urge to send me old things. It looks like I've now set the bar at about 1200 BP with these Anasazi pottery pieces.
April 6, 2011 at 4:47 pm
Dawn Halloran Charouhas 1200 BP? is that time according to British Petroleum?
April 6, 2011 at 5:05 pm
David Mertz @Dawn: "Before present" :-)
April 6, 2011 at 5:07 pm
Simma Park I'm pretty sure you win.
April 6, 2011 at 8:38 pm
Bennelong Bicyclist I'll have to take my bucket and spade out to Lake Mungo. (No, not really.)
April 6, 2011 at 10:04 pm
Paris Finley I have a nice chunk of petrified wood. Estimated in the range of 35 to 65 million years, according to the geology of the region. I also have a fossil from Morocco that dates to around the same period.
April 7, 2011 at 4:17 am
Simma Park Should natural objects count, especially geological? I could probably find some pretty old rocks in Central Park and put them on my shelf.
April 7, 2011 at 7:30 am
David Mertz @Paris & Simma: As when this came up before, I think of "oldest thing" in terms of the time since the raw materials underwent purposive human modification. Minerals themselves (or, say, the gas in my car; or the atoms in everything) are much older. Fossils, including petrified wood, are interesting in that they were once living things; but that still feels like a different category.
April 7, 2011 at 9:01 am
Kenan Ercel i was just listening to a Radiolab podcast where they tell the story about this scientist who was researching climate change by examining the circles inside the trees. he comes across this very old looking tree and using special drilling equipment tries to extract a cross-section of it, but then the tip of the drill gets stuck inside the tree and in order to save this precious piece of equipment they cut down the tree--only to find out that the tree is 4800 years old, not only the oldest tree on record but the oldest living creature! the title of the show is "oops".
April 7, 2011 at 3:21 pm
Bennelong Bicyclist I have a late Roman coin (about 300AD I think) that I bought in Bloomsbury last year. But I cannot produce photographic evidence of it because I gave it to my (then) 8 year old who thought it was a great jape to put it in a large moneybox, along with about 3000 other copper coins (1 and 2 cent pieces have been phased out here in Oz, and he has been collecting them with a view to cashing them in, or perhaps cornering some future numismatic market). Or I have been collecting them on his behalf.
April 7, 2011 at 3:40 pm

If you don't sin, Jesus died for nothing.
January 19, 2011 at 8:59 am
William Opdyke oh man, I laughed so hard...
January 19, 2011 at 11:47 am
Sean Reifschneider It's pronounced "hey soos".
January 19, 2011 at 3:46 pm
Meagan Thompson-Mann Sheeeesh, you'll listen to anything Basement Cat tells you these days.
January 19, 2011 at 4:35 pm
Bennelong Bicyclist Jesus would look better with a V.I. Lenin beard. In fact, everyone looks better with a V.I. Lenin beard.
January 25, 2011 at 1:26 pm

An appendix to my book _Text Processing in Python_: "A Selective and Impressionistic Short Review of Python" (http://gnosis.cx/TPiP/appendix_a.txt)
December 9, 2010 at 12:03 pm
Bennelong Bicyclist Warning: This product may contain traces of foo.
December 9, 2010 at 3:36 pm
Raymond Hettinger Might make a good tattoo :-)
December 10, 2010 at 12:48 am
Vasudev Ram Another arrow in DM's quiver ... :)
December 16, 2010 at 6:35 pm

My dissertation prospectus visualized with "Wordle"
December 9, 2010 at 1:16 am
Meagan Thompson-Mann I can't decide if this is terrific or simply terrifying.
December 9, 2010 at 6:08 am
David Mertz The source document for this representation is http://gnosis.cx/publish/mertz/prospect.html. I omitted the reference list, however, since that seemed to emphasize "translated" as the most common word, which seems misleading. However, omitting the reference list does tend to de-emphasize author names, which might be wrong in a different way. But I mostly like the primary emphasis on common (or not-so-common) nouns.
December 9, 2010 at 11:51 am
Mary Ann Sushinsky Wow! Those are good words! Think I'll do mine.
December 9, 2010 at 1:00 pm
Bennelong Bicyclist Having looked into it, I found a scalpel but no speculum.
December 9, 2010 at 1:49 pm
Meagan Thompson-Mann That could be because Herr Doktor often prefers his scalpel to his speculum.
December 9, 2010 at 1:50 pm
Bennelong Bicyclist Indeed. If Dr Metamertz has a medical hero, I suspect it is more likely to be Black Jack ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_Jack_(manga) ) than Marcus Welby.
December 9, 2010 at 2:56 pm

Outside the polling place
November 2, 2010 at 12:38 pm
Cole Thaler I love the beard. :-)
November 2, 2010 at 1:29 pm
David Mertz @Cole: I voted the Mephistophelean ticket.
November 2, 2010 at 1:40 pm
Bennelong Bicyclist You voted electronically on an open-source system, right?
November 2, 2010 at 2:14 pm
David Mertz @Bennelong: Nope, pretty much an old-fashioned paper Australian Ballot. In Los Angeles they use a good system (I'll go find a picture), actually; it's similar to a punch card, but marked with ink rather than punched through. There is a clever guide to show only the holes for the contests on a given page.

After completion of voting, the ballot box has a scanner to verify that there are no voting errors on the card, which is helpful. In fact, Mary Ann today first inadvertently miscast a vote on a proposition, then realized it and marked the opposite as well, thinking that would simply invalidate her vote on that contest. But the scanner was smart enough to recognize the overvote, and declare her ballot invalid (so she needed to do obtain a replacement, which seems like the right thing).

While I doubt that this scanner software at the poll is open source, the paper ballots are retained, and count as the legal ballot. The machine at the polling place does not actually count votes, but only checks for errors.
November 2, 2010 at 2:50 pm
David Mertz It's surprisingly non-obvious to locate a photograph, but this diagram shows the idea: http://www.lavote.net/VOTER/PDFS/ELECTION_RELATED/02052008_PRINT_AD.pdf
November 2, 2010 at 3:01 pm
Bennelong Bicyclist Scanning ballot papers for errors before they are placed in the ballot is a good idea, although I can see a few practical problems here in Oz: the first is the (very reasonable) tradition that voting is secret, and thus ballot papers need to be folded so that no-one can see how you have voted prior to the ballot paper being stuffed in the ballot box - so private validation scanners would be needed in each voting booth if that tradition was to be preserved; the second is that the Senate ballot papers are very large - the NSW one was over a metre long (and about 25 cm wide) for the last election, with over 80 candidates (and there have been even larger ones in the past) as well as "above the line" group ticket options - scanning that would be physically difficult. All of these problems fade away with electronic voting (and a whole raft of new problems present themselves).
November 2, 2010 at 11:53 pm

Curtesy http://graphjam.memebase.com/.
October 29, 2010 at 10:02 am
Miki Tebeka And if you think otherwise, I have a bridge to sell you ...
October 30, 2010 at 8:07 am
Bennelong Bicyclist Wot, are you saying that a normal email is not completely secure even though I am sending it to just one person via GMail? (Typically incredulous response when one tells someone that emails are less secure than unenveloped postcards.)
October 30, 2010 at 9:04 pm
David Mertz Which reminds me: http://gnosis.cx/davidmertz.pubkey... it's on the keyservers too. Just saying, one *can* write email privately and securely.
October 30, 2010 at 11:39 pm
Sean Reifschneider They do intersect: "That creepy guy". I'm sure we all know one...
October 31, 2010 at 2:24 pm
Bennelong Bicyclist Yes, the sets of Internet (I) and Privacy (P) are not disjoint. I \ P is the set of people who receive unwanted attention from marketers. I ∩ P is the set of people who receive unwanted attention from three-letter agencies. P \ I just want attention. BB's armchair revolutionary fantasy is that BB ∈ I ∩ P but the reality is more like BB ∈ P \ I
October 31, 2010 at 3:52 pm

Looking for a link to this song: http://www.feederz.com/MP3/Jesus.mp3
August 10, 2010 at 10:51 am

Me with Fempire Strikes Back dancer Scarlett O'Gasm.
July 12, 2010 at 12:29 pm
Bennelong Bicyclist Dr Mertz could play the role of Hand Solo, onanist pilot of the smuggling starship Millennium Bug.
July 12, 2010 at 2:04 pm
Miki Tebeka Does she use Vi or Emacs? ;)
July 13, 2010 at 7:26 am
David Mertz @Miki: When she comes, she comes correct! (i.e. vim).
July 13, 2010 at 3:44 pm

Thinking of Wittgenstein (Rabbit-Duck)
June 24, 2010 at 11:07 pm
Bennelong Bicyclist You may have been thinking of Wittgenstein, but I suspect that Ludwig was more likely to have been thinking of of well muscled ballet dancer (AOT ballerina) in leootards.
June 26, 2010 at 5:32 pm

Uncle Karl and Uncle Friedrich
April 23, 2010 at 1:15 pm
Jack Red Diederich an apt but unusual pairing.
April 23, 2010 at 6:56 pm
Bennelong Bicyclist A manifestly unusual pairing?
May 22, 2010 at 4:13 am
Jack Red Diederich err, it must have been after Happy Hour because I thought the thumbnail pic was of Marx & Hayek. Marx & Engels, my bad.
May 22, 2010 at 5:43 am
Bennelong Bicyclist An entirely understandable mistake: http://www.freakingnews.com/Bearded-Lady-Salma-Hayek-Pictures-43362.asp
May 22, 2010 at 6:28 am

Rosa Luxemburg drawn by Ward Churchill
April 12, 2010 at 9:11 pm

January 23, 2010 at 2:17 pm
Bennelong Bicyclist David "Quintyn Tarintyno" Mertz had his passport cancelled because... it expired.
May 22, 2010 at 3:14 am

Notice that Mass doesn't even take a new picture for a renewal. Lazy bastards!
January 23, 2010 at 2:17 pm

Ah, Mass liquor license.
January 23, 2010 at 2:14 pm

This is so NOT an attrative picture, but archivalist instincts bid completeness.
January 23, 2010 at 2:06 pm

Over to Massachusetts, I don't think these are in order though
January 23, 2010 at 1:55 pm

The one youthful ID proved popular, so more here and to follow.
January 23, 2010 at 1:47 pm
Mary Ann Sushinsky You were a very cute kid indeed.
January 23, 2010 at 1:53 pm
Gary M. Gray Quid!
January 23, 2010 at 5:28 pm

A youthful identification
January 23, 2010 at 3:21 am
Leah Rogers Aww!
January 23, 2010 at 8:43 am
Kenan Ercel really!!? voow!
what does that "O" stand for? blood type or "O'some"?
January 23, 2010 at 10:53 am
David Mertz Kenan: I like the blood type theory, and indeed I am O neg. We need a similar explanation of the 'A' over at the right (I probably knew what the fields meant in the 1980s, but that was many brain cells ago).
January 23, 2010 at 12:30 pm
Bennelong Bicyclist David Clark "Übermensch" Quintyn Mertz?
May 22, 2010 at 3:22 am

Source unknown. Something accumulated in my grad school files... I wish I had done it myself.
January 20, 2010 at 9:56 pm

A better version of my new glasses.
September 28, 2009 at 12:20 am

A better version of my new glasses
September 28, 2009 at 12:19 am
Jenny Hok Looking great! I always want to say thanks for the mice message the other week when I was taking care of my mother. Hugs, J
September 28, 2009 at 6:03 am
David Mertz Any more word about Kitty? Even though it was a million years ago when I last saw her, I'm really fond of her.

On my picture, this is so much nicer than the awkward self-held cell phone shot that makes me look terrible. I actually *like* this one, glasses and all (but also my phototgrapher managed to catch a non-grimace, eyes open, etc).
September 28, 2009 at 11:30 am
Dawn Finley Hmmmm. Yes, but your photographer feels she ought also to have insisted on aiding with selection of post-worthy shots. You look sort of like you're trying to keep a stiff upper lip while awaiting sentencing or something . . .
September 28, 2009 at 1:26 pm
David Mertz Ah... the human condition!
September 28, 2009 at 2:30 pm

I have four eyes now... for my 45th Bday.
September 23, 2009 at 4:27 pm
Susan Jane Urbanski Such a cool dude!
September 23, 2009 at 4:51 pm
David Mertz I'll really need a non-blurry, non-camera-phone version though... I'll get there.
September 23, 2009 at 5:28 pm
Robb Ecker Lasting until 45 is pretty impressive. Although I never wear them, i started needing glasses about 10 years ago.
September 23, 2009 at 8:19 pm
David Mertz For the doctors and vision-impaired out there, they are pretty mild, distance only (OD-125-25+105;OS-100). However, after I got the distance-only glasses a week ago, and found the out-of-focus near vision very disturbing, the ophthalmologist recommended progressives instead. So these are the 1-day old progressive version. I can tell my brain will need a little while to adjust to the weird varying focus thing, but feel like this will work out.

I don't think I will/can use them for the computer, or even for general reading. It seems too weird to need to tilt my head up and down to read successive lines on the screen in focus (albeit magnified once in focus, which is slightly cool). And fortunately, it's not difficult to do either of those things without the glasses.
September 23, 2009 at 8:42 pm
David Mertz It *is* pretty amazing to read the street signs and the like more clearly and from a further distance than I have been able to for years (although I have no idea exactly ow long). It's like looking through a telescope at the distant things. I must have seen that well when I was young, and had excellent vision. But since the decline was spread over decades, there was never a moment when I noticed something was wrong. Really it was just the fact that many other people I was with could read signs (and other distant objects outdoors) better than I could that started to nag at me.
September 23, 2009 at 8:47 pm
David Mertz Sorry for the verbosity. This was my big adventure over the last week, as friends can guess. :-)
September 23, 2009 at 8:48 pm
Susan Jane Urbanski Robb, aren't you a surgeon? Don't you need to *see* to operate???
September 23, 2009 at 9:07 pm
Robb Ecker Oh, vision is waaayyyy over-rated when it comes to surgery. I just feel my way around.
September 23, 2009 at 9:08 pm
Robb Ecker Actually, I'm near-sighted, so it works out OK. I really only notice the deficit when I'm tired.
September 23, 2009 at 9:09 pm
Dawn Finley Yeah, DQM, we simply *must* do a better photo.
September 24, 2009 at 2:32 pm

The nature of space
September 13, 2009 at 9:06 am
Scott Singer how delightfully troubling :)
September 13, 2009 at 9:09 am
David Mertz What kind?
September 13, 2009 at 11:40 pm
Scott Singer the illusion that math is not a religion?
September 14, 2009 at 10:13 am
Scott Singer My kids are taking this image to school to their teachers - should be fun.
September 14, 2009 at 10:14 am
Scott Singer the triangles are not equiangular
September 14, 2009 at 10:41 am
Mike Urbanski More precisely, the hypotenuse is not straight.
September 14, 2009 at 10:42 am
David Mertz Actually, the shapes are not actually triangles, but quadrilaterals. Comparing the blue and red trianges lets you conclude that the slope 2/5 is not the same as 3/8.
September 14, 2009 at 11:00 am
David Mertz The source of image is: https://secure.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/wiki/Missing_square_puzzle
September 14, 2009 at 11:02 am

August 1, 2009 at 4:21 pm
David Mertz We mean it, man!
August 1, 2009 at 4:22 pm
Michael McIntosh *chuckle*
August 4, 2009 at 12:46 pm

My 21st Century
March 7, 2009 at 12:00 pm
Paris Finley What the--? Mary Ann, don't let him talk you into believing any of that future stuff.
March 7, 2009 at 12:54 pm
Dawn Finley I just get the feeling the FB wave is cresting. It's a curious phenomenon, the fad. But they had those back in the day too.
March 7, 2009 at 4:19 pm
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